Persimmon Smoothie

Persimmon Smoothie

Its been a long time since I posted here.

It was an intentional sabbatical. Too many things happening in real life. A new job, becoming parents to 2 kiddos with no life lines (aka parental support as grandparents went back home), vacations, Varun’s K school tours. We were being stretched in too many different directions.

But now that things are bit under control and we have a semblance of a routine, I am back.

You see, persimmons are in season. If you don’t know about them, you are truly missing out on a unique fruit. Rock hard and bitter when raw but soft and fragrant when ripe, this fruit is pure sugar. I am surprised it is not used in place of applesauce.

I accidentally picked a persimmon instead of an orange at work from the fruit basket. Realizing my mistake too late, I left it in the bag and then set it on the counter for a few days. The fruit visibly softened over days.

Persimmon Smoothie

And having read about their legendary sweetness, over the weekend, I decided to make it into a persimmon milkshake (aka smoothie) on the lines of “chickoo” milkshake.

Within minutes there was a creamy smoothie that was naturally sweetened. Delicious. It was gone in no time.

I wished we had more ripe persimmons on hand to make into persimmon chutney, ice-cream or sorbet. Or just more smoothie as my husband suggested.

Luck be hold when I came early to office last Monday morning and there were 2 ripe persimmons sitting in the week old fruit basket. The admin said I could take them as they would toss the old fruits out and replace them with this weeks fruit.

I eagerly took them home. Another one was made into a smoothie and the one last one was added to a kale salad – which is another winner winter recipe.

Rathi (a dear friend and a fellow foodie) visited us couple of leeks ago and eagerly told me about her cousin’s backyard persimmon tree loaded with fruit. If that was my backyard, the fruit would probably be all eaten up. These two persimmon recipes ( and my foray back to blogging) is thanks to Rathi’s enthusiasm which rubbed off when they visited.

Without further ado, a simple 3 ingredient persimmon smoothie recipe below.

Chop, whirl and drink. It doesn’t get easier than that.

Persimmon Smoothie Recipe

  • 2 ripe persimmons diced
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 -2 teaspoon yogurt
  1. Blend all the ingredients till smooth. Serve immediately.

P.S.- I made this in my magic bullet – which makes serving and clean up easy. If you don’t have one, truly consider getting one this holiday season. That and a crock pot truly make everyday cooking a breeze!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kid Approved Sweet Potato Chips

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Sweet potatoes. Its one vegetable that has featured in our house only during fasts and in “introduction to solids” phase. Mom used to grate sweet potatoes and pan fry it with peanuts and cumin and salt. Along with Sabudana Khichadi it is on approved food during fasts and eagerly relished by me and my brother. When Varun started solids, sweet potato puree was one thing he used to love. I don’t think sweet potatoes are common as first baby foods in India but they are staple here in US.

Now Vihaan is in that stage of life. Solids, trying to pick up chunks and shove it in his mouth. He drools and coo’s. And along with spinach, pumpkin and apples, we have sweet-potatoes in his menu. I bought a bunch of sweet potatoes at the farmers market and decided to make them into chips – inspired the many Pinterest pins and the Whole Foods Vegetable Chips.

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Baked with olive oil and salt, they have no added ingredients. Other than slicing the sweet-potato it is fairly hands-off. It is crunchy, colorful and healthy. A bunch of them in a paper cone was an interesting afternoon snack. Well, whats not to like about crunchy, colorful snack!

I have read the same method works with beets as well. Thats what I am going to try next!

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Sweet Potato Chips Recipe

  • 1- 2 sweet potatoes, washed and sliced 1/4 ” thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika or cumin (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl toss the sweet potato slices with olive oil, spices and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. On a pre-lined baking sheet, layer the slices in a single layer
  3. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes till the chips crisp and curl up on edges.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Zucchini & Zucchini blossom Soup

Zucchini Blossoms Soup

Summertime, fresh Californian produce, farmers market and fresh air. What do they all have in common?

Nothing much, per se, but they all provide a lot of inspiration of fresh and healthy meals.

Last week while we were at the Fort Mason Farmers Market, the vegetable stall was a riot of color. I saw orange-yellow squash blossoms stacked next to green and yellow zucchinis and red tomatoes. The  colors were inviting and I picked up a bunch of flowers. Vipul eyed me and the flowers suspiciously. I told him I am going to make some zucchini blossom fritters. He asked me if that was all for dinner or there was “real” food as well along with it.

