Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms – gluten free & keto

I was inspired to create this recipe when I found these gorgeous cremini mushrooms at our neighborhood farmers market, which is held every Saturday morning in the beautiful Parque de Los Enamorados.

I love the mushroom stand set up with a variety of mushrooms that I buy every Saturday.

Ingredients:

  • 12 medium sized cremini mushrooms (they are also called Baby Bella)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium red onion
  • A variety of veggies can be used, such as, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes. Here I have used a red and an orange bell pepper.
  • 1 serrano chili, is optional, if you want to add a spicy kick.
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • A handful of any herbs you like. Here I have used Italian parsley.
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Use your favorite melting cheese. I usually buy a block of the best cheese I can find. Then I get my husband to grate it for me. However, the Italian cheese in the photo, was on sale and it had no additives or anti-caking compounds, so I bought it.
  • 2 teaspoons of my Italian Spice Mix for sprinkling over the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon for the filling. The Italian Spice Mix consists of garlic powder, onion powder, chili flakes and dried oregano.
  • Olive oil – enough to coat the pan and drizzle over the mushrooms.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepping The Mushrooms:

Clean the mushrooms by carefully wiping off any dirt with a moist kitchen towel. Then remove the stems by gently snapping them off. Hollow out each mushroom with a grapefruit spoon. Set the stems and the mushroom innards aside in a bowl. We will use them as part of the mushroom filling. Nothing goes to waste around here!!! Place each prepped mushroom upside down on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and my Italian Spice Mix. Then drizzle with olive oil. Turn the mushrooms over and repeat the sprinkle and drizzle.

Turn the oven to 400F or 200C. Place the seasoned mushrooms into the oven and bake until they release their juices, as seen in the photo below. This should take about 10 minutes.

Let the mushrooms cool for about ten minutes. Then pour out the juices, that are full of umami flavor, into a small bowl. My motto is “SAVOR EVERY FLAVOR 😋” We will use this umami bomb as part of the mushroom filling. Umami is the savory or meaty taste of foods. It corresponds to the flavor of glutamates in foods. That is why monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used as a flavor enhancing agent. My husband and I are both very sensitive to artificial MSG, but mushrooms have a high concentration of natural glutamates which don’t produce the reaction that artificial MSG does.

TIP – By extracting the mushroom juices we accomplish two things:

1. Dehydrated the mushrooms so they will not be water-logged when they are stuffed and baked again.

2. Created a mushroom extract that is an umami bomb.

Prepping The Filling:

Finely chop all the veggies and herbs. Place each one in a separate bowl because they do not all go in to the pan at the same time.

Cooking The Filling:

Coat a heavy duty stainless steel pan with olive oil. Place the pan over a medium-low flame. Add the onion and a teaspoon of the Italian Spice Mix. Sauté until the onions are translucent.

Add the garlic. Continue sautéing until the garlic is soft. This should take about two minutes.

Add the peppers and the chili. The chili is optional if you want to add a spicy note. Add a dash of salt. Sauté until the peppers are soft.

Add the mushrooms. Sprinkle a dash of salt and a grind of black pepper over the mushrooms. Also drizzle a small amount of olive oil. Stir in the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are soft.

Create a hot spot in the center of the pan by pushing the vegetables to the outer edge of the pan. Place the tomato paste in the center of the pan. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste in the center of the pan and let it cook for a minute. Then stir it into the rest of the vegetables.

Once the tomato paste is incorporated into the vegetables, deglaze the pan with the vinegar and reserved mushroom juices. Cook for about a minute and turn off the flame.

Add the herbs and stir them in. Taste the filling and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. The filling is now ready. Transfer the filling to a bowl and let it cool so that you will not burn your fingers while stuffing the mushrooms.

Use a teaspoon to stuff each mushroom.
Top each stuffed mushroom with freshly grated cheese.

These stuffed mushrooms are very popular at our cocktail parties. They pair especially well with red wine. They are easy to make for a party because they can be made the day before. Just fill them but don’t top them with cheese. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator overnight. An hour before your guests arrive, top them with cheese. As your guests start arriving, pop them in a 350F or 180C oven for 5 to 10 minutes to melt the cheese. Before serving garnish each one with a little basil leaf or oregano leaf.

