June 29, 2012

10 min Mushroom Teriyaki

With a little bit of forethought, this recipe is a literally made in 10 minutes. Its quick and easy and nutritious to boot. About 12-24 hours prior to when you plan to eat it, rinse mushrooms in water, cut each one in half and put in a bowl with a fitted lid. Cover with about 1/3 cup Teriyaki sauce. When ready to eat, transfer everything to a skillet, rinse 1/8 cup TVP with tap water using a mesh strainer and add to the skillet as well. If you didn't remember to marinate the mushrooms overnight, let them sit in the Teriyaki sauce for about 10 minutes before adding the TVP and turning on the stove. Cook until everything comes to a nice simmer. Serve over brown rice!! Garnish with a little bit freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy!!!

** If you're not a fan of TVP, and are a meat-eater, feel free to add ground turkey or ground chicken instead of TVP, but that will of course increase your cook time. I added TVP to make the sauce thicker, but you can also make this recipe with just mushrooms and its still yum!! :)

My Assessment: In my opinion, teriyaki sauce is way too sweet to be food .. LOL! I've never really enjoyed it 100% and I think I felt the same with this recipe. I'd rather make this with a Pad Thai, or a Kung Pao sauce, than Teriyaki! But that's just me ...

June 27, 2012

(Curried) Asparagus & Broccolini Subzi

Broccolini became New Veggie #33 not too long ago. One of things I noted about this wonderful vegetable was that the stalks tasted a lot like Asparagus (New Veggie #21). This evening, I had both in the fridge and both needed to be used soon, so I decided to mix them both together. A subzi can be any mix of vegetables that are cooked with diced onions (and sometimes tomatoes) with a variety of spices. Served at every meal, subzis form the very back-bone of Indian cuisine.

Prep Time: 20-30 min

  1. 1 bunch of Asparagus
  2. 1 bunch of Broccolini
  3. 1 small Red Onion, diced
  4. 1 tsp Garlic, minced
  5. 1 tsp Cumin powder
  6. 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  7. 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  8. 1 tsp Garam Masala
  9. 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  10. Salt and Pepper, to taste.
  11. 1/2 tsp Tamicon.
Wash vegetables well and then separate the florets from both the asparagus and the broccolini and set aside. Dice the stalks of both vegetables. Line a non-stick skillet with water, add red onion and garlic with a sprinkle of salt and cook until onion is nicely caramelized. Then add all remaining spices, toss everything together, cover and cook until the stalks are nice and tender. Now add the florets, toss well together and re-cover. 

Cook, stirring occasionally, until there is no visible water remaining in the dish. This ensures a tasty savory subzi. Any water, other than what is released upon chewing the veggies, will make the dish feel under-cooked. This is the trick to cooking subzis without any added oils or fats. Traditionally, this dish would be cooked with oils and then cooked until all visible water was evaporated and the vegetables release the absorbed oils. 

June 26, 2012

"Lazy" Saag Tofu

The boys were eating Italian subs for dinner tonight. I'd already had a spinach and hummus sandwich for lunch and wasn't in the mood for another one. What I was really craving was some sort of Subzi & Roti (Curried Vegetables with Indian Flat-bread). So one by one, I began pulling things from the fridge and ended up with Saag Tofu. This is a 'plant-based' variation of the popular favorite - Saag Paneer

But I was also feeling lazy after a hectic day at work. So lazy that I did not even feel like bringing out my immersion (stick) blender to puree the spinach. That's the reason this recipe is called "Lazy" Saag Tofu.

Lazy Saag Tofu
Prep Time: 15 min

  1. 1 Pk (14-16 oz) Firm, or Extra-Firm Tofu, diced into large chunks
  2. 1 small Red Onion, diced
  3. 1 medium tomato, diced
  4. 2-3 cups baby spinach
  5. 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  6. 1 tsp Cumin powder
  7. 1 tsp Coriander powder
  8. 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  9. 1 tsp Red Chili Pepper
  10. 1-2 tsp Garam Masala
Using a non-stick skillet, pan-roast the tofu. See some of my older tofu posts for how I pan roast tofu without any added oils. It is quite easy and makes for a light dish. Once the tofu is done, transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet add a half a cup of water, and add onion, tomato and ginger garlic paste. When all 3 ingredients are cooked well (make a soft paste), add the spices and mix well. Add another splash of water, as needed. Keep the garam masala for the end. Add the spinach and cover for a few minutes to allow it to wilt nicely. Once wilted, add tofu, and another splash of water, gently toss everything together and cover for another few minutes to allow the tofu to imbibe the flavors. Garnish with garam masala and a sprig of fresh cilantro leaves. Enjoy with whole wheat roti. Whole wheat tortillas, wrapped in aluminum foil, and warmed in the oven for a few minutes, work just as well.

