Category Archives: Beverages, Soups and Salads

Waldorf Salad

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This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

Well, after all the big dialogues of yesterday about not being tardy anymore, I am here to tell you all that I have failed miserably before I even started. Coming to think of it, it was more like stating a wish than an actual mission statement :D. So, the next time I declare that I am taking my future into my hands and all that stuff, feel free not to believe a word of what i say. Even I don’t believe it now a days ;-P

The thing is, my family is here (Told you I will come up with good excuses for my tardiness!). My brother is here in the US with his family. My dad is also there with them. I have been so excited about their trip for a while now. I have been shooting down all the invitations of our friends for the two weekends they are here. Yes, I turned down “food included” invitations, can you believe it? But in the end, my brother ended up being busy with some other plans and luckily for me, our friends took us in at the last minute. There is no end to the love that we get in this foreign country. I am blessed to have friends who treat us like family even when my family is visiting :-).

Anyway, I am here with Waldorf salad for W. Not with waffles, not with whoopie pies, not with winter vegetables. Waldorf salad for W.

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Recipe source: Simply recipes

This salad can be modified a lot according to your preference. This is what I used – 1 apple, 1 stick celery, 1/2 cup grapes, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoon mayonnaise (or thick yogurt), salt and pepper as needed. In a small bowl mix mayonnaise with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Core and chop the apples into bite sized pieces. Halve the grapes. Thinly slice the celery. Add everything in a big bowl. Add the dressing. Mix well and refrigerate until serving time. Serve on lettuce leaves, with some freshly halved grapes on top.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63


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Hot Chocolate

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This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

Ha! Its hard to believe that we are already reached the alphabet ‘H’. This was one of the alphabets with fewer choices, still I had about 3-4 dishes before I decided to take it easy and go with the best one :D. I was considering between hot milk cake, hush puppies, hot dog veggie version and hot chocolate.

I already have hot milk cake in the blog. Its one of my to-go recipes and I make it many times in an year. So that was ruled out and among the rest, hot chocolate won the competition hands down.

Hot chocolate is popular anytime of the year, but particular around Christmas/winter, you will see it all over the place. There are three ways in which you can make the basic hot chocolate.It all involves hot milk and sugar with one of the following chocolate agents.

  1. cocoa powder
  2. chocolate (grated, chopped or chips for easy melting)
  3. ready made hot chocolate mix, which is usually cocoa powder with sugar and may be powdered milk

Of course there are a hundred flavor options that you can try, but the about three will cover the basic hot chocolate. Peppermint is popular around Christmas and I still have a pack that a friend of mine gifted me. Here I have made the cocoa powder version, which I feel is the best of the three. Try it out and let me know what kinds you make at your place :-).

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • whipped cream and grated chocolate, for decoration

Method:

  1. Recipe serves one.
  2. Add cocoa powder and sugar with a cup of milk in a pan. Whisk well until no lumps remain.
  3. Heat in low-medium flame until it starts to simmer. Turn off the heat.
  4. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and grated chocolate. Enjoy!

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63

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Turmeric milk – Haldi doodh

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Turmeric milk or golden milk or haldi doodh is an age-old Indian home remedy for sore throat, congestion or cold. It is anti inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, immunity building and what not! It means that it fights inflammation (even arthritis related), purifies blood, soothes muscle spasms (especially for menstrual cycle), builds immunity and so on.

Now, I give this to my son whenever he has a cold or congestion. I give to him with the same love with which my mother used to give me when I was a kid. And my son protests with the same strength with which I used to do when I was a kid. I used to HATE it when I was a kid. A sentiment that my son shares now.

But then, wisdom dawns with age and I am a much wiser person now. I am hoping that my son too, will grow up to be wise guy and torture his kids with the golden milk ;-).

Its not that this tastes bad, but it is no hot chocolate. I overdo the pepper part and so it ends up a little more spicy than what the kid prefers it to be. The pepper helps with the congestion (or so I feel), but is totally optional (but recommended). Read on if you want to know more about this magical golden milk.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • sugar as needed

Method: 

  1. Heat milk with turmeric powder, ground pepper and sugar.
  2. Once it comes to a boil, take off the heat, pass through a tea strainer and drink.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

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Mulligatawny soup

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This soup is an example of how different something can be today from what it started out to be. Our humble rasam or ‘milagai thanni’ has turned into something totally different over a period of time. Mulligatawny is served now as a thick soup, spiced with curry powder with vegetarian and non vegetarian options.

For the third day of January BM, this soup is inspired from the San Francisco Soup company take away menu. Their description of this soup is “A lightly seasoned curried Chicken and Lentil soup with Apples, Carrots, Celery and Coconut Milk. ” Garnish suggestion is rice and cilantro.

