Tag Archives: Vegetarian/Vegan

Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower)

Since knowing Piyush and his family, I have eaten–and grown to love–foods I swore I didn’t like.  Foods I absolutely, positively hated.   Foods like: cucumbers, chilies,tomatoes (unless they were served in a bottle clearly marked HEINZ–I love ketchup) and the oh-so-dreaded cauliflower!

On the (very) rare occasions that my mom prepared this unpopular–at least in my household–white vegetable, it was either served raw with ranch dressing (I hate ranch!) or boiled until it turned to mush.  It smelled funny; and I didn’t like it.

I had completely banished cauliflower from my life.

That is, until I tasted aloo gobi.

Aloo Gobi: Indian Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower

I don’t quite remember the first time I tried this dish, it was so long ago; but I can tell you that it changed my life.

It taught me that vegetables could–and do–have flavor.   This simple–yet complex– vegetarian dish also helped me to realize that vegetables don’t have to be mindlessly tossed on my plate alongside a giant hunk of chicken.

Instead, they can shine on their own; as a flavorful and filling meal.

Aloo Gobi is an easy, and very inexpensive, dish to make on a busy evening.  In it’s simplest form, it consists of potatoes, cauliflower and Indian spices.  But Indians are very innovative, so you’ll find that every part of the country–and practically every household–has their own version; sometimes adding tomatoes, peas, curry leaves, or even a few squeezes of lime juice.

This is my basic version, but feel free to make the recipe your own.  Add what you have on hand.  Do you have some forgotten carrots in the back of your fridge?  Are they sprouting little roots?  Peel them, and toss them in!  Personally, I think crushed peanuts would be a pleasant addition.  Anything goes!…well, almost.

Toss in some slit chilies!

Aloo Gobi ( Spiced Potato and Cauliflower)

Serves 4

This recipe will yield an incredibly delicious, but rather dry dish.  If you would like to make this dish more like a curry, add a little water and some chopped tomato (about 1 roma tomato would be just fine).  Aloo Gobi is delicious served with naan or rotis, and makes an excellent side dish!

Ingredients:
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (or 1/2 regular-sized)- cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium sized potatoes- peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 jalapenos- seeded and diced (leave the seeds in for extra heat)
  • thai or serano chilies- leave whole, but slice 2 or 3 slits in the chili (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • salt- to taste
  • black pepper- to taste
  • 1/4 corriander (cilantro)- chopped, extra to garnish
Directions:
  • Prepare all vegetables and keep them near.  Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds begin to pop and crackle, add the cauliflower, potatoes, chilies, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and garam masala.  Stir everything to combine.
  • Continue to stir/fry for about 10-15 minutes, until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked to your liking.
  • Once the vegetables are properly cooked, season with salt and pepper and add the chopped corriander.
  • Serve, garnished with additional chopped corriander.

Indian spiced potatoes and cauliflower: Aloo Gobi

Tonight, because Piyush wanted something more than just the aloo gobi, I served it with some vegetarian momos.  Momos are incredible, and if you haven’t tried them, you must!  You can learn more about them, and find my recipe HERE.

Aloo Gobi with Vegetarian Momos

And now, because I’ve been talking about vegetables, I thought I’d share a few shots of stuff from my garden.  This heat-wave we’re currently experiencing is causing my plants to struggle a little, but overall they’re doing pretty good.

…and I have to admit, no vegetable tastes better than one you’ve grown yourself.  I feel so excited when I pull something out of the dirt!  And so proud!  🙂

This shallot became an awesome raspberry vinaigrette! I’ll share the recipe soon!

Heirloom Amish Paste Tomatoes. This plant was almost dead, but it’s been coaxed back to life!

Basil! I have a giant basil plant as the centerpiece on my outdoor table. It’s thriving, and smells so good!

And because it really is amazing….

It deserves a close-up! 🙂

Bengali-Inspired Raw Vegetable Salad

My days have been quite busy, and my nights have been so short; I feel like time just flies!  For this reason, I’ve not been blogging quite so much; and instead I’ve been relying on quick, easy and nutritious dinners.  Mostly vegetarian.

The other night I made this incredible salad:

It is very similar to something I had tasted–and fell madly in love with–all over West Bengal, India.  It’s so simple and healthy, but it’s also incredibly addictive.  Even more-so than chocolate.  Yes.  I said it.  This vegetable salad is more addictive than chocolate.

I swear, Bengalis sure can cook!

I raided my fridge and grabbed some cucumber, jalapenos, ginger, tomatoes (which apparently are not supposed to be kept in the fridge, but I do anyway…) and cilantro.  I opened a couple cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans, also called chana), diced up an onion and juiced/zested a lime.  The salad was done.  It was that simple!

When I was served this salad in India, it usually contained boiled potatoes.  Sometimes there would be other vegetables too.  No matter the ingredients, it was always delicious! …and I always wanted more!