If you're not feeling lazy like I was, use an immersion blender and puree the spinach before adding the tofu. If you don't have a stick blender, a regular jar blender should work just as well. Once pureed, add tofu and garnish. The spinach may need a splash of (non-dairy) milk to make it smooth and creamy. Enjoy! 

June 25, 2012

HH "Cheater" Pad Thai

So last night, there was just Nik and I at home and I wanted a quick dinner for the two of us. The li'l guy hadn't had a nap all day, so I also needed something that would go down relatively easily i.e. it needed to be a favorite ... and noodles, in any form, generally do the trick. I settled for HH "Cheater" Pad Thai.  

Prep Time: 10 min


  1. 1 small red onion, julienned
  2. 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  3. 6-8 white mushrooms, sliced
  4. 1/2 cup frozen green beans
  5. 2 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  6. A double batch of HH Cheater Pad Thai Sauce** 
  7. 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed/crumbled. 
  8. 1 cup Quinoa Pasta (Spaghetti) 
HH Cheater Pad Thai
Line a skillet with water and saute Ginger-Garlic paste followed by all the veggies. Separately boil pasta noodles and set aside. Once the veggies are ready, add sauce and allow to coat all the veggies. Add noodles and toss everything together. Garnish with roasted crushed peanuts! Slurp!! 

Nik's Reaction: As I said at the start, any kind of noodles are a big hit! He ate a nice big helping and apple on the side too! I'm quite sure that slurping noodles is probably one of his favorite activities.

* A 'no added salt' recipe i.e. no salt is added over and above what is already in the condiments.
** Since I was cooking for a 3-year old, I skipped both the chili and the hot sauce.

June 23, 2012

Veggie Fact of the Day

Swedish Turnips, also known as Rutabaga is a root vegetable that is a cross between a cabbage and the turnip. 

It was first identified as a wild variety in Sweden in the early 1600s. Rutabaga did not arrive in the US until the early nineteenth century. These days, it is still an uncommon vegetable and is found mostly in specialty health-food stores. 

Across northern Europe and England, rutabagas are most often roasted or pureed (boiled and mashed). In Sweden, it is often eaten with mustard and boiled ham hocks. 

Interestingly, the Irish and Scots use carved turnips and rutabagas to ward off harmful spirits during the Middle Ages. Now, these are often carved to look as sinister and threatening as possible and are put in the window or on the doorstep of a house at Halloween to ward off evil spirits. Nutritionally, rutabaga are rich in fiber, low in calories, and are an excellent source of Vitamins C and potassium. I tried a piece of it when it was raw and it reminded me of the turnip, it was crunchy and a little pungent. When cooked it had a mild sweet flavor.

Rutabaga Dijonnaise

Rutabaga has been on my list of possible new veggies to try since the very beginning. Somehow I have managed to shy away from it for this long, because it is a relative of the dreaded Turnip! Growing up, I absolutely hated everything about turnips - the smell, the texture, the flavor. I missed Norman's Farmers Market this weekend due to prior commitments and a special trip to Whole Foods Market. So, I decided that I needed to find something at WFM to satisfy my New Veggie Quest .... and lo & behold .. a big pile of Rutabaga was staring me in the face. And so, Rutabaga became New Veggie #34.

Once home, I started at it for a while and then decided that I had no clue where to start. I sat down with my laptop and found a recipe that seemed really interesting - Rutabaga Dijonnaise with Caramelized Onions. I had all the ingredients at home and this was a simple enough recipe, to which I made just a few minor modifications, including withholding any oil/fats.

