6.16.2010

Healthy Lunch#5: Broccoli Strawberry Quinoa Almond Salad

Recipe from The Washington Post



Ingredients:

  • 1 pound broccoli florets, broken into bite-size pieces
  • Leaves from about 9 stems parsley, chopped (1/3 cup)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (1 tablespoon; reserve remaining lemon for another use)
  • 1 teaspoon honey ( I forgot the lemon and skipped the honey - im not fond of sweet dressings)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil(I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, cut into thin slices (I used about 11/2 pounds- i like strawberries!!)
  • 1/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds, toasted (I used Almond slivers)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese(I used feta because thats what i had on hand)
  • 3 cups cooked red quinoa(I cooked this in the pressure cooker  )

Verdict:
This was an unusual pairing for me, quinoa with strawberries and broccoli . I am sure i changed the proportions around a lot - It was more like a Broccoli and Strawberry salad with some quinoa. But i loved the taste and texture. This recipe is a keeper. Because of the amount of vegetables and quinoa it is healthy , filling lunch.  

5.25.2010

Book Review :Madhur Jaffrey: Climbing Mango Trees

Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India (Vintage)

I read through cookbooks the way some people read magazines. The first thing i look for in a cookbook, is signs of personality, some idea of where the person comes from - that is generally a very good indicator of which recipes are the strongest. Some cookbook authors come across as being good eaters who ate far and wide enough to put out their recipes collected from good home cooks, yet others like Rose Levy Beranbaum come across as being entirely scientific in their fascination for food - each of her recipes is meticulously tested and rigorous in its precision. Madhur Jaffrey has been around forever, or so it seems to me , and is somewhat of a renaissance woman - she has acted, written a lot of cook books, hosted television cooking shows, opened restaurants.

I have read and cooked from many of her cookbooks- from her earliest, an Invitation to Indian cooking to Madhur Jaffreys World vegetarian. I was leafing through Curries and Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian spice trail(one of her best IMHO) when her description of her family in Delhi leapt out at me, something about her familys caste - the Kayasthas - being  called Sharabi Kababi Hindus. How fascinating i thought , we generally like to think of religion and caste as these immutable, fixed creations - but with one sentence Madhur Jaffrey pointed out , very humorously , that the forces of religion and caste are constantly evolving.

That is the core of  Madhur Jaffreys memoir - it is not really a cooks memoir. It is a fascinating lesson in history - what it meant to be a child growing up in the the 40's in North India in a well to do family. The book dishes out copious descriptions of meals, the way they were cooked(with rasoiyyas and maharajs) and consumed. But the tumultuous period in which she grew up ends up with the star billing of the book.

 The book reads very much like your grandmothers favorite reminisces - "You know when we were little, your great grandfather had 20 cooks and he knew the vice roy of yada yada .....". At the same time she has a light touch with heavy topics - caste divisions, the emulation of British customs by indians and the reconciliation with Indian traditions etc.

I would highly recommend this book if you are a history buff.

5.24.2010

Healthy Lunch #4: Falafel Salad with Yoghurt Tahini dressing





















Ingredients:
1 Seedless English Cucumber
2 Red Bell Peppers
1 Green Bell Pepper
2 Tomatoes
Big Bunch Aurugula or Greens
Handful Mint
Handful Cilantro
2 stalks scallions

12 Falafel Balls(6 per person)

Yoghurt Tahini Dressing:
1 tbsp Tahini
1/2 cup yoghurt
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Optional: Sambal Oelek Dressing
Sambal Oelek to taste

5.18.2010

Healthy Lunch#3: Whole grain Pasta Arugula Salad with Lemon olive oil dressing



Salad ingredients:
(Makes enough for two people's lunches)
2 cups cooked Whole grain Pasta( like this one)
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in halves
1 cup sliced roasted red peppers (from a jar)
3 cups arugula(or any greens of your choice)

Dressing:
Juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon parmesan

Verdict:
Very light and summery , Peppery bite from the arugula.

5.05.2010

Healthy Lunch#2: Whole wheat bulghur salad w harissa dressing



















Harissa dressing
http://mideastfood.about.com/od/dipsandsauces/r/harissa.htm
Lemon juice
olive oil
I use a 3:1:1 of Harissa, olive oil and lemon juice to make the dressing. Use a fork to whisk the three together - Remember this makes a VERY spicy dressing.
Bulghur salad
Equal proportions of
Bulghur
Chopped cucumbers
Chopped Bell Peppers- Red & Green
mint
arugula / hearts of romaine
edamame
chickpeas
cranberries
red onion
sunflower seeds
mint leaves - 10
For Lunch, I usually prepare the whole salad and pack the dressing in a separate container , with salt added to the dressing. This way the salad remains fresh until the dressing is added. That way the greens dont get all wilted and soggy
Use Whole wheat bulgur as opposed to normal bulgur which does not have adequate fibre, Kinda looks like this (Image from Elite fitness solutions)

3.12.2010

Healthy Lunch#1: Broccoli Roasted Red Pepper Salad























Broccoli Roasted Red Pepper salad with tomato vinaigrette


Salad ingredients:(makes enough for two adult sized lunches)
2 Heads Broccoli(Heat a wide pan with a lot of salted water, cook the broccoli briefly and cool immediately)
4 roasted red peppers (1 jarred bottle of Fire roasted Peppers )
Feta cheese cubes (about 5 per person)
Handful of oil cured olives per person


Tomato Dressing
Source: Vegetarian cooking for everyone by Deborah Madison
Ingredients
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 shallot, finely diced
4-6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
3 Roma tomatoes, or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes neatly diced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Directions
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, shallot,both vinegars, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste.
Let stand for 15 minutes, then whisk in the oil and add the tomatoes.
Taste and adjust the balance if needed

Can also alternatively use
Sun dried tomato vinaigrette
Source: Mediterranean fresh by Joyce Goldstein

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 cup sun-dried tomato-infused oil (from you jar of sun-dried tomatoes)
1 – 2 T red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in small bowl.

12.19.2009

Elmo Birthday cake






















My daughter just turned three and here is the Elmo birthday cake that I made for her. I scaled down everything but the cake this year. Recipes for the yellow cake base, chocolate cake elmo and chocolate buttercream were from Confetti cakes for kids by Elisa Strauss. A little sweet for me but perfect for everybody else and kids.