Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sauteed mix vegetables Salad with raw Persian cucumber for lunch box. [Mix and Match of onion, celery, chayote, cranberries, corn, carrots,Cilantro & Tofu]

Today I wanted to pack salad for lunch box  but there was no lettuce in the fridge so I made  salad by preparing  a  partially sauteed veggie base with onion, celery, julienned chayote, tofu, cranberries, corn,  carrots, cucumber. Over that I added raw  Persian cucumber slices, fresh cilantro leaves, chopped tender cilantro stems, celery leaves. I packed this in lunch box with very  little salad dressing. This salad is good enough to eat  by itself without any salad dressing or vinaigrette, partially sauteed onion and veggie base makes it very flavorful. I saved little  salad quantity to take image and record this salad recipe, after taking images my daughter  enjoyed  this plated salad.

Ingredients :-
Serves  one as full salad meal with some left over,  Or serves 4 as side salad.
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped( 3/4 cup yield)
  • 1 tender celery stalk - sliced half moon shape (1/2 cup yield)
  • 1/2 Chayote - skin and seed removed , julienned. (3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot - julienned or sliced into small pieces (1/4 cup)
  • 1 Persian cucumber - partly chopped enough to measure 1/4 cup. Slice remaining into rounds.
  • Frozen corn - 1/2 Cup (use fresh if available.)
  • 4 Tb.spoon - dried cranberries
  • 1  green chili - finely sliced.
  • Firm tofu block - around  80 gm, cut into  1/2 inch cubes (yield 1 cup) sprinkle tiny pinch of salt, toss to coat with salt.
  • 1/2 cup - Mix of chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 3/4 Cup - celery leaves (pluck leaves off the stalk.)
  • 1 T.spoon - cooking oil to saute onion and veggies.
  • 1 Tb.spoon - extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over salad.
  • 2 Tb.spoon - your choice of creamy salad dressing. (optional)

How to prepare semi-sauteed veggie Salad topped with raw cucumber.
  1. In a small saute pan heat 1 tsp oil, add chopped onions stir fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sliced 1/2 cup celery, 1/4 cup chopped cucumber, 1 chopped green chili, 4 tbsp dried cranberries, continue to saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next add julienned chayote, sliced carrots, 1/2 cup frozen corn,  sprinkle one generous pinch of salt, continue to saute for 3-4 minutes over medium high heat, stirring often. Taste and adjust salt level.
  3. Now add  salt sprinkled tofu cubes, gently mix all well.  Let it stay on stove for 2 minutes over medium low heat. Shut off the heat.
  4.  Transfer sauteed veggie mix in a medium size bowl,  allow to cool. Add sliced  Persian cucumber, chopped cilantro leaves and stems, celery leaves. Drizzle 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil. Toss to coat.. Another way to serve salad is arrange sliced cucumber, celery leave, cilantro leaves over the top or at one side like I have arranged in the image. Serve with creamy  ranch salad dressing or your choice of  cheese or  just enjoy plain salad.

Curry leaf plant containers invaded by Amaranth plants and grass. [Black and White Wednesday #138]

I have few containers with  small curry leaf plants, they all survived this passed harsh winter. After April month I took them out of  garage, within few days containers  were invaded by Amaranth plants and grass. It looked pretty so I let them grow until now. Soon I will clear all the pots so that curry leaf plants start growing freely, hope this year they all grow bigger and stronger. I am sending this black and white image to Susan at The Well Seasoned cook, who is hosting this weeks BWW #138. She is  also the founder of this event. Currently Cinzia of Cindystar looks after all admin duties. Next week Lynne will be hosting BWW #139  at Cafelynnylu.

  Black and White Wednesday Event #138

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pleasant morning after the thunderstorm in Triangle...Beautiful mess of fallen leaves around the home.

Yesterday evening we had severe thunderstorm with heavy rains, it lasted for about 20 minutes but did lot of damage around city. It dumped lot of tiny branches, leaves, tree bark pieces, pine cones, twigs around my home. Today morning when I opened the front door, I saw one tiny single Sweetgum tree leaf  resting on  the door sill (Umbartha/Dehleez). My door mat was covered with pine tree leaves, tiny twigs. It was a beautiful sight to watch. I strolled around home to see more  fallen leaves, they were  at every step. I took few  pictures with new point and shoot camera, Canon Power shot-110, scroll down to enjoy. What did I cook on this beautiful morning for lunch box and breakfast? Check the last image.

Sweetgum tree leaf.

Assorted fallen leaves.

Two insect made holes on the leaf reminded me
 of "Jadoo Alien" from movie Koi Mil gaya.

This big pine tree branch fell down in wooded portion near home,

fallen pine tree branch.

Chinkapin Oak tree leaf.

Sweet gum tree branch landed over front lawn.

 Sweetgum Tree leaves cluster on the road.