Prep Time: 20 min

  1. 2 medium Rutabaga
  2. 6 small Red Potatoes
  3. 2-3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  4. 1 medium Red Onion, julienned
  5. 1/4 tsp Red Chili pepper
  6. Salt and Pepper, to taste.
  7. 1-2 tsp fresh Thyme leaves

Wash the rutabaga under running tap water to remove any dirt on the outside. Then using a vegetable peeler remove the skin and cut off the ends to reveal the clean white flesh.

Cut slices and dice into large chunks for faster cooking.

Rinse the red potatoes under tap water, remove the 'eyes' using a sharp paring knife and dice. 

Wash both vegetables once more, drain and transfer to a deep stock pot, or a pressure cooker. I used a pressure cooker today. Add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup water (will not cover vegetables) and steam until full pressure is achieved. Remove from heat, and allow the pressure cooker to release steam on its own. 

Meanwhile, line a skillet with water and add the julienned red onion. Add a pinch of salt.

Once the water evaporates, the onions will start to caramelize. Add a splash or two of water as needed and caramelize the onions until they turn a rich golden brown color (a non-stick pan helps for this step!).

Once onions are caramelized, add the red chili pepper powder, mix well, add another splash of water, if needed to mix the spice with the onions and then transfer to a small dish and set aside. Once the pressure cooker releases steam, open and drain any excess water by pouring almost all of it out. If you want, you can save it for later to use as a vegetable stock. Using an immersion (stick) blender, puree the vegetables, mix in 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Do a quick taste check and add more mustard, to taste. Add almost all the thyme leaves (save some for a garnish) and serve with a dollop of Spicy Caramelized Onions and a sprinkle of fresh thyme!

Rutabaga Dijonnaise with Spicy Caramelized Onions
My Assessment: I absolutely LOVED this dish today!! I was fully expecting to hate the taste of it given my lack of affection for turnips but the mustard must add something to it. I ate 2 bowls full and would have eaten more if I hadn't stopped myself. The texture was creamy (without any added butter or milk, not even non-dairy milk). The flavors were amazing. I loved the spicy caramelized onions with it as well!! Awesome!!!

Spinach & Barley Pilaf

This dish makes for a great side 'one pot meal'. I use Barley instead of rice, as it is a high-fiber, high-protein grain, Spinach for all the lovely benefits of leafy greens. Finally at the very end, I add mushrooms for a ton of flavor and a lot more protein; the whole dish is done in about 15 min with quick-cooking barley and makes for a wholesome filling dinner.

Prep Time: 15-20 min

  1. 1/2 cup Quick Barley (I use Quaker Oats)
  2. 1 14-16 oz can of vegetable broth, preferably with no added salt
  3. 1 tsp Garlic
  4. 1 tsp Parley flakes
  5. 1/8 cup fresh minced Basil leaves
  6. 1 cup Baby spinach
  7. 0.5 oz Dried Porchini Mushrooms
  8. Salt and Pepper, to taste.
In a deep soup pot, bring the vegetable broth to boil and add garlic. Once garlic becomes fragrant, add the barley and bring to a full boil before turning down the heat to medium low. Simmer for about 10 minutes and then add the spinach and allow to wilt.

Meanwhile, soak the dried mushrooms in hot tap water, change the water a couple of times to make sure that any dust is removed. Drain and add to the pot.

Stir everything together, add in Basil leaves and turn heat to low. Cover and allow to simmer/steam until all the water is evaporated.

Serve with a side of steamed vegetables, or enjoy the pilaf all by itself. I love this quick and easy dinner!

June 22, 2012

Mung Bean Sprout Chaat

Growing up in India, our diet was primarily vegetarian, with the occasional indulgence in meat. Our diet however, was never lacking in protein. Everyone that eats a plant-based vegetarian diet gets asked that question "... but where do you get your protein?" - the answer is quite simple: Vegetables, Leafy Greens, Grains, Lentils, Beans ... all have wonderful amounts of protein. And we don't need to eat 600% of the RDA of protein like most people on a Standard Western Omnivorous diet. 

One of my uncles (Bade Dad), was very conscientious and made sure all of us kids ate a healthy diet. He was a wonderful cook and was often found in the kitchen futzing around with various recipes. One of the things he often did was soaked lentils or beans so that my aunt and mom knew what to cook for the next meal. He often also had them make mung bean sprouts. We typically ate this dish for a snack or even for breakfast. It has no added fat and is full of nutrition - protein, minerals, vitamins and even Iodine from the red onion ... all that fun stuff!!