I often make these stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer to take to parties. I prepare them to the point where they are topped with cheese. Then I put them in a covered casserole dish so they transport well. When I get to the party, I pop them in the oven, so they are piping hot when put on the buffet table.

These stuffed mushrooms are very flavorful. I have been asked for this recipe so many times. I finally found time to write this post to share the recipe.

Sometimes I have filling leftover. It can be used for making omelets or a quiche. I used the leftover filling to make mini stuffed cremini mushroom quiches. They turned out so cute and delicious. I will post the quiche recipe for my next post.

In the meantime, please enjoy the stuffed mushrooms with your favorite glass of red wine. 🍷😋💕

OVEN ROASTED ASPARAGUS (Part of A Farmers Market Lunch)

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. I was so thrilled to find a big, fresh brunch at our local farmers market, which is held every Saturday from 9AM to noon in the beautiful Parque de Los Enamorados.

This beautiful asparagus was grown by Debbie of Chinaberry Farm. She also grew these hydroponic lettuces.

They are the best lettuces I have ever had. I also love that they look like a bouquet. I overheard a woman at the market say that she would like to have one of these lettuces as a bridal bouquet. I thought that was a great idea.

Debbie has these lettuces every Saturday along with a variety of seasonal vegetables. Yesterday, her San Marzano tomatoes and sweet Italian basil caught my eye, so I bought those too. These ultra fresh ingredients inspired me to make this simple salad. When I have such great produce, I keep things simple in order to let the ingredients shine.

I just hand tore the lettuce and basil. Sliced the San Marzano tomatoes and tossed the salad up with an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. The dressing is easy to put together. Take a mason jar and add 1/2 cup olive oil and 3 table spoons of red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can add in your favorite herbs and spices, such as, chili flakes, dried oregano, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder. Once all the ingredients are in the mason jar, close it tightly with its lid and shake vigorously.

After I left Debbie’s booth, I walked around and saw a lady, AnDy VZ (on Facebook), selling farm fresh eggs from her own chickens. I just had to buy some of those. I thought to myself, that I could make a pistachio pesto omelette stuffed with herb goat cheese that I have at home. The pistachio pesto came to mind because I had the fresh sweet Italian basil from Debbie and I had a bag of pistachios in my pantry. Most of my recipe ideas come from the ingredients I have on hand.

The omelette would go great with the salad and oven roasted asparagus. There it is. My farmers market inspired lunch. It was delicious if I do say so myself.

I am going to show you how I made the asparagus in this post. The omelette is easy. I made classic pesto, but substituted the pistachios for the pine nuts. I broke open 2 eggs, added a table spoon of the pistachio pesto along with a splash of cream. I whisked everything together and added it to a warm pan with melted butter. When the eggs were almost set, I placed some crumbled herb goat cheese in the center and folded the eggs over to form the omelette.

If you want my pesto recipe click on this link for Pesto Eggs “Benedict”. I show how to make the pesto on my eggs benedict post.

Ingredients for the Oven Roasted Asparagus:

  • 2 table spoons of my Italian Spice Mix
  • 1 large bunch of asparagus
  • 3 table spoons of olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepping The Asparagus:

Snap the end of the asparagus. Do not throw the ends away. I will show you how they can be used.

Some of the asparagus was thick and some was thin. In the photo above the thick stalks are in the glass baking dish on the left and the thinner ones are on the right. The ends are in the glass bowl. The reason I sort out the sizes is that the thick ones will take longer to cook. If you put them all in the same baking dish they will cook unevenly.

Once the stalks are prepped sprinkle them with the Italian spice mix, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss so the asparagus is evenly coated.

Preheat the oven to 400 F or 200 C. Place the seasoned asparagus in the oven and roast until the asparagus tips are browned.

This can take 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks. Halfway through the cooking time turn the asparagus over with tongs. I like to cook them so they are tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Do not overcook them because they will loose their lovely green color and turn mushy.

