November 22, 2012

Vegetarian Thanksgiving



I had always wanted to make a Thanksgiving lunch that we loved to have. All long for the past 12 years we had experimented with the feathered and leathered kind of TG recipes, but we did not relish them (partly because of our taste preferences). So this time I found the Well's Vegetarian TG recipes in NYT and liked it a lot. 

In the interest of world peace and harmony, which is in the TG spirit, we decided to pick from the recipe list 3-4 jewish and arab/palestinian recipes as a dedication to the cease-fire, and to reflect upon the fact that food from around the world taste well together, and so can people. It worked out perfect, we loved the food. Here are the recipes (some are modified to our liking) we tried for the day….


Hummus a la Sweet Pumpkin




  • Sweet pumpkin (sugar pumpkin) chunks - about a cup
  • 1/2 cup fava beans soaked and cooked
  • Tbs EV olive oil
  • Tbs sesame seeds 
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Saute pumpkin chunks in a tsp of olive oil and cook covered for 2-3 minutes till soft.
  • Transfer to a food processor or blender (I used VitaMix). Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add a little extra olive oil or water, and process until the desired consistency is reached. 
  • Serve with fresh cut carrots, and freshly made almond wheat rotis.
  • Yield: 3 servings


Coconut Mashed Yams With Raisins





  • 3 small yams, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (I used 2 garnet yams and 1 Japanese Yam)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I made this using 1 cup of fresh coconut and 3/4 cup of water in VitaMix) 
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes and drained

  • Place yam pieces in a large pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and return to pot.
  • Add coconut milk, honey, salt and spices, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste. 
  • Add more coconut milk for a creamier texture and more maple syrup for a sweeter flavor.
  • Mix in raisins and serve.
  • Yield - 3 Servings

Couscous and Cauliflower Kugel With Cumin







  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green chilly
  • 3-4 red pearl onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup couscous
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 head medium cauliflower - broken into florets
  • 1/2 cup freshly made paneer (add lemon juice and yogurt to boiling milk and pass thru a cheese cloth)
  • 1 egg

  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the cumin seeds and saute for 1 minute. Add onion, garlic and chopped green chilly and cook, stirring, until just about tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add water and salt to taste and bring to boil. Add couscous and remove from flame, keep covered for 5 minutes. Flake with fork and make sure no water remains.
  • Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and oil a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
  • Finely chop the steamed cauliflower. Place in a mixing bowl. In a food processor, purée the paneer until smooth. Add the eggs and process until the mixture is smooth. Add salt and mix together. Scrape into the bowl with the cauliflower. Add the couscous and stir everything together. Scrape into the oiled baking dish. Drizzle a tsp of olive oil over the top and place in the oven.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares or wedges.
  • Yield: 3 servings.

Chermoula Eggplant With Bulgur and Yogurt


  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper crushed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs olive oil 
  • 3 small (Indian) eggplants
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat (soaked for 3 hours)
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • handful of raisins
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra to finish
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • handful sliced almonds
  • lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used my homemade yogurt passed thru a cheese cloth)
  • Salt

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • To make the chermoula, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, chipotle, lemon, 1 Tbsn of olive oil, salt.
  • Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise into 3-4 slices. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Put in the oven and roast for around 12-15 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.
  • Meanwhile, place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water.
  • Soak the raisins in the warm water. After 10 minutes, drain the raisins and add them to the bulgur, along with the remaining oil. Add the herbs, almonds, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  • Serve the eggplants warm or at room temperature. Place eggplant slices cut side up. Spoon the bulgur on top, spoon over some yogurt, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with a drizzle of oil.
  • Yield: 3 servings

Coconut Ginger Pumpkin Pie 

This one is not from the Well's list, but from Wholefoodsmarket recipes. After seeing ginger and coconut flavor, I could not pass off this recipe, and we could not could not hold back till today, we could not resist and had it yesterday itself ;-)


For the Filling:

  • 1/2 of a medium sugar pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk 
  • (1 cup of coconut with 3/4 cup of water in Vitamix)
  • 1/2 cup organic raw sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt




For the Crust: 

  • 1 cup of almond powder (Almonds in VitaMix or any dry grind blender)
  • 3/4 cup of fresh coconut 
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger ( I has sliced and soaked ginger in honey overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons melted virgin coconut oil



  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick pumpkin with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until very tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
  • Meanwhile, to make the crust, grind coconut with dates and ginger without adding any water, transfer to a  bowl, mix in almond powder and a pinch of himalayan salt. Mix until moistened and well combined. Press mixture into and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly.
  • To finish making the filling, peel roasted pumpkin and transfer flesh to the bowl of a food processor. Discard skins. Process until pumpkin is puréed. Add coconut milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and process until evenly combined.
  • Pour pumpkin filling into crust and bake about 50 minutes or until just set in center of pie. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Serve or chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.




November 19, 2012

Vegan - Raw - CheeseCake ??


Akku and I love cheesecake, but we do not want to indulge in a piece of real 'cheese' cake because of many reasons (not going to list them here).  Jyo does not like the idea of cheese itself.  So, I was looking for a  not really cheese 'cheesecake' idea, and was glad to find ideas in some of the raw food websites. 


