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UnPlanned results !

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It all started with peeling garlic. My meditation this morning. That led to seeing the tomatoes, the red bell peppers, walnuts and the food processor came out. The peppers were charred. Sesame seeds and coriander was pounded and ground. The pickled dates and amla ( Indian gooseberry) were acknowledged. All this resulted in a beautiful paste/ dip.

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Tomatoes, charred peppers,sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds,ground white sesame seeds, ground fenugreek seeds, ground coriander seeds,pickled dates and amla, garlic and lime. I added a few walnuts later.All tastes were balanced from the ingredients.

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 large red bell peppers, charred over open flame
  • 1/2 cup sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons ground sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground fenugreek seeds( optional)
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
  • 1 cup pickled dates and amla( vinegar - spice pickle aged 90 days)
  • 6-8 large garlic cloves
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts( not in picture)
  1. All ingredients except the lime was processed together to a fine paste. I like the gritty texture and feel. if you want a smooth paste, soak nuts, seeds and ground spices in 1/2 cup water for at least 30 minutes and grind in a high power blender.
  2. Finish paste with lime juice. 

Note: This required no added salt but you can definitely season to your taste .

This yielded  3 1/4 cups approximately.

Enjoy !

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CAULIFLOWER 1 2 3 !!

The Minimalist cauliflower

The Minimalist cauliflower

This dish is simple and tasty.

  • 1 medium sized head of cauliflower, cut into florets , stem and leaves included, washed 
  • 4 Tablespoons cooking oil of choice ( olive, coconut, mustard or ghee)
  • 3 Tablespoons heaped coriander powder
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes ( fresh or canned)
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. In a small bowl mix the water, coriander powder, black pepper and turmeric . Let sit aside.
  2. Heat a large pan. Add the oil. Keep heat medium low.  Add the water and spice paste and cook for about 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir. Put a lid on and cook on low heat for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add cauliflower and salt. Stir well till all the cauliflower gets coated with the spice paste and tomatoes. Cover and cook 6-8 minutes, stirring once or twice in between. Check tenderness of cauliflower. The last couple of minutes cook without covering.
  5. Finish with a splash of the lemon juice. This dish can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature .

Enjoy!

 

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Cilantro Cucumber Dip!

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The cooking today was inspired by minimalism and availability of ingredients on hand. The perfect combination. This dip or chutney is simple and versatile in its use.

1 medium size cucumber, rough chopped

2 bunches of cilantro, washed 

1 teaspoon of fresh ginger- turmeric paste ( optional)

3 Tablespoons of almond butter

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder

1 Tablespoon Amla ( Indian gooseberry) powder ( optional )

2 limes juiced ( add 1 more if not using amla

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder 

  • Put everything in the food processor and grind to desired dip consistency.

Enjoy as:

  • Dressing for pasta or noodle salad
  • Spread on sandwiches
  • Sauce for grilled fish,chicken or vegetables
  • Potato or cauliflower salad for picnics
  • Sauce for tacos

Reaffirms that Simple is tasty. Less is better. 

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Indian Rice Lentil casserole !Simple !  Easy ! Tasty ! 

A one pot lentil- rice casserole with a flavor inspired by South India ! An easy meal that satisfies traditional tastes.

1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed and strained

1 medium ,yellow onion, peeled , sliced fine

3 cups cooked Chana dal ( Bengal Gram lentils ) substitute split peas, garbanzo or black eye peas

1 small cauliflower, prepped into small flowerettes

1/2 bunch cilantro , washed, chopped, for garnish

3 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped

3 tablespoons ghee or oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon  fenugreek seeds

8-10 curry leaves

1 tablespoon turmeric powder

2 dried red chilies ( optional )

1 large lemon , juiced

Salt to taste

2 cups water, hot

  • Heat a Dutch oven. Add ghee and temper spices in sequence starting with the whole chilies,  mustard, cumin and fenugreek.
  • Toast in ghee till for 2-3 minutes till they snap, crackle and pop!
  • Add curry leaves and turmeric. Then add the onions and ginger and sauté for about 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice and sauté it with the mixture for about two minutes .
  • Now add the cooked lentils, cauliflower , salt and the hot water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer till water is almost absorbed.( 10-15 minutes)
  • Cover tightly.  Shut the heat and do not open the pot for 30 minutes.
  • Fluff the mixture and finish off with the lemon juice and cilantro!

