Indian Delight!

It’s time for yet another veggie dinner, and we dined North Indian style courtesy of our distinguished chef, Archana! Why the distinction of North Indian (instead of just Indian), well, the cuisine of Northern and Southern India differs greatly in style and preparation. All I know is this: it’s all good eatin!!

The Menu

  • Roti
  • Subzi/Curry
  • Lime Rice
  • Drink – Organic, fresh squeezed apple juice from Whole Foods, yum!
  • Dessert – Mango sticky rice (prepared by Russel)
  • Chips – Kettle Cooked Salt & Pepper Chips (purchased by Avory)
  • Kachori – Purchased from little India. (thanks for the last minute pick up Sheldon!)
Lime rice:
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 whole Red Chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Mustard seeds
  • 6-8 Curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Channa daal
  • 1 teaspoon Udad Daal
  • 3/4th teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dry roasted Peanuts
  • Juice of 1 Lime ( not lemon)
  • Salt to Taste
  • A pinch of Asafoetida
Cook the rice (depending on what type of rice you choose, this may vary — we’re assuming you know what to do!) and allow it to cool. Tip: It is also a great way to use leftover rice.
Heat oil in a pot. Add asafoetida, black mustard seeds, curry leaves, chana daal, urad daal, and red chilies. Once the black mustard seeds start to sputter and the daals are slightly light brown add the peanuts, salt, and turmeric powder. Finally, add boiled rice, lemon juice, and mix it well. Serve at room temperature.
Aloo Matar:
  • 3 Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Peas
  • 1/2 cup Curd
  • Salt To Taste
  • 3 Green chillies
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala
  • Salt To Taste
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 Turmeric powder
  • Handful Pinch Coriander leaves
  • Some garlic
Boil the potatoes and peas. Cut half the potatoes into big pieces and mash the other half. Grind onions, chillies, garlic, ginger with little water to a fine paste. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fry till they pop up. Add the ground paste and fry until it is done. Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and mix well. Add the boiled potatoes, peas, one cup of water. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Add the beaten curd and cook on slow flame until a thick gravy is formed. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with parathas.



  • 1 1/2 cups sticky or sweet rice
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 mango

Add rice and 3 cups of water to rice/pressure cooker. While rice is cooking, in a pot, mix the coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla. Heat over medium heat and slowly heat the mixture to thicken the sauce. Stir often. Put rice in a bowl and add 1/2 to 2/3 of the coconut milk mixture over top of the rice and mix in with the rice. Let the rice cool down for an hour. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. Do the same for the remaining coconut mixture. Cut up mango in slices. To Serve: Scoop rice into a bowl, pour some of the coconut mixture over top of the rice (to desired sweetness) add mango slices.

As usual, there were many compliments for the chef and fabulous conversation! We learned a great deal about the town of Hershey, PA from our Hershey School alumnus, Chris. Ram, a Cricket aficionado, suggested we see Fire in Babylon, a movie about the legendary West Indies Cricket Team. I had NEVER heard of them before, what a treat! I can’t wait to watch this movie. Aside from the food, the Veggie Dinners brings a diversity of thought that is refreshing, entertaining, and educational! Next month, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, I will be preparing one of my favorite styles of food: Mexican!! I grew up in Nuevo Mexico, so I am excited to share this with my veggies. Until next time, happy eating!

Russel’s Favorites

This month we feast on a collection we like to call: “Russel’s Favorites.” Russel has been a vegetarian for almost a decade and he shares with us tonight his favorite dishes; Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Spinach Spheres, and Black Bean Soup/Stew. Dessert comes to us by the lovely Chris who bought Tiramisu from Fresh & Easy (hey we can’t cook EVERYTHING) and Peanut Butter Bread with Carob chips prepared from scratch by our host, Russel. Avory prepared the appetizer: Cheese Torta.

What will you need to recreate this delectable menu?


Cheese Torta

  • 1 jar of Sun dried tomatoes
  • 6 oz of Pesto
  • 6 oz of goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 12 oz of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese

Mix all of the cheese and sour cream (“whatever’s white” says Avory) with the butter. Saranwrap a round or square mold and spray with olive oil, layer sun-dried tomatoes on the bottom followed by the cheese mix, add a layer of pesto, and finally another layer of cheese mix. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Serve with your baguette of choice.

Black Bean Soup (From “Quick & Healthy: Volume II“)

  • 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or bullion cubes)
  • 2 cups of dried black beans (best to cook these the night before) — 45 minutes in a pressure cooker — fancy Russel!
  • 1/2 cup salsa, thick and chunky (we like whole foods 365 medium organic salsa)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Spinach Spheres (From: “Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen“)

  • 1 bushel of fresh spinach
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs or prepared crumb-style stuffing mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 2 Beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Steam the spinach until soft and drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the scallions. Cut off the root tips and top 2 inches of the green ends and discard them. Cut the remaining white and green parts into 1/4 inch pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Add both to the bowl containing the spinach.

Melt the butter or margarine in a small saucepan and add it to the bowl. Add the bread crumbs or stuffing mix, eggs, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly

Wash tomatoes, and slice. They should look like little coasters. Lightly grease a baking sheet or large baking dish with the oil and place the tomato slices on the sheet.

Divide the spinach mixture into 8 equal portions and shape each into a 2-inch ball (pretend you’re making snowballs). Put each ball into the center of a tomato slice. Bake for 20 minutes or until balls no longer look wet and are beginning to brown slightly. Serve immediately.

The number of contraptions used to make this meal was astounding! A pressure cooker, garlic mincer, food processor, “this double-tiered pot” also known as a steamer, a mixer…it’s cooking for engineers.

Dinner Reactions

“This Black Bean soup is phenomenal! It’s hearty, Beans beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, ahhhhhh. I have to do the Kobayashi wiggle” — Chris

“Oh…I’m full. The spinach ball was just amazing! I feel like I was eating at a 5-star restaurant. It was delicious to look at and delicious to eat!” –Avory

“Simply superb. What else can I say? Russel’s cooking is as adventurous as he is! You experimented and it paid off, it’s really good” –Archana

“Everything is quite satisfying..mmmm, mmm, mmm” –Sheldon

Join us next month as we continue our adventures in eating with our host, Archana who will prepare North Indian food, YUM!

Tortilla Soup

Today’s Veggie Dinner was hosted by Romero, Avory, and Dyan at casa de Thomas in Scottsdale! This is our first Vegetarian dinner of the new year and we are all excited for a cold-weather standard, Tortilla Soup! Served with romaine and spinach salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.


  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Ground cumin to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 4oz cans of chopped green chile
  • 5 14oz cans (or 4 cartons) of vegetable broth
  • 1 11oz can of whole kernel corn
  • 2 avocados
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Tortilla strips
  • onions (if desired)
  • Brown rice
  • Lime juice

Brown rice takes ~30-40 minutes to prepare, so it should be started prior to cooking anything else. Prep work of chopping vegetables can be done while rice is cooking. Chop the cilantro, garlic, and onions.

Add cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt (to taste) to the vegetable broth and add crushed tomatoes, green chile, and corn. Season to taste. To garnish the soup, add the cilantro, cheese, and avocados, voila!

Remember, healthy eating is happy eating!