Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Roasted potato and leek soup.

Decided to do something different. A simple dish using potatoes and leeks with 8 oz of . Creme Fraiche , baby arugula greens, 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese along with 3/4 cup of heavy cream. The obvious kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Little less than 1/4 cup of good virgin olive oil. about 5 cup of veggie broth.  I am using yukon potatoes about 2 lbs and 4 cups of leeks.
Yukon Gold and Organic leek

Ingredients I used

Leeks and potatoes drenched in olive oil salt and black pepper  prior to baking.

Arugula mildly spicy greens.

The method is fairly easy. Cut up the potatoes in chucks and slice up the leeks after a good cleaning. Beware of sand. Using a 17" by 11" cookie sheeting I place the potatoes and leek drizzled with olive oil with salt and pepper. This oven is already preheated to 400 degree fahrenheit.  Baked them for about 43 minutes. Midway through carefully stir it. Once done add the arugula on top , quick stir and place it back in the oven about 4 minutes or till wilt.

In the oven for 43 minutes.

Just out of the oven. Arugula wilted.

Now ready to eat.

Added that to my food processor ( Vita-Mix ) in batches, pulsed it to less that chunky pieces and placed on a Tamil cooker. Added more broth heavy cream and Creme Fraiche on low heat. Added Parmesan shavings and now ready to eat.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Paruppu urundai kuzhambu

Decided to get in making paruppu urundai  kuzhambu. Not too difficult.

Toor Dhall soaked for about a little over an hour along with dried chili.

Then comes the tricky blending part. Decided to see if my vita-mix blender would do the


Added asafetida (hing) salt curry leaves. It took a while blending it since you don't want

 to add water. Key is slow and pulse speed.Made into little key-lime sized balls. 

The gravy side was pretty straight forward. 

Light tamarind water set aside.

Mustard seeds fenugreek a pinch of cumin kadalai parrupu added to gingerly oil.

Got them spluttering. Now added sambhar powder about a tablespoon to the oil.

Aroma gets going now.. Now added tamarind water and added more water with a small


Bringing it to a full boil. Salt and Hing added. 

The BIG test........ to drop the urundais without it breaking up. 

It worked. None broke apart.  

Tip: let it boil till it cooks without any assistance from the cook. When cooked it will float

 to the top.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

O Adorable Lord Of Mercy and Love
Salutations and prostrations unto Thee
Thou art Omnipresent,Omnipotent,Omniscient
Thou art the Indweller of all beings. 

Grant us an understanding heart
Equal vision,balanced mind
Faith,devotion and wisdom
Grant us inner spiritual strength
To resist temptation and to control the mind 
Free us from egoism,lust,greed and hatred.
Fill our hearts with divine virtues. 

Let us behold Thee in these names and forms
Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms
Let us ever remember Thee
Let us ever sing Thy Glories
Let Thy Name be ever on our lips 
Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.

Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi 

                              - H.H.Sri Swami Sivananda

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Colorful India. Streets of Tanjore


Local Teashop in Tanjore South India.

Locals and tourist dancing away fun to watch.

Temple elephant common in India.

Inside the Big Temple.

Nice but the walls could use a paint job.

A tour guide explains deities and wall mural.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Breakfast Smoothie

Description: This is really a simple and fast breakfast, but so packed with flavor and fiber, it’s a meal in itself. Don’t you love the wicked purple color!?! 
½ to 1 Banana
½ cup Blueberries
½ cup Low-Fat Yogurt
¼ tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Tbsp Muesli
1 cup Milk
Honey or Agave
Ice Cubes
1. Depending on how thick you like the smoothie, add ½ to 1 banana and ½ a cup blueberries.
2. Pour in the yogurt, milk and vanilla extract for a little extra flavor. Toss in the muesli, and if you like a few ice cubes. You can also add a little honey if you like it sweet. I use Agave. I avoid sugar.
3. Use a VITAMIX  for about 45 to 60 seconds. Until everything has blended well and the muesli has been pulverized.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vathal Kuzhambu

