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Tamba di Bhaji with Rainbow Chard ~ for Cooking with Cookbook Challenge

cookbook shelf

part ofΒ  our collection of cookbooks

Hello friends!

This is part of July Week 2 Cooking From Cookbook Challenge Group.

Cooking from Cookbook Challenge from Cooking4allseasons

Actually, this is my first post for S’s Cooking from Cookbook Challenge #56. I’m sorry I didn’t get in last weekend but I’ll try to do two posts on another weekend to make up for it. I hope that’s ok πŸ™‚

rainbow chard

rainbow chard

This was the perfect challenge for me, because I collect cookbooks. When I moved from Massachusetts to the north woods of Michigan, one of the first things I wanted unpacked was my collection — at least some of it — and Dear G obliged by building a bookshelf in the kitchen right under the new spice cabinet! Now it’s overflowing with his cookbooks and mine — maybe time for a new shelf this fall? πŸ˜‰

I was so glad to get back to the bookshelf and away from the omnipresent online search for recipes. I spent several happy evenings this week dusting off some old friends from the collection, until I finally settled on a recipe from this tome:

India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pantrainbow pages

photo page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant – I just love the rainbow-colored pages of this one!

This giant book even comes in a “rice” bag!

book bag

cookbook bag!

ingredients for tamba di bhaji

ingredients for tamba di bhaji ~ simple and delicious

It’s garden time again, and the end of June/early July has been H-O-T hot! Thank goodness for that, because everything got a late start due to a lingering winter. We were nearly a month behind starting. However, as mom reminds me, my papa used to say the best garden he ever had was planted on the 4th of July! We were a bit ahead of that.

I have no complaints as there’s plenty of goodness in the gardens already. The early harvest includes mountains of swiss chard in every color. I thought their deep green leaves and rainbow stems would be a good substitute for red amaranthus leaves called for in the recipe I chose for the challenge. Dear G moved the peppers down to the back garden to change things up this year, and they are growing like mad.Β What a delight it is to go traipsing barefooted through the back yard, into the pepper plantation and pick out a fresh green chile for supper.

peppers and okra

part of the pepper plantation and okra in the fore

tender stems of rainbow chard

tender stems of rainbow chard

Tamba di Bhaji (with Rainbow Swiss Chard) adapted from:
INDIA Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant

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1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 green chiles (I slit mine)
1 large bunch swiss chard – washed well, tender stems chopped and leaves shredded
1-2 TB grated coconut (mine is frozen)
fresh curry leaves or curry leaves powder
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

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Cook the chopped tender stems in a small amount of salted water, about 10 minutes. Hold aside.

In your stir-fry pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add onion. Cook until nearly translucent, then add garlic and green chile — also curry leaves if using fresh. Cook a further 10 minutes and add the shredded chard leaves.

Stir well. Cover and cook 10-15 minutes, or until chard is wilted well. Sprinkle some water to be sure nothing burns. Stir in the tender stems, add curry leaves powder if using, coconut, and salt to taste. Mix well, reduce heat to low, and cook a further 5-10 minutes. Serve hot with rice for a quick supper. Also – don’t forget the black pepper at the end as it really makes the dish.

We had ours with Thai sticky rice – G’s new favorite.

supper!

tamba di bhaji with rainbow chard

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Thanks Srivalli for bringing back the Cooking From Cookbook Challenge Group just in time for summertime veggies! I am already inspired for next week πŸ™‚

early girl tomatoes

early girl tomatoes bleaching out

 

sweet peas

sweet peas in summer? only in the north woods πŸ˜‰

part of the back garden - tomatoes and eggplant

part of the back garden ~ brinjal and tomatoes with marigolds galore

korean squash climbing the trellis

korean squash is already climbing the trellis

summer squash and okra

potatoes in boxes to the rear; back end of the pepper plantation; summer squash and baby lebanese zucchini plants; okra and garlic chives to the left

gongura seedlings

gongura seedlings

monarch on milkweed

all of dear g’s hard work planting and maintaining milkweed finally pays off with a beautiful monarch butterfly

Happy Sunday!

