vegetable diaries

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spice up your butternut!

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 18, 2012

there are lots of butternuts hanging around right now.. and maybe there is even one lurking in your kitchen. thanksgiving is four days away, and if you’re wondering what to do with these little or not so little lovelies i strongly suggest you give this recipe a try! i love turning the butternuts into fries, roasts, and soups, and today i cooked up a dal-vegetable stew from madhu gadia’s cookbook, the indian vegan kitchen. i love her cookbook.. and it’s one where you will refer to again and again. you can learn more about her here. anyways, back to the dal. the result was a creamy, spicy, savory, minty (yes, minty!) and a little bit of tangy dal stew! i topped it off with a hint of fresh cilantro. i think this would be a perfect dish at a thanksgiving meal. i know first hand that vegans tend to miss out on t-u-r-k-e-y day; the day of EATING! i know that i certainly don’t want mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls for my t-day dinner. give this recipe a try and you will be sure to please your vegetable-eaters.

p.s. i doubled the recipe since i wanted to use my entire butternut squash, and i froze half of it. i also cooked it in a big pot, not a pressure cooker. i also only pre-soaked my lentils for about 1/2 hour.

p.s.s. this is by far one of my favourite dals!

Dal-Vegetable Stew (Dhan-Saak) from The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia


1/3 cup (split, hulled) toor dal

1/3 cup (split, hulled) mung dal

1/3 cup pink lentils

3 cups water

1 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 cups butternut or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes


1 tbsp garlic, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 cup tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2-1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped

1 tsp tamarind paste or 2 tbsp tamarind sauce

1/4 cup water

3 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1. Combine toor dal, mung dal, and lentils. Wash in 3 to 4 changes of water and drain.

2. (For best results, cook in a pressure cooker. To cook in a skillet, see note below.) In a pressure cooker, add dal, 2 cups of water, turmeric, salt, squash, and eggplant. Cover the lid and put the pressure weight in place. Once pressure develops, reduce heat, and cook under pressure for 5 minutes. Cool the cooker until the pressure is removed. Open the lid carefully. The beans and vegetables should be very soft. Stir a few times.

3. In the meantime, prepare the paste: In a blender, combine garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cumin seeds, garam masala, coriander, cayenne pepper, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, cilantro, mint leaves, tamarind paste, and water. Grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.

4. In a large fry pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and fry 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Add the paste and fry until oil separates, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

5. Add the dal mixture to the onion paste. Stir to coat dal mixture with the spices. Add 1/2 cup water, or more as needed, for desired consistency. (Mixture should have a thick, stew-like consistency.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Serve hot over a bed of rice.

Note: To cook in a skillet:  After washing dals as instructed in step 1 above, soak the dals for 2 hours or longer. Drain dals. Combine drained dals, 4 cups of water, salt, turmeric, squash, and eggplant. Bring dal to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the dals and vegetables are very soft. Stir to smooth consistency. Follow steps 3 to 6 to finish cooking.

dal-vegetable stew

i also had a salad with fresh greens i bought from my local market.. i thinly sliced up some radishes and added balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cracked black pepper & salt. i couldn’t resist not taking a picture..

lettuces & paper thin radishes

Posted in cookbooks, gluten-free-friendly, indian, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

world food cafe 2 by chris & carolyn caldicott

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 26, 2009

marinated butternut squash & sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce- world food cafe 2 recipe

marinated butternut squash & sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce- world food cafe 2 recipe

well, i have been doing more garden-sitting and recently harvested butternut squash, bell peppers and tomatoes… with a few snips from the thyme shrub. i’ve been trying to use my cookbooks more and i found this great caribbean recipe from -world food cafe 2- by chris and carolyn caldicott. i also have their first cookbook, -world food cafe- and love it. the caldicotts are husband and wife globetrotters with voracious appetites! their cookbooks are filled with interesting vegetarian/vegan recipes from their excursions, with stellar photography by chris. their recipes span from cambodia, thailand, malaysia, north africa, sub-saharan africa, pakistan, india, maldives, sri lanka, french polynesia, central america, italy, and the caribbean! they also own the london eatery, -world food cafe-. because i had everything fresh from the garden i thought i would try out the recipe: marinated butternut squash and sweet peppers with hot tomato sauce. i’ve never made a caribbean dish, so i was curious to try something new. this is a fantastic summer meal! i strayed from the recipe and didn’t use the okra in the sauce because i didn’t have any on hand, and i also added 1 package of tempeh to the butternut squash and peppers. the lime and thyme really shine through and make this so refreshing on a hot day. i used a broiler to cook the vegetables and tempeh, but you can also cook it on the barbecue. here is the recipe:

Marinated Butternut Squash and Sweet Peppers with Hot Tomato Sauce from -World Food Cafe 2-

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (3 1/2–4 cups)
2 large red onions, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
3 red peppers, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch squares

For the marinade:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon soy sauce (i used wheat-free tamari)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey (i used maple syrup)

For the tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (i used olive oil)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2–1 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and finely chopped (if unavailable, use another small hot chile)
4 ounces okra pods (about 16–18 okra), chopped in 1/2-inch rings
14 ounces ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks (2–2 1/2 cups)
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and black pepper, to taste

Parboil the squash in a saucepan of boiling water until it is just starting to soften but is still firm. Drain and place in a large bowl with the onions, peppers, and marinade ingredients. Stir well to coat all the vegetables with the marinade and set to one side for 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. When hot, add the onion, garlic, chile, and okra, and gently fry until soft. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and lime juice, and bring to a boil; cover the pan and simmer until the sauce has reduced and oil returns. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Skewer the onions, peppers, and butternut squash and cook either on the barbecue or under a hot broiler until brown on all sides. Any remaining marinade can be added to the tomato sauce and heated through. Serve the skewers topped with the sauce, with rice on the side.


-world food cafe 2- cookbook

-world food cafe 2- cookbook

Posted in caribbean, cookbooks, gluten-free-friendly, recipes, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

vegan soul kitchen by bryant terry

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 21, 2009

crisp green beans with roasted shallots and walnuts- vegan soul kitchen recipe

crisp green beans with roasted shallots and walnuts- vegan soul kitchen recipe

i’m garden-sitting at the moment and yesterday i harvested a mother-load of green beans, amongst other things. as such, i wanted to do something out of my ordinary and have been meaning to try some recipes from the -vegan soul kitchen- cookbook by bryant terry. i found this tasty recipe: crisp green beans with roasted shallots and walnuts! it was perfect because i had everything fresh from the garden and it’s simple and easy to make. the beans are coated with a delicious lemon, thyme, dijon mustard vinaigrette. wow, this dressing has so much zing and the toasted walnuts add just the right touch. i didn’t have shallots on hand, so i used little pearl onions from the garden and it worked out great. this is a perfect summer salad or side dish to any meal.

vegan soul kitchen cookbook

vegan soul kitchen cookbook

i’m really excited to make more recipes from -vegan soul kitchen- and i highly recommend the book! for more information you can go here.

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