Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cilantro Chutney

My work with UCSF and our study on how yoga can improve female pelvic health is going amazingly well. But the drive is...exhausting. It's ironic that this journey to teach yoga is hell on my body. I spent most of the weekend a kind of tired, sleepy, deranged zombie mom. Thankfully my husband is extra nurturing at times like these, and even took the kids to the pool so I could catch a nap.

In anticipation of my busy week ahead, I spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking up various Indian dishes so I could make myself a little thali lunch each day. Thali is a meal made up of small portions of various dishes. I made potatoes in yogurt sauce, dal (spiced lentils), garbanzo beans with spinach and a tomato/spinach masala with paneer.

But by far the best thing I made today was this cilantro chutney. It's screamingly good and so so simple. You can use it as a salad dressing, or as a sauce for tacos or, like me, as a side to your Indian dishes.

1 head of cilantro
1/2 of an onion
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 serrano chili
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and toast the seeds for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then combine the seeds, coconut oil and the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Add water to get desired consistency. Place in a jar with a tight fitting lid and store up to 1 week.

Paneer: Homemade Indian Cheese

I have an ongoing obsession with palak paneer, which is spinach with Indian cheese. It's so good, and I have yet to make it myself yet, but I did manage to make paneer today, which was a baby step in the right direction.

I never knew how easy it is to make! And cheap: the whole batch cost me less than $4.00 to make.

FYI: you will need a cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer!


1/2 gallon of whole milk
4 tbsp lemon juice

And that's it! Seriously!

First bring your milk to boil over low, stirring occasionally and being careful not to scorch the milk.

When it begins to boil, add in your lemon juice, stirring constantly but gently, until the milk begins to seperate, like this:

Remove from heat and pour into a cheesecloth bag, over your strainer. You may have to do this in small rounds, instead of dumping the whole thing in at one time.

It will look like a crumbly sort of mound. Cover the top with cheesecloth, leave in the strainer over a pan, and place lots of heavy objects on top to flatten it out. My contraption looked like this:

Let sit for about 1.5 hours, then carefully remove from the cheesecloth. It might not be pretty, I'm working on that!

At this point, you can cube it up and store in the fridge for up to a week. Pan fry it and add to your favorite recipes! I added mine to a savory tomato and spinach masala.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tofu Cutlets, Cheesy Cauliflower Mash and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

It's fall and the supermarket is packed with pumpkins and gourds and Brussels sprouts. I didn't discover Brussels sprouts until I was into adulthood, and I've never had a bad one! But my husband is convinced he doesn't like them, so when I brought home a gorgeous stalk of them, he was not impressed. But it's not the first time I've changed his mind about food, so I charged on ahead anyway.

I set the kids to task on mashing up the cauliflower and shredding and mixing in the cheese, they had a blast doing it. But it gets cold fast, so wait until the end to do it and keep it covered until ready to serve.

First, start the sprouts:

Brussels Sprouts

2 cups whole brussels sprouts, outer leaves peeled and discarded
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 and oil a cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix the sprouts, salt and pepper and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Toss to coat. Cook for 45 minutes, or until browned and fragrant.

Then start the cauliflower:

Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup of butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the cauliflower for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher, mixing in the cheddar, butter and green onion as you go. Keep covered until ready to serve.

Tofu Cutlets

1 package of extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp ranch dressing

Combine in a bowl  2 eggs and ranch dressing. In another bowl combine the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and the Italian seasoning. Heat a few spoonfulls of oil in a large skillet. Coat the tofu with the eggs wash and then coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Cook until browned on both sides.