Based on this I searched for a recipe that came close to this description. The one I found online had chickpeas, carrots, celery and coconut milk. My pantry had only red kidney beans, no carrots and no coconut milk. Yet I went ahead and prepared it with suitable substitutions. The soup with apples and sweet potatoes was shunned by the man. He dislikes the combination of sweet and savory in the same dish. If you are in that category, give this a skip. But if you are like me and love the idea of an easy all in one soup, this one is for you.

Read on for the recipe.

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Recipe adapted from : Vegetarian Mulligatawny

Ingredients:

  • one teaspoon oil
  • one chopped onion
  • one teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1-2 carrots, diced (I didn’t have any)
  • 4 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked potatoes/ sweet potatoes
  • 1 diced apple
  • 1 can red kidney beans or cooked chick peas
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon each turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and chilli powder (OR 1 teaspoon curry powder)
  • salt and pepper
  • Cooked basmati rice, to serve

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Saute onions, followed by the ginger garlic paste. Add the diced carrots, chopped celery and potatoes.
  2. Add the spices – turmeric powder, cumin, coriander and chilli powders (OR curry powder). Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add 6 cups of stock or water. Add the diced apple, kidney beans or chick peas. Season per taste.
  4. Let it come to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings.
  5. At the time of serving, you can add some coconut milk and lemon juice, if preferred. I didn’t.
  6. Serve on top of some cooked basmati rice.
  7. Garnish ideas: a dollop of yogurt, cilantro, raisins, chopped nuts.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#60 

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Roasted eggplant and tomato soup

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There are times when you feel a little curious about a recipe and try it with an open mind. When I say am open mind, what I mean is that a part of your mind is preparing you for a colossal failure. This soup was in that category.

Eggplant, that too, in a soup? I had to try it for myself. I was expecting it to fail, but surprisingly it turned out well. It’s the basil that stands out the most, with a nice taste of eggplant coming in later. I liked it. But I have always been an eggplant lover.

I didn’t bother pureeing it when I served it first, but gave it a try later. Liked both the versions.

My husband is not a big fan of soups. So when I was making lunch for him, I threw a portion of this soup along with some boiled eggs and spinach puree I had and made a quick curry out of it. Served with some basmati rice and he was one happy man!

This post goes to January BM, under take away dishes theme. My choice of take away place is San Francisco Soup company. Yesterday was Smoky split pea soup and today is Roasted eggplant soup. Come back tomorrow for another interesting soup recipe.

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Recipe adapted from : Food.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 1 whole garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or chili powder (per taste)
  • 6 cups stock or water
  • few basil leaves
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat a baking pan with olive oil and place your veggies on it after cutting it into half.
  2. Eggplant needs to be scored and seasoned and placed flat side down. Peppers can also be placed flat side down.
  3. Garlic can be cut into half and wrapped in foil with some oil, salt and pepper. Tomatoes can be cut into two and kept flat side up.
  4. Bake until the veggies are roasted, about 40 minutes. Place the peppers in a ziploc.
  5. Let it all cool. Peel off the skin from peppers. Roughly chop tomatoes and peppers.
  6. In a soup pan, add one tablespoon oil. Add the onions and cook until its pink.
  7. Add the pepper flakes, follow it up with the chopped tomatoes and peppers. Squeeze out the garlic from its skin and add it.
  8. Scrape out the flesh from the eggplant and throw the skin out. Add it to the soup along with 6 cups of water or stock and basil.
  9. Season per taste. Let it come to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Take off the heat and once cool enough to handle, puree in batches.
  11. Heat at the time of serving and add some grated cheese if you prefer.

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Smoky split pea soup

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Its been a  mild winter this year. There has been warmer days than last year; there was even a day, right in the middle of December, when we wore half sleeve shirts and went for a walk.

As if to avenge that, its been snowing steadily and heavily since last night. At times, its snow falling peacefully and gracefully. At other times, its fierce and thrown about by wind. But the wind and the snow and all the troubles are outside. Inside the house, we are quite warm and very prepared.

We have power. We have internet.

We have food too.

Its been a non stop movie watching day with minimal cooking. But I wish I had some of this soup to relish today. The next time it’s snowing, green split peas is going to be in the emergency purchase list. But for now, it’s going to be this virtual treat for you and me!

This post goes to January BM, under take away dishes theme. My choice of take away place is San Francisco Soup company. Today you will be served Smoky split pea soup.  Keep an eye here for the next two days for more soups.

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Soak 1.5 cups of split pea overnight or for at least 3 hours in hot water till its softened.

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Heat one tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker and add 1 teaspoon of paprika.

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Add one chopped onion and 4-5 chopped garlic cloves and let it all cook.

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Time to tip in one diced carrot and a cup of chopped celery.

