Moved to New Site

Hi all,

With all of my grad school work, my internships, and my job search, I haven’t been able to get back into maintaining a food blog, but I have found that I can keep up with sharing the wonderful foods (and upon request, the recipes) via my Tumblr here. Hope you all can follow me there!

- Vieshnavi

Apologies for the Unexpected Hiatus

I disappeared, I know.

Much like Heidi at Basil Vodka, I’ve been busy with the end of my undergraduate career — I now have two, large, shiny pieces of paper declaring my intellectual value for future employers — moving to my summer place of residence and continuing my spring internship for the summer. This also means that not only have I not been cooking much, but I’ve been making really basic things — things I’ve already posted recipes for on here — and eating a lot of hummus and pita.

Excuses, excuses. I realize this isn’t fair to anyone who was reading this blog, and I’m sorry.

Hopefully, I’ll be cooking something soon. I have a fun Stir-Fry & Pita combination I’ve been waiting to try out, but I think that might have to wait until next week.

I might even bake something fun. In the meantime, the internet is your friend. If anyone comes up with a cool, simple, tasty veggie recipe, send it my way – email me any time at vieshnavi (at) gmail (dot) com.

<3 V

Tapas Game Night

My cousins in the Boston area and I enjoy gathering to eat a lot, drink a bit, and play some games (boys vs. girls, of course).  At any of these gatherings, there’s easily at least 12 of us and though we gather less often than we’d like, it’s still a great time.

A couple of weeks ago, we gathered, this time for a potluck tapas night. We had a ridiculous display of food – brussel sprouts & caramelized onions in a delicious sauce, friend plantains, fried peppers, patatas bravas with garlic aioli, vegetable spring rolls, stuffed tomatoes, bread and cheese, crème brûlée, and arroz con leche (rice pudding), which we DESTROYED and in the process of music-wars, completely forgot about the games.

I made Fried Plantains for this party of 12- which honestly, is the easiest dish EVER to make. I pan-fried them, you can also straight-up fry them with a quart of olive oil in a saucepan.

Fried Plantains

  • 5 Yellow Plantains – that are almost fully brown/soft
  • Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  1. Peel and slice plantains. I sliced them in slanted circles.
  2. Heat olive oil in the skillet on medium heat – about a 1/2 inch deep.
  3. Put plantain slices on the skillet, in a single layer.
  4. Flip the slices when they start getting slightly darker than golden brown.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (1 part ground cinnamon, 3 parts white sugar) while still on the pan.
  6. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper-towel lined serving plate.
  7. Refill oil in skillet if needed and repeat steps 2-6 until all plantain circles are fried.


plantains

And then some hilarity:

Sumana, making a Spanish Omelette:
potAYtoes

Vinay, about to devour the food:

fooooooood

A great time had – I can’t wait until we gather again. This time, we’ll actually play the games, and the girls will win! *fight face*

Spectacular Dinner Parties

They don’t happen too often, but when they do, SHABAM! Things are magical. A few good friends of mine from a past internship with the Office of the Governor Deval Patrick decided we needed to have a reunion party.  At first we attempted to picnic on the Common, and Beuks got stuck on the train.  There were parties, but we all couldn’t attend the same ones, so we kept trying. Finally, Ethan was able to host a dinner party at his lovely apartment (which for various reasons, he doesn’t live in anymore. Okay that makes him sound shady – he’s starting a farm! No, really…) and we all decided to help cook!

On the menu:

Homemade Garlic Bread

  • 2 ft. long French Baguette or Italian loaf, first sliced lengthwise and then in sectioned
  • Butter – Ethan had Smart Balance on hand, which is actually what I use regularly.
  • 1 head of garlic at least, mince enough to sprinkle properly over all the bread
  • Dried or fresh basil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Slice the bread, mince the garlic, chop the basil (if it’s fresh)
  3. Spread butter over the bread and sprinkle the garlic over it OR melt butter and mix in the garlic, then pour over the bread
  4. Top with dried basil
  5. Place on a cookie sheet in the oven until the edges are golden brown.