Enjoy with cucumber raita, papad and favorite Indian pickle.

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Realize the Value not just the price !

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IMG_2108.JPG This creamy Cauliflower soup is made from the cast off trimmings that typically end up in the compost ! In cooking mindfully and Divinising the food , the cauliflowers encompassed so much more! I am filled with gratitude in recognizing it always !

Stalks and leaves of 4 medium sized cauliflowers 1 large potato, peeled, quartered Smoked salt for seasoning to taste( 1.5 - 2 teaspoons) 1/2 gallon( approximately, )water 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands or one large pinch( optional) 1 lemon

In a large Dutch oven, bring all ingredients to a boil. Simmer for at least 35-40 minutes. Blend till smooth . Add more liquid to get soup consistency of choice. Finish with a splash of lemon juice.

Find a sunny corner. Ladle into bowl. Be grateful! Savour!!

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WTF!#* Turnip Tapas

20140709-164952-60592859.jpg These began with pure inspiration and creativity. A by product of Mindfulness in the kitchen!

6 medium turnips, peeled and sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, yellow , brown or black A pinch of saffron...6-8 strands 1 level tablespoon of paprika 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and toast them a couple of minutes till they snap, crackle and pop in sound and release a nutty aroma. Add the saffron and toast a minute. Now add the turnips , paprika and salt. Stir well. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes till turnips are tender. Finish off with the vinegar and cook another minute or so to dry off the liquid.

Serve garnished with cilantro or parsley! Here they were served with a plum grilling jam and spiced amaranth!

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WTF !#*~

20140630-115518-42918640.jpg World Through Food !!! WTF ! The turnips were cradled and peeled with a paring knife. The goal was not to not break the peel , but just to use peeling turnips as my MINDFUL EXERCISE ! I felt the hands hugging the turnip! I saw the hand , the thumb and the fingers, move the knife to create a strip of peel, and turn and turn again! I heard the slice and peel sound. A gentle whoosh whoosh whoosh ! The turnips lay together having shed their outer layer. They gave up their splashes of purple. The peels curled in joy as though rejoicing in the knowledge of the karmic Wheel of action ! This MINDFULNESS resulted in unbroken peels of all the turnips. This MINDFULNESS resulted in a heightened sense of awareness ! This MINDFULNESS resulted in a burst of creativity to combine saffron, mustard, smoked paprika and sherry vinegar to make Turnip Tapas !

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Birthing a WRACO !!

20140618-135821-50301904.jpg Could not make up my mind about this being a wrap or a taco ! The WRACO was born!

1 pack, organic, extra firm tofu, sliced 12-14 corn tortillas 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce of choice or homemade 1 cup salad greens of choice 2 avocados 1 small red onion, chopped 1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved 3 limes, juiced 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 2 Serrano chilies, chopped fine ( optional) 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Salt Pepper to taste 1/2 teaspoon toasted, cumin seed powder ( optional)

In a pan, simmer the tofu slices and BBQ sauce, till thick and it almost oats the slices.(15-20 minutes approximately) In a mason jar add the oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin powder and shake a few minutes. Place the greens, avocados, onions, tomatoes, chilies and cilantro in a bowl. When ready to assemble the taco or wrap , add the dressing and toss well.

To ASSEMBLE ! Put about half a cup of the salad in the middle of a warm corn tortilla . Top with a couple of slices of tofu. Wrap and fold ! ENJOY!

Makes about 6-8 servings !

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Hum hum hummus !

Have you heard your Garbanzos snap, crackle, pop??If you soak them, hear them !!

They were slow cooked for about 2 hours! About 4 cups cooked garbanzo beans 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 large clove garlic 1 large, juiced lemon 1/4 cup tahini All lovingly blended till smooth.

