My husband and I love to go leaf-peeping in the fall to the Adirondacks in upstate NY and Vermont. This year we decided to stay a little closer to home and went to the Catskills (NY). The weather was perfect. It was sunny with a chill in the air. I call it perfect fall weather. We stopped at New Platz for lunch. I must say New Platz is a charming little town with a downtown that has restaurants serving ethnic food in addition to the regular diners and pubs you would find in a small suburban town.
Driving into the Catskills there were many small farms with their own farm stands along the route. We decided to stop at one such. This farm stand also had a bakery attached and the smell of freshly baked apple pies was wafting thru the entire store. Before getting to the bakery, we did go to the produce section which had this unusual looking cauliflower. I had seen it on the various food channels on TV before and was excited to get my hands on it. Its called the ‘Romanesco Caulifower’. It is a beautiful vegetable with a nice bright green color. Here is a picture before I took my knife to it.
The florets looked like tiny Christmas trees! I decided to keep it simple and just roasted it. It turned out great! I found it better tasting than a cauliflower. Do give it a try if you see one in your grocery store. You can try this with a regular cauliflower or broccoli.
3 cups Romanesco cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt + Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F. In 9×13 baking dish combine all the ingredients. Toss well so that all the florets are coated well with the seasonings. Roast for about 45 mins.
P.S: For all those who were wondering if I visited the bakery at the farm stand, Yes, I did. I got apple cider donuts with cinnamon sugar that went great with my coffee. Sorry, I do not have pictures to share, they were that good :).
Its been a long hiatus for me and I think I am finally getting back to my blog again. I have been getting a lot of requests for this recipe (you know who you are) and that in turn motivated me to start blogging again.
A simple easy side salad with Quinoa which can be served with anything from a summer barbeque to an elegant indoor dinner. Quinoa is gluten free and is therefore a goto side for entertaining when you have guests who watch their gluten. It is also packed with protein and pleases the carb watchers alike.
Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups chicken broth/Vegetable broth/water
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 medium zuchinni
1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 scallions, chopped
salt + Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Chop the vegetables(cut the peppers and onion lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide strips and the zucchini into 1/2 inch half moons.) and peel the garlic (leave them whole). Toss them with 1 Tbsp olive oil, some salt and pepper and roast them on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and when cool to handle give them a dice.
In a sauce pan on medium heat add 1 teaspoon olive oil and the quinoa and saute for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile heat the broth/water in the microwave and add it to the quinoa. Lower the heat and cook covered for about 20 minutes, until there is no liquid remaining. Allow the quinoa to cool. I use an organic pre-washed quinoa. Check the cooking instructions on the packaging to see if you need to rinse the quinoa before using it. If you do rinse it, please allow water to drain completely before adding to the oil.
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and the 2 Tbsp olive oil to make the dressing. In a bowl, combine the quinoa, roasted vegetables, scallions and the dressing and toss well.
- You can substitute lemon juice with vinegar.
- Use any veggies you like.
Here is a healthy side dish which we made to go with some grilled chicken this past weekend. It does not take more than 10 minutes to make. The couscous takes 5 minutes to cook, once you add it to the chicken broth. You can go all vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead. Using broth instead of water helps flavor the couscous.
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 and 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup chopped scallions
In a sauce pan bring the chicken broth to a boil, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and the couscous. Stir and take it off the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, salt and the olive oil to make the dressing. In a bowl, mix the couscous, almonds, cranberries, scallions and the dressing.
- Zest the lemon before juicing it.
The first snow of the season calls for some comforting soup. There is nothing better then curling up with a warm blanket, a good read and some hot soup on a cold snowy day. So when the weather guys predicted snow for Saturday I got the soup pot out and made this wonderful fall soup.
This soup is made with root vegetables, but any leftover vegetables in the fridge would do. I had some leftover parsnips, sweet potatoes and rutabaga from Thanksgiving. Root vegetables have a longer shelf life and can last for days if stored in a dry place.
4 slices of center cut bacon (optional and can be replaced with 2 Tbsp of olive oil)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 large carrot diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium red skinned sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 a medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 Qt chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
In a large bowl toss the parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, salt, pepper and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Spread them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 1 hour.
In a large pot add the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil (leave this out if you are not using bacon and use the 2Tbsp olive oil to replace the bacon) and the bacon(cut into 1/4 inch strips). Cook on medium low heat until the bacon has rendered its fat. Remove the bacon and reserve on some paper towels for garnish later. Add the onions, celery, carrots, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves and cook until the vegetables are tender(about 15 minutes). Add the roasted vegetables and the chicken stock and cook covered for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency. Add more chicken stock if you want the soup to be thinner. You can blend the soup in a regular blender as well, but be sure not to overfill the blender jar and allow the soup to cool a little.