As for those asparagus ends. Slice them into discs and store them in the refrigerator. They can be added to soups, sautéed up with onions for an egg scramble or used in place of peas in any recipe that calls for peas. I am sure you can also think of other uses.

In order to minimize waste, It is best to slice each stalk individually because each stalk gets fibrous at a different point.

The fibrous portion is the stem of the asparagus and is not edible. When I had my own chickens, I used to feed it to them. I hope to have my own chickens again, but for now I am buying the eggs from Andy at the local farmers market.

The whole purpose of this post was to show you how I get recipe ideas from the local ingredients I find. I love going to the farmers market not just for the great produce, but also for the camaraderie with the people I meet there. I feel very lucky to have such a great community.

Italian Stuffed Vegetables – gluten free & keto

This is the Antipasto (appetizer) we will be making and serving, for the Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.

The event will be held on October 30, 2020. I will use the freshest vegetable I can find for the class, but for this recipe I used round zucchini squash that was grown by my neighbor in his garden. My neighbor, Billy usually brings us vegetables and we provide him with fresh eggs from our chickens. I love living in the country and having access to simple fresh ingredients. So when I say “Farm-to-Table”, I really mean it. 😃

Ingredients:

  • 2 round zucchini squash
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small tomato (in this photo I have a yellow tomato from the garden)
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 or 2 green chilies (optional – leave them out if you want to tone down the spice level)
  • 2 slices of fresh Mozzarella
  • 4 ounces of grated Parmesan
  • 3 sprigs of fresh herbs (here I have basil, oregano and thyme – I grow these in the sunroom just outside the kitchen)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil (1 for coating the squash and 2 for coating the pan used for cooking the filling)
  • 1 tablespoon of my Italian Spice Mix
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prep:

  • Remove the stems from the squash and cut them in half going from stem to stern
  • Hollow out the squash using a grapefruit spoon. Don’t throw out the innards. Instead, dice them and set aside. We don’t waste anything. The innards will become part of the filling.
  • Dice the onion, tomato, bell pepper and Mozzarella slices
  • Mince the chilies and garlic
  • Finely chop the herbs
  • Season the hollowed out squash with salt, pepper, Italian spice mix and olive oil

Cooking the filling:

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy duty stainless steel pan. Place the pan over a medium-low flame. Add the onion, bell pepper, chilies, garlic and herbs.
Sauté the vegetables until they are soft
Transfer the sautéed veggies to a bowl. Taste the filling and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Let the filling cool to room temp. before mixing in the cheeses.
Stuff each squash half with the filling. Place on an oven safe tray or baking dish.
Bake in a 350 F oven until the squash is tender and the cheese is melted and golden.

Most Italian stuffed vegetables have breadcrumbs in the mixture. But I decided to leave out the breadcrumbs so that I could make this recipe gluten free and also fit my ketogenic lifestyle. Trust me, you won’t even miss the breadcrumbs.

I have also made stuffed peppers and mushrooms using a similar recipe. I took photos of the mushroom recipe and just posted it. I posted Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers on November 7, 2018. The cauliflower stuffed peppers are also gluten free. Please click on the link in the previous sentence if you want to see the stuffed peppers recipe.

I am really looking forward to making this recipe with my students on October 30, 2020. My husband will be selecting a local Italian style wine to pair with this Antipasto course. Should be yummy and fun. 😋😃

Green Beans & Red Rose Potatoes – Punjabi Style

Green Beans & Red Rose Potatoes is a classic Punjabi recipe.

Green Beans & Red Rose Potates - Punjabi Style Feature

I decided to make this recipe because my neighbor, Billy brought me fresh green beans and red rose potatoes from his garden.  I am always inspired by the fresh, beautiful ingredients that I have on hand.

My grandmother used to make this dish with a combination of ghee and mustard oil.  The mustard oil adds a fantastic pungent flavor and a fragrant aroma. If you want to make it vegan, you can use grape seed oil instead of the ghee.  

