Sunday, March 23, 2008

Black bean and barley soup

Barley is a high fiber, mineral rich whole grain cereal, also packed with niacin (a B vitamin) Read more about it here. It has a robust, nutty flavor and is excellent in soups. I paired it with blackbeans and made this tomato based soup, which was a big hit in our household.

2 cloves garlic minced
coarsely chopped veggies:
cubed potato
1 cup cooked barley
A handful of baby spinach leaves
some sprigs of fresh thyme
1 can of blackbeans, drained

In a big pot, heat some extra virgin olive oil and saute the onions and garlic till translucent.
Add the chopped veggies and the black beans and 4 cups of water. Simmer for about 15 mins, till the potatoes are soft. Add the cooked barley (needs to be presoaked for about 8 hours and then cooked in 3 times the water for about 20 mins) Season the soup with salt, pepper, red chilli powder. Add some freshly chopped thyme for a lovely flavor and adjust for the desired amount of tartness by adding some vinegar if you like. Toss in a handful of the baby spinach leaves and some chopped cilantro and serve hot, with crackers or garlic bread.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Brown Rice

I recently bought a packet of brown rice in my continued effort to add better foods to our repertoire. Brown rice is a much healthier option than the usual white rice because it is the grain with its bran layer intact, hence making it richer in fiber and other nutrients like viamins B4 and B6, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, manganese and countless other phytonutrients. One cup of cooked brown rice contains about 4g of fiber, which is 4 times the amount in the white rice!

Because it is minimally processed, it takes longer to cook. I used 3 cups of water for 1 cup of the brown rice and cooked it for 45 minutes. I had heard that the taste of the cooked brown rice is a bit of an acquired taste, but both V and I really liked it. It has a kind of nutty taste, and the grains are flavorful and moist. 1 cup of dry brown rice has about 160 calories.

I served it with a medley of spring vegetables- beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, onions, garlic and spinach sauted for about 5 mins to retain flavor, crunch and nutrients and seasoned with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Since the brown rice is fiber dense, it fills you up very well and the 1 cup that I cooked was enough for our dinner (V's and mine) and I even had leftovers to pack in my lunch!

The Devil's Shadow!

This weekend, I caught Arnav wearing his "devil horns" and admiring his shadow on the dining room wall. Needless to say, I ran to get my camera and here are the pics for you to enjoy.....

Masala Macaroni

I made this masala macaroni in 10 mins, basically, the time that it took to boil the pasta. It was quick and easy and yummy too, especially enjoyed by Arnav! I boiled the pasta, drained it well and tossed with a spoonful of olive oil to prevent it from sticking. In a separate pan, heated more extra virgin olive oil and sauted some onions and chopped garlic, added a handful of shredded broccoli, carrots, green and purple cabbage and sauted it for one minute (veggies should still be crunchy) Then in went a dash of salt, a pinch of MDH Tava Fry masala (my new fav!) and a pinch of haldi. One spoon ketchup too went in the pan and then the macaroni and voila, its ready!

Egg Monster

Some ideas for "dressing up" boiled eggs to make them enticing for fussy kiddos! Arnav loves to devour these "Egg Monsters". I have even made "sun" and "moon" versions that go equally fast!

Chole Masala

I think chole are very versatile as a dish. It can be served with rice, roti, plain parantha, poori and ofcourse bhature and also, with bread as a snack the next day!