Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Grape Tomatoes

Arugula_StwaberrySalad

 

It is summer and farmer’s market and groceries are full of fresh vegetables.  In this 90 degree temperature, I don’t think any one would enjoy standing in front of a hot stove or oven and cooking something for dinner.  Especially I don’t.  So I have been trying different salads and this came out to be one of my favorite and it so simple and easy to make with just a few ingredients.

arugula_StrawberrySalad1

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby arugula (rocket)
  • 3 medium sized strawberries halved and sliced
  • 6 grape tomatoes quartered
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vegan mayonnaise
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Feta cheese (optional)
  • Sweet and spiced almonds roughly chopped

Method:

  • To make the salad dressing mix together the olive oil, mayonnaise, salt and pepper
  • Add arugula, strawberries, grape tomatoes to a salad bowl and add salad dressing and mix thoroughly
  • Divide salad into 2 bowls and top with almonds and feta cheese
  • See recipe here for sweet and spicy almonds.
  • Makes: 2 servings.

 

Vegetable Korma in Almond-Coconut Sauce

vegetable_inAlmond1

Lately I have been trying dishes that are way out of our traditional Sri Lankan method.  This is one of the recipes that I made over the weekend.  Traditionally we make mixed vegetable curries simmered in thick coconut milk.  For this recipe, I reduced the amount of coconut milk and added ground almonds which gives extra flavor.  Also I sautéed onion in coconut oil which gives a nice aroma.  But you can use any other regular cooking oil.  Enjoy this lightly spiced and fragrant dish with rice, Naan, Chappati or any other variety of Rotis.

Vegetable_inAlmond

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped or crushed
  • ½ inch piece ginger finely chopped or crushed
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup cut green beans
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup ground almond
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste

Method:

  • Wash and split green beans length wise as much as possible. Then cut them diagonally into about 1 inch pieces.
  • Brush carrots and cut off the top and bottom ends. Split lengthwise and slice them diagonally
  • Separate cauliflower florets
  • Add oil to a covered saucepan and once hot, add onion and sauté for about 7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.  Sautéing must be done in very low flame to avoid any burning/charring.
  • Add ground coriander, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric and sauté for one minute
  • Now add ground almond, carrots, beans, water, coconut milk and salt and cover and cook for about 7 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower florets to the saucepan and mix with the rest of the vegetables and cook for further 5 minutes.
  • Let stand covered for 10 minutes. Just before serving add lemon juice.
  • Serve as a side dish with rice, or Roti.

 

Ground Hazelnut and Rice Flour Muffins

 

hazelnutMuffin

Happy Monday every one.  I have a co-worker/manager who is allergic to gluten.  So every time I made muffins, cookies or other baked goods she could not eat.  So I was searching for a nice recipe that is gluten free and tastes so good.  Finally I got this recipe and I was a bit afraid since it uses rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.  Also I replaced butter with vegan butter to satisfy some friends who has lactose problem. I was a bit reluctant since I have never baked with rice flour.  But to my surprise it came out really good – soft and fluffy as any other muffin.

hazelnutmuffin1

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz vegan butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 4 medium sized eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups ground hazelnuts
  • ½ cup sweetened desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • Pinch of salt (only if you are using sweet cream butter. I used salted vegan butter)
  • 12 whole hazelnuts

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cup pan with paper casing
  • Mix together rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (if using salt). You don’t have to sift since rice flour is very light and powdery and will not clump as all-purpose flour.  Set aside
  • Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until soft and light. Add eggs one at a time and beat until just combined.  Now add lemon grind and vanilla extract
  • Stir in ground almonds, coconut, and flour. Mix well
  • Stir in blueberries and combine. Make sure you don’t over mix and crush the blueberries
  • Divide mixture into paper cases and add a single hazelnut in the middle of each muffin
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted near the middle comes out clean
  • Leave muffins in tin for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Greens with Green Dressing

KiwiSaladBig

Spring is here – means lots of fresh veggies, fruits, and salad on my menu.   Making salad dressing is no rocket science, but what I love is making some thing so different which comes out of the blue.  I have seen strawberry vinaigrette, Tangerine dressing but has never seen a salad dressing made with Kiwi fruit.  So I thought of giving a try with this fruit and for my amazement it came out pretty good.  The sweet and sour taste of salad dressing compensates the bitter tangy taste of Arugula.  Now I am in a role of making salad dressings with different fruits or veggies or what ever comes to my mind.  I will definitely be posting more.

