Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

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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Baking a Pizza from Scratch!

It’s dinnertime in the Viesh Household and homemade pizza’s on the menu.  Originally, when I came up with this idea, I decided to get pre-made crusts, and Jack & Karen agreed:

premade

but then, Alex jumped up and down about making the crust from scratch, so we used this recipe:

Pizza Crust

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour (about 2-2 1/2 cups of flour per pizza)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (add one tbsp. at a time. You don’t want the dough to be sticky or too dry)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat/kneed well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F (175°C).
  3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Drizzle olive oil on the dough and bake for 5-8 minutes until the dough is slightly golden brown.
  4. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

alexdough

Pizza Toppings

  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pizza Blend: Mozzarella & cheddar blend
  • Spinach leaves
  • Minced Garlic/Garlic Salt
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Basil leaves
  • Crushed Red Pepper

toppings

I topped the pizza half & half, because Jack couldn’t eat the real garlic and he didn’t want spinach or too many peppers, and I left out peppers on part of the pizza because Jason can’t stomach them.

topped

We baked the pizza for somewhere between 10-15 minutes with the oven preheated (for 12 minutes at least) to 425°F, until we got… DELICIOUS:

BAKED

It looked so good and smelled so delicious it got sliced before I could take a picture. Here’s Jason & Jack with their slices:

jason

jack

And I have leftovers for tomorrow! YAY!

  • Have you ever made pizza from scratch?
  • How did you make it?
  • What kinds of toppings did you put on it? What blend of cheese did you use?
  • Most importantly, have any of you made pizza sauce from scratch?

Classic Stir-Fry & Green Tea Brown Rice

Summer before last, while I was interning in Boston, and my friend Karen was living in Boston (because that’s where she’s from), we fell into a routine, which somewhere along the way got named Kitchen Cooking Chem Lab. Said name came about due to our tendency to run around Shaws, buy an assortment of things, bring them back to either of our kitchens and proceed to make magic food out of it.

And sometimes there were explosions.

Last night we made dinner, and we did something magical yet again, but so simple that anyone (like you!) can take these same ingredients and turn them into delicious, healthy, nutrient-rich vegetarian food.

Classic Stir-Fry

  • Yellow Squash

squashhhh

  • Red & Orange Peppers
  • Sugar Snap Peas

peppers and snap peas

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Long Grain Brown Rice
  • 2 Green Tea Tea-Bags (not pictured)
  • Almond Slivers
  • Chili Powder (not pictured)

riceoilalmonds

  1. Heat 2 cups water in medium-sized saucepan & put tea bags in the water. After 5 minutes, remove tea bags from water and add rice. Stir frequently to keep rice from sticking. Allow rice to cook normally. Once cooked, add almond slivers (1/2 cup, or however much you like).
  2. rice

  3. While rice is cooking, heat olive oil on a pan on medium heat.
  4. When oil is hot, add the yellow squash.
  5. When squash starts to brown slightly, add the peppers and snap peas, stirring to keep squash slices on top of the peppers.
  6. Be liberal with the oil, make sure there is oil on the pan as well as on the vegetables, but don’t drown them.
  7. veggiesonpan

  8. When the peppers are cooked (they’ve started to go limp), add chili powder.  I just shook chili powder lightly over the veggies, mixed them and covered them lightly again. The point of the chili powder isn’t to make the dish spicy, but to bring out the flavors of the vegetables.
  9. Serve veggies either over or on the side of the rice.

foodddd
Enjoy with your drinks of choice! Ours just happened to be Harpoon Celtic. 🙂

Green Plantain Curry

I’ve made dinner several times and forgotten to take pictures… again. However, I made lunch yesterday AND remembered to take pictures!

plantains

Now, this plate looks nice, with 2 vegetable dishes and chapathis (an Indian bread). The chapathi recipe is my mother’s secret, and thus I cannot divulge it, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find many good recipes online if you Google it. No, I’m serious. To eat with the chapathi, I made Green Pepper curry, the recipe for which will come another day, and Green Plantain Curry.

