Category Archives: Lunch

Meatballs with Eggplant puree and Radish pesto

After a hectic week I unwind with experimentation of ingredients and spices. Weekends that have nothing to do with my technology work are a way to meditate, unwind and reconnect with living a simple life with natural clean organic cooking.

IAS_0627The weekend is always a time for me to center my energy. Some music, some reading , some quality grounded time with my soul mate and some poetry. Here is my Rumi inspiration from the weekend

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

 

——Rumi

With some ground lamb  and free range turkey from the local market I found flavors that yet again favor Mediterranean and Indian spices. My food always needs to be kicked up with some tang and some spice 🙂

For vegetarians, this can totally be made with veggie or lentil meatballs – try black lentils and zucchini.

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Summer is also a time to play with you dips and chutney. The beautiful red radishes sprouted in my garden and are a base for this amazing pesto.

IMG_6112Ah and the bread, the bread. So the very creative and inspiring Suzanne posted this pita recipe promising it to be super easy. And easy it was!!  I have made it twice already. Thanks Suzanne 🙂 Please do check out her blog and the recipe here.

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  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

a true fusion dish with lebanese and indian flavors

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  ln turkey
  • Combine the minced lamb and turkey
  • Add 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon gluten free pancake mix ( secret ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)

Eggplant puree

  • 3 Japanese eggplant
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 cloves whole garlic
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • Himalayan salt to taste

Radish Almond pesto

  • 2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 fresh red radish with leaves
  • Handful of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup soaked and peeled almonds
  • 1 cup walnut or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Grated peel of 1 lime.

Directions

Meatballs

  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil, pancake mix and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside

Eggplant puree

  • Roast the eggplant over an open fire or on a broiler setting in your over until it is charred and the skin breaks.
  • Let is sit for a few minutes and remove the charred skin by hand collecting the pulp in a bowl
  • In a pan add butter or oil on medium heat and add the garlic and green chili.
  • In about 1 minute add the cumin and let the spices roast for about 2 minutes
  • Add the eggplant pulp and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add chopped cilantro and remove from heat.
  • Blend this with the tahini and add any additional water needed to make a paste.
  • Set aside

Pesto

  • Blend the ingredients together with salt to taste and set aside

Plating

  • In a large plate, spread the eggplant puree and top it with the meatballs
  • Pour the pesto and some extra glugs of olive oil
  • I topped it with chives, my homemade Hibiscus spice mix with a side of Pita and some extra pesto

For the perfect Pita recipe, check out my friend Suzanne’s blog.

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I am bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Co hosts this week are Monika, Everyday Healthy Recipes, and Juhls, The Not So Creative Cook.

Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

Spicy tangy flavors seem to make everything better for me….the sense of the spice, the heat and the sour is a dance on the taste buds.

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In a quest to make gluten free tostadas I have experimented with flours quite a bit which have resulted in as many fails as successes. A combination of coconut flour with some almond flour added in seems to hold it’s own for me. I have seen people add xanthan gum so the dough becomes pliable but I did not have any so went without.

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There are layers of flavors in this recipe.

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With the dough in place, I started with grated beets and carrots and marinated them with lemon juice and salt for 5 mins.

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The steak is grass fed organic and turns out just amazing

The Cilantro sauce is a staple in my kitchen and I have used it as a marinade and topping. You can find the recipe below and another version here.

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CilantroChutney-5702Now to the fermented red cabbage….just delicious and so good for you. This add the right amount of tanginess and crunch.

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This dish is topped with fresh watercress and a sprinkle of goat cheese.

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Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a gluten free tostada layered with steak and fermented vegetables

Ingredients

Tostadas

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Cold water for the dough

Beet and carrot salad

  • 1 beet and 1 carrot – grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • Pink salt

Steak

  • 1-2 portions of organic grass fed steak

Cilantro Sauce

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro ( 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 serrano chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Watercress leaves and goat cheese for garnish

Cabbage Pickle: Recipe can be found here

Directions

  • Blend the ingredients for the Cilantro sauce adjusting the salt to taste
  • Marinate the steak in the cilantro sauce for an hour or overnight if you have the time.
  • Combine the ingredients for the beet and carrot salad and set aside
  • For the tostadas, combine the flour, oil salt, pepper and eggs. Add water in small increments, just enough for the dough to come together. It will be crumbly.
  • Using a tortilla press between plastic wrap, press the tostadas out gently. You have to be careful as the dough is crumbly with the gluten and it may take a couple of tries.
  • Pan fry in olive oil until both sides are browned.
  • Grill the steak, 5 mins on each side and let it rest for 5 mins. Slice in  2 inch pieces.
  • Using the tostadas as a base, top with the beet mixture, steak pieces, red cabbage pickle, cilantro sauce and watercress
  • Top with goat cheese or any other cheese you prefer.
  • Serve with a side of the cilantro sauce.

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Jhuls is the solo cohost this week at Fiesta Friday. Do check out her blog at  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook
Also linking up on Saucy Saturdays

Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad

Thai cooking has always been a passion, with fresh aromatic ingredients like lemon grass, cilantro, chilies and ginger, the possibilities of creating dishes is endless. This cuisine brings to the world  the 5 flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and hot. The  subtle variation in proportions of ingredients used highlights these flavors.

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I am fortunate to have a store within a mile that carries fresh Thai ingredients ( except for Kaffir lime leaves). Kaffir lime leaves are essential flavoring in Thai cooking and I found a wonderful online store for a bag of dried leaves. The smell is heavenly.

Lemon Grass ( or Takrai) is widely available and sold in bunches. The edible portion is about 4-6 inches from the root. The rest can be used for flavoring broths.

lemongrass-chickenI am using fresh mushrooms but If you have dried shiitake mushrooms just soak them in warm water until they are soft and use the broth in cooking as well.

Continue reading Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad

Kashmiri Pulao – Rice with mushrooms and vegetables

kashmiripulao-9050-2This medley of rice and vegetables is inspired by the Kashmiri Pulao that uses morel mushrooms. I did not have the wild expensive mushrooms so used the dried  shiitake I hand in my pantry. Soaked in warm water for about 20 mins brings out the earthiness and the umami flavors. Don’t discard the golden liquid from the mushrooms, it adds immense flavor.

kashmiripulao-9046I also used cauliflower in this recipe…cut in florets and pan fried with a touch of sea salt.

The basic Kashmiri pulao recipes packs a punch with whole spices…I have used cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, whole pepper, dried ginger and bay leaves.

Saffron is my favorite and it had been used blooming in warm water.

I have also added soaked almond, walnuts and raisins…feel free to experiment.

Once again I am honored to be c0-hosting and feasting with such amazing and talented virtual friends at Fiesta Friday. Our host Angie has done such a wonderful job providing us with this forum and inviting us to a global table. I am also honored to be co-hosting alongside Jhuls and am a big fan :), do check out her blog if you have not already.

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Kashmiri Pulao with Mushrooms and Cauliflower

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a flavorful pulao with fragrant spices and vegetables

Ingredients

                                                                                     

  • 10 pieces dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups of cauliflower bites (about 1 inch pieces)
  • 2 cups of basmati rice washed and soaked for 10 mins
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 1 onions chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 black cardamoms
  • 5-6 green cardamoms
  • 5-8 whole peppercorns
  • 2 small sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tea spoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2  1/2 cup water ( including the mushroom broth)
  • Grapeseed oil for frying the vegetables
  • 1/2 Almonds, walnuts and raisins soaked for 30 mins and chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • /recipe-ingredients]

Directions

  • Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup warm water for 30 minutes. Strain the water and slice the mushrooms. Save the water to cook the rice.
  • Soak the saffron in a tablespoon of warm  water
  • Dice the cauliflower and pan fry in oil until just brown
  • Drain, slice and Fry the mushrooms and set aside
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and chopped onion, sauté until translucent.
  • Add bay leaf, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
  • Now add the soaked rice and vegetables.
  • Add the ginger powder.
  • Add water (including the mushroom water) to cover the rice plus 1/2 inch.
  • Salt to taste
  • Squeeze 4-5 drops of lemon juice in the mixture and let it cook on low/medium heat for 20 minutes until the rice is done.
  • Using 2 tablespoon of ghee, fry the nuts and raisins until just toasted and add to the rice when serving.
  • Serve with a side of mint raita

Beautifully fragrant and delicious.

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Also linking up at Suacy Saturdays

Sweet dumpling squash with Ras El Hanout and Farro

These are delightful winter beauties… you fall in love when you go to the winter remains of the farmers market with the variety of pumpkins and squashes. I am not much for decorating with them so just want to find the ones that are delicious to cook

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Sweet Dumpling Squash – the sweetest of them all! This  has a whiteish skin with green stripes. The sweet, tender orange flesh makes this absolutely delicious to feed your soul.

I baked the squash in the oven, cutting around the stem of the sweet dumplings and removing the top. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, and then baking until tender.