In India most people observe a religious day of the week.  Which day is considered religious depends on the deity that the household follows.   In our household Krishna is our deity and Tuesday is our religious day.  So on Tuesdays we fast until dinner time and don’t eat any garlic or onion.  This recipe was designed for fast day with no garlic or onion.  

INGREDIENTS:

Green Beans & Red Rose Potatoes Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of green beans
  • 1/2 pound of red rose potatoes
  • 2 inches of ginger root
  • 1 inch of turmeric root (use powdered turmeric if the root is not available)
  • 1 large green chili
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • 3 Tbsp mustard oil (1 Tbsp for coating the potatoes and 2 Tbsp for cooking)
  • 2 Tbsp of my Indian Spice Mix (leave out the garlic and onion powder)
  • 1 tsp of black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Green Beans & Red Rose Potatoes Prep

  • Cut the potatoes in half.  Then cut each half into slices that are 1/4 inch thick.  Coat the potatoes with 1 Tbsp of mustard seed oil and my Indian Spice Mix.  Set aside at room temperature to marinate while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Remove the stems of the green beans.  Cut each bean into thirds.  This should yield pieces that are an inch and a half each.
  • Dice the tomato
  • Mince the ginger and chili

COOK:

Green Beans & Red Rose Potatoes Cook 1

Place a wok or large stainless steel pan on a medium flame.  Add the ghee and let it melt.

When the ghee is hot add the ginger, chili, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Green Beans & Red Rose Potatoes Cook 2

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the seeds to toast and pop.

Add the tomato paste and 2 Tbsp of mustard oil.

Saute for about 3 minutes to cook the tomato paste and brown the ginger and chili.

Add the marinated red rose potatoes.

Grate in the turmeric root and saute until the potatoes are brown.

Add the diced tomato and half a tsp of salt and pepper.  

Saute until the tomatoes get soft.  This should take 2 or 3 minutes.

Place the lid.  Reduce the flame to low and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, but not yet soft.

Add the green beans.  Mix them in and add 1/2 tsp of salt.  Cover and let cook until the potatoes are soft and the green beans are tender but still a little crunchy. 

Many people in India like their green beans cooked until they are soft.  If that is your preference, then by all means cook the beans until they are soft.  I decided to keep the beans crunchy because they were just freshly picked from the garden.  They tasted so good all on their own that I wanted to keep the integrity of the ingredient.

Remove the lid.  Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and toss to mix.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

This dish is usually served with dal (lentil soup) and roti (Indian flat bread.)  That makes a great vegetarian meal.  I usually pair it with Amritsari Masala Fish and pick out most of the potatoes, so that I can keep on my pescatarian and ketogenic lifestyle.  It can also be paired with any other protein to make a complete meal.

I have been posting Indian recipes for the past 5 weeks.  Next week I am going to switch over to one of my signature Italian recipes.

Until then, namaste 🙏

 

 

Mustard Green Saag Paneer

Mustard Green Saag Paneer, is the last in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.

Mustard Green Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer is one of my favorite dishes.  The word Saag means any leafy green vegetable.  Paneer is an Indian farmer’s cheese, which many Indians make at home.  Click on Paneer (Indian Cheese)  to check out my recipe.

If you don’t want to make it, you can buy Paneer in an Indian market.  I have even seen it at my local super market, but the quality is not as good as when you buy it at the Indian market.  If Paneer is not available, feel free to substitute, scallops, shrimp or baby red potatoes.

When Saag Paneer is made with spinach, it is called Palak Paneer.  Palak means spinach.  In Punjab, where I am from, the classic Saag is made with Sarson, which is an Indian mustard green.  This recipe is the classic Punjabi dish, inspired by the American mustard greens that were available in my beautiful vegetable basket.

