Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are You A Busy Parent, relying on packed snacks.....lets have some homamade snacks

In today's world, everybody seems to be running. Either you are running for your work or taking kids to activities, social gatherings and specially in the beautiful weather of summer it seems there is so much to do in so little time.

We all know time never stops. Back in June me and my friends were talking how this long summer break gonna pass and here we are only last little bit of summer break left & I'm thinking where did all the time went. We have been busy with all the summer related activities and parks and water plays are on top of it. When we are busy enjoying summer weather sometime one doesn't get enough time to do cooking, at those moments grabbing a take out seems to be so perfect BUT not if you are well prepared ahead of time.
Dates, Almonds and Flaxseeds Energy Balls

Today I'm gonna share some tips and ideas on how to stay well planned ahead of time so you can keep your family healthy by avoiding junk food and also if this route saves you some money who doesn't want it. I know what you guys are thinking that summer is already at the end and my post is late but I'm sure this post can help you with regular school days also, when again we all are busy but with different kind of activities :) .
1. POPCORN HOMEMADE with REAL BUTTER: who doesn't like popcorn with good buttery flavour.  Back in 2011 when I stopped using Microwave kids were really worried and O'course popcorn was one of the concerns. But once they ate stovetop popped popcorns with real butter they never looked back.

Recipe is real simple. Take a deep heavy bottom pan(that is must) with lid , I use my 6 qt. stainless steel Dutch oven/chilli pot(whatever the name is but for us it's now popcorn maker :) ). Heat the pan on medium for few seconds add 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil. Carefully swirl it so it coats the bottom of the pan. Add half a cup of the popping corn and using a spoon just mix them so all of the corn kernels get coating of oil. Cover the pot with the lid in a way so it's not tightly closed , leave a little tiny opening(keep the lid little tilted, may be like quarter of an inch any more then that & popcorns might jump outside while popping) so the steam can escape and you get crunchy popcorn and not soggy kind.

Now, the Fun begins. after few seconds corn kernels will start to pop. BE CAREFUL DO NOT OPEN THE LID, just enjoy the popping music it gonna take anywhere from 1&1/2 minute to 2 minutes. When the popping music kind of dies no more popping means work is done turn the gas off. In a small pan melt the butter(if using), take the lid of the popcorns & slowly add butter & keep mixing. If using salt also sprinkle that & again mix it.

This total procedure should not take more then 5 minutes and you have one wonderful snack ready which can keep anyone happy.

To Store : Once cool these can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days or better you can make single serving size ziplocs and they are ready to go whenever you are ready to go.

2. HOMEMADE MEATBALLS good enough for snack or as part of the meal : My kids love home made meatballs. They are good for a quick snack or if you like add some pasta and pasta sauce and you got your family a quick healthy meal in very little time yes the only time taken here is the time it takes to boil the pasta given that you already have pasta sauce(sorry no recipe on the blog yet) ready and meatballs also ready in the fridge waiting to be devoured by you and your family.

3. QUICK FRUIT BREADS : I like to bake some sort of fruit bread once a week as they can serve as healthy breakfast option or as a mid meal snack/ goto snack. My kids even like them as a dessert also provided they are given with a scoop of some homemade ice cream or freshly whipped cream. Two of my favourites are  Almond & Banana Whole Wheat Cake and this Healthy Banana Bread with Oats and Whole Wheat flour. Yes I do bake these as cake sometime to make it look more interesting. Let me tell you these are very forgiving kind of recipes I use these as base for my many recipes, sometime I add a finely grated zucchini or finely grated carrot. I have also made these with all whole wheat flour, in that case I like to use King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour as it results in light baked goods.

