A new wave of vegetarian cooking!

Archive for the category “First Posts”

Black- Eyed Peas/Lobia with Barley Soup

Black- eyed pea or bean, a legume that has high nutritional value (calcium, folate, vitamin A, etc) is known as the soul food of the South. This is a wholesome soup with pressed barley (oshi mugi) which gives it a subtle thickness.


  • 2 cups black-eyed peas – wash and soak in hot water for ~ an hour (or use fresh shelled or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup pressed barley soak with peas
  • 1 can/14 oz/411 gm cut tomatoes or 4 large Roma tomatoes dice
  • 1 large red onion – chop
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – chop
  • 1 leek stalk – cut thin round slices (optional)
  • 7 cups water

Fresh blend:

  • Food process 5 garlic cloves, 1″ ginger piece, 1/2″  fresh turmeric piece, 1/4″ mango ginger  and 1 green chile


  • 3 tbsp Mediterranean oil blend/canola,olive,grape seed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp onion seed
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder/hing
  • ~ 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (Kashmiri) or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional-if tartness required)
  • 1 tbsp dry onion flakes


  • In a pressure cooker temper cumin, onion seeds and hing in hot oil.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add and saute dry onion, cut onion, leek and fresh blend until light golden.
  • Add the rest of the seasoning except salt, garam masala and lemon juice.
  • Saute 3 – 4 min. Then add black-eyed peas, barley and cut tomatoes. Add 7 cups of water.
  • Cook for ~ 15 min. First on high until the steam is released then reduce to medium low.
  • Turn of heat. Wait until the cooker has released all the steam before opening it’s lid.
  • Add salt and garam masala; cook for a few min more. Mash some of the the peas and tomatoes against the side of the cooker.
  • Garnish with cilantro before serving.


  • Enjoy with your favorite munches or scoop of cottage cheese!

Pumpkin Cream Soup

We recently were gifted a Vitamix blender from Costco. After going through some of the Vitamix recipes, my daughter and I decided that since it’s the season of “pumpkin” that we would take the Butternut squash recipe in the book and remake it with pumpkin and put our own twist on the spices. It is fun to take a original recipe and turn it into a beautiful new one, except for things like Jalapeno corn bread – don’t TOUCH that recipe. (we’ll post that closer to Thanksgiving – if you are lucky!!)

The winter evenings are coming closer, and we are experiencing colder mornings and nights – Sopa is an excellent way to warm up and be satisfied. The way we mixed all the ingredients has a South American touch. South Americans use a lot of squash, and corn in their recipes so you guys can think of the Macchu Picchu mountains while surrendering to this soup. Perhaps you will think instead of a spooky Halloween where you are in a dark pumpkin patch and an evil witch is following you. Wherever your taste buds and imagination take you, I am sure you will enjoy this blend of vegetarian soup.


  • 2 cups chopped pumpkin – add 2 tbsp of water and microwave uncovered for 5 minutes
  • 1/4 cup of Pepperjack or Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Organic 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup of V8 Juice Low Sodium
  • 1 Green Chile
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Onions
  • 1/2 cut chopped apple
  • 2 stalks of Green Onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon of blended Italian spices
  • 1 cup of Tortilla Chips
  • Top with Croutons as needed


  • Take all the ingredients above. Throw it in the Vitamix blender/ or other blender.
  • Slowly blend on low speed and ramp up to the highest speed.
  • Let all the ingredients get pureed into soup form.
    • (The Vitamix does take hot ingredients so after you heat the pumpkin in the microwave you can dump straight into the blender)
  • The soup should already be warm because of the cooked pumpkin, if not transfer soup from blender into a microwave friendly dish and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes.
  • Top with Croutons, or sliced apples.


Lime Tart Delight

Festivities have started! Time to polish those sweet making skills……..Bring out the pans, the whipping cream, and let’s have a party! One of my dearest friend put together an awesome potluck Diwali Party. My contribution was a lime tart and it was wonderfully greeted with hungry smiles!



  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs (food process)
  • 5 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (use Florida key limes for their tartness and aroma rather than the Persian ones that are readily available)
  • 1 tbsp grated lime zest


  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest
  • Fresh berries – blackberries and raspberries; lime wedges


  • Food process graham crackers, butter, ground almonds and sugar. Pulsate to mix.
  • Press onto the bottom and sides of a greased 9″ tart pan.
  • Bake at 325* for ~ 15 min or until the edges are lightly browned.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, milk, lime juice and zest. Acidic reaction between the lime juice and condensed milk will cause it to thicken.
  • Pour over crust. Continue to bake for 12 – 14 min.
  • Cool on wire rack until warm enough to handle to transfer to a serving plate. Tart crust should be warm to remove from the tart pan intact.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hrs
  • In large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken
  • Add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form
  • Fold in sour cream and grated lime peel
  • Spread whipped mixture over tart
  • Then garnish with the berries and lime wedges


  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Nutrition facts: 1 slice = 288 calories
  • Try; fold in 2 tbsp coconut powder for the topping spread

Turtle Sculpture out of Fruits

How long do turtles live? Over a 100 yrs. This turtle fruit sculpture is amazing; refrigerated will live for 1 wk.

