Friday, August 23, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed Pattty Pan Squash

This week I received leeks and  a medium size patty pan squash in my weekly organic produce box from Tiny's organic along with the rest of the fruits and yummy veggies.. We don't cook with squash very often at home, so I didn't know what to do with it. Then I just remembered that last summer, when I received the squash, I had made quinoa stuffed squash and everyone enjoyed it.
So again, this year, I made the quinoa stuffed squash. It tasted very good. Even my 2.5 years old daughter loved it.
The squash has a mild sweet flavor, which blends very well with the herbs and spices added in quinoa.

A note before I get into the recipe: A lot of the recipes online call for boiling the squash in hot water for 20 minutes. I forgot to boil the squash. I stuffed it with the quinoa mixture and directly cooked it in the oven. It came out perfect. May be because my squash was very tender, or may be I was lucky:).

My TIP: If your squash is tender, i.e. you can cut the top of the squash very easily without applying a lot of pressure, then I think you can avoid the boiling step. Otherwise, pierce the squash at 1-2 places, and immerge in salted boiling water. Boil for 10-15 minutes until just tender. It should still hold its step pretty well. We are going to back it in the oven.

Here is the recipe.
1 Medium Patty Pan Squash (7-8 inch diameter)
2 Teaspoon Oil,
1/2 Cup Quinoa,
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Leek, Chopped, (Tough Greens Removed), You can use onions instead of Leek,
1/8 Cup Corn,
1/2 Bell Pepper, Chopped,
1/8 Cup Peas,
1/8 Cup Carrots, Sliced,
Salt to Taste,
2 Teaspoon Mexican Oregano, Crushed by Pinching Between the Thumb and the Index Finger,
2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder,
2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper, or to Taste,
3 Tablespoon Mexican Blend Cheese, + 1 Teaspoon for Garnishing, Shredded
3 Tablespoon Coarsely Ground Almonds


Preparing the Squash
With a sharp knife, cut out the top portion of the squash. Discard the top or keep it aside for decoration. Keep the bottom/flat portion intact.

With the help of a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the flesh of the squash. Discard the seeds, and chop the scooped out squash in small pieces.

To Cook the Quinoa:
Wash quinoa under running water. In a boiling pan, add the quinoa and half a cup of water. Add salt to taste. Set it on the stove. Once the water starts boiling, immediately turn the heat to low, and cook covered for 20 minutes, or until all the water is soaked up by quinoa. Cover and Keep aside.

While the Quinoa is cooking, heat 2 teaspoon of oil in another pan. Once it is hot, add all the veggies, chopped squash and salt. Stir and cook on medium flame for 2 minutes. Now add the cumin powder, crushed red pepper, and crushed oregano. Cook covered on medium-low flame for another 3-4 minutes or until the veggies are just tender. Again, we don't want to cook them until they are mushy. They will get cooked in the oven too.

Cook the Veggies:
Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees F. Take the veggie mixture off the stove. Add the hot quinoa too it. (If the quinoa has cooled down, then cook it in microwave for 30 seconds). While the mixture is still hot, add the cheese and almonds to it. Mix well until all the cheese is combined.

Place the cored-out squash in a deep baking dish. Stuff it with the cheesy quinoa mixture. Top it with 1 teaspoon shredded cheese.Cover loosely with an aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes if you didn't pre-boil it or 20 minutes if you boiled it earlier. Pierce with a knife to check doneness. You should be able to pierce the knife without applying much force.

Take out of the oven and serve hot.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dry Potato Subzi

Today is Shitala Satam, which means no cooking or heating food on stove today. We eat cold food today. All the food to be consumed today is prepared on the previous day. This day is called Randhan chhath.

Usually, dry curries and thepla/roti are made on Randhan chhath. Anything cooked that is water in it goes rancid easily, hence dry curries are preferred. I made Thepla, Dry potato subzi and Kabuli chana subzi. Thepla with dry potato subzi is my favorite combo:). Usually, I make Gujarati stype dry potato subzi, but this time I tried to add a little Marathi touch to it by adding dry coconut to the subzi. It tasted wonderful.

The following recipe will serve about 4 people.

3 Big Potatoes, Peeled and Cut into 1/2 inch Cubes
2 Tablespoon Oil,
2 Tablespoon Urad Daal,
1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds,
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds,
1/2 Teaspoon Asafoetida,
Salt, to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
2 Tablespoon Cilantro, Chopped
Water as required

To be ground
2 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds,
2 Tablespoon Dried Coconut
4 Dried Red Chilies (take 2-3 if you don't want very spicy curry)

Take all the ingredients listed in the to be ground section and grind to a coarse mixture without adding any water. Set aside.

Heat oil in a deep pan. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start crackling, turn the stove to medium-low, and let the seeds finish crackling. Now add the urad daal. Stir constantly to make sure that the daal doesn't turn brown. Cook for 30-40 seconds, or until the daal just starts changing color. Now add the cumin seeds and sesame seeds. Turn the heat to medium. Cook for another 20-30 seconds. Add asafetida. Immediately add potatoes and cover the pan. Let it cook for 15 seconds, then take off the lid and stir. Now add the ground masala, salt and turmeric powder. Add just enough water to cook the potatoes (just to cover the potatoes). Stir to mix everything. Make sure that the heat is set to medium. Cover and cook until the potatoes are done, i.e about 12-15 minutes. Make sure to check for water while the potatoes are cooking. Add more water (a little at a time) if needed. Once the potatoes are cooked, take off the lid, Add cilantro and stir. If any water is remaining, let it evaporate. Turn off the stove. Serve with Thepla or Puri.

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