Cabbage Poriyal

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Cabbage Poriyal

Anyone wishing to explore the wide and creative arrays of colors, flavors and textures that make up south Indian cuisine could not do much better than to pick up a copy of Chandra Padmanabhan's lavish and informative Dakshin cookbook. A large assortment of exotic and beautifully illustrated dal, rice and vegetable dishes are clearly explained and … most importantly … delicious every time.

Read this recipe »

Baked Coconut Mango Pancakes

Baked Coconut Mango Pancakes

Simple and quick but delicious, these soft and slightly custard-y baked pancakes make as wonderful a treat on a weekend morning with a mug of hot coffee as they would for dessert, and are best eaten hot out of the oven. Made with coconut milk, fresh mango pieces and just a hint of cardamom, this is another and slightly more exotic variation on the baked strawberry pancakes that proved to be so popular last summer.

Read this recipe »

Cream of Potato and Turnip Soup

Cream of Potato and Turnip Soup
The warmth and comfort found in a hot bowl of cream of potato soup has staved off winter chills for generations of Canadians, and few kitchens are without a basic recipe at hand. But the use of creamed white beans in place of the standard milk and flour base found in most recipes makes this cream of potato soup a filling and nourishing meal all on its own, while adding a depth of flavor that is all the more satisfying for the addition of turnips as well.

Read this recipe »

Chickpea Flour Fritters with a Creamy Ricotta, Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Filling

When I saw this recipe for Chickpea Flour Fritters with a Creamy Filling of Ricotta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives at Lucullian's lovely blog, I immediately decided to try them as I never can resist olive, sun-dried tomato pairings, especially when there is cheese thrown into the mix. In fact, I made them twice, as the photos didn't turn out the first time and it took little to persuade me to make them again. The crispy little fritters make for a delightful meal and my sweetie said it was almost like eating a savory dessert for dinner. The possibilities for toppings and fillings are endless, and I'm thinking of trying them with goat cheese next time, or a creamy mushroom filling. I should also note this recipe is gluten free, so consider this as an alternative to traditional flour based fried savories.

This one goes to Bookmarked Recipes, a weekly food event started by Ruth focusing on recipes inspired from other sources.
Chickpea Fritters with a Creamy Ricotta, Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Filling

For the Fritters:

1 cup of chickpea flour, sifted
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
freshly cracked black pepper
a pinch of sea salt

olive oil for frying

For the Filling:

2/3 cup of ricotta cheese
6 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained, and finely chopped
1/3 cup of black olives, finely chopped
dash of sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, black pepper, salt and paprika. Let the mixture sit for a few hours.

In another bowl, combine the ingredients for the filling.

Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, pour in roughly 1/4 cup of the batter. Cook until the fritter is browned and crispy, flip and cook for a few minutes more. Repeat until the batter is gone, adding more oil as necessary. Drain the cooked fritters on paper towels.

To serve, spoon some of the filling onto a fritter. Top with another fritter, and spoon more filling on. Top with another fritter. Repeat the process with the remaining fritters.

Yields 2 - 3 servings (roughly 10 fritters).

More fried savory recipes you might enjoy:
Rice Flour Pancakes
Chickpea Flour Pancakes with Crushed Peas and Cilantro
Savory Rice and Urad Dal Pancakes

Savory Olive Muffins with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Ricotta Cheese

Savory biscuits and muffins are an ideal solution for filling out a meal to share with friends. These flavourful olive muffins with sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta and cheddar cheese are roughly based on a savory muffin recipe I found at Sunita's place. I served them with Spicy Green Lentils and Yellow Split Peas for a most satisfying meal.

Savory Olive Muffins with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Ricotta Cheese

3 cups of whole wheat flour
3 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
3 tablespoons of Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 teaspoon of crushed red chili flakes
6 sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup of grated extra old cheddar cheese
1/3 - 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1/3 - 1/2 cup of black olives, pitted and chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 1/2 cups of yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup of water (or reserved liquid from the soaked sun-dried tomatoes)

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 minutes. Chop into small pieces, and reserve the soaking liquid.

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, salt, red chili flakes, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese, ricotta cheese, olives and olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and 1/2 cup of water (or 1/2 cup of the reserved sun-dried tomato soaking liquid instead of the water).

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yogurt mixture. Stir until just combined.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until the muffins are nicely browned. Cool for a few minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.

