Roasted Purple Carrots Soup

Mint and Fenugreek flavored Roasted Purple Carrots Soup

Roasted Purple Carrot soup with mint and fenugreek

Soups were never made at home, growing up. The only soup that I grew up accustomed to, was a tomato soup served with croutons ordered on a rare visit to a North Indian style restaurant. It is amusing that we South Indians love to eat North Indian food when eating out and I hear it is vice-versa up north. Whatever the case, soups were not a norm. Over the years, especially more so after I began blogging, soups started to kind of grow on me and my kitchen started to see more of simmering soup pots, then on. Squashes, Apples, Pasta and Vegetables, Barley and Celery, Tomato, Spinach and Carrots – the list of vegetables that have been my soup experiment guinea pigs, is not quite bad considering my aforementioned background.

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Sprouted Mung and Pomegranate Salad + Magazine subscriptions {10} GIVEAWAY

Sprouted Mung and Pomegranate Salad with grated coconut and Pink salt

mung sprouts pom salad

I know. The entire blogging world is displaying cakes, cookies and desserts of the best kinds and here I chose to speak about a salad, right? But lately, this is what I have been making a lot of, thanks to pomegranates being available in the stores in truck loads. Besides, Mr. K (that’s one of his endearments) loves when I pack this salad for his lunch. Handy lunch according to him, along with a bottle of protein shake to wash it down with. BTW, quite a many years back, this salad was on my wedding menu as well. That’s a food memory story I promise to share another day.

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Sprouted Green Gram and Pear salad

This is less of a recipe and more of a combination of healthful ingredients, inspired by a feta cheese and field greens salad that I ate a couple of weeks back at a friend’s wedding.
Being the cheese hater that I am (pardon me cheese lovers!), I adapted it to suit my taste by swapping cheese with my favorite sprouted green grams and including pear, the autumn fruit.

I find sprouting – every aspect of it from cleansing the seeds, to draining the excess water, to wrapping it in wet cloth, to providing the right environment, to be deeply satisfying, almost meditative.
There’s something so magical about sprouting where in we get to witness nature’s most basic visual proof of life and a symbolic of the circle of life in its simplest everyday form..
Through germination,  a dried legume acquires such superior nutritional qualities that it transforms itself into a wonder food of sorts in just a matter of couple of days.
No wonder then, sprouting increases the protein content of green grams (or pulses in general), which propels them to come very close to a complete protein as compared to what they are otherwise. It also reduces their flatulence causing properties and are better digested when compared to their raw form. Sprouts contain much chlorophyll and are best consumed fresh than cooked.
You see why sprouts would make an excellent addition to your diet?
May be this is the reason why in most parts of South India,  green gram is the legume of choice introduced as the first of solid foods in the form of cereal for babies.
One of my other favorite uses of green gram is in ground form – it is an excellent natural soap for face and body which keeps skin soft and supple without any dryness. For the same reason, it is used for bathing just born babies and yes, I have used it for my little girl too!
Spiced pecans and cranberries give this salad a much-needed twist from the usual. Tartness of the cranberries, freshness and crunch of the sprouts, spicy bite of the pecans and mellow sweetness from pear along with lemon juice and spices makes this salad quite unique. With pecans and pears, this salad screams ‘autumn’ from the rooftop.
Pomegranates  are in season, so you could experiment with the red rubies as well. Alfalfa might make a great substitute too, I’ll have to try it next time..
How do you like to eat your sprouts?

Sprouted green gram and Pear salad with spiced pecans and cranberries Recipe

Printable Recipe

Things you’ll need:
  • 1/2 cup green gram
  • 1 bartlette pear, sliced thin
  • 1 carrot, julienne grated
  • 2 tbsp pecans
  • 2 tbsp cranberries
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ground black pepper
  • paprika
  • red chilli flakes
  • sea salt
  • cilantro
How it’s done:
Wash the green gram well and soak overnight in plenty of water. Next morning, drain the water and wrap the soaked green gram in wet paper towels or soft cotton/cheese cloth. Keep it in a big bowl, cover and let sit in a draft free area (neither chill nor hot) for a day or two until well sprouted.
To roast the pecans, microwave in 30 sec intervals for about 2 mins and let cool. Once crisp, add a drop of oil, paprika and salt to taste and toss to coat well. I prefer to crush the sea salt in a mortar and pestle as it is slightly coarse.
For the dressing, whisk in equal quantities (or to your taste) of lemon juice and EVOO along with ground black pepper and red chilli flakes.
Toss everything together with the dressing, salt, roasted spiced pecans, cranberries and serve immediately.
Note:
Sprouted green gram stays well for up to 4-5 days when refrigerated

