The challenge for February was to come up with a vegetarian soup or salad featuring fresh herbs. Congratulations to Karen of Lavender and Lovage who submitted this tempting Wild Garlic, Lemon & Lovage Soup.
I will be hosting the March edition of No Croutons Required. It is my birthday month and as I am a spicy gal, I am asking for vegetarian soups and salads with a kick of spice. Choose any cuisine you like, so long as spices enhance the flavour of your dish. And, because it is my birthday month, tell me what else you would serve on the menu with links to your creations that can be found on your blog.
I came up with this Indian-style soup that will certainly warm your toes. If you can handle the heat, add a wee bit of fire paste to the pot. This paste is like gold and I always have some on hand. Adjust the spicing according to your preferences and serve with yogurt to help with the heat if desired.
|Spicy Adzuki Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on February 27, 2012
A dark, rich and earthy spicy curry made with adzuki beans and dried mushrooms
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More Adzuki bean recipes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Spicy Adzuki Bean and Brown Rice Salad
Adzuki Bean Casserole
Adzuki Croquettes and Spicy Sesame Sauce
Spicy Adzuki Bean Risotto
On the top of the reading stack: camera instructions (god help me!)
Audio accompaniment: Mutek stuff
A batch of my homemade golden lemon curd provided the inspiration for these lemon curd ricotta pancakes, and I've got to say that they really are among the most extraordinarily delicious pancakes I've ever tasted. Made from a thick batter without any added sugar except for the sweetness of the lemon curd, these are dense, sturdy and hearty pancakes with a bit of "chew" to them. At the same time, they have a beautifully delicate and almost savory lemon taste and fragrance that makes them a pleasure to nibble on even as they come off the griddle without any toppings. But they made for a lovely treat on a chilly morning covered with some extra homemade lemon curd, warmed on the stovetop, and with some whipped cream and blackberries.
They're also very easy to make and take no more than 10 minutes of preparation and 15 minutes of cooking. Of course I would suggest making your own lemon curd at home to enjoy the rich butteriness and "egg-ness" that store-bought varieties can't quite manage, but these pancakes will still be enjoyable if using the latter.
My Mom was always a whiz at baking, able to whip up perfect cookies, squares, pies or tarts seemingly at the drop of a hat. As I've grown older I've lost most of my childhood sweet tooth, but I still occasionally like to try to recreate some of the flavors of my Mom's baking. One of these treats that I fondly recall is her lemon meringue pies — the intense tart and sweet "lemoniness" of the filling is a taste that still resides in my mouth's memories.
Of course a homemade lemon curd seems like a much more "grown-up" way to recapture this intense lemony flavor, especially as a lemon meringue pie filling is essentially only a lemon curd itself but made with cornstarch instead of eggs and butter. And a jar of rich buttery homemade lemon curd is wonderful to have on hand for spreading on a piece of toast or an English muffin without committing yourself to a pie — although it is wonderful for pies, tarts and cakes or as a sauce for pancakes as well. Or better yet some delicious lemon curd ricotta pancakes that I'll be sharing with you soon. It also makes a lovely gift.
Lemon curd is easy to make at home although it takes a little patience to cook over gentle heat. But the most work is in the zesting of the lemons, and a half hour should see you from start to finish. Many lemon curd recipes use only the yolks of eggs or else require straining to remove bits of cooked egg white — which also removes the lemon zest unless you're adding it at the end — but my method makes the best of both worlds by frothing the egg whites before incorporating into the curd so they cook evenly and smoothly. We definitely don't want to lose the lemon zest!
I've also gone a little against the grain by using brown sugar in addition to the customary white sugar. The addition gives this lemon curd a more rustic-looking gold color instead of the typically vibrant yellow, which is why I call it a golden lemon curd. The brown sugar also lends it a scrumptious undertone of caramel. But you may substitute the cup of brown sugar for an extra cup of white if you are looking for a more traditional result. And of course you may also try this recipe with any citrus fruit — think 5 Meyer lemons, or 4 oranges, or even 1 large grapefruit!
