Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stalking pays off

Click here for proof.

Modified Soup Au Pistou

Me: We are having Soup Au Pistou and Pasta for dinner.
Hubby: But I am allergic to pesto.
M: It's not pesto, it's Pistou.
H: Say Wha...
M: Just eat it. It has no pine nuts.
H: Yummmm..
M: Thanks

I bought Ina Garten's Barefoot In Paris book and been wanting to try some recipes. I made a fresh batch of veggies broth yesterday and decided to make a soup. I found this Soup Au Pistou recipe in her book and since I am not a big fan of Saffron ( i do use it but not much) I decided to modify the soup a bit.
She adds saffron to this soup and I did not. I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. For making the pistou, I used sun dried tomatoes instead of tomato paste. She adds the pistou on top of the soup as garnish but I mixed it in the soup and it was yummmmm....

Leeks - 1 roughly chopped
Celery - 1 stick roughly chopped
Potatoes - 1 cubed
Carrot - 1 large cubed
baby french beans - around 20 9 I used frozen)
Olive oil - as needed
salt and pepper - to taste
vegetable broth - 2 cups
water - 4 cups

To make the Pistou:

Fresh Basil leaves - 1 bunch
Sun dried tomatoes in oil - 1/2 cup
Freshly grated parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup
Olive oil - 1/4 cup

Grind the above ingredients to a paste or do it in a food processor for a coarse texture.

- Heat olive oil in a soup pot.
- Add the leeks and saute till soft.
- Add remaining veggies except beans, season with salt and cook till tender.
- Add broth, water and bring to a boil.
- Add the pistou and beans and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Top it with a little freshly ground pepper and parmesan cheese and serve.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I was never a big fan of salads dripping with dressings where you taste less veggies and more dressing. I started making them at home with the kind of ingredients I like and the amount of dressing. Here is the tricky part with them though. Since everyone's palates are so different, the way I do it might not suit you. However I will just tell you how I "build" my salad and what ingredients I use. You can adjust it according to your taste buds (My mom adds ground green chillies in hers.. go figure).

Also, I stopped buying store bought dressings. I usually just add olive oil and balsamic vinegar in mine. Some times it would be just plain fresh lemon juice.

If you are used to Indian lunches and dinners and don't see how you can fit a salad in to that kind of meal, here is a very weird idea. Add those dry curries into your salads sans the rice or roti.

I also make roti wraps. Rotis or chapathis filled with some dal/curry with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and some mint chutney sounds delish doesn't it.

I made a dal wrap the other day and today in the vegetarian times magazine they had a recipe for "Indian dal taco" :). You see, you can just adapt any 2 cuisines into one without having to compromise the integrity of the dish.


I know it's been amonth since I posted anything. Things have been a little crazy and I hardly take pictures of my finished recipes. I feel guilty posting without pictures :). Oh well. I promised Swetha I will post some recipes and also told my friend Smitha that I will start adding more salad recipes too. Before I get to salads, let me give you a quick and easy recipe for pongal. The traditional recipe calls for whole peppercorns but Prabu and I hate when we bite into it. Instead I usually set my pepper-mill to coarse and use that powder instead. This is traditionally served with sambar and coconut chutney.

Few more tips and pointer:

- You can always do this with brown rice.
- Add your favorite vegetables to make it more healthy and interesting.
- You can add more lentils and veggies and less rice if you are on a strict low-carb diet.


Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Yellow Moong lentils (pesarapappu) - 1 cup
Ginger - 2 Tbsp. Minced
Green chillies - 4 chopped fine
Coarsley Cracked black pepper - 2 Tbsp.
Cumin Seeds - 1Tbsp.
Mustard Seeds - 1 Tsp.
Inguva (Asafoetida) - 1/2 tsp.
Curry Leaves - 6 - 8
Salt - to taste
Butter - 2Tbsp.
Oil - 2 Tbsp.
Water - 9 cups


- Heat oil and butter in a pressure pan.
- Wash rice and lentils together and set aside.
- Add mustard, cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves, green chillies and ginger. Fry for 2 minutes on medium-low flame
- Add pepper and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add rice and lentils to this .
- Add 9 cups of water.
- Season with enough salt. Stir well and check for seasonings. The water should be teeny bit salty.
- Cover and cook for 3 whistles.
- If you are not using a pressure cooker, you can cook this directly in a pot. Just keep checking in between to make sure bottom of the pot is not burning.