Tulip Poplar / Yellow poplar tree leaves landed over green weed, 
blanket (Oxalis /wood sorrel)Click image to see 4 tiny mushrooms.

sweetgum tree branch fallen on the road.

undrained standing water over lawn.

Small piece of  tree bark skin and scattered pieces of mulch.

Pine cone landed over front lawn.

Sweet gum tender fruit, I have collected dried ones during 
winter but this is first time saw green fruit.

I found  sweetgum  fruit hanging in the middle of leaves, kept
it  beside above fruit and took image.

while strolling around home I saw this contrail getting formed in the sky.

On this beautiful morning I prepared instant multi grain dosas/ crepes with flour combination of Buckwheat, Besan, Ivory Teff, and corn. I seasoned it with white portions of scallion onions,  tiny red shallots, cumin, green chilies, ginger. In the batter I used good quantity of yogurt. I packed them for lunch with Matki + Millet Usal and ate them  for breakfast with Chipotle hummus. I will make new post for detail recipe.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Snake gourd stir fry with Plums. [Stone Fruit based Tangy Indian Vegetable Stir Fry.]

Today morning I made stir fry with fresh, tender locally produced snake gourd  using two juicy plums. I  made saute base with  red onions and two red vine sweet mini peppers to have contrast color with light green snake gourd slices and  tempered it with split urad dal , curry leaves and  green chili. Pre-boiling Snake gourd kept colors vibrant and saved some cooking time. This is my first time to use Plums in vegetable stir fry, earlier I have cooked cauliflower with oranges  and  green beans with cranberries. This stir fry has nice sweet and sour taste and is packed with natural veggie and fruit flavor. This stir fry has initiated  few ideas to cook many more vegetable stir fries and curries using different  fruits, nuts and seeds. Following images are taken with Canon Power Shot -110.

Sliced Snake gourd / Podalangai/ Potlakaya/ Padavalkai

Ingredients : 
( Serves two with roti or one single generous stir fry serving .)
  • 150 gm - 1 small snake gourd, sliced thin in half moon shape (discard formed seeds, retain tender seeds as I did, refer above image.)
  • 2 Plums - chopped in 1 cm size chunks, seeds removed.
  • 2 Vine ripe mini Peppers - use red colors. cut into small pieces.(substitute with red or green colored capsicum. Use of mini papers  is optional.)
  • 1 small size - Red onion, sliced thin length wise. (yield - 1 heaping Cup)
  • 1 Tb.spoon - oil
  • 1 green chili - finely chopped
  • 1 Tb.spoon - split skinless Urad Dal / Black gram.
  • 1 Sprig - Fresh Curry leaf
  • 1/2 Cup - Fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 T.spoon - Honey - Use if plums are sour. You may sprinkle little brown sugar or jaggery powder.
Adding pre-boiled snake gourd to sauteed onions and Plums.

Preparation - Padval Stir Fry with Plums.
  1. Slightly chop out both the ends of the snake gourd, cut in the center, make two parts then slit lengthwise. If you find hard formed seeds, remove them. My snake gourd was very tender so I retained inner seed pulp. Cut thin half moon shape slices by placing seed side on the cutting board. (Check image to see how tender pulp looks like.) Place sliced snake gourd in a medium side bowl filled with water, add two tiny pinches of salt, boil in microwave for 6 minutes. If snake gourd is not very tender, give few more minutes. I did this while onions were getting sauteed. Drain water, keep the bowl aside.(use drained water for other cooking, I don't add salt so that I can drink it up after it cools.)
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small saute pan over medium heat, add  curry leaves, chopped green chilies, sizzle for 10-15 seconds. Quickly add 1 tbsp skinless split urad Dal, stir with spoon for 15-25 seconds, add sliced onions as soon as dal turns one shade darker in color. Continue to stir fry onions over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes. In the mean time, you can finish pre-boiling sliced snake gourd.
  3. Add chopped plums and chopped vine ripe mini peppers, continue to stir fry over medium high heat, stirring often for about 4 minutes or until plums start to soften.
  4. Now add pre-boiled snake gourd  /padval slices to the pan, mix well, add  2 pinches of salt or little more as needed. Reduce heat to medium low, continue to cook for 3-4 minutes. Check sweet and sour level, if  sourness is sharp, add 1/2 tsp honey or brown sugar or jaggery. Shut off the heat, garnish with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. If you have fresh grated coconut add that too.  Serve with rice, roti. Use in wraps, tacos or sandwiches.
Note : This stir fry can be done with all most all vegetables, I would try similar stir fry with Chayote, Turia, Cauliflower, Cluster beans, Tindora, green beans, Zuccini, Bell Peppers, Dudhi. Also baby potatoes, Bitter gourd and Egg plant. Do mix and match of veggies. This recipe can be further tweaked into creamy Kormas by adding  spices and  more ingredients.