Berries & Fennel Scented Zabaglione

Happy fourth of July!!!

Berries & Fennel Scented Zabaglione

Here is the very special red, white and blue low carb and keto friendly Italian dessert that I promised you in last week’s marinara sauce post.

This dessert was on the menu of my first Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.  I am now making the time to post the recipe in full.

Zabaglione is an Italian custard made with egg yolks, sugar and sweet Marsala wine.  The eggs are from our own chickens, making this custard extra special.  I played around with the traditional zabaglione recipe to find a way to cut down the sugar.  The classic recipe calls for 1 Tbsp of sugar for 2 egg yolks along with 1 Tbsp of sweet Marsala wine.  I was able to cut the sugar down to 1 tsp by adding a pinch of fennel powder.

FENNEL POWDER ADDS THE ILLUSION OF SWEETNESS ALLOWING YOU TO DECREASE THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR.  The fennel powder also works in this recipe because it is a classic Italian flavor.  I use the same trick in my marinara sauce. An Indian cooking trick carried over to Italian Cuisine.  I really like that.

INGREDIENTS:  Each serving requires 2 yolks.  I am going to list the ingredients for 1 serving.  Multiply the recipe for additional servings as needed.  For my cooking class/pop up supper club, I had 16 people so I used 32 egg yolks.

Berries & Fennel Scented Zabaglione Ingredients

  • Yolks from 2 eggs.  Save the whites for an omelette or another dish.
  • 5 medium sized strawberries (you can also use raspberries for the red color)
  • 3 oz of blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp of sweet Marsala wine
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2 pinches of fennel powder (1 pinch for the custard and 1 pinch for the whipped cream topping.)
  • 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • a dash of vanilla bean paste for the whipped cream topping

PREP:

Berries Prepped

  • Leave the blueberries whole
  • Remove the green leafy tops of the strawberries
  • Chop them to match the size of the blueberries

MAKING THE ZABAGLIONE CUSTARD:

CC 1 making Zabaglione

  • Bring water up to a simmer in a pot
  • Use another mixing bowl, that is the right size to float on top of the simmering water, without touching the bottom of the pot that has the simmering water in it.  This is how you create a double boiler if you don’t have one.  We need to use a double boiler so that the custard can be brought up to temperature slowly while it is cooking.  This method will prevent the egg yolks from scrambling.
  • In the mixing bowl, place the egg yolks, sugar and fennel powder
  • Whisk to combine
  • Place the egg yolk mixture on top of the simmering water
  • Whisk while slowly drizzling in the Marsala wine
  • Keep whisking until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon

The photo above is from my cooking class.  One of the students, Roy is drizzling in the Marsala wine, while I am whisking.  If you don’t have someone to help you,  just add a little Marsala wine at a time.  I am using an electric mixer.  A hand whisk can also be used.

Once the Zabaglione custard is ready, transfer it to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.  Make sure the plastic wrap is touching the top of the custard.  This will prevent a skin from forming.  Let it sit at room temperature while you make the whipped cream.

MAKING THE WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING:

  • In a cold stainless steel bowl, add the heavy whipping cream, a dash of vanilla bean paste and a pinch of fennel powder.  NOTE: no sugar is added.  The high quality vanilla and fennel powder add so much flavor that the sugar will not be missed.
  • Whip to soft peaks

ASSEMBLING THE DESSERT:

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  • Start with adding a spoonful of zabaglione at the bottom of your glass serving dish
  • Next, sprinkle in a few berries
  • Then repeat twice

Top with a big dollop of the whipped cream topping, and a few berries for color.

Berries & Fennel Scented Zabaglione

This is a very low carb version of the original Berries and Zabaglione.  My students and guests couldn’t believe that is tasted so good despite the reduced sugar.

Other than myself, there was one more guest who also follows a Ketogenic Lifestyle.  She has actually lost over a 100 pounds and wants to keep it that way.  The two of us had just the berries and whipped cream topping.  That is the best dessert for Keto purists.

I know that many Keto desserts are made with sugar substitutes, but most of them upset my stomach or give me an unpleasant after taste.  I prefer to reduce the sugar and use high quality ingredients, for those few but special times that I have a dessert.

Please try this and give me your feedback in the comments sections.  Also, if you have any questions, I will be happy to help you with answers.

Ciao for now 🖐💕

Marinara Sauce – An Italian Essential

Marinara Sauce is a basic Italian ingredient that can be used in many recipes.  My  marinara sauce has no added sugar.  Ground up fennel seeds are used to give the illusion of sweetness.  This is actually an Indian cooking tip that I learned from my great grandmother.  TIPUse fennel powder to impart the illusion of sweetness without using any sugar or sugar substitute.  

Marinara Sauce Feature

When I was 12, my family moved to America.  We settled in Queens, New York.  We lived in a very Italian neighborhood.  Most of the Italian families were related to each other, and everyone had vegetable and herb gardens in their backyard.  I had never even heard of Italian food, much less tasted it.  The Italians I met were full of joy and very generous.  They loved to feed me whenever I visited.  This was my introduction to Italian food, where I learned how to make marinara sauce from one of the Italian grandmothers (nonnas.) They always seemed to have jars of homemade marinara in their cupboards.

I learned from the nonnas, the great TIP of having marinara sauce on hand because it can be used to make so many dishes.  I have already created and photographed two recipes using my homemade marinara.  They will post on July 11th and July 18th.  For the 4th of July, I have planned a very special red, white and blue Italian dessert that is low carb and keto friendly.  I named the dessert Berries & Fennel Scented Zabaglione.

INGREDIENTS:

Marinara Sauce Ingredients

  • 8 large ripe tomatoes ( these beauties came from my neighbor’s garden.  I have the best neighbors 😃)
  • a large handful of basil ( the basil in the photo was grown by me.  I grow herbs in pots in the sun room just outside my kitchen.  This way I can get fresh herbs when I need them.  I feel truly blessed to be able to have the luxury to do this.)
  • 1 large white onion (this one was grown by my neighbor.  He brings us vegetables and we give him eggs from our chickens and ducks.)
  • 3 Tbsp of the best extra virgin olive oil you are able to find (the can of extra virgin olive oil in the photo, was picked up in Tuscany while I was taking a pasta making class.)
  • 1 bell pepper and 1 Serrano pepper (optional.  I like adding the peppers for an extra kick.)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp of red chili flakes (leave these out if you want to make the dish less spicy)
  • 2 tsp of fennel seeds ( grind these to a powder in a spice grinder)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind.  TIP: Keep leftover cheese rinds in the freezer and use them to add flavor when making marinara sauce.
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

PREPPING THE TOMATOES:

  • Score an “X” mark in the skin at the base of each tomato
  • Boil a large pot of water
  • Get an ice bath ready
  • Blanch each tomato in the boiling water for 30 seconds
  • Immediately place the blanched tomato in the ice bath to stop the cooking process
  • Once the tomatoes are cooled, peel off the skin starting at the scored “X” mark.  It should peel off easily.
  • Dice the peeled tomatoes and place them in a crock pot

TIP: Use a crock pot to make the sauce so you don’t have to spend hours stirring the sauce like the Italian nonnas, who taught me to make the sauce did.  

Its a good time saver.  If you want to make it like the nonnas, feel free to make it the traditional way in a large sauce pot.