4. BREAKFAST COOKIES, they got WHOLE GRAINS, ALMONDS, FLAX SEEDS, all the good things you should eat during breakfast : My first grader loves these(Click here for the recipe). Given that she's considered sugar monster in my home it's a good feeling when she asks more of these and I noticed if I'm well stocked with these favourites of her, she's happy when ever sugar urge strikes and I don't mind if she eats 2 or 3 of these. They are also perfect for packing as snack while you or on some road trip.
5. NUTS and DRIED FRUITS : This is one simple snacking option which doesn't need any cooking time, I always keep a small snack size ziploc full of almonds(our new favourites are raw almonds) and another one with dried figs, raisins and dates in my handbag. These come very handy when we go for long walks and hiking and you need to maintain your energy level so instead of depending upon some candy bars why not get some natural sugars in the simple form.
6. ENERGY BALLS : This is the variation of above option only. It need roughly 10 minutes of your time to prepare this wonderful healthy snack full of natural sugars and other nutrients. To make these take around 30 dates, roughly chop them & keep aside. Now put around 1&1/2 cup of almonds(preferably raw) in a food processor, also add half a cup of dry roasted Flaxseeds. Process these keep it little coarse, now add chopped dates & again process them for few seconds. Once everything comes together like a ball, take it out of the processor and make small balls out of it. Store in a airtight container.
These are the few food options which I rely on quite often. Specially the days when we are busy and as a mom I don't want to always say no to snack but at the same time I don't want my kids to eat junk & unhealthy food. So little planning & we all are happy. I'm really sorry that I don't have pics for all the above options as I don't have access to my computer. Once I have access to my computer I'll update the post with the pics. The only pic I have right now is of Energy balls, because while travelling I'm carrying those. I did had Breakfast cookies too but those finished before I expected.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and for more healthy snacking options you can also check this page on .

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fish Cakes

Finally, I'm here, actually drafting this post....over the past so many months, I took many pictures even drafted the blog post in my mind but than period, no actual writing, picture editing & clicking of "Publish Post" button happened. Well, now I'm here and really hoping I'll make it to the "Publish Post" button.

The recipe I'm going to share today is of Fish Cakes. I usually make salmon cakes/patties/tikkis but that recipe is way different as I use raw fish in that & no potatoes. But for this recipe I'm using cooked fish along with some boiled potatoes.
I've been experimenting with cod fish lately. I did try to make cod fish cakes last time with raw fish but they didn't hold nicely while shallow frying them, I do need to improve on that recipe. These ones are also good, taste as well as look wise. We used them to make fish burgers, sorry no click of that.

Note(Please Read) : I didn't measure the spices exactly, so I'm gonna give you rough idea. Also, as the fish is boiled first so we are using the cooked fish for making the mixture for the cakes, so no harm in tasting it & adjusting the spices as per your taste buds, that's the route I followed.

The following recipe gave me 24(3"diameter) cakes.
What I used :

For Cakes:
2 pounds of Alaskan Cod fillet(no skin)
1 large size Idaho potato, boiled & mashed
generous handfulll of fresh Cilantro/Coriander/Hara Dhania, finely chopped
1 larger onion, grated, squeeze & discard the water
2 green hot chilli
1 heaping Tablespoon of fresh finely chopped garlic
1/2 Tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. Coriander powder
2 tsp. Cumin powder
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. Garlic powder(if u don't have it add some extra garlic)
1 tsp. of red chilli powder(degi mirch, not the hot kind)
salt as per taste
few generous shake of buffalo sauce
2 Tablespoon of white vinegar
1 flaxegg (* see notes after the ingredients list) Or 1 egg

To coat the cakes before shallow frying :
Coating 1:
1/4cup of APF
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 cup of water

Coating 2:
1/2 cup of rice flour (corn starch or APF can be used)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper

For shallow Frying :

Flax Egg
* Notes : For flaxegg : 1 Tablespoon of flax seed powder +  3 Tablespoon of warm water, mix them together & let them sit for a minute or two.

What I did :
1. Wash the fish fillet, check for any bones. Cut them into 1-2" pieces.

