Archive for the ‘Vegan’ Category

Is Broccoli Bad for Your Health and a Rant About Internet Research

November 17, 2015

As a writer who lives on St. Croix, I must use the Internet for the background research on the stories I write. On the negative side, much of what is published on the Internet is simply unsubstantiated personal opinions. Fortunately, I am living and working more than 300 years in the past and people have taken the trouble to electronically archive original documents and books on line.

When I find a page about pirate activity without a source for the information, I usually ignore it unless I can find a 300 year old source book with eyewitness accounts that substantiates the information. Where I find most of the worst information is when I am searching for new recipes or trying to find the nutritional value of what I eat.

 

Broccoli snack

Broccoli snack

For instance, another of my very low calorie snacks is steamed broccoli which can be done in a steamer or even a colander above a boiling pot of water. The water should not contact the broccoli, only the steam.

double boiler

double boiler

While seeking the nutritional data, I stumbled upon the paragraph I quote below.pixel period
You probably didn’t see what was so great about broccoli as a child, but the truth is that this vegetable is one of nature’s superfoods. From its stalk to its flowering head, broccoli is packed with nutrients and vitamins needed for your overall health and wellbeing. This vegetable has been around for centuries, and it has always been used and viewed as the perfect go-to food.”

pixel period
There are many superlatives in that paragraph even though it doesn’t give any really factual knowledge. For instance; Who has always used and viewed broccoli as the perfect go-to food? What is a go-to food? And how long is always? I like to give credit to the original author no matter how bad the work to confirm this was not a plagiarized post. I used two search engines (here and here) to check on the source of the sentence highlighted in bold. I found eight posted sources word for word on various health and fitness blogs all with a different authors so I have no idea who the original author was.pixel period
Interestingly enough, nobody bothered to leave a comment at any of the sites I visited so I assume that nobody really thought about what they were reading. I guess we will now have another generation of mindless mothers who will be feeding their kids broccoli because it is the go-to food full of the nutriments and vitamins needed for overall health and well being. Their kids would have been better off if Mom spent the same amount of time that she wasted surfing the Internet on taking her kids for a walk in the great outdoors or learning Arduino programming to teach to her kids.pixel period
On the other hand, Broccoli is bad for you, like, really toxic bad was written by Tim Crowe is an Associate Professor in Nutrition at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia and an accredited dietitian. He started off with a clear warning that “An alternative title I had for this blog post was: “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet to do with nutrition”, but I wager this one was more effective in getting your attention.” He than published an over the top rant about the evils of broccoli before telling people that this was pseudo science, exaggerations and corruptions of scientific studies.

Professor Crowe received 158 comments many of them angry and negative because people missed or ignored the subtle warning not to believe everything you read on the net. Commenters feared that careless or unscrupulous readers might quote out of context and spread false informational about broccoli.pixel period
I decided to check and see if there was any other reuse of his article. Naturally I took one of his more outrageous sentences and searched, here and here to find other sites that contain the phrase, “And remember those thiocyanates I mentioned earlier? Well those too can cause bladder cancer in rats. We have graphic warning signs about cancer on cigarette packets, so why do health authorities continue to sit on their hands and take no action against broccoli?”pixel period
On the positive side, I found his complete article was reposted in full at FitnessReloaded.com by editor Maria Brilaki, a Stanford Engineering grad with an MBA. She helps over 100,000 monthly readers make better, healthier choices. She has a personal trainer certification and spends over 15 hours researching each article people read on her site. It’s all because she doesn’t want to fall for fads or hype anymore so searches for the truth like Tim Crowe.pixel period
Unfortunately, we are discussing Internet publishing so there is always an offsetting negative and the prize for that is Ben J. Johnson, Staff Writer for Natural Newd, a site that publishes pseudo science, deceptive science and science fiction. Of course young Ben only published the negative and avoided the part about how to tell real science from junk science as that would allow evaluation of everything published at his site.pixel period
As near as I can tell he even drops so low as to violate the terms of a free Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. He does lead with a link to the original article but lists his title as Staff Writer and notes at the end that the source is Broccoli is bad for you, like, really toxic bad by Tim Crowe.

When reposting. you must give appropriate credit to the original author of the material and indicate if changes were made. Well guess Ben is one of those people who never follows the rules.pixel period
I like broccoli, it is low in calories and I am not dead yet. I am also down to 202. Guess I’ll just keep snacking on Rabbit food and eat portion controlled meals. I would drop weight much faster if I quit drinking, I am just not ready yet.

