Archive for depression glass

Taking Care of Business

I can hardly believe it’s already the end of January.

My children both graduate this year — one from high school and the other from college. Big changes are on the horizon; what once seemed far off in the distant future is suddenly right before my eyes.

I am hoping for a move this year. Therefore, among other things, I have been busy with the preparation phase.

michigan pattern glass by US Glass Co circa 1904

more michigan pattern glass

twisted optic in canary yellow ~ by Imperial Glass circa 1927

I collect glassware from the early 1900s. I’ve been photographing and documenting so when it gets to the next phase, I won’t have any questions of its whereabouts.


It’s not moving time yet, but it is time to pack away these things I don’t use every day.

One thing I realised when I began this project is: I am going to need *alot* more boxes!

NOT packing this!!!


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Easy Lowfat Pav Bhajji and Grape-Avocado Chaat

happy shortcut for easy pav bhajji

Sometimes you stumble upon a happy shortcut that makes cooking so simple, it’s ridiculous. This “cheater’s version” of pav bhajji using a can of soup is a go-to recipe for me whenever I’m short on time. I always have the ingredients handy!

You can use frozen and/or canned veggies. Canned potatoes work particularly well for this dish. I know most recipes call for peas — if I’m weight-watching (err, always, all ways!) I usually leave them out in favor of more green beans or another less starchy veg. The soup has a few peas, as well as corn which adds an interesting little crunch to the mashed mix.

This is my weight-watcher’s dream dish — big on flavor and low in fat.
Of course, one teeny pat of butter on top never hurt anyone… 😉

Easy Lowfat Pav Bhajji
makes a BIG batch!

In a large frying pan, heat 1 tsp canola oil over medium heat.

When hot, add:

1/2 c chopped onion (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp each ginger and garlic paste

Saute for several minutes, then add:

1 can sliced potatoes
1 16oz pkg frozen cauliflower
1 c frozen green beans

1/2 c frozen or fresh carrots
1/2 c frozen peas

Reduce heat to med-low, cover and cook about 10-15 minutes, until frozen veggies are no longer hard. Then stir in:

1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 heaping TB pav bhajji masala (I like MDH)

Mix well to blend spices, then add:

1 can Progresso Vegetarian Vegetable Soup
(rinse the bottom of the can with 1/2 c of water and dump that into the pan too)

Give it all a good few turns with a wooden spoon, then raise heat to medium, cover, and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. At this point the veggies should be soft — mash everything with a potato masher and continue to cook another 5-10 minutes, until the bhajji has thickened and smells deeeeeeelicious. Taste and add a little more masala if needed. Add salt at the very last — the soup is salty so it may not need any extra.

easy, lowfat pav bhajji with oat bran pita on ‘spiral’ by Hocking glass, circa 1928

Serve with Joseph’s oat bran pitas for a ww treat — or with toasty buttery bread a la dear Nupur, if you want to indulge!

here is the bhajji in a depression glass sherbet cup ~ the pattern is called ‘parrot’ or ‘sylvan’ by Federal glass, circa 1930 ~ if you look closely you can see the two parrots 🙂


I also tossed this little chaat together with cubed avocado, halved grapes, a little yogurt mixed with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar, and some spicy boondi. After I took its photo I realised the dish was a pattern called ‘tea room’ — ha! 😉

grape and avocado chaat in a ‘tea room’ bowl by Indiana glass, circa 1926

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Jihva for Dal (part one) ~ The Trial

Chana Dal

Golden Chana Dal in Colonial aka Knife and Fork glass by Hocking, circa 1934

Jihva for ingredients


Jihva for Dal is particularly enjoyable for me. Actually, dal is responsible for the most fun I’ve had in some time, in the kitchen and on the internet: playing at blogging.

Back in January, I began to seriously toy (hmm.. sounds like an oxymoron!) with the idea of becoming vegetarian. I knew about beans/legumes and rice as a quality form of protein (thanks to Laurel’s Kitchen phase way back when). I had tasted dal in restaurants, and wanted to learn to cook it myself. Google “authentic dal recipe” sometime and see what results you find. I landed at Mahanandi; from there the links took over and I was hooked on Indian home-cooking.

Since then, I’ve met a kind, generous group of people who have offered advice and encouragement as well as fabulous food! I feel humbled on my daily blog-run; there is so much talent out there and you all share so willingly. I offer my heartfelt thanks for sharing with me.

On with the recipe!


Buttery Cilantro Poha with Crunchy Chana Dal
(a first attempt at poha)

1-2 TB butter

1/2 cup thick poha
1/4 cup chana dal

1 TB mustard seeds
5-6 fresh curry leaves
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small carrot, cubed
1 bunch cilantro, stems included, rinsed and cut fine
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp chili powder, or more to taste
1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for Cilantro Poha with Chana Dal

Clockwise from bottom: carrots, chana dal, cilantro, onion. Curry leaf in center.