Prep Time: 2 days for sprouting the beans; 10 min of actual dish prep time.


  1. 1/2 cup Mung Beans
  2. 1 medium Cucumber, Seedless, diced
  3. 1 medium Red Onion, diced
  4. 2-3 tbsp minced, mixed, fresh herbs
  5. 1 lemon/lime (juice of).
  6. 1-2 tsp Chunky Chaat Masala, to taste (optional).
  7. Salt and Pepper, to taste


The first step of this recipe requires some patience. Rinse mung beans and transfer to a large bowl. Soak overnight in ample amounts of water:

Time = 0 hours
The next morning, the beans should look nice and plump:

Time = 12 hours
Fill the bowl with tap water and rinse the beans again. The plump beans should rise to the top and any that did not absorb water will sink to the bottom (discard those).

Line the bottom of a colander with a folded paper towel or cheese cloth. transfer the beans and allow the excess water to drain out the bottom:

Soak another large piece folder paper towel, or cheese cloth with tap water and cover the beans completely. Place the colander in the same bowl, and cover the whole set up with saran-wrap or aluminum foil. This will prevent the beans from drying out. Leave the bowl on the kitchen counter. 

Time = 24 hours
After another 12 hours, remove the top cover, run a gentle stream of tap water over the beans. By this time most beans should have a small seedling (2-3 mm). Once the water drains out, replace the wet cover and saran wrap. 

Time = 36 hours
After another 12 hours, repeat the steps above. Most beans at this stage should have a 8-10 mm sprout. 

Time = 48 hours
On the second day, the sprouts should be close to 15mm long and that is when we typically stopped growing them further. After sitting for 2 days at room temperature, despite repeated washes in between, there is a chance for fungus etc. so I didn't want to risk it anymore. A lot of oriental dishes have sprouts that are far longer. I soaked the beans at this stage in a fresh bowl with a lot of tap water, and picked up the floating sprouts and transferred them to a fresh colander. Once well drained, I kept them overnight in the fridge. 

This evening, I transferred the sprouts to a pressure cooker and steamed them for less than 2 minutes. Bring 1/2 cup water to boil, add the sprouts and close the lid. Start the timer and as soon as 2 minutes is up, whether or not full pressure has been achieved, take the cooker off the stove and release the steam and drain immediately (mine were a little over-done today!). 

Meanwhile, dice onions and cucumbers:

And then in a large bowl, toss everything together. For fresh herbs, I used basil, cilantro, mint, oregano, thyme and spearmint, all chopped finely. I used Chunky Chaat Masala in my recipe, but if you don't have it, this is equally as enjoyable with just salt, pepper, and lemon/lime juice. 

Another way is prepare this dish is to wilt the onions in a skillet, with just a little bit of water, and then add the sprouts, and spices. Toss everything together for a couple of minutes, remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and toss in fresh diced cucumber (and even tomatoes). Enjoy!!!

My Assessment: This is comfort food for me ... miss you Bade dad! 

June 21, 2012

Oyster Mushroom Tossed Pasta

I've been eating a lot of grains and whole veggies lately and some days you just need a hearty pasta dish. I bought a few bunches of fresh Oyster mushrooms (New Veggie #14) at the store yesterday and wanted to use those maybe in a Lo-mein

When I got home, I only had regular spaghetti noodles (which we buy mostly for the kids). I prefer Quinoa Pasta these days and all I had was shells. So, slight change in plans - I made this lovely tossed pasta with lots of veggies instead - perfect for a summer evening !!  

I told somebody today that I've never met a mushroom I didn't love. Oyster mushrooms with their very characteristic aroma and flavor and slightly chewy texture are on top of my list of favorites. I usually further enhance the flavor of Oyster mushrooms by adding Oyster sauce. Yum!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

  1. 4-6 oz Oyster mushrooms, sliced
  2. 1 cup baby spinach
  3. 1/2 cup mixed frozen Veggies 
  4. 4 oz Quinoa shells. 
  5. 1/2 cup Vegetable broth
  6. 2 tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  7. 2 tbsp Liquid Aminos
  8. 1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  9. 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  10. 1-2 tbsp Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
  11. Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Directions: Boil pasta shells and set aside until ready to toss. Line a skillet with vegetable broth and add ginger-garlic paste. Once that is fragrant, add the liquid ingredients (except the Oyster sauce) and stir well. Next add the baby spinach and allow to wilt (2-3 min). Once the spinach is wilted, add the remaining  veggies and toss for a couple of minutes until thawed. 

