Lambsquarter leaves Dip (raita) and Foraging

 Foraging used to be considered resourcefulness and a method of sustenance in earlier times but it is now a fashionable new thing to harvest wildly growing foods.The edible treasures that you can stumble upon ( wild garlic, morels, chick weed, lambsquarter etc.) can be quite delicious and off course the satisfaction in discovering these is a whole different story. It goes without saying that you should carefully identify these wild treasures because some do have nasty and toxic look alikes.

Last year I was surprised to find Lambsquarter plant in my backyard. I confirmed it with a gardener and voila it was edible lambsquarter plant, off course I was esctatic. Because these are  the greens that I craved when I was pregnant the first time ( the leaves are a nutrition powerhouse). The young  leaves are very tender and taste like spinach. It has a high content of minerals like Iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium etc. And yes this year I have lots growing in my backyard, it is a weed after all !!!

Well today I bring you my favourite raita or a dip made with these beautiful, amazing, delicious green leaves. Simple to make but looks beautiful and tastes amazing. Hope you will enjoy it as much as we do .

 

Ingredients

2 cups of home made yoghurt or store bought natural or greek yoghurt

2 cups of tender leaves of lamb’s quarters

1/4  tsp roasted cumin powder

a pinch cayenne pepper

salt to taste

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Method

1. Wash the leaves by soaking them in water few times and then draining the sandy water.

2. Heat 1/3 cup of water and add the leaves and cover.

3.Turn off the stove after 5-7 minutes and remove the lid. The leaves are very tender so cook very fast.

4. The leaves will be bright beautiful green once cooked. Use a hand blender or a small chopper to coarsely puree the cooked leaves.

5. Meanwhile use a whisk to whip the homemade yoghurt smooth. The store bought      yoghurts are generally smooth and even stirring them with a spoon take care of any lumps.

6. Add the pureed green leaves, mix well, yoghurt will now be a vibrant green colour.

7. Add salt, sprinkle with the cayenne pepper and the cumin powder and serve.

8. Serve with a pilaf, chips, vegetables, curries or like I do, have it by itself as it is a protein and iron rich dip perfect for a hot summer day. 

 

Easy Breezy Gluten Free Quinoa Crepe with onion and cilantro served with Raddish Slaw

I see lot of interest for Quinoa chapati recipe. If you have tried making it, share with me what your experience has been like, any difficulties etc. With practice the results will be delicious and very satisfactory.

Today I bring to you a very easy, quick alternative to quinoa chapati,a crepe made from quinoa flour.It tastes delicious and is a breeze to make. Hope you will have as much fun making it as I did. The melange’ of flavours and textures is bound to please the most discerning palates.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa flour

1/3 cup and 1 tbsp. water

1/2 onion finely chopped

2 tbsp. cilantro finely chopped

2 tbsp.greens from the green onions finely chopped

1/2 jalepeno finely chopped ( optional )

salt to taste

2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil or ghee

Method

1. Heat a well seasoned cast iron skillet or a non stick pan on medium heat.

2. First mix the flour and water  (adding water in stages not all at once) thoroughly  so no lumps remain and then add all the other ingredients ( except oil or ghee). The consistency of the batter should be runny but not watery, if it is then the crepes break and stick.

3. Pour a small ladle full or 2 -3 tbsp. of batter on to the skillet and spread it evenly with the spoon in a circle ( should give you a 5-6 inch circle). And now put a little oil around the whole crepe.

4. Now cover with a lid for a minute or two till the crepe loses its wet look

5.With a spatula flip up the crepe from one side to see if it is brown and crisp, if it is then it is ready to be flipped.

6.Once the crepe is turned let it roast and cook on the other side for few minutes on medium heat making sure it does not char and become too crisp.

7. Continue making the crepes .

8.Serve crepes with crisp raddish slaw stuffed into them and green cilantro mint chutney. ENJOY!!!!

RADDISH SLAW

Ingredients

3- 4 red raddishes washed thoroughly and grated

2 tbsp. mint and cilantro chopped

juice of half lime or quarter lemon

Method

Mix the above and serve stuffed into crepes.

GREEN CHUTNEY

Ingredients

2 cups cilantro finely chopped stems included

1 cup mint washed and chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 thai chillies stem removed ( optional )

1” piece of ginger peeled

salt to taste

1/4 tsp. sugar or 1 deseeded dates (optional)

salt to taste

1-2 tbsp.of water

METHOD

Blend or grind all the above ingredients in a mixer or a blender till it is a smooth mixture of even consistency.

Store in a glass jar and refrigerate, can be stored for 8- 10 days but starts to lose its vibrant bright green colour as it ages.

