Tag Archives: vegetable ghee

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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Moong-day, Moong-day (ft. Nutty Cabbage)

In my pantry today:

  • 1/2 medium cabbage
  • 1/3 c moong dal
  • 1/3 c dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 c Basmati rice, cooked/cold
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder 
  • 1 pinch asafoetida

peanutcabbage

I’ve got to come clean about something.

I really like cabbage.

Cannot lie. Like it, prefer it even over other vegetables. This all came to pass long before I understood its health benefits beyond not being cake. Want to improve your health but can’t afford another prescription? Eat cruciferous vegetables. That being said…

Start the ghee out on ML and when melted add the onion. Cook over ML heat for 10m or so then toss in the raw cabbage. Turn up heat to MH and stir fry for a minute or two; add 1/2 c of broth and cover. Continue letting steam over M heat for another 10 minutes. Remove lid and stir in seasonings, peanuts. Bring back to a boil and stir in moong with remainder of broth. Bring back to a boil and let cook on M until moong is tender (20-30m) and most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and toss in cold rice. Put back on ML heat and toss until everything is hot. Maybe this looks like it takes forever, but there were a lot of dishes to wash ‘n junk and it seemed to take no time at all (and precious little effort). As a combined nut lover and one who loves cabbage done its due, I give this 5 spoons!

Cheddar Chicken Pie with Broccoli Sentinels (is Only Platonic Friends with the Curry Cabbage)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 frozen, unbaked pie shell
  • 1 can chicken breast, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c large broccoli florets
  • 2/3 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 “roasted chicken” flavored gravy packet
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c minced onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch asafoetida

I have had so. much. pie. this holiday season. It really is kind of ridiculous how pies culminate for an annual winter slaughter of the human diet and pride: pecan, caramel apple cheesecake, plain cheesecake with a mandarin orange pie winning the pie-ze this year for both deliciousness and moxie. After rounding out the last family jaunt yesterday with a pizza, I feel it is safe to start officially distancing myself from rich meals and desserts that do nothing but inadvertently complicate my health and/or well-being.

That being said, I made a pie for dinner tonight. Don’t you judge me.

In the freezer still lived the other half of a crust two-set I’d gotten on sale, canned chicken in the cupboard and cheese in the fridge. Oh, and fresh broccoli; that’s probably the healthiest and therefore most important part of things. Before you get to arranging health around the edge of your pie, start your onion and garlic in butter heating to M. After five or so minutes of making sure everything gets coated and tossed, add the turmeric and asafoetida; stir. While that’s being perpetrated drain and rinse the can of chicken and mix your gravy packet with almond milk. Add eggs to this mixture one at a time and whisk until blended. Return to the stove and stir in 1/3 c of broth and the chicken; toss everything together and spoon into the pie crust. Add the remainder of broth to the egg/gravy mixture. Arrange chunky florets around the edges and secure it all with a pour-over of casserole gravy. Bake in a 375° oven for 45 minutes, remove to sprinkle 1/3 c cheddar over and into the florets and continue baking until a knife comes out of the middle clean. And because I made this earlier today in advance of dinnertime, when I warm it back up at 35o° for 10m I will have sprinkled on another 1/3 c cheddar. This ended up being delicious in flavor, but a little unsatisfactory to me in consistency… then again, the bottom crust I found too soggy was forked off my plate and eaten by my wife. Still, my conscience tells me to go with just 3 spoons on this.

Also, while making that I had also started some cabbage that’s been waiting patiently in the fridge. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet — I don’t want to take the easy way out by throwing it into broth and declaring a soup; I’ve got plenty of that in the freezer right now. No, I want this cabbage to go places, travel the world and be better than freezer soup:

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1/2 c onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

cabbageThis one’s easy. Start the mustard seeds out in a ghee-oiled pot heating to M. When it’s near full heat, add the onion and garlic. When the seeds start snapping, add the spices and stir into a pasty mess. Add a dash of broth. Add cabbage in by little handfuls, all the while mixing and adding broth as needed to get everything spiced right proper. Add enough broth to cover the pan bottom, then put a lid on it and dial the heat down to the L side of ML. I cannot yet give this spoons because I do not feel it is yet a finished product. Good luck to my imagination!

 

Vegetarian “Not Pie”

In my pantry today:

  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 1/2 can red beans, drained
  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 c sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2″ cubes
  • 1.5 c unsweeteend almond milk
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch asafoetida

notpie2It’s not a pot pie. In fact, it’s not even really a pie as the crow flies; having simply the spirit of a pie does not really qualify. Let’s just go with “Not Pie.” It’s not really macaroni and cheese either, since there’s no macaroni. But the spirit is strong in this one!

Sliver your garlic and cut your onion into tiny rectangles and saute them on ML until translucent; remove from the pan and set aside — but erstwhile you’ll have plenty of time to cut the veggies and mix a sauce. Give a quick stir fry to notpie1the small dices of carrot and broccoli florets until the broccoli goes from a waning HULK green to a more vibrant “HULK SMASH!” hue. Toss the broccoli, carrots, garlic and onions together in a baking dish. Cover them with the sauce you made by mixing cornstarch, egg and all above mentioned seasonings in with the almond milk; pour over dish and let bake for an hour at 350. Remove dish from oven, roll out from their can some crescent rolls and lay on top of the buffet below. Bake according to can-structions until golden browning appears. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two before digging in to see how this hot mess-erole turned out. Turns out, it was entrancingly delicious… but texturally deficient. I give it 4 spoons for flavor, but 3 spoons for consistency. Next time, I might be adventurous enough to try a bottom crust or perhaps a roux instead of cornstarch. We’ll see, because there will be a next time on this.

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!

Today’s Lentils, Tomorrow’s… Lentils.