PREPPING THE OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Marinara Sauce Prep

  • Add the bay leaf and cheese rind to the tomatoes in the crock pot
  • Turn the crock pot to high, and put the lid on while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Dice the onion and bell pepper
  • Mince the garlic and Serrano pepper
  • Tear the basil into small bits

COOKING THE AROMATIC BASE (SOFRITO):

  • Coat a stainless steel pan with the extra virgin olive oil and place on medium heat
  • Add the onion, garlic, peppers, basil, red chili flakes, oregano and fennel powder
  • Saute until lightly brown
  • Add the tomato paste, stir it in and cook for another minute
  • Add the cooked sofrito to the crock pot that already has the tomatoes in it

COOKING THE SAUCE:

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  • Add 1 cup of red wine
  • Turn the crock pot to low and cook for about 4 hours.  At this point the sauce should have turned a deep red color.
  • Now add salt and pepper to taste
  • Turn the crock pot to warm and let it sit for 30 minutes to let all the flavors marry

I wait until the end to add salt and pepper because it allows me to balance the flavors once everything has already blended and come together.

You can use the marinara immediately for many recipes, or you can put it in mason jars and keep in the frig for up to 2 weeks.  It will keep in the freezer for 6 months.

On a final note, I want to credit Ceramiche d’Arte Carmela, in Ravello, Italy for making the beautiful bowl and plate that I used to present my Marinara Sauce.

Marinara Sauce Feature

I visited their shop when I was in Ravello and fell in love with their ceramics.  I ended up ordering a whole set.  I use it frequently and remember Italy fondly.  I get no compensation for mentioning Carmela’s lovely art work here, but I like giving credit where credit is due.

Please use the comments section to let me know what you think if this recipe.  I always love hearing from you.

Ciao for now.  🖐😃

 

 

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 & 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.

Sweet Potato & Kale Tikkis (cutlets)

Hello everyone.😊  Hope you are all doing as well as possible during this global pandemic crisis.  I find myself temporarily unemployed for the very first time in my life.  I am using the time to catch up on all the things that I have left on the back burner.  I am now finally catching up with my blog posts.  I have created and photographed so many recipes that I have not had time to post.

Sweet Potato & Kale Tikkis, is the second in a series of six recipes inspired by  Vegetables From Down The Road.Sweet Potato & Kale Tikkis

Classic tikkis are usually made with regular potatoes and peas.  The bundle of vegetables that I received from Fruitful Hill Farm, included sweet potatoes and kale, so I was inspired to create a new version.  Not only is this version more healthful, but the sweet heat combination makes it taste even better.  Great with a cup of Masala Chai.

INGREDIENTS:Sweet Potato & Kale Tikkis Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of sweet potatoes
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 4 peppers (use whatever variety you have on hand.  Here I used 2  fiery Serranos, a medium – heat Fresno and a sweet orange baby bell.) Mixing up the type of peppers lets you control the heat level and results in a more complex flavor.
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 inches of ginger root
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (optional if you want to make the dish more spicy.)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala (I make my own, but you can purchase it at an Indian grocery store or a spice market.)
  • 3 Tbsp grape seed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREPPING THE SWEET POTATOES:

  • Some of the sweet potatoes were small and some were large.  I cut the large ones in half, so that all the pieces were of a similar size.  This way they will cook evenly.  Coat each sweet potato with a little oil.
  • Roast them in a 400 F oven until they are fork tender.
  • Let them cool so they can be handled without burning your hands.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes.
  • Mash then with a pastry cutter.  Add a dash of salt and pepper.

PREPPING THE OTHER INGREDIENTS:Sweet Potato & Kale Tikkis Prep

  • Separate the kale leaves from the stems.
  • Don’t throw the stems away.  Instead chop them up into little pieces to use in the cooking process.
  • Chop the onion.
  • Mince the peppers, ginger and garlic.

COOKING THE KALE:

  • Add the chopped up kale stems, the onion, peppers, ginger and garlic to a heavy duty stainless steel pan on medium heat.
  • Add the cumin and black mustard seeds.
  • Add the grape seed oil and saute till golden brown.
  • Then add the powdered turmeric, smoked paprika and garam masala.  Saute for another minute or two until the powdered spices are incorporated.
  • Add the kale
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Let the kale wilt down.  This should take about 5 to 10 minutes.

Once the kale is ready, fold it into the mashed sweet potatoes.  Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Kale Base Combined into a Hash

Let the mixture cool to room temperature before you start making the tikkis.