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In goes one big cubed potato as well. Let it all saute for 3-4 minutes.

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Time to add the split peas with salt and pepper.

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Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. I used 2 teaspoons of bouillon.

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Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles and turn off the heat.

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Wait for the pressure to drop and after that, open the cooker add 2 diced tomatoes and let it cook. Check the seasoning and adjust according to your taste.

Serve with toasted bread. The soup thickens as it sits. This makes 4 lavish servings.

Recipe adapted from: Smoky Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups green split peas
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or chili powder
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 pods of chopped garlic (or per taste)
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 diced potato
  • Water or vegetable stock
  • 2 tomatoes, diced

Method:

  1. Soak 1.5 cups of split pea overnight or for at least 3 hours in hot water till its softened.
  2. Heat one tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker and add 1 teaspoon of paprika.
  3. Add one chopped onion and 4-5 chopped garlic cloves and let it all cook.
  4. Add one diced carrot and a cup of chopped celery. Follow it up with a big cubed potato. Let it all saute for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the split peas. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. I added 2 teaspoons of bouillon to water.
  7. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles and turn off the heat.
  8. Wait for the pressure to drop and after that, open the cooker add 2 diced tomatoes and let it cook.
  9. Check the seasoning and adjust according to your taste. Serve with toasted bread.
  10. The soup thickens as it sits. This makes 4 lavish servings.

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This post goes to Blogging Marathon #60. Check out the BM page for the what other participants are preparing today.

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Blackbean soup

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I am a pretty lazy cook in general, but come winter and the equation changes completely. I am always looking for reasons to cook and bake. I give the stove so much of love and attention during these three months that I am sure it doesn’t mind the negligence for the rest of the year. The reason is that its biting cold here now and the stove is almost like a fireplace.

So now onward, anytime is tea time.

But the past ten days, the oven’s been extremely busy, but the stove top been inactive. Its been like the stove has been given a good Christmas break. And the times when the stove’s been active, its been dishing out simple soups and sandwiches. Like this one here – A filling, healthy and an easy to put together soup.

Can we ask for anything simpler when there are so many cakes to bake?

Read on for the recipe and the pictorial.

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Pictorial:

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Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan and saute one chopped onion and three minced garlic cloves.

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Once the onions turn pink, add one diced capsicum/bell pepper. Saute for 2-3  minutes.

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Season with salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin. Add 3 diced tomatoes or one can of diced tomatoes.

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Reserve 1/4th of the cooked black beans and add the rest to the soup along with 3-4 cups of vegetable broth or water. If you prefer the soup to be thick, you can mash the reserved 1/4th beans and add it. Else add them as such.

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Let it come to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Take off the heat and serve with toasted bread.

BM Theme : Healthy/Diabetic friendly food

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of oil
  • one onion, chopped
  • 3 pods garlic, finely chopped
  • one bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced fine or one can of diced tomatoes
  • one can black beans or 1.5 cups of cooked black beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan and saute one chopped onion and three minced garlic cloves.
  2. Once the onions turn pink, add one diced capsicum/bell pepper.
  3. Saute for 2-3  minutes.Season with salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin.
  4. Add 3 diced tomatoes or one can of diced tomatoes.
  5. Reserve 1/4th of the cooked black beans and add the rest to the soup along with 3-4 cups of vegetable broth or water. If you prefer the soup to be thick, you can mash the reserved 1/4th beans and add it. Else add them as such.
  6. Let it come to a boil and taste and adjust the seasonings. Take off the heat and serve with toasted bread.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#60

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Minestrone soup

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Another year has begun and its time to start afresh and wipe off the unfinished resolutions from the past year. The good thing about my resolutions are that they are the same as last year…and the year before that. Oh well, its been the same for the past 4 years!

Regular blogging, concentrate more on food photography and reduce weight to the doctor recommended number. And of course, it’s never been completed. Not even one of the three, not all these years.

Unfulfilled resolutions have become the tradition for me. Will I keep up the tradition  or will I really get something done this year? I don’t know. But I do know that I always start fresh in the new year. It’s the keeping it up later that’s the problem.

So here is the first post of the year, under the BM theme: Healthy/ Diabetic diet recipes. That checks off the regular blogging and the weight off the resolution list! Good start, would you not say?! :-)

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Pictorial:

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Saute one chopped onion, one sliced carrot and one stick of sliced celery in two teaspoons of butter.

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Add a sliced zucchini and saute for a further 2-3 minutes.

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Add 2-3 diced tomatoes and about 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. Add cooked beans of your choice and/or cooked pasta, if using.