2. In a large pot filled with water add some salt & fish pieces and boil them till they are cooked. Depending upon how big the size of pieces they should be cooked in around 10-15 minutes. Keep the gas on medium, no need to cover the pot, stir it in between few times. I used some Garlic powder also while boiling the fish but couldn't taste it once the fish was boiled so I'm not recommending using it while boiling the fish.
3. Once the fish is cooked(to check take a piece out & see if it's flaky) drain it in  a strainer. Let it drain thoroughly & get cool also. I left it like this for almost half an hour.
4. Transfer the fish into a big mixing bowl.
5. Add rest of the ingredients from the fist list for cakes.
6. Using your hands mix everything. Taste the mixture and if needed adjust the seasoning at this point. Cover it & let the mixture rest for at least  half an hour in the fridge, I prepared upto this point & let it sit in the fridge till dinner time and proceeded with the rest of the steps when we were ready to eat.
7. When ready to make fish cakes, take out the mixture.
8. In a bowl, using a whisk mix everything in Coating 2 ingredient list and transfer it to some shallow plate/pie dish.

9. Using the same bowl , make the slurry using Coating 1 ingredient list. Use whisk to make sure no lumps are formed.

10. Depending upon how big or small fish cakes you want to make, take a handful of mixture roll it into ball & flatten it into disc shape. Make all the patties like this and keep it in a plate.
11. Heat a heavy bottomed pan(I used cast iron) with 4-5 Tablespoon of oil.

12. Taking one patty/disc at a time dip it in the slurry we made in the step 9, let the extra coating drip in the same bowl. Now roll it in the Coat 2 mix(dry coating) and put it in the pan.

13. Repeat till you have around 5-6 patties in the pan(that's how many fit in my pan comfortably, do not overcrowd the pan).
14. Cook each side till it get brown(around 4 minutes on each side).
15. Shallow fry all the patties same way. Whenever you feel the oil in the pan is used up add little bit more oil & let it get warm before adding more patties into it.

Important Note : Don't let the long list of ingredients & no. of steps intimidate you. As they are all common ingredients found in a regular kitchen. Also read the steps before you start cooking as there is some resting time, which also mean that you can do most of the work before hand & only shallow fry them when ready to eat.

Enjoy these yummy fish cakes as is with some spicy chutney/condiment of your choice. I love it with green chutney(Indian style). Or you can turn these into complete meal by using them for making fish burgers, in that case use some spicy mayo & some salad in the buns along with these. Enjoy!
Finally I did made it to the end of the recipe.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quick and Simple Vegetable Soup

What do U do next  after baking a big batch of smelling so good kinda  and of course so yummy bread sticks ? You make a soup for the dinner. I know it doesn't look very tempting but taste wise it's not a compromise. Simple enough to put together in just a few minutes, let it simmer for little bit and it's ready.

It also happened to be the day when I was running out of  my fresh groceries. I did had enough carrots,celery & garlic to make a base for this soup. I used up whatever I had on hand but one can easily change the vegetables as per their taste & convenience. Use olive oil & vegetable stock and it's a perfect vegan soup.
What I used :
  • three stems of celery
  • two carrots
  • one small turnip
  • 3-4 radishes
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus stems/bottoms *(see notes)
  • few cloves of garlic(I used 6)
  • small floret of broccoli ( I added it because I had to use it, usually I don't put broccoli floret in the soup)
  • 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil/ butter
  • salt (as per your taste)
  • black pepper (as per your taste)
  • 2 tsp. of any kind of hot sauce
  • 2 big squirts of tomato ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. of white vinegar
  • 4-5 cups of vegetable/chicken stock
* Notes : cut the coarse woody ends of the asparagus stalk. Technique here is, hold the bottom end of the stalk with one hand & with the other hand hold the center part of it & now try to break it, where it breaks taking that as guideline cut the bottom from all the stalk usually around 2-3 inches from the bottom. For the soup we are only using bottoms, so peel them because skin of those hard part of the stalk  doesn't get soft even after cooking.
What I did :
  1. Chop all the vegetables into small cubes, try to keep them equal size.
  2. Chop the garlic.
  3. Heat oil/butter in a pot.
  4. Add garlic, sauté it for 30-40 seconds. Add all the chopped vegetables, sauté them till they get soft around 7-8 minutes.
  5. Add salt, black pepper, hot sauce and ketchup, stir.
  6. Add chicken/vegetable stock. Once it reaches boiling stage turn the heat to low & let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Once it's almost ready. add vinegar mix it up & turn the heat off.
Soup is ready to be served with sun dried tomatoes & cheddar cheese breadsticks. To turn it into complete meal on a cold day(which this year seems to be never ending) I pan fried some chicken sausages, oven roasted some asparagus and sweet potatoes.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Eggless Baking : Sundried Tomatoes & Cheddar Cheese Breadsticks