Pure bliss for connoisseurs of spicy Indian food, I came up with this recipe one evening when I didn't feel like spending time on the net or reading. The result was a fantastic and fiery dish that I have every reason to be proud of — modest girl that I am. If only the local Indian restaurants cooked up a variety of dishes instead of staying with the same menu for years on end without even offering daily specials. Though there are some good Indian restaurants in London, their offerings are restricted to North Indian dishes which is a shame as I really enjoy dishes from various regions of India.
Thankfully, I have a decent knowledge of the art of vegetarian Indian cuisine and can make whatever I choose in my own kitchen. My kitchen is overflowing with spices, including homemade spice blends and pastes. Meals made at home are much better and more economical besides. A varied menu is the motto in my kitchen because your taste buds will thank you, and a well-balanced vegetarian diet should always include a variety of different legumes, grains, dairy and vegetables.
For those new to Indian cooking, a masala is essentially a blend of spices, most often dry roasted, or a paste made up of spices and other ingredients. The tomato sauce with the coconut paste would also go well over rice or with dumplings or vegetables without the eggs.
Serve with rice and homemade rotis.
|Egg Masala Curry in a Spicy Tomato Gravy|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on February 20, 2012
Indian-style eggs simmered in a rich and incredibly flavorful spicy tomato gravy — an extraordinary lunch or dinner
More egg recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you will enjoy:
Greek Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Feta
Indian-Style Fried Egg and Potato Cake
On the top of the reading stack: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon
Audio Accompaniment: Arthur Oskan
Another reminder to submit your favorite vegetarian Indian recipe for a chance to win a lovely cookbook. I will except entries until the end of the month.
|Kidney Beans with a Cardamom-Yogurt Gravy|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from 660 Curries
Published on February 18, 2012
A simple, filling and nourishing red kidney bean curry with an earthy but tangy flavor
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Other Kidney Bean dishes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Cornmeal-Crusted Kidney Bean and Black Bean Chili
Kidney Bean and Quinoa Salad
Nigerian Baked Beans
Kidney Beans in a Slowly Simmered Tomato Sauce
On the top of the reading stack: 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra
Audio Accompaniment: Vic Chesnutt
Ash-e anar is also a very simple and warming soup that's filling and nourishing at the same time. It doesn't require too much attention, making this an ideal soup for chilly evenings when you don't have a lot of time for prep work but you want something special. I like thick soups that are almost a meal unto themselves, especially at this time of year, and this recipe is written for that effect — but you can easily make this a thinner soup to be served as a starter either by increasing the liquid or reducing the quantity of split peas from 1 cup to 3/4 cup. Pomegranate molasses is a truly wonderful base for this and other soups and is a staple in Persian and Middle Eastern pantries. You can easily find it at any Middle Eastern and most Asian grocers, but if you can't find it you can easily substitute 2 cups of pomegranate juice plus a teaspoon of sugar or honey for the same amount of water or vegetable stock.
|Ash-e Anar (Persian Split Pea and Pomegranate Soup)|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on February 16, 2012
A simple sweet-and-sour Persian split pea soup bursting with the flavors of spices, pomegranate and fresh herbs
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Other recipes you many enjoy:
Shakshouka ( Tunisian Tomato & Pepper Stew with Eggs )
Mesopotamian Barley, Chickpea, Lentil and Tahini Soup
Zahtar ( Dukkah )
On the top of the reading stack: The National Post
Audio Accompaniment: Sasha
When will this Canadian winter ever end? Though snow in South-Western Ontario has thankfully been rather sparse, and the temperatures rather mild all things considering for this time of year, the apartment I reside in is in a lovely old house but alas, we have no control over the heating and being a rather wee girl, I suffer from the cold and drafts that older homes tend to be prone to. What better way to warm up than to make a baked treat? I always leave the oven door open after the baking is done for additional heat. Why waste that precious warmth?
These biscuits — or scones if you prefer to call them — are a delicious and even slightly savory dessert to finish off any meal. Though they are packed with blueberries, they are also an enjoyable side to go along with a vegetable soup, perfect for a light breakfast or brunch or snack. Easy to prepare and well worth the effort even considering the number of dishes baking creates. They won't last long, especially if you have an eager husband and friend wishing to fill their tummy with blueberry delights. Ricotta cheese is an ideal component to baked goods — creamy without tartness or an over-powering flavor.
