Monday, July 25, 2011

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

I made this more than a couple of weeks ago and have only now found the time/inclination to put this up. These rolls taste like a warm summer day in an orchard - if that taste could be in a roll.

I saw a recipe for summer rolls in one of my favourite blogs and finally got around to making it.


1 cup of fresh basil
1 cup of fresh mint
1 inch piece of ginger cut into thin juliennes
2 small carrots cut into juliennes
one small head of lettuce
2 oz of thin rice vermicelli ( soaked in hot water according to package instructions)
about 10 sprigs of cilantro/coriander leaves
rice paper wraps (available in any Asian store)

Prepare all the ingredients and put them out in a plate. Warm some water and pour it into a shallow pan where you can dip your rice paper wraps. Dip the wrap, make sure all of it is under water for a few seconds and place on a clean dry surface. Add a few lettuce leaves that have been roughly torn into large chunks. Add a few basil leaves, a few mint leaves, some carrot, a spring of coriander, some ginger. Place all of these in one end of the wrap. Add a little cooked vermicelli. Make a roll by tucking the sides under the vegetables and make a wrap. Veggie belly has lovely pictures illustrating how to do this.

And that's it. I am going to make them all the time. To store , make ahead,put on a plate, cover with a damp towelette, wrap with plastic and cool in fridge.

Serve with your choice of dipping sauces.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

It is tomato season everywhere. In my patio, in the farmers market, in the blog world. Everywhere I look I see tomatoes. So what do you do when you find two pints of cherry tomatoes in the local farmers market for the unbelievable price of a dollar? Having seen this post by the smitten kitchen I had to follow suit.

To answer my earlier question -

Slice them up. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, pepper and basil.

Roast them slowly in a low heat oven. 250 F for two hours is what I did. I might actually stop a little earlier next time.

And bottle them with some olive oil and be prepared to used these little packets of flavour in everything.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baingan Bharta

Eggplant is one my favourite vegetables, which is ironic since I spent most of my childhood hiding the eggplant on my plate under cups. Every cuisine I can think of has one kick ass eggplant dish. Indian cuisine has many delicious recipes using eggplant-
- bagara baingan
- yennai kathrikai
- baigan bhartha
- dahi baingan
to name a few popular indian dishes made from this versatile vegetable.

Today I made baingan bhartha. It is a simple dish which showcases the flavour of this eggplant perfectly.


2 large eggplants
2 small onions (chopped fine)
2 roma size tomato (chopped fine) - I used a about 2/3 of a can of drained diced tomatoes since I was out of fresh tomatoes
4 to 5 small green chillies (chopped fine)
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
5 cloves garlic chopped fine
cumin seeds - 1tsp
coriander powder 1 tbsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

The eggplant is cooked over a flame until the skin is burnt. This gives the flesh of the eggplant a smokey flavour that is just incredible. This dish can also be made by broiling the eggplants in an oven. When I did not have a flame to work with ( in my previous life in an apartment that is how I made my bhartha). But it is not the same.

After burning the skin all over the eggplant will be all mushy. Transfer this to a container or bag and seal it. I used a glass dish that has a tight cover. Leave it alone for 15 minutes or so. The moisture and steam in a closed container helps to loosen the skin of the eggplant. Peel the skin off and cut the eggplant into chunks. Then take a fork and mash the mixture. If some portions feel a little uncooked you could stick it in the microwave for a while.

Today my eggplant was perfectly done and smelt unbelievably good.

In a hot pan add a little oil and add the cumin seeds. As the begin to brown add the turmeric and the chopped onion, garlic and green chillies. Cook this until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes and stir. Cook this mixture for another 4 to 5 minutes on a medium flame so the tomato gets cooked and incorporated with the rest.

Add the eggplant pulp and mix and mash with a flat ladle. Add the coriander powder. Cook this mixture until everything is incorporated and the mixture begins to brown slightly.

The bhartha is done. Top with finely chopped coriander.

I ate my bhartha with plain dal and rice.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Garden Update

I saw my first flower today so I thought I would put up a few pictures as an update. I have so many vegetables and as a result a lot of greens in my garden. So I am very excited about having a few flowers there to liven things up.

First things first, my first sunflower!!!

I also picked a few squash flowers which have been the only colour in my garden so far. (And when I say garden I of course mean my little patio full of pots.)

My tomatoes also seem to be making good progress

I have two tomato plants this year. I am hoping for at least a few harvests.
Also looking forward to some action in my eggplant and pepper plants.(Fingers crossed).

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