Minty Summer Fresh Babaghanoush

Finally I have my creative juices flowing, and of course it helps to have a farmers market 2 minutes walk from home. It is so convenient to have fresh produce so easily accessible, between that and fresh produce from the organic patch in my backyard even though I am pressed for time, I end up cooking and creating new dishes.

So go check out the markets in your area you too will be inspired to cook with all fresh garlic and garlicscapes, collards, chard and the beet greens and so many more wonderful, delicious vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • 20-25 washed mint leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic dry or 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 2 Thai hot green chillies or jalapeno  ( or regular non spicy green chillies )
  • 1 tbsp.Tahini paste
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • salt to taste

Method

  1. Grill the eggplant in the oven at 350 degrees Fahreneit. till the skin is charred.
  2. Remove the charred skin from the eggplant once it cools down .
  3. Blend all the above ingredients in a blender or a  food processor.
  4. Enjoy!!! Serve with whole wheat pita wedges or brown rice crackers.

P.S .I have deliberately omitted the extra virgin oil used traditionally as using mint makes it very flavourful and delicious.

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Tomatillo Salsa

A delicious quick fresh finger licking salsa also known as ” salsa verde ‘

Tomatillos are also called “tomate verde” in Mexico (which means green tomato) and are considered a staple in Mexican cooking.  Tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, related to tomatoes. It now grows everywhere in the Western Hemisphere and is common in Texas gardens.

The fruit of the tomatillo is green and about the size of a large cherry tomato. The inside is white and meatier than a tomato. They grow to maturity inside of a husk. They can range in size from about an inch in diameter to the size of apricots. They are covered by a papery husk which may range from the pale green color of the fruit itself to a light grocery-bag brown. The husks are inedible and should be removed before use.

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Ingredients

  • 4-5 fresh Tomatillos
  • 1 plum tomato or greenhouse tomato
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • 2 scallions washed
  • 5-6 sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 1 Jalepeno (more if want more spicy)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato puree
  • salt to taste

Method

  1. Put everything in the food processor except salt .
  2. Add salt just before serving otherwise it becomes too watery.
  3. Serve with purple corn chips or regular corn chips.

Smoky Rustic Eggplant Dip

After a month long hiatus I am back. This rustic eggplant dip with with strong earthy flavours is a souveneir from my recent trip to India (specifically interiors of Gujarat a northwestern desert state). It was an unscheduled stop at an acquaintance’s farm which got prolonged because of our 2 hour delay and like my nephew commented it was the best flight delay ever

This farmhouse was where we had the most succulent sweet Sapodillas (chickoo’s) tender fresh off the tree Guavavas, the freshest vibrant green onions. Because of the delay our very kind and hospitable host cooked for us a rustic meal of thick well cooked chapatis and few fresh vegetables. But for me the star of this meal was the eggplant dip. For this dip small round eggplants were buried under a  burning fire of coal and firewood and left there till their skin was completely charred.

This dip was a simple delicious melange of flavours, smoky flavour of grilled eggplants, freshness of freshly picked geeen onions and delicate flavour of fresh green garlic.
I am presenting this receipe with very fond memories of our trip. I have made some necessary modifications to the receipe because of the availability of the ingrediants, roasted garlic instead of fresh garlic greens (these have very subtle flavour), extra virgin oil instead of mustard oil which is very strong in aroma and taste.And off course grilling the eggplant in the electric oven instead of hot coals.

Hope you will all enjoy this delicious dip.

Ingredients

Serves 6-8

1 eggplant 11/2 – 2 lbs.

Green tops of 6-7 green onions washed and finely chopped

2 green chillies finely chopped (adjust according to taste )

2 cloves garlic roasted for 3-4 minutes in the oven

1/2 cup of cilantro washed and finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime

Salt to taste

2- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Grill the eggplant at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes till the skin is charred and it is cooked through.

2. Once the eggplant cools ,peel and mash with a fork or a masher so that there are no lumps.

3. Now mix all the ingredients ( just save 1 tbsp. Oil to drizzle on top )

4. Drizzle the remaining oil on top and serve this delicious dip with pita bread or brown rice crackers.

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Heart Healthy Pesto

A delicious nutritious fresh green pesto packed with brain boosting omega 3s, cleansing properties of parsley and fragrant basil.

1/2 cup Shelled walnuts and almonds (can substitute with pistachios or pine nuts or pecans in any combination)
1 bunch parsley, washed and trimmed
1 bunch basil, washed and thick stalks removed
6-8 cloves of peeled garlic
1/4 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

Method
Put everything in a food processor and process for few minutes till it is all a beautiful green homogenous mixture enjoy!!!!!!!!!

Serving suggestions: use on whole wheat baguette (top with diced tomato), multigrain wraps, pasta, lasagna, pasta salad and rice salads.