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Pasta and Vegetables Soup

Guest Post

You know how casual random acts can lead to nice things? For instance, casual browsing on Foodgawker brought me to pause at  these Egyptian Date Crescents that I instantly fell in love with for, I hardly find eggless pastry based desserts that easily. This blog hopping then led to twitter connection.

In the words of Penny de Los Santos whose workshop I recently attended and have been catching myself quoting only her quotes ever since, “Facebook is for those you already know and twitter is for those who you want to know“. Well said.

What are tweets meant for? And that is how I got to know Lynn (@LynnLawandi on twitter) was looking out for someone to guest post while she is moving in and out of condos. Happy to help I was and so was Lynn and that is how this special post has come alive. Lynn has quite a few egg-less desserts like Good old-fashioned Apple Pie, Pear Caramel Ice cream, Plum Tarte Tatin to name a few. So be sure to check her blog.

Over the years, reasons might have changed, but Summer has remained very dear to me. During the pre-teen years, summer was all about a precious vacation with my parents, the only solid three-month long time I would get to spend with them during the entire year. Summers those days were carefree, irrespective of how scorching the sun decided to be. Strolling through mango and guava orchards occasionally helping myself to a few, in a small village in a remote corner of the Karnataka map then seemed like the best way to spend the afternoons. Those were the good old days.

Golden memories are seldom remade. But we sure can create new ones so they turn golden as the years roll. Amidst such teeny whims and fancies this year among all others, summer is special to me for reasons green. My interest in gardening peaked out of the blue off late and the balcony container garden that I expanded during early spring of this year has started showing prolific results. I’m excited more than I can word(ex)press about growing my own herbs – parsley flat and curled, chives, thyme or mint. A realization however late it might seem is yet so true – there’s no greater satisfaction than growing your own silly garden.

The best produce is one that we harvest from our own gardens tended with our very own hands. No supermarket produce stands tall in front of it.

So, now when I want some of the herbs that I normally don’t frequently use but still need occasionally, all I have to do is step out of the door wide open to the balcony and feel the joy abound.

Similar is the joy of cooking with farmer’s market fresh vegetables.

Given the fresh vegetables and herbs, I couldn’t miss thinking about making a hearty pasta and vegetable soup. Since the day I accidentally made this once, I must’ve made it umpteen times and yet never really came to think of sharing with you.

So, it felt like the right time to introduce this recipe to you through this guest post for Lynn.

Please join me at Lynn Lawandi’s to read more about what she’s having!

You can also go straight to the Printable Recipe

Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset.

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Nectarine Salsa

Perfect Snack for the Super Bowl Party!

People mostly know all or none about Superbowl (for the sake of simplicity, I am going to conveniently ignore those on the fence) and I, belong in the latter. Probably, if you asked me about Cricket instead, may be I could bore you to death. On second thoughts, not even that ‘cos the cricket I was fanatic about belongs to a bygone era, an early 90’s and the 2000’s. Now, I am pretty much clueless about who plays for which team.
As it turns out, I wasn’t much of a sports girl at all.
Hey, wait a minute. I do think I know a little bit – Superbowl is on a Sunday and that sunday is just less than a week away, on Feb the 6th to be precise and this time around it happens to be Superbowl XLV. And, Isn’t it Superbowl Sunday when the best TV ads are broadcast and isn’t that the day of most food consumption in the US, only next to Thanksgiving?

There you go, I didn’t quite disappoint you after all. Thanks to my blogger friends on twitter for filling in with at least half the info, for an otherwise Superbowl ‘illiterate’ like me! The game still remains a mystery to me though..

In a way, this has got very little to do with Superbowl or probably a lot. You decide which one. Before that, let me quickly tell you how I came about all this.
We all know what to do “When life hands you lemons..” I had to stretch this a bit far..

