Moroccan style stew

Moroccan style stew photoMoroccan style stew
This is a very easy recipe which I make very often and is always a hit. It’s one of those that cannot go wrong. The combination of vegetables and spices give this stew a subtle Moroccan flavor. It will taste delicious even the next day as the vegetables get soaked with all the delectable flavors.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time-:30 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1inch pieces
½ red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of spinach, chopped
1 cup chick peas, cooked (or 1 15 oz can of beans which are precooked)
1 stalk of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 inch piece of ginger grated or 1 teaspoon ginger paste
4-5 cloves
4-5 peppercorns
1 inch piece of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
3 cups of vegetable stock or water
10-12 fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt/Pepper to taste

Method
1. Heat the vegetable stock or water in a deep saucepan and bring it to a boil.
2. Put the cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon in a spice pouch or muslin cloth and drop it into the boiling water.
3. Add the chickpeas, potatoes, carrots, celery, ginger, cumin and chili powder and cook on medium heat till the mixture starts to boil.
4. Lower the heat, cover and cook till the vegetables are cooked.
5. Now add the peppers, zucchini and spinach and cook for 3 more minute.
6. Remove the spice bundle and discard it.
7. Season with salt and pepper, add the lemon juice and garnish with mint leaves.

Super grain, Farro-its nutty and delicious!

photo(63)Farro is a new grain I have discovered. I made this photo(64)delicious dish with snap peas today.
“What once was old is new again” is so true with all the ancient grains which are tasty and nutritious additions to our meals.
Some say Farro is the original ancestor of all wheat species.
In ancient Rome, farro was a staple food. Today it is still widely used in Italy and has been grown for generations by Tuscan farmers.
Farro can be used in stews, salads and casseroles.

One picture shows the cooked grain before I made the dish.

My first pre-release book event at Local Roots

Local Roots 1

Local Roots combines a market where shoppers can conveniently browse a variety of products from over 100 local producers and a cafe that makes fresh, healthy, seasonal dishes from local ingredients.

In addition, Local Roots serves as an informal community center, hosting meetings of local organizations and presenting classes on topics such as gardening, healthy cooking, food preservation, crafts, and issues relating to sustainability.

Wooster’s Madhavi (Maddy) Vaidya has written a cookbook based on the plant-based diet recommended by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.  Dr. Esselstyn, a renowned surgeon and researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, wrote a book called ‘Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” and advocates a diet with no meat, no dairy, and totally oil-free cooking.  There is a growing interest in this type of eating, particularly for people with heart disease.

Meet Maddy at Local Roots Saturday, 3/8 from 1-2 pm to sample her cooking, learn about her upcoming book and following a plant-based diet!

Check out the website of Local Roots-http://localrootswooster.com/events/maddy-vaidya

Delicious eggplant- just roast it.

Eggplant roastedHow to roast Eggplant
One of the easiest ways to cook eggplant is to simply roast it in the oven.
The first step is to salt the eggplant to draw out some of the moisture.
Cut the eggplant in half and score the flesh pretty deeply with the tip of your knife in a cross-hatch pattern. Don’t cut all the way through to the skin, but make large cuts close to it.
Press on the edges of the halves to open the cuts and sprinkle salt over the surface and into the cuts.
Let the eggplant sit cut side up for about 30 minutes while the salt draws out the water. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.
Set the eggplant on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down.
Put the sheet in a 400 degree oven. It takes about an hour for the eggplant to fully roast. The eggplant will collapse and the flesh on the bottom will turn a dark brown color.
After roasting, let the eggplants cool for at least 20 minutes before handling.
Roasted eggplant is perfect for making Baba Ghanoush or other dips, or season it with salt, pepper and lemon juice and serve it as is for a delicious side dish.

Mushy bananas?

We all have bananas which get too mushy and nobody wants to eat them right? I know I do sometimes. Don’t throw them out, freeze them!
Freezing bananas is a simple process, and bananas can be kept frozen for several months.
Choose ripe to slightly overripe bananas. Bananas that have not fully ripened will not ripen uniformly.
Cut the banana into even chunks, say about 1 inch pieces and put them into a freezer zip-lock bag. That’s all there is to it.
When you’re ready to use it, just grab a bag and break apart the slices as best you can before tossing them into your blender or food processor to use it for a smoothie or shake or a delicious ice cream.