As careful as I ordinarily am to to provide a balance of proteins, fats and other nutrients into my dinners, there are times when I just crave a little comfort food and a blissful indifference to the rest. Not that it's difficult to balance the essential nutrients, and after years of healthy vegetarian living I can do this pretty much automatically, but still… It may just be the time of year when it seems like spring really ought to be right around the corner, but it's not and we're all still just coping with the cold and dark.
That said, I'm not going to start gorging on deep-fried goodies just for the sake of comfort either. No, for me comfort is a hot bowl of a simple and creamy homemade potato, carrot and broccoli soup, just all by itself and no worries about whether I'm incorporating grains or legumes into my meal for just one particular night. I love the smell of cooked potatoes, and the little specks of bright green broccoli buds swimming on the surface of the soup is a visual treat. And no one is going to call a potato, carrot and broccoli soup unhealthy.
This recipe is adapted from Yamuna Devi's indispensible Indian cookbook, Lord Krishna's Cuisine, which the author in turn adapted from a Bengali dish. Note that the green chilies do not need to be seeded to make the yogurt-pistachio blend — you can remove the seeds if you wish to reduce the "heat", but the potatoes are not spicy hot in any case. Please also note that the recipe calls for cardamom seeds and not the pods — an 1/8 teaspoon of ground cardamom can be substituted if you do not have the seeds on hand. Nigella seeds, curry leaves and cardamom seeds are all available at your local Indian grocer.
Also a reminder to send in one of your favorite Indian vegetarian recipes for a chance to win a lovely cookbook. Details can be found here.
|Bengali-Style Potatoes in a Seasoned Yogurt-Pistachio Crust|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine
Published on February 8, 2012
Potatoes marinated in a fragrant seasoned yogurt blend and then fried to create a fragrant golden-brown spice crust with delicate aromatic flavors and just enough spicy heat.
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Other Indian potato ideas you may enjoy:
Bengali-Style Crunchy Potatoes
On the top of the reading stack: The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Audio Accompaniment: relative silence
Soups are perfect anytime of year, but especially during the winter months. I adapted this colorful, earthy and nourishing soup from River Cottage Everyday Veg. We all need more vegetables in our diet and the recipes from this beautiful and innovative book will certainly be gracing my kitchen table time and time again. Easy to cook up and a pleasure to the tummy, you won't be disappointed with this nourishing soup. Consider adding more spices, such as cayenne and cumin along with the tomatoes and hot peppers for an extra kick.
In preparation for a Turkish black-eyed pea dish that I'll be featuring soon, I made this Middle Eastern blend of spices, seeds, herbs and nuts. I am running out of room for all the homemade blends that I make, but I can never resist in any case. Widely used in the Middle East and North Africa, dukka — also spelled "dukkah" or "duqqa" — is a wonderfully tangy, zesty and salty blend of dry roasted nuts and seeds with herbs and spices that's surprisingly hearty on its own. Often served for breakfast with bread after dipped in olive oil, this delicious blend can be enjoyed for a snack, lunch, dinner or whenever you please. Consider adding it to salads, with your vegetable dishes or included in your favorite dipping sauce. The possibilities are endless.
This cookbook is full of information about vegetarian Ayurvedic recipes, principles and guidelines, and is illustrated with gorgeous photographs that will be sure to tantalize your taste buds. Ultimately, it is the blend of flavors and seamless offerings that makes this a must for Indian cuisine enthusiasts. I have tried many recipes from this lovely cookbook and have learned much from the advice and wisdom offered. Truly a treasure and one of my prized cookbooks.
Look for Indian cookbooks and save with these Barnes and Noble coupons.
Now for the guidelines: Submit your most cherished Indian creation from any region of India. It can be an appetizer or sweet, spice blend, chutney or sauce, legume dish, soup, salad, grain dish, vegetable dish, bread, dessert or savory snack, beverage or an Indian-style fusion dish. Please note that I will only accept one entry from participants who are bloggers, and the recipe must be vegetarian. Your post must include a photo that I will feature in the roundup. A link to this post is also required. I look forward to your creations.
The deadline for entries is February 29th. Please send your recipe to herdcreature(at)hotmail(dot)com.
Update: It seems that some folks that have emailed their entry receive an error message when trying to send in their submission. Do send an email but please also leave a comment on this post so I can ensure your recipe is included in the roundup.