Recently I went to this restaurant which had some awesome Italian dishes of which their Roasted Fennel Soup blew me away! The soup was delicious and I made up my mind to recreate that dish excepting I did not want to use potatoes. The roasted fennel soup in the restaurant had potatoes which according to their Chef helps make the dish thicker in consistency and creamier.
I tried to recreate the same soup at home minus the potatoes 🙂 I would love to share this extremely delicious yet healthy dish with all of you today.
1 medium Fennel bulb with fronds
1 medium Onion4 garlic cloves
1 tsp lemon pepper powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne
2 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup vegetable broth
salt to taste
1) Take a baking pan and cover it with aluminum foil to avoid messy clean ups:) The first step is to chop the fennel bulb.
How to chop the fennel bulb?
Chop the fronds or the tiny spikey leaves off the fennel bulb. DO NOT THROW away the fronds as it is very flavorful and can be used as a pretty garnish for the soup.
Take off the outer layer or leaf from the fennel bulb and then cut in half. Similar to onions, fennel also have a core at the bottom that has to be removed carefully using a knife. I usually cut a V shape around the core and dice it out.
Now wash the rest of the fennel and chop evenly into small uniform pieces. Transfer the chopped fennel pieces to the baking pan covered with foil.
2) Dice a medium Onion evenly and transfer to the pan with chopped fennel pieces.
3) Chop garlic finely and transfer to the pan with chopped onion and fennel pieces.
4) Drizzle olive oil along with salt, cayenne, lemon pepper and garlic powder and toss to mix well.
5) Stick the baking pan in the oven at 360 F for about 45 minutes.
6) Once done, take it out of the oven, let cool and transfer to a food processor or blender.
7) Blend the pieces of baked and chopped fennel, onion and garlic along with vegetable broth.
8) Transfer the blended mixture to a pot and check seasoning and add 2 tablespoon of milk (to add creaminess to the texture) and wait till it boils.
9) Your roasted fennel soup is ready and you may garnish it with the fennel fronds.
I love baby eggplants but in India we always removed the skin and cooked it to a point where it gets mushy and it would drive me
nuts when my mom would insist that i eat this mushy eggplant curry with my rotis/bread. I wanted to come up with an eggplant dish that I would rather enjoy to eat than be forced to eat:(
So here goes people!
This is by far my best take on the Mighty Eggplant! and takes you less than 15 minutes to prepare this. Its an awesome dish to consider if you have guests coming over.
4-8 baby eggplants
Goat cheese crumbs
5-6 Basil leaves
Salt to taste
Lemon pepper powder 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon
Finely chopped onions- 1/4 cup
Habanero Mango Salsa( I sometimes make this at home using habanero peppers and finely diced mango cubes with onions and tomatoes but you can always find and buy a bottle of any salsa at the supermarket if you do not want to deal with the heat of habanero peppers)
Note: You can substitute any salsa depending on your or the guest’s tolerance to spice levels. BUT I strongly recommend this combination:) Trust me its delish!!!if you can tolerate spice or heat!
Cut the baby eggplants in half and place them on a baking pan lined with parchment paper(for easy clean up). Then sprinkle salt, black pepper, lemon pepper and garlic powder on top of each half to make sure that they are well seasoned. Then drizzle some olive oil on top of each half and top it with some chopped onions, 1/4 teaspoon of the habanero mango salsa and garnish with some crumbs of goat cheese and chiffonades of basil.
Stick this into the oven at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes. Voila! I insist on a particular combination of salsa and cheese for this particular recipe since the habanero (heat) and the mango (sweet) in the salsa cuts the tanginess of the goat cheese and the flavors become so well balanced.
I must say that this is one of the best way and form I have consumed beets! My daughter ate a whole bowl of this salad so for all those moms
struggling to get all the good stuff with nutrients in your child, this might be a dish you wanna try! Beets belong to root vegetable family and are super rich in antioxidants and nutrients.
This dish took me less than 2 minutes to plate once the beets were cooked. Cooking beets takes a while but trust me this dish is so worth it!
Ingredients:(Serving Size for 2)
Beets- 2 or 3 beets
Goat cheese crumbled- 1/4 cup
Sunflower seeds- 1/4 cup
Red Onion- 1/2
Salt to taste
Cooking the beets: There are 2 ways to cook the beets. You can peel the skin dice them evenly and roast it in the oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
You can use a pressure cooker. I love cooking a lot of my veggies in my cooker since its faster and cooks evenly. Peel the skin of the beets, dice the beets evenly and transfer them to a container with water. Cook the beets in a cooker. It takes me about 15- 20 minutes to cook them in a pressure cooker.
I transfer the cooked beets in a bowl and add the crumbled goat cheese and mix it up. Then I add salt to taste, drizzle some olive oil and leave it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Prior to serving, mix some sunflower seeds and serve as a cold salad.
