Monthly Archives: July 2012

Indian Spiced Okra

I’ve liked okra for a long time, but have never made it before.

When I was in second or third grade, we had to bring in a regional American dish. I asked my mom to make okra, which I believe was cooked in a tomato sauce. I loved it.

The other day, my co-worked showed up with an Indian spiced okra. I hoped she would share the recipe with me, which she was kind enough to do.

Here is the first of what I hope will be the first of many entries that feature some delightful Indian flavors. Thanks, Reshma!

recipe courtesy of Reshma Iyer

Indian Spiced Okra

as featured on The Fruit Guys website.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch Okra cut into small rounds
  •  ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Chili powder/paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste

PREPARATION

  1. On a slightly warmed up pan, add oil.
  2. Once the oil gets nice and hot, add the cumin, cooking until the cumin gets darkish brown and you can smell the aroma.
  3. Add the turmeric, chili, cumin seeds and coriander powder in quick succession. Note: You have to literally cook these spices for 2-3 seconds, you will notice it getting smokey.
  4. Add the Okra and stir around, reduce the flame to low-medium.
  5. Add about 5 tbs of water or to your discretion – basically there should be just enough to cook the Okra and not more than needed or it does turn sticky and pasty.
  6. Add the salt and cover and cook for about 5-7 mins. Keep checking. If the water does not seem to reduce, remove the lid.
  7. Once you are able to break a piece with the spoon or your finger, its done.

Cook’s Notes: 1 bunch of okra should fit into your hand when held up vertically. Wash okra before cutting or they will get pasty.

 

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Slow Cooker Oatmeal: Plain is Best (or Add some Bacon)

Oatmeal is really the breakfast of champions. I love oatmeal made just with water. No toppings, no butter, no sugar. We used to get those prepackaged cinnamon sugar oatmeals, but I never loved them. Plain oatmeal is my favorite.

There are many health benefits to eating oatmeal: lowers cholesterol, adds a good amount of fiber to your diet and stabilizes blood sugar. An extra benefit that I love most: if I eat oatmeal in the morning, I’m full until well into the afternoon.

I have to admit that I not only eat plain oatmeal, I also top mine off with bacon. It sounds a little crazy, but the salty bacon adds just the right something-something to my morning oatmeal. I do love to have a cup of tea and a hard boiled egg alongside my oatmeal.

Yesterday I experimented by freezing a few portions of my slow cooker oatmeal in small containers. Defrosted in the microwave for just a minute and I had a nice bowl of oatmeal at my desk. It’s handy for me to be able to pre-cook a bunch of oatmeal and pack it into single servings to bring to work with me. I suppose you could just use the instant kind of oats and make them in the microwave, but I prefer a slower-cooked oatmeal.

However you eat it, do eat oatmeal. It’s just so good for you, it’s tasty and satisfying, too.

Oatmeal: Slow Cooker Style

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Method:

  1. Combine water, oats and salt in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Turn heat to low.
  2. Put the lid on and cook until the oats are tender and the porridge is creamy, 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Spoon the oatmeal into single serving freezer-proof containers. Freeze until ready to eat.
  4. Defrost single serving in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Eat plain, with dried fruit or add some bacon, like I do.
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Family Dinners Make My Day

We love a good family dinner around here. The preparation and final product are as important as the conversation around what we’re having and what went on in school that day.  We may eat dinner at our house at our kitchen table, or in front of a show we’re  catching up on. Either way, our family meal starts the moment I start cooking.

Growing up, we’d eat dinner together as a family every night of the week. Some meals were more elaborate than others, but there was always a full table with all seven of us around it. We’d take turns cooking the main dish, since both of our parents worked. For Gran Fran, my mom, it was a new dawn, as a working mother of five, she had to depend on us to pitch in to get the dinner on the table. In her childhood, the nonnas (her grandmas) would spend the day going to market and getting the dinner made.

If there was a roast beef in the oven, baked potatoes with an x cut into them to release the steam would be put right on the oven rack.  GranFran would make Lasagna  ahead of time, on Sunday, to be reheated as needed. In my book, reheated lasagna was better than when it was fresh out of the oven. On quick dinner nights, Gran Fran would come home and make us an egg and potato frittata. There was always a vegetable of some sort, broccoli stands out as something that was on our plates a lot, as well as green beans.

We eat at our house a few times a week and at my sister’s house once or twice a week. The rest of the time my daughter is with her dad. Dinner at my sister and brother-in-law’s house is great. They are both awesome cooks and wonderful and generous hosts. Isabella tells my sister Nicole (I like to call her Nikki, but she does not like that nickname, so I’m trying to be respectful here) that she loves coming to their house for the company, but mostly because she just loves the food they make for her. It’s a rare night when you’ll find just one main dish. There is always plenty to choose from and lots of good conversation, highlighted by Isabella and her two cousins’ conversations about their days.

The kids all go to school together so there is a lot to talk about: which kid got a pink slip, who hit whom on the playground, what event was coming up next at school. I feel very lucky that we live just ten minutes away from my sister and her family. Our family dinners really make the week that much better. When I know we’re going over, I usually bring a nice bottle of wine for the grown-ups, something for the table, and sometimes wacky stuff like coconut water direct from a coconut with the shell on , a whole punched in the top and a straw stuck in. I’ve often wondered if they know exactly how much it means to both of us to be included in their family on such a regular, unquestioning basis. I do love spending time with my brother-in-law (Fran Q) especially when it comes to making food. He has an innate talent for preparing delicious meals out of just about anything, and is even great at desserts

My immediate family now consists of me and my thirteen year old daughter. Meals are still a big deal, just like when I was little, albeit with way fewer people. Dinner is a time for me and my daughter to catch up.  We keep the computer in the kitchen so that we can be together after school while I cook and Isabella does her homework. She and I discuss ingredients, choose our favorite dishes, and I start cooking. No matter how tired I am from working all day (and blogging all night), mealtime is a tradition. I will not give up. It’s our time to connect and relish each other’s company.

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Featured: DailyBuzz Food: BBQ Vegan Skewers

My BBQ Vegan Skewers are featured on today’s Top 9 on DailyBuzz Food.

Loving this! The site, DailyBuzz Food is an update and add on to FoodBuzz. I love the new format, and am excited to be included.

There is a tab on the top of the site for Special Diets. Until today, I hadn’t really thought my recipes would fit into this. Upon further inspection into my list of posts, I guess I do talk a lot about alternatives to dairy and gluten. And now vegan. You can track my eating habits through the last 3+ years of posts to see just when all these exceptions to my very full diet began. Blogging is interesting in that way. Sometimes you repeat and repeat (you’ll see roast chicken here and any number of smoothies appear over and over). Sometimes you change and update (no more cheese for me: make the pesto without it, it’ll be just as good).

Take a look at the collections they have featured so far (the new format just started this month). It’s really nifty.

Thanks, DailyBuzz Food (I still want to call you FoodBuzz, is that ok?)!!

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