 

 

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And They’re Off!

Seedlings are popping up left and right…

seedlings

peas towering over the tomatoes and okra

onion seedlings

DG’s onion babies

tiny ground cherries

teeeny tiny Aunt Molly’s ground cherry seedlings

And while the plants are snug under the grow-lights, the birds are frolicking in the late spring snow.

ruffed grouse

secretive ruffed grouse – a treat to catch it around the feeders

redpolls, siskins and goldies

a couple of redpolls came to hang out with the siskins and goldies

nuthatch and chickadee

white-breasted nuthatch and a chickadee

male pileated woodpecker

male pileated woodpecker is stunning in the sun

sharp shinned hawk

and a wily sharp shinned hawk taking it all in ~ but he didn’t get lunch!

Waiting for the snow to melt to get those peas in the ground — happy Friday!

 

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Northern Goshawk

Check out what dear G caught on camera — high up in a tree after trying to catch its supper around the feeders! A Northern Goshawk — a large accipiter and a first for our yard. Wish I had been home but glad he managed to catch a photo — even if it is a bit far up.

goshawk in the yard!

majestic northern goshawk, high in a tree above the feeders

In other exciting news, it’s time to start sorting garden seeds. Indoor planting begins this weekend!

garden seeds galore!

treasure chest πŸ™‚

Happy Thursday!

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Pumpkin Sambhar ~ Literally!

During my short break from classes, I am having a blast just going to work and coming home — sometimes even having a day off like today. I was poking around for something to do with a leftover ‘pie pumpkin’ from the fall. After Halloween, a local farm stand had these for fifty cents apiece and I couldn’t resist — I bought three. Two went out to the deer.

two fawns
two fawns at the bird feeder in broad daylight ~ that’s how cold it is and how hungry they are

With the last pumpkin, I thought I might make this pumpkin soup in a pumpkin.

As usual when I have time on my hands (a rare occurrence these days!), my mind started turning after reading the recipe. I decided it would be far more fun to make sambhar. OK, I know, when is it NOT more fun to make sambhar? Never! But this sambhar is baked in the pumpkin.

I made a regular onion sambhar with some carrot as well. I added fennel seeds and fresh garlic to the usual tadka, and a pinch each of ginger powder and nutmeg powder with the sambhar powder. A little extra tamarind water offset the sweetness of pumpkin. I made the sambhar on the stovetop, but did not cook the veggies all the way. I hollowed out the pumpkin, rubbed it with oil outside, and filled it with the half-done sambhar. Baked in a 350F oven for about two hours, the sambhar came out delicious. The fringe benefit was the pumpkin bowl — its softened insides bathed in all the spices and just waiting to be scraped out into the sambhar. A little bit of trouble but well worth it!

pumpkin and onions
hollowed out pumpkin with unusually small regular yellow onions ~ I treated them as sambhar onions and they worked perfectly

sambhar ~ ready to bake in a pumpkin
all ready to bake ~ I covered the pumpkin with its natural lid for the first hour ~ then removed the lid and baked an hour longer

voila ~ sambhar in a pumpkin!
voila! sambhar in a pumpkin bowl ~ perfect comfort food for the cold weather

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A Wee Christmas Verse and How To Wrap A Cat

‘Tis the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a kittie is stirring, not even to chase a mouse.
The stockings are hung by the wood stove with care
In hopes that Saint Kittielaus soon will be there.

The kitties are nestled all snug in their chairs
While visions of kittynip dance in their heads.
I’ve thrown down my apron, Meg’s picked up her book,
After hours in the kitchen, we’ve nothing left to cook.

So from Pinks and Daisy, from Gibby and Lemur
From little old Squeaker, asleep by the fire,
We wish you much happiness, your joy our desire.
And let us exclaim as we purr out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all,
And to all a good night!

xmas eve kitty buffet
pre-christmas kitty buffet

xmas eve daisy
daisy, asleep in her chair

xmas eve pinks
pinks has decided he will not be starring in how to wrap a cat for christmas — the sequel

xmas eve squeaker
little squeaker is going on 22 yrs old…

xmas eve deer
magical deer outside ~ late afternoon on christmas eve

german apple pancake
we made german apple pancakes!

the golden boys
the golden boys

my christmas gift!
the best gift any day of the year ~ miss m is here!!

