saag paneer

Saag Paneer

July 31

One of our friends is a complete expert when it comes to Indian food. Since we’ve been here, she’s hosted a couple of feasts at her apartment. It’s mind blowing to me that she can make so many diverse, vegetarian (!) dishes, all by herself. On the surface most of her food seems super simple but as soon as you eat it, you know someone with a knowing hand cooked them. A couple of weeks ago, we decided we would host one of these feasts together. I will be an extra pair of hands (grasping at as much knowledge as humanly possible) but she is definitely in charge of the recipes. Even though our dinner is a couple of weeks away, I got so excited about it, that I had her bring me to a specialty Indian grocery store to show me the spices, produce and other treats that I have sometimes come across but have no idea what to do with. I restrained myself and came home with a few new spices and different types of lentils to play with. With no capability to freestyle, the first thing I did was dust off my old copies of Vij’s at Home and Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. I’ve promised myself that I will cook Indian once a week so that I can actually work through the dozens of recipes that I have marked with post-its.

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Shredded Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Shredded Carrot and Chickpea Salad

July 25

My market stall neighbours sell healthy snacks. I always think it is funny standing there as they describe their flourless, sugarless treats and I look down at my bagels, filled with (glorious) gluten, white flour and sugar. I am, however, always surprised when we share a customer, but I guess in the end, you can’t argue with tastiness whether it’s a healthy snack or more of a treat. A whole section of their snacks is various flavours of roasted chickpeas. Until they came around, I totally forgot about these little guys, which are in many ways the perfect savoury snack. I used to love making them and sprinkling them over homemade hummus. They are simple, easy to make, customizable, pretty filling, healthy and crunchy. So, last week, I made a batch of slightly spicy, salty chickpeas and threw them in a salad, which turned a simple bowl of tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber into a light, summer meal.

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apricot jam sandwich cookies

Apricot Jam Sandwich Cookies

July 18

This past week at the farmer’s market I bought a five pound box of organic apricots for five dollars. What was I going to do with five pounds of apricots? Good question. All I knew was that I couldn’t pass up such a good deal. Also, there was a catch. The apricots were good for baking but not so great fresh. They were very, very soft (which I knew when I bought them) and this made my options even more limited (because I could definitely easily eat at least one or two pounds of them by the handful). The first pound and a half of apricots were a no-brainer. I made this healthy breakfast crisp, which is perfect to have hanging out in the fridge. I figured I could also freeze some for smoothies. But, I was left with figuring out what to do with the rest. When I think of apricots, I think of apricot rosemary jam right away. In fact, one of the first recipes I posted on this blog was an apricot rosemary crisp. I had apricot rosemary jam for the first time in Scotland a few years ago. The flavour combination was amazing. But, I didn’t want to make jam on it’s own. It’s hard for us to get through a whole thing of jam because we don’t really eat much bread. In looking up jam recipes online I finally came across a winner. My New Roots had sandwich cookies on her website, so I decided that apricot jam sandwich cookies was a pretty good use for the rest of my apricots.

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raspberry cardamom frozen yogurt

Raspberry Cardamom Frozen Yogurt Recipe

July 13

When I think of certain foods, I marvel at human ingenuity to be able to transform the raw products into some of our most beloved foods. Chocolate is a great example. How did people look at a pod on a tree and decide to ferment, dry, roast, and liquify it into chocolate? How did people think that fermenting cabbage in a clay pot and burying it underground for months would be delicious? But alas, Kimchi proves us wrong. On the other hand, ice cream and it’s whole family, which includes frozen yogurt and sorbet, I understand. As I sit in my apartment, baking in the stifling heat, I understand why we figured out a way to freeze dairy, churning it until it is silky smooth and flavouring it with a countless number of delicious, fresh, vibrant flavors to enjoy during these hot summer months. I have been waiting for this type of weather for a long time now to try out this raspberry cardamom frozen yogurt.

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