Bowled

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Kitchen ! Go from Stressed to Blessed

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20140526-141522-51322239.jpg With busy lifestyles, it is is not uncommon to be stressed about the kitchen. Healthy food that needs to be tasty, convenient and trendy! Follow these tips and feel less stressed: 1. Open your mind. 2. Be Creative. 3. Build a recipe by available ingredients and favorable tastes. 4. Add the intention of love and good health to the dish when you are preparing it. 5. Be joyful , keep it simple and have fun cooking.

RECIPE for a BLESSED PASTA DISH !

1/2 kilo or 1 pound whole wheat pasta ( fusili, penne or your choice ) 1 kilo or 2 pounds of vegetables in season and choice( asparagus, baby tomatoes, spinach or other market greens, carrots, peas....) 1/2 pound fresh paneer or 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 6-8 garlic cloves chopped or 1 teaspoon asafetida if you don't use garlic 10-12 basil or tulsi leaves, chopped fine 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings ( optional) NO need to run and get some ! 4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee

1. Prep the vegetables that you are going to be using. 2. Heat a pan . Add the fat. Add the garlic or asafetida . Add the pepper flakes. Add the prepared vegetables. Sauté a few minutes till they are tender. 3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt. Cook pasta as per instructions. Drain. 4. Toss pasta, vegetables , basil leaves ,crumbled paneer or Parmesan cheese together. 5. Season with salt if necessary. Enjoy with the family.

This will serve 4-6 people.

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Spring ! Spring! Sprung !

Seasons and Time have a way of surprising us! Just the other day I was Happy New Year- ing !! Of course I knew that winter would end , no matter the temperatures in California, and yet here I am into Spring! I am not ready but who cares..SPRING has SPRUNG upon us . So, I surrender to it. A walk through the Farmer's Market and my bags are filled with citrus , three different colors of cauliflowers and asparagus that is sweet and tender! Baby portabellos, nestled next to garlic chives and you know The Poetry goes on!

So the intention to RE Balance my life is on. And how do I do this ? SIMPLY - FIVE

1. Being present in every moment.

2. Being Accepting of Me.

3. Being Grateful ! No matter what.

4. Being Joy and sharing it.

5. Being Thankful of every moment.

For the Solar calendar this is the joyous New Year and I choose this time to simplify by Simply-Five !

Did you think this would not translate into the kitchen?

My Spring Bowl of Cauliflower with Paanch Phoron! The Five spice blend of Bengal.... Cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds.

2 cauliflowers, cut into flowerettesq, washed and rinsed 3 tablespoons of the five spice mix(Paanch Phoron ) 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium lemons, juiced Salt to taste Cracked pepper to taste

Heat a large pan on medium heat. Add the oil. Keep the heat low as you do not want the olive oil to reach smoking point. Add the spices to the oil and gently toast them till you hear some Snap! Crackel! Pop! Add the cauliflower and salt. Raise the heat to medium high. Toss the cauliflower pieces well. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove lid and toss the cauliflower. Check for done ness. You want them to be fork tender . Cook for a few more minutes without the lid . When done, remove to another bowl. Add the pepper and lemon juice. Toss well and serve. This can be served hot, warm, at room temperature and chilled! If using 2 cauliflowers for their color, this will serve at least 8-10 servings!

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Spring is in the air !

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Spring is in the air !

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20140319-114250.jpg We have had the winter to hibernate and reflect on. Now we awaken, reNew! reEnergize and reInvent ourselves into action. A walk to through the Farmers market has indications of spring everywhere.

Keep it Simple Asparagus !

3 bunches of spring asparagus 2 large lemons, juiced 1 cup of green and black olives, I kept them whole 6 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped 3 tablespoons of olive oil Salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash and cut off the woody bottoms of the asparagus. 2. Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit . 3. Place asparagus spears in baking sheet. Drizzle the oil. Add the olives and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. 4.place in hot oven for 12-14 minutes. 5. Add lemon juice and serve. Good, hot or cold or at room temperature.