Add the pasta shells and toss again. Add the oyster sauce at the very end, and garnish with freshly cracked black pepper after a quick (and final) toss!! Enjoy!!

Nik's Reaction: This one was another hit. He didn't much care for the mushrooms (more for me!) but ate the shells and veggies with gusto!! Yay!

June 20, 2012

Southwestern Quinoa & Portabella Tacos

I made a big batch of southwestern style Quinoa to last me a whole week :) !! While plain Quinoa is amazing by itself in sweet and savory dishes, this southwestern version totally blows it out of the ball park! 

Prep Time: 20 min

  1. 1 cup Quinoa
  2. 1 cup mild Salsa
  3. 2 Portabello mushrooms, Sliced
  4. 1/2 cup Snow Peas
  5. 2 tbsp Taco Seasoning
  6. 2 Whole wheat tortillas
Rinse quinoa and prepare as I've described previously (How to Prepare Quinoa). To make 'Southwestern' style quinoa, a version similar to Spanish rice served in Mexican restaurants across the country, I simply added fresh homemade salsa while preparing quinoa. In order to ensure that I could add Salsa without overwhelming my quinoa with liquid, I used a large mesh strainer to drain all of the liquid from the salsa into a measuring cup. Then, I made up the volume I needed with tap water.  I mixed the Salsa solids with the dry quinoa and added the measured amount of liquid to cook the quinoa. Once done, fluff with a fork for the best consistency. 

Separately, line a skillet with water and add taco seasoning. Once mixed, add the snow peas and cook for a few minutes and then add the sliced mushrooms. Toss well and cook for a couple more minutes until done. Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in an oven set to 350F (takes 4-5 minutes).

Prepare Tacos by layering quinoa and veggies. I didn't have any fresh greens today, but a nice layer of baby spinach would definitely add a nice crunch to it as well. Overall a yummy no-added-fat dinner that was ready in 15-20 minutes.

* For a mild Salsa combine the following in a food processor.
  1. 2 large or extra-large fresh Tomatoes
  2. 2 Green Onions/Scallions
  3. 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro leaves
  4. 1 clove of Garlic
  5. 1/4 Jalapeño (deseeded)
  6. Juice of 1 lime
  7. Salt, to taste

June 17, 2012

Edamame & Mushroom Quick Stir Fry

After I was done with dinner tonight (Stir Fried Broccolini), I realized I did not have any leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I had a couple packs of assorted mushrooms in the fridge, and a bag of shelled Edamame (New Veggie #3) in the freezer and settled on a stir-fry. Both mushrooms and edamame are great in stir fried dishes, but unlike some of the greener veggies like beans and broccoli, still taste good the next day. This stir-fry is one of my most favorite recipes and goes well with a variety of different vegetables and even tofu. It is most definitely a gimme more :) 

Prep Time: 7-10 min

  1. 1 cup Mushrooms (Cremini)
  2. 1 cup shelled Edamame
  3. 2 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  4. 2 tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  5. 1 tbsp Vegetarian Oyster Sauce**
  6. Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Line a skillet with water and add ginger-garlic paste and soy sauce. Once the ginger-garlic are fragrant, and almost dry, add mushrooms and thawed edamame and toss well. Remove from heat and add oyster sauce and toss again. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and serve hot, or pack it away for lunch! Yum every time! 

* This is a 'no added salt' recipe i.e. no salt is added over and above what is already in the condiments.
** In place of Vegetarian Oyster Sauce, I've use Vegetarian versions of Hoisin, Pad Thai and Kung Pao sauces as well. Basically, any Asian sauce works well in this Quick Stir Fry!

