Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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Indian-style Potato and Pea Curry (Aloo Mattar)

So after making Yellow Dal, we had coconut milk leftover and we wanted to try making Garlic Naan. So what did I do? I went online searched through some menus of Indian restaurants as well as recipe site to get inspiration of the next Indian dish. Here is what I came up with:

Ingredients (Makes 3-4 servings):
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (we used Safflower oil)
1 small yellow onion from our garden (or ½ store-bought onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon salt
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
¾ cup frozen peas
½ can coconut milk, depending desired consistency

Preparation:
1. Place potatoes into a large pot that contains salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.
2. If serving with rice, start the preparation of the rice. Also, if you are planning on making home-made Naan make sure to start proofing the yeast.
3. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, curry powder, garam masala, and salt; cook for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, peas, and potatoes. Pour in the coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
4. Serve with Basmati rice and home-made Naan. Enjoy =)

Flatbread served with Aloo Mattar

Flatbread served with Aloo Mattar

Note: Regular home-made Naan recipe https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/supereasy-homemade-naan-indian-flatbread/ and home-made Garlic Naan recipehttps://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/supereasy-naan-bread-with-garlic/.

The dish stores well in airtight container and heats well in microwave. Be aware though, that it may even be more delicious the second day.

Inspired from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spicy-Vegan-Potato-Curry/Detail.aspx?evt19=1&referringHubId=1875


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Incredibly-Easy Tomato Salsa

I have posted recipes for Tomatillo Salsa https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/tomatillo-salsa/ and Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/garden-fresh-tomato-and-tomatillo-salsa/. For those who either shy away from using tomatillos or do not have tomatillos on hand, of course you can also make salsa just using tomatoes. Remember the quality and taste of your taste will be directly proportional to the quality of the ingredients.

A couple of weeks ago, I used up the last tomatoes from our garden to make salsa with (except the cherry tomatoes that I roasted, I will post about those soon). These heirloom tomatoes were grown all organic and offered a variety of different tastes. Store-bought tomatoes will work, but they may not taste as amazing as home-grown tomatoes or tomatoes from a local farmer. Also, ideally use tomatoes that were bought in season, you can taste the difference.

Ingredients (Makes approximately 5 cups):
3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a variety of garden-grown heirloom tomatoes)
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 frozen cubes of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
½ jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, cumin, and chili powder, optional

Preparation (5 minutes):
1. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper in a blender. Add the lemon juice and blend until desired consistency.
2. Add spices (For this batch, I only added salt and pepper).
3. Enjoy fresh with chips.
4. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Alternatively, the salsa can also be frozen or canned for longer storage. I will post a more detailed blog about storage under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

 

Note: I seeded the tomatoes before using them. Not because of the taste or consistency but in order to preserve the seeds. We want to be able to plant these heirloom tomatoes again next year. I will post how to save tomato seeds some time soon under “Useful Ideas”, see below.

Note: You can find two options for storing salsa here: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/how-to-preserve-summer-time-salsa-for-winter/


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Black Bean Soup that Boasts with Flavor

I have noticed lately that barely any of the canned soups that I used to like can measure up with the taste of making home-made soups. The inspiration for this soup recipe came from a slow cooker cook book we got for Christmas last year.

The soup is easy to make and is filled not only with lots of flavor but also lots of healthy ingredients.

Ingredients (2-3 servings):
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and chopped
½ small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (or pressed with garlic press)
1 (14-ounce) can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic diced tomatoes, left undrained
2 cups vegetable stock (2 cups water and 1 veggie bouillon cube), less if thicker consistency desired
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation:
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a 3.5-quart Crock pot, add the beans, tomatoes, and spices. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. Remove and discard the bay leaf and taste to adjust the seasonings. To thicken, purée at least 2 cups or up to one half of the soup solids with an immersion blender right in the cooker, or ladle into a regular blender or food processor and return to the cooker. (Puréeing some of the solids gives the soup added flavor and a creamier texture.)
4. Serve hot. Optional: Sprinkle with shredded cheese (suggestion: Mexican cheese mix).

Hearty meal:
* Beans are a great meat alternative. They are high in proteins, while being low in fat and high in fiber.

Note: If you prefer a thicker soup, you may try to use less vegetable broth.
Reheats well the next day.

Adapted from: Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Roberson


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Irresistable Homemade Pizza Sauce

TOMATOES…they are all ripening ALL at once. So I started looking for recipes that use tomatoes. We had been using them as toppings for pizza a lot…but then I thought what about making pizza sauce from scratch and using garden tomatoes on the pizza.

I searched the web and eventually came up with the recipe below. I do not like tomato paste. It tends to be bitter and to balance it out, sugar is often used. So our recipe does not contain tomato paste, which reduced the addition of processed ingredients and eliminated the need for sugar.