Homemade Salad

  • Spinach leaves
  • Pears
  • Avocado
  • Gorgonzola
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette
  1. Toss together desired proportions of each.

Vegetarian Pesto Cream Lasagna

  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 9 Lasagna noodles (you should have an extra couple on hand, too)
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese
  • Extra olive oil for the top
  1. Clean and stem the spinach, chop it very fine (use a food processor if possible)
  2. Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil, over low/medium heat, until soft.
  3. Stir the raw spinach into the hot onions and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add half the parmesan cheese, the pesto and the ricotta and grind in some pepper, salt.
  5. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Boil noodles briefly (three to four minutes), drain, drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  7. Place a layer of noodles in bottom of oiled 9X13” pan. Spread one-third of the filling over noodles. Place one-third of the mozzarella over that. More noodles.
  8. Repeat until you have six layers: three of noodles, three of pesto mix, with the pesto mix on top.
  9. Top the final layer of pesto mix with remaining parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
  10. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serves 6-8.

Vegetarian Marinara Lasagna

Thanks, Ethan!!

ETS’s Vegetarian Rouge Lasagna (He invented this one)

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and
  • squeezed of excess liquid
  • 1 container (15 – 16 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 12-16 Trader Joe’ s Meatless Meatballs
  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, but do not salt the water.
  2. While noodles are cooking, preheat oven to 350 and start cooking the ‘ meatballs’. To cook the ‘ meatballs’ ,combine ‘ meatballs’ with 10-12 ounces of tomato sauce in a saucepan. Put the heat on low and stir occasionally until ‘ meatballs’ are softened all of the way through and have become saturated with sauce. Take a large fork or spatula and mash the ‘ meatballs.’
  3. Grease a 13X9 inch baking dish with olive oil, set aside. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, garlic, and oregano. Mix well.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine broccoli, TJ’ s Meatless Meatballs, ricotta, and Parmesan. Mix well. Drain noodles.
  5. Spread half a cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
  6. Place 3 noodles on top of the sauce. Spread half of broccoli mixture over noodles. Spoon 1/2 cup of tomato sauce over broccoli; place 3 noodles on top.
  7. Spread with remaining broccoli mixture; top with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Top with remaining noodles and tomato sauce; sprinkle mozzarella over top.
  8. Bake until bubbling, about 45 minutes.
  9. Cool about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Red and White Wine

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (I think that’s what we had.)
  • Pinot Grigio

Me, mincing an insane amount of garlic for our insane amount of garlic bread:

gaaaaaaaaarlicbread

Beuks, buttering up the garlic bread and Meg, making an awesome salad with pears and such:

megsandbeuks

Ethan was taking the pictures – for some reason, we didn’t think to do a group shot, or take pictures of the lasagna :(

All in all, it was a great experience, especially with the awesome company.

It’s American Chocolate Week

…who knew?

In honor of said week, I consumed 50g of Frey Swiss Chocolate today. It was milk chocolate with an almond cream filling. It was also absolutely delicious. And now to make you all immediately run out and buy chocolate, here are pictures from the chocolate festival I went to in Versoix, Switzerland.

Oh, and also, a picture of me holding a CHF 100 (~$100) bar of Toblerone.

tobleroneeee

…I ate about 1/12th of that.

entrancechocfest

chocbunnies

chochoccho

dinochochochoc

cowchochocho

Pasta with Zucchini, Potato Wedges, and Sautéed Garlic-Spinach

Here’s yet another dinner that’s finally getting documented.  This dinner was a slight challenge to put together because the stipulation was no onions, as my friend is allergic to them.  If you check out my other posts, you’ll notice I rarely have recipes that lack onions.  So I pondered this and came up with, Pasta with sautéed zucchini in a garlic marinara sauce, crispy garlic potato wedges and sautéed garlic-spinach.

