Leek and Rye Berry Salad with Halloumi Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives

leek salad with halloumi cheese and rye berries

My best friend Basil usually comes over for a weekend evening visit and when he does, I like to think of a creative meal to make for him. Basil is a good cook, but as he is busy, he usually makes a handful of tried and tested recipes during the week so it is a treat for him to visit my kitchen for dinner. Food blogging does have one advantage and that is rarely do we eat the same dishes because I need to come up with new material. The disadvantage is that dinner has to wait until the photos are taken … ah well, that is a small price to pay for a satisfying and interesting meal.

This salad was inspired by Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck. I am absolutely smitten with this cookbook and lots of the recipes have been bookmarked to try because I enjoy dressing up my grain dishes. I could not resist another cooking session with Halloumi cheese, and this is one of the few recipes I have tried so far. A traditional salty Cypriot cheese made from sheep's, goat's and frequently cow's milk known for its ability to hold its shape and firm texture when cooked and for the "squeaky" sound it makes when you chew it, Halloumi is a perfect choice to fill out a salad. It may be difficult to find, but can often be purchased at specialty cheese or Greek shops. If you can't find it, other Greek saganaki cheeses can be substituted. Similarly, rye berries can be substituted with other whole grain berries if necessary, but the rye berries have a depth of flavor that is wonderful in this salad.

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Simple Green Curry Potato and Corn Soup

green curry potato and corn soup

A hot bowl of a simple homemade cream of potato soup is one of life's many comforts, especially as we wait for the temperatures to rise here in Ontario. But our lifelong appreciations for this and other favorite comfort foods can be enhanced with "grown-up" flavors. Borne out of a craving for the mild starchy goodness of potato soup, for example, this recipe adds chewy niblets of sweet corn and hints of hot and sour from a homemade Thai green curry paste to make a winning combination of simplicity and sophistication in one bowl. Both the inner child and the adult in you will be delighted.

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Indian Lentil and Rice Pancakes


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
These Indian pancakes are not like the ones we typically think of in North America or in most of the Western world for that matter. Here we think of cake-like little rounds served with some maple syrup and butter. Delicious for sure, but Indian pancakes are a different and savory experience altogether, as often made with whole rice grains or dals as with flour. I so adore Indian pancakes — great for breakfast, brunch or dinner, or even as a snack. Rather like thick crêpes, this recipe was inspired by 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra. Another must for your bookshelf. How can you go wrong with 1,000 offerings that will please anyone who enjoys Indian cooking with suggestions for any meal of the day? As noted in previous posts, this book is not strictly vegetarian, but I bet you can imagine just how many of the recipes are vegetarian, and how many others are easily adaptable to suit a meat-free diet. I have no affiliation with the author, but I continue to promote a book that has proved such a staple for ideas and information. Spread the word and keep the marketplace free and informed.

savory Indian pancakes

The most time-consuming aspect of this recipe is frying up each pancake, but the heavenly aroma of fried spiced batter will keep you going, and when it is time for dinner you will especially enjoy the fried-up fermented and ground-up little creations. Consider adding some green peas to the batter for an extra boost of flavor. Serve with salsa, chutney (pictured below), Indian pickles, yogurt, a sambar, or any side vegetable dish that suits your fancy. I do believe that Indian crêpes and pancakes are my new passion. Next stop is stuffed mung bean pancake rolls with paneer cheese. Stay tuned … and healthy!

Indian pancakes with salsa

Indian Lentil and Rice PancakesIndian Lentil and Rice Pancakes
Recipe by
Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes
Cuisine: Indian
Published on April 25, 2012

Soft, savory and spicy Indian pancakes made with slightly fermented and ground rice and dals — a heavenly breakfast, light lunch or snack served with chutney and yogurt

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Preparation:
  • 2/3 cup basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons whole mung beans
  • 3 tablespoons urad dal
  • 3 tablespoons toor dal
  • 3 tablespoons channa dal,
Other ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 2 - 3 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • a few pinches of asafetida
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil or ghee
Instructions:
  • Rinse the rice, mung beans and dals and soak overnight in enough water to cover.

  • Drain the rice, beans and dals, and transfer to a blender or food processor along with the onion, parsley or cilantro, chilies, salt, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and asafetida. Add the water gradually to the blender and process until you have a smooth, semi-thick batter that is of pouring consistency. Transfer the batter to a bowl and whisk with a fork for a few seconds to fluff up the mixture. Let the batter sit, covered, for 4 hours. Fluff again with a fork before frying.

