Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Green Beans with Tomato (Lilva Nu Shaak)

Lately I have been stocking up my pantry for Indian food. This is mostly due to the acquisition of 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. Also because Indian food is my favorite food in the universe. This recipe calls for asafetida (or hing). We found it pretty quickly in our local Indian store. You can also order spices like these on the internet. I made a special order with several spices in recipes I wanted to try like mango powder, jaggery, asafetida, and a few others to make it worth the shipping.

Today's recipe was Green Beans with Tomato (Lilva Nu Shaak) from 660 Curries.

Taste: 4.5 (The flavor of the spice was just right. It tasted like Indian food, not some hacked together Indian-like food with loads of curry powder.)
Ease of Preparation: 4 (My only issue with this dish is green beans are kind of putsy to trim and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
Nutritional Value: 4 (green beans and tomatoes!)
Maddie Friendliness: 2 (she only ate the rice)
Cost of Ingredients: 4
Overall: 3.7

And now for the recipe!

2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp yellow or black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp sea salt or coarse kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (I halved this [1/2 tsp] and it was still really spicy)
1 tsp white sugar, packed brown sugar, or jaggery
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp asafetida
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium tomato, coared and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

  1. If serving with rice, start the rice.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the mustard seeds and cover the pan. They will pop like popcorn. Wait until the mustard seeds have stopped popping.
  4. Add the cumin seeds. They will instantly turn reddish-brown.
  5. Take the saucepan off of the heat.
  6. Add the rest of the spices.
  7. Add the beans. Stir to coat the beans with the spices.
  8. Pour in one cup of water and add the tomato.
  9. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  10. Simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  11. Spoon over the rice and garnish with cilantro.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto on Pasta

Tonight's recipe was Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto on Pasta from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.

Taste: 4 (Can't go too wrong with pesto!)
Ease of Preparation: 5 (seriously, I didn't even have to chop anything)
Nutritional Value: 3 (no vegetable content, but use a whole grain pasta and it's not terrible)
Maddie Friendliness: 2 (she only ate the pasta)
Cost of Ingredients: 3
Overall: 3.4

This was a good pesto recipe. It's much lower in oil than my favorite recipe from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein, which means it's definitely a better choice if you're trying to watch your calories.

And now for the recipe!

1 large clove garlic
3-3 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
1 cup + 1-2 tbsp raw cashews
2 1/2-2 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves and tender stems
1/2-1 pound pasta (I used brown rice pasta tonight)

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the water used to boil the pasta.
  2. Place the garlic, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, olive, and water in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the cashews and basil leaves and blend until smooth.
  4. Add the pesto to the cooked noodles and toss to combine, adding the reserved water to loosen up the mixture if it's dry.
  5. Serve immediately. The pesto loses its color quickly.
I served this with salad.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tonight we had New Potatoes and Spinach from the cookbook 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. This is the 3rd time I've made this recipe because, honestly, I just can't recommend it enough. Full of flavor, packed with spinach, and just all-around a great recipe. If you haven't yet, try it! Even better check out the cookbook, because it's like opening a great curry treasure chest.

Tomorrow is a new recipe!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spicoli Burgers and Potato Squashers!

Tonight we had spicoli burgers and potato squashers. I have made the spicoli burgers before and posted about it here. After trying this and a few other recipes from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton, I went ahead and bought the cookbook. To accompany the spicoli burgers, I made the potato squashers. They are really tasty and very simple too. Garison saw them and said, "How am I supposed to eat these?" I said, "Um, with a fork?" He said, aghast, "You mean I have to eat the skins?" I'm happy to say, though that he ate them and he liked them in spite of his initial revulsion about eating the skins.

I have missed cooking! It feels so good to nourish your family and yourself by taking the time to make healthy food. I think I have been a little too ambitious, though. Scheduling weeks jam-packed with recipes that take 1.5 hours or more to make. I am going to try to limit the big plans for one or two nights a week and spend most of my time focusing on fast and easy stuff for work nights so I don't become so overwhelmed. If anyone has favorite recipes that are fast and easy or recommendations for cookbooks I'd love to hear them!

Menu for the Week of 20-Sep-09

I've taken a few weeks off from blogging, mostly for health reasons. Sadly, all the take out has been catching up to me, so now that I'm feeling better, it's time to get back on track! Here is this week's meal plan!

Spicoli Burgers, potato squashers (Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan)
Monday: New Potatoes and Spinach (660 Curries pg 580)
Tuesday: Lemony Cashew Basil Pesto on Pasta (Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan pg 131)
Wednesday: Green Beans with Tomato (660 Curries pg 511)
Thursday: Penne Vodka (Veganomicon pg 193) sauteed greens
Friday: pizza

Grocery List:
potatoes for squashers
rice flour
hemp seeds
rice pasta (2)
28 oz crushed tomatoes
slivered almonds
basil (large bunch)
raw cashews
Green Beans
Tomato (2)
black or yellow mustard seeds
greens (kale or chard)
cheese for pizza
spinach 8 oz
1 pound new potatoes