Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Red Beans and Yellow Pepper stirfry

I was initially planning to just post this quick fix but extremely delicious beans stirfry at Healthy and Tasty, a blog by a group of working/at home mommies wanting to exchange ideas for easy meals for babies and kids. But I feel this is something I haven't made like this before and it tasted so good that I felt like sharing this rather simple recipe with you.

Kidney beans or red beans (scientifically Phaseolus vulgaris) are supposed to have many different good qualities as food. They are high in protein and fibers which apparently help lower or control cholesterol levels and prevent a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. They are also packed with a number of healthful trace elements (minerals), a notable one being molybdenum. Molybdenum is a part of a number of enzymes which are required for a healthy metabolism of the body.

I combined this quick and easy beans stirfry with a little more time-consuming but healthy Indian flatbreads - Rotis- made without using any wheat flour. No, it wasn't glutenfree as I used barley in it. Their recipe will have to wait for now. I'm still trying to perfect the recipe of a wheat or spelt-free roti. Why, when it is not gluten free, I'll tell you soon (you can surely guess where I'm pointing towards).

So, here comes the recipe:

Red Beans and Yellow Pepper stirfry

Recipe by PG of My Kitchen Stories


3/4 can of red / kidney beans, washed and letting excess water drip off
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic, peeled and sliced
3-4 dried tomato halves, chopped
1 pinch red chilli powder
a few dashes black pepper, fresh from the mill
a few small sprigs rosemary, broken coarsely
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces

  • heat 2 tbsp oil in a fry pan on medium high
  • add the beans and garlic and stir, reduce heat to medium
  • after a few minutes add the dried tomatoes, rosemary and the spices
  • add one more tbsp oil, if required
  • keep stirring in between, for about 10 minutes
  • once you get a nice smell coming from the beans and they look nicely roasted add the yellow bell pepper
  • increase heat and fry for a few minutes on medium high, stirring in between
  • serve warm with bread, roti or steamed rice
I loved the aroma which was coming from the beans being roasted in the pan. Sunny boy ate the beans willingly and since he believes that he 'only' likes yellow bell peppers (he at least keeps saying so), he was happy to have it on his plate along with roti (Indian flatbread) and also ate everything except for - you have three guesses. Grrrr! When will he learn to eat the so-full-of-health, vitamins rich, blah blah blah peppers?! :(
But, despite all that I love the way he says "Umm, .... umm, so lecker (so tasty)!"

I had been seeing the beautiful logo of MLLA-8th Helping everywhere and had been wanting to send a recipe too. I also had one, but then time constraints were preventing me from posting it. But, then I made this and decided upon this one for this month's event.

So, here it goes to Susan's My Legume Love Affair - Eighth Helping and with the hope of winning the copy of Cynthia's brand new book. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Potato patty and Pita bread sandwich

I have been a bit lackadaisical in posting. There were too many things, in my mind and otherwise, which needed attention. Now, I felt, it is high time I posted at least a couple of more posts. The next few weeks will again be busy, but I will try to post at least one or two more. After all, I don't want to miss Sunshinemom's FIC (Food in colour) event being held at Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen this time and the colour being orange. I even know what I want to make for it. Just hope I get time for it.
Now to this sandwich. I made these sandwiches last year on two following days as a midday snack and ate them all on my own and how I enjoyed it. I still remember it clearly. (OK, I also made them for my family but don't rememebr much about it. LOL!). So, on seeing Bay Leaf's Bread Mania I serched though my pictures collection that it has become and found these sandwiches and here they are:

1/2 Pita bread
2 potato patties*
2 slices of tomato
a few arugula leaves, or any other sald leaf of choice - washed and pat dried
a few tbsp coconut-groundnut chutney
salt and black pepper (or chilli pepper) to taste

  • prepare the patties* and other ingredients
  • cut the pita bread into half and loosen both sides by inserting a knife in the middle carefully
  • brush with very little olive oil (or butter) on the both the outer sides and toast on a cast iron pan till they get nice brown spots on each sides
  • arrange the sandwitch and eat with the chutney in the sandwich or separately, like I did
  • Bon Appetit!
*To make potato patties I mashed boiled potatoes with sesame seeds, finely chopped onions, grated ginger and spices like roasted cumin powder, ground coriander seeds, black salt, salt and chilli powder. I made good sized round balls, flattened them down to make round shaped patties and roasted them in a frypan in little oil till both the sides were browned.

