Tag Archives: tomato

Chana Masala

23 Jan

chana masala

Despite the lengthy ingredient list, this North Indian chickpea stew comes together quickly and easily. It’s more of a tart curry, rather than some of the creamy ones with lots of warming spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc). Here, acidic tomatoes, tart amchoor powder, and citric lemon juice are strong components, alongside a hefty quantity of spices, of course. But it still manages to feel balanced, especially when served over rice (or quinoa, as I served it). I added cauliflower florets to my version (I think that actually makes this gobi chana masala), which I think are great alongside the creamy chickpeas. A sprinkle of cilantro at the end proved surprisingly crucial in rounding out the flavors (I wouldn’t omit it), and a little yogurt on top helps to quench the heat of hot peppers and ground cayenne pepper. I also topped mine with pickled red onions and thought their crispness was a great complementary texture. This curry, by the way, only improves with a couple of days in the refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to make this large batch even if you’re only cooking for one or two.

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Mediterranean Fish Stew

28 Dec

mediterranean fish stew

I’m getting settled in here in Montevideo, and although a lot of things are very similar to Buenos Aires, there are also a lot of noticeable differences. For one, food on the whole is surprisingly expensive – about two to three times as much as I’d encountered in my neighborhood in Buenos Aires. So I’m cooking even more in order to save money. The river here is a lot cleaner, and we’re just at where it meets the ocean, so there’s a lot more seafood available here, and that’s one thing that’s actually cheaper. So I put together this basic fisherman’s stew, using tilapia that was on special (though any firm white fish should do). I’d never cooked something quite like this before, but it was very easy to throw together and packed with flavor. I especially liked the technique of using anchovies and garlic to create the base (instead of the usual fish stock or clam juice). Topped with fresh herbs, this stew makes a lovely simple meal.

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

3 Dec

black bean and corn salad

On some days, it feels like a burden to cook something, especially something healthy. I want to be creative, to dedicate time to an elaborate recipe, but can’t stand the idea of actually doing so – there are lots of other more important (or just more exciting!) things to do. But we all need to eat, and a tasty dish can be easy as this salad. A fresh mix of black beans, corn, and diced vegetables, pulled together by lime juice and Mexican spices. Even with the chopping, it only takes fifteen minutes or so to throw together. And this recipe is incredibly versatile – serve it as a salad over lettuce (as pictured here), mix it with rice or quinoa for a twist on a burrito bowl, or use it as a side to accompany fish, meat, or grilled vegetables. Make this, and then you can quickly get back to everything else you have to do, with a delicious and healthy meal fueling you!

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Taco Salad

12 Nov

taco salad

Have I mentioned that it’s spring here in Buenos Aires? I’ve always preferred warmer weather, but it’s been a little weird seeing November on the calendar while going through a heatwave – temperatures were up to the mid-90s recently! (That’s Fahrenheit, of course; I still haven’t made the adjustment over to Celsius.) Given the weather, I’ve been eating a lot of salads, but in true Argentine fashion, I just can’t help topping them with meat (like my Thai steak salad) – it’s cheap and good quality here and adds extra protein to the meal. I think this recipe for taco salad could be easily adapted to be vegetarian, however, by omitting the ground beef and adding more beans (a mixture of black and pinto beans would be my suggestion). With or without the beef, this is a salad worth making. With a base of lettuce and cabbage (dressed with a simple red wine vinaigrette), it’s definitely a healthier alternative to the nachos and tacos it resembles, but it doesn’t feel like you’re missing out, especially when you pile on the toppings.

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Mushroom Ragu

5 Nov

mushroom ragu

First, for those of you who follow this blog, let me apologize for not posting on Friday – I’ve been recovering from a cold and subsisting mainly on tea (with ginger and honey, yum), and I haven’t had a chance to re-build my backlog of posts for such times yet. But I’m back in the swing of things now and have been cooking up some great new recipes for this week. Let’s start with this mushroom ragu. I was craving a bowl of pasta with meat sauce, but wanted to eat something a little healthier instead. While I usually try not to create “imitations” of other foods (though I’ve been known to do so before), I figured what I was really craving was something with a lot of umami (as meat sauce typically has) and something nice and filling (as pasta is). So I cooked up this sauce, with the meatiness of cremini mushrooms standing in for the usual ground beef, while the liquid they release serves as the base for the sauce. It’s thickened up with tomato paste and minced black olives, then given a flavor boost from red wine, for a savory sauce that would be great on pasta in place of your usual sauce. I wanted an extra nutritional boost, so I actually served this on top of white beans which worked quite well. I think it would also be a great sauce on top of chicken or roasted vegetables.