Star Market is full of green plantains, which means, everyone upon reading this recipe, should go buy some plantains and make this dish.

Green Plantain Curry (Approx. 5 servings)

  • 2 large Green Plantains, diced into cubes
  • Dry Coconut
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger root
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • Salt, lemon/lime
  • Brown Sugar
  • Curry leaves & coriander

Frying Ingredients*

  • Olive Oil (Coconut Oil if you want to be more authentic)
  • 1 tsp. Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. Urad Daal (available at Shaws sometimes, definitely available at Allston Market or Shalimar in Central Sq.)
  • Pinch of Asafoetida Powder
  1. Make masala (powder) from dry coconut, brown sugar, garlic, ginger & chilli powder in a blender.
  2. Cut plantains into cubes after pressure cooking with skin on in, cut in halves, in a bowl of water.
  3. Put a generous amount of oil in a pan on low flame, and wait for the oil to heat up.
  4. Add frying ingredients and curry leaves, and wait for the mustard seeds to start sputtering/popping.
  5. Then, add plantains, coating all of it with oil
  6. Once the plantains have been cooked, turn off the stove if it is electric. (If it is gas, leave it on).
  7. Add the masala and mix thoroughly so all the plantains are coated.
  8. Remove from flame, add salt, lemon, & coriander.

Serve with chapathis or jasmine rice. Enjoy!

*I specified frying ingredients so in the future, when I reference it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Bake that Mac n’ Cheese!

I know I’ve been MIA for a little, but I’m back, and here’s what I’ve been up to:

There’s a hundred different ways to make macaroni and cheese, with every chef (self-proclaimed or otherwise) putting his or her own spin on the traditional dish. I’ve made mac n’ cheese in a saucepan melting cheddar into milk when I’m pressed for time, but for special occasions, I enjoy baking the dish, sometimes topping it with breadcrumbs.

This time, I made Mac n’ Cheese Smith Style, so named as it’s a family recipe from my friend Charles Smith. Here’s a before (as I was layering the large Pyrex with the ingredients) and an after (as my friends and I were working on seconds) picture.

beforemac
aftermac

Mac N’ Cheese Smith Style

  • 1 Lb. Elbow Macaroni Noodles (Sometimes I use Large Shells instead for variety)
  • 1 Lb. Sharp Chedder Cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups Tomato Juice
  1. Cook macaroni according to package (slightly less than done is good)
  2. Layer in casserole dish: First, tomato juice (just enough to cover dish bottom), second pasta, third cheese.
  3. Repeat until macaroni is gone (usually 3 thin layers).
  4. Only add 1.5 to 2 cups of tomato juice per layer and only 3.5 to 4 cups total.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.

Of course, mac n’ cheese alone would get boring without appetizers (I made a vegetable platter with carrot sticks, celery, zucchini, and squash and balsamic vinaigrette dip), or at least side dishes so here are a couple of side options.

platter

Side Dishes

  • Tater Tots! I bought the frozen Ore Ida package at Star Market, and fried them straight out of the freezer in a saucepan of heated oil (about 375 degrees F) for about 4 minutes. You can bake them, but that’s wholly foreign to me. Welcome to the South.
  • Sautéed Zucchini & Summer Squash – Now I’m not sure what summer squash is still doing in stores as it’s way, way out of season, but I cut both veggies in thin, 2 – 3 inch-long strips and sautéed them until the center was just tender.  I seasoned the veggies liberally with basil and topped it off with a little stone-ground pepper and salt.

Happy Eating!

Basil, Oregano, & Garlic: Flavors of My Winter “Pasta Primavera”

primavera

After eating one too many meals out this week, I spent the entire BU vs. UNH Men’s Ice Hockey game Saturday night (-we won, 4-2!) getting progressively hungrier and wondering about what I could make for dinner. The contents of my fridge really need to be emptied before I skip town for Thanksgiving. I thought about what I had – zucchinis, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic… Combining those ingredients with the Italian herbs I had in my spice cabinet, I put together my take on a pasta primavera … in the winter. (For those of you who don’t know, “primavera” means “spring” in Italian.)

