October 19, 2016

Sun-dried er Oven-dried Tomatoes

It is that time of the year when the home grown/ local farm vegetable season is coming to an end. This is also the time when we think of ways to preserve some of the summer flavors. A couple of years ago I decided that I am going to make my own sun-dried tomatoes when I get an abundance of tomatoes and sun light (during the 3 months of summer in this part of the world). First trial was literally a wash thanks to an unexpected rain (it is called New England for a reason :-) ). Couple of more unsuccessful trials later, I figured out that this needs way too much patience, planning and care.., each of which are not in abundance for me. I went the QnH way and figured I might want to stick to the oven, sort of mimicking the dehydration using the lowest temperature of the oven. I had to play around with the timing and the cut of the tomatoes a few times to get this perfected. 


  • Tomatoes (I used small Campari tomatoes) - about 60 
  • Himalayan pink salt (or rock salt) - a couple of pinches 
  • Herbs - optional (your choice, preferably dried)
Tip: I prefer Campari tomatoes as I love the flavor it brings when compared to other tomatoes.


  • Cut each tomato into quarters or smaller. Arrange on baking trays without crowding. (you will need 2 full size trays)
  • Sprinkle salt and herbs (if using)
  • Set oven to the lowest temperature. (Mine was at 170 deg F)
  • Bake (basically dehydrate) for 10 to 12 hours After 9 hours, you can check every 30 minutes till your desired dryness level is reached.
  • Let it cool completely. 
  • One option is to store dry in the refrigerator. 
  • Second option (my preferred option) is to store them in your panty, covered in EV olive oil. As and when you are using up the tomatoes, you can reserve the oil for a flavorful oil for your pasta or for your salad dressings. 
  • Enjoy !!

September 23, 2016

Meditteranean Barley Pilaf

There are some recipes that you adapt from a friend, from a cookbook or from the web, and your family loves it so much that you keep making it again and again. You add your touches to it and at some point you start owning the recipe. This pilaf is one such recipe, which I had made a few years back for a   Meditterarean themed lunch. This can be made with farro as well, though barley has a better taste and texture. The use of fennel complements the spices and mint sauce well, but if you are not sure about fennel, you can omit and just use onion alone. This can be served as a full meal which is full of flavor and is made with wholesome ingredients. This is best served warm or at room temperature and hence is very ideal to take to pot-luck parties. 

  • Barley - 1 cup (soaked overnight)
  • Black chickpea - 1/2 cup (soaked overnight)
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp (crushed)
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Masala powder - 1-2 Tbs (see below for proportion)
  • Red onion - 1
  • Fennel - 1 bulb
  • EV olive oil - 1 Tbs
  • Mint sauce - 1 batch (see recipe below)

  • Drain the chickpeas and cook with 1 cup of water, bay leaf, crushed pepper and salt. (I use a pressure cooker, which works best to cook any beans)
  • Drain the barley and cook with the cooking liquid from chickpeas (add extra water as needed to cook) and a tablespoon of masala powder. (I use pressure cooker here too)
  • Heat a pan on medium heat, add olive oil and saute chopped red onion and chopped fennel till onion in slightly golden.
  • Add cooked chickpeas and barley and any remaining liquid from cooking barley. Adjust taste add extra salt as needed and more masala if you prefer. Continue cooking till any remaining liquid is completely absorbed. 
  • Switch off, add the mint sauce and mix well. Let it stand for 30 minutes or so before serving. 
  • Serve warm, enjoy!!

Masala Powder:
  • Coriander seeds - 2 Tbs
  • Red chilly - 1-2
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
  • Cardamom - 2-3
  • Grind everything to a fine powder using a coffee/spice grinder

Mint Sauce:
  • Mint - a small bunch 
  • Cilantro - few stems 
  • Garlic Clove 1-2
  • Lemon juice - from  half a lemon
  • EV olive oil - 2 Tbs
  • Grind everything to a coarse sauce.

September 21, 2016

Alu Quinoa Tikki

I have not posted a recipe in such a long time. This summer has been really busy, in a good way. We have been spending a lot of time outdoors getting the much needed fresh air, Vitamin D, etc. Honestly,  I have not been very creative in the kitchen, atleast nothing worth a post. On a few occasions when I did, just did not have the patience to post.

Almost all of summer, I have been cooking only fresh local produce from our local farmer. They have been really kind to us, they were growing Red Edible Amaranth, Okra and tender green beans along with so many other varieties of fresh veggies. I am usually not big on potatoes but there is no match for fresh potatoes. So I end up buying potatoes from our farmer quite often. This recipe was first made at the quicknhealthy kitchen as a quick-fix light dinner. It was made with leftover cooked potatoes and cooked quinoa. It can be served as a snack, or as a light meal, optionally have a serving of veggies, a cup of soup, or a small salad on the side to make it a full meal. 

  • Quinoa - 1/2 cup (soaked for overnight)
  • Potato - 2 (medium)
  • Ginger - 1 Tbs (minced)
  • Garlic - 1 Tbs (minced)
  • Green chilly - 2-3 (minced)
  • Garam masala - 1 tsp **
  • Amchur - 1 tsp ***
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Virgin coconut oil - for the pan
  • Cook drained quinoa with 1 cup of water and let it cool completely.
  • Cook potato and cool completely, mash with a fork. 
  • Add quinoa and mashed potato into a bowl. Add the spices and salt and mix well with.
  • Divide the dough into 18-20 equal parts. Make each part into small round and oval patties. 
  • Drizzle coconut oil on a pan over medium heat. Place the patties on the pans without overcrowding.
  • Cook till golden brown on one side. Flip carefully and repeat on the other side. 
  • Transfer to a plate lined with a kitchen towel or paper towel.
  • Serve as is for a filling snack or serve with a soup or salad for a light meal. 
  • Enjoy!!

  • ** For garam masala, I used my homemade pav bhaji masala, you can substitute with your choice of masala.
  • *** Amchur is dried green mango powder. You  might be able to substitute amchur with a Tablespoon on lemon juice. 

June 17, 2016

Mediterranean Inspired Breakfast Bowl

I have another savory breakfast idea for today. It is inspired from my favorite cuisine, yes you guessed it right, Mediterranean cuisine!! Plenty of beans, vegetables, olive oil.. perfect for a filling and satisfying breakfast. Chickpea can be replaced with any other bean, and for bean hummus, play with your favorite beans. I am substituting tahini with almond butter, again that is just my preference. With a little bit of planning and prep work you can put this bowl together in no time for your busy morning. It is clean, gluten-free, vegan, diary-free and above all quicknhealthy. Serve this for breakfast or for lunch, or for dinner as well :-). 

  • Chickpeas - 3/4 cup (Soaked over night)
  • Vaal Beans - 1/2 cup (Soaked over night) (Substitute with Fava, Lima or Cannellini beans)
  • Spaghetti squash - 2 cups (cubes) 
  • Garlic - 2-3 cloves
  • EV olive oil - 4 Tbs 
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Homemade almond butter - 2 Tbs
  • Lemon juice - from half a lemon
  • Lemon wedges - to serve

  • Drain and cook the Vaal (or Fava/Lima/Cannellini) beans with 1 cup of water. Let it cool. This can be done ahead of time so that you have cold beans ready to work with. 
  • Drain and cook the chickpeas with 1 cup of water and salt. This can be done ahead of time too.
  • Drizzle olive oil in a pan and roast garlic till golden - transfer to a plate.
  • In the same pan add spaghetti squash cubes and cook covered on medium heat turning them a few times taking care not to burn them.Cook till they can be flaked with a fork Add salt as per taste, remove from flame and set aside.
  • To make your bean hummus - add cooked vaal beans, almond butter, roasted garlic, lemon juice, cumin seeds and enough salt to a blender jar and process till everything is puréed. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and continue till you smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl. 
  • To serve, divide the spaghetti squash and chickpeas and into serving bowls. Top with bean hummus, drizzle remaining olive oil and. Serve with lemon wedges. 
  • Serves 3. Enjoy!!
Note: Pressure cooker works best to cook beans to perfection.