INGREDIENTS:

Saag Paneer Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of mustard greens
  • 1 cup of frozen finely chopped spinach
  • 1 cup of paneer pieces (the one’s you see in the photo are home made.  They have been coated with my Indian Spice Mix and pan fried in grape seed oil.  This step adds extra flavor but you can skip it and use the paneer plain.)
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt.  You can buy it at the store, or if you want to make your own click on My Mom’s Yogurt.
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 inches of ginger root
  • 1 inch of turmeric root (if you cannot find fresh turmeric, use 1/2 tsp of powder.)
  • 3 chili peppers (used whatever variety you have on hand – here I used a fiery hot scotch bonnet and 2 mild orange baby bells.) Mixing up the peppers lets you control the heat level and results in a more complex flavor.
  • 1 Tbsp of dried pomegranate seeds ground in a spice grinder
  • 1 tsp of black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp of garam masala
  • 2 Tbsp of ghee (use grape seed oil if you don’t have ghee.)
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Saag Paneer Prep

  • Wash the mustard greens to get rid of any gritty dirt.  Then tear the leave off the stems.
  • Dice the onion
  • Mince the ginger root, garlic and chili peppers

PREPPING THE SAAG MIXTURE:

 

  • Put the mustard leaves in a food processor and give them a whiz.  You may have to add a little water to help turn them into a paste.
  • Add the frozen spinach and whiz it again to incorporate.

COOK:

 

  • Coat a large stainless steel pot with ghee.  Place the pot on medium-low heat to let the ghee melt.
  • Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chili flakes and garam masala.
  • Grate in the fresh turmeric root, using a mini grater or a micro-plane.  If you are using powdered turmeric add it when the tomato paste is added so that it does not burn.
  • Saute until the onions get translucent.  About 5 minutes.
  • Make a hot spot in the center of the pan by pushing the veggies aside and add tomato paste.
  • Let the tomato paste cook for a minute and then stir it into the veggies.

 

  • Add the saag mixture
  • Sprinkle in the cinnamon and ground up pomegranate seeds
  • Cook on low heat until the mixture turns dark green.  Stir occasionally while cooking.  This should take 10 to 15 minutes.

 

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  • Add the yogurt and stir it in
  • Continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally until the saag starts bubbling

 

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  • Add the paneer pieces
  • Gently toss to incorporate them into the saag without breaking them
  • Cover with the lid and turn the heat off.  Let sit until ready to serve.

The residual heat will bring the paneer up to the correct temperature without overcooking it.  Overcooked paneer becomes rubbery, so it is best to bring it up to temperature gently.  The residual heat will also allow all the flavors to marry.  This technique of marrying the flavors together is called “DHUM” in Hindi.  DURING THE “DHUM” PERIOD DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO REMOVE THE LID TO TAKE A PEEK.  Removing the lid will let the heat escape and ruin the process of marrying the flavors together.  As a child, I always wanted to lift the lid.  My mom or my grandma would stop me.  Now since they are only with me in spirit, I have to stop myself. 💕  I got a little sentimental writing this.

Saag is traditionally served with Makki Di Roti, a flat unleavened Punjabi bread made from corn meal.  I usually visit my family in India during the winter months when it is Sarson Saag season.  I eat it almost every day, but I skip the Makki Di Roti, because I lead a Ketogenic Lifestyle which does not allow corn.  Occasionally, I cheat and take just a small bite. 😊 Here is a photo of my favorite Punjabi meal from my favorite Punjabi Dhaba (roadside restaurant.)

 

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To make a complete Ketogenic meal, I serve it with Amritsari Masala Fish for me, since I am a pescatarian.  For my husband, who has to have meat in his diet, I serve it with Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops.  Lamb and Saag is a classic combination.

Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops served with Mustard Green Saag Paneer

The spice mixture for the lamb chops is a little bit different than the one for the fish.  I will be posting the lamb recipe on Saturday, August 1st, 2020.  Be on the lookout for it.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed my story and recipe.  Please give me your feedback in the comment section.  I always love hearing from you.

Bye for now 🖐  Have a great day !!!

Collard Greens & Chickpea Stew

Collard Greens & Chickpea Stew, is the fifth in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road. Collard Greens & Chickpea Stew

In India this dish is usually made with spinach and/or mustard greens.  The gorgeous collard greens, in my farm fresh vegetable basket, inspired me to put in a Southern American twist.  I had never seen collard greens in India, but they are widely available here in Texas.  People in Texas love collard greens.