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” 
- James Beard

It's been long time since I posted any bread recipe here but that doesn't mean I'm not making one. Buying a bread is a rare occasion in my home now, which is actually limited to occasional bagel purchase. I feel it's more easy to bake at home then try to figure out the ingredient list of store bought bread & making sense out of that list. Talking of ingredients, came across this link regarding subway bread few days back thought of sharing it, do check it & then wonder why in the world they have to put chemicals in the bread which are used in the making of yoga mats and shoe soles.

Coming back to today's recipe, needed something for after school snack so decided to make bread sticks. When it comes to any kinda bread I always want to try something new, so instead of using my regular recipe for the bread sticks, I googled & quickly decided to use this recipe as a base, from food network. It's a very easy and basic kind of recipe, I did twisted it a little bit, replacing some of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour is normal here in my bread baking. The addition of cheddar & sun dried tomatoes really worked very well here and we all loved it except the kindergartner. Here's my version of these Almost Famous Breadsticks.

What I used :
  • 1 & 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. of  luke warm water
  • 2 &1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cup whole white wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter(at room temp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
Add-ins :
  • 1 & 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. of chilli flakes(dry red chilli seeds)
  • 1 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (I first soaked them in hot water for 10 minutes & then chop) 
For the Topping :
  • 4 Tablespoon unsalted melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
What I did :
  1. Place 1/2 cup of warm water in the bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast & sugar on top of it. Let it stand for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Mix salt, whole wheat flour and all purpose flour nicely with fork/whisk in a separate bowl.
  3. Yeast will start becoming foamy. Add flour and salt mixture, rest of the water, butter and oil to the yeast mixture.
  4. On the medium speed knead the dough till it becomes smooth & soft, around 7-9 minutes.
  5. Once the dough is smooth and soft add the cheese in 3-4 turns to the dough & mix it on slow speed.
  6. Now, at this point I divided the dough into two parts. As I was not sure if kids will like the addition of sun dried tomatoes or not, so half of the dough was oiled & kept in a oiled bowl covered with the kitchen towel/plastic wrap for rise.
  7. For second half of the dough slowly add(around 2 Tbsp. at a time) chopped sun dried tomatoes and red chilli flakes & let it mix at slow speed. Once the whole thing is mixed, oil this batch of the dough also and keep it in oiled bowl covered with kitchen towel/plastic wrap for rise.
  8. It will take anywhere from 60-90 minutes until the dough gets double.
  9. Prepare the baking sheet by lining them with parchment paper,
  10. Once the dough is doubled slightly punch it, sprinkle some flour on the workspace. Take first batch/ball of dough & cut it into 16 equal pieces. I usually make a log cut into half & further cut the two logs into half & so on.
  11. Now roll each piece of dough to 6-7 inches of log with around 3/4 inch thickness. Arrange them on the baking sheet around 2" apart. Finish rolling all the dough into bread sticks just like that.
  12. Cover these rolled breadsticks with oiled plastic wrap & let them rise for another 30-45 minutes.
  13. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  14. Melt the butter, brush it on the breadsticks & sprinkle them with 1/2 tsp. sea salt. There will be at least half of the butter left.  In the remaining butter add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, garlic powder & oregano, keep it aside.
  15. Bake until light golden color. Mine were done in 12-13 minutes.
  16. Take them out, now brush rest of the melted butter(mixed with sea salt, oregano + garlic powder) on the baked bread sticks & bake for another 1 minute.
  17. Cool them on wire rack. Serve with soup, pasta or simply marinara sauce.