My name is Mr. Sour Pussycat

sour pussycat

What a cute way to carve oranges into a cat. Try it at home! – Meow

Midnight snack: Grilled Zucchini/Eggplant w/ Pesto

A day in my pregnant daughters life:  

My daughter writes……………..After a magical movie with my family the clock hit 11:24pm. Just in time for a Midnight snack 🙂 Should I go for the chips, cookies, or grill up something healthy. I looked in the fridge saw zucchini/eggplant that were ready to be cooked. Iron Amma has the solution. She grabs the zucchini & eggplant and chops the ends. I am hungry, I am ready to jump on the first thing that’s eatable. Iron Amma cuts long slices- fast, race car fast. Then she pulls out a pan and sprays olive oil evenly on the surface. Finally she grills the long slices of vegetables enough so they brown on the edges. I’m thinking am I just eating grilled veggies!! SURPRISE. Iron Amma has a storage of Kirklands Pesto Sauce from Costco. She plates the grilled zucchini & eggplant and glazes the pesto sauce on top for a delicious midnight snack. I scarf them down, sit in satisfied comfort till I drag my body for a sound night of rest. It’s so nice to have Iron Amma as my MOM! 🙂

Iron Amma wants to know what your favorite juices are?

When it’s HOT 

Juice a LOT


Pasta in Spinach Pesto Sauce (4 Options)

Hope you enjoy this zesty pesto sauce with a different approach! Consider using gluten free, vegan or low calorie option for those who are sensitive to gluten or milk products or just have a desire to cut calories!


  • 17 oz (~ 500 gm) Raditori pasta (grooves for the sauce to stick) – follow cooking instructions on package (cook ~ 8 to 10 min in 1/4 tsp salted water and 1 tsp olive oil)
  • Gluten free:  Use buck wheat soba noodles (buck wheat is not related to wheat or even considered a “grain”, but is a nutritious fruit seed related rhubarb and sorrel)
  • 1 lb (~ 1/2 Kg) spinach – microwave uncovered for 4 min
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chile
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Food process all of the above – (microwaved spinach, pine nuts, 3 garlic cloves, 1 green chile, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar)


  • 1.  Primary:  1 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup cream, 1 cup soft Fontina cheese, 2 tb sour cream, ~ 4 tbsp pasta water – blend with hand mixer
  • 2.  Vegan :  1 block soft tofu, 1 cup tofu cheese (looks like grated white jack and yellow cheddar), ~ 4 tbsp pasta water – crumble tofu (don’t puree)
  • 3.   Low calorie:  1 1/3 cup strained yogurt, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, ~ 4 tbsp pasta water – mix
  • 4. Use soba noodles/pasta or other gluten free pasta


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves – slice
  • 2 tsp red chile flakes
  • 1/2  tsp black pepper
  • ~ 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese (optional) for garnishing – grate


  • Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a dome pan and add garlic slices until translucent golden.
  • Then add red chile flakes, black pepper and pasta seasoning.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add spinach pesto and salt for few min before adding any one of the 3 options given and desired.
  • Increase heat to medium and cook for ~ 4 min.
  • Add the pasta and mix. Turn off heat.
  • Garnish with the desired option cheese – tofu or Parmesan or fresh mozzarella.


  • Adding Parmesan to the hot pasta first will flavor and allow the sauce to stick to the pasta.
  • I like to use Raditori pasta because the sauce fills in the grooves.

Mung Daal and Steel Cut Oats Khichadi (Porridge)

This is a very light dish for any time of the day. Usually made with rice when one is ill as it is easy to digest which boosts one’s energy level. In this recipe I am using steel cut oats.


  • 1 1/2 cups yellow mung daal (lentils) – nicely wash once
  • 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats (or 1 1/2 cup rice or half of each)
  • 1 cup frozen green soy beans (edamame) – coarsely food process
  • 2 to 3 tbsp Greek yogurt (strained yogurt) – optional
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tbsp cilantro finely cut
  • ~ 7 cups water – to cook and add more to make the desired consistency


  • 1 big piece ginger, 1 piece fresh turmeric, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 shallot, 1/4 red bell pepper and 2 Thai or any green chili. Ginger and turmeric is a must for a tasty dish, but the rest is optional. Blend in the food processor.


  • 1 to 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder (can use deggi mirch)
  • 1/2 tsp sambar or rasam powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt or to taste


  • In 7 cups of water cook mung daal and steel cuts oats with butter, turmeric and 1/2 fresh blend for ~ 15 min in the pressure cooker on medium heat.
  • It takes about 30 to 40 min on stove top. Depends on the elevation of your city… sea level takes less time.
  • In a small sauce pan temper black pepper and cumin in oil, reduce heat and then add asafoetida, fenugreek, cayenne, sambar powder and rest of the fresh blend. Saute for few min.
  • Add the food processed edamame, prepared seasoning and salt to the porridge mixture. Add more water for the desired consistency, stir and cook for 10 min. Mix in the yogurt and lemon juice for few minutes more. I prefer a soupy mushy consistency when I’m under the weather.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Can add more butter or ghee on top of each plate if desired.


  • Another way when using pressure cooker is to temper seasoning first, then add mung, steel cut oats and rest of the ingredients except lemon juice, yogurt, cilantro, and edamame (add later when porridge is cooked). Some will temper cumin, asafoetida and red chile powder a second time to boost it’s taste.
  • Enjoy with fresh cut cherry or sweet heirloom tomatoes, pappad (fried lentil tortilla), pickles, raita or with a scoop of cottage cheese.
  • Vegan – substitute butter with oil and avoid adding yogurt.

Pop Poppity Pop: Popcorn more healthy than fruits & veggies :)


Popcorn Extravaganza!

Chemists just discovered that popcorn has more health benefits than fruits and veggies! Extra butter please.

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