Ingredients (Suitable for 1-2 14 to 16-inch pizzas):
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (I used basil olive oil, available at Trader Joe’s in a 3-pack with lemon and hot pepper olive oil)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
8-10 medium tomatoes (I meant to weigh them, but I forgot. Once blended, it made approximately 24-32 ounces. See note below)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon flour (optional)
a bit of finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (add a bit at a time and add last to make sure it is not too spicy for your taste, since Pecorino Romano cheese will add some flavoring as well)

Preparation:
1. Heat the olive oil in sauce pan. Add garlic and saute for approximately 10-12 seconds. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes in a blender or food processor.

2. Add blended tomatoes to sauce pan and add spices. Heat to simmering and continue simmering uncovered for approximately 20 minutes or until desired consistency. Stir occasionally. I added a bit of flour (with a whisk to avoid clumping) to make sure that the sauce gets desired consistency. I added a bit of finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Stir until cheese is fully melted.

3. Use immediately on home-made pizza dough https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/homemade-pizza-dough/ and make home-made pizza https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/homemade-pizza/. Alternatively, the sauce can be frozen, see https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/freezing-homemade-pizza-sauce/.

Note:
We used a variety of heirloom tomatoes. We seeded some of them as we wanted to keep the seeds. I will post how to save tomato seeds soon.

 

Inspiration came from the world-wide web, just to list a few recipes I looked at before I started this kitchen experiment. Thanks for the delicious inspiration =)

Inspiration for spices and parmesan: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/exquisite-pizza-sauce/ ; http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/basic-pizza-sauce-recipe.html http://www.ohsweetbasil.com/2013/04/pizza-sauce.html 

Inspiration for using the blender and storage: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/02/5-minute-pizza-sauce.html

Inspiration for using fresh tomatoes: http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/basic-tomato-pizza-sauce-recipe/


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Garden-Fresh Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo recipes continued. I searched online for a simple salsa recipe to modify and add tomatillos to. This is what I came up with:

Ingredients (Makes approximately 5 cups):
3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a variety of garden-grown heirloom tomatoes)
1 cup (8 ounces) tomatillos, husked, washed, and chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 frozen cubes of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
½ jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt, to taste

Preparation:
1. Place tomatoes, onion, tomatillos, and jalapeno pepper in a blender. Add the lemon juice and blend until desired consistency.
2. Add spices (cumin, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt).
3. Enjoy fresh with chips.
4. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Alternatively, the salsa can also be frozen or canned for longer storage. I will post a more detailed blog about storage under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

 

Note: I seeded the tomatoes before using them. Not because of the taste or consistency but in order to preserve the seeds. We want to be able to plant these heirloom tomatoes again next year. I will post how to save tomato seeds some time soon under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

Recipe inspired by http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-best-fresh-tomato-salsa/

Note: You can find two options for storing salsa here: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/how-to-preserve-summer-time-salsa-for-winter/


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Crock Pot Quinoa & Tomatillo Soup

Tomatillo month continues: After thinking about it for a long time, we finally bought a crock pot (3.5 quarts). It is only fitting that our first recipe included quinoa as well as tomatillos. It’s a simple and delicious recipe that is filled with lots of healthy and vegan-friendly protein. Enjoy =)

Ingredients (3-4 servings):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 tomatillos, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces (about 2 cups chopped tomatillo)
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley (alternatively, you can use dried cilantro)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano (optional, we did not have it available)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cans (15-ounce) kidney beans (or black beans), rinsed well
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you could use canned vegetable or chicken broth)
1/3 cup multicolored quinoa (available at Trader Joe’s)

Instructions:
1. Chop onions and tomatillos into pieces about 1/4 inch. Heat olive oil in large frying pan, then saute onions and tomatillos about 5 minutes, then add garlic, dried parsley and cumin and saute 1-2 minutes more.
2. While the vegetables are sauteing, rinse the beans thoroughly.
3. Put tomatillo-onion mixture into 3.5 quart crock pot. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, vegetable broth, and quinoa. Cook on high for 4 hours (This could also be cooked on low for 8 hours.) Slow cookers can vary, so check and adjust the cooking time according to how hot your crock pot gets.)

Note: Recipe was inspired by http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2008/10/crockpot-recipe-for-vegetarian-black.html


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Curried Indian Chickpeas

I am still behind with posting things…but this another attempt to catch up one recipe at a time.

Here is a recipe that is super-yummy and easy to make. It cannot compete with traditional Indian cooking, but it is really really really good.

Ingredients (Makes 3-4 servings)
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup vegetable broth
2 (15 ½ -ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder or tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons prepared chutney
2 (15 ½-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

Preparation:
1. Sautee the onion in olive oil until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. Cover, and allow to cook for at least 5 minutes (I preferred simmering 15-20 minutes to soften chickpeas), stirring occasionally, until heated through.
3. Meanwhile prepare rice to go with meal. We prefer Jasmin rice.
4. Serve over rice or other whole grain if desired.

Curried chickpeas served over Jasmin rice

Curried chickpeas served over Jasmin rice

Healthful benefits:
* Chickpeas are a great source of proteins, so it is a wonderful dish for vegetarians. It is also high in fiber. In addition, the amount of iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K content contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.
* Tomatoes are a great source of vimatins C and E, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.