Zucchini Noodles with Turkey meatballs

When the spiralizer came into the house many months ago, we were thrilled to create exciting salads and dishes with spiralized beets, carrots, cucumber, zucchini etc….It is a fabulous tool and easy to visualize new and exciting recipes when you look at the pretty noodles of a wide array of vegetables.

What I never really visualized, is actually using the noodles as a replacement for spaghetti noodles….never sounded that interesting. How can this plain zucchini replace full-on taste of delicious pasta?  Well, I was just plain wrong  in having resisted making this before …. I have to say I am a believer! What a fun and incredibly nutritious way to ditch the carbs and processed pasta intake and opt for this.

I can’t wait to try more recipes with the zucchini noodles but for now let me share this one

dsc_5831_hdr-1

You will need a spiralizer, I bought this basic one with a stand from Amazon. To make zoodles, trim the ends of your zucchini and place between the spiked handle end and the blade, then turn the handle. The noodles will just flow out beautifully.

dsc_5827-1

You can steam or saute them. I chose to saute in this recipe with a little avocado oil, salt and pepper.

Keeping with the “lean” theme, I made turkey meatballs and pan fried them in olive oil. The whole thing takes no more them 30 mins to pull together.

dsc_5835_hdr-1

dsc_5839_hdr-1

dsc_5840_hdr

Turkey meatballs

  •  1 lb ground organic turkey
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • Pink salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive or avocado oil for pan frying

Noodles

  • 3 yellow or green zucchini – spiralized
  • Olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • Pink salt and black pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1large chopped tomato
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 5-6 mushroom chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • Olive or avocado oil
  • Pink salt and black pepper to taste

 

  • Combine all the ingredients for the Turkey meatballs and pan fry until brown. Do not overcook. Set aside on paper towel while you make the sauce.
  • Add oil to a pan and saute the chopped onions, mushrooms, thyme and bell pepper
  • Add garlic and tomatoes and cook for a couple of mins.
  • Add basil, lemon peel, salt and pepper and mix it around until it looks like a sauce but tomatoes are still chunky.
  • Add the meatballs and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. The meatballs are ready when heated through.
  • Add oil to a pan, when heated add thyme and garlic.
  • Add the noodles and fry for all of 1 min ( maybe 2). Salt and pepper to taste
  • Plate the noodles with the meatballs on tops and garnish with basil

Sharing this with Angie @ Fiesta Friday co-hosted Mollie @ thefrugalhausfrau and Johanne @ the frenchgardenerdishes

Also sharing on Throwback Thursday.

Posted in Food, Main dishes, Meat Dishes | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho

A hot fiery day outside or a warm fall afternoon, a perfect watermelon from the farmers market, heirlooms tomatoes, serrano chilies and cucumbers from the garden.

It all calls for a perfectly chilled gazpacho smothered in watermelon.

https://foodforthesoul00.files.wordpress.com/

Watermelon Gazpacho

The serrano chilies break into the sweetness, the mint heightens it to superb levels…the rest you will just have to taste to believe.

They fact that no cooking is required makes it even better. Make  sure you use good organic ingredients for this dish and it is chilled for an hour or so in the fridge before serving

img_4596_hdr

I added cilantro because I love but you can leave it out if you wish.

 

img_4599

Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 4 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1 large or 2  medium chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 medium cucumber peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 2 serrano chilies ( use less to manage the heat)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A handful of mint – chopped
  • A handful of cilantro – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Pink Himalayan salt – add to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Avocado, chopped watermelon and roasted corn for toppings ( optional)

 

Putting it together:

  • Put cucumber, tomatoes, onion and chilies in a bowl with the vinegar and let sit for 10 mins to bring out the flavors.
  • Add this to food processor with the garlic and blend until pureed. It is best to pulse to control the consistency.
  • Add watermelon, mint, cilantro, cumin, oil and salt and pulse again until the soup comes together.
  • Add lemon juice and chill for an hour.
  • Its ready! Top with roasted corn kernels, cilantro and avocado slices and serve this beautiful bowl of soup.

img_4593_hdr

Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Natalie @ Kitchen, Uncorked are cohosting Angie’s Fiesta Friday this week and I am taking this to share.