Stir-Fried Broccolini

Tony came back from the grocery store today with a bunch of fresh Broccolini for me (love that guy!). I've had broccolini in restaurants before and I haven't been a great fan of it mainly because I've found that a lot of restaurants under cook it and the stems are chewy and very fibrous. Today, it became New Veggie #33. A quick Google search ensured that I could get the stems done well without making the florets completely mushy ... blanching!! What a wonderful technique that is :-)

Prep Time: 10-12 min

  1. 10-12 stalks of Broccolini
  2. 1-2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
  3. 2-3 tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  4. 1/8 cup Vegetable Broth
  5. Freshly cracked black-pepper to taste
Trim ends of broccolini stalks and rinse well in tap water, set aside. Bring 3-4 cups of water to a rolling boil and blanch the broccolini for 2 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a bowl of ice water and using a set of tongs, lift each stalk gently out of the boiling water and transfer straight into the ice water. This stops the cooking process. 

Then, line a skillet with vegetable broth and once heated, add ginger-garlic paste and soy sauce. Once the garlic and ginger are fragrant, drain the broccolini and transfer into the skillet. Toss for a couple of minutes and serve immediately. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper. 

I used the remaining sauce as a garnish as well. I ate it with my Basil mashed potatoes (with fresh basil, and soy milk). The sauce served as an excellent replacement for gravy on the potatoes. An excellent combination. 
Stir-Fried Broccoli with Basil Mashed Potatoes
* This is a 'no added salt' recipe i.e. no salt is added over and above what is already in the condiments.

Veggie Fact of the Day

Broccolini, often mistakenly thought to be 'young' or 'baby' broccoli is a green vegetable that is a cross between Broccoli and Kai-Lan - a Chinese Kale. 

It has small green florets with little yellow flowers, similar to broccoli and long, thin stalks. I found it to be a sweeter version of Broccoli, with the occasional hint of kale-like bitterness, and the stem tasted a lot like asparagus. 

Broccolini is rich in fiber (like most other veggies, duh!) and is rich in Vitamins A, B9 (folic acid) and C. It is also a rich source of Calcium, potassium and iron. The whole plant is edible and typically requires very little cook time, so this is a great vegetable for stir fries.

Veggie Fact of the Day

Green Beans can be found on dinner plates across the world. Kids and adults alike love the flavor and texture of the tender, flexible green pods. Green beans originated in North and South America, India and China. They did not become popular until the 1800s, because they were an expensive vegetable. 

Fresh beans are low in calories, have no saturated fats and are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, B1 (thiamin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic Acid), B12 (cobalamin), C and K. One cup of green beans has a whopping 120% of the RDA for Vitamin K. Green beans are also a great source of polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Interestingly, green beans are not just green and come in white, purple, golden, and red pods as well.

Thyme-Wrapped Green Beans

So admittedly, Green beans are not new to anyone. Yet, I've made them New Veggie #32. The reason is clear - I've never made fresh green beans before. In India, I remember summer days spent stringing green beans (not my favorite job!). So I never made them once I moved out of Mom's house. 

In the US, pre-cut, frozen green beans are available year round. So, I never needed to make them from scratch.  Last weekend, when I finally made it to Norman's farmer's market stall, I saw fresh green beans and wanted to pick some up but couldn't get myself to do so given the extra work that goes into cleaning and stringing green beans. This weekend, I decided I needed to '(wo)man-up' and get some. How bad could it be ... & to be quite honest, it really wasn't as bad as I remembered it to be :)

Prep Time: 20-25 min with fresh pods, 15 min with frozen beans

  1. 4-6 oz fresh green beans
  2. Thyme, 6-8 sprigs
  3. Salt, and pepper to taste
  4. Cooking spray
DirectionsPreheat oven to 425F and prepare a cooking sheet with a thin film of cooking spray. If using frozen beans, thaw the pods by running water over them until the pods and no longer frozen and brittle. With fresh beans, trim ends and wash the beans in fresh tap water. Once they're drained, sprinkle just a little bit of sea salt and toss the beans so that they begin to sweat a little.

Wrap springs of thyme a few beans at a time .. 

Place each bundle on the cookie sheet, such that they're a few centimeters apart.

Once done, roast the beans at 425F for 10 min. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving dish. 

My bundles fell apart as I tried to pick them up as the sprigs I used weren't long enough to be knotted. 

Garnish with a little bit of freshly cracked pepper and chomp away!! 
I served these with a small serving of a non-spicy version of HH Spicy Teriyaki Chickpeas. Yum! 