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Get your own Bowl !

My Bowl stories begin more than five decades ago in Kolkata, India. Mom would pick me up from school and we would have lunch together . The lunch would be traditional India...curried lentils, rice, vegetables, pickle and relish but the special item would be the bowl! Medium large brass metal bowls. Very wide and shallow, almost like the pasta bowl. I guess many , many years later the bowl has resurfaced in my life with so much more than childhood memories! Cupping the bowl of food in my hands gets me connected to the food. This food will nourish my mind, my body and my spirit!! It helps me honor the fact that the Universe and I are One ! And so I see The Universe in my bowl !!

I started my Sunday by talking to my Mum and got Bowled over. So the pasta got Bowled and spice whispered!! Enjoy the idea!

The pasta = penne pasta with a Kumato pesto The cauliflower = cauliflower in a lemon, garlic and black pepper broth The carrots, crimini mushrooms and green bell pepper = olive oil and bishop weed ( ajwain ) The fresh tomatoes= fresh tomatoes, feta and will be adding some fresh tarragon!!

The best idea of the bowl is that one can create their own special pasta bowl !!

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Don't kill them !

I am always bothered about making strawberry jam! We take the farm fresh, vitamin loaded strawberries. Then add sugar and cook and cook and cook till we have jam for the year !! This process unfortunately kills a lot of the nutrients and ends up with too much sugar! Here is my 5 minute method of fresh tasting, healthy strawberry jam!

1 Cup fresh strawberries, washed and hulled 2 Tablespoons chia seeds

Put the two ingredients in the blender. Purée. Refrigerate for several hours to gel. Enjoy! This jam will need to be refrigerated . Uses:

I love having this in my breakfast cereal. Make your own fruit yogurt by adding a dollop to your plain yogurt. Great with scones. Makes a great strawberry vinaigrette.

Need I go on.

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Lavender kissed chocolate balls !!

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The idea of creating these chocolate balls came from several sources. Lavender is in full bloom. In India there is a popular milk based dessert called "peda". And then there is dark chocolate!

So these delicious lavender kissed chocolate balls take shape.

Intuitive recipe

1 # fresh ricotta or homemade paneer ( Indian pot cheese) 6-7 ounces 70% dark chocolate Organic and Fair Trade preferred 1 1/2 cups almond meal 1/3 cup organic, raw sugar 1/2 teaspoon crushed lavender

1. Place ricotta in a heavy bottomed pan. On medium heat cook the ricotta for a few minutes. Add the sugar and keep cooking till the mixture thickens and begins to pull in from the sides of the pan. 2. Add the chocolate in small chunks. Keep stirring till the chocolate has melted and mixed evenly. 3. Add the lavender . Shut the heat and mix thoroughly. 4. Cool the mixture. Form into balls and refrigerate.

This makes about 20-24 balls.

Enjoy !

 

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What Pride !!

It is truly a Pride weekend in San Francisco , Bay area !!! inspired to make a Pride Salad! Purple rice, millet, red bell peppers, zucchini, carrots , fresh mango and fennel. It is proudly dressed with  preserved lemons and flax seed oil !!2013-06-29 10.38.28 2013-06-29 10.39.09

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Beat the heat !!

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Beat the heat !!

2013-06-27 13.17.54

2013-06-27 13.17.54Namaste Hello All! Nostalgic food! When the heat hits !  I crave for the salted lassi ! So, while I am walking down memory lane, I am also walking in my backyard gathering a few mint leaves .

This was my lassi today !

2 cups plain, low fat yogurt

5 cups water

2 cups ice cubes

10-12 large leaves mint

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground, toasted cumin seeds

Blend all ingredients . Enjoy !!

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Tea Time at Memory Lane !!

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Tea Time at Memory Lane !!