 

Posted in Food, Lunch, Soup | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Tales of Kashmiri breads – Girda and Lavasa

Returning to Kashmir after 2 years was bitter sweet. While the city was encased in sorrow and the shroud of curfews, hartals and brutal clashes, the beauty of the land demanded to be noticed in an eerie quietness..no traffic, no business, empty streets, barbed wires and overbearing military presence made the resilient majestic land proudly stand alone in its poetic beauty.

DalLake1

Waking up at 4am to the sounds of that crazy rooster with no snooze button can be quite annoying but was surprisingly comforting, the crows start to chip in shortly, then gentle sounds of nearby mosques and folks getting up to bring in the unpredictable mornings.

 

IMG_3445

I could not wait for morning as I have waited 2 years to eat the fabulous breakfast breads. Curfew or not the hunt for an open Kandur began the first day I arrived.

Every Kashmiri neighborhood boasts a traditional bakery known as “Kandur” serving up breads or many vareities. While the sky is still tinged with darkness they fire up wood burning ovens and start baking exquisite breads. The customers line and the  Kandur has the difficult job of serving up different orders and keeping them in sequence of who showed up first. The folks wait patiently mesmerized by the movement on the hands and knuckles on soft dough and then darting in and out of the hot oven. These breads are perfectly paired with a slab of butter and a good cup of tea particularity the salty pink tea called Nun chai. The two we feasted on were the Girda and Lavasa

IMG_4647 (1)

IMG_3406

IMG_4655

 

Girda is  a medium sized everyday bread with hand made indentations and a golden crust. Crunchy on the outside and soft white on the inside, it is a much craved addiction.

Lavasa is a thin, large, thin unleavened flat bread equally addictive and disappears fast with butter and jam.

IMG_4648

Every morning our hunt for an open Kandur begin…through tiny streets and sometimes following people walking with bread bags in tiny alley ways as they would lead us to the nearest Kandur.  My daughter, husband and I would take the hot bread with a slab of butter and sit by the Dal Lake and savor the beauty creating a truly heavenly breakfast time.

IMG_3416

IMG_3444

Breaking bread with a whole new meaning…each day.

 

Taking my story and bread offering to Angie’s Fiesta Friday cohosted this week by the fabulous and creative bloggers Jhuls @ thenotsocreativecook and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.

Also sharing on Saucy Saturdays

Posted in Bread, Food, Kashmir | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Keema Baingan ( Eggplant with Minced Lamb)

This dish is inspired by my amazing and talented sister in law, Sadia Durrani who specialize in classic Old Delhi food and teaches culinary skills in India. She posted this over 2 years ago and I can’t believe it took me this long to make it. If you want to watch the original recipe from her check out this link

 KeemaBaigan-1-8

My vegetable garden here in Virginia is overflowing with the cutest purple eggplants that I have used in this dish. I kept a few whole just slicing them to the stem. The rest I cut in cubes with the skin on.

Minced lamb and eggplant can be found in many cuisines, my favorite is the Egyptian or Lebanese Mahshi when the eggplant is stuffed. You can find the vegetarian version in my post Mahshi Batinjaan Bi Zayt – Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant.

KeemaBaigan-1-3

If you have been following my blog you know that I use a pressure cooker for a lot of my cooking. You can use a pan and increase the timing,

KeemaBaigan-1-7

Ingredients:

5-6 Purple eggplants

1 lb lamb mince

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 green chilies

2 chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. garlic ginger paste

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp red chili powder

salt to taste

1 tbsp. oil ( I used avocado oil)

1 tbsp. ghee

Chopped fresh mint and cilantro for garnish

Putting it together

  • Chop the eggplants, keep a few whole just slicing in quarters until you reach the stem.
  • In a pressure cooker, add oil and the garlic. Add the minced meat.
  • Fry until it loses the pink color ( a couple of minutes)
  • Add cumin, turmeric, coriander, red chili and salt and continue frying for a few minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.
  • Add the eggplant, about 1 cup of water and pressure cook for about 5-6 mins. If use a pan, cook for about 30 mins until the eggplant is blended with the meat.
  • Add chopped green chilies and chopped mint and stir
  • Heat the ghee in a pan, brown the onions in it and pour over the dish.
  • Garnish with mint and cilantro and serve with naan or rice. A side of cucumber raita would make it perfect.