  • Heat a teaspoon or so of the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, ladle about 1/2 cup of the batter into the hot pan and, with the back of the ladle, spread the batter out into a thin 5 to 6-inch circle.

  • Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake begins to set and the bottom starts to brown. Brush the pancake with a bit of oil along the edges, with a dab into the center, and cook for another minute. Flip and cook until the other side turns a golden color, about a minute. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a 200° oven while you cook the remaining pancakes.

Makes about 10 5" or 6" pancakes
Indian Lentil and Rice Pancakes

More Indian breads you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Savoury Rice and Ural Dal Pancakes
Rice Flour Pancakes
Besan Roti
Savoury Rice and Split Pea Pancakes with Buttery Green Beans and Tomato-Cilantro Sauce

On the top of the reading stack: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Audio Accompaniment: Ridis

Peanut Butter Loaf with Dates and Prunes

After a brief taste of spring in the middle of March, cold temperatures are once again the norm here in Ontario. What better excuse to get into the kitchen and cook and bake to warm up and cheer up? Moist with a melt-in-your-mouth sensation, this loaf is quick to prepare. If you like peanut butter as much as I do, this is just the bread for you. The peanut flavour really comes out here but it does not overpower the other ingredients present in the loaf.

peanut butter loaf

As has become my tradition, I always make a treat to share with my charming and loving father-in-law when I get a chance to see him. Such a precious man deserves to be spoiled. He told me that it was one of the best things he had the pleasure to try from my kitchen. It won't be the last either and I do take requests, although there is nothing like a surprise for brunch. Of course, my husband never complains when I bake — he had his fair share and I told him that he had to leave some for our friend Basil who was expected for dinner the next day. He too likes my baked offerings. Homemade baked goods easily trump those you can find at most retail outlets.

peanut butter loaf slices

Peanut Butter Loaf with Dates and PrunesPeanut Butter Loaf with Dates and Prunes
Recipe by
Published on April 23, 2012

A soft, moist and fragrant loaf with a gentle peanut butter flavor — quick and simple to prepare

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Wet ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (unsweetened)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Dry ingredients:
  • 2 cups spelt or unbleached white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped prunes
Instructions:
  • Preheat an oven to 350° and grease a 9 × 5 loaf pan with butter.

  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter and sugar. Beat the eggs in, one a time, until well blended. Now add the milk and vanilla and stir well to combine.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dates and prunes. Add this mixture to the peanut butter and milk combination and stir with a spatula until just moistened. Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Makes 1 9-inch loaf
peanut butter loaf with prunes and dates

Other quick breads you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Blue Cornmeal Bread with Goat Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Jalapeños
Rice Muffins
Jalapeno Spoon Bread
Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Biscuits

On the top of the reading stack: cookbooks

Audio Accompaniment: howling wind

Tomato Chutney, South Indian Style


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian tomato chutney

Spicy and tangy, you just can't go wrong with this thick chutney that pairs so well with a variety of Indian breads and crêpes. A nice dip for dried chips too. I dare say it would be lovely smothered over some fresh cooked pasta. To cool the heat, if you must, serve with a side bowl of plain yogurt or some sour cream if you are wanting to use this as a dip for dried or baked tortillas. Easy to prepare, making your own chutneys and salsa at home is far superior to store bought versions.

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Mushroom Quinoa with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Parmesan

Not technically a grain but considered by the ancient Incans as the "mother of all grains," quinoa is not really a cereal grass but is used just like a grain, with the important difference that is contains a food value that no grain can match. With an almost perfect balance of essential amino acids, quinoa is an unusually complete source of proteins in the plant kingdom, and is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins and vitamin E. A perfect choice for vegetarians and vegans too. Quinoa is also gluten-free, but it is advised that if you have severe allergies to wheat products to make sure quinoa is processed separate from the other grains containing gluten.

Simple and almost as quick to cook as white rice, the light and fluffy texture and delicately sweet and nutty flavour of cooked quinoa makes it a tasty and healthy alternative in a variety of grain recipes.

quinoa with Parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes

I have made this recipe three times already. The first time, the photos turned out like mud. The second time, I was distracted and forgot to add the Parmesan, but oh well, as this would be a good version for vegans and it was very tasty anyway. The third time around, I put everything together as planned. Paired with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, this is one flavour-packed dish.

