Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Weeknight Dinner in an hour and 30 mins.

This weeknight dinner can be made in an hour and 30 mins, starting from the bread. Of Course you have to multi task, otherwise, this is going to take atleast 2 to 3 hours :)

Mango / Avocado salad
Basic tomato soup.
Antique Bread.

Start with the Bread,
You will need a regular Loaf Pan.

Antique Bread:
You might think Antique is old, but here it really means there are no fancy ingredients in this bread.
Just plain old sugar, salt, oil, flour and yeast.
 Water 1 and 1/2 Cups
Oil 3 Tablespoons
Salt 1 and 1/2 Teaspoons
Sugar 3 Tablespoons
Bread Flour 3 Cups
Yeast - 2 and 1/2 Teaspoons
Vital Wheat Gluten - 1 Tablespoon
I also add 1 Teaspoon of Soy Lecithin and usually substitue 1 cup of Whole Wheat Flour in the Bread flour so it will be 2 cups white and 2 cup Wheat. You can make it 1 and 1/2 cups of each, but the bread will be dense and will not absorb the soup well.

Add the Ingredients in the order given and make a dough. I have a bread machine and make the dough in that. you have to knead for at least 20 mins and shape it in a loaf shape and place in pan let it rest for 30 Mins.
Pre heat the oven for 350 deg F and place in oven and take out after 30 mins or when a thermometer is inserted in to the middle part of the loaf and the temp is 200 degrees.
Let it sit for 20 mins and slice.
The more you let the bread sit, the better it is for the bread and the easier it is to slice. I have made two loaves.

Basic Tomato Soup
While the Bread is kneading and resting, you can start the tomato soup.
I use the Whole food brand Canned Tomato 32 oz
1 quart of Vegetable broth
4 to 5 Medium Size Tomatoes (Chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 large Carrot (Chopped)
5 Cloves of Garlic
Olive oil - about 2 Tablespoons
Spices - 1 bay leaf, and 5 peppercorns and 1/4 tsp cumin

Optional - I have used a Banana Pepper, which I had lying around in the fridge.
Salt to taste
In an Pan, add the oil and when its hot, add the garlic, cumin and pepper corns, and saute for a minute, then add the onion and saute for few mins until the color turns to a pale pink and then add the carrots and then add the tomatoes.
At this point, I usually pressure cook this. If you want to avoid that, then it should all come to a nice rolling boil and let sit for at least 20 mins. If you do this, then you might want to add water. In a pressure cooker , the items don't get dry.
Once the pressure is cooled, run an immersion hand blender ( I cant make soup without one) and make a puree. If you don't own one, then transfer the contents to a mixer or food processor.
Then add the broth to this and let it come to a slow boil.
Taste and add salt.

Mango / Avocado salad
1 Ripe Mango -- 1/2 sliced length wise in slit in half
1 Ripe avocado-- 1/2 sliced length wise in slit in half
1 JalapeƱo - 1/2
Red Leaf Lettuce -- 8 to 10 leaves
Walnuts - 1 handful, chopped
1 cucumber - slit in half and sliced.
Salt - as needed
Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
1/2 Lemon - squeezed
Ground Pepper - 1/2 teaspoon

Just toss everything in and serve chilled.

Manathangaali keerai / spinach

My friend Mrs. Raji Ramachandran grows this kind of greens in her backyard. We use the fruits (really tiny) as a side to many dishes, you can see the dry version here. This is very high in iron just like spinach. You would also cook it like any other spinach, south indian style.
However, this is a little different version, Mrs. Raji Ramachandran's version.

You wash the spinach and drain well. Cut in small pieces, keep aside. For 2 cups of spinach, you can use 1 cup of moong dal. Wash the dal, In a vessel, put the spinach, place the dal and add a little chili powder and salt on top. Do not mix. Place in cooker and let cook for atleast 3 whistles.
In a pan, add oil, add urad dal, red chili, cumin and let roast until you can smell the spices, don't burn them. Grind the spices with a little coconut and keep aside.
Once the pressure is off, put the spinach in the pan add the ground masala to this and give a tadka with mustard seeds, chili, and curry leaves. This will taste great with rice or hot rotis.

In the Picture Above, is a typical weekend lunch at out house, starting from left to right on top is
Rasam, White Rice, Brown Rice, Kovakkai (Tindora) Kari, Potato Kari, and Manathankaali Keerai.