Indian Style Green Beans

A quick and easy one today. This green bean recipes comes courtesy of my mom. My favorite way to eat green beans has always been stir-fried with garlic, then steamed for a few minutes with soy sauce and rice vinegar.  But even that gets boring after awhile and this recipe is a a great savior in that regard.  The spices play in the background, never overwhelming your taste buds like some other Indian dishes can. A squeeze of lemon adds brightness and it’s so much fun to listen to those mustard seeds pop in the hot oil!

The only point where mom and I disagree is texture. I like my beans crisp, fresh, crunchy, just warmed through. A satisfying snap when you bite into each one. Mom prefers a soft, limp bean that barely needs chewing. I tend to think they’re soggy and mushy, but I’m not gonna knock it because the flavors are that good. They will seduce you no matter how long you steam them.

Read the recipe and the rest of the post here…

Easy Red Cabbage Slaw

If you want to talk about a tasty and easy side dish, this is it. 6 ingredients and minimal prep time. You just need to let it hang out in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to a week. If you let it sit a day or more, the cabbage actually becomes lightly and pleasantly pickled. It’s nice to serve with spicy meals since the acidic bite helps calm some of the heat.

I know a lot of people like to shred or grate cabbage to make slaw, but I’ve noticed that releases a lot of moisture that tends to pool at the bottom of the bowl. I prefer to thinly slice the cabbage and then cut down any pieces that are too long. It’s still pretty easy to eat, but I don’t get that problem of liquid coming off the slaw.  The recipe calls for the addition of carrots, but it’s just as good without them.

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Quick Pickled Radish and Onions

quick pickled radish and onions

I’ve recently developed a love for pickling things. It’s so easy! You just make a brine and throw your veggie right in. Let it sit overnight and presto! Pickles! I’ve never bothered with canning or jarring things – it seems too complicated and you have to buy all this specialized equipment that I just don’t have any space to store. My pickles won’t last for years in jars, but that’s OK because I make small batches and eat them up very quickly. The great thing is you can pickle in any glass or ceramic container covered in plastic wrap.

This recipe uses ume plum vinegar, which is a beautiful garnet colored Japanese vinegar. It’s used to pickle umeboshi plums and the red color comes from shiso leaves. It’s acidic, as vinegar should be, but it’s also very salty. That’s why this pickling brine doesn’t call for any salt itself. If you can’t get your hands on ume plum vinegar, a good substitute would be an equal amount of cider vinegar and a tablespoon of sea salt.

The pickled radishes and onions are crunchy, sour, salty, and sweet. They could be good as a side to a hot and spicy dish, but I like them as a snack on their own. They only require a couple of hours to pickle and they last for about a week in the fridge. Taste them after about 8-10 hours.  If they are starting to get very sour, remove them from the brine before they become too sour.

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Simple Cucumber Salad

Sometimes it’s tough incorporating vegetables into dinner. You’ve spent all this time preparing and marinating a meat dish and the veggies are just an afterthought. It’s times like those that I make this cucumber salad. Not that cucumbers are the most nutritious vegetable. Sometimes we’ll chop up some cherry tomatoes or slice some red onions into here. But it’s a quick way to add a cool and crunchy side to dinner. Or a quick snack.

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Balsamic Roasted Green Beans

I love green beans. I usually make them the same way every time (sautéed with garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar and hot sauce), but I thought I would try something different this time. Roasting with balsamic vinegar and honey gives them a sweet and mellow flavor. The onions and walnuts are a great complement to the beans. I would prefer them crunchier since that texture is one of the reasons I love green beans so much, but I know I wouldn’t be able to get the same deep flavor as I got in this recipe without roasting them.

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Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This black bean and corn salad is a great side dish to include with a Southwestern or Mexican meal. It’s hearty, healthy and quick to prepare. The leftovers are delicious and it keeps well in the fridge. It’s also gorgeous with all those colors. Next time I make it, I’ll be sure to use a red bell pepper for even more color. I only had a yellow one this time so it blended in with the yellow corn. I served this alongside a chipotle-lime chicken dish. The use of cumin adds a smoky undertone and the lime juice really brightens the other flavors.

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Roasted Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

I served these vegetables alongside the tandoori-style chicken. Roasted cauliflower is completely different from the raw stuff. The flavor is sweet and a little nutty and very pleasant. I roasted these for twice the time called for in the recipe, just to make sure that the cauliflower flavors developed nicely. Yukon Gold potatoes are great because they hold their shape while roasting – Russet or Idaho potatoes would fall apart if you kept them in the oven this long.

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