Guacamole Black Bean Pasta

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Am I a fussy eater? Goodness, I can almost see my entire family here, nodding in affirmation of said doubt… But no, today is not the day when I agree to that. Although, black bean spaghetti has made me wonder about it. Unlike buckwheat or rice noodles, I did not warm up to black bean noodles immediately. First few of my stir-fry attempts with it always seemed to miss something. As a result, its box soon slipped into an overlooked corner of my pantry.

The other day however, after a long overseas call, I realized that I had only about 20 minutes to fix a lunch. As fate would have it, I was out of my usual favorite flat noodles. So, I decided to try black bean noodles once again. For a moment, I froze… but then found two perfectly ripened avocados in my fridge. I thought to go for a noddle salad using those. If black bean and avocados wouldn’t go together, the world would just make a little less sense. This ought to work…

It did. So much so, that by the time it occurred to me to take a snap for this blog post, I was almost halfway through my bowl. Here is what I now fondly call as Guacamole Black Bean Pasta.

GUACAMOLE BLACK BEAN PASTA

Serves two

Ingredients:

2 portions of black bean spaghetti (about 4 cups)
2 ripe avocados
1 small onion, or better, 3-4 sprigs of spring onion
1 medium tomato
Lemon juice and salt to taste
3 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 green chili peppers

Method:

  1. Cook black bean noodles per instruction. Drain and keep aside.
  2. In a saucepan, heat olive oil and fry thinly chopped garlic and green chili peppers in it till fragrant. Remove from heat. Pour over cooked noodles and mix.
  3. In a bowl, mash avocado flesh to pulp. Add chopped tomato and onion. Season with salt and lemon juice.
  4. Mix this guacamole with tempered noodles.
  5. That’s it. Serve and Tuck in.

You can also mash raw garlic and chillis with guacamole, if you like. But I just thought that using a tempering to season black bean noodles would add that perk 🙂

 

Tamari-Ginger Rice with Fresh Vegetables

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I did struggle with a title for this post. After all, it just a simple bowl of rice flavored with few things I found in my refrigerator and spice shelf. I guess, all flavored rice preps share that description. Consider all the famous dishes from across various cuisines. Spanish tomato rice, Mexican cilantro rice, Indian lemon and tamarind rice… All you require is a handful of common ingredients.

Today, I decided to go Asian. This side of the world has been warm since last week. Days are long and bright with blue skies. Of course, given it is Michigan we can have snow again in another ten days…. (well, I enjoy that too. So, never mind). But today’s view from my window made me feel like eating something light and fresh and I came up with the following:

TAMARI-GINGER RICE WITH FRESH VEGETABLES

Serves two

Ingredients:

1 cup rice
Handful of Edamame beans
2-3 sprigs of spring onion
1-2 small radishes
1 inch of ginger
Dash of dark roasted sesame oil
Tamari/ Soy sauce to taste
A teaspoon of wasabi seasoning (optional)

Method:

  1. Cook rice as per directions.
  2. Bring 2-3 cups of water to boil and let edamame beans cook in it. Even with frozen pods, five minutes were enough for me.
  3. Thinly slice radish.
  4. Chop spring onions.
  5. Julienne ginger into thin strips.
  6. Add all these vegetables to pot of rice.
  7. Season with tamari, sesame oil, and wasabi seasoning. Mix and enjoy!

Note that a side of pan-fried tempeh or egg would make this rice bowl a complete meal.

Pita bread

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With winter came a long period of inactivity on my blog. While, I have not been able to write about it much, it has been fun. Almost every other weekend, either we were hosting friends or getting invited to their places. Food was an integral part of this socializing. So I got several opportunities to experiment. Sometimes, it was a matter of recreating and perfecting an old special item. Sometimes, I dabbled in new cooking style. Sometimes, it was an effort to make something at home that I have often enjoyed eating outside.

Today’s post falls in that third category. I have immensely enjoyed Mediterranean food, since I first tasted it in various ‘Türkische Imbiss’ in Berlin. Thankfully, Michigan has not disappointed me either. Now and then, my husband and I go to the nearest middle-eastern eatery to enjoy shawarma, kebabs, falafel, and of course… a basket full of piping hot pita breads.

I really wanted to be able to make these breads from the mixed grain wheat flour I have at home, which I use for making Indian flatbreads of roti and parantha. After a few mistrials, I finally decided to try making those with the ‘boule’ master recipe, which I had used last year to bake bread loaves. I got this recipe in the book ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day‘ by Jeff Hertzberg  and Zoë François. While it calls for unbleached, unsifted, all-purpose white flour, it has worked with my usual whole wheat/ multi-grain flours. So here is my way to pillowy and pliant pita flatbreads.

PITA FLATBREAD (WITH MULTIGRAIN WHEAT FLOUR)

Yields about 8-12 breads, depending on the size you roll.

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups of multi-grain wheat flour, plus some more for dusting
1.5 cups of lukewarm water (only a tad more that body temperature)
1 sachet of yeast (roughly about 1 heap full of a tablespoon)
A pinch or two of salt
Method:

  1. Mix the yeast and salt in water. Let it proof for five minutes.
  2. Add the flour to this water and mix the dough with a spatula.
  3. If needed, with wet fingers, lightly mix the dough so that there are no dry patches. No kneading is necessary any further. It makes a rather shaggy loose kind of a dough, but that is what we want.
  4. Cover the dough with a loosely-fitted lid and let it rise for two hours.
  5. After the first rise, the dough can be used to make bread. Though, I like to refrigerate it overnight to make it more manageable.
  6.  To make pita, dust your platform and fingers with some dry  flour. Form a ball by pulling the top of dough to bottom repeatedly for about a minute or two.
  7. Divide it in smaller balls/ patties to make pitas.
  8. Dust a patty with dry flour and roll lightly to make a circle (width of which should never go less than 1/8th inch). Sprinkle with flour while rolling, whenever necessary.
  9. Heat a cooking pan/ griddle to medium-high heat and place a freshly rolled pita onto it.
  10. Wait till you see bubbles on the surface, and then flip it to another side.
  11. Now it will start puffing up. Lightly press bulging pita on all sides to make sure it gets baked uniformly.
  12. Flip more than once to get those nice brown spots on both the sides of flatbread.
  13. Remove from the pan and let it cool on rack
  14. Now, conquering the temptation to devour this soft bread right away, turn your attention to rest of the pitas to roll and bake 🙂

After cracking this perfect recipe for homemade pitas, the possibilities to use it are endless. We have so far enjoyed these with hummus, herbed yogurt dips, grilled tempeh, sautéed vegetables, and curries… oh and even, guacamole once. So go ahead and make your combos, with no further doubts!