Garnish the soup with the bacon bits and some chives or green onions.
Another traditional dish which I learned from my grandmother. Traditionally this is made with Chinese Okra which is grown abundantly in Vasai and is generally available throughout the monsoon season (June-September). These crispy fritters are perfect accompaniments with fish curry and rice.
Chinese Okra is not available in US supermarkets, but can be sometimes be found in Asian and Indian grocery stores. I have used Zucchini here instead.
Ingredients: Makes about 24 fritters
1 medium Zucchini
1medium red onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped fine
1 green chilli, chopped fine
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp meat masala
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup chick pea flour
2 Tbsp cooking oil
Cut the Zucchini into 4 slices lengthwise. Taking two slices at a time, chop them finely into strip. Add to a bowl with all the remaining ingredients except for the oil, rice flour and chick pea flour. Allow to rest for about an hour. This was my grandma’s trick to avoid adding water to the batter. When you let the mixture of Zucchini and onions stand for a while, the salt draws out the water from the veggies which is enough to form a batter.
Add the rice flour and chickpea flour to form a thick batter (thicker than pancake batter). Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a saute pan(preferably non stick) on medium heat. Drop the batter one tablespoon at a time, flattening it with the base of the spoon. Fry on each side till they are brown, remove on paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Add extra rice flour if the batter isn’t thick enough.
- The batter can be frozen for up to 1 week.
- If using Chinese okra, peel the Okra, slit it into half lengthwise, seed it and slice it thinly.
- You could use 1/2 tsp chili powder,1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin powder and 1/2 tsp coriander powder instead of the meat masala.
Last summer my dear friend Veronica spent a day with us. We had fun shopping and cooking. Veron taught me to make mutton xacuti, which is a goan speciality, and it was YUMMY! To go along with the spicy xacuti, she decided to make a cucumber and onion salad. The recipe for this salad originated from Veron’s aunt in Goa, India. This is a very refreshing crunchy salad with sweet, sour and spicy notes. It goes well with spicy food and would also be great as a burger topper too.
So this one is for you Veron! Thank your aunt for it! Hope to spend some more time in the kitchen with you soon.
1/2 English cucumber
1 medium red onion
1 green chilli (optional, if you do not like the heat)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Cut the cucumber lengthwise and then slice each half into thin slices. Slice the red onion as fine as you can. Add the cucumber and onion to a bowl.
Dice the chilli very fine and add it to a small bowl. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Stir well to make the dressing. I let the dressing sit for a little while to let the flavors combine.
When you are ready to serve toss the dressing with the cucumbers and onions and sprinkle the cilantro on top.
Notes: If you cannot find English seedless cucumber, you can use one regular cucumber, but remember to seed it first.
I was trying to find ways of making spinach taste good without having to add lots of butter or cream. I had once had spinach pulao in a small restaurant in Pune (India), and thought of recreating it. The result was great. Even my husband who doesn’t like spinach loved it. I tricked him by adding cashews which he loves.
1 and 1/2 cup basmati rice
4 cups fresh spinach (about 1 sack)
2 shallots finely sliced
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp garam masala
8-10 unsalted cashews
2 and 1/2 cups chicken stock or veggie stock or water, heated
1 Tbsp canola oil
Wash the rice and place it in a sieve allowing the water to drain well. Meanwhile steam the spinach and puree it in a food processor.
In a saute pan (with high sides and a lid), heat the oil on medium heat. Fry the cashews until they are golden brown. Take them out of the pan and drain on paper towels. Add the cumin and red pepper flakes to the oil. Add the shallots and galic and allow to cook for about 5 minutes until the shallots are translucent. Add the rice and keep stiring for a couple of minutes so that the rice is coated with the oil. Add the garam masala and let cook for another minute. Now add the spinach puree and salt, stir to combine all the ingredients. Add the chicken broth and cover the pan. Lower to heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Add the cashews and fluff with a fork.
I usually make a cauliflower curry which requires me to slave over the stove. To try to make it easier I tried to add the same curry flavors to the cauliflower without having to keep stirring the pot. Since I had broccoli in the fridge, I decided to add it too. The result was great. Serves as a great vegetarian side dish. Let me know if you like it!
Ingredients : Serves 4
1/2 head of cauliflower cut into florets
1 head of Broccoli cut into florets
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes. That’s it! As easy as that!