Wild West Smoking Hot Potatoes Desi Style ( Indian style )!

   
 
A few more weeks and we will be bidding goodbye to Summer and welcoming Fall. This potatoe dish is simple and easy and very versatile. Sits pretty with gifts off your grill! Works well as a warm potato salad or a base for chaat and chole( Indian style chickpeas).

6-8 medium red potatoes, washed and cut into quarters lengthwise

2-3 tablespoons coconut oil or an oil with a high smoking point

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

2-3 jalapeños , cut into half, lengthwise, seed it to reduce heat

1 tablespoon asafetida ( optional)

2-3 teaspoons amchur ( dry mango powder ) 

Salt to taste

1/2 cup water or more

  • Heat a pan on medium heat and add the oil. 
  • Add the cumin seeds and toast till they are dark roasted . They will smoke and snap crackle and pop. Lower heat and cover if they pop out of the pan. 
  • Now add asafetida , stir and quickly add the potatoes. Stir to coat the cumin seeds on the potatoes. Add the water and cover to cook the potatoes  on medium heat. Stir every 10 minutes. 
  • Add amchur , jalapeños and salt in about 20 minutes of cooking. Stirring well. 
  • Potatoes should be tender cooked in about 30-35 minutes and yield a sauce that has a coating consistency.

Note: the amchur gives a sour and fruity taste that balances the smoky and earthiness of the cumin. The best substitute for amchur would be a tablespoon of balsamic Vinegar.

This is an intuitive recipe for you to make it your own. Cook it by taste and your preference and it will be perfect for you. 

Enjoy

Kitchen and Life intersect in my dirty Chai !!!

   
 
It was my day to set yogurt. The milk was set on the stove, fired up and the spatula ready for stirring. Milk needs to be first boiled and then cooled a bit. The starter culture added and then set in a warm place for this to transform into yogurt. Today, it’s a gallon of milk which means it will take about 15-18 minutes to come to a boil and all that stirring creates a beautiful froth. I love brewing a cup of tea so that I can savor it with a head of frothy milkiness! A treat , a ritual, a time to ponder on life and kitchen wisdom. Yogurt setting days usually mean focusing on Transformation……milk into yogurt! 

So, a lovely rhythm sets to the stirring of the milk in a stainless steel pot. This is an important step or the milk  solids will scorch at the bottom and that burnt taste  ruins both milk and yogurt. I am one with this process. I even notice that I tend to stir clockwise three times and anti clockwise twice. I just notice that I do that ..no analysis to why ? Life lesson : I’m practicing just witnessing! Ten minutes or so into this milk boiling a nutty, hot milky aroma begins to pervade my nose and kitchen . I grew up with this smell and it brings back memories. It also reminds me that my daughter dislikes this smell and gets nauseated . Life lesson: not everyone likes the same things and it is ok. 

There is a lovely foam about an inch thick that has formed on the top of the milk pot. I see the small bubbles that come through and pop. And finally the milk is bubbling and rushes up to the top of the pot and I turn off the heat at the perfect moment and no boiling over. A strong cup of tea has brewed too. 

I am ready for my treat.  I pour the tea into my mug and DARN it makes it to the two thirds mark. My husband made some extra coffee and so my mug is now full. A dash of sugar and  a couple of ladles of the milky froth and I have my Dirty Chai. Life lesson: be innovative .

The sipping of that mug of tea was priceless. 

Chaat from ” another mother ” !

   
 
This chaat was made strictly by taste, refrigerator and pantry items available.

1 cup moong dal sprouts

1 cup Denice’s homemade , delicious sauerkraut 

1/2 cup tomato, chopped

2  1/2 tablespoons Balsamic- tamarind reduction

2 tablespoons of Habanero- carrot salsa

3-4 leaves Romaine lettuce, torn into bite size

1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup Indian snack mix ( Bombay, Madras, Bhel choice )

  • Tossed everything in a mixing bowl with half the snack mix.
  • Served up with the other half sprinkled over! 

Yummy! 

KITCHEN LESSON :

Intuitive cooking by taste works very well. 

LIFE LESSONS:

  • Be bold with your knowledge. Let it guide you. Knowing the taste and texture of chaat , it was seamless to use the balsamic reduction and salsa. The sauerkraut added the tart, tangy and some texture.
  • Use what you have available to the best of your creativity.
  • Take a moment to savor and imbibe the lesson.
  • Breaking tradition is not bad. Tradition works as a good foundation.
  • Don’t feel the need to label everything. This dish is just tasty food! Salad , snack, appetizer, Indian, street food ……..just tasty ! 

Realize the Value not just the price !

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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!!

WTF!#* Turnip Tapas

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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!

WTF !#*~

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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 !

ABUNDANT SELF of the plum trees!

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The plum tree in our backyard is following its true selfless nature of bearing fruit. It provides the foragers, the birds and squirrels and yes, us!
Thankful for the Abundant tree a plum , vanilla, honey butter is born.
Cooking the plums for hours over a medium low heat is an amazing experience if you let it BE !
The whole house was fragrant with tones of plums and vanilla and then honey. There was a heightened sense of awareness especially for the nose and the eyes. As the plums cooked their color and smell changed. The added caramelization and reduction added a richness .
A truly MiNDFUL exercise.
Here is the intuitive recipe:

8-10 cups plums ( 7-8 pounds approximately ), washed well
2-3 cups honey depending on the sweetness desired
4 vanilla beans slit

Place plums in a large pot. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil on medium heat.
Lower heat and keep on simmer for about an hour and a half, gently stirring every 20 minutes or so.
The plums were truly mushy and falling apart. Let them cool and fish out the pits that had sort of settled at the bottom.
To get a smooth texture , put the plums through the food mill.
They , then went back into the pot with the vanilla beans in. Once again, simmering on a low heat and this time being stirred every 10-15 minutes. You don’t want them to be charred at the bottom.
I enjoyed the stirring as i am a follower of the traditional principle of transferring the cook’ s energy and intention to the food. This was my loving energy in the plum butter in the making. If you don’t have the time this can be done in the slow cooker/ crock .
After several hours( almost 5 hours for me ) the mush had thickened and it was time to sweeten it. Whether you add honey or sugar , you will need to cook again on low heat for 15-20 minutes at least.
Cool and Jar!
Share and Enjoy!

Yield :1/2 to 3/4 gallon depending on the consistency!

Birthing a WRACO !!

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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 !

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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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.