I would ideally like to give a more precise recipe, but this is all I can do right now and post my recipe finally.
So, here it comes, Sindhura, my Pita sandwich just for you! :)
Check the event details here at her blog Bayleaf.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ginger and Cranberry Cookies

It was in the middle of the month January and it was freezing cold outside. Late in the evening before I sat down in front of the TV I felt like getting some cookies. I went to the kitchen, opened the cookie tin in the cupboard and was shocked to see just two cookies left. my thoughts were "Two cookies only! Goodness! I need to bake cookieeeeees!..." .
I used the first opportunity I got two days later and baked what I had in mind already. I had bought a box of candied ginger slices at the Asian shop and wanted to use it in cookies. Since I had liked my last batch of almond oats cookies so much and felt that ginger would go well with it I tried it. I used half the dough with currents like the last time for sunny boy and for us - me and hubby, added candied ginger to make ginger oats cookies.
They turned out fantastic! Hubby loved them, as I expected. But, somehow I felt the cookies weren't perfect, there was still something missing. Today I baked another round. While going through the box of nuts and dried fruits in the fridge I saw this packet of leftover dried cranberries. I took a small piece and put it in my mouth and immediately felt that these would go well with the candied ginger. And now these cookies are indeed perfect!
Hubby who went, on smelling the cookies in the kitchen, tried them and also said that these are even better than the last batch. I've packing half of these for my FIL, who likes ginger in food.

Ginger and Cranberry cookies

Recipe by PG of My Kitchen Stories

based on the previous recipe of Almonds, Currents and Oats Cookies

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes
Temperaure: 150°C (convection: 120°C)
Makes: 20-25 pieces (if rolled thin, around 30 pieces)

150 g whole rolled oats (or oat flour)- I used 130 g whole rolled oats and 50 g rice flakes
100 g slivered almonds, divided (80g almonds ground + 20 g crushed lightly)
5 tbsp butter or margarine
5 tbsp level sugar
50g raw marzipan ( marzipan rohmasse, with no additional sugar)
100 g candied ginger slices, chopped finely
30 g dried cranberries*, chopped finely

  • grease 1 baking sheet, lay them on a baking tray and set aside
  • grind the flakes in a coffee mill or dry grinder
  • combine all ingredients together except for currrents with your hands or using a mixer
  • add currents and combine with your hands to make one large ball
  • either
    • make small balls out of it and press down with the palms to flatten
    • or, roll out with a rolling pin and cut out cookies using cookie cutters
  • place on the greased baking sheet
  • bake for 25 minutes
  • let them cool down before picking up the cookies, to avoid crumbling
*dried currents can also be used instead of cranberries or just leave it out completely.

candied ginger slices

Other Ginger cookies:
Ginger Snap Cookies at Jude's Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté
Ginger shortbread at Meeta's What's For Lunch Honey

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Turnip 'subzi' and the recipe for Blogger Aid Cookbook