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Stuffing this squash takes it to another level. I have used mushrooms and farro as the key ingredient and flavored it with Ras el hanout spice blend, thyme, garlic and cilantro. Farro s a type of ancient wheat grain that is found in many Mediterranean, Ethiopian or Middle Eastern cuisines.

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While the squash roast you can prepare the filling which is sautéed mushrooms with garlic and thyme. I added the cooked farro with a generous topping of cilantro, mint and lemon juice.

The icing on the cake is the creamy poached egg on top.

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Sweet dumpling squash with Ras El Hanout and Farro

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Deliciously sweet quash flavored with Ras El Hanout and stuffed with mushrooms and farro

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 4 -5 sweet dumpling squash
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1  teaspoon Ras el hanout ( Moroccan spice blend)
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • Pink Salt and Pepper

Directions

  • Combine Grapeseed oil, Ras el hanout,  1 tsp thyme, salt and pepper and set aside
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut off the tops of the dumpling squash, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. . Rub the insides with the oil mixture.
  • On a sheet pan, place the squash cut-side down and roast in the oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned on the outside.
  • Add coconut oil to a pan and add garlic. Saute for a min and add the mushrooms
  • As the mushrooms continue to sweat add the thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Cook until the mushrooms are tender
  • Cook the Farro per instructions.  I used the 10 minute farro.
  • Mix the Farro with the mushrooms and with a generous topping of cilantro, mint and lemon juice.
  • Fill the squash with the mixture, top with a poached egg and serve.

 

I am taking this at this week’s Fiesta Friday  with  Angie , Aunt Juju and Sandhya.

Lemongrass Lettuce Cups

There are so many varieties of lettuce available these days that it would make your head spin. Rich in vitamin A and K and deficient in calories, it is a low carb alternative that accompanies us in salads around the globe.

Butterhead – Also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce has a sweet flavor and tender texture and is perfect for use as cups to serve your favorite mixture.

This gluten free dish is quick and easy to make and the flavors are amazing. I made some lemon grass paste at home and store it in the fridge for multiple uses. It stays pretty well for a couple of weeks. You can always use the store bought version

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I have used organic ground turkey here but you could use ground chicken or any vegan proteins you like.

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To get a tangy taste, I have added pickled carrots which are easy to make with rice vinegar, salt and a teaspoon of maple syrup.

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Chestnuts have been used for that crunch in every bite.

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Lemongrass Lettuce Cups

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the filling

  • 1lb fresh organic ground turkey
  • 2-3 green onions ( chopped)
  • Fresh Basil – handful chopped
  • Fresh mint – handful chopped
  • 1 small cucumber – chopped
  • 1 can water chestnuts – chopped fine
  • 1 cup Pickled carrots
  • 2 tablespoon lemon grass paste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek.
  • 1 cup of toasted cashew pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 head of Butter lettuce – cleaned and leaves removed for serving

Lemongrass paste

Use 2-3 stalks and remove the hard dry stalks first. Then chop up the softer interior.  Add 2-3 cloves or garlic, an inch of ginger root, an inch of fresh turmeric (or a tsp of dry) and some sea salt . Blend it in a blender adding water as needed for consistency. Then a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a final blend. This will store well for 2-3 weeks in the fridge

Carrot pickle

Marinate shredded carrots in a cup of rice vinegar, sea salt and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Pickle is ready in 20 mins but ages well for future uses.

Putting it together:

  • Cook the turkey in olive oil breaking up the lumps until brown. Add the lemon grass paste and mix well.
  • Continue to cook and add the water chestnuts. Give it about 5 mins and set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix together the cucumbers, green onions, basil, mint, lemon juice and sambal oelek. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cooked turkey and mix well.
  • Spoon the mixture on to the lettuce cups and garnish with pickled carrots and toasted cashews.

Sharing this with Fiesta Friday where the co-hosts this week are Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen. Check out their fabulous blogs, you will love them.

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Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho

A hot fiery day outside or a warm fall afternoon, a perfect watermelon from the farmers market, heirlooms tomatoes, serrano chilies and cucumbers from the garden.

It all calls for a perfectly chilled gazpacho smothered in watermelon.

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Watermelon Gazpacho

The serrano chilies break into the sweetness, the mint heightens it to superb levels…the rest you will just have to taste to believe.

They fact that no cooking is required makes it even better. Make  sure you use good organic ingredients for this dish and it is chilled for an hour or so in the fridge before serving

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Continue reading Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho