Saturday, January 13, 2018

Coop to Plate - Quiche on a stovetop

The farm welcomed some chicks in the summer and the young chicks have become old enough now to give us fresh eggs everyday. Chickens are a pretty self sufficient bunch. The toughest part about having chickens is to keep them from being eaten by predators. Once they are protected and kept warm they are generous with their eggs. The roosters are interesting and pretty protective of their flock. The flock as it gets comfortable follows people around. DD2 is their most favorite person as she is their caretaker supplying them with water and food daily!

We are eating a lot more eggs and also trying to find new and exciting ways to eat them. DD2 loves taking eggs to school and quiche is one of her favorites but to cook quiche is the morning is a time consuming affair so I had to devise a quick and easy way to cook them. If you have about 20 - 25 minutes to spare in the morning that is. Don't laugh I know 25 minutes in the morning is a stretch but food is more important than anything else right? If you can find the time you would be more than satisfied. This quiche can become a quite filling and scrumptious breakfast or a fantastic lunch with some pita pockets or ciabatta bread or to keep it gluten free just by itself.

Normally I spend about 20-30 minutes getting lunch ready for school for the past 15 years, it used be for both DD and DD2 but now with DD in college it is just for DD2. But the good thing is in the process I get my breakfast ready as well. While a lot of people skip breakfast, it is one my important meals. The days I eat a good breakfast I am not looking for filler foods to get me through to lunch.

Saute the onions and bell peppers.
Saute the mushrooms and add in the pepper and salt. Cool completely.
Break the eggs into a whisking bowl and add more pepper if required.
Add in the cooked vegetables and cheese and mix together.
Spray the oil and add in the egg mixture, cook on side, flip and cook on the other side.

I used bell pepper, mushrooms and onions. You can add spinach zucchini or if you have access to drumstick leaves that would be a fantastic addition. If you have some spicy chicken sausage by all means add that as well ;)

Quiche in a Pan
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 5-6 eggs
  2. 6-8 mushrooms chopped fine (I used white button mushrooms)
  3. 1/2 bell pepper chopped fine
  4. 1/2 cup red onion (or shallots) chopped fine
  5. 1 tbsp shredded Parmigiano - Reggiano cheese (any shredded cheese of your liking)
  6. 2-3 tsp of oil
  7. 1/2 tsp red pepper or black pepper
  8. salt to taste
  1. In a small cast iron or wide mouthed pan add oil and when hot add the onions and saute till the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the bell pepper and saute till they start to get some color, followed by the mushrooms along with the salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for a couple of minutes more and turn off the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
  4. Break the eggs into a whisking bowl and add in the cheese, more pepper if needed and the cooked vegetables. Whisk it so they are mixed in nicely. No need to over whisk.
  5. Now heat the small size cast iron pan if you want for individual pieces of quiche or a bigger pan one big size quiche.
  6. Spray the pan and when hot add in the egg mixture. Let it cook one side for about 2 minutes or so, I like it to be browned a little bit. If you prefer it lighter flip when the bottom is cooked.
  7. Flip and cook on the other side for a couple minutes more.

Paired with a glass of banana - peach smoothie a happy breakfast is ready where nobody complains.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bottle Gourd Stir Fry - Sorakkai Poriyal

Wish everyone a Happy New Year! 2017 turned out to be busier than I thought bringing a lot of changes to our lives. Having to deal with the changes brought stress, some unexpected hardships - nothing that cannot be managed but kept me away from this blog. 2018 started off in India on our short visit there. The pleasant warm weather was perfect and coming back to this bitter cold made it that much

The tomatoes, eggplants, okra, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, chilies frozen during the height of summer are all being put to good use now. What is the point of talking about fresh vegetables in the middle of winter you ask? Just a thought of what awaits when spring comes around ;)

I am not a big fan of bottle gourd but there is something special about farm fresh vegetables and this one was no different. A simple stir fry with onions, fresh green chilies and some coconut to finish it off was just what was needed. These simple stir fries preserve the freshness of the vegetables without overcooking them. Cook them just enough so they don't get mushy and still retain the crunch of the vegetable.

Saute the onions and green chilies in seasoned oil and then add the bottle gourd pieces to cook. Once cooked add grated coconut, mix and turn off the heat.

Bottle Gourd Stir Fry - Sorakkai Poriyal
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 1 medium sized bottle gourd
  2. 1/2 red onion chopped
  3. 4-5 green chilies slit
  4. 2-3 tbsp grated fresh or frozen coconut
  5. seasonings - mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves
  6. salt to taste
  7. 1 tsp oil
  1. Peel and remove the white soft insides. Now chop them into small cubes.
  2. Heat oil in a wide mouthed pan, add the cumin seeds followed by the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  3. Add in the onion and green chilies and saute till the onions become translucent.
  4. Now add the bottle gourd pieces and cook for 10-15 minutes till the pieces are cooked. Add salt.
  5. Add the coconut mix and mix and turn off the heat.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Gongura Eggplant Thokku (Chutney)

Have you driven around in the quiet country side and watched cows grazing peacefully on a meadow or on a gently rolling hill and thought to yourself how gentle and peaceful they look? Living in a farm is not all gentleness and peacefulness. The labor is hard and you should be able to get dirty and who knew that cows grazed all through the night?

So couple of weeks ago, our dog starting growling under his breath and his growl slowly started getting louder and louder. And then there was this cow who kept mooing bloody murder. All this at 2:00AM! So we come out to see that a bunch of these cows had found some grass greener on the other side of fence and broke through it. On this clear moon light filled night the cows could not resist the greener looking grass on the other side of the pasture while the grass on their side looked brown and worn out. Who can blame them?

Luckily our puppy dog who is a shepherding dog and DH got most of the cows to get back into the pasture behind the fence. We they got back and sighed and was just about to fall asleep the mooing started again. The cows had come back out. The wonderful moonlight did not help and the cows could see for themselves what they were missing.

This time the dog chased them and they scattered to the farthest side on to our neighbor's farm so the dog riding shotgun and DH on his vehicle took half an hour to herd them back. The next day was spent mending the fence. Just to set your minds at peace, no cows were harmed and the cows are not ours either.

Just another day at the farm!

Anyway now on to the recipe, this thokku or chutney was made over the summer when there were fresh eggplants and gongura leaves. Gongura leaves are new to me in the sense I did not know about till few years ago.

There were not readily available in the grocery stores so I started using them when my neighbor who used to grow them gave it to me and now that I grow it myself. It gives that subtle sourness that works its taste magic in a lot of dishes. Though my favorite is the chutney or thokku more like a pickle.

Gongura leaves can also be added to chicken, bitter gourd and many other vegetables. While I would just cook the chutney with just the leaves a friend told me that she adds eggplants to the chutney and it gives the chutney a different taste. Since I had plenty of eggplants on hand decided to give this a try.

The recipe in pictures,

Saute the eggplants and gongura leaves and add the spice powder. Cool and blend.
Heat oil and add the garlic pieces and add the blended paste and cook till the oil comes on the side.

The pickle stays good even for a month if refrigerated.

Gongura Eggplant Thokku
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  1. 1/2 lb Gongura leaves
  2. 1/2 lb Eggplant washed and chopped into small dice
  3. 1/2 cup red onions or shallots chopped
  4. 10 green chilies chopped
  5. salt to taste
  6. 1/2 cup of sesame oil
  7. seasoning: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves
  8. 4 garlic cloves sliced lengthwise
  9. Powder
  10. 1/2 tbsp of coriander seeds
  11. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  12. a few pepper corns
  13. a pinch of asfoetida
  14. a few mustard seeds

  1. In a saute pan take 2 tsp of oil and when hot add onions,green chilies and saute till they are translucent.
  2. Add in the eggplant and saute till the eggplant is soft and mushy. Add salt.
  3. While the eggplant is cooking dry roast the spices in the to powder section one by one and let them cool, powder the spices in a spice grinder.
  4. Add in the gongura leaves and saute till the leaves look mushy. Add in the powdered spices and saute for couple more minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool and blend to a smooth paste without adding much water.
  5. Now in clean wide mouthed pan add the rest of the oil and when hot add in the seasonings. When the mustard starts to pop add in the blended paste. In low flame cook for about 15 minutes till you see oil pooling on the side.
  6. Cool and store in airtight bottle for a week or refrigerated for a month or more.

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