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Season per taste and let it boil for 4-5 minutes. Check seasonings and take off the heat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • one onion, chopped
  • one carrot, sliced
  • one stick celery, sliced
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup cooked beans or pasta, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Saute one chopped onion, one sliced carrot and one stick of sliced celery in two teaspoons of butter.Add a sliced zucchini and saute for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add 2-3 diced tomatoes and about 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. Add cooked beans of your choice or cooked pasta, if using.
  3. Season per taste and let it boil for 4-5 minutes. Check seasonings and take off the heat. Serve with bread toast.

Note: There is no one way of preparing the soup and there are many versions with many ingredients. This one was prepared with what I had in my fridge.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#60

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Kosambari/ Kosumalli

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Some of my staple recipes come from my sister-in-law. My regular pulao is her take on the dish. I still remember her pasta salad, which I used to make regularly for a long time.

Another recipe which comes out perfect from her kitchen is this – Kosumalli. This one doesn’t have many fans in my place, my raw food hating husband stays away from it, but my enthusiasm makes up for others lack of it. The softness of cucumber, the bite from the coconut, crunchiness of carrots and dal, the slightly tangy touch of lemon and the wonderful aroma of the seasoning….mmm…oh,YUM!

Try this simple recipe if you are a fan of crunchy, raw food. I know I am!

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Recipe source: My Sister in law

Serves : 2 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Moong dal, soaked for 2-3 hours
  • 1/4 cup cucumbers, peeled and chopped very fine
  • 2 tablespoon carrots, grated or chopped very fine
  • 1 teaspoon coriander leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons coconut, grated
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • salt, lemon juice as needed

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the moong dal for 2-3 hours at least.
  2. Once they are soaked enough and not tough inside, prepare the vegetables.
  3. Peel and chop the cucumber finely. Grate the carrot.
  4. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan and add one teaspoon mustard seeds and a sliced green chili to it. After the mustard seeds is done popping, add it to the moong dal.
  5. Now add the vegetables, moong dal with tadka, coriander leaves, grated coconut and salt & lemon juice for seasoning. Mix well so that everything combines evenly.
  6. Serve as a side dish to serve with rice.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 58

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Everyday, everything salad

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My son tolerates pasta, dislikes dosa/chapati and hates rice! That list strikes out all the items I know to cook. But thankfully, he likes salads. And luckily, I know the easiest salad recipe in the world (in my world, at least!).

I got this recipe from a friend of mine. You can adapt it according to what you have in your fridge. I always have apples, tomatoes and cucumbers in fridge, so these are the key ingredients for me. If you have lettuce or salad greens, the salad gets even more interesting. The quantity and the proportion is all left to your taste and what’s available in your refrigerator.

If you add some cooked beans (red kidney, chick pea or black beans), then you can graduate the salad into a meal. And that’s what I usually do.

For seasoning, a little mayonnaise mixed with 2 teaspoons of yogurt is what my friend recommends. After coming to US, I have started stocking up of various salad seasonings. I use any of those for convenience. Add salt and pepper and that’s it. Your meal is ready.

The recipe below is just a guide line as to what can go into the salad. These are my preferences and I have used these in many combinations according to what’s there on the fridge.

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BM Theme : Salads

Recipe source: My friend Swapna 

Ingredients:

Choice of Fruit – 1 cup altogether ; pick one at least

  • apple
  • grapes
  • pomegranate
  • pear
  • orange
  • plum
  • strawberries or blueberries
  • NO mangoes, NO bananas

Choice of vegetable – (pick 2 at least) 1 cup altogether

  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • capsicum
  • lettuce or salad greens
  • corn
  • cauliflower (steamed or microwaved)
  • avocado
  • NO carrot, NO cabbage

Choice of protein -pick 1 (optional) 

  • 1/2 cup cooked beans – any variety (chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans etc), canned is fine
  • 1 boiled egg, cut into small pieces
  • handful of cheese like feta
  • handful of sprouts (steamed)

Choice of dry fruits/nuts – pick 1 handful, Optional 

  • toasted peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, cashew nuts or almonds
  • raisins, cranberries, apricot

Choice of dressing – pick one and season with salt and pepper

  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise mixed with 1 teaspoon yogurt
  • honey mustard and mayonnaise
  • any ready made salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Method: 

  1. Choose at least 1 fruit and 2 vegetables and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Pick a protein to make it a meal.
  3. Add a handful of toasted nuts or dry fruits. Optional.
  4. Make your dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the salad, toss well and serve.
  5. My regular salad would have an apple, handful of grapes, 2 tomatoes, 1/2 medium cucumber and 1/3 cup of thawed corn. I go on and add a boiled egg or 1/2 cup of canned beans if its a meal. I add pistachios or cashews or raisins (my pantry staples) when in mood. I like the combination of mayonnaise and honey mustard for dressing. Another favorite is mayo+yogurt+ salt n pepper. This quantity is sufficient for one.

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