Because I wanted a really light dinner, I didn’t make anything else to accompany the vegetable salad.  Usually I’ll serve it alongside a spicy curry or roasted chicken.  Instead, I tossed a few blue corn chips (these are Food Should Taste Good brand chips, and they are amazing!) on the plate…and called it dinner.

This might just end up on my weekly menu rotation this summer.  It’s absolutely perfect when the weather is hot and the there’s not enough time to fuss over anything fancy.  …And it’s so healthy and colorful, how could you not want to eat it?

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Food has been on my mind constantly, but not in the obvious “I’m hungry and I want to eat” sort of way.  Instead I’ve been busy picking fruits, making jam and desperately trying to keep my tomato plants alive (so far, so good!).

freshly picked strawberries: Annapolis variety

I’ve got a very awesome strawberry jam to share!  Hopefully I’ll get it all finished soon so I can get it posted!

 

Mushroom Puff Pastry Tarts

Sometimes I feel lazy.  Yup.  I said it.  Lazy.

I don’t feel like cooking much; but I don’t feel like going out, either.  I just want to sit at home with a giant glass of wine, enjoy life, and eat mushroom puff pastry tarts.  What?  That’s weird?  hmmph.

Puff pastry is one of my favorite things.  I don’t really make it myself though–remember, I’m lazy–and puff pastry is a lot of work.  Instead, I buy it from the freezer section at the supermarket.

This particular recipe is quite delicious and has many different layers of flavor.  I actually got the idea for this recipe last week when I made Ina Garten’s Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts (recipe HERE).

Tomato and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tart (Ina Garten’s Recipe)–spiced up with a few Indian flavors!

These tarts were amazing, and the idea for the crust–or tart shell–was quite genius!  I couldn’t wait to try my own version as soon as possible!

My Mushroom Puff Pastry Tart combines caramelized onions and fennel with tender mushrooms, goat cheese, and a creamy, flavorful sauce.  They’re divine!  …Especially paired with a fabulous glass of wine!

The idea to use mushrooms and a cream sauce as a topping stemmed from a fabulous olive oil I received in the mail last week: Devo Olive Oil Company’s Wild Mushroom and Sage Olive Oil.

I was super excited to try this oil!  Devo makes some pretty cool balsamic vinegar and olive oils.

Dark Chocolate Balsamic, Coconut White Balsamic and my new Wild Mushroom and Sage Olive Oil

Last year I was in Branson visiting relatives, and my cousin Nikki and I did a lot of wine tasting.  We also ventured to the Landing (Nikki is the manager at Bath and Body Works @ the Landing–if you’re in Branson, stop in and tell her hello!) and into Devo’s shop.

It was so neat!  They had tons of vinegar and oils to sample.  I probably drank 1200 calories of just olive oil!  No lie.  They were all so good.  It was hard to choose, but Piyush and I came home with a Blackberry-Ginger Balsamic (my favorite!), Dark Chocolate Balsamic and Coconut White Balsamic.

I can’t wait to visit Branson again…and Devo will definitely be on my list of places to stop.  I’m such a food-nerd.

Anyway…the Wild Mushroom and Sage oil was really nice.  It lent a good flavor to my aromatics, and wasn’t too overpowering (sage can sometimes be a little overwhelming, in my opinion).

To make the tarts, I cut circles out of puff pastry–using plates as stencils.

I then traced a smaller circle inside the cut-out and poked holes in it with a fork, and tossed them in the fridge until I was ready for them.

Puff pastry involves a lot of butter, and you’ll want to keep that butter as chilled as possible.  If it warms up and melts into the dough, you won’t have that gorgeous, flaky and puffy crust.

I caramelized some sliced onions and fennel using the wild mushroom and sage olive oil.

Caramelized Onions and Fennel

Cooked up some mushrooms and shallots, also in the wild mushroom and sage olive oil.

Shallots– similar to an onion, but much more mild.

And I whisked together a creamy mushroom-flavored sauce.

Once all the layers to my tart were ready, I began to put everything together.  This recipe seems like a lot, I know…but I promise it’s not.  It’s a perfect meal for a lazy night at home.

I removed the puff pastry from the refrigerator and topped each circle with a little crumbled goat cheese.

then, tossed on the onion/fennel mixture.

And finally, topped with the mushrooms.

I baked the tarts in a oven heated to 425 degrees F for about 10 minutes, and when they were done they looked like this:

all puffed up!

I spooned some mushroom-cream sauce over the tarts and garnished with a little extra crumbled goat cheese and chopped parsley.

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These were perfect for a nice, weekend lunch; but would also make amazing appetizers!  Use a smaller stencil, and you could get about 16 from one sheet of puff pastry!

Yum!

