Thursday, August 31, 2017

Refreshing Breakfast - Fresh Fruits and Vegetables with yogurt dressing

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Lots of us either give it scant respect or none at all. It sets up the tone for the rest of the day so eating something refreshing puts you on the right foot for the whole day at least in terms of food.

Summer time around here is when we get fruits and vegetables at their freshest. If you grow them even better. I was starting to tire of my usual weekday breakfast fare - oatmeal, avocado or egg on toast, bagels. Pretty pathetic really nothing that makes you want to jump and want to eat breakfast.

So wanting something quick but something refreshing I did this for a day and have been craving for it every day. I had fresh cucumber, tomato bursting with flavor obviously since it came off the plants I grew ;) and some farm fresh peaches one day and some store bought pineapple the next.

So the trick is a few crunchy vegetables and some fruits and the dressing does not have to be fancy. If you have yogurt or sour cream and some pickles or hot sauce you should be set. You can skip the dressing altogether for a vegan version. This is not so much of a recipe as an idea to keep away from the boring and the carb and sugar loaded stuff that passes off as breakfast.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables with Yogurt Dressing
Preparation Time: 5 - 10 minutes
  1. 1 cucumber cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  2. 2 ripe small tomatoes cubed
  3. a few basil leaves (optional)
  4. 1/2 -1 cup of pineapple / peach cubed
  5. 2 tbsp sour cream or yogurt
  6. 2 tsp of pickle of your choice - tomato thokku or mango thokku or some hot sauce any kind
  7. 2 tsp of honey
  1. Whisk the yogurt with the pickle or sauce till it is smooth. If you'd rather stick to something sweet use the honey instead of the spicy pickle or sauce.
  2. Julienne the basil leaves and
  3. Combine with all the fruits and vegetables.
  4. Pour the prepared dressing over the fruits and vegetables. Toss to combine.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Peach Frozen Yogurt

It is the peak of peach season and if you are close (or even far) to an orchard or farm market I strongly encourage you to load up for the year. They are great for baking, making jams, ice creams, smoothies and of course eating fresh - my daughter eats 4 a day minimum :). You can't have enough of them. I can't believe there was a time when I did not like peach. I realized later that it was the mushy peach. I like them just ripe and still slightly firm.

If you go to an orchard right now they are plentiful and cheap and fresh without any of the waxy stuff you find on fruits in grocery stores. There are white and yellow peaches. The slightly more tart and acidic yellow peaches which become sweet as they ripe and the less acidic and sweet when ripe or not.

Ice creams and frozen yogurts are what you feel like eating on warm and humid days. Peach yogurt is one of the best as they come when made with fresh peaches. Feels like soft serve and is light enough if the sugar is controlled to be even eaten as breakfast ;) While I prefer using plain Greet Yogurt you can also use regular or home made yogurt to make the ice cream.

Wash chop, pit and chop the peaches. Take it in a blender. Add in the lemon juice.
Add in the sugar .
Blend the sugar and the peaches till it is well mixed. Add the yogurt.
Blend the yogurt into the peach so it well mixed.
Pour into the ice cream maker and churn for about 20 minutes. Ready to eat :)
Remove to a container to freeze for another 4 hours or so.

Did I tell that you should all buy an ice cream maker. You can buy one for less than $30 or slightly more. Mine is the most basic kind and it serves the purpose well. Store bought ice creams are heavy and sugary. Making ice cream at home you can control both. The recipe is based off of this recipe in Eating Well.

Peach Frozen Yogurt
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Churning Time: 20 - 30 minutes
Freezing Time: 4-8 hours
  1. 3-4 ripe peaches (white or yellow)
  2. juice from half a lime (lemon)
  3. half cup of sugar
  4. 2 cups of Greek Yogurt or regular yogurt
  5. 1/2 - 3/4 cup of sugar (I used raw sugar)

  1. Wash, seed, chop and puree the peaches in a blender.
  2. Add the lemon juice and sugar and blend till well mixed.
  3. Add in the Greek Yogurt and blend for 30 seconds more.
  4. Transfer to the ice creamer and churn for 20 minutes. It should be ready to eat them but they should be frozen for another 4 hours for a firmer ice cream.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Drumstick Leaves Poriyal (Stirfry)

Drumstick leaves are suddenly so very popular. Back home a drumstick trees in every backyard is a common sight. The drumsticks were regularly eaten I knew that but I am not sure if the leaves were consumed as much as the drumsticks themselves. I know they got used in dal and stir fries but not as frequently.

They were almost impossible to get here in the US other than for a few lucky folks living in Florida and a few of the other states blessed with warm weather throughout the year. I occasionally see them in the Indian grocery stores now but are pricey. I also have a few friends who grow them in containers.

Anyway the Indian grocery store that is in walking distance of my work place had it on one of our visits. Whenever I visited my grandparent's house in the village I ask my grandma or aunt to make drumsticks leaves poriyal. Besides being very tasty these leaves are a nutritional powerhouse. If you get your hands on them don't let them go :)

Very simple to make and there are quite a few variations that can be done with it. While picking the leaves off of the stems is time consuming, it is well worth the effort. I add eggs to it but you can add fresh grated coconut instead. My colleague at work says to leave the drumstick leaves out overnight or in the sun for a little while and the leaves fall off from the stems easily.

Take the leaves and pick them of the stems. Wash and dry completely and chop roughly.
Get grated ginger ready. In a wide mouthed pan add oil, add the seasonings and saute the onions and when brown add in the ginger.
Add in the drumstick leaves, salt and when cooked add in the eggs and saute till the eggs are completely cooked. Turn off the heat.

Serve as a side dish with rice.

Drumstick Leaves Poriyal (stirfry)
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. Drumstick Leaves - 3-4 cups packed
  2. 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion or shallots
  3. 6-8 red chilies broken (I shake the seeds out)
  4. 1/2 tbsp of grated ginger
  5. 2 eggs or 1/4 cup grated fresh or frozen coconut for a vegan version
  6. seasonings - split urad dal (ulaudam paruppu), cumin seeds, mustard seeds
  7. salt to taste
  8. 1 tsp oil

  1. Wash and completely drain the water and chop the drumstick leaves if needed.
  2. In a wide mouthed pan heat oil, add in the split urad dal and when it starts to turn brown add in the cumin and mustard seeds and when it starts to pop add the red chilies followed by onion, saute till the onion turns slightly brown.
  3. Add in the grated ginger and saute for a few seconds. Be quick and don't let it burn.
  4. Add in the leaves and in low heat cook till the leaves are completely cooked. It takes a bit of time to cook, so cover and in low heat, should take about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add in the salt and when the leaves are completely cooked add in the eggs and saute till the eggs are cooked.
  6. For a vegan version skip the eggs and add the grated coconut and mix it in. Turn off the heat.

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