Turnips with sesame and lime

Turnip bhajiTurnips are cruciferous root vegetables which have an abundance of vitamins and amino acids.
Their sweet and smoky flavor can be enhanced with some aromatic spices as in this flavorful dish with greens.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
4-5 small turnips (about 1.8 lbs)
2 cups of any greens (like kale, Swiss chard, collard greens)
½ onion, sliced
½ teaspoon garlic paste
½ teaspoon ginger paste
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup water
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (white)
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon/ lime
Salt to taste

Method
1.    Cut the turnips into big pieces and chop up the greens.
2.    Sauté the onions in a heated non stick pan and add the garlic and ginger pastes.
3.    After about 2 minutes add the cumin seeds. Stir in the cumin and add some water to prevent any sticking.
4.    Add the cut up turnip and greens and as the greens start to wilt add the salt, sesame seeds and nutritional yeast.
5.    The turnips will cook in 5 minutes.
6.    Add the lemon juice.

Turnip and Rutabaga- try them this winter

Turnip photo
Eating seasonally and locally is possible during the winter. Cold weather crops, the use of hoop houses Rutabaga vegetableand other methods that extend the natural growing season ensure that there are plenty of winter fruits and vegetables available.
During winter, the body does need more vitamins and minerals to withstand the cold, and there are plenty of vegetables to choose from.
Look for them at farmers markets and in produce departments for the best flavor and greatest value in season. There are a variety of cold-weather favorites like cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens and all the wonderful root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes and of course the all-time favorite, potato.
Turnips are nutritious root vegetables sought after in a variety of cuisines across Europe, Asia, and Eastern American regions.

Rutabaga, another root vegetable, is closely related to turnips. Rutabagas are larger, more round, mostly feature yellow color flesh, and sweeter than turnips.
The roots and the greens are very rich in vitamins and anti oxidants.

How to peel a Pomegranate

Pomegranate peelingEating a pomegranate can be a messy task. The juice can stain your clothes and even your countertops! The seeds of the pomegranate fruit are sweet, juicy and bursting with flavor.

It is an anti-aging fruit that can prevent hardening of the arteries. It is rich in anthocyanins making it a powerful antioxidant and packs a strong, tangy flavor, but how in the world do you open them without making a mess?

I have always stayed away from buying pomegranates because they are so hard to peel and so messy. The crimson red color is like a dye. If you get it on your clothes, it’s hard to get rid of the stain. I am sure you know what I mean.
I have found an easy way of releasing the beautiful gem-like seeds from the leathery skin and bitter pith.
First cut off the flower or pointed end of the whole pomegranate.
Then cut the fruit into quarters, cutting through the skin. Now the seeds are exposed.
Place the quarters in a large bowl of water and start to wiggle to free the seeds from the white skin. Doing this underwater allows the bits of skin to come to the top. This also prevents the juice from going everywhere. Remove the skin and pith with a strainer.
Drain the seeds and enjoy the goodness of the fruit.

Cool Cauliflower

CauliflowerEat Cauliflower in the winter-it’s a good nutritious cruciferous vegetable. It is a low- calorie, low-carb, high fiber vegetable and can be a great substitute for potatoes, rice or even pasta.
Besides looking cool, colored cauliflower is actually more nutritious because the pigments are powerful antioxidants and anti-cancer agents,
Cauliflower actually comes in four colors: white, orange, purple, and green. White cauliflower, of course, is the original version. Purple, orange, and green cauliflowers haven’t been genetically engineered but they are natural mutants of white cauliflower. Orange cauliflower contains high levels of beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. Purple cauliflower contains anthocyanin, a healthful antioxidant responsible for the purple color of cabbage and red onions, among other foods. Green cauliflower, also called broccoflower, apparently comes in several varieties, some of which could be mutants of cauliflower that produce chlorophyll or a hybrid between cauliflower and broccoli (they’re both members of the same species).
Cauliflower cooks fast and is a very versatile vegetable which can be used in soups, salads and main dishes. It can be steamed, sautéed or roasted.
I make a delicious béchamel sauce with pureed white cauliflower which has a beautiful creamy texture.