Mushroom Quinoa with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Parmesan CheeseMushroom Quinoa with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Parmesan Cheese
Recipe by
Published on April 19, 2012

A rich, hearty and wholesome quinoa pilaf cooked with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, and topped with fresh Parmesan cheese

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Ingredients:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup quartered white mushrooms
  • 1 cup quartered cremini mushrooms
  • 5 - 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions:
  • Rinse the quinoa and soak for 8 hours or overnight in 2 cups of water.

  • Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the shallot and stir and fry for a few minutes. Now add the garlic and jalapeños and stir and fry for another minute or so. Next stir in the cayenne and then add the quinoa with the water it has been soaking in. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

  • Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain and chop.

  • Now add the mushrooms to the pan, along with the sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

  • Stir in the parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve.

Makes 4 - 6 servings
quinoa with Parmesan cheese

Other quinoa recipes you are sure to enjoy from my vegetarian kitchen:
Quinoa Soup with Corn
Quinoa, Mushroom, Goat Cheese Cake
Breakfast Quinoa Porridge
Spicy Lentil Quinoa Nut Loaf

On the top of the reading stack: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Audio Accompaniment: Trentemøller: My Dreams feat. Marie Fisker

Parathas Stuffed with Vegetables and Spices


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
On Easter weekend, we were treated to a visit from a longtime cherished friend who moved to New Zealand about 4 years ago. He brought along his wife who is expecting soon — a pleasure to meet her. Such a lovely couple, and it was great to catch up with Mike. Certainly one of the most intelligent, witty and humorous friends I have been lucky to meet. Mike has also been a long time fan of my kitchen too and, of course, I just had to serve up a feast to celebrate the occasion of his visit, recent marriage and expected child. My best friend Basil also came for dinner and my husband was there too. Thanks to my diners for their high praise.

vegetable stuffed parathas

I started the meal with these stuffed parathas and my famous Curried Indian Vegetable Soup. The next course was Macaroni and Paneer Cheese — a nice twist on an old classic. Corn muffins were also part of the meal, and for dessert, Cocoa Fruit Treats.

These parathas are thicker than many of the ones I have come across in restaurants but I wanted something substantial and filling. Fairly easy to prepare, you may end up with more filling than you need. However, that being the case, I reserved the extra filling because it is just tasty as a side, perhaps served with a bit of yogurt or fry it up with some butter and / or a bit of egg for breakfast or brunch. Roll the dough out into thinner rounds if desired.

Parathas Stuffed with Vegetables and SpicesParathas Stuffed with Vegetables and Spices
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on April 17, 2012

Chewy Indian whole wheat flatbreads stuffed with a fragrant and spicy potato and vegetable filling

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Parathas:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • scant cup of water
  • 8 tablespoons ghee or sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil for frying
Filling:
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh or defrosted
  • 2/3 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • handful fresh parsley or coriander, rinsed and chopped
Instructions:
  • To make the paratha dough, mix together the flour, salt, water and ghee or oil to form a dough. Knead gently until you have a soft dough, adding a bit more water or oil if too dry. Let sit for a while, covered with plastic wrap while you prepare the filling.

  • Pierce the potatoes with a fork a few times and roast in a 425° oven until they are fork tender and soft enough to mash. Transfer to a large bowl, mash the potatoes and then mix in the peas. Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well mixed

  • Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll out each ball of dough on a floured surface into a roughly 7-inch round. Brush the sides of a round with water and then add a tablespoon or so of the potato mixture. Top with another round and press together the edges until well sealed. Repeat with the remaining rounds.

  • Brush a heavy non-stick frying pan with some of the oil for frying and heat over medium heat. Gently add one of the parathas and fry until golden — about 3 to 4 minutes — and then flip and fry for a few minutes longer. Keep warm in a 150° oven while you are frying the rest of the breads. Brush the pan with more oil as necessary and cook the rest of the parathas.

Makes 6 parathas
stuffed parathas with potato and peas

More Indian flatbreads you are sure to enjoy from my Indian Vegetarian Kitchen:
Indian Besan Roti
Home-Style Chila
Paratha Stuffed with Sweet Potato and Potato
Makki Di Roti (Griddle Cooked Corn Bread)

On the top of the reading stack: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Audio Accompaniment: Trentemøller: My Dreams feat. Marie Fisker (official music video)

Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts and Dukka Dressing


Vibrant is the first word that comes to my mind after making and tasting this dish that I slightly adapted from my dear friend Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. Black-eyed peas are so easy to work with and don't take long to cook after a night of soaking. This was another hit with my dinner guests. To fill it out, serve with some brown rice and a nice glass of red wine. My only complaint is cracking the walnuts. What a mess all over the floor, but worth it and they are so good for you.