I have been lagging badly in posting my recipes in the last few weeks. But, I know you all know such situations. Now, I have a long list of things to post about and so little time. Let's see when I manage it all. In a couple of weeks sunnyboy's birthday is coming and I'll again get busy planning about how and what to oraganise for the party which I want to do at home, at least this year, he's going to be four now. How time flies.
So, coming to the vegetable of the day: Turnips! Yes, I dared to buy them. *grin* Turnips are called weiße Rüben or also Speiserüben here. In all these years of living in Germany I never ever thought of buying them. I never liked turnips in India. When my mom did cook them (she didn't do it so often 'cause none of us, my dad included, liked it! LOL!) I did eat it, but it was always a "horrible" experience. :D But, they had a much stronger flavour in India.
Turnip is a very seasonal thing here and actually you don't come aross them in the supermarkets here, but either in small grocery shops or the farmers market. I had seen them a number of times before but knew for sure that I didn't want to try it. I had felt the urge to try making an Indian pickle with them when I saw them this year, though, but the lack of sun has never given me enough confidence to try it until now. But, it is on my list of things to do. Maybe next summers. I just have to remember it in time.

Turnip greens
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 20 kcal 80 kJ
Carbohydrates 4.4 g
- Dietary fibre 3.5 g
Fat 0.2 g
Protein 1.1 g
Vitamin A equiv. 381 μg 42%
Folate (Vit. B9) 118 μg 30%
Vitamin C 27 mg 45%
Vitamin K 368 μg 350%
Calcium 137 mg 14%
cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
But, after having tried this very new turnip variety recently I had never seen before, I got to realise that I must try turnips atleast once too and see how they really taste. And my hunch was right: they did taste quite different than the ones I had eaten before. Infact, these tasted wonderful! I almost feel stupid for not having tried them before.
Here is some information from Wikipedia (source) on the nutritional value of turnips:

Turnip subzi

Recipe by PG of My Kitchen Stories

1 bunch turnip greens, thick stems removed, washed throughly and chopped finely
1 large turnip (DE: weiße Rüben), peeled and cubed
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated (I used 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder, as I didn't have any)
1 heaped tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1-1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1/8 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil for frying
salt to taste

  • heat oil in a pan and splutter ajwain
  • add ginger, turmeric, ground coriander seeds and red chili powder, and stir shortly
  • add turnip cubes, mix everything
  • keep cooking covered on medium heat
  • once the turnips are almost done, add the turnip greens
  • cook covered for a few minutes till the greens turn slightly darker and shrivel (the volume will reduce a lot)
  • serve with hot rotis or rice along with some daal.

For me this was a wonderful replacement for "Muli ki bhujiya" (stirfried radish greens) which I love, they tasted almost the same. I always cried that I don't get radish greens. These are again a seasonal thing and you have to go to the farmer's market for that. But, now I know that I can fullfill my wish to have this comfort food by simply buying the "weiße Rüben" now which are much easier to find than radish greens. Happy, Happy, Happy! That's what I am.

And now one more thing. I have been thinking for long now what to send to the Blogger Aid Cookbook.

After I made this dish (see below) and reliased that it is my very own version of a potato salad which I have learnt to make (and perfected :) ) after experimenting in the last few years, I felt this to be a good choice and here it is, another of our family favorite and one recipe for which I always get appreciation from family and friends on get-togethers. Especially in our barbecue parties this salad is never missing, though with small changes where I leave out the vegetables in it and add some cheese variety instead.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baked Potatoes Wedges with Kräuter-Quark

Sunny boy is in bed sleeping, finally, after my third attempt after he got up and came out of the room everytime, I have hung the last round of clothes on the clothes horse, and now I'm sitting with the laptop on my knees. Hubby, after giving up on TV and going through some of our old CDs has put a CD of Sade in the player and I just can't stop moving my shoulders to the rhythm of it. LOL!
I knew that it was going to be a potato day, or should I say, a potato evening. I had bought a new packet of floury potatoes though I had not finished off my previous batch of (waxy) potatoes. So, I knew before I forget it and have to throw away these organic potatoes, better make something. I was going through this cookbook on potatoes (I always drool at the pictures in this one) this weekend when I came across this picture of Creole potatoes wedges and I realised that I haven't made baked potatoes since quite a while now.
So, when the time came to start preparing food in the evening sunny boy came asking to help me. I was happy as he had not been showing much interest lately with helping me prepare food like before. Cutting potatoes is one of his hobbys. :) But, unfortunately he has had two bad experiences with cutting up his finger with the potato peeler, so he didn't want to do that part. I think, at three I don't really expect him to be an expert, but he does a wonderful job at cutting the potatoes with a (comparatively-) sharp table knife. The only problem is to prevent him from keep cutting the vegetable into smaller and smaller pieces. LOL!

