Friday, February 25, 2011

Kra ... Kra ... Krazy for Kale Chips

I decided to go vegan this week. It's been surprisingly easy and I can already feel my pants getting looser. (Woo hoo!) While I this won't be a permanent thing, I'm def gonna try to limit my meat intake in the future. The best part of going meatless is discovering the immense variety of non-meat stuff that's out there. Kale! Swiss Chard! Tempeh! Yum. One thing I crave when I'm on the healthy train is a bite of something crispy and crunchy. I found this recipe for kale chips and it totally satisfies that craving. Enjoy!

1 bunch kale
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoons olive oil

(Optional: Red chili powder and cumin powder.)

Pre-heat oven to 350°F Rinse and thoroughly dry kale. Pull leaves from stem and tear into bite-sized pieces. Toss kale, salt, olive oil, and optional spices in a bowl. Place on cookie tray (be sure they are evenly spaced and not overlapping). Cook for 20 minutes until crisp. You'll know when they're ready when they turn a dark green and the sides turn up.

Who needs movie popcorn and Cool Ranch Doritos when you got kale chips? (Let's be honest, everyone. But these make a great, delicious, crispy 'n' salty substitute.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chai Time

It's been a rainy week in San Francisco and I've been hiding in my apartment sipping copious cups of tea trying to stay dry. In almost every Indian home, when the clock strikes four, the kettle goes on and life stops. If you're lucky, chai time comes with snacks. If you're really lucky, it comes with samosas. (I've been dying to try this recipe from Arthi Party for chicken and mango samosas.)

A classic cup of Indian chai is made from black tea (my favorites are Lipton Yellow Label or Taj Mahal), milk, and sugar. Masala chai (a version of which you get at a coffee shop whose name rhymes with Shmarshucks) includes a mixture of spices, mint, lemon grass, and ginger.

For the name-cards at our wedding, I made individual packs of tea bags and spices for each guest. I attached a note that read:

Tea for Two

There are few things better then chatting with somebody special over a cup of chai. We fell in love sitting on Danoosh’s balcony in Houston sipping cups of tea (or whiskey, vodka, or wine depending on the day).

6 whole cloves 

4 cardamom pods 

2 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces 

2 cups water 

1/4 cup milk 

1 tablespoons granulated sugar 

Crush the cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon. Transfer the crushed spices to a small saucepan, add water bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let steep for five minutes. Add the milk and sugar to the pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and drop in the tea bags. Cover and let steep for three minutes. Stir the chai, strain it into a warmed teapot or directly into teacups. Spice it up with mint, lemon grass, black peppercorns, or ginger. 

It's 4:12 pm. Chai time!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baked Butternut Squash, Bollywood Style

Since I'm attempting to be on the healthy train (it's true, marriage does make you a chubber), I've been having fun experimenting with different veggies. (My attempt at kale chips coming soon.) I'm madly in love with butternut squash. It's buttery yet hearty and sweet yet savory. I recently tried a recipe for butternut fries from, deeelish! I used that recipe as inspiration for this spiced-up Indian version. The results were addicting and amazing. 

What You Need:

One butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon red chili powder

What to Do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove peel and cut butternut squash into bite sized pieces. (If you're not comfortable cutting one, take a peek at this article for a quick how-to guide.) Toss squash in bowl with olive oil, salt, cumin, and chili powder. Spread squash on cookie sheet and cook for around 30 minutes, tossing once.

It's an exercise in simplicity, health and deliciousness. YUM!