 

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Everything from Soup to Nuts – Spicy Foods in the Old World and Asia

June 22, 2012

Italian Pumpkin Soup

When I used to visit Aunt Adel, she used to prepare a six course Italian meal described by her as “Everything from Soup to Nuts.” Now any one of the courses could have been a meal unto itself but if you were really Italian, which I was not, you learned to pace yourself, which I did not. 

I never much thought about the purpose of each course and why some foods were alleged to go together until I first started thinking about the Inflammation Factor and healthy anti-inflammatory spices. Now as I mentioned before on the post on pumpkin soup, the addition of a chicken breast and some carrots makes this a hearty meal and since pumpkin is still on sale, I decided to check it out and find out how healthy it was.

I went to the Nutritionaldata site to check for the calories, protein, carbohydrates and Inflammation Factor for each ingredient including a chicken breast and carrots. I added up the totals for everything in the pot and was amazed at how healthy this soup really is and how high the anti -inflammatory qualities are. The results have been divided in two to reflect that the pot holds enough food for two people or two meals.

Calories 319
Protein 46
Carbohydrates 30
Inflammation Factor 709

Now this is a very impressive balanced low calorie anti-inflammatory meal, just the type I wanted to experiment with on my detox. Since I never do anything half way, I added fresh grated ginger, hot pepper and celery and more than doubled the anti-inflammatory properties without altering the other values by much.

I begin to see the concept of “Soup to Nuts” when I checked the anti-inflammatory properties of Almonds which Aunt Adel traditionally served at the end of the meal and found out they also had a positive influence. The concept would appear to be that if the meal started with and ended with foods high in anti-inflammatory properties, you could indulge in whatever you liked in the middle courses.

Pinto bean Curry

This new knowledge got me to thinking about other old world foods so I checked on some Indian Recipes while searching for a vegan recipe. The pinto bean recipe was also an original Indian recipe and unmodified by me as I don’t know enough about Indian Foods to alter the spice blends, but “I know what I like.” Once again I was utterly amazed at how high the anti-inflammatory properties are.

Calories 586
Protein 19
Carbohydrates 82
Inflammation Factor 1141

I guess in the old days, the people of the world did not have the luxury of picking and choosing what they were going to eat and just ate whatever was available to survive. To compensate for what might be the ill effects of refined flour and white rice, they just added spices and balance to the meals and got on with their lives. In many of these cultures, people live longer than Americans despite drinking too much wine and eating refined grains and starches so, I guess spices could be important.

In my mind, the jury on anti-inflammatory foods is still out but I intend to monitor what I naturally eat for the next year and make my decision after I go through a winter where my level of aches and pains traditionally increases.

Even Better Bok Choy

April 24, 2012

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
Until your good is better
and your better is best.

Cooked Bok Choy

With all the Bok Choy in my garden, I had to keep searching for a low sodium way to prepare it or else keep giving it away. I found this recipe over at allrecipes.com and there are a few differences other than it calls for no salt at all. With a cooking time of 15 minutes, it is a lot longer than any of the other stir fry recipes I had seen. It also includes capers, vinegar and lemon juice to essentially give this bland vegetable some more flavor beyond the ginger and garlic. Well of course I wasn’t going to buy red wine vinegar just to test the recipe and with a lime tree outside my kitchen door, I thought it senseless to buy a lemon when I use lime for every recipe that calls for lemon and like the taste. So with these very minor changes, the Bok Choi turned out excellent and I will be eating more of it and testing other low sodium recipes with a little longer cooking time.

Ingredients:

6 big leaves bok choy
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 T capers
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced fresh ginger root
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 dash fresh lime juice, or to taste

Method:

1. Remove the leaves from the stems of the bok choy. Cut the stems into bite-sized chunks and shred the leaves.

2. Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and add the stems to the pan

3. Cook the bok choy stems in the oil until slightly tender, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the water and chopped leaves and cook until the water is gone or about 10 more minutes.

5. Stir in the capers, garlic, and ginger and cook 1 minute more.

6. Sprinkle the vinegar and lime juice over the bok choy and remove from heat;

7. Serve immediately.

I used this as a substitute for my mid day salad and am planning a smoked turkey and Bok Choy dinner now that I find I prefer the taste of well cooked bok choy.

Jeera Aloo (Cumin Potatoes) – Coffeepot Style

February 19, 2012

 

Jeera Aloo (Cumin Potatoes)

While I had been lazy in 2011, Monica has been busy Running her Dinner Club, appearing on Television and even publishing new recipes. Of course as I returned to creative cooking and eating, I was delighted to find a powerful vegan dish, Jeera Aloo or cumin potatoes and decided to adapt it to my coffeepot.