Notes :
  1. It's a big batch of dough and makes a lot of bread sticks. I made average size not too big kind and I got 32 bread sticks.
  2. I reduced the qty. of salt in the dough as we were going to top the bread sticks also with the salt. And these were perfectly salted as per over taste. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Meet Indian Cousin of Falafel

Yes! you read it right, Indian Cousin of Falafel. Both are Legume based snacks, made with grinding soaked legumes, mixed with spices & herbs and deep fried. I know I got you when I say deep fried, who doesn't like deep fried food. One is world famous, made with garbanzo beans or you can say our very own white chana/chite chole or in plain English chickpeas. Where as other one is not very famous outside India, I'm talking about dal ke pakode(Lentil fritters) here. Famous or not famous these are perfect for any time, specially for this cold weather we are getting here in north east, snow storm after snow storm.

snow measurement by kiddos while the white stuff was still falling

Different parts of India have different versions of these made with different lentils but the one I'm going to talk about today is moong & chana dal pakode. In Dilli you can find moong dal ke ladoo(they are not called pakoras) from street vendors and that is totally different version, right now i'm saving them for some other day. But in Rajasthan very similar dal ke Pakode is very famous street food. I still remember after few weeks of my marriage when I went to Rajasthan we had these & they were the & hot....means garma garam & very spicy...loved it.

You can certainly make it with combination of different lentils(moong dhuli/yallow moong, masoor dhuli/Orange lentils & chana dal/Bengal Gram are my fav. for these pakoras) or with one only but the recipe today here is for the one made with moong & chana dal/lentil mixed together. It's very simple recipe more of a guideline. You can follow the recipe or add your own flavors to it & enjoy them garama garam with chai or roll them in a roti with some salad to keep it on the line of Pita & falafel sandwich or as we call it roti wrap.

What I Used :
  1. 1/2 cup moong dhuli (yellow moong lentils) Soaked5-6 hrs.
  2. 1/2 cup chana dal (Split & skinned Bengal Gram) Soaked 5-6 hrs.
  3. half cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
  4. 1 & 1/2 TBSP. of finely chopped ginger
  5. 3-4 green chillies finely chopped
  6. 3 TBSP. finely chopped onion (Optional)
  7. 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  8. 3/4 tsp. ground cilantro
  9. 3/4 tsp. garam masala
  10. 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder
  11. 1/4 tsp. Turmeric powder /Haldi
  12. salt as per taste  ( I use mix of table salt & kala namak/black salt)
  13. Oil for deep frying
Tip : If not sure about the spice & salt level, you can always taste a tiny bit of batter(a drop size) to check the salt as it doesn't contain any ingredients like raw meat or egg which can make you sick. I always do it while making any kinda fritters/pakoras.
What I did :
1. Wash and soak both the lentils for 5-6 hrs.
2. Drain water and grind them to paste using no or very little water(depending upon the power of your blender). I like to keep the texture bit coarse like wet semolina/suji.....take a little mixture between your thumb & finger & feel the consistency. You can have it smooth too.
3. Next add cilantro, ginger, green chillies, onions and all the dry spices. Mix them altogether.

4. Heat oil for frying preferably in a kadai, because that way u have to put less oil as compared to regular pot/pan.
5. Keeping the gas on medium drop the small size balls of the batter into the ball. Fry them till golden brown.

6. Drain on paper towel. Serve them while they are still hot/garma garam with some hot/spicy green chutney.

No Ketchup Please only kids are allowed to take regular ketchup :) .

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Eggless Baking : What's for Breakfast ? Milk & Cookies....

Note to myself : I should write a blog post today.

With kids at home b'coz of snow day here in north east, I didn't expected myself to write this post. But after a relaxing day of not cooking much & simply watching kids play in the snow, now when kids are tucked into their beds I'm here. First thing first "Happy 2014 to everyone out there".