INGREDIENTS:Collard Greens & Chickpea Stew Ingredients

  • 15 large collard leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup of dry chickpeas
  • 3 inches of ginger root
  • 2 inches of fresh turmeric (if you can’t find this use 1 tsp of turmeric powder)
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 peppers (use whatever variety you have on hand.  Here I used, 1 fiery Scotch Bonnet and 2 mild orange baby bells.) Mixing up the type of peppers lets you control the heat level and results in a more complex flavor.
  • 2 red hot Indian chilies for garnish (optional.) My husband eats the garnish.
  •  1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 Tbsp grape seed oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREPPING THE CHICK PEAS:

  • Soak the chick peas overnight.  They will double in size.
  • Drain the soaking water
  • Place in a crock pot along with a bay leaf and cover with water
  • Turn crock pot to high and cook until tender
  • Add salt to taste towards the end of the cooking process

PREPPING THE OTHER INGREDIENTS:Collard Greens & Chickpea Stew Prep

  • Remove the collard green leaves from their stems (Don’t throw the stems away.  Chop them up and use them in recipes in place of celery.)
  • Dice the red onion
  • Mince the ginger, garlic and peppers

COOK:

  • Coat a heavy duty stainless steel skillet with grape seed oil, place it on medium heat.
  • Add the onion, ginger, garlic and peppers.  Saute until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the cumin and black mustard seeds.  Cook until the seeds start crackling.
  • Grate in the fresh turmeric.  If you are using turmeric powder, add it later in the recipe with the other powdered spices.
  • Saute until golden brown
  • Make a hot spot in the center of the pan by pushing aside the veggies
  • Add tomato paste to the hot spot and let it cook for about a minute
  • Stir the cooked tomato paste into the veggies
  • Add the collard greens
  • Saute them for about 5 minutes
  • Add the smoked paprika, garam masala, and the turmeric if you are using the powdered form.
  • Saute for another 5 minutes to let the powdered spices cook and blendCollard Greens Cook 10 add chickpeas

Drain the cooked chick peas and add them to the pan.  If you don’t want to cook the chick peas from scratch, use two 12 ounce cans of cooked chickpeas.  Please drain and rinse the canned chick peas well.

Stir the chick peas in and cover with the lid.  Turn off the heat and let the flavors marry for about 15 minutes.  In Hindi, we call this process of letting the flavors marry, “DHUM”.

Transfer to a beautiful platter and garnish with the red hot Indian chilies.Collard Greens & Chickpea Stew

This is a great vegan dish to make for a party.  It can be made in advance because it actually tastes better the next day.

Serve this stew as a side dish with your choice of protein, or it can be served as a vegan main dish with some pilaf.  I like serving this to my vegan guests with Buckwheat Pilaf.

I hope you are enjoying this series of recipes.  I am having a lot of fun creating them.  Next Saturday, I will post the last in this series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.

Please leave your feedback in the comment section.  I always love to hear from you. 😊

 

 

Carrot Tops & Parsley Pesto Pasta

Carrot Tops & Parsley Pesto Pasta, is the fourth in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.

Carrots Tops & Parsley Pesto Pasta Feature

The fresh carrot tops in my vegetable basket, inspired me to create a playful twist on the classic pesto made with basil.  Another twist is that I mixed in cabbage with the pasta.  The addition of the cabbage ups the nutritional value and lowers the carbohydrate content.  It also tastes great.

INGREDIENTS:

Carrot Tops & Parsley Pesto Pasta Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch of carrot tops
  • 1 small head of green cabbage
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic–1 clove for the pesto and 2 cloves for the pasta base
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 3 small sweet bell peppers
  • 3 twigs of thyme
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (use the same wine that you will have with the pasta.  This way the wine and pasta will pair perfectly.)
  • 1/2 a cup of extra virgin olive oil for the pesto.  A little bit extra to coat the pan for the pasta base.
  • 2 cups of dried gemelli pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Carrot Tops & Parsley Pesto Prep

