Tag Archives: cumin

Saag’s the Way We Do It

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c ricotta cheese
  • 2 lbs turnip greens, washed stems cut
  • 3 c baby spinach/arugula blend, washed
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 c unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 c vegetable ghee
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
saag3

vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D, E, and K plus many more all-stars

This was worth the day’s adventure in making this from scratch recipe as “from scratch” as possible. I’d remark in a more witty and urbane fashion, but I admit that from this and from about thirty unrelated other things I am wiped out. For the first five hours of my day, however, I was on point.

saag4

don’t pa’sneer

Start first with the low rent paneer. Obviously, this is the one non-vegan aspect of the recipe. Preheat the oven to 350° and spread an even layer of ricotta cheese over a [I used an 8×8″ and the paneer was too thin so go with something a little smaller] baking dish and bake for 45-60m until the edges of the pan begin to brown. Let cool then slice into cubes or crumble into a topping.

carte blanching all 3lbs of 3 greens at once

Meanwhile your oil/ghee should be warming to ML. Add diced onions, garlic, mustard and cumin seeds. Let cook over ML heat until onions begin peeking translucent. While they’re warming up to the notion, trim and blanch your greens (well, boil them for about 10m if you don’t care for chewing your saag). Drain well and set aside. Turn heat up closer to M in the pan; when you hear a mustard seed or two crackle, add the ginger-garlic paste and other dry seasonings. Mix together until one gelatinous mass then add in the flour. Use the juice from the diced tomatoes if liquid is needed. Scrape all the seasonings off the bottom of the pan and mix until a paste-like consistency. 

saag2

just prior to pasting

Add in the greens slowly, mixing all the while. Then plop the entire mix in your food processor, add milk and spin until the creaminess you desire is reached. Serve with paneer over Basmati rice. This is a 5 spoon dish of healthy delight (well, 4 if’n you count my too-thin paneer but let’s not do that) and was commemorated by having half its contents frozen for later revisitation.

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Stuffed Cauliflower

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lg head cauliflower
  • 1 c quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 c finely shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, in thin spears
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

stuffedcauliflowerSo this one is a doozy of a dish that I both went into suspecting and came out knowing with which I can do better. I will master this. It might not have helped that I decided to go my own way with the stuffing (as opposed to the scant every recipe online). I don’t blame myself, of course, I blame my cupboards. Regardless, the fundamentals won’t change. Start out by getting the bottom greenery off of and core out of your cauliflower, then wash it before submerging it for 15m or so in a large pot of boiling water laced with all of the above slated turmeric. Take it out and let it cool for another 10 or however long it takes you to complete the following:

Mix together 3/4 c quinoa with all the cheese and above-listed seasonings then set it aside. There will be time, too, to make the sauce to top it before baking.

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 2/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2/3 c tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Chunk up your onion and garlic and let cook in ghee over ML heat for 5-10 minutes. Puree like hell in the food processor. In the pan from which they came, heat the olive oil and pour the pureed contents back in. Cook over ML (erring on the side of M), scraping off the bottom as you go and adding in the coriander and cumin. Make it into a cohesive paste and begin adding your liquids while heating, now, to full M. Add the cayenne last then let sit until the big white head gets  turned upside down then stuffed gently and lovingly with the mixture from a couple paragraphs back. This is a little more difficult than it sounds like it might be — you see from the picture up there that a full stuff will take some training. Put in glass baking dish right-side up, cover with sauce and remaining quinoa and bake at 425° for 1 hour. 4 spoons for taste and aesthetics — when I figure out how to better stuff this thing, we’ll see about making it 5.