MAKING THE TIKKIS:

  • Take a heaping tablespoon of the sweet potato kale mixture and form into flattened discs.
  • Coat a non-stick skillet with grape seed oil.  Place on medium heat.  When the oil is shimmering add the tikkis.  Do not over crowd the pan.  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side to get a brown crispy crust.

Place on a platter and serve with chutney.  They are so yummy.

Sweet Potato & Kale Tikkis, cooked

Traditionally, tikkis are served with a mint and coriander chutney.  Since my vegetable basket had fresh carrots with absolutely lovely carrots tops, I made a carrot tops and coriander chutney to serve with the tikkis.  It turned out so well.  I do my best to use every part of every vegetable so that we don’t have waste.  It leads me to make some very creative recipes.  What we don’t eat, gets fed to the goats or the ducks and chickens.  Nothing goes to waste around here.  Deliciously, doing our part to be in harmony with the planet and Mother Nature.

In the feature photo, you can see the Carrot Tops and Coriander Chutney, served with the tikkis.  The chutney recipe will be posted next Saturday, as the third in the series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.

These tikkis are very versatile.  Serve them as a snack with tea, as a fancy Hors d’oeuvre at a cocktail party, or an appetizer at a dinner party.  They are always a hit.  You can also make them the day before, and then warm them up in the toaster oven just before serving.  The toaster oven lets the crust stay nice and crispy.  If you have any left over mixture it make a great hash, topped off with eggs, for breakfast.Sweet Potato & Kale Hash topped with Poached EggsI really enjoyed creating this recipe and sharing it with you.  Let me know what you think of it in the comment section.

I always, appreciate your support and feedback.

P.S.: Today my husband decided that I needed an outing because I haven’t left the house in a week.  He drove me in his MG convertible, so I could enjoy the sunny day, down the road to Fruitful Hill Farm.  I picked up another beautiful bundle of vegetables.Vegetables From Down The Road 15 May 2020

More inspiration to come up with some creative dishes !!! 😃

Results of My Second Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry

My second cooking class/pop supper club was a lot of fun.  The students were eager to learn how to make Indian food.  Everyone enjoyed the food, wine pairing and the camaraderie generated by the community getting together to help a good cause.

Buffet Line

I. Enjoying Kachumber
Photo by Gabby Silva

I am very thankful to my guests for their goodwill and donations to the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.  We were able to raise $775 to help our community.

Here is the Indian Menu that my students and I prepared.  Just like the last event, it was delicious, gluten free and Keto friendly.  Vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian options were available to include a wide variety of dietary preferences.

Cooking Class 2 Menu

THE APPETIZER

F. Plated Kachri
photo by Gabby Silva

AUBERGINE KACHRI is my dad’s favorite appetizer.  My mom used to make it for him frequently.  It consists of spicy slices of sauteed eggplant served with a yogurt mint sauce.  For the full recipe, please click on the link above.

Indian cooking takes some advance preparation.  Some of the students joined me the Friday before the event to help me with the prep and learn some extra tips.

The eggplant has to be sliced and salted overnight to draw out excess moisture.  Drawing out the moisture allows the eggplant to cook evenly and not absorb excess oil.  This is a tip I learned from my mom.  Below is Rose, one of my students, showing the eggplant we sliced and salted.

A'. Prepping Kachri

The cooking class began on Saturday at noon.  The first thing we did is dry the eggplant slices and season them with my Indian Spice Mix.

We let the seasoned eggplant slices sit in the frig for a couple of hours, to let all the spices marry, before pan sauteing them.

C. Sauteing Kachri

The cooked eggplant slices were topped off with a dollop of yogurt mint sauce made with My Mom’s Yogurt.  A fresh mint leaf was added to each slice for a finishing touch.

THE SALAD

G. Plated Kachumber

KACHUMBER is chopped salad made with cucumber, tomato, onion, mint, cilantro, lime juice and Indian spices.  In the above photo, you see it plated with a small papad.  Papad is a thin, cracker-like crisp made with lentils.  It serves as the Keto friendly crouton element.

The salad was the last thing we made so that we could serve it super fresh.  In the photo below, you will see the components of the main course staying warm in crockpots, while we prep the Kachumber Salad.

A. Prepping Kachumber

I also made a yogurt dressing, with toasted cumin and other spices, to add a creamy element to the Kachumber Salad.  I will post the full recipe as soon as I get a chance.

THE MAIN COURSE was a Trio of  Indian Curries

I want to clarify what a curry is.  Curry just means something cooked in a sauce.  In India, every region has its own variety of curries.  Indian cooks do not use curry powder.  Curry powder is a British invention.  Each curry is made from scratch with its own blend of base aromatics and a layering of spices throughout the cooking process.

I decided to make three unique curries, both to accommodate a variety of dietary needs and to show my students different ways of making curries.

Indian Cooking Class Feature
Photo by Gabby Silva

Starting from left to right, the photo above shows:

  • Riced Cauliflower Pilaf, made with freshly grated turmeric
  • Extra Kachri Slices, in case anyone wanted an additional appetizer
  • Vegan Curry, with chickpeas for protein
  • Monkfish Curry, with a coconut lime base, for the pescatarians
  • Oxtail Curry, my unique signature dish

Diners had a choice of enjoying the curries with a Brown Basmati Rice Pilaf (sitting in the pot on the back burner) or a Keto friendly, Riced Cauliflower Pilaf.  Click on the link for Buckwheat Pilaf to see the basic recipe to make any kind of pilaf.

I am a pescatarian, who leads a Keto Lifestyle, so I served myself a plate of riced cauliflower pilaf and topped it with monkfish curry.

Trio of Indian Curries
photo by Gabby Silva

It was really delicious, if I do say so myself.  Monkfish is considered to be poor man’s lobster. It tasted like a decadent lobster curry with a great depth of flavor, and was the first one to be finished.  I will definitely make it again and post the recipe.

THE DESSERT

Zb. Ras Malai Plated
photo by Gabby Silva

SAFFRON PISTACHIO RASMALAI is a classic Indian dessert, and my husband’s favorite.  Each round ball is a cheesecake bite sitting in a creamy, flavorful sauce.

Indian desserts tend to be very sweet, so my challenge was to figure out a way to make is Keto friendly.  As I was mulling over how to make a low carb version, I recalled a memory from when I was 10 years old.

I was visiting my great grandmother and I watched her make Rasmalai from scratch.  She used just a little bit of honey in place of sugar.  She told me that my great grandfather had sugar problems, so she made desserts with very little sugar, but a lot of flavor.

I did my best to recreate her recipe.  I am going to show you how I did it.  The trick is to use very high quality ingredients and lots of spices that will give the illusion of sweetness.  The spices I used in this case are saffron, fennel powder and cardamom.

MAKING THE RAS GULLAS (cheese balls)

My friend Kathy, came over on prep day to learn how to make Paneer.

  • Once the Paneer is ready, break it up with a fork, add the spices and ground up pistachios.
  • Mix everything together and gently knead it into a ball.
  • Cut the ball into 2 inch pieces, and shape into discs.

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  • Make a pistachio honey syrup scented with saffron and rose water.  I used only one tablespoon of raw local honey in the entire pan of syrup.
  • The syrup is used to cook the cheese balls and infuse them with flavor.  They are simmered for 10 minutes with the lid on.  During the cooking process the cheese balls will double in size.
  • The cooked cheese balls are cooled and firmed up in an ice bath.

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  • While the cheese balls are cooling, make the cream sauce.  The sauce consists of cream, half &half, one tablespoon of honey, pistachio powder, saffron and rose water.

W. making the cream (malai) for the ras gullas

  • Place the firmed up cheese balls in the cream sauce.  We made these on prep day so that the cheese balls could become saturated with the cream sauce overnight.

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Just before serving, I plated the RasMalai by spooning two tablespoons of Malai (cream sauce) into a small bowl.  Then I placed two RasGullas (cheese balls) in each bowl and topped them off with pistachios and goji berries for a little color.

I was proud to make this dessert.  I felt like my great grandmother was there helping me. After my husband ate this RasMalai, he said he would never eat the store bought version again.  My great grandmother’s version turned out so sublime, with a profound but delicate flavor.  I will do a full recipe post when I make it again, but for now I have posted the above photos to give you an idea of how the RasMalai was made.

I want to thank my husband for his help and his expert wine pairing.

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I also want to thank my guests for their support, and Gabby Silva for taking such great photos.

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My next event will be in September for Hunger Action Month.  Tresha Silva, the director of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry, and I are planning to hold the event at the Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center.

I will keep you posted.  In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or comments please let me know in the comment section below.  I would love to hear from you.

 

Indian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry

I am preparing for my second cooking class/pop up supper club to support the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.  The event is being held on September 28th, 2019.  The event name is “CookingWithLoveAndSpices For A Cause.  The feature image shows my new event logo.  The center of the logo is a Lotus Mandala in dedication to my mom.  My mom’s name was Kamal, which means Lotus flower.  The Lotus flower is a symbol of divine beauty, purity, enlightenment and self-regeneration because it raises from the muddy waters unstained.  Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul.

Let me know in the comment section what you think of my logo.

CWLAS JPEG Version

Here is the menu for the September 28th, 2019 cooking class/pop up supper club.

Cooking Class 2 Menu

This time I am featuring elegant Indian Cuisine paired with Texan wines from Messina Hof.  My husband decided to stick with the Messina Hof wines because they pair well with Indian Food.

I am doing this event on September 28th because September is Hunger Action Month-a month where people all over America stand together with Feeding America and the nationwide network of food banks to fight hunger.  It’s a month to take the problem of hunger personally, and then be moved to take action on being an active part of the solution to end hunger in our own communities.  My goal for this event is to have fun while working to end hunger in Bastrop County.

My first cooking class/pop supper club in July, was a trial event at home.  This event is bigger and will be held at the cooking school house on the ranch.  Tickets will be sold on Eventbrite starting on September 6th.

For a cause event

There will be 20 spots open.  You can chose to come to the cooking class and/or dinner.  Last time, some people only wanted to come to the dinner and that is just fine.

Indian food takes a bit of prep work, so I am doing the event over a two day period.  Friday, September 27th will be prep day.  We will start prep at 3 pm.  Prep is open to cooking class students who would like to help and also learn a few extra cooking tips.  We will also have 2 volunteer staff from the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry to help us.  Then on Saturday, September 28th cooking class will be from noon to 4 pm.  Cocktails will be served at 6 pm and dinner will be served at 6:30 pm.

I decided to have a two hour break between cooking and cocktails in case anyone wants to take a rest or wants to have time to freshen up before dinner.  During my first event, some people requested a break so I am making accommodations for that.   In any case, it will give us extra time if we run behind.

Again, the menu is both delicious and gluten free.  The appetizer, Aubergine Kachri, is a dish my mom used to make, especially for parties.  It is one of my dad’s favorite dishes.  The sauce for the dish is made with My Mom’s Yogurt.

There will be a trio of curries to suit different dietary needs.  Or you can sample all three if you like.

I am very fortunate to have a local vendor sponsor me this time.  The Bastrop Cattle Company produces grass fed, chemical free beef.  They have been generous enough to donate the oxtail for the oxtail curry.  I have made this for other’s in the past with rave reviews.  Oxtail curry is one of my signature dishes, so I was very excited to be able to get such high quality product for my cooking event.

The pilot event in July was very successful and fun.  This one will be a bit more work, but I have help from Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry volunteers.  I will let you know how this one goes.

Bye! for now 🙂