I would have never thought of making Salsa out of Nectarines of all the fruits, if not for this fateful wintry day when I drooled over a few Nectarines that seemed rather out-of-place for the season in the grocery store (I should’ve realized). Temptation took over the best of me for, they happily came home. It wasn’t long before I understood why they were actually on sale. I somehow had to save my face from him as I had dared to buy them against his cautionary advice. It was like hot ghee – hard to swallow, forget the question of spitting out (It’s Ghee!).

For the next few days, I left them alone, not a look at them even when I opened the refrigerator, I hated to be reminded of the blunder I had committed. There’s nothing worse than ending up with sour nectarines, I had thought. I always find myself with a better sense of judgement after sleeping over such issues for good or for worse (conditions apply of course). And this time, was no different. As luck would have it later that week, I was reminiscing how my friend Lil makes lovely Pico de gallo and I had my eureka moment just as those thoughts crossed. Without wasting a single moment when I googled (google – always my partner in crime), I discovered I was not the first one to think of it, such a delectable way to use this stone fruit.

Armed with this kind of disaster recovery story to share, this post was born.
Moral of the story:
When life hands you sour Nectarines………….Make Nectarine Salsa and not just that, feed your friends & family on Superbowl Sunday!

So, here I am jumping on to the Superbowl bandwagon with the only one thing I know in the scheme of things – food!

What do you think of Nectarine salsa? Have you made it before? Does this remind you of your own funny eureka moment with any of your mistaken buys? Share a piece of your mind with me..

Nectarine Sala on whole grain tostitos scoops

{Nectarine Salsa on whole grain baked Tostitos mini bowls}

Chunky Nectarine Salsa Recipe

Adapted from Epicurious.com

Printable Recipe

Things you’ll need:

  • 2 medium nectarines, washed, pitted and finely chopped (skin on)
  • 1 large Roma tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/4 large white onion, minced
  • small handful of cilantro, washed and finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 medium lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 2 green chillies, seeded and sliced into thin rounds ~ optional
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • red chilli powder / cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • sea salt
How it’s done:
  • In a medium salad bowl, combine the chopped ingredients.
  • Sprinkle ground black pepper and red chilli powder to taste. Add in the lemon juice, cane sugar and salt and mix well with a salad spoon. Let sit for at least 30 mins before serving for the fruit and veggies to soak up the spices.
  • Serve garnished with chopped cilantro as a salad or as chunky salsa in crunchy whole grain baked Tostitos scoops – crunch, juicy, crunch!
Storing Suggestion:
Store unused/leftover salsa immediately in the refrigerator and use within 2 days. As it is made of raw vegetable ingredients, it can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria when left at room temperature.
Other ingredient variations:
The recipe works well with Peaches and semi raw Mangoes too. Thinking of raw/green mangoes makes me want to be in Bangalore now. Totapuri/Ginimooti Mavinkayi (Mango tipped like a parrot’s beak) would be perfect for this salsa recipe.
Jalapeños and Serrano peppers (seeded and finely chopped) can be substituted for green chillies. If you don’t like the heat, just leave the chilli peppers out of the recipe and it will taste fine too.
Caution: Serrano peppers can be extremely hot. Be especially careful when chopping Serrano peppers. I personally wouldn’t shy away from using gloves for chopping as at one time, I dared chopping them with bare hands and ended up with an undying burning sensation for a whole day! (in spite of all home remedies)
Tiny tidbit: Pico de gallo is also called “Salsa Fresca” in Mexican Cuisine as it is freshly made from raw ingredients (veggies). source: wiki

Verdict:
Nectarine salsa tasted much better after sitting for a bit rather than when made fresh, probably because given the time, the spices settled well giving it a tiny pickled effect.
Both of us simply loved the salsa on baked whole grain tostito scoops (or mini bowls) as well as multi grain crackers to the extent that we were almost in competition to grab the most of it. Before we realized, we had scraped the bowl clean. Who knew salsa could be this exotic? The next time I spot some nectarines, I might buy them to make just that!

Beautiful salsa recipes on blogs I love:

Nectarine Salsa @ Vegetarian Family Table
Mango Salsa @ White on Rice Couple

{Bowl of baked whole grain Tositos scoops}
Sending Nectarine Salsa as my entry to Cooking with Fruits event hosted by Smita of Taste Buds

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