I like my food spicy and this boiled potato has eight different spices and I decided to leave out the salt. That was a poor but correctable decision as I added the salt prior to eating at the table and it perked up all the other flavors. But then, I really should have know better than trying to second guess Monica of the Spice Diary. The next time I cook this meal, I will add a piece of scotch bonnet pepper as I like the traditional Caribbean hot pepper flavor and know it will merge very well with the rest of the flavors.

Jeera Aloo (Cumin Potatoes) – Coffeepot Style

 Ingredients:

1 large or two small potatoes – I used red and didn’t bother pealing them.

1/2 tsp salt or according taste

½ tsp paprika powder

1/2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 smallonion, thinly sliced

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

pinch of asafoetida (optional)

1 T dried coriander, chopped

Instructions:

1. Put cubed bite-sized potato and a ½ tsp of salt in the coffeepot and pass water through the unit to cover the potatoes.

2. After unit is done perking, cover the pot with foil and cook until tender. (1-2 hours, test with a fork.)

3. Drain and set cooked potatoes aside.

4. Add salt, paprika, mango powder and garam masala in a plastic bag and mix well.

5. Put cooked potatoes in bag and shake until evenly coated .

Coating the potatoes with the spice blend

 

6. Heat oil in coffeepot.

7. Add cumin, mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves. When they begin to sizzle, add the onions and 2T water. Cook covered until onions glaze over.

8. Stir well and add the potatoes.

9. Mix the potatoes and add the coriander.

10. Warm for about 1 hour.

I skipped meat for the day and had the potatoes and a Tomato and Arugula Salad which is all I needed to feel full and get a good night’s sleep.

Excellent Vegan Microgreen Soup – Is this a first?

September 11, 2011
microgreen soup

Microgreen Soup

When I Googled “microgreen soup” and “cooked microgreens”, I found nothing in the first category and only limited information in the second. I was searching because I stumbled across the microgreen concept and found that I could grow a crop of microgreens hydroponically without mess or much effort all year long. I could keep several tray going and have fresh greens daily.

The problem was, microgreens wouldn’t bring much added value to my life unless I could discover unique uses. I tried broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and arugula and the only salad green that was a keeper in my mind was arugula because it substituted for something I was already eating a lot of. The others were OK, but since I buy reasonably priced and hydroponically grown cucumbers, watercress, Chinese spinach, and arugula, the other microgreens don’t add much to the salad except as a garnish. Also, since I live alone, a lot of what I grew was going bad.

I love soups of all kinds and I have fond memories of the children’s story Stone Soup and have made it with magic stones with my daughter and granddaughters. I let them choose the smoothest magic stone they can find which is then washed prior to cooking.

This recipe is as close as possible to making a fantastic soup out of next to nothing and I used wilted root cellar crops that would eventually go bad. This is actually two recipes as the blended soup is excellent for lunch or a side dish. I just added the potatoes and carrots as I wanted a heartier soup for my dinner.

Excellent Vegan Microgreen Soup

Ingredients

1 T. olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves diced

2 celery stalks diced

1 oz. Rum

3 cups water

6-8 oz. microgreens (mixed broccoli and cauliflower)

1 T. Dried parsley

½ tsp. Thyme

1 tsp. salt

1 large potato cubed

2 carrots coined.

Directions

This recipe can be scaled up and made in either a Crockpot or coffeepot. Since I am cooking for one, I used my coffeepot.

  1. Add oil to pot and put on hot plate of coffeemaker.
  2. Chop onions, dice celery and garlic add to the pot
  3. Add rum
  4. Add three cups of water to the coffeemaker and let it drip into the pot. This will heat up everything quicker.
  5. When onions are soft (about 1 hour), add the microgreens and cook for 1 hour more.
  6. Add spices and salt to the pot. Mix thoroughly.
  7. Place in blender and blend until the consistency of pea soup.

Taste this soup right now! It is fantastic!.

  1. Coin carrots and add to pot.
  2. Dice potatoes into ½ inch cubes and add to pot.
  3. Cook for 4 more hours and serve.

This should have been enough for two meals but I enjoyed it so much, I only had a cup left over which wasn’t enough for a full meal. I really love this soup. It has only natural ingredients with no artificial thickeners, or bullion of unknown origin.