Nik's Reaction: His initial reaction was ... 'mom, I don't like bean beans' .. despite the fact that he usually gobbles them up faster than you can replenish his plate. Once I bribed him with a little post-dinner TV ;-) he was back to his usual ways ... he LOVED this recipe.  

Tony's Assessment: Me: Will you eat some green beans? T: Maybe, after I try 'em! ... and of course there was no stopping him once he did.                              

My Assessment: I loved it. Next time, I'll use more thyme and maybe knot the sprigs a little better. These tasted great but I think it would make for a great presentation if the knots had remained intact. Also, I don't think I even needed to use cooking spray. The beans had enough moisture that they would easily withstand a 10 min dry roast at 425F. Overall, this one definitely has a good chance of becoming a Gimme More recipe. 

June 12, 2012

Gimme more .. Tortilla Soup!

Like most people I am a repeat offender :) I go back again and again to my most favorite recipes and I like to call these select favorites ... the gimme mores :) 

Tonight's gimme more was Vegetarian Tortilla Soup. I made a double batch, blended it with my stick blender  to make the creamy version. I used fresh cilantro from my herb garden and ate it as the entrée. I ate it by itself, but this soup is great also when scooped out with some tortilla chips. 


June 9, 2012

Farmer's Market Smoothie

Our Amish neighbors from just down the road (The Yoders) opened a farmer's market about a mile from our house a couple of weeks ago. I've been wanting to stop by ever since it opened but they close at 5pm on weekdays :( and when we stopped by last Saturday afternoon, he had already packed up shop as they close at 4pm on Saturdays. Being Amish, Norman doesn't open shop on Sunday. I was determined to stop there this weekend. For those of you who live in countries and cities where farmer's markets are common and food doesn't come from a supermarket, you can't even begin to imagine how excited I was to have this one open less than a mile from the house. Li'l Nikhil and I showed up at Norman's barn shack in the BP Parking lot bright and early this morning. It is early days in the growing season yet so he didn't have a huge variety but what he did have ... looked lovely!! Among other things like fresh tomatoes, zucchini and spring onions, I picked up a large basket of fresh strawberries ... 

... and some ready to eat ripe and fragrant peaches ... 

On my way home, which is barely a mile, I could smell the lovely flavor of the peaches in the car (yes, I was salivating at the thought of eating them!) ... and I started dreaming of what recipe I could use both the peaches and the strawberries for, because I couldn't just eat one ;-) ... now every fruit based (breakfast or dessert) I know of drowns fruit in sugar and in my opinion that ruins it completely. You lose the multitude of flavors that are in the fruit itself and I didn't want to ruin these lovely babies :) I also didn't want to eat them just as is cause that's just boring ;-) So I decided to make .. a Farmer's Market Smoothie!!

Prep Time: less than 5 min.

  1. 1/2 cup strawberries, rinsed and halved.
  2. 1 medium ripe peach, washed and sliced, with skin
  3. 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  4. 2-4 large leaves of Spearmint and a sprig for garnishing.
  5. 1/4 cup almond milk, or regular milk if you prefer.
I used a stick blender and make my smoothie in the large 3-cup measuring cup that came with the blender, but its just as easy to make this in a regular jar blender. Add everything to the blender puree until smooth. This recipe made a single (2-cup) serving. 

My Assessment: A+++ for breakfast!! I really enjoyed it.  

Some Additional Comments: 
  • Next time, I'm going to include some green veggies in my smoothie as well. Kale and Spinach come to mind first as I've heard so much about green smoothies lately. So I'm going to be trying a few new variations soon. 
  • Since I used frozen blueberries and refrigerated milk, I didn't add any ice to my smoothie, but ice can be used just as easily. I also didn't want to dilute the flavors with water/ice. 
  • I used spearmint leaves because that is what I had growing in my herb garden. If you have regular mint that should work just as well. 
  • I also didn't add any sugar or syrup to this smoothie for the same reasons as listed above (ruins the flavors) and because I am not a huge fan of super-sweet drinks in general. Feel free to use some sugar or honey, if you prefer. 
  • And finally, I made this smoothie today with peaches and strawberries and blueberries because that is what I had on hand. Feel free to blend away whatever fruits you have on hand to make this Farmer's Market Smoothie for a refreshing antioxidant boost :)