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Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup

24 Oct

egyptian yellow lentil soup

I stumbled across some yellow lentils (while exploring Buenos Aires’ Barrio Chino (Chinatown), a subject for another post), and as I often cook with the quite similar red lentils, I immediately bought them. Like red lentils (which you can substitute here), yellow lentils cook quickly and fall apart when cooked which makes for hearty soups that taste thick and creamy without the need to add extra fat. Confusingly, yellow split peas are also sometimes referred to as yellow lentils (and look quite similar) even though they’re actually distinct – but they should also work as a substitute here. I decided to make this Egyptian soup with simple flavors to focus on the lentils themselves. I added turmeric to boost the color (and, as a side note, turmeric actually has lots of health benefits as well) and cayenne pepper because I like my food spicy. I’m sadly lacking one of my favorite kitchen tools – my immersion blender – so I couldn’t puree the soup, as I would have liked, but cooking the soup just a few minutes longer so that the lentils fell nearly completely apart worked out just fine for me.

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Tomato and Bell Pepper Eggs

22 Oct

tomato and bell pepper eggs

I love when combining basic ingredients in a simple way results in something fantastic, and that’s just what happens here with these tomato and bell pepper eggs. The ingredient list is short, and the recipe only takes about 15 minutes to throw together, so it’s great for a quick breakfast. But it feels much more sophisticated than plain ol’ scrambled eggs and looks much more exciting and colorful, too. And the tomato and bell pepper also add some healthiness – can’t go wrong with that! This is also an easily adaptable recipe (only a few steps away from Turkish menemen or North African shakshouka) – toss in a jalapeno or other hot pepper with the bell pepper if you like it spicy, add your favorite spices or herbs, or use soy sauce instead of salt and pepper for an Asian twist.

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Roasted Tomatoes and Green Beans with Basil

1 Oct

roasted tomatoes and green beans with basil

Every once in a while, I cook something delicious but don’t get around to posting about it. As I was going through some photos from late summer, I stumbled across the photos of this simple but tasty side and knew it was worth putting up on here. My kitchen was overflowing with cherry tomatoes and basil from my garden, and green beans were dirt cheap at the farmers’ market, so I put this together when I was feeling a bit lazy. But the end result was amazing – roasting the veggies concentrates their natural sweetness, and combined with herbaceous basil leaves, this makes for a great side dish (and I know I don’t post enough recipes for sides on here). I seem to remember that I actually mixed the end result with crumbled goat cheese which added a great creamy and tangy element, but even in its healthier vegan version, as written here, this is a dish worth making (or at least bookmarking for next summer).

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Black Bean Dip

10 Sep

black bean dip

After realizing how easy it is to make hummus, I’ve been experimenting with other bean dips, too. They’re quick and simple to prepare, usually a big hit at parties, and great to have around for snacking if you’re like me and sometimes find yourself suddenly hungry and in need of immediate food. This classic black bean dip is packed with Mexican flavors from paprika, cumin, lime juice, and a chipotle pepper. Well-matched with corn chips, but I actually prefer using fresh carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers for dipping – healthier and, in my opinion, tastier, too.

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Colorful Mediterranean Salad with Hummus and Harissa

31 Aug

colorful mediterranean salad with hummus and harissa

Recently, I found my stomach rumbling in the middle of the afternoon after having accidentally skipped lunch. I was finishing up an errand and needed food fast, so I stopped by the newly opened location of a local chain that serves Mediterranean food assembly line style. I wanted to eat something healthy (one of my main motivations for cooking) so I ordered a salad. It was amazing – large enough to fill me up (often not the case with salads) and with great variety and flavor. The best part? The inclusion of harissa and hummus as toppings! I’ve been adding them to my salads ever since, and the extra flavor and creaminess they add is unbeatable. It inspired me to later throw together this quick recreation, chock full of healthy and tasty ingredients, including multiple different greens, red cabbage, tomato, and cucumber. Easily customizable with whatever fresh vegetables you might have around (and even better topped with lamb, chicken, or beans), this recipe is definitely worth trying out.

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