Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quinoa Pilaf with Tempeh and Broccoli

After a long and dreary winter, spring has finally set foot. There is a lot that needs attention now, yard work, prepping my vegetable patch. I have to divide my time between these activities and cooking. I like to make simple dishes with minimal ingredients that is also wholesome. This month's edition of Vegetarian Times had the answer to my wishes. There were several dishes that could be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

After many weeks I cooked with quinoa, the new fad grain  in orange juice and vegetable stock and served it with tempeh and broccoli cooked in orange juice. Tempeh is fermented soy bean cake, originally from Indonesia. It could be made with a combination of grains like millet, brown rice and barely too. It could be found in all major grocery stores. It is a nice substitute for meat.I followed the recipe from Vegetarian Times. Cooking in coconut oil brought a nice flavor to the dish.

Quinoa Pilaf
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Tempeh and Broccoli
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 8-oz pkg. tempeh, cubed
2 tsp. minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno chile, minced
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
4 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbs. chopped toasted cashews

1. Heat coconut oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa, ginger, and garlic ; saute 1 minute.
2. Add orange juice, 1 1/2 cups water, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce
 heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.
3. Meanwhile to make Tempeh, heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tempeh, and cook for 7 minutes, or until lightly golden, stirring occasionally.
 4. Add ginger, garlic, and chile, and saute 30 seconds.
5. Add orange juice, broth, and soy sauce to tempeh, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Add broccoli and stir-fry 5 minutes, or until broccoli is crisp-tender.

6. Transfer Quinoa Pilaf to serving bowl. Top with Tempeh and Broccoli. Garnish with green onions and cashews.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Upside down Orange Cake

Browsing through my emails, I came across a recipe for this beautiful cake. Having a case full of naval oranges, I decided to end my spring break with  this sweet caramelized  orange cake. What a treat it was. I baked it directly in my trusty cast iron skillet.

1 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2-3 naval oranges
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn meal
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Spread butter to bottom of a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Sprinkle brown sugar.
2. Grate 1 tsp peel of orange, and set aside. Using a mandolin slicer, slice orange to 1/8-inch thick slices. Remove peel using a sharp knife and remove seeds. Arrange sliced oranges in single layer over sugar in skillet.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk In a small bowl, whisk milk, oil, egg, vanilla, and orange peel until blended. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat 1 minute. Spoon batter over oranges and spread evenly.
4. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on wire rack 10 minutes. Run knife around side of cake to loosen from skillet. Place platter on top of skillet;carefully invert cake onto platter. Remove skillet. Let cool 30 minutes.

Asparagus Fettuccine

A nice way to serve spring asparagus through this beautiful dish. This recipe incorporates asparagus in two ways: blended into a smooth sauce that's tossed with fettuccine, and sauteed in bite size pieces that is stirred into the dish just before serving.

5 Tbs. olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. fettuccine
1 Tbs. grated lemon zest

1. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes, until golden. Stir in asparagus, and season with salt. Saute 2 minutes, then cover skillet, cook for 5 minutes until asparagus is bright green and just tender. Transfer half of asparagus to plate and set aside.

2. Cook remaining asparagus 1 minute more, then transfer to food processor. Add lemon juice, pepper, and remaining oil. Blend until sauce is smooth.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot, and toss with asparagus sauce, reserved cooking water, and lemon zest. Stir in reserved asparagus, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lauki ki Kofta

Lauki or bottle gourd is a very popular vegetable in India. Kofta is fried dumpling made with a variety of vegetables and cooked in a mild creamy sauce. It is a popular Mughal dish. Today I made kofta from bottle gourd and grated paneer. I cooked the koftas in appe pan instead of frying.  It is a favorite dish in my family. My son loves to eat it served over rice.

Ingredients for Kofta:
1 Lauki, peeled and grated
1/2 Cup grated paneer
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 green chili,chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste

Ingredients for sauce:
1 onion, chopped
1 large tomato
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 pod garlic, mined
1/2 inch cinamon
1 clove
1 cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin-coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon kashmiri mirchi powder
1/2 teaspoon dried mango powder(amchur)
1 teaspoon Kitchen King Masala
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
2 Tbsp. grated fresh koya
2 Tbsp. cream


1. Squeeze water from grated lauki. Mix with it grated paneer, chopped chili, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and flour. Make small balls out of the mixture.

2. Deep fry lauki balls in batches till golden brown. I cooked the koftas in appe pan. Keep aside.

3. Blanch onion and tomato. Cool, grind together to puree. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a saucepan. Add cinnamon, clove and cardamom. Add all spices and stir for a minute. Stir onion tomato puree. Add water as required. Cover and cook on low flame,stirring occasionally till raw smell leaves for 10 minutes.
4. Add grated koya and cream and cook for a few minutes. Gently add koftas to the sauce and cook for couple minutes. Add a teaspoon crushed kasuri methi.
5. Serve hot with Naan or rice.