Sautéed Garlic-Spinach

  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic, 3-4 cloves minced
  • Spinach – I used the cup of spinach leaves I had left, but if you’re making more than that, just increase the amount of garlic you’re using.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan.
  2. Toss in the minced garlic and fry it until the garlic starts turning golden brown.
  3. Add the spinach and sautée until the leaves go limp.
  4. Add salt to taste.

spinach

 

Pasta with Sautéed Zucchini in a Garlic Marinara Sauce

  • Half a box of medium or large shell pasta
  • Marinara Sauce (or you can make it yourself)
  • Garlic – 5-6 cloves, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced in half circles
  • Dried basil
  1. Heat water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add pasta and cook for 10 -12 minutes or according to the package until it is al dente.
  3. When cooked, remove pasta from flame and strain in a colander. Leave the pasta there.
  4. In the saucepan, start heating the marinara sauce on low heat.
  5. Next, heat oil on a pan.  Add the garlic and cook until it is golden brown. Add this to the marinara sauce.
  6. If needed, add more oil to the pan and let it heat up.
  7. Place zucchini on the pan in a single layer.
  8. Flip the zucchini over, and sprinkle with dried basil. Don’t let it over cook, and make sure to cook each side evenly.
  9. Add this to the marinara sauce and pour in the strained pasta.
  10. Mix, let it cook for a couple more minutes and remove from the flame.

pastazucchini

 

Crispy Garlic Potato Wedges

  • 1 large potato
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut the potato into approximately 12 wedges and place in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.
  4. Arrange the potatoes  in a single layer in a large baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray (or olive oil if you don’t have cooking spray).
  5. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes.
  6. Flip all the wedges over, then bake 20-35 minutes longer or until crisp.

This dish should be started first as it takes the longest time to prepare.

potahtoes

 

And when it’s all done, you’ve got a delicious meal:

dish

If you’ve got potatoes, green beans, and eggplant…

Apologies once again for the ridiculous lapse in posting.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I’ve just been busy putting together term paper research, outlines, etc.  I have, however, totally remembered to take pictures of this food I haven’t blogged about all this time. So get ready for this:

These two dishes were actually made on two consecutive nights, but since I cook for an army and always have leftovers, the second night meant MORE variety on my dinner plate. Hooray!

Dish #1: A rather simple dish of spiced up, roasted potatoes and green beans

  • 1-2 tbsp (or as much as you’d like) Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Chili powder – My mom blends her own, but you can also buy it in the spice section of any major grocery store.
  • Turmeric
  • Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Urad Dahl
  • 1 large potato, chopped in cubes
  • Equivalent volume of green beans. I used the frozen cut green beans in this one, because I always have a variety of frozen vegetables on hand. If the supermarket allows, you can use fresh green beans and  cut them into thirds or quarters.
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil on a pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dahl and cumin. When the mustard seeds start popping add the potatoes and make sure to coat them evenly in the oil.
  2. When the potatoes are 1/3 of the way cooked (you can tell by the color of the potatoes),  add the green beans.
  3. potatoes

  4. Add turmeric and salt (approx. 1/4 tsp of each)
  5. Cook on medium heat until the potatoes are fully cooked. By this time, the green beans will be cooked too.
  6. Add chili powder, salt to taste and mix thoroughly.

cooked

Dish #2: Eggplant Curry, more commonly known in India as Baingan Bharta, altered from this recipe.

  • 1 large eggplant, chopped in cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced in semicircles
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (Or 1.5 tsp of ginger paste and 1.5 tsp of garlic paste)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Mix in cumin seeds and onion. Cook and stir until onion is tender.
  3. Mix ginger garlic paste, curry powder, and tomato into the saucepan, and cook about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in yogurt. Mix in eggplant and jalapeno pepper, and season with salt.
  5. Cover, and cook 10 minutes over high heat.
  6. Remove cover, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking about 5 minutes, or until eggplant is fully cooked.
  7. Garnish with cilantro to serve

dinnnerhs

As always, dinner was served with two chapathis, instead of rice for two reasons. First, my mom made me a bunch of delicious chapathis and I’ll take every opportunity to eat them, and second, I like chapathis better than rice. Of course, these two dishes can be eaten with rice. I recommend Basmati rice or a long-grain rice.

Enjoy!

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