Rinse thick poha well and leave to soften in strainer 30-60 min.

Heat butter in a medium-sized pan over low heat. When foamy, add chana dal and cook slowly, 5-10 min, until golden brown. Raise heat to med-high. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When mustard pops, add chopped onion, carrot, and cilantro. Reduce heat to low and cook 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Add poha, chili powder, lime juice and salt. Stir well, cover the pan, and allow to cook 10-15 minutes.

Adjust seasoning before serving.

Interest in poha and the taste of crunchy chana dal in tadka/temperings gave me the idea for this ~ my first entry to July’s Jihva for Dal graciously hosted by Sailu of Sailu’s Food.


Cilantro Poha with Chana Dal

The Trial ~ Buttery Cilantro Poha with Crunchy Chana Dal

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Sailu’s Sesame Rice ~ Nuvullu Annam

I keep a mental list of dishes I want to try. When I saw curry leaves by the bagful at a new little grocery near work, this sesame rice (nuvullu annam ~ learning languages, too!) from Sailu’s Food came straight to mind.

I followed the excellent recipe there word-for-word. I did remove the seeds from the chilies, and to my surprise, found myself craving just a little more heat in the finished dish. Maybe next time I’ll leave some seeds in…


Curry Leaves Galore for Sesame Rice

Ingredients for sesame rice, clockwise from bottom: mustard seed, chana dal, and fresh chilies, red chili-coriander powder, sesame seeds toasted and coarsely ground, and curry leaves galore. All those curry leaves cost just $1.99!


Proctor Silex Coffee Grinder

I cleaned out my old coffee grinder to make the powders. I have been using a food processor with only fair results, so I was thrilled with the way the little Proctor Silex worked. This will make it easier to grind fresh spices. What a difference in the taste.
fruit in ‘frances’ by central glass works, circa late 1920s


Sailu's Sesame Rice

Sailu’s Delicious Sesame Rice on a bed of wilted spinach. Lovely, delicate aroma from all the fresh curry leaves and sesame, and the taste was even better. Thanks, Sailu, for the great recipe!

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Slow-Cooked Moong Dal with Spinach

Portions of New England are under water for the first time in many years. Coming on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, it somehow doesn’t seem so terribly bad here, but the dreary skies and rain did seem endless. After a time it dampened my spirits a little.

This evening, the sun finally showed its face, and I feel like cooking again. So while the ground takes a breather and tries to soak up some of the wet, I am cooking dal the slow, simmering way. I don’t know if anyone else would agree, but to me some of the dals ~ notably washed moong and the split val dal ~ have the fragrance of spring.

The pot bubbles cheerily on the stove. The fresh, delicious scent seems to bring the sunshine in. It fills the house and draws my senses eagerly back from the dull days of storm.


Slow-Cooked Moong Dal with Spinach

2/3 c washed moong dal, rinsed and soaked at least 1 hour

1 tsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves

1 healthy TB garlic paste
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 green chiles, slit

1/4 tsp methi powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
pinch asafoetida
pinch salt

3 c spinach

2 c water

1/4 tsp tamarind extract

In a medium saucepan, heat the ghee and toast the cumin, mustard and curry leaves. Add the garlic paste, onion, and green chile. Saute over medium heat until onion begins to wilt.

Add the methi powder, turmeric, asafoetida, and salt. Cook a few minutes longer, stirring, then add the rinsed and drained dal. Stir this about for a few minutes until the dal is well coated with the spices, then add the spinach and allow it to wilt in the hot dal mixture.

Add 2 cups water, stir well, and cover tightly. Simmer 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

After 30 minutes, the dal should be tender but still holding its shape. Remove the cover and add the tamarind extract. Stir well, and allow to cook down to desired consistency.

Correct the seasoning (add salt and/or chile powder if desired). I was pleasantly surprised with the result ~ tasted great with fresh, hot rice!


Slow-Cooked Moong Dal with Spinach
slow-cooked moong dal with spinach in a ‘colonial’, aka ‘knife-and-fork’ bowl by hocking glass, circa 1934


I found the blog world this winter through my search for authentic dal recipes. Since then I have read and learned so much about dal, and Indian home-cooking in general, that I felt confident enough to once more try something without peeking at a cookbook or blog. Thanks to all of you who inspire by giving so freely of your talent and creativity!

There are many great recipes out there ~ for dals I am particularly inspired by Priya’s lovely collection at Sugar and Spice.


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