Pumpkin Banana Fritters

January 24, 2011

Parade Day Breakfast

The butternut fritters came out so well I decided to try the classic Pumpkin Fritters and I asked an old friend if their was any way to reduce the sugar. I was told that in the old days, there were always bananas and pumpkin growing in the yard but not always enough money for refined sugar so her mom would combine the banana and punkin and make the fritters without sugar.

I decided to give it a try and made them the same as the butternut squash but used a little extra water to thin it out. Vanise and I decided to try them for brunch and even though she’s not a fan of sweet fritters, she liked these. I saved the extra batter and about a week later used the fritters and scrambled eggs as the basis for a big breakfast brunch prior to going to the Festival Parade to party for the next six hours.

I must admit this was a much heather breakfast then the eggs and spam I had a year earlier. I also will acknowledge that my drinking habits for the day were also much healthier for both me and my community as I have to drive about 15 miles to the parade route and festival village and was far more responsible this year.

The plate above has one scrambled egg, with three dots of hot sauce, local fresh cucumbers, and tomatoes, and the pumpkin banana fritters. Filling, healthy and delicious, a wonderful way to start my day.

Ingredients:

1 pound pumpkin

2 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp fresh ground ginger

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup flour

3/4 cup water

Directions:

1. Mash the boiled pumpkin and bananas to the bowl.

Mashed Pumpkin and Banana

2. Mix it and mash it well. (I used the potato masher and did it all by hand.)

3. Add the vanilla and spices and mix it into the pumpkin and bananas until uniform.

4. Add the egg and blend.

5. Add the flour and mix until uniform. I used a whisk for the rest of the steps.

Mix Everything Except Water

6. Add the water and mix until done. ( I used some water I boiled the pumpkin in.)

7. Fry until Golden Brown.

8. Serve as a side dish Crucian style. We snacked on these for brunch and then I ate the rest for my breakfast shown above.

Pumpkin Banana Fritters

Good, Better Best never let it rest. This is healthier but the next time I try it, I will switch to whole wheat flour and see what happens.

Tostones – Puerto Rican Twice Fried Plantains

January 18, 2011

Tostones and Mojo

I have eaten and enjoyed Tostones for the past 40 years of my life but never made them as they are twice fried plantains and that just sounded like a lot of work. A couple of weeks ago there was an interview in the newspaper with Angie Morales of Villa Morales and she said she is so used to cooking them that she could do a batch in 10 minutes from start to finish. I decide to give it a try because I have been in her kitchen when she was making them for a large group and have seen other local cooks making them for smaller groups.

For those who don’t know, Tostones are a fried disc of plantain which is about two inches across and gets enlarged from the standard size during the preparation. They are extremely crispy and great with salt, ketchup, or the more traditional Mojo which is a garlic sauce you make yourself. The starting fruit is an unripe green Plantain. They are great as an appetizer, or as a side dish or snack. Think “French Fried Potatoes” and you will get a good idea of all the ways that children and adults enjoy Tostones.

Ingredients:
Plantain
Frying Oil
Salt

Directions:
1.Peal Plantain, use a knife to start.
2.Slice ½ to ¾ inch thick. (Thicker slices, cut on a diagonal will give a bigger finished Tostone)
3.Fry 2 minutes per side at 350 Fahrenheit (Hot Oil but not smoking) until just tender to the fork.

Fry Half Inch Chunks

4.Remove and drain on paper towel
5.Press flat with palm or flat object. I used a beer mug. They should end up ¼ inch thick. (Sorry about this Picture) If necessary, use a fork to separate them from the bottom of the mug.

Press Flat with Beer Mug

6.Return them to the pan and fry a couple more minutes on each side until golden brown.

Refry Compressed Discs

7.Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with Mojo.

Mojo (Traditional Garlic Sauce)
Ingredients:
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 heaping Tablespoons Crushed Garlic (6 large cloves)
2 Tablespoons Lime or Lemon Juice
½ tsp salt.
Optional:
1 Scotch bonnet hot pepper
¼ cup more oil.

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until a smooth liquid. and serve. The traditional Mojo has no hot pepper but since I like hot pepper, I added a whole one and some more oil and blended it until it had the texture of mayonnaise. If I were serving this to guests, I would definitely leave out the hot pepper and serve it in the traditional manner.

Vegan Red Beans and Brown Rice

December 16, 2010

Vegan Red Beans and Brown Rice

Red Beans and Brown Rice is a very filling and flavorful Vegan Meal and if you ever read the label on a chili powder package you would blend your own spices as I do. The Spice Classics label uses chili pepper while I use the local hot pepper for flavor and paprika for the red color. I also use oregano and garlic as do they.