Le Polpette Più Straordinaria (Or, “Meatballs!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c crock pot marinara from freezer
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 Italian sausages
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

It’s a new year and the freezer is full of meat. Well, not full but still housing a little more than I’d like to have on hand and I would really like to free up space in both my freezer and capillaries so tonight’s dinner was meatballs. Using the freezer marinara also helped — plus, who wants to make homemade meatballs and use anyone else’s sauce in which to bathe them? I mean, that would just be wrong… right? So start this journey by ensuring everything is thawed and at the ready: your sausages have been removed from their casings, your garlic is minced and your oven is preheated to 350°.

meatballs1Heat the marinara over ML heat until it is hot but don’t let it get to boil; it can just sit patiently. All of the other ingredients can go into a mixing bowl and have your hands either lovingly or angrily (how was your day?) mash everything into a thick paste. Roll into balls 1-1.5″ in diameter and space them on a baking pan with raised sides to catch any runoff. What I had in the freezer was 93% fat free ground chuck so there was little in the way of grease, so I can sate my guilty conscience there. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then pick each hot little ball off the pan and plop it into your sauce. Cook on L until dinnertime. I love little nuggets of garlic in my meatballs, knowing they are shrouded in Parmesan and coated with meat then again smothered with homemade marinara… 5 spoons.

 

 

Roasted Roots (ft. Cauliflower)

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 3 medium red potatoes
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • onions
  • garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 /2 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

It’s cold and I felt like neither going to a grocery store nor like overcomplicating the already brisk atmosphere. What was already in the kitchen that I could toss in the oven? This one’s almost in no need of directions — just cut everything up, toss it with olive oil then with the blend of above seasonings (adjust anything to taste, of course). Roast in a 350 oven° for 40m (or so). 4 spoons!

7 Meals in 36 Hours (Or, “Driving Through Driving Through”)

In my pantry today:

  • 5 freezer and 2 “tonight’s” dinners

See I wasn’t really writing about what I was doing while I was doing it and the photographs are shameful afterthoughts to two days’ work and to several new recipes. I’ve been meaning without much forward momentum to make more meals to freeze and have on hand — while we could eat prepackaged dinners from the Indian grocery as if they’re going out of style (assuming they’ve ever been in it), there’s got to be a cheaper and more nutritious business to be had. It will all start painlessly enough:

  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 medium bulb garlic
  • 1/3 c olive oil

Slice and mince the respective bulbs and put everything in the crock pot on H. Let cook until the onions begin to beckon translucence. Erstwhile, work on two meals worth of

Aloo Matar

  • 1 10 0z can whole white potatoes
  • 1 c peas
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 4 small-medium jalapeno peppers
  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2-3 tbsp coriander
  • 3-4 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

Chunky slice the onion, garlic and chiles. I left the seeds in the peppers this time because the four I picked were pitiful in stature. Melt ghee and sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cook on ML until the onions begin their wilt then crank the heat to M. The mustard seeds should be popping by the time you mix the turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and 2 tbsp each: coriander, cumin into a buttery paste. Transfer everything to a food processor, pour in a dollop of broth and pulse until as smooth as possible. Return to the pan, add tomatoes and broth. Stir and bring to a low boil on M. Reduce heat to L and let cook down for a few hours before adding additional seasonings, sliced potatoes and peas. It’s not exactly like the store-bought version I so love, but it is an adequate substitute full of good things. 4 spoons.

Now go back to the crock pot. Everything should be sizzling at a light boil. Strain out all the onion and garlic chunks and throw them in the food processor. Pulse until as smooth as possible, then divide 2/3 of the goop back into the crock pot and 1/3 to a new pot on the stove. In this pot, there will be some kind of completely inauthentic version of

Red Bean Makhani

  • 1/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 1 11 oz can red beans
  • 1 6 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 1/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

Mix seasonings into the pot, making it even funkier a gunk. On heat rising to M, add in the tomato sauce, vegetable broth and cream. Throw in the beans and everything cook at a light boil on L for an hour or two. Then, return to the crock pot for marinarings. 5 spoons.

Crock Pot Marinara

  • 2/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 3 36oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all of that in the crock pot and cook on L overnight. 4 spoons.

