Monthly Archives: April 2015

Pasta with in Roasted Tomato Sauce

roastedTomatopasta

Ingredients:

For the pasta

  • 4 oz cork-screw pasta (or any other pasta)
  • 8 oz asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium red bell pepper cut into thin slices
  • 1 medium sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • generous 1/2 cup cherry tomato halved
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • salt to taste

For the sauce

  • 2 medium sized ripe tomatoes (tomato on the vine)
  • extra virgin olive oil for tomatoes
  • 6-7 sun dried tomato halves (not the oil packed)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon basil paste
  • salt to taste

Method:

To make the pasta dish

  • Cook pasta and drain and keep aside
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spray cooking oil to a cookie sheet.  Arrange all the cut vegetables except cherry tomatoes on the cookie sheet in one layer.  Spray oil and roast for about 25 -30 minutes
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add cherry tomatoes and saute for about a minute or two
  • Add all the roasted vegetables, black olives, and pasta to the skillet and mix well.
  • Slowly add the sauce and mix and cook on very low flame for a minute or two.  Season with salt
  • Serve warm.  If needed sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.

To make the sauce:

  • Cut tomatoes into half and brush brush with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Place cut side down on a cookie sheet and roast on a preheated oven (400 F) for about 20 minutes.  Let cool
  • Peel the roasted tomatoes and cut into chunks.  Add all the sauce ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth.  If the sauce is too thick to puree, add a little bit water or extra virgin olive oil.  Season with salt

Yields: 2 main dishes

Source: Chelvi’s original dish

 

Quinoa Spring Salad

quinoa_Spring_Salad

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almond lightly toasted
  • 2 cups baby Arugula
  • 1 horseradish (red)
  • 2 large strawberries
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber (¼ inch cubes)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Method:

  • Cook Quinoa according to package directions.  Let cool to room temperature
  • Thinly slice strawberries and radish
  • In a salad bowl mix cooked Quinoa, tomatoes and Arugula.  Add olive oil, red wine vinegar salt, and black pepper and mix well
  • Divide salad into 3 dishes and garnish with strawberries and radish.
  • Sprinkle with toasted almonds and feta cheese.
  • Yields: 3 servings

Source: Chelvi’s Original.

Bulgar with Mixed Greens

greenpulav1

Spring is almost here.  With spring coming, the whole nature will change to green and with colorful blossoms every where.  So to celebrate this spring and the warm weather I thought to make a dish that has only green vegetables and leaves.  Green vegetables and green leaves are packed with a lot of vitamins and minerals.  So for protein I added roasted tofu which is slightly yellow and mingled with the greens.

greenpulav

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Bulgar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy granules (TVP)
  • 2 large porabella caps thinly sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 2 heads baby Bok-Choy
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon any spicy chili paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red (chili) pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • salt to taste

Method:

  • Cook bulgur according to package directions.  Once cooked,  add chili paste and let stand covered.
  • Add hot water to soy granules and cover and let stand for about 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile  slice mushrooms thinly and then cut them diagonally into 2 halves.  Slice bell pepper into thin strips.
  • Cut off the end of Bok-Choy head and separate them into individual leaves.  Wash thoroughly and chop off the thick stems.  Cut thick stems diagonally into about 1/2 inch pieces.  Torn the leaves roughly.
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spray oil to a cookie sheet and spread sliced mushroom in a single layer and roast for about 20 minutes
  • Squeeze out water from soy granules.  Add olive oil to a skillet and once hot add soy granules and fry until they are lightly crisp
  • Add chopped garlic and saute for one minutes.  Now add Bok-Choy stems and shredded Brussels sprouts and saute for another 2-3 minutes
  • Add Bok-Choy leaves and saute for one minute.  Turn off heat.  Sprinkle crushed red pepper and cover and let stand for about 5 minutes.
  • Fluff Bulgar with a fork and mix in the chili paste.  Transfer Bulgar to the skillet and mix well.  Serve warm.

Yields: about 3 main dishes

Source: Chelvi’s Original.

Happy Earth Day

Today is earth day and 45th anniversary of the Earth Day.  Earth Day is not just some thing we celebrate and forget the next day.  It’s about raising public awareness about environmental issues.  These issues vary year to year from air pollution, water pollution, natural animal habitats being destroyed to all the melting ice and glaciers disappearing.

So what does earth day means to us?  We can do a lot of things to save this planet.  One of the blogger I follow has given good information regarding this.  You can view it from her website: Love Our Mother: Happy Earth Day

When I look back how our ancestors lived, every equipment they used were made from some thing that exist naturally. Once these products are not needed any more, they get recycled naturally in the ground. For example, spoons were made out of coconut shell and the handles were made out of wooden sticks. There were clay pots, mats that were weaved out of palm tree leaves. I have given those natural utensils that were and have been in use in my country Traditional Kitchen Equipments<

I love national parks where nature is preserved. But I have seen people throwing plastic bottles, candy wrappers all over instead of throwing them in the designated bins. If we don’t preserve these trees, animals, and birds over time they all will become extinct similar to what is happening to he white rhinoceros which is in the brink of extinction.