Crust :
Hazelnut - 2/3 cup
Dates - 3-4 (Medjool dates - pitted)
Himalayan salt - a pinch
Filling:
Cashew nut - 1 cup ( soaked for couple of hours)
Lemon juice - 1/4 cup
Coconut oil - 1/4 cup
Organic wildflower honey - 1/4 cup
Himalayan salt - a pinch


Grease two 4 inch spring form pans with coconut oil.

For Crust: Pulse the ingredients for crust into a coarse meal. Divide and press into the bottom of the pans, keep refrigerated till filling is ready.

For filling:
Drain the cashews, discard the soaked water.
Melt coconut oil in a bowl kept over boiling water.
Blend all ingredients to get a smooth cream cheese like consistency.
Divide and fill into prepared crusts.
Freeze for 2-3 hours.
Keep it outside for 20-30 minutes before serving.



November 8, 2012

Ginger Hot Cocoa.. Anyone?


What is more refreshing than a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter evening? How about if you spice it up with some ginger?

Raw Cocoa Powder - 2 tsp
Fresh Ginger Root - 1/2 inch piece
Filtered water - 1 cup
Coconut palm sugar - 2 tsp *
Milk - 1/2 cup

Crush the ginger with mortar and pestle (you can just grate the ginger if that is easier).
Add ginger and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the water is reduced to half. Your kitchen will thank you for the warm scent of ginger..:-)
Meanwhile add cocoa and sugar to a mug, mix it with couple of teaspoons of milk until there are no more lumps.
Add milk to boiling ginger-water and heat thru. Strain this into the mug with cocoa and whisk well.
Enjoy hot !!


* You can also sweeten with raw sugar or honey.

November 4, 2012

Bhelpuri ReInvented

When the weather outside is cold, we crave for something spicy and crunchy. Bhelpuri (more commonly known as Bhel) is a versatile Indian street food. It is something that can be customized for any spice level and at the same time, can be made simple and wholesome. The original recipe is more of a snack, and calls for crispy rice puffs, deep fried savories, with one or more sauces/chutneys and topped with your choice of toppings and garnishes. Some versions also have mashed potatoes, making it a more of a quick meal. This version is more of an Indian-American fall version with the addition of yams, which are in plenty during this season. I am also replacing the tamarind chutney with a cranberry chutney. 




  • Organic brown rice puffs and Kamut (wheat) puffs - 2 cups each - Dry toast both puffs on medium heat till crisp, for about 5 minutes.
  • Sweet potato or yam - 1 medium - Peel, slice, cook, and mash.
  • Onion - 1 small - Chop fine, use raw or saute in little bit of coconut oil if you cannot handle raw onions. Mix with the mashed sweet potato.


Red chutney


  • Fresh cranberry - 1/2 cup
  • Medjool dates - 2
  • Red chilly - 2
  • Water - 1/2 cup
  • Sea salt as per taste
  • Bring water and cranberry to a boil to make the cranberries pop and soften.
  • Grind all the ingredients to a fine chutney.

Green chutney

  • Cilantro - 1/2 cup
  • Mint or basil - 1/4 cup
  • Green chilly- 2-3
  • Garlic- 1 clove
  • Sea salt as per taste
  • Grind all ingredients along with enough water to make a fine chutney.






Optional toppings & seasonings: 
Be creative and play around with these. There are just some ideas.
  • Sliced fresh coconut, pom seeds, chopped raw mango etc.
  • Amchur (dry mango powder), homemade chat masala etc.
  • Chopped cilantro, mint etc.
  • Each person will mix all the above according to their own spice level and level of crunchiness. Enjoy while it lasts :-)


  




November 1, 2012

Jyo's Clear Vegetable Soup


Kitchen at home is my world and Jyo does not like to help out as he says he prefers to have good food and leave the cooking to meJ . For Akku there is one thing that comes to his mind when it comes to Jyo cooking, and that is the ‘clear vegetable soup’ which is what he makes when I feel a lil down. Both Akku and I like it a lot, as it is quite simple and honest, though it can get to you if you get it every day in the week as it once happened , maybe too much of a good thing is bad…

Like every good recipes, there is a story behind this soup as well. During Jyo’s first job, his vegetarian boss took him to a fine restaurant for dinner. The boss took the ‘clear vegetarian soup’ and recommended Jyo to try it too, now this was a time when the guy felt that specials can only be of the feathered or leather-ed type J (ohh,much has changed since J)…So he agreed for the same with false enthusiasm (and very reluctant inside), and he was pleasantly surprised on the very first sip itself that he fell in love with its simple taste. Part of the reason could be that the expectation levels were so low, but there is no disputing the fact that the simple taste was honest and pure, and more often than not, simple is better.., so here is the recipe now and I am sure you will like it too J

Cabbage - 1/2 cup 
Snap Peas - 4-5
Baby Corn - 3-4 
Ginger - 1 inch
Lemon juice - 1 T
Salt - as per taste

(be creative and try any combination of vegetables)


Cut vegetables into 1 inch pieces and julienne ginger. Add the veggies and ginger to a medium sauce pan with about 3 cups of water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10-15 minutes till vegetables are soft. Add lemon juice and salt and adjust taste. That's it.. serve hot immediately.