Tag Archives: spinach

Spinach & Pepper Jack Cheese Muffins

16 Apr

IMG_2632We live in a world filled with uncertainty and reoccurring horrific events that are so complicated to fathom. The news coverage of these recent tragic recent events – Boston and Baghdad bombings, fatal earthquake in Iran and the continuing Syrian Civil War send shivers down my spine.  The images depicting carnage of innocent citizens and widespread annihilation of their towns and cities reiterate the fragility of human lives and the world we live in. They are reminders that everyday is a gift and one must constantly cherish and love our family and friends.

The very ethos of this blog is to express your love and nurture by cooking for the special people in your life. Now more than ever, I must reiterate “Cook for someone you love”.  While we think and pray for all the families stricken by these ghastly events let’s also remember to articulate our love for the important people in our lives.  Continue reading

Modern Yoğurtlu Ispanak (Warm Spinach with Yogurt Sauce)

30 Jan

Modern Yoğurtlu Ispanak (Warm Spinach with Yogurt Sauce)

Certain meals are meant to be cherished forever. They are usually associated with memories of special and significant events in our lives – memories that we hold onto forever and conjure up on days that seem less than perfect.

March 23rd, 2008

March 23rd, 2008

About 5 years ago, I unsuspectingly found myself in a small candlelit room with a magnificent table-setting for two. This mysterious jewel of a room is known as “Casablanca Room” (part of Souk Restaurant) and is situated in Mumbai’s renowned Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. It is an exclusive chef’s table for two, overlooking the splendid Gateway of India and the majestic Arabian Sea. Hiding in one corner of this room was the love of my life, who went down on one knee and asked me an extremely crucial question. I instantaneously made the best decision of my life and the rest is history.

That night we affectionately indulged in a fabulous Mediterranean meal that highlighted some of Souk’s best dishes. The recipe below is one of the many dishes my husband and I relished that momentous night. I recently came across this recipe in the “Vegetarian Fare at the Taj Cookbook” and just had to share it on my blog. Cooked spinach is always naked without garlic. Accessorize this marriage of garlic and spinach with garlic yogurt, crispy onions and chili-oil and you have a work of art that tantalizes all the senses.

Modern Yoğurtlu Ispanak (Warm Spinach with Yogurt Sauce)
Recipe Adapted from Souk’s Yogurtulu ispanaki Recipe (Vegetarian Fare at the Taj Cookbook)
Yield:  4 appetizer size portions
Time: Active 30 minutes    Inactive: 1-2 hours (for hanging the yogurt)

Ingredients:
Warm Spinach Salad ingredients
2.2lbs spinach, de-stemmed and shredded
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ small red onions, finely sliced
10 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
½-1 teaspoon chili oil
Garlic yogurt ingredients
½ teaspoon of garlic paste
1 cup of plain full fat yogurt, strained/hung (See note)
Salt and pepper to taste
Crispy Onion Straw ingredients
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (See note)
Oil for deep frying

See note:

  • Hung Yogurt/Hung curd: Take the 1 cup of full fat yogurt and tie it up in a cheese or muslin cloth. Suspend this cloth over a small container for 1-2 hours, so that all the excess water from the yogurt is strained out and the resulting yogurt is hung curd.
  • The thinner you slice the onions the easier it will be to make crispy onion straws.

Method:
1) Blanch the spinach in batches: Bring water to boil in a large pot. Once the water reaches a rolling boil add a third of the spinach to it and remove it within 1 minute. Remove and squeeze out the excess water. Place this spinach in a pre-prepared ice bath (a large bowl with cold water and lots of ice cubes). Repeat this process for the other 2 batches of spinach. Once the spinach is no longer hot, drain it by squeezing out the excess water and set it aside.
2) In a large skillet heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Sauté the onions till they start to change color and then add the garlic and cook till it turns golden.
3) Add the spinach and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm.
4) For the garlic yogurt: whisk the yogurt with garlic and add salt and pepper to taste.
5) For the crispy onion straws: Heat the oil on high and deep-fry the sliced onions until they are crispy. Place the fried onions on plate lined with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess the oil.
6) To assemble: Mould the spinach onto individual plates. Use a piping bag to pipe the garlic yogurt or spoon it over the spinach. Top the yogurt with crispy onions and drizzle each portion with some chili oil.

Start your Day Right: Pineapple Mojito Smoothie

8 Oct

Photo Credit: Sneha

We constantly hear “eat your fruits and vegetables” from multiple sources. We are also aware that a balanced diet with generous amounts of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Yet more than often we do not follow this advice. Our excuses for disregarding this recommendation range from being too busy to simply despising the tastes of several fruits and vegetables.

Drinking juices or smoothies is a fast, easy and appetizing approach to consuming more servings of fruits and vegetables. Juices and smoothies are a great start to a day or a healthy and energizing snack before or after a workout.  It is also a crafty medium to disguise less appetizing vegetables through tastier fruits, satisfying the palates of even finicky eaters.

My friend Sneha, recently shared some of her delectable smoothie recipes with me. Given my love for mojito’s this was the first smoothie recipe I gravitated to and have made it regularly for the last one week. Since today is Sneha’s Birthday, it is the ideal day to share her recipe and to introduce you to her astounding photography: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ssenjalia/.

I have made a few minor changes to the original recipe but reiterate Sneha’s words – “Who knew green smoothies could be a rum shot away from tasting like Mojitos!”

Pineapple Mojito Smoothie
A slightly modified version of Sneha’s Mojito Green Smoothie Recipe
Yields: 1 tall glass
Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks (See note)
½ cup of mint
½ cup of spinach (See note)
½ cup of coconut water (See note)
1 tablespoon of lime juice

Notes:

  • If pineapple is in season you can use fresh pineapple chunks. If you use fresh pineapple, just add a ¼ cup of crushed ice to your smoothie to chill it. You will need lesser coconut water if using fresh pineapple and crushed ice.
  • You can use kale in place of spinach.
  • I used packaged coconut water. If you have easy access to fresh coconut water, then I recommend using that.

Method:
1) Crush the frozen pineapple chunks in the blender.
2) Add all the other ingredients and blend everything together till you achieve the consistency of a smoothie. If you prefer a more liquid consistency add a little more coconut water.
3) Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.

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