Now this is where the label gets interesting, they add more Silicone Dioxide (sand) to the blend then they do either Oregano or Garlic. Somehow, it never crossed my mind that I should add crushed rocks to my food. But then after raising a couple of children, I do accept that eating a little dirt every now and then never killed anyone. I just don’t like the idea of paying for it.

Over the past year I have made meals with similar ingredients but with each rendition, it has become allegedly healthier. The first time I made this meal, I used 4 ounces of Spam and black beans so an incredible 70% of the calories in the pot came from the fat associated with the Spam.

Upon reflection, I recognized that the spice blend was close to chili so that I could easily switch to Turkey Ham which sounds like a big improvement until you read the label. The one I purchased in a 2 pound block was more than 50% fat and looked and tasted like bologna which is fine if that’s the flavor you are looking for. I am using it up 4 ounces at a time and it should be done by next year some time.

This rendition which was excellent and was made vegan on purpose as I am doing my sort of traditional, Pre-holiday purge. I used red beans because I ran out of black beans and used olive oil to saute the onions, garlic and pepper.

Ingredients:

1 T. olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 tsp crushed garlic

thin slice scotch bonnet pepper, red pepper or other hot pepper

14.5 oz can of Red Kidney Beans with liquid

1 (15 0z ) can of crushed or diced tomatoes

1 can vegetable broth (15 oz.)

1/2 cup brown rice

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp paprika

Salt to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Saute the olive oil, onion, garlic and hot pepper until the onion is glazed, this takes about 30 minutes in my unattended coffeepot and a lot less on the stove.

    Saute the olive oil, onion, garlic and hot pepper

  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot or add everything to the Crockpot. If cooking on the stove you will have to watch it simmer for the next 30-45 minutes or until the rice is done.

    Add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot

  3. If cooking in a crockpot on low or the coffeepot, cook for 4 -8 hours. After four hours it is done but left alone it is still fine after 8 hours and everything blends better with slow cooking.
  4. If you want to add Ham or Turkey ham add it when the onions are being sauteed so the flavors bend.

Thoughts on the Versatile Eggplant

December 13, 2010

Fried Eggplant

Years ago, eggplant never made it as one of my top ten vegetables for several reasons. Leftovers can be bitter when eaten after a day or two and it is messy to bread and fry the eggplant. Fortunately, I discovered several pieces of information years ago which pushed it to my top ten list. First, if you peal the eggplant and only cut off the pieces that will immediately go into the milk and egg mixture, you can prevent that ugly gray color and the breaded and fried vegetable is sweet and never develops that bitter flavor.

That first discovery lead to the second which is you can fry a couple eggplants at the same time and use it as a side dish one day and then preparing a tray of Eggplant Parmesan which can be held for future use in either the refrigerator or freezer. This is a perfect meat to prepare ahead, clean up the mess and then bake and serve for company in a day or two if refrigerated, and up to a couple of months, if frozen. So even though preparing breaded fried eggplant is messy, the one clean-up can create sever meals.

I also discovered that my children love the breaded fried eggplant ans they used to sneak up on their mother and steal pieces while she was cooking them for Eggplant Parmesan . I have to admit that she and I were just as bad so instead of yelling at the kids, she would just cook more than needed because it’s not the cooking that’s an aggravation, it’s the clean-up of the mess. When I operated a restaurant in St. Croix, I discovered that West Indians also eat fried and breaded eggplant as an appetizer or side dish, however they customarily cut them in to sticks about the size of fish sticks instead of discs like the Italians.

So for one clean up I actually made thee meals. After frying all the eggplant I set some aside to use as a side dish with lunch and set some aside to be used for Eggplant Parmesan. I also made a tray of Eggplant Parmesan and froze it for when my niece comes at the end of the month. Since the Eggplant Parmesan has too many pictures for a reasonably sized post, I have split the post in half. The first half shows the breaded fried eggplant and the second will show the Eggplant Parmesan.

These meals are a tribute to my Mother-in-law, Anne Cocozza Hill, who died yesterday at 103 years old. She was a great Italian cook who loved to cook for me because I loved to eat her food. She inspired both my wife and I to learn to cook real Italian, Naples Style, and she served everything from brains and sweet breads to liver and pigs feet. And Honest to God, it was all Great. In her kitchen, there was no vegetarian food and other food, it was all just food. Her Sister-in-law, Adel Cocozza was an equally good cook who focused more on seafood from eel to stuffed squid and it was all equally great. These meals are real Italian and they just happens to be vegetarian.