KeemaBaigan-1-9

Fiesta Friday # 130 is on and I am taking this dish.  Thanks to our co-hosts this week, Aunt Juju and Petra.

Posted in Food, Lunch, Main dishes, Meat Dishes | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Kashmiri Lamb Coriander Korma- Dhaniwal Korma

Kashmiri culture and ways of preparing the food lends to its exquisite, delectable and unique taste. This is then accented by how it is served….with flavorful white rice, rich yoghurt and tart chutneys.

KashmiriKorma-1-3

This particular Korma is called Dhaniwal Korma which is a beautiful medley of lamb cooked in coriander and yoghurt. It is flavored with whole spices and black pepper and not red chilies. A simple twist in preparation changes the flavor  of a korma.

KashmiriKorma-1-5

The yoghurt needs to be cooked beforehand to give it the right texture. The onions needs to be fried and pureed. Other that that the recipe is pretty simple to follow

KashmiriKorma-1-4

Ingredients:

  • 2- 3 lbs of lamb
  • 2 onions ( chopped, browed and pureed into a paste)
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 4 cloves
  • 8 green cardamoms
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper ground
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • A bunch of fresh chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Putting it together

  • Put the yoghurt and 1/2 cup water in a heavy pan. Whisk and cook on high heat until it comes to a boil. Cook on low heat, whisking on and off until the mixture has reduces to half and is smooth. This is called cooked yoghurt.
  • Wash the lamb and then boil in water for 3 minutes, drain, wash in cool water and set aside
  • Use a heavy bottomed pan, add the lamb and ghee and fry for a few minutes until the meat starts to brown
  • Add onion puree, garlicm cloves, cardomoms, turmeric, coriander powder and cooked yoghurt
  • Add salt to taste and saffron
  • Cook down until the oil separates from the gravy.
  • Add 2-3 cups of water and cook until the meat is quite tender ( takes 30-40 mins)
  • Add black pepper and fresh cilantro before serving.
  • I served it with fluffy white rice flavored with cinnamon and green cardamoms.

 

  • KashmiriKorma-1

Angie’s Fiesta Friday is perfect for this dish wonderfully co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck

Posted in Food, Kashmir, Main dishes, Meat Dishes | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Cucumber Yogurt and Dill salad

There are so many versions of cucumber and herbs in cuisines ranging from Indian, Egyptian to Greek. My version takes all these influences and create a soothing and filling summer dish.

DSC_4304-3

Perfect for the summer months especially if you have those fresh cucumber growing in your back yard. I have been so excited about my cucumber produce that has brought joy to my small garden. Nothing like picking that cucumber and serving it within minutes.

IMG_3076

The yoghurt can be greek or whole milk just needs to be thick. I used a grass fed organic yoghurt which was creamy and delicious.

Dill and mint ( dried and fresh) add amazing flavors and of course garlic is king in kicking the whole dish up many notches:)

You can use Pistachios or Almonds, I soaked the almonds for a couple of hours and sliced them after removing the skin.

This is when you bring out that good quality olive oil.

DSC_4299-2

DSC_4293

</p> <p>Cucumber Yogurt and Dill salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 container of plain yoghurt

2 cucumbers

Chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup of chopped dill

2 cloves of garlic – crushed

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 slivered almonds

Salt to taste

Good olive oil

 

Putting it together

  1. In bowl, mix garlic with the yogurt, lemon juice, dill, fresh and dried mint.
  2. Add the cucumbers, cumin and salt to taste
  3. Top with raisins, almonds and  a couple of glugs of  good olive oil.

DSC_4302

Taking this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday.

Posted in Food, Lunch, salad, side dishes | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Rose and Saffron Ice cream

The weather is warm, the landscape is green, lush and peppered with bursts of flowers. The month of Ramadan completed and  flowed into the festivities of Eid ul Fitr, signifying the end of Ramadan.

DSC_4317-1

This has the flavors of Eid I grew up with, saffron, cardamom and rose….mmm the essence is just so soothing.