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Poppy Seed Loaf with Dried Cranberries

My Dad and his lovely girlfriend treated me to a visit recently to celebrate my birthday last month. I am a bit late posting this recipe but certainly this loaf is worth waiting for. They stayed for a few days and the first day I prepared a vegetarian feast. Along with this bread, I made Nigerian Baked Beans, my famous Caesar Salad, baked potatoes served with sour cream and chives, and Jasmine rice with butter and fresh cracked black pepper. I like to cook and I love to treat my friends and family to my dishes. There is just no comparison between home-cooked meals and restaurant meals. When my family and friends are visiting or live in London, they are always invited to visit my vegetarian kitchen.

poppy seed loaf

Moist, with a tart lemon flavor and a hint of sweetness, this easy-to-prepare poppy seed loaf will go well with most meals, or can be enjoyed for brunch, lunch, or as a late night snack.

Poppy Seed Loaf with Dried CranberriesPoppy Seed Loaf with Dried Cranberries
Recipe by
Published on April 13, 2012

Moist with a tart lemon flavor and a hint of sweetness, this easy-to-prepare poppy seed loaf goes well with all kinds of meals

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Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 2 cups spelt or unbleached white flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
Instructions:
  • Combine the poppy seeds and milk in a small bowl and soak for 30 minutes.

  • Preheat an oven to 350° and grease a 9 × 5 inch loaf pan.

  • In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar and 1 egg. Beat well with an electric hand mixture. Now add the other egg and lemon juice and beat until smooth. Stir in the poppy seeds and milk.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and dried berries and stir until combined. Transfer to the wet ingredients and stir until just moistened. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes and remove from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 9-inch loaf
poppy seed loaf with cranberries

More poppy seed treats from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Poppy Seed Muffins
Gluten-Free Honey, Lemon, Poppy Seed Cake
Indian-Style Poppy Seed Wafers
Poppy Seed Cheese Biscuits

On the top of the reading stack: Ayn Rand

Audio Accompaniment: birds chirping

Mung Beans, Toor Dal, Green Beans and Fresh Dill Palya


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
green bean palya

Palya, also known as poriyal, are dry curries that are a very popular addition to South Indian meals. Fresh, with a subtle blend of flavors, this wholesome dish is certainly one that I would recommend to grace your dinner table. Traditionally, a full course South Indian meal starts with a sambar, followed by a rasam, along with a side dish or two such as this one and rice and perhaps a flatbread.

Bursting with a fine balance of flavor, I've adapted this rather unique dish from Mysore Style Cooking: The Secret Recipes of Mysore, India by V. Sandlhya. I have written about this beautifully illustrated and lovely cookbook before and it truly is a treasure. Strictly vegetarian and inspired by her families well-guarded recipes, Sandhya has a home-based restaurant where she serves yogis. All of the recipes are "ayurvedically correct" featuring creations from the Mysore region. Designed to encourage peace of mind, good health and spiritual progress, those who want simple but nourishing ideas for South Indian dishes will certainly want to get this book. A wide range of recipes for legumes, grains, vegetables, chutneys, breads and sweets are offered up along with helpful introductions and meal suggestions.

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Almond Clafouti with Blood Orange


I don't know why I don't make clafoutis more often, when variations of the traditional French country baked fruit pudding are so easy to make and the results have such a wonderful cake-and-custard texture and the rustic charm of the simple flavors of milk, flour and eggs. I suppose that there's so many ideas for food that it's easy to forget about one while exploring others, until something reminds me again. Fortunately that reminder showed up in the form of a recipe for an almond-peach clafouti while browsing through the latest cookbook to arrive on my shelves, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck. I will have much to say about this informative and beautifully illustrated cookbook in the coming months as I explore the recipes and information contained between the covers.

I love the idea of adding almond flour to a clafouti for its wonderful marzipan-like fragrance and the toothsomeness it adds to the pudding's texture. And I also liked the convenience of baking the clafouti in a glass pie plate rather than the customary earthenware dish. But peaches aren't in season around here right now, while on the other hand it's a great time for citrus fruits from the southern United States. So I've adapted the recipe from the book to use colorful segments of blood orange as well as using honey for a sweetener. And the results? The blood oranges burst into your mouth with a sweet and tart pop, surrounded by a creamy and aromatic pudding cake. Absolutely wonderful, and the clafouti disappeared in one sitting.


