Cooking a basket of veggies!

Every week I get a big basket of organic produce from the local student farm. It is full of seasonal vegetables and my new year resolution is to waste not a bit of it! So it was down to business on Saturday – and I cooked up a storm.

1. Orange and purple carrots, striped beets, garlic, onion and cilantro:

These were destined for carrot soup. Here is the simplest recipe for a yummy carrot soup. Wash and roughly cut carrots (yes the striped beets can go in, purple beets may make the color too dark, but if you do not care, try that too!), one onion, an inch piece of ginger, 5 cloves of garlic and put into a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water. I love pressure cookers, but if you do not have one, boiling in a pot can work too. Add 1 tablespoon garam masala (bought at any local Indian grocery store), a tablespoon of ground coriander powder, and salt to taste. Pressure cook until the carrots are tender. (If you are making a list of ingredients needed add a bunch of cilantro, a can of coconut milk, and soy sauce to it – to be used later)

Next use a stick blender (a must have in any kitchen) to blend the carrots and beets into a fine consistency (can be less blended if you like your soup with veggie chunks in it). Set the pot to boil, and add a can of coconut milk and a dash of soy sauce – Tamari sauce if you have it, or regular if that is what you have. After the soup is boiled, taste to adjust salt levels, and then sprinkle finely chopped cilantro and add a dash of lemon juice.

You can freeze portions to thaw and drink later. Yummy!

2. Saag Paneer made with two kinds of kale, chard, mustard greens, and some spinach.

Chop an onion, and 3-4 cloves of garlic, grate an inch of ginger. Chop 3 large tomatoes into large chunks. Cut a packet of paneer (bought from the local Indian grocery store) into bite size pieces. Gather the spices – one tablespoon of turmeric, one of red chili powder (less for the faint-hearted), one tbs of coriander powder, one teaspoon of cumin powder, and one 1/2 inch cinnamon stick, 3 cardamom pods, and a teaspoon of black peppers. Heat a pan with 3 tablespoons of oil, throw in the whole spices and brown them a bit, then add in order turmeric, coriander, cumin and chili powder, and brown a bit, adding water if the spice mix sticks to the pressure cooker bottom. After the spices get fragrant add the onions, garlic and ginger and brown a bit, then add in the hand shredded leaves (with the stalks and tough middle portions removed). Stir fry for a few minutes, add salt, tomatoes and 3 cups water. Pressure cook until the tough greens are tender. Blend in the cooker, add the fresh cut paneer, and boil until it absorbs some of the flavor. Add a tablespoon of garam masala powder and a dash of lemon juice at the end. This sag paneer is bursting with flavor because the greens have so much of it!

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