On another note, want to see some of my garden’s progress?  Of course you do! (haha…)

My treasured lavender plant. This is definitely my “baby” of the garden.

marigold! Reminds me of India….

peony–after a light rain

This is the same rose that budded in December—in Minnesota! It’s actually thriving now, surprisingly!

garlic, onions, shallots and some potatoes—growing good!

Yes, I grow awesome dandelions!!! lol

Asparagus Soup with Tarragon and Chèvre

It’s no secret that I love chèvre (goat cheese).  I’m always looking for ways to sneak goat cheese into my recipes…whether it be in a salad, a sauce or a soup.  It’s even the “secret” ingredient to my mashed potatoes.  Yum!

The other night I was trying to decide what to make for supper.  I didn’t really want to cook a whole lot, but I didn’t want to eat out.  I looked in the fridge and saw the beautiful asparagus I purchased at the farmer’s market last Saturday.  I wanted something vegetarian…and I wanted to make it a main-course.

Soup was the perfect (delicious) solution!

I accompanied the soup with some black garlic toasts.

Baguette slices, smothered with a black garlic goat’s butter,ccccc and toasted

To make the toasts, I simply sliced a baguette.  I chopped some black garlic and mixed it with some goat’s butter.

black garlic cloves

Goat Butter (this butter has a lower melting point than regular cow’s milk butter–therefore it’s not really all that awesome for baking cookies or things like that)

I melted the mixture and brushed it over the slices and laid them on a baking sheet–lined with parchment paper.  Then I popped the baguette slices in my oven that was set to broil.  I let them bake until they became golden and crispy—and delicious!

The soup was equally simple to prepare, and only took about 15 minutes.

cooking the shallots and asparagus with some tarragon

I simply sauteed shallots, asparagus and tarragon in some butter.  Then I added some goat cheese and veggie stock and blended everything until it was smooth.  I added a little dairy…and it was done!

asparagus soup with tarragon and goat cheese –served with black garlic toasts

Easy…and so, so good!

printer-friendly recipe

**note: sorry, I forgot to link the recipe to the printer icon.  It’s all fixed now!**

This soup would be super easy to freeze as well.  Just be sure to leave out the milk and half&half before freezing.  Once you’re ready to use it, allow it to thaw and then add the dairy at that point.

(Accidently) Spicy Vegetarian Cauliflower Curry…and a Trip to the Farmer’s Market

This past weekend was pretty dreary.  It was cold, rainy and quite boring…actually.  Piyush and I had intended on going somewhere fun for our anniversary; but because of the weather, we changed our plans and decided to stay home.   Our actual anniversary is Wednesday–May 9.  Three years have just flown by!

05.09.2009 …Grand Marais, MN on Lake Superior. It was so cold!

So instead…Piyush did a lot of golfing.  I did a lot of reading.  We both watched Hindi movies, and got absolutely no yard-work done.  It turned out to be a perfect weekend! Continue reading

Pav Bhaji: Indian Vegetarian “Chili” with Spiced Buns

Across the United States, everyone has their favorite version of Chili–a thick stew made with peppers, beans, meat, tomatoes, and spices.

I grew up eating my Mom’s version of chili (which I have to say may be the best…).  Her’s included tomato sauce, pork and beans, lots of beef and absolutely no chunky vegetables.  Man, it’s tasty!  But once I met Piyush, the chili had to change!

Because Piyush is Indian and was raised Hindu, beef is not something he eats.  Mom tweaked her recipe a little and substituted the beef with ground turkey or venison.  Once Piyush took a bite–even he was in awe!  He said it reminded him of Pav Bhaji–a wildly popular Indian street food found all over Mumbai (he grew up in Mumbai).

Since Piyush and I have been married, I have changed my mom’s chili even more.  I’ve added chopped veggies and about 5 different kind of beans. And every single time Piyush takes his first bite, he always says the same 2 things.

“This isn’t as good as your moms.”

and

“This reminds me of Pav Bhaji.  You should make me Pav Bhaji.”

So…finally–after 3 years of marriage–I have made him Pav Bhaji.

Indian Pav bhaji, Indian vegetarian chili, pav, bhaji, Indian street food, bombay street food, mumbai street food, Easy Pav bhaji, Pav bhaji

And he was happy. Continue reading

Caramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza

Lately, Friday night has become Pizza Night in our household.  …Vegetarian Pizza Night, to be more accurate.  I make the dough, sauces, and chop up all the toppings in the afternoon, let the dough rise for a few hours; and by the time Piyush and I are ready for dinner, all I have to do is toss it in the oven and wait for it to bake.

I tend to make mostly vegetarian pizzas (there are some exceptions) because I don’t believe Piyush and I need to eat meat every single day.  I also think vegetables are so vibrant and beautiful…meat would only ruin the beauty of the pizza.

This week, I got the idea to use pistachios on our pizza.  I thought the green would be pretty, and the flavor would be unique.

Continue reading