This recipe is so easy to make, you can put it together after a meal while everyone's food is settling. On the other hand, you can make it an hour ahead of the meal and keep it at room temperature. If you don't have almond flour — also known as almond meal or simply ground almonds — on hand, it's easy to make at home too. Simply grind 1/3 cup of blanched (skinless) almonds with 1 teaspoon of white sugar in a coffee grinder or food processor until finely ground, sifting the results to add clumps back into the grinder (sugar is added to absorb the oil from the almonds in order to prevent clumping). You may also want to consider serving this clafouti for a sweet weekend breakfast.

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Green Beans with Baby Potatoes, Collard Greens and Olives

I adapted this recipe from River Cottage Everyday Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Although perhaps better suited to summer time meals, this hearty and vegetable-packed dish is really perfect anytime of the year. We need our veggies and, served alongside Black-Eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes, you are in for a good dose of nutrition and one fine meal.

collard greens with green beans

This beautifully illustrated and informative cookbook will satisfying any craving for vegetable based dishes. The array of vegetables and combinations has already become an important resource when I am brainstorming for healthy and tantalizing recipes to grace my table. Though the author is not a vegetarian, each and every recipe is suitable for a vegetarian diet and vegans will also find many satisfying meal ideas.

If you want a vegan version of this dish, simply omit the Parmesan cheese.

Green Beans with Baby Potatoes, Collard Greens and OlivesGreen Beans with Baby Potatoes, Collard Greens and Olives
Recipe by
Adapted from River Cottage Everyday Veg
Published on April 7, 2012

A warm, satisfying and delicious healthy salad, packed with layers of wonderful flavors

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Ingredients:
  • 1 pound red baby potatoes
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 bunch (1 pound) collard greens, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata or black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions:
  • Scrub the potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Put them in a large heavy-bottomed sauce-pan along with enough water to cover, and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Add the green beans and collard greens and cook for another 5 minutes. Drain and return to the pan.

  • In small frying pan or saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Toss in the garlic and stir and fry for a few minutes. Now add the asafoetida (if using) and olives, and stir and fry for a minute. Remove from the heat. Transfer this mixture to the pot with the potatoes, green beans and collard greens. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan and season with more salt if desired and some fresh cracked black-pepper. Toss lightly to combine. Serve warm.

Makes 3 - 4 servings
collard beans with green beans

Other potato dishes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you will likely enjoy:
Scalloped Potatoes with Coconut Milk and Mushrooms
Tamarind Potatoes
Paratha Stuffed with Sweet Potato and Potato
Cheese Potato Puff with Dried-Mushrooms

On the top of the reading stack: Kafka

Audio Accompaniment: the drone of the fridge

Goan Egg Curry with Tamarind and Coconut


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
If you enjoy Indian spicy egg dishes, you will for sure want to try this one. Spices, sweet tamarind and coconut come together to make a delightful gravy that smoothers the egg with goodness. Local farm fresh eggs were used in this dish. What a treat and a great deal for $2.00 a carton.

Goan Egg Curry

I adapted this recipe from 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra. I do enjoy cookbooks with illustrations, but I can ensure you that the quality of the offerings more than make up for the absence of gorgeous shots. Not strictly vegetarian, but no matter, as this thick volume of delights is sure to please those who prefer not to have meat on their plate. I know of a few fellow food lovers who enjoy this cookbook as much as I do. When stuck for a dinner plan, I often find myself flipping through the pages. Great ideas from throughout India. There are many easy Indian recipes that you will find to inspire your cooking and helpful ideas for homemade spice blends, condiments, appetizers, soups, salads, sides, vegetables, cheese, eggs, legumes, curries, rice, breads and desserts, in addition to meat dishes and beverages. Now, I don't eat meat, but if I did, this would be an ideal book to consult. Menu suggestions are also informative as is the glossary. Surely this is one of my most treasured cookbooks and I enjoy adapting the recipes to suit my preferences. The exploration continues … good eats.