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Season of Change ~ Time Heals, As Do Fritters :)

autumn in northern michigan
stormy sky in autumn ~ my favorite!

Wow, this post has taken a long time to write. It’s cathartic and contains some things I needed to set out on paper — even virtual paper — in order to work through them.

Thanks for your indulgence!

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I have always been glad to live in a place where I can experience four seasons. Without winter, I don’t think I would appreciate spring. I’ve always especially loved autumn. In my old life, I looked forward to this season of change; trees adorned in flaming colors against dark and stormy skies and that brisk feeling in the air lending new energy to my walk and to my outlook on life.

Then last autumn came crashing in.

old house being packed up
living room of the old house ~ almost through packing

It’s just over a year since the Massachusetts house was sold.

It had to be sold and I was glad, but… it resulted in a period of panic and mayhem which gave way to a period of anger and frustration, all due to circumstances beyond my control.

Memories of that time are bitter, and I hate that.
I don’t like to be bitter. That’s not *me*!

Since April I have been racing from that old life headfirst into the new. I’ve been frantic.

Frantic is not good. It’s time to stop and remember. It’s time to assimilate all that happened. It’s ok to have a good cry over what should have been. It’s time to heal.

Therefore, I am doing my best to allow myself to feel every emotion I pushed deep down inside last year. If I can do that, I can continue to forge ahead into my new life with my customary enthusiasm.

My new life is a bright one and happy, but sometimes it’s hard to be cheerful *every day*.

It’s tough to be away from my kids. Though they are grown to adulthood I am forever bound to them. There are moments when I am a bit lonesome for the m’n ms.

I can’t always predict or control when those moments occur.
They sneak up and ambush me. I’ve had a good meltdown or two, lately πŸ˜‰
That’s ok; it’s not my fault.

It’s natural.

who would not miss these kids  :)
the best kids in the world ~ nope, I am not biased πŸ™‚

In my new life, I strive to make each day positive and peaceful after the uncertainty and upheaval of the past few years. Sometimes I succeed, other times I am still struggling.

I take comfort in believing that I made the best choices I could during a trying time — I did what I thought was best for both the kids and myself. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but this too shall pass. Time is a great healer.

So is love.

chickadee at feeder
autumn view at my new home ~ bird pond and chickadee at the feeder

There is a lot to be said for a small gesture made by one, which means so much to another. The old adage is true — sometimes actions speak louder than words πŸ™‚

When the corn had been eaten (mostly by raccoons) and the plants began to fall over, I mentioned to DG that a corn shock would be the perfect autumn decoration. At that time, he didn’t really go for the idea — perhaps it was too festive πŸ˜‰

Several days ago, a corn shock was waiting when I returned from work. Dear G made it for me. That small gesture, as well many larger ones have spoken volumes.

I am snug under a new roof, with a new room at the back of the house besides. The garage has been cleared so that my car fits in, and that enormous supply of wood mentioned in a previous post, cut and stacked by hand, is at the front door. All this is done in anticipation of the cold and snowy winter to come, and it is all very much appreciated by me.

awesome wood pile and corn shock made by dg  :)
the corn shock that DG made for me, leaning on the huge wood pile he made for winter warmth… yep, I am happy πŸ™‚

Did I mention I have a little pumpkin and scarecrow near the front step, and the maize is hanging on the front door as I have always had (and probably he has never had) — making the new home more home-like for me.

So, to you Dearest G — thank you for your constant winter preparation, as well as festive fall decorations.

Thank you for your love; spoken and unspoken alike.

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Meanwhile, back in the kitchen…

I made some garden fritters a la Mandira!

I did make changes to the veggies. Mandira’s recipe called for besan, we had just picked green peppers, and I love green peppers and besan combo! I boiled the corn and cut it off the cob, and I added jalepenos. I roasted all the veggies in a non-stick pan with a spritz of oil. I tried two versions — with and without egg. The egg version came out something like a pajeon!

Both were great with maggi sauce πŸ™‚

Garden Fritters a la Mandira
see original recipe here

For veggies:

2 c corn kernels (2 small ears, cut from the cob after boiling)
1 c green bell pepper, seeded and diced (1 large pepper)
2-3 jalepeno peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 c onion, diced

For batter:

1/2 c besan
1/4 c rice flour
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chaat masala
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

water to make a thick batter
canola oil (or Pam) for spritzing
canola oil for shallow frying

optional: one egg

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Heat a nonstick pan over med-high heat and spritz with canola oil or Pam. Add diced veggies and let them roast for 5-10 minutes — it depends somewhat on the heat of your burners. We don’t want to burn the veggies, only roast them golden with a few dark spots. Flip and toss them from time to time, until they smell and look roasted. Remove to a plate and allow to cool for a few minutes.

pan-roasted veggies
pan-roasted: corn, bell pepper, onion and jalepenos

Meantime, mix the besan and rice flour along with the seasonings in a large bowl.

When the pan-roasted veggies have cooled, add them to the bowl of seasoned flours. Mix well and add sufficient water to form a thick batter. I used approx. 1/2 c plus a couple teaspoons.

thick batter for fritters
a thick batter for fritters ~ optional egg added after frying the first batch πŸ™‚

Heat canola oil in a non-stick pan over med-high. When it’s hot, make the fritters by dropping spoonfuls in, flattening them as you go. Cook until golden and then turn to fry the other side — approx. 5 min per side but your mileage may vary depending on your burner.

Remove fritters and drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Serve hot with Maggi (dg’s favorite) or your favorite chutney/condiment.

*Optional: mix one beaten egg with the batter and cook in the same manner. These will be softer inside and more like a Korean panjeon. The jury is still out on which was tastier πŸ™‚

garden fritters a la mandira
garden fritters a la Mandira! classic on the left and more korean/pajeon style on the right

autumn in the north woods
view from the mailbox is some changed from May ~ still a very happy camper!

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Creatures of Yard and Garden

Just a few of the interesting guys (or gals!) who have surfaced lately…

walking stick
have you ever seen a walking stick?

who am I?
no idea what sort of caterpillar this is…

some kinda wasp
dg probably knows the scientific name for this ~ I think it’s a (harmless to humans) parasitic wasp

OK, enough insects…

baby chickadees
a family of baby chickadees has been hanging around…

ovenbird!
took me awhile to figure this one out ~ there were several out under the woodpile the other day ~ ovenbird!

scarlet tanager
scarlet tanager!

hermit thrush
this little hermit thrush loves the pond ~ when they sing, they sound like bells…

squeak
little miss squeaker is quite elderly ~ she spent the day outside while her room was scrubbed down

squeaker
she loved the carrots!

At last, a few days with temps over 70 have provided the garden with just the nudge it needed to start producing in earnest. We’ve been picking cucumbers like crazy, banana peppers like mad, and a few other odds and ends like bell peppers, dusky variety eggplant, and the odd cherry tomato. Fairytale brinjals are next in line and I hope the beans aren’t far behind. There are two varieties of pole beans, and some long beans and papdi beans have flowered along with the horticultural beans mom sent.

dusky eggplant
this dusky eggplant looks like the big bitter variety, but it’s sweet and tender

wall o'beans
one side of the wall o’beans!

beautiful bean flower
at last I caught the beautiful purple long bean flower open!

garden entrance
the entrance to the garden has been taken over by the lebanese squash ~ no end in sight!

Meanwhile, back in the house…

pakoras!
I made some pakoras with fresh picked veggies including lots of my fav, peppers ~ yum πŸ™‚

pinksgibby
pinks and gibby form a tenuous friendship ~ sharing space but studiously ignoring one another πŸ˜‰

I can’t wait to get outside in the morning — it was over 90F today so I expect the cucumbers will be thick.
How does your garden grow?

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