More savory muffin recipes:
Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Muffins
Savory Dill Ricotta Muffins
Cornmeal Muffins

White Cabbage and Bean Minestrone

Packed with vitamins, proteins and fibre, this simple Italian winter minestrone adapted from Martha Rose Shulman's delightful Mediterranean Harvest is as nourishing a lunch or light dinner on a cold day as it is warming, comforting and delicious.
White Cabbage and Bean Minestrone

1 1/4 cups dried cannellini (white kidney) beans
4 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
small handful fresh parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 large head of green cabbage, cored and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 cup shell or tube pasta
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper

To serve:

thick toasted slices of fresh crusty bread
fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse the beans under cold running water and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water. Drain and rinse, and place in a medium saucepan. Add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are just tender. Drain and set aside along with the cooking liquid.

Heat a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few seconds, then swirl around to coat the pan. Toss in the onion, carrot, celery and parsley, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in half the garlic and cook for another minute or so, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until they have reduced a bit. Stir in the cabbage, then add the beans, the reserved cooking liquid, vegetable stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1/2 an hour.

Add the remaining garlic and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the beans are soft. Now add the pasta and cook until done, 10 minutes or to desired teeth. Remove the soup from heat, discard the bay leaf, and season with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, toast bread and add slices to the bottoms of wide shallow flat-bottomed soup or pasta bowls. Ladle soup over the toast, scatter fresh grated Parmesan cheese over top, and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Other winter bean and vegetable soups you might enjoy:

Chickpea and cabbage soup
Romano bean and vegetable soup

Spicy Green Lentils and Yellow Split Peas

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
My trusted copy of 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer has once again come to the rescue when I needed a quick but satisfying meal solution to end a particularly dreary and trying week. In times of woe, it's easy to resort to restaurant meals, but I never forget that home cooked meals are not only more nourishing, but cheaper and generally superior in taste. The spicy kick of this dish is pleasantly balanced by the muted sweetness of the brown sugar.

I served this delightful lentil curry over a bed of hot buttered basmati rice alongside some Savory Olive Muffins with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Ricotta Cheese.

This is my contribution to the 8th helping of My Legume Love Affair, a popular food event started by and hosted this month by the ever-talented Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.
Spicy Green Lentils and Yellow Split Peas

2/3 cup of green lentils
1/4 cup of yellow split peas
2 tablespoons of ghee or a mixture of butter and oil
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of asafetida
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 - 2 hot red or green chilies
2 medium-large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup of jaggery or brown sugar (I used rapadura)
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
generous handful of curry leaves (I used dried as I didn't have any fresh ones on hand)

Rinse the lentils and the yellow split peas in a strainer. Transfer to a medium-sized saucepan and cover with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are very soft and the split peas are tender - roughly 40-50 minutes.

In a frying pan, heat the ghee (or butter and oil) over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the mustard seeds and cook until they begin to sputter and pop. Add the cumin seeds, salt, cayenne, asafetida and turmeric, stir and immediately add the tomatoes, hot pepper, sugar, parsley and curry leaves. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has a sauce-like consistency - roughly 10 minutes.

When the lentils and peas are done, mash a portion of the legumes with the back of a spoon. Add the sauce to the pan, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Yields 4 servings.
More lentil recipes from Lisa's Kitchen:
Rice and Green Lentils in Coconut Milk
Saffron-Brandied Lentils
Lentil Soup with Prunes and Apricots

Buttered Lime Rice

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Buttered Lime Rice

There's almost no end to the variations in flavors that can be added to white basmati rice, but there really couldn't be anything much simpler than cooking up a pot on its own to enjoy its unique lightly sweet and popcorn-y taste, as I frequently like to do. If you're of the same mind, this slight variation on the ordinary cooking method should be guaranteed to appeal — not least for the rich warm aroma of hot buttered popcorn as the rice is first sautéed for a couple of minutes in butter, but also for the fresh but mellow piquancy which the lime juice adds. Taken from Yamuna Devi's indispensable Lord Krishna's Cuisine, this is an astonishingly good way to enjoy basmati rice for the extra minute it takes in preparation.

Read this recipe »

Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon

Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon

It is often said that mushrooms are meat to vegetarians, and after eating this mushroom bourguignon that I adapted from Smitten Kitchen, I think you just might be convinced that vegetarians do just fine. Tender chunks of plump portobellos and chewy dried lobster mushrooms are simmered into a thick sauce highlighted by some robust red wine and served over a bed of steaming egg noddles. This filling dinner is sure to satisfy even the most ravenous mushroom fiends and your carnivorous friends won't miss a thing either.

Read this recipe »

Feta Cheese and Cumin Crackers

Feta Cheese and Cumin Crackers

Rather like a savory and earthy whole wheat cookie with salty and tangy Feta cheese and aromatic, spicy ground roasted cumin seeds, these crackers puff up a bit in the oven but hold together perfectly, while maintaining a delightful chewiness. They are an ideal accompaniment to soups, such as with spicy sweet potato and peanut soup with black beans.

Read this recipe »