Monday, September 24, 2012

Warm roasted vegetables salad

Of late we have had some beautiful fall weather here in New York. And I thought it would be perfect to make a warm salad after all the citrus salads that we ate over the summer.
Sweet corn, the remnant of summer and my favorite vegetables - mushrooms and potatoes roasted with a basil dressing over a bed of baby greens was a wonderful accompaniment to a simple pasta dinner. The sweetness of the corn pairs very well with the earthiness of the mushrooms and the waxy yukon gold baby potatoes. And the tangy basil and garlic dressing brings the salad together.

Warm roasted vegetable salad

½ lb cremini mushrooms, cut into quarters
½ lb baby Yukon gold potatoes, boiled with skin
1 corn on the cob
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 – ¼  teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 handfuls of baby romaine leaves

¼ cup basil leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Toss the quartered mushrooms with olive oil, salt to taste and a few grinds of black pepper. Place them in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes in the middle rack of the oven. Remove and place in a bowl.
3. Remove the husk from the corn and roast over an open flame till the kernels just about start to pop. Once done, stand the cob in a deep wide bowl and shave down the kernels with a paring knife. Transfer the kernels to the bowl with the roasted mushrooms.
4. Cut the boiled potatoes into quarters and toss with olive oil, salt and chili flakes. Lay them out in a single layer on another baking sheet and roast in the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes at 400°F.
5. In the meantime, blend all the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the roasted vegetables and toss well.
6. Before serving, lay a small handful of baby romaine leaves on the plate and place the dressed vegetables over them.

Serves 3

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cauliflower with chickpea flour (zunka)

Zunka is a spicy dish from the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a combination of onions and chickpea flour and lots of spices. I have kept the basic premise of Zunka but added cauliflower to make it a more substantial dish as well as to give the cauliflower some oomph.

The spicy chickpea mixture coats the cauliflower and absorbs the moisture from the cauliflower to form a nice brown crust. It is important to use a large skillet to make this dish, since we want the cauliflower to develop a crust as it cooks, instead of being steamed. Also, don't skimp on the oil as chickpea flour needs that oil to help coat the cauliflower. This dish is a great accompaniment for a simple lentil or yogurt curry and some steamed rice.

Cauliflower Zunka

1 lb cauliflower, chopped into tiny florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
1 cup chopped red onion
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 teaspoon mild chili powder (kashmiri chili powder)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Heat a 12 inch heavy bottomed non-stick skillet with canola oil. Add the mustard seeds and the asafetida. Let it pop and then add the red onion and cook over medium heat till the onions develop a nice golden brown color about 3 minutes.
2. Add the chopped cauliflower florets, toss well and cook for another 3 minutes.
3. In the meantime, mix the chickpea flour with the chili powder and turmeric and salt and set aside.
4. After the cauliflower has mixed well with the onions, add the chickpea flour mixture and coat the cauliflower with it.
5. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 18 minutes stirring occasionally till the cauliflower is completely cooked.
6. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 3 - 4