I wanted to make a simple dish with only very few spices but still, it had to be flavourful. To achieve this I just choose to add rosemary and used olive oil and the problem was solved. Simple, don't you agree?
I also chose to make a "Kräuter-Quark" with it. Typically Kräuter-quark is eaten with "Pellkartoffeln" (potatoes boiled with skin) as a complete main course dish here. But I feel it goes well with all types of potato dishes. It is simple to make, a quick fix and healthy at that.

Here are a few points I wished to put down here ( simple, dry facts) on potatoes:
Potatoes are high in carbohydrates which is mainly present in the form of starch. These tubers are the storage organs of the plants which are produced in response to decreasing day lengths. Starch is a typical form of carbohydrate energy reserves of plants and is composed of two main molecules: amylose and amylopectin. Both in turn are composed of one monomer sugar molecule - glucose. Amylose is a straight chain of glucose molecules while amylopectin branched. Depending on the ratio of amylose and amylopectin the potatoes are classified as floury or waxy or somewhere in between like I come across some varieties which are classified as "vorwiegend" ( predominantly) waxy here. Higher the amylopectin(branched) the more waxy the potato is, i.e., it does not fall apart while cooking and keeps its shape unlike the floury variety.
Personally I like floury potatoes a lot because of their floury texture once cooked through. Since they aren't as easily available as the waxy ones everywhere I'm always happy when I have them.
So, here comes the recipe:

Baked potatoes with Kräuter-Quark

Recipe by PG of My Kitchen Stories


Baked Potatoes:
10-12 small to medium potatoes*, washed, scrubbed or peeled and cut into 4-6 long wedges
1 large organic red bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into large pieces
200 g small crimini mushrooms (brown), cleaned, and if required, halved or quartered
2 medium red onion, peeled and cut into thick wedges
4-5 small / thin garlic cloves, sliced into thick long pieces
5-6 sprigs rosemary, coarsely broken into large pieces
salt and pepper (optionally chilli pepper) to taste
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used it mixed with cold pressed rapeseed oil this time)

250 g Quark
50 g yoghurt (optional)
50 g heavy cream
a few tbsp parsely, chopped (or herbs of choice; I used frozen parsely)
salt and pepper (optionally chilli pepper) to taste

  • In a good sized baking dish mix all the ingredients for the baked potatoes together and bake in a preheatedoven at 210°C (190°C convection) till done
  • for the first 30 to 40 minutes of baking cover with a baking sheet
  • mix everything once in between
  • bake further uncovered for another 15 to 20 minutes or until done
  • for the Kräuter-Quark mix all the ingredients together with a small whisk untill a smooth and creamy texture appears and store in the fridge until served
  • serve the potatoes withthe quark and maybe a warm bread to accompany it
*I had used in addition to the waxy potatoes a couple of the floury potatoes I mentioned in the beginning of this postand found that both the varieties tasted good in this combination.

By the time the potatoes were done, the kitchen was filled with the wonderful aroma of baked potatoes. We were hungry but nowhere near like my son this time. I have honestly never seen my son eat so much in one go. He ate three servings and didn't leave anything behind (except for onion and bell peppers, of course!). And I know this wouldn't have happened if he hadn't liked it. It really was delicious. I was more than satisfied with the results. All three of us enjoyed the meal.
I'm two days too late in posting this as I didn't get the time to post the pictures. Now that I'm done, I'm sending this to Meeta's Monthly Mingle at WFLH which is being guest hosted by Michelle at her What's Cooking Blog. I think this qualifies well for a Healthy Family Dinner.
Just in time!