Having received a tremendous response from cooking workshop for kids last summer, I will be conducting a Kids Cooking Camp this summer as well and wanted to reach out to all of you who are planning camps for your kids. I have seen that the kids enjoy these cooking sessions so much because they are allowed to get messy and get to make their own plate of food in a fun way.
I have planned 2 weeks of cooking camp for the kids this summer. I am conducting
one week of cooking session for the kids in July from July 12 th through July 16th, Mon-Fri, 9:30 am- 12:00pm and the kids get to eat lunch at the end of each session.
I am also conducting another cooking session in August from Aug 12th through Aug 16th, Mon- Fri, 9:30 a- 12:00pm.
I have kept the menus for both the camps different so parents who want their kids to attend both sessions may do so.
I must begin by saying that I had the most wonderful time cooking for such a wonderful crowd at Whole Foods at Montclair in NJ yesterday.
Carmen, the lead for cooking demos at the store was such a cheerful person and helped me out completely with the set up of my station and making me feel like I was at my home kitchen:) Evelyn ran every single time to get stuff whenever I ran out of sampling plates or spoons. I dont remember stopping for a single minute to even drink a sip of water. I was completely in my zone once people started coming in and thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it that I dint want to miss any of it:)
So what did I cook? I had exchanged several emails with Carmen before coming up with this menu. Knowing Montclair and its residents, I knew QUINOA was one of my choices. A lot of people came up to me with difficulty pronouncing Quinoa and I had to break it up for them as (pronounced as K-i-N-WAH) 🙂
I decided to go for a Quinoa Salad. One, the reason being -Tuesdays at Whole Foods is Local Tasting meaning I was asked to make the best use of as much as local produce that was at the store. I instantly felt like a kid in a candy store- especially if you ask a vegetarian like me to pick local produce/veggies!!!!
The second reason being- Quinoa is a grain-like crop grwon for its edible seeds and is a complete protein as per nutritional evaluations. Quinoa high in dietary fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calicium and is popular amongst vegans and for those who are lactose intolerant. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest.
I decided to incorporate as much veggies possible, like zucchini, summer squash, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers…..and made a Quinoa Salad. Of course I sauted my onions, tomatoes, zucchini and squash with my special blend of freshly toasted and ground Indian spices! or freshly ground “curry” powder.
My demo was to start at 3 pm but I reached the store early so I have enough time to set up and start cooking the Quinoa. Carmen said the expected crowd between 3 and 6pm on a Tuesday at Whole Foods was about 150!!!! So I cooked for that many :))))
I had this huge pot that was simmering away with my Quinoa and veggies in it. I had just begun making my sauce- I wanted to make an Indian curried sauce to layer on top of the quinoa to take the salad to a next level. Meantime, I saw many people approaching my station and urging me to make samplers. Being the person I am, I started making samplers of just the Quinoa while working on the making that sauce at the same time. I was so happy to hear wonderful comments from people who merely tasted the Quinoa with veggies. A lot of them said, they got the package of quinoa but when they took it home and tried cooking it- it was dry or that they werent able to get the proportion of quinoa versus water right.
A simple trick is- I never follow package instructions because it always says 1: 1!!!!! No way- you will end up with a plate of undercooked quinoa. Always, add extra broth or water to check if the quinoa is cooked completely. You know its done is when all the grains have turned from white to transparent, and the spiral-like germ has separated. Also, while cooking the Quinoa always try and keep it covered or use a lid to cover.
Now I make my sauce with garlic, ginger, onions, tomatoes and my freshly ground spices. I layer the Curried sauce over the Quinoa. I wanted to use a layer of crunch on top of the sauce so I used Organic Tempeh from Whole Foods and crumbled it, seasoned it well with cumin, coriander and “curry powder”. I saute the crumbled tempeh with a tad bit of oil in a pan till it gets a crisp coat on the surface. Now Tempeh is a meat substitute made of Soy and is very high in protein.
So I layer my sauted crumbled tempeh over my curried sauce and quinoa with veggies. I garnish the whole dish with some green scallions, colored bell peppers and some tomatoes and top it off with some cilantro!
A lot of you them who stopped by my station asked me if I sold the Sauce in a jar and they wanted to buy it:)LOL
But I promised them, I will look into it- its a possibility I would explore!!!!
They loved my sauce and the dish and were very encouraging and appreciative,
All the kind words, words of encouragement and love is what motivates me so keep it coming guys…..can never get enough!!!
Thanks much to my friend Rob and his sister April Peters for coming out, tasting my dish and being so supportive!
Thanks again to every single person who came out to Whole Foods, and stopped by my station to taste my dish-Appreciate your time and I hope I was able to answer every one of your questions on the dish and otherwise…..
(This pic was taken at the end of the cooking demo at 6pm and I am exhausted, struggling to smile for the camera but my husband and kids came to pick me up and I was thrilled to see them !!!!Thanks so much for being so supportive!)
With much love ……. and looking forward to more events so keep tuning into my blog for updates on events and where to find me:)