As a first post of new year I'm gonna share something sweet today. It's not any traditional Indian sweet but I'm talking about cookies. To be exact healthy cookies. YES, they are so healthy that I don't mind calling them Breakfast cookies, you see all that stuff peeking from the cookies that's good for u stuff. They have all the goodness of oats, almonds, flaxseeds, whole wheat and as most of my baking in this blog these are eggless too. Before we move to the recipe, please read the Notes.

Notes :
1) To reduce the quantity of butter I'm using homemade applesauce, one can use equal quantity of mashed banana also or if U like simply use butter only instead of fruit sauce.

2) If you are grinding your own flaxseeds, go slow I prefer pulse mode. Over grinding can get all the oils out from flaxseeds, to avoid that u can also add 1 tsp. of sugar(from the recipe) to the seeds while grinding them.

3) If U decide to use plain white sugar instead of Agave, which is liquid sugar in that case reduce the amount of flour by 1 Tbsp.

4) These are drop cookies but they won't spread like regular oatmeal & choc. chip cookies. So, for that reason after dropping the dough onto the cookie sheet I use my fingers or back of fork to gently press them down a little bit. It'll be sticky but make sure u keep cleaning the back of fork.

5) Following recipe gave me around 30-32 cookies of 2" diameter. Which I think is perfect size when u have my kind of test every single batch/tray coming out of the oven. which means by the time I'm done baking cookies I have already eaten 3-4 cookies not to mention what happen while they are cooling :)

6) This one is more of a tip. You can reuse the parchment sheets.

What I used :
  1. 1/2 cup Quick cooking Oats
  2. 1/4 cup White Whole Wheat flour(atta can be used here)
  3. 1/4 cup Almond meal/powder
  4. 1/4 cup Flaxmeal/ Powdered flax seeds *(see notes)
  5. 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. Unbleached all purpose flour
  6. 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp. Salt
  8. 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  9. 4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  10. 2 Tbsp. Unsweetened Apple Sauce (can use butter instead)
  11. 6 Tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar
  12. 2 Tbsp. Agave Nectar (can be replaced by regular white sugar u might have to reduce flour by 1Tbsp. in that case)
  13. 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
  14. 1 Tbsp. Flax meal + 3 Tbsp. Warm Water mixed together (acts as egg substitute for 1 egg, also called flaxegg).
  15. 1/2 cup Mini Choco. chips

What I did :

1)Turn the oven to 350 degree. Mix all the dry ingredients from no. 1 to 8. Mix them nicely using a whisk, keep it aside.
2) Beat : Butter + Applesauce + Dark Brown Sugar + Agave Nectar using a handheld or stand mixer for 3-4 minutes on med. speed, till it start looking smooth & fluffy.
3) Add flaxegg (flax meal mixed with water) and vanilla to the butter mix. Mix evenly.
4) Turn the mixer to slow, and slowly add dry mix to the wet mixture till all the flour is mixed evenly. DO NOT OVER MIX.
5) Gently fold the Choc. Chips into the batter. Reserve couple of Tbsp. of Choco. chips if U like to have them on top of your cookies(clearly visible).
6) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a spoon drop around walnut size dough balls on
to the parchment lined cookies sheet keeping them around 2" apart.

7) Using a fork press these dough balls(*see Notes) to give them little flat look(see the above picture) & top them with 3-4 chocolate chips.

8) Bake them for around 13-15 minutes. I'll suggest checking them at 12 min. and after that keep an eye. Mine took little extra time they were done in 16 minutes.
9) Let them sit on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes & then transfer to cooling rack.

10) Once completely cool, store them in airtight container.

Now, these are the cookies you don't mind giving to your kids when they ask for more. My Lil'one enjoyed these so much that first day she didn't let anyone else eat these...she kept saying "they are all mine, if anyone eats them they will be finished". These cookies also got approval of one good friend & her family too. She could not believe me when I told her about how less butter I have used.