 

kiwi_vinegrette

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • ½ of a small fennel bulb
  • 6 grape tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 very ripe kiwi fruit
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon champagne vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Toasted almonds for topping

 

Method:

  • To make the salad dressing, peel and roughly cut kiwi. Put cut kiwi, vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper in a food processer and puree until smooth.
  • Thinly slice fennel bulb and just roast for five minutes without any oil in an oven toaster
  • Quarter cherry tomatoes. Peel and cut avocados into thick slices.
  • Add all the salad ingredients into a large bowl and add prepared salad dressing and mix well
  • Divide into 2 salad bowls
  • Top with toasted almonds
  • Yields: 2 servings

Sweet and Spiced Almonds

spicedAlmonds

I love almonds especially when roasted.  Instead of spending a lot of money, I thought of making my own spiced almonds.  They are expensive.  Since this is the first time, I thought of going a bit easy on the spice side.  Just cinnamon to give a nice flavor.  Since this came out so good, I will definitely be making different ways with different spices and different nuts.  They will be posted as soon as I make them.  Until then enjoy this simple one.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds with skin
  • 1 teaspoon butter at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and spread evenly on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes
  • Let cool and store in an air tight container.

Pistou – AFrench Vegetable (Vegan) Soup

Pistou

Pistou originated from the south France.  This is one of the most easiest soup I have ever made.  Serve this delicious and light soup for dinner with your choice of garlic bread or with French bread spreaded with extra virgin olive oil and toasted until lightly golden and crisp.  I served this soup with whole grain multi seeded bread.  I placed a few slices of bread on a plate and brushed with olive oil on one side.  Then I toasted until crisp and sprinkled with garlic salt. Viola my garlic bread was ready.  If you omit the Parmesan cheese when serving the soup, (which is optional) this can be a delicious Vegan Soup

Pistou1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup zucchini cubed (about ¼ inch cubes)
  • ½ cup diced potatoes (about ½ inch cubes)
  • ½ cup green beans cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ chopped carrots
  • 4 oz tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 pearl onions chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup pasta shapes

For serving:

  • Basil pesto
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Method:

  • Add zucchini, potatoes, green beans, tomato, onion, tomatoes to a large saucepan and add vegetable stock and cover and cook for about 10 minutes or vegetables are ¾ cooked
  • Add tomato paste, green peas, and pasta shapes and cook for another 10-15 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick, add a little water
  • To serve, ladle soup to a bowl and add a little bit pesto and stir slightly into the soup. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and black pepper (optional)
  • Yields: 2 servings as a main dish.

Payatram Paniyaram

payatam_paniyaram

Today is Sri Lankan New Year.  Happy New Year to all my friends.  New Year means sweet milk rice, payasam, sweets, spicy snacks and lots of traditional processes.  One of the most common sweet-snack made is Payatram Paniyaram. These are also traditionally made for special occasions such as weddings, Tamil New Year and any other auspicious events.  In different parts of Jaffna, the name slightly differs.  Where I am from, my parents and family calls these “payatram paniyaram”.  In other areas or places these are called “payatram urundai”, “thoippan” etc.

I have always wanted to make this since I left Sri Lanka.  But every time I tried, it did not taste the way my mother makes.  So after a while I thought to give it a try and focus on the measurements.  For the hard work, these came out absolutely delicious.

payatam_paniyaram1

Some Tips:

  1. Traditionally we use red rice flour.  But it may be replaced with white rice flour since red rice flour is quite expensive outside of Sri Lanka (it depends on where you live).
  2. When you make the dough, make sure that you do not add a lot of water.  The less water these has will enhance the taste and flavor.  Also these will stay longer compared to those that have more water added
  3. When you fry these drop one at a time into the hot oil.  In this way they won’t stick together and come out as a big batch.  It is alright if 2 or 3 stick together in a batch in the oil.
  4. The real secret of making the outside crispy depends on what flour you use.  Traditionally all purpose flour is used.  But for some reason, it becomes soft after a day or two and loses the taste.  So I mixed in all purpose flour and rice flour with coconut milk.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unroasted mung bean flour (payatram ma)
  • ½ cup roasted red rice flour
  • ½ cup castror sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • About 3 tablespoons Hot water
  • Oil to deep fry

Dipping batter:

  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon steamed all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon roasted white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon coconut milk
  • Water
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Mix together all the dry ingredients
  • Add 1 tablespoon water at a time and mix with your hand. You have to continue to mix so that the sugar will melt into the flour.  The dough should be loose and not sticky.  Once you reach the consistency where when you able to make a ball of the size of marble, you have reached the right consistency.
  • Take a small amount and with your fist tightly squeeze to clump the loose dough. Once you have clumped, just squeeze them into a ball with one hand.  If you try to use both hands to roll, it will fall apart.
  • To make the batter mix the batter ingredients with water until the batter has the consistency of think pancake batter.
  • Heat oil in a large wok. Once hot, dip each ball in the batter and drop in the hot oil.  Depending on the size of your pan, you can add any number at a time.
  • Once lightly golden drain on paper towel. Let cool completely
  • Store in an air tight container. This will keep for about a week or 2.
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