1 potato cubed
3 or 4 small 
indian eggplant
2 small murungakai
2 ripe tomatoes
4-6 garlic pods
salt to taste
1/2 a litre of water or 1/2 quart
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 1/2tbs 
sambar powder
hand full eggplant vathal
Few Sundakai vathal (optional)
coriander leaves

For tempering:

4 tbs 
gingerly oil (I use Idhayam brand)
1tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tbs 
fenugreek seeds 
toor dhal
channa dhal
1/2 tsp 
a few curry leaves


gingerly oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, channa dhaltoor dhal, curry leaves and fry till golden brown.
Now add potatoes, tomatoes, 
eggplant (cut in squares)  murungakai  and garlic.
Stir well ,add sambar podi tamarind paste, asofetida and salt.
Let the stuff get coated. about 2 minutes
Add water, then cover and simmer on a low heat. Top up the water as needed till vegetables are cooked. Ideally, the potatoes should be soft around the edges.
I simmer for about half an hour.
Fry vathals separately in gingelly oil for one minute, then add and boil for another 2 minutes.
Garnish with lots of coriander leaves.
Serve with hot rice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Veppampoovu Rasam

Veppam poovu Rasam

Ghee 1 tablespoon
mustard seeds
cumin seeds ( optional ) without cumin the taste of the rasam gravitates towards the neem flavor.
curry leaves
vepam poovu
1 dried chille

Pan fry the above. ( hold the veppam poovu )
When Mustard seeds begin to pop add the vepam poovu
You don't want the vepam poovu to burn. When the aroma surrounds you move it off the stove.
Add water to it with turmeric powder, salt, tomatoes ( more finely chopped tomatoes) mean less tamarind water. If you have rasam powder add a couple of teaspoon.Add two tablespoon of cooked toor dhall Bring all to a good boil. Turn it off. Finish it off with minced tablespoon of cilantro and a dash of lime juice. Let the rasam rest for about 15 minutes for it to infuse with neem flower. Crush 9 pieces of white pepper add.

Some thoughts about veppam poovu:from India.
I wash it and get the grit out of it.Then dry it out in the sun. The veppam poovu must have been gathered from the ground/soil. 

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Got into the mode to make some dip. here goes:

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Cheeses: Romano, Parmesan, White Cheddar and or swiss cheese. 
About a ladies handful of each type
Chopped Spinach frozen ( 8 or 10 oz ) thawed and squeezed of a water.
Artichoke My preference is "Reese" brand quartered hearts
We don't want a soup.
Butter 3 quarters of a stick
Heavy cream 8 oz
broth I use organic vegetarian stock
White or yellow onions about 3 quarters of a cup chopped
Flour  You can use maitha flour or all purpose type about a quarter cup.
salt ,pepper lemon juice  and some hot sauce ( a tablespoon )

Start off by melting the butter then adding the onions 
Once translucent ( kind of sweat it a bit) add the flour stirring constantly.
Add the heavy cream, We are making a rue. As it thickens add the broth about quarter cup still stirring it
This is no low fat food. Cook it about 10-15 minutes. If the mixture gets too thick add a little more stock.
Add some salt and pepper. Now add the squeezed out spinach. Mix in well. Now add the artichokes as well.
Once stirred in add the hot sauce and the lemon juice. Continue stirring. Now add the cheeses and sir well.
Once the cheese melts and gets incorporated It is ready to serve. Use any dipping chips or crackers. Can be served hot or cold.


Quick Mung beans sprout dish

Here is a Healthy side dish packed with protein.

Tow-nga ( is the chinese word for  sprouts ).
This is cheaply available at the Chinese or Vietnamese shops on fresh veg days.

Ingredients: Mung sprout, tofu ( fried ) garlic salt and hot green or red chillies.
The Chinese use the red chillies. If you cannot find chillies use chillie garlic sauce also available the the chinese shops.

Use 2- 3 cloves of garlic and a few chillies pounded in pestle. 

Pan fry that in a little oil then throw in the sprouts, tofu, a little salt and cook it tender.
I cook it covered and the process is quick. Add the chillie sauce as needed.