Now pour yourself some milk & enjoy milk & cookies as morning breakfast or late night snack.

Update on Jan/29/2014 : These cookies can be stored at room temp. in airtight container for upto 3 weeks, though I doubt they'll have any chance of staying that long, given that u know where to reach to grab one. Also, would like to add that these got approval from India also. I send some to my parents & in-laws & they loved it. So, I guess I can add that...these cookies are travel safe too :) .

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kale and Vegetable Soup

Right now is the perfect time, to start back on to the blogging. Nothing special about this time, it's just that once you take a break from something it's always difficult to go back. So, right now and I really mean that, hardly 5 minutes back(before I started to write this post) while checking some old photos I saw this photo taken back on August 24th of this year and I decided right now is the right time to blog about it. If I don't do it right now it'll again take months.
This soup was not made for blog. But when I made it for the first time back in august and one spoon of it and first thing I said to myself(actually to my family) was that this recipe needs to be shared. It's so tasty, specially with the onset of cold weather it's perfect for any night of the week. Since then I have made few different versions of this but the one I'm gonna share today is the original one. Kale is the star ingredient in this. Kale is one of the super foods, it has lot of good qualities but it's also the food which has lot of residual pesticides, so organic is the way to go for this.
Notes :
  •  It's not easy to buy everything organic but in my household I have my own list of what to buy organic and what not to. So kale, celery, carrots and corn from this recipe falls under the organic list. I so want to discuss more about organic food here but it has to wait.
  • I like to chop veggies, specially kale, very fine for this kinda soup. Pressure cooker method does make veggies very soft but the veggies used in this soup still retain their shape & the reserved sautéed veggie mixture of mushrooms, peas & corn give the final soup a nice texture.
  • In case if Kale is tough you can skip using it's stem or chop little extra at the bottom to discard & chop rest of the stem very finely. In my case I'm getting some really young & soft  organic kale in my local grocery store.
  • I'm using Pressure cooker but this soup is very easily doable in any regular pot/pan.
  • The peas and corn I use are usually very tender, in case if you have tough ones you can also boil them first.

What I Used :

  • 1 small bunch of fresh organic kale, chopped(approx. tightly packed 3 cups)
  • 2 stems of celery(pref. organic)
  • half red onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 medium size carrots
  • one cup chopped mushrooms
  • half cup peas (I used frozen)
  • half cup corn kernels(I used organic frozen)
  • water/chicken stock/ veggie stock around 4 cups
  • salt as per taste
  • 2 pinches of black pepper
  • squirt of tomato ketchup (don't miss this, it add a nice flavor)
  • Lemon juice as per taste
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin oil (divided use)
  • few spoons of grated cheese of your choice for garnishing(our new fav. is Jarlsberg)
What I did :
  1. Clean and wash all the vegetables. In case of Kale if using fresh bunch, chop around 1 inch stems from the bottom & discard.
  2. Finely chop all the veggies, garlic & green chilies.
  3. Heat the pressure cooker on med. high and add 1/2  tablespoon of oil and sauté chopped mushrooms in it. Once they start to get little brown add peas & corn. Sprinkle pinch of salt and sauté  for 3-4 minutes, stirring in between.
  4. Using a slotted spoon take out half of this mushroom, peas & corn mixture out of the cooker and save it for using it later in the soup.
  5. Turn the gas to med. and add rest of the oil to the cooker. Add chopped garlic in the cooker. Let it cook for 30-40 seconds & then add rest of the veggies. stir everything and sauté  for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add salt, black pepper, green chilies and tomato ketchup. Add around 4 cups of water. Close the cooker lid and let it cook.
  7. After one whistle turn the gas on slow & keep for another 2-3 minutes. Turn the gas off. Once all the steam escaped then only open the cooker.
  8. When ready to serve. Pour soup into the soup bowls, add some lemon juice, mix and  garnish each bowl with tablespoon or so of reserved mixture of mushrooms, peas & corn and top it with some grated cheese. Enjoy it with some hardy toasted bread.