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.
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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).

Kadambam

Kadambam is a spicy rice dish cooked with vegetables. It has the consistency of porridge, sort of. The spicier it is, the better it tastes!

You need: 1 cup rice; 1/3 cup arhar (toor) dal; a pinch of turmeric; 1/2 tsp Tamcon or some other tamarind paste; 1 cup diced vegetables – carrots, green beans, onions, cauliflower, potatoes (1 smallish), zucchini, squash, peas, corn – no spinach or cabbage; 1.5 heaped tsp sambar powder (use pre-packaged, like MTR); 1/2 tsp mustard seeds; 2-3 curry leaves; 1 dried red chili; salt to taste; oil; ghee

How to:

Cook the rice and dal in a pressure cooker with 4 cups of water, salt and a pinch of turmeric (4 whistles). If you’re not using a pressure cooker, cook till well-done (slightly mushy).

Dissolve ½ tsp tamcon in ½ cup hot water.

Boil the vegetables together. Drain. Return to heat and add the dissolved Tamcon. You could add a little more water if it gets too dry.

Add 1.5 heaped tsp sambar powder to the mix and boil for two minutes. Turn off the heat.

In a large pan, heat 3 tsp of oil and 1 tsp of ghee. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and the red chili.

Add the dal and rice, salt, and the vegetables. Mix well and let it cook for two more minutes. Turn off heat.

Kootu

Kootu is traditional South Indian fare, dal with vegetables, but very different from sambar. For one thing, it’s a lot milder. The vegetables used seem to be those that mix well with dal. This is hard to explain, but you can use things like cabbage, knol-khol (kohlrabi), greens, potato, beans, turnips, squash, etc.

You need: 1 cup dal (moong or toor dal is best, but masoor is just fine as well); 1 tsp kootu podi (kootu masala – I’m going to tell you how to make it, don’t fret); ghee.

I’m listing three different recipes for kootu podi here. Pick any one and run with it. The first two recipes are adapted from recipes courtesy my aunt (Thanks, Prabha Periamma!). The third is my own.

Kootu podi 1:

You need: 1 tsp urad dal (this is small white dal available at any Indian grocery); ½ tsp black pepper; 1/3 tsp jeera.

Dry-grind the lot together and bottle in a dry glass jar.

Kootu podi 2:

You need: 1 tsp garlic; 2 small green chilies; 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera); 1/8 cup shredded coconut; 4-5 curry leaves (kadipatta); 1/2 tsp ginger; and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi), if you haven’t already added it to the dal.

Blend all ingredients together (I think one of those tiny little blenders is a must for every kitchen. I use a coffee grinder for dry masalas).

Kootu podi 3:

You need: 1 tsp coriander seeds (dhania dana); 2 red dried chilies; 1 tsp peppercorns; 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera); 1 tsp urad dal; 1 tsp dried curry leaves (you can briefly toast them, don’t let them burn).

Roast the ingredients in the following order (that means a dry pan with no oil, on a low flame): dal – 1 minute by itself, then everything else except the curry leaves. If you smell burning, toss it out and start again. When the dal turns nice and reddish-brown, take it off the heat. Add the curry leaves and grind it all to a fine powder. Store in a dry glass jar.

How to:

Boil the dal with turmeric and salt. I usually eyeball it when it comes to water, but let’s say you can add 3 cups of water to every one cup of dal. Add more if needed. (If it becomes glutinous, you need more water).

When the dal is half-cooked (before it gets mushy), add the vegetables and salt to taste.

When the vegetables are cooked, add the kootu podi and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Add ghee. Eat with rice/chappatis.

Minestrone

This is a very tasty, filling, and healthy soup.

 

You need:

Olive oil for cooking

½ cup onions

2 tbsp minced garlic

¼ cup diced peppers

½ cup pasta or rice

¼ cup cooked garbanzo beans/any other beans

¼ cup diced carrots

¼ cup peas

You can also add other vegetables, depending on what’s in season, like squash, potatoes, greens, etc.

3 cups vegetable broth

½ cup fresh tomatoes, diced

Spices: basil, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper

 

How to:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic.
  3. Add the peppers and carrots.
  4. Add the spices, stir well, and let it cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the broth and bring it to a boil.
  6. Add the tomatoes, peas, pasta/rice, and beans.
  7. Turn down the heat, cover, and let it simmer until the pasta/rice is cooked. Check to see if you need more broth.
  8. Grate some cheese (I use Parmesan) over the top and serve.