2013-05-20 15.06.28

2013-05-20 15.06.28This post is inspired by the love of sisters!! Many moons ago Punita ( my sister) and Vinita took a Teapot Trail in the UK. It was about the Tea, the Teapots, the scones, dainty cucumber sandwiches and Love !! Love that creates memories of a lifetime ! Punita is an amazing person. She inspires me with her intensity! I miss her terribly and these scones have all the love of the Tea pot Trails and more.

Inspired Scones !

Makes 8 scones
2    cups whole wheat pastry flour
1    tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ,  cinnamon powder
2/3 of a medium size banana, mashed
1/8 teaspoon salt
5   Tablespoons butter, chilled, cubed
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup milk, low fat
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F!
  • In a food processor, add flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon powder. Pulse a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients.
  • Add butter, a few chunks at a time and pulse till the mixture resembles cornmeal.
  • Add  banana and pulse about 4-5 times.
  • Add the chia and hemp seeds and lemon zest and pulse a few more times.
  • Add milk in a few batches, and pulse a few times.
  • Transfer the almost ball of dough to a floured surface.
  • Push it together and form a disk! Flatten it to about 1 1/2 inch thickness.
  • Cut disk into 8 pieces. Lay them in a sheet pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes
Enjoy!!
Notes:
If you do not want to use a food processor, you can work the butter into the flour with fingertips or pastry blender.

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Welcoming Mother's Day !

20130506-202058.jpgSagging boobs, miles of wrinkles and stretch marks are my testament to years of nurturing and learning!  With THANKS to my mother, and her mother before her, and her mother before her and all the mothers before them, for this true gift. She is my source ! With utter surety her hand guided me on this path and journey. With love and grateful humbleness I wish all A Happy Mother's Day !

I dedicate the basic food of Punjab.....the roti, an unleavened flatbread, to this Mother's day. My mum still enjoys this with a dollop of freshly churned butter, a pinch of salt and a few chili flakes !

Whole wheat rotis

2 cups whole wheat flour ( my favorite is from Community Grains communitygrains.com )

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water ( or more) for a smooth but wet dough

  • Knead the dough. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Portion the dough into 6 to 8 balls and roll them into medium to thin circles ( about 6 inches circle)
  • Place a griddle on medium high heat. When hot place a rolled out roti on the griddle.
  • Let cook for a minute or so, then flip to the other side. Lift after about 2 minutes to see tiny brown spots.
  • Now turn over and with a wadded tea towel, gently press to puff up the roti.
  • Remove from heat , smear with a touch of butter or ghee and eat ! ENJOY !

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Dal Palak (Lentil Spinach Soup)

I love when my entire meal can fit into one bowl. When it's soup season, why not call upon the spices that help make our bellies feel warm and satisfied? This lentil soup gets its flavor from mustard seeds, turmeric powder and chilies. Grab some crusty bread or some hot naan, and you're all set.

Dal Palak (Lentil Spinach Soup)

Ingredients:

1 cup red lentils, rinse and soak 3 1/2 cups liquid ( water,broth, stock, brewed tea) 3 cups baby spinach,ready to use 1 cup carrot chunks, medium size 2 cinnamon sticks 1 teaspoon prepared mustard* 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 2 dried chilies 1 teaspoon mustard seeds ( brown or black) 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon minced ginger 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 lemon , juiced 1/2 teaspoon , cracked black pepper 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil) Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Place the lentils in the liquid of choice, together with the carrots,ginger,garlic,cinnamon,turmeric ,mustard and pepper in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes or so, till the lentils are very tender.
  3. In another small saucepan, heat the oil and add the mustard and cumin seeds till they snap, crackle, and pop!
  4. Add the dried chilies till they are lightly toasted. Then turn off the heat.
  5. Pour this tempered mixture into the lentils.
  6. Add the spinach. Let this simmer a few more minutes. You can add more water if you like a more soupier consistency. Leave it out if you prefer it to be on the stew side.
  7. Season with salt and fresh lemon juice.

*A note on prepared mustard: Some people may not be familiar with this term. Unlike mustard seeds or powder, this is the mustard that you buy in the condiment aisle. Dijon, ballpark mustard. I prefer Creole or Dijon mustard for this recipe. Something with a kick.

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