  • Separate the parsley and carrot top leaves from their stems–set aside for the pesto
  • Toast the pine nuts–set aside a handful for garnish.  The rest will be used in the pesto.
  • Chop the head of cabbage into strips that are about the same size as the pasta
  • Chop the red onion, peppers and garlic
  • Separate the thyme leaves from their woody stems

MAKING THE PESTO:

  • Add the parsley, carrot tops, 1 clove of garlic, and extra virgin olive oil to a small food processor
  • Blend till smooth

  • Add the grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts
  • Blend till smooth
  • Taste the pesto.  Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

COOKING THE PASTA BASE:

  • Coat a heavy duty stainless steel pan with extra virgin olive oil and place it on medium heat
  • Add the red onion, peppers, 2 cloves of garlic, thyme and oregano
  • Saute till lightly brown.
  • Make a hot spot in the center of the pan by moving the sauteed vegetables aside
  • Add the tomato sauce, let it cook down for 2 minutes
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine
  • Add the cabbage and saute till it is ‘al dente’ (firm to the bite)
  • While you are cooking the cabbage base, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.  The pasta should also be cooked ‘al dente’.
  • Add the pasta to the cabbage and toss.

Since the cabbage is about the same size and shape as the pasta it doesn’t even get noticed.  Next add the pesto to the pasta and toss.

Adding the Pesto

Plate the pasta onto a beautiful platter and garnish with toasted pine nuts and extra grated Parmesan.

Carrots Tops & Parsley Pesto Pasta Feature

Serve with a glass of the same wine that was used during cooking.  You will be surprised at how good the cabbage in the pasta tastes.  It adds an unexpected twist of flavor and texture.

I hope you like this dish.  Next Saturday, I will be posting the fifth in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.

I am having a lot of fun creating these recipes.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.  Bye for now 🖐

 

Carrot Tops & Coriander Chutney

Carrot Tops & Coriander Chutney, is the third in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.

Carrot Tops and Coriander Chutney

In my previous post I served the chutney with Sweet Potato & Kale Tikkis (cutlets)

Sweet Potato & Kale Tikkis

Traditionally, this chutney is made with mint and coriander.  Since the vegetable basket I received, had fresh carrots with absolutely lovely carrot tops, I decided to make carrot tops and coriander chutney.  I know there are some people who dislike coriander (also known as cilantro.) In my experience, people are either cilantro lovers or cilantro haters.  For those who don’t like cilantro, please substitute mint.

INGREDIENTS:

Carrot Tops and Coriander Chutney Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh carrot tops
  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves
  • 1 large lime
  • 2 inches of ginger root
  • 1 spicy chili pepper.  I like the long Indian Chili pepper if I can find it.  But a Serrano pepper will also work.
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp of dried pomegranate seeds.  These add an extra depth of flavor and tartness.  If you don’t have them then use sumac, tamarind or extra lime juice.
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Carrot Tops and Coriandet Chutney Prep

  • Separate the carrot top leaves from their stems.  Do the same for the coriander leaves.  If you live in Asia, where the coriander has really fresh roots, use the roots as well.
  • Roughly chop the ginger, garlic and chili pepper
  • Squeeze the lime so you have the juice ready

MAKING THE CHUTNEY:

Place, all the ingredients in a small food processor and blend into a smooth sauce.  You may have to add a little water to help the blending process.  Taste and adjust the salt, pepper and acidity as needed.  Sometimes I end up adding a little extra lime juice at the end for an extra pop of flavor.

Store the chutney in an air tight container.  It will keep in the frig for about a week.  Mine usually doesn’t last that long. 😊

I was so amazed that I could use carrot tops that would normally end up in the trash, to make such a tasty chutney.  I didn’t have the heart to throw away the carrot tops because they were so fresh and they had a great fragrance.  I am really glad I used them.  It turned out to be a successful culinary experiment.

After I used the carrot tops for the chutney, I still had some leftover.  So I used them to make Carrot Tops & Parsley Pesto Pasta.  I will post the recipe for that next Saturday.

I am having so much fun creating recipes inspired by my basket of fresh vegetables.

Hope you enjoy them too.  Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.