Wintertime Pasta “Primavera”

  • 1 cup large shell pasta
  • Barilla Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped in long thin strips
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped in semicircles (width – a little thinner than a centimeter)
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped in thin semicircles
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Fresh Basil, garnish, optional
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Salt
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan until it is al-dente.
  2. Once the water for the pasta is boiling, cut the vegetables.
  3. Heat oil on a flat pan – enough for all of the vegetables – 3-4 tbsp, more if needed, then lower heat to medium
  4. Throw some garlic salt and basil on the oil as it heats up.  Once it starts to snap, add the onions and cook until they start to turn clear.
  5. Add more basil and some oregano as well as the bell peppers and mix thoroughly.
  6. Once the bell peppers begin to become tender, add the zucchini and some salt.  Cook 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and crushed pepper and let cook until the tomatoes start to soften and liquidate.
  8. Add the tomato sauce, mixing until all of the vegetables are covered lightly. Let simmer until sauce is thoroughly heated or vegetables fully cooked.
  9. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the vegetables. Toss together, turn off flame.  Let cool slightly, garnish with fresh basil, then serve.

This made about 2-3 servings, which was great because now I have leftovers for today. Yay!

  • What about you? What vegetables do you include in pasta dishes?
  • What spices do you use for Italian food?
  • What is your favorite type of tomato sauce? Or, do you like to make your own?

My Mom’s Homemade Vegetarian Chili

I’ve been blathering on about the delicious vegetarian chili at The OTHERSIDE Cafe on Newbury St., Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston, and randomly, if you’re in the area, or in the mood for a 3-4 hour drive from Boston – Crow’s Corner (Cafe/Bakery near Cavendish, VT).

Now I’ve finally gotten around to it: the source of my love for chili.  When I was little, we’d go to Sweet Tomatoes, which is an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Tampa, Florida.  I’m not sure if they have any locations outside of Florida, but if you’re ever in Tampa – go there! In the soup section of Sweet Tomatoes’ giant buffet, was a vegetarian chili dish.  It easily became my favorite in that section, but one day, they stopped making it vegetarian with, go figure, the addition of …you guessed it – chicken broth.

One day, my mom surprised me by making that dish I could no longer find while dining out – vegetarian chili.  Her recipe, which deviated from the Sweet Tomatoes recipe quite deliberately, was phenomenal.  I loved it even more than the chili I’d eat at Sweet Tomatoes, and since then it remains my favorite recipe and has quickly risen to the top of my list of comfort foods.

Here’s the secret:

Uma’s Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 large Potato
  • 1-2 Carrots
  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 1 can Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • French cut green beans
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 inch Ginger Root, finely chopped
  • Serrano Peppers, finely chopped (if you can handle the spice)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Tomato paste
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Cumin powder
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Red chili powder
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Corn chips – Fritos scoops are my favorite.
  • Sour Cream (If you like it – I’ve met many people in New England who don’t… boggles my mind.)
  1. Make paste with garlic, 1/4 of the onions, tomato paste, 1/2 cup water in a blender.
  2. Put the paste along with the rest of the onions in a large sauce pan and cook for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add all but the canned vegetables and 1 cup water/enough water to cover all of the vegetables and cook until all vegetables (especially carrots/potatoes – those are tough veggies) are al dente.
  4. Add canned vegetables and let simmer for 10-15 minutes
  5. Add 1 tbsp (or more, depends on taste) of each cumin and chili powders.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The chili should be spicy/tangy, but make sure the spice doesn’t overpower the flavor of the vegetables.
  6. Garnish with chopped, fresh cilantro.
  7. Serve in large bowls with corn chips and sour cream.
  8. Enjoy!
  • Do you have your own chili recipe? How is it different?
  • My sister adds corn to her chili. What other vegetables do you think make a good chili?
  • Any questions about the flavor or consistency?
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