So lets get together to save these birds, animals and all natural preserves, parks for the next generation.

Look at this cute monkey, doesn’t he look so cute? Don’t we think we should make sure they are safe and not killed for any silly purposes?
Monkey

And these beautiful birds, don’t they look so beautiful? Let them live in their natural habitat:
bird1

Lets get together and save this planet before all the natural wonders vanishes

mangroove

Pineapple Zucchini Loaf

pineapplezucchiniloaf1

I have been longing to make a muffin or loaf with pineapple.  Pineapple is a very common fruit in Sri Lanka and there people even make pineapple curry (when the fruit is not too ripe).  So I was searching on the web for any pineapple loaf/bread/muffin recipes and I came across this recipe on allrecipes.com website.  The original recipe called for cinnamon and ground nutmeg.  For me cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice are not for any recipes with tropical fruits or vegetables.  So I decided to replace these with a hint of orange extract which came out absolutely flavorful and delicious.  The fragrance of the combined orange extract and the pineapple fruit gave a divine tropical  fragrant to my whole house while it was baking.

pineapplezucchiniloafIngredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup cooking oil
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 8 oz can pineapple (which yields ½ cup crushed pineapple)
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts chopped

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with lightly greased parchment paper
  • Wash and shred zucchini and spread on a paper towel for any liquid to be absorbed
  • Beat egg, oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and orange extract together
  • If the pineapple is not crushed, crush them and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Do the same for shredded zucchini
  • Transfer zucchini and pineapple to the egg mixture and mix well. Mix in raisins and walnuts
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Transfer the flour mixture to the wet mixture in few batches and mix until well combined
  • Transfer batter to a prepared pan and bake for about an hour or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean
  • Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature
  • This can be served lightly warm or at room temperature
  • Refrigerate after one day (depending on the climate – if it is warm yes, you have to put it in the fridge after one day) and can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days

Source: Pineapple Zucchini Loaf from All Recipes website

Curried Veggie Quinoa Bowl

curriedquinoa1

I love making one dish meals since they are so easy and I don’t have to make multiple side dishes.  It’s hard to resist make such dishes especially when they are packed with spices and flavor.  Even though I have posted a few Quinoa dishes earlier, this time I wanted to make some thing that gives a sharp taste to my palates after all Quinoa is quite bland.  Recently I came across this recipe from a Good House Keeping magazine.  The original recipe included greek yogurt and curry powder but not the curry paste.  To make this a vegan dish, I omitted the yogurt part and added a south Indian curry paste which gave the best flavor I can ever find.

curriedquinoa

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 7 oz tofu
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste (any south Indian or Madras curry paste.  These curry pastes have cream of coconut instead of diary)
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Salt

Method:

  • Cook quinoa
  • Wash and peel carrots.  Split them into half and then cut them into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
  • Wash and snip off the ends of green beans.  Cut them into 1 inch pieces (that yields 1 cup)
  • Break cauliflower into small florets (which yields 2 cups)
  • Steam the above vegetables for about 7-8 minutes and set aside
  • Drain tofu and roast in a pre heated oven (400 F) for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Add oil to a skillet and add onion and saute until translucent.
  • Add chopped garlic, ginger, and cashews and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add steamed vegetables, tofu and curry paste and cook cook on low flame for about 2-3 minutes until the curry paste is fully mixed with vegetables.
  • Add cooked quinoa and mix well and season with salt.  Garnish with cilantro leaves

Yields: about 3 main dishes

Source: Adapted and modified from Vegetable Quinoa Curry from Good House Keeping website

Vegan Banana Muffins

veganBananaMuffin

I always wanted to bake vegan muffins, breads, and cookies.  But when it comes to vegan muffins and breads I wasn’t that successful until now.  I was browsing through internet for any substitute for egg.  I saw ingredients like tofu, apple puree, apple sauce etc.  Today for the first time I saw ground flax seed.  When comparing the different substitute, I felt ground flax seed should work better since when its mixed with enough water, it is similar to beaten egg but still have some rigidity.

These muffins turned out so good that I could not wait to eat 2 of them once it was cooled to room temperature.  They were quite moist and very soft and not gooey.  Also ground flax seed provides a lot of fiber as well.

veganBananaMuffin1

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine
  • 2 cups mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (you can substitute regular sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon whole flax seed ground
  • 3 tablespoons water room temperature
  • 1/4 cup walnuts chopped (optional)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 12 muffin cup tin or line with paper cups.
  • Grind flax seed.  In a small bowl combine ground flax seed and 3 tablespoon water and mix well and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl sift together all purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda
  • In a separate bowl beat margarine and sugar until they are well combined and soft.  Now add flax seed mixture and mashed banana and mix well.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and mix just combined.  Do not over mix.
  • Add walnuts and mix lightly
  • Spoon batter into prepared tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes

 

Source: modified from Banana Muffins II from All Recipes to make it as “vegan”.