Yellow Squash and Pepper Pasta Sauce

 

This sauce has a lovely aroma and a smooth texture and pairs well with a cheese that isn’t too bold. I used a BellaVitano (balsamic), which is one of my favorite cheeses. I ate it over spaghetti, but I imagine any other pasta would do just as well.

You need:

  1. 1 small yellow squash
  2. 1 medium red onion
  3. 1 orange bell pepper (capsicum)
  4. 1 cup vegetable stock (low-sodium or unsalted)
  5. 2-3 sprigs thyme
  6. salt and crushed red pepper to taste
  7. olive oil for cooking

How to:

  1. De-seed the yellow squash. The easiest way for me is to cut them in half and scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Discard the seeds and finely dice the squash.
  2. Remove the sides of the pepper. Cut away the white “ribs” and retain the rest of the sides. Discard the inside and top of the pepper. Dice finely (that means small :))
  3. Finely dice the onion.
  4. Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion.
  5. Sweat the onions. This means you cook them slowly over low to medium heat. You can read about sweating vegetables here. Add the other vegetables and stir.
  6. After about 5-7 minutes, turn the heat up and cook over high heat, stirring constantly. Do this for about 3 minutes. Do not let the vegetables brown. If they start to brown, turn the heat down.
  7. Add the vegetable stock, thyme, crushed red pepper, and salt. Stir and cover, turning the heat down to medium.
  8. Let it cook, covered, for about 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften.
  9. When the vegetables are soft, use a potato masher to gently mash some of the vegetables. Stir.
  10. Cook uncovered until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
  11. Serve over spaghetti. Grate cheese over the sauce and garnish with thyme before serving.
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Aviyal

The grandest of all South Indian vegetable dishes! Who doesn’t love aviyal? Perfect for festival occasions, and for just simply! However, this is not an easy recipe, and takes time and effort. Well worth it, though.

Preparation (chopping, etc.): 40 Minutes
Boiling (vegetables, do them simultaneously if possible): 30 Minutes
Simmering once mixed: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup yam, julienned (this is not sweet potato, but the large, brown, yam – the ugliest one in the store – jimikand)
1 cup plantain, peeled and julienned (vazhakai, or kaccha kela). Be careful to wash your hands after, as the sticky stuff stains.
1 cup white pumpkin, or marrow, or yellow squash, julienned
1 cup green beans, julienned
½ cup peas
½ cup carrots, julienned
1 large baking potato, julienned (don’t use a soft potato like the ones used for mashed potatoes)
2 cups fresh coconut, shredded/grated (or dehydrated + 1 can coconut milk)
2 cups yogurt
1 tbsp. rice flour
1 tsp. tamarind paste
4 green chillies, or to taste
5 leaves curry leaves
1 tbsp. oil , preferably coconut oil
to taste salt

Preparation:

1. The vegetables should be cut in thick strips of 1/2″, not thinner. Keep the vegetables separate.
2. If you do not have fresh coconut, use dried, rehydrate, and add one can of coconut milk.
3. Dissolve the tamarind paste in 4 cups warm water.
4. Boil the plantain in this water until it is cooked, but firm. It will feel like a cooked potato. (Think al dente).
5. Remove the banana and set aside. Boil the yam in the same water, to a similar firmness.
6. Drain and throw away the water.
7. Boil or steam all the other vegetables. These may be cooked together. The vegetables should still be firm; do not overcook them. Do not drain completely, retain about two cups of water.
8. Grind the coconut and green chillies together to a fine paste. Add water as necessary, but do not make liquidy.
9. Place all the vegetables in a large wok or kadhai.
10. Add ground coconut paste and salt. Stir gently, but mix well.
11. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.
12. Dissolve the rice flour in 1/2 cup water and add to the vegetables. Mix gently and simmer for 3 minutes more.
13. Whip the yogurt until smooth.
14. Turn off the heat, add the yogurt to the vegetables, and stir well, taking care not to break the vegetables.
15. In a small pan, heat the oil. Add the curry leaves. Make sure they are not wet. Allow to sputter and add to the vegetables. Mix well.
Serve over rice. Makes 6 servings.

Light Summer Soup

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I made this yesterday. No fat. No dairy. No onions. No garlic. No spices. And still so good. I call it a summer soup because it seems to be to be the kind of soup you can drink on a hot summer evening in Delhi. It’s very light, and very easy to make.