Ingredients:

1 Egg

1 cup Milk

1-2 Eggplant

Flour as needed

Olive Oil as needed

1-2 cloves Garlic

Method:

  1. To start Mix together one egg and one cup of milk. Mix with fork. Add another egg and another cup of milk as needed.

    Peal and slice the eggplant

  2. Peal the eggplant. Slice off pieces as needed and put into the milk/egg mixture.

    Soak slices in the egg and milk mixture.

  3. Cover the pan bottom with olive oil and put in garlic slices. Remove as they char and add fresh. Replenish oil and garlic as needed.
  4. Place flower on plate about ¼ to ½ inch deep. Place the eggplant from the milk/egg mixture on the flower and turn over until coated.Coat the eggplant with flour or bread crumbs
  5. Place in hot oil when garlic starts to sizzle.

    Cooking in Olive Oil

  6. Fry until golden brown.
  7. Serve as a side dish or appetizer or set aside to make Eggplant Parmesan.

When was the last time you had delicious fried eggplant?

Pinto Bean Curry (Rajma Chawal) – A Tribute to Monica

December 12, 2010

Pinto Bean Curry (Rajma Chawal) – A Tribute to Monica

One of the best thing about being an active blogger is interacting with people of similar interests from all over the world. Monica is a fantastic cook and an equally fantastic food portrait artist. She is also one of those very supportive bloggers who is there to compliment, and assist and even prod you to action if you have been dormant too long. (Tes is the other one but her turn will come.)

Before learning of Monica’s Blog I had never either eaten or cooked Indian Food. I had tried it a few times in Philadelphia when I was a student and simply was not impressed with either the quality or flavor. But Monica’s Pictures and enthusiasm for her native cuisine was enough to convince me to give it a try and I am glad I did.

The most important decision I made was not to try any of the recipes until I acquired all of the spices. Only in the most extreme cases of a minor ingredient did I compromise and try a substitute. This forced me to skip many recipes because she is using spices I have never heard of and are not locally available but the results are fantastic when the recipe is followed precisely so I guess my decision was correct.

Monica has now opened a restaurant and if her offerings are as good as her blog and her presentation as pretty as her pictures, she should be a phenomenal success especially if she can find employees who like to smile at her customers.

Pinto Bean Curry (Rajma Chawal) is one of those inexpensive, flavorful vegan meals that probably evolved out of poverty. It is rice and beans with tomatoes and the thing that separates this meal from other cultures is the wide variety of aromatics and spices. This recipe calls for eleven different ones.

Once again it is fast moving and easy to cook. I used my fondue pot but upon reflection I don’t see any reason I couldn’t make it in my coffee pot. I also staged the spice blends because I am still not familiar with all of the different spices and in a fast moving recipe that I am trying for the first time, I don’t want to make a mistake.

Ingredients:

1 can Pinto Beans with liquid (14.5 oz.)

3 T Olive oil

1 tsp. Cumin seeds

1 Onion (rough cut)

2 garlic cloves (rough cut)

1 thumb sized piece of ginger (rough cut)

1 thin slice hot pepper (scotch bonnet) or 1 green chili

1 small bunch cilantro (fresh coriander)

1 can diced tomatoes with liquid

1 tsp salt

½ tsp. garam masala

½ tsp. turmeric powder

½ tsp. Paprika

½ tsp coriander powder

Directions:

Make the aromatic paste

  1. If you use a blender to make the aromatic paste, you will need to add 2 tablespoons oil to the blender then add the rough cut garlic, onion, ginger, hot pepper and cilantro. Otherwise use a food processor.

    The aromatic paste

  2. Heat the rest of the oil (1 T.) in the pan along with the cumin seeds and cook on low temperature until they sizzle then add the past to the pot and stir.

    Spices read to be added

  3. Cook for 3 more minutes and add the rest of the dry spices while stirring until uniform.

    Golden Brown Cooked Spices

  4. After five more minutes add the tomatoes and stir until uniform.
  5. Cook for five more then add pinto beans.

    Cooking the Curry

  6. When it is hot 5-10 minutes it is ready.

This was excellent and even better on the second day. I am really starting to enjoy Indian food especially the vegan recipes because of the bold flavors. I doubt that I will ever become a zealot about vegan or vegetarian foods but the change is fine, if the food is good and filling.