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Vegetarian Thai Green Papaya Salad

Vegetarian Thai Green Papaya Salad

When we lived in Redmond, Thai was our staple food. SilverSpoon and Chantanee were our favorite restaurants there.
Most of the sauces and dressings in Thai food have fish sauce and dried shrimp. But these two places made a vegetarian version with soy sauce.My parents loved Thai food there as well. Even my aunt who is a staunch Indian food lover and hasn’t taken to any other cuisines, liked Thai food at SilverSpoon when we took her out there while she was visiting.

Vegetarian Thai Green Papaya Salad

Vegetarian Thai Green Papaya Salad

This is our attempt to ward off the Sunday evening blues and make a tasty healthy salad that is vegetarian to boot.

Spicy. Salty. Sour. Slightly Sweet.

Crunchy. Colorful.

Thai Green Papaya Salad is the Salad to master all Salad’s. When the going gets tough and you crave something that’s not boring or diet food like then this is the salad to go to.

Fortunately Green Papaya is easy to come by in an Asian market. We live near Chinatown so Dad could get one easily. It probably is a GMO version from Hawaii. But I doubt I will find a green non-GMO papaya in US.

Vegetarian Thai Green Papaya Salad

If you don’t find a green papaya, green apple, turnips, chayote squash or even cucumber are excellent substitutes.

The sweet, sour and spicy dressing can be customized per taste. Supposedly, leftovers taste even better but we never have had any to confirm!

I served the salad with lemon garlic shrimp. It was a great dinner salad that we could have  over and over again. Even Dad was big fan!

Give it a try this week. It’s bound to make your spring even more colorful!

Vegetarian Thai Green Papaya Salad

Vegetarian Thai Green Papaya Salad Recipe

For the Salad 

  • 3 cups grated green papaya ( peeled and de-seeded)
  • 1/2 cup blanched green beans cut into 1 inch segments
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 – 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 8 – 10 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onion greens

For the Dressing

  • 1/3 – 1/2  cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup coarsely ground dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon finely grated jaggery or palm sugar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoon sriracha sauce 
  • 1 – 2 thai green chili minced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon spring onion whites finely minced
  • Salt to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients of the dressing in a bowl and set aside.

Start with smaller amounts of lemon juice, thai chilli, sriracha sauce and jaggery/palm sugar. Taste and adjust for sweet/spicy/sour notes.

2. In a large bowl, add the grate green papayas and green beans. Lightly pound them with a pestle ( or a rolling-pin or back of a heavy spoon) till they are bruised but not broken into a pulp. This allows the papayas and beans to “soak” the dressing as without it the salad is pretty bland.

3. Then add the mung bean sprouts, carrots, tomatoes and spring onions.

4. Add the dressing and toss it till well mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings again. You may need to add more lemon juice, sriracha sauce , jaggery/palm sugar and/or salt.

Let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to meld.

Serve with garlicky shrimp or chicken. Nom! Nom!

 

St Patricks Day Parade and Smoothie (aka Green Smoothie)

St Patricks Day Parade

I  am behind schedule. It was St Patrick’s Day last Monday.

With a new baby, sleepless nights and constant nursing its hard to keep track of days; let alone weeks.

Nevertheless here I am posting about  St Patrick’s Day Parade that Vipul took Varun to last weekend. It was a MardiGras meets Halloween meets St Patrick Day.

When they reached the corner of 2nd and Market Street, Varun, who had been earlier to Chinese New Year Parade, asked loudly, “Where are the Chinese?”

Red faced, Vipul tried to distract him. Luckily, it wasn’t too hard to distract him as the parade with colorful floats, bands and dance troupes started making their appearance. Folks threw beads and candy at the crowd which were happily collected and donned.

Varun marched alongside the bands and played imaginary drums.

He had a ball.

St Patricks Day Parade

St Patricks Day Parade

St Patricks Day Parade

St Patricks Day Parade

St Patricks Day Parade

St Patricks Day Parade

At home, Vihaan and I stayed put. I didn’t want to take him out in the crowd. I couldn’t really have a beer so I made myself a Green Smoothie to celebrate.

St Patricks Day Smoothie

Healthy, green, delicious to boot. Not too sweet or tart. Perfect.

I would be lying if I say you should have it instead of beer but if you can’t/don’t drink and yet need something green, then this will do. Or at least will work for times when you can’t drink beer (like breakfast).

St Patrick’s Day Smoothie Recipe

  • 1 ripe Kiwi , peeled
  • 1/2 ripe Banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen Spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup frozen peaches, roughly chopped
  1. Add everything to a blender and whirl till everything is smooth.

Serve immediately.