Goan Egg Curry with Tamarind and CoconutGoan Egg Curry with Tamarind and Coconut
Recipe by
Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes
Cuisine: Indian
Published on April 4, 2012

Hard-boiled eggs simmered in a creamy, tart and spicy gravy

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Ingredients:
  • 8 large eggs
Paste:
  • 2/3 cup dried unsweetened coconut
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • pinch of asafoetida
Curry:
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions:
  • Place 6 of the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover the pan, and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Plunge the eggs into a bowl of cold water, then peel and cut lengthwise. Set aside.

  • In a food processor or blender (I used my trusty Magic Bullet), combine the ingredients for the paste and add a few teaspoons of water. Blend until you have a relatively smooth paste, adding more water if necessary. Set aside.

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. When hot, toss in the onion and fry for 5 - 6 minutes or until it turns a golden brown. Stir in the chilies and the spice paste, and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the tamarind, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce is smooth. Now add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, lightly beat together the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and the remaining 2 eggs. Add this to the curry, stir, and simmer until the eggs come together, about 2 - 3 minutes.

  • Finally, add the hard-boiled eggs and gently simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Makes 4 - 6 servings
More Indian egg recipes you are sure to enjoy from my kitchen:
Egg Pakoras
Eggs Vindaloo
Shahi Egg
Egg Masala Curry in a Spicy Tomato Gravy

On the top of the reading stack: cookbooks featuring grains

Audio Accompaniment: Vic Chesnutt

Yogurt Patties with Barley, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Plenty of things to complain about, but also plenty of things to be thankful for. I don't have a reputation for being an optimist, but I am captivated and inspired by Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Gorgeous photos, tempting recipes that will grace any vegetarian table, and lots of options for vegans too. This book is my newest obsession, though I have had it for a while now. I will not ramble, but just encourage you to explore this cookbook that has me drooling each and every time I pick it up. Some of the recipes are a bit time intensive, but well worth the while, especially if you want to impress your dinner guests. And then, I like to nourish myself and stimulate my palate at the same time. I am thinking a few black olives would also be a nice addition to this recipe.

yogurt patties with mushroom gravy

Sort of like an easy risotto without extensive stirring, mushroom fans will not be disappointed. You can also serve the sauce over rice or any grain or flatbread.

Yogurt Patties with a Barley, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomato SauceYogurt Patties with a Barley, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Recipe by
Adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes From London's Ottolenghi
Published on April 1, 2012

Delicious yogurt-and-flour patties topped with a rich barley, mushroom and sun-dried tomato sauce

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Yogurt Patties:
  • 1 cup + 2 teaspoons whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup whole fat or Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Barley, Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce:
    barley mushroom gravy
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, well rinsed
  • 1 oz dried mushrooms (I used a mix of porcini, chanterelle, shiitake, portobello and oyster)
  • 4 - 5 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups fresh button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, stem removed and finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or finely minced
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly crack black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, trimmed and chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon curd or preserved lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons whole fat or Greek yogurt
Instructions:
  • Start making the patties by combining the flour, baking powder, sea salt, yogurt and parsley in a large bowl. Knead the dough for a minute or two until you have a rather dry dough, adding more flour as necessary. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or two.

  • Start making the sauce by cooking the barley in a small saucepan covered with several inches of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water. In a separate bowl, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water. When the barley is finished, drain the sun-dried tomatoes and chop.

  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and half of the butter over medium-high heat. When hot, add the fresh mushrooms and thyme, and stir for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are softened. Add the garlic and wine, and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.

  • The next step is to add the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid, as well as sea salt and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, lemon curd or preserved lemon, lemon juice, and the cooked barley. Keep the ragout simmering on a low temperature, adding more water or white wine as desired for a smooth risotto-like consistency, while the patties are cooked.

  • To finish off the patties, divide the chilled dough into 6 equal portions. On a floured surface, roll each piece into discs about 1/2-inch thick. Melt the butter and oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and brush with some of the butter and oil mixture when hot. Fry each patty separately for 2 minutes on each side or until both sides are golden brown, brushing the pan with more of the melted butter and oil as required. Keep the finished patties warm in the oven at a low temperature.

  • To serve, transfer a patty or two to a plate, top with a generous portion of the sauce, a spoonful or two of yogurt, and a scattering of the remaining parsley and thyme.

Makes 3 - 6 servings
More mushroom vegetarian dishes from Lisa's Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon
Quesadilla with Mushrooms
Cheddar and Mushroom Shirred Eggs

yogurt flatbreads with mushroom gravy

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