There’s enough going on in the Aloo Matar pot before the potatoes and peas went in that 1c was taken out as a base for a

Creamy Corn Curry

  • 1 c that stuff in pan #1
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 c diced frozen spinach
  • 1 16 oz container 1% milk
  • 1 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

That little cardboard box of milk in the back of the cupboard? Empty it into a saucepan and bring it to a low boil, then keep it there for a couple hours. When it has thickened, skim off the skin and add the reserved stuff from pan #2. Stir cornstarch into the evaporated milk then thusly stir that into the milkpot. Add a little more almond milk to thin out any overthick attitude. Stir in corn and spinach, remove from heat. 4 spoons.

Five meals went into the freezer, and still there was enough marinara to make a

Cheesy Penne Bake

  • 3-4 c penne pasta, cooked
  • 2-3 c marinara
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c mozzerella cheese
  • dusting of cayenne

Mix the pasta and sauce in a baking dish and sprinkle cheese atop. Bake in a 350 oven for 20m or until cheese is beginning to brown at the edges of the dish. This 5 spoon dish concludes a deeply satisfying almost-two-day-long act against the desire to hit a drive through at the end of a long day. I am so grateful to have had the ingredients and time to start taking care of this before the most hectic parts of the holiday season begin. Happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Hot [Crock] Pot Chili

In my pantry today:

  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 56oz/7c/3.5lb petite diced tomato
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

This ended up being the finest batch of chili I have made to date — and it’s completely vegan. I say that because not only should it surprise you, but because it does so for me as well. It’s a tribute, really, to how little meat needs to do with flavor.

Start out with your onion and garlic pieces with oil in the crock pot on H. Walk away and halve your peppers, taking care to leave seeds out or in depending on your spice palate. Put them open-side down on a baking sheet and put them closely under the broiler until their skins begin to char, then remove them from the oven, remove the skins from their shoulders, and dice. Throw those into the crock pot with the garlic and onion, stir and leave on H for a few more minutes. Following enough of a break to begin some dishes or some such nonsense, add canned tomatoes with liquid and cooked beans, reduce crock pot to L and let simmer for several hours. Stir in all your seasonings a little while before dinner — it tasted so flavorful before I did any of that that I nearly didn’t add a single thing; the taco seasoning will get it from “a little too liquidy,” though, into proper chili territory. Despite — or maybe because of? — the lack of meat, this chili deserves 5 spoons.

Too Many Modifiers Meat Meal with Black Bean and Cashew Butter Hummus Lettuce Wraps

In my pantry today:

  • .74 lbs stir fry beef
  • 1 c Basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp minced Vidalia onion
  • 6-8 leaves off a head of leaf lettuce
  • 1 tsp safflower oil

Marinate your meat for an hour or two in:

  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Soak and cook rice with:

  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Black Bean and Cashew Butter Hummus:

  • 1.5 c cooked black beans
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Drizzle it all with:

  • 2 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder

Wow. So this is apparently what happens when I’ve gone three days without kitchening. And come back one day after having had six cups of coffee. I also made kale chips, loaded the dishwasher and cleaned out all the dog food and soda cans in the sink (followed by cleaning the sink). I love taking as full advantage possible when I’m having a good day; ring the gong, then, and begin your cooking adventure!

Massage the marinade into your meat; set aside. After your rice has been rinsed and soaked, start it out to boil with the addition of [everything listed above]. Put the ingredients for your drizzle in a sauce pan on L to begin melting and melding; stir gently until it’s one love and keep at the ready.  Make your hummus by throwing everything into the food processor and blending to a reasonably hummus-like paste. Roll little bits of it, with accents of onion, in lettuce leaves, then:

Heat 1 tsp safflower oil to MH (more H than M) and when the pan is hot-n-ready, rapidly stir fry your beef then serve hot over your equally hot rice. Surround the dish with lettuce wraps and drizzle it all with the spicy cashew butter drizzle. This meal was worth all the effort and earns 5 spoons!

Black Eyes in Butternut Cashew Sauce

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c finely cubed butternut squash
  • 2 c cooked black eyed peas
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1/4 c cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp safflower oil
  • 2.5 c water
  • 2 packets Swanson Flavor Thingys (Vegetable)
  • 2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Dice your onion and garlic as chunky or fine as you see fit and start them in cold pan of safflower oil; turn your stove-knob to M. While that’s warming, finish tidying your counter and pulsing your cashew butter to the creamiest possible consistency. Take 1/4 c out of the food processor or whatever jar you may have and add 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder. Set aside. Return to your pan and stir contents; after about seven minutes of sizzling add squash and toss everything so that your tiny orange cubes gleam with flavor. Let that sizzle some more while you empty those flavor packet thingies into 1.5 c  water. Stir in seasonings, add it to pan and cover. Let cook until squash is tender.

Once everything is at an affable consistency in the pan, push contents to one side and add your cashew butter. Stir in 1/2 c water and once it’s all of a mostly liquid consistency, push the squash back into it and fold everything together. Add the salt to make up for the second flavor packet thingy you’d like to add but didn’t for the sodium content. Finally, gently fold in your lonely beans and let everything sit together for a few minutes. Serve over rice and/or with naan.

Garleeky Black Beans

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c cooked black beans
  • 1 leek
  • 2/3 head fresh garlic
  • 1/3 c safflower oil
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 c water
  • 1 packet of Vegetable Broth concentrate (or a bullion cube)
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Basmati rice

First, thinly slice the bulb off your leek and crush/mince your garlic. Add to safflower oil and turn heat to M. Let them cook together in a deep frying pan for 10m. Add your tomatoes in fist-fulls, squeezing each fist ‘o ‘maters ever so gently over their bowl to weed out extraneous tomato snot. Fold the tomatoes into the garleek mixture, pressing them down with a spatula after they’re completely coated with oil. The stove should remain on M so that everything in the pan is in a constant state of agitation.

Add your spices — put in the turmeric first just to enjoy the bright and cheery color change your dish will have for just a moment. Then add your packet of omavegetable bullion and c of water. Stir with emphasis on flattening your tomatoes, for when the beans come into the picture there will be no more fruit-smashing. And when you feel you have smashed enough, fold in the beans and stir. Let it all boil down together into a slightly less watery nonsense, then reduce heat to L with a lid and let it ruminate for an hour. Serve serve over rice.

Color Theory Cooking

In my pantry today:

  • 1 head kale
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 1 c dried moong dal
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 16oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 small dried red chili pepper

This will end up being a lot less visually attractive than when it starts, but isn’t that the case with much of life anyhow? At least, here, today, it will a visual let down apologized for by great taste and nutrient fever.*

Grab a stock pot and in it put your oil, onion and mustard seeds; let that cook on M for 10-15m. That’s plenty of time to chop up your head of cabbage and to de-vein your kale. When the onions begin to brown or mustard seeds begin popping (whichever comes first) add your cabbage. Stir to coat and let cook for 5m before adding in your kale. Stir, add water, cover, reduce heat to ML. Start your moong dal to boiling. Look through your cupboards for inspiration on what to do next. Pull out a can of tomatoes and all the aforementioned seasoning devices.

After the cabbakale is a little languid and more reasonable to open discussion, add the ginger-garlic paste and garlic powder. Stir thoroughly. Add tomatoes and remainder of your seasonings (except the dried red pepper) then stir and let sit until the dal is ready.
I didn’t need to drain the beans — they cooked in a small pot and absorbed all the water into a near-oatmealesque texture which worked well with the waterier texture of the stock pot contents. Combine dal and kalbbage, crush up dried pepper and sprinkle into the two as you merge them faithfully into one. Serve over that Basmati rice you had time to make yesterday.

 

 

*”Nutrient Fever” isn’t really a thing.