Preparation time: 20 minutes at the most

Cooking time: 20 minutes (no need to watch!)

Get a big stock pot or kadahi or something. Dice and throw into it the following:

1. 2-3 small leeks (only the white part) – wash ’em well!

2. 2 medium-sized yellow squashes (use lauki as a substitute in India)

3. 2 sticks celery, or as much as you can stand.

4. 1 jalapeño – cut off the top and tail (it won’t be too strong)

5. Keep 1 bunch of chopped cilantro ready, but don’t add it yet.

6. Two cans of vegetable broth, or enough to make it soupy!

7. 1 stalk lemongrass, score it well to release the flavor.

Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat and simmer for twenty minutes.

Add the cilantro, stir well, turn off the heat, and eat!

Veggie-Feta Pot Pie

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Preparation time: (assuming filling is leftover) 1 hr

Cooking time: 40-45 minutes

For the filling: I used leftovers from the filling for my calzones from the night before (but without the cheese). I sprinkled ¼ cup slivered almonds and about ¼ cup of feta over the veggies. The almonds and feta added a lovely flavor to the veggies. Definitely worth making, if you have the time and the energy.

FOR THE PIE CRUST

This recipe is for a double-layer crust.

You need: 3 cups all-purpose flour; 2 tsp salt; ¾ sup vegetable shortening (it works better than butter); ½ cup cold water

How to:

  1. Put the flour in a bowl and blend in the salt and vegetable shortening. You can use a metal fork to break the shortening into the flour until all the shortening has been worked into the flour. The texture should be loose and grainy, not compacted.
  2. Chill the dough for an hour in the fridge or 30m in the freezer.
  3. Add the ½ water and blend in with a fork.
  4. Divide the dough into two portions and form them into balls.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Roll out one half into about ¼ inch thick and place it in the pie pan. Cut the extra edge off with a butter knife.
  7. Add the filling. Roll out the top crust.
  8. Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the bottom crust (to help seal the pie). Place the top crust over the pie. Cut off the extra edge and press down to seal.
  9. Brush some oil over the top of the pie.
  10. Cut three vents in the top. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.

Glorious Vegetable Calzone

Making a vegetable calzone

 

Preparation time: 1 hr 20m for the dough, 20m for the vegetables.

Cooking time: 30m for the vegetable filling, 12-15 m for baking

This was astonishingly tasty. I’m very pleased with myself. It’s not something you can whip up at the end of a long day, but you could make some up ahead and freeze them for just such a day…

We made the dough in a bread machine, but you could knead it by hand and let it rise. You would probably want to knead it for about ten minutes or so, cover it and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until it has more than doubled in size. This will make four calzones, each of which is a good-sized meal for one hungry person.

You will have some vegetable filling left over, but you could always freeze it and make calzones some other day 🙂

THE DOUGH:

You need: 3 cups all-purpose flour+2 tsp wheat gluten (or 3 cups bread flour); 1 tsp sugar; 1 tsp salt; 1 cup+2 tbsp water; 2 tbsp oil; 2.5 tsp active dry yeast (we used “bread machine yeast”)

How to: If you are using a bread machine, add all the wet ingredients first, and then the dry ones, with yeast being the last thing you add. Follow instructions on your bread machine.

If you are doing this by hand, knead for 10-12 minutes, cover, and let rise as discussed above.

THE FILLING:

You need: 1/2 cup carrots; 1 kohlrabi; 1 medium-sized bell pepper; 1 small onion; 1 small yellow squash; 1 cup diced tomatoes; 1/2 cup peas (frozen is good); 2 tbsp slivered almonds; and to taste: rosemary, thyme, salt, red chili powder, paprika; grated Parmesan, grated mozzarella.
How to: Dice the vegetables into about 1/4″ cubes. The smaller the pieces, the better they will work as filling.

Heat oil, add the vegetables in the following order. Stir after adding each one, and give it a couple of minutes before adding the next: onions, carrots, kohlrabi, squash, peppers, almonds. Stir well and cover. Let it cook about 5-6 minutes. If it starts to stick to the bottom, add the tomatoes. Stir well. Do not add water. If it is still sticking, add just a little bit of water- about 1/4 cup. Add the herbs and salt and let it cook (carrots and kohlrabi should be soft, but not mushy).

THE CALZONE:

Divide the dough into two and follow these instructions for each half. Preheat the oven to 400F.

1. Roll out the dough and divide into two.

2. Put a little filling into one side of each half. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan and grated mozzarella over the filling.

3. Wet the tip of your finger and run it along the edge of the rolled-out dough, then fold the top half over and seal it by pressing it down. With a knife, cut three vents in the top. Brush a little oil over the top of each calzone.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400F or until brown. The dough should not become hard.

5. Cut in half, let it cool, and eat 🙂


Vegetable Riot Pasta Sauce

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: about 40-45 minutes

I wanted to make a pasta sauce that had lots of vegetables (and thereby reduce the amount of pasta eaten as well). This turned out very, very well, and we were pleased with it.

You need: 1 yellow squash, diced; 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped; 2 cups tomatoes, diced; 1 bunch any greens you like, finely chopped; 1-2 bell peppers, diced; 1 cup loosely packed cilantro (or parsley, whichever you prefer); 2-3 bay leaves; 1/4 cup red wine vinegar; 2 tbsp minced garlic; and to taste: dill, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, black pepper, red chili flakes or dried red chilies, salt. Yes, I know I add too many herbs, but they taste so good.

How to: I used dried herbs, BTW, but you could use fresh if you have them.

Heat some olive oil in a pan large enough to hold everything. Add the dried red chilies if you are using them, and the bay leaves.

Add the squash, cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Add rosemary and thyme.

Add red peppers, cook 5 minutes, etc. etc.

Add onions, stir, cook for 5 minutes.

Add greens, stir, cover and let it cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add red wine vinegar, stir well, and let it cook uncovered until the vinegar has cooked away. Add garlic.

Stir again, add tomatoes. Stir, cover, let it cook for 5 minutes.

Add remaining herbs and salt. Cover and let it cook till done.

Uncover and let the water cook out, if you like. Add the cilantro just before you take it off the heat, stir, and ladle it over the pasta of your choice. (We had spinach fettuccine).

Grilled vegetables #1 (Oven-grilled vegetables)

Also try Grilled Vegetables #2 and Vegetarian Barbeque

Preparation time: 15 minutes + 1 hour for marination

Cooking time: 30 minutes

We have a small grill, but the OH uses it for meat, so I cook my veggies in the oven. So they’re not really grilled grilled, but they turn out very well, actually. (Edit: this was prior to our acquiring two grills).

Yesterday, I grilled a large eggplant, two red bell peppers, and a zucchini, so that’s what this recipe is for. Yellow squash also works well. One day I’m going to experiment with onions, tomatoes, and other vegetable kabab ingredients, and that will be grilled vegetables #2, but for now:

Marinade #1:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar; 1/2 cup olive oil; 1 tsp black pepper; 3/4 tbsp crushed red pepper (red chili flakes); a good shake of basil and oregano; salt to taste

Whisk together in a bowl.

Marinade #2:

This is the marinade/basting sauce the OH uses for his steaks and other meatly grillables, but I think it would work well with veggies also. It’s super-spicy.

1/2 cup of barbecue sauce; 1/3 cup red wine vinegar; 2 tbsp soy sauce; 1/4 cup vegetable oil; 2 heaped tbsp of minced garlic; 1 habanero pepper (or six Thai peppers), salt if needed.

Blend in a food processor.

How to:

Cut the eggplant into cubes, deseed the pepper and cut it into 1/2″ wide strips, and cut the zucchini into sticks about 1/2″ wide and 2″ long.

Whichever marinade you’re using, place the eggplant in an oven-proof bowl and pour some of it evenly over the eggplant. Mix gently, but well. Cover and set aside.

Marinate the other vegetables similarly, but separately (goes back to the untrustworthy and slimy zucchini). Leave them be for about an hour. Take them out and place on foil or a greased cookie sheet.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Put the vegetables in, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, give the eggplant a stir and brush some marinade over the other vegetables.

Yesterday rice mixup

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Sometimes you have rice left over. Sometimes there’s just three vegetables in the fridge, and none of them the same kind. What do you do? Rice mixup!

I tried this for dinner today, and it was pretty damn good. I love red chard.

You need: 1 cup cooked brown rice; 1 bunch red chard; 1 big onion; 1 red bell pepper; 2 small yellow squashes; oil; 1 bay leaf; and to taste: salt, crushed red pepper (chili flakes), oregano, thyme, rosemary.

How to: chop the vegetables. Heat oil, add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add the squash and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add everything else and stir well. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and mix the rice in with the vegetables.