In my pantry today:

  • 1-2c lentils (cooked)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 green jalapeno
  • 1 orange jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5-2c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

This wasn’t going to be a freezer storage item, but life falls as it may and tonight was not its night (and tomorrow’s gonna be the night for what’s in the crock pot overnight now). I’m going to chalk it up to a preliminary success in my desire to have meals prepared ahead of time.

Start not-as-finely-chopped peppers (it is important right away to note that the jalapenos should have no seeds left), onion and garlic out on ML in a ghee/oil combo. Make sure the mustard seeds and kala jeera are in there too. Stir and sit back — when the mustard seeds commence to poppin’ turn off the heat. Spoon contents of the pan into a food processor, add curry powder, asafoetida, flax, tomato paste and 1c almond milk then puree everything into a single, succulent sauce. Spatula it back into the pan, add lentils and however much remaining almond milk you’d like. Heat everything to a near-boil and turn off the stove. When the sauce cools, either eat or freeze! I did taste this before it went on staycation in the icebox and I cannot wait until it gets to come back out — 4 spoons.

 

Sweet — and Savory — Potatoes

 

In my pantry today:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1/4 c quinoa
  • 2-2.5 c broth (vegetable here)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1/4 c blackberry preserves
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

First thing’s first — slice your onion moderately thinly and start it out in ghee that’s mostly melted and in a pan on M. Cook onions over ML heat for about 5m. Dice your sweet potato — skin and all — and add it into pan. Stir in the remainder of seasonings and preserves then add enough broth to cover everything and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook over ML heat until potatoes are fork-tender. At this point, stir in quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to L for about 20m. Ring the dinner bell — 4 spoons!

 

Corn Curry Creates Comfortable Contentment

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c chana dal, cooked
  • 1 c kale, de-stemmed
  • 1 c corn
  • 5 vine tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2/3 c evaporated milk
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1/3 c plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c ground flax
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp Greek seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

What’ll be great about this is not worrying about perfect mincing, because everything will be equalized in the food processor halfway through the process. What won’t be great is cleaning the food processor afterwards but at least you’ll get a draw. And that’s something.

Regardless, cut up your onion and garlic enough to transluce-ify in the oil/ghee along with mustard seeds and kala jeera. Leave on ML while you boil water for blanching those tomatoes (if you are unfamiliar with tomato blanching, fear not with these directions.). Once the huge pile of stuff in your pan looks half the man it used to be, add the turmeric (I like doing this because it turns everything bright yellow, and that makes me feel it is better utilized; I claim no scientific knowledge surrounding this.) then the tomatoes. Increase heat to M for 2-3m. Stir, then top the pan contents ever so gracefully with kale, reduce heat to L and cover for 5 minutes or so. This steams the kale just enough to go into the food processor while giving the tomatoes a little time to mingle in the pan.

So the next step is putting everything in the food processor. Add the flax and don’t even worry about pulsing — just turn the sucker on and let it run for a minute or two. Return it back to the pan of its beginnings and add in the evaporated milk and half the seasonings. Bring to a very delicate boil then add in the sour cream, yogurt and remaining spices. Stir in the corn and cooked dal and let everything simmer for 15m or so. Serve over Basmati rice. 5 spoons!

Start with Color! (or “I Shall Name Thee Kalentils von Sweeten Tater”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c dried lentils
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 leaves of kale, pulled from stem
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/4 c half and half
  • 1 tsp kala jeera
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cinammon
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 c cooked Basmati rice

This will be a beautiful bright green and orange dish as you begin cooking; heat will of course wilt the beauty of nature… but rest assured that you will still be putting many valuable phytonutrients into your body! Start with vegetable ghee in a cold pan heating to M. Carelessly of aesthetic, cube-chop onion and sauté. Rip kale leaves from stem and toss them with the onion. Add seasonings, coat everything and when kale begins to wilt, upturn the entire pan into the food processor with 1/4 c broth and puree for 5-6m. Add it back to the pan with sweet potato pieces, lentils (soaked for an hour, so now 2c worth) and 1.75 c vegetable broth. Bring to simmer on MH then reduce heat to ML, cover and let cook for 30-45 minutes (or until sweet potatoes are at a consistency you like — I go for as tender as is possible without losing shape). When close to serving, stir in the cream; serve over Basmati rice. This dish was 4 spoons of culinary delight, and the leftovers, being so rich and chunky with lentils, are slated to base an excellent soup. Because, by The Hammer of Thor, I want to and will make soup again before November.

Spring Snap Soup (& Cheese Quesadillas)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c leftover hibachi rice
  • 1 15 oz can snaps-n-peas
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 c diced roma tomato
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida

Well, hello tonight’s low of 44° in April! I generally swear by the delineation between “soup weather” and “salad weather,” but every now and then things happen in this world that we (as not-meteorologists) cannot explain. Just when I was bemoaning the first day of the year to hit 90° along comes one week later, and I am glut with the fast food that extra-routinized variables bring even after two days of Norovirus‘ enforced foodlessness. All current conditions point to a forecast of soup!

The post ratio of the last week and shameful public admittance to eating too much fast food should tell all of you junior detectives this: leftovers. Crap, leftovers. Start some ghee melting in a pot on M while you first being pulling various things out of the fridge. Throw in those leftover diced onions from the bacon tacos and after a minute or two, toss in the also taco-leftover tomatoes and garlic paste. Swirl. Open, rinse and rain your snap peas and add them to the pot. Sprinkle on your remaining seasonings and stir. Add broth, stir, add rice, stir, add uncut cilantro leaves, stir. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to L and serve before your rice swells up and kills the mood.

For leftovers, applaud! This is an easy 4 spoons of soup, and will be served alongside tiny quesadillas made from taco night’s three leftover rounds.