The irony is that we did not make ice cream when growing up in Kashmir…there were no real freezers but the flavors found their way in so many sweet dishes like rice pudding and refreshing rose drinks.

I have to say that this is really easy to make…no churn, no stress, just a lot of fun whipping up the cream🙂

DSC_4325-1

I have used organic rose water, saffron that I brought from Kashmir and regular green cardamoms. I soaked the almonds overnight and chopped them after removing the skin.

For the Cardamom, I crushed the pods with a rolling pin on the counter, removed the green skin and just kept crushing until I got the consistency I wanted.

I found a brand of organic condensed milk online that I love. Use  the one you like or make your own if you are adventurous.

IMG_3021

IMG_3022

DSC_4319-1

 

Ingredients:

  • I pint carton of whipping cream
  • 3/4 can condensed milk ( 14 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp crushed saffron
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1/tsp crushed organic rose leaves
  • 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Putting it together:

  • Whip the cream until you have soft peaks
  • Add sugar, cardamom, rose water and saffron and whip again until you have stiff peaks
  • Fold in the condensed milk , a pinch of salt and rose leaves
  • Line a glass loaf pan or bowl with plastic wrap. Pour in the mixture
  • Top with almonds, some rose leaves and freeze overnight
  • Serve in scoops or slices. You can serve with a drizzle of honey and nuts.DSC_4314-1

Join me at Angie’s Fiesta with Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen and Jess @ Cooking Is My Sport.

Also sharing this on  Saucy Saturday #52….my first time at this party!

Posted in Dessert, Food, Snack | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

A simple eggplant stew with Moroccan flavors, can’t go wrong with this hearty dish.  A quick weekend light dinner or a side that stays in the fridge to go with many main courses.

IMG_2980-proc

Chickpeas are soaked overnight and then cook in a pressure cooker for 10 mins or in a pan for 30-45 mins

I roast my cinnamon, coriander seeds and cumin seeds and then grind them but the good store bought versions are just fine.

You can salt the eggplant for 20 mins and drain the juice before cooking. In season and fresh eggplants don’t need any salting.

IMG_2972

 

IMG_2983

IMG_2982

IMG_2977

Eggplant and chickpea stew

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Eggplants
  • 1 medium onion (large diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1(8 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or clarified butter
  • Cilantro and mint chopped for garnish
  • Lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

 

Putting it together

  • Chop eggplants into 1 inch cubes and salt for 30 mins.
  • Coat a large deep-sided frypan with oil and heat over a medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon. Stir well to coat evenly. Cook until the onions have softened and slightly brown
  • Add the eggplant,  tomatoes and chickpeas. Add the vegetable stock.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat, covered, for 20 minutes approx. The consistency should be thick with some sauce.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Squeeze some lemon juice, sprinkle with cilantro and mint and serve over rice or by itself.

 

Posted in Food, Main dishes, side dishes | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Banana Berry Cashew Cream Pie

BananaBerryPie-1

Fresh raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are flourishing in the market now and you know you want to put them in everything including Banana cream pie! They are perfect this time of year. Just be careful to pick the organic one without the harmful pesticides.

Not only I had the best bananas and berries on hand, I had the inspiration which came in the form of my creative fellow blogger Laurena@Life Diet Health. Do visit her blog for the original version that inspired me and her other amazing healthful recipes. Thanks Laurena!

BananaBerryPie-3

So back to banana berry pie…it is vegan and gluten free. How you say? Cashews make the best creamy filling and you will not miss the fresh cream….they have to be soaked and then put in a high powered blender to get that creamy consistency.

The other ingredient used her to hold the cream together is Psyllium husk. It comes from the small seeds of the Plantago ovata plant and it gluten free. Just a tablespoon and half was enough for this pie.

I did not feel like making a pie crust from scratch so picked up a pre made gluten free crust from my next door Mom’s organic market. It worked out pretty well.

Oh yes and lets not forget the dates, sweet and delicious! I have used 4-5 dates plus coconut nectar too sweeten this pie.

BananaBerryPie-4

BananaBerryPie-5

Let’s get to the recipe

 

Banana Berry Cashew Cream Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pie crust (if you want to make your own use a combination of dates and walnuts ground up)
  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews soaked for a couple of hoursBananaBerryPie-3
  • 4-5 pitted mehjool dates
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar ( or maple syrup)
  • 1 medium banana
  • I can coconut cream ( I pick of the cream from the top of the can and leave the water)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1  1/2 tbsp Psyllium husk
  • 1 lime and its zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh berries
  • Choice of mixed berries for topping the pie
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Putting it together:

  • Put the pre-soaked cashews in the blender ( I use a high powered blender) with the coconut cream, dates, banana.
  • Add 1/2 cup berries, coconut nectar lime juice, pinch of salt and Psyllium husk. Blend again.
  • Add lime zest and stir
  • Pour in the pie crust and refrigerate or freeze until firm.
  • Cover with fresh berries and some mint before serving.
  • If you have any leftovers, this will stay in the fridge for a few days and freeze really well for several weeks.

BananaBerryPie-2

BananaBerryPie-6

Taking this dessert to Angie’s Fiesta Friday where  the co-hosts this week are Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Aruna @ Aharam

Posted in Dessert, Food | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Dum Gobi Paneer ( Cauliflower and Cheese)

Kashmiri cuisine traces back to centuries of tradition, spices and methods of cooking. While predominantly a meat centric cuisine, the vegetarian dishes hold their own and are unparalleled. History has documented well known saints of Kashmir to have been vegetarian for spiritual reasons.

IMG_2415

The cuisine has evolved over the centuries absorbing influences from settlements and migrations. The flavors and spices of Kashmiri cuisine include dry ginger, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and saffron to name a few.

Dum Gobi Paneer

This particular dish is my version, not very common but most people are familiar with Kashmiri Dum Aloo ( potatoes). “Dum” is a technique that is essentially slow sealed cooking. The cooking vessels can be sealed by using a flour dough between the pot and the lid and placed on hot coals which are also added on the top on the lid. Of course this can also be accomplished in the oven ( just giving you alternatives in case you want to make this while camping :)). I used a even simpler route and used a heavy cast iron pot with strong sealed lid and used low heat on my stove.

 

A little about the spices I have used.

  • Cloves: Dried flower buds that contain antiseptic properties and help in preserving food
  • Fennel Powder: Ground fennel commonly used to flavor sauces and stocks
  • Dry Ginger Powder: Fresh ginger is dried and then ground and has a distinct flavor aside from its healing properties
  • Garam Masala: A mix of dry roasted spices that varies from household to household
  • Asafoetida: a spice derived from the plant Ferula assa-foetida – a very distinct flavor and a pinch is all you need.
  • Turmeric powder: Dried and ground root like ginger. Add the beautiful orange color.

The dish is served with rice ( I have used brown) and a side of Kashmiri Onion Chutney.

https://foodforthesoul00.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/img_2410.jpg?w=640

Enough about the history so let’s get to the recipe:

 

Dum Gobi Paneer - Kashmiri

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cauliflower head, cut in big florets
  • 1 slab of indian cottage cheese (paneer) about 6-8 pieces
  • 2 red onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder (Saunf)
  • 1 tsp turmeric ( Haldi)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder ( Sonth)
  • 1/2 red chili powder
  • One pinch of Asafoetida ( optional)
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying and cooking ( I used Avocado oil for frying and then Mustard oil for cooking) Please use a mild flavored oil of your choice.

 

Fry the Cauliflower florets and Cheese separately in oil until lightly browned.

Let the florets drain on a paper towel. Soak the fried paneer in warm water until ready for use.

Use a heavy bottom pan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil, add cloves until they splutter and add the onions

Once the onions are light brown, add the spices, cauliflower and paneer. You can use a cup of the paneer water to add to the pot.

Mix the ingredients, seal the lid of the pot ready well and then leave it to simmer for about 15 mins.

Serve with rice, yoghurt and chutney.

https://foodforthesoul00.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/img_2413.jpg?w=640Linking to my favorite party at Angie’s Fiesta Friday co hosted this week by  Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Linda @ Fabulous Fare Sisters

Posted in Food, Kashmir, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments