Vegetarian Concoctions

February 27, 2007

Potato and Leek soup

Filed under: Barley, Celery, JFI, Leeks, Mixed Veggies, Orzo, Parsley, Potato, Soup's on, Soups — Hema @ 4:43 pm

It is crunch time!  I did’nt realize February has but 28 days. It has been a busy month and I have missed out on posting a strawberry treat for AFAM. Reading my previous post on hot and sour soup, Asha suggested that I send my soup for Alanna’s “Soup’s on” event. I sent in the link to Alanna without even mentioning the event in my post:) hehe…stupid me. That, obviously is not acceptable. So, here is another soup that I brewed up keeping in mind the deadlines for two events: the “Soup’s on” and ……..yeah, you got that right “JFI-Potato“. This time, it is my chance to say ‘Ek pathar se do shikaar‘(two prays with one stone). I mixed and matched ingredients from 4 different recipes in 3 different books (Potato, leek and pea soup, Spinach and orzo soup, spring soup with barley and leak and carrot soup). Hence, the recipe is very versatile and additions and deletion can be made according to taste…just make sure you use the potatoes and leeks though, if you want to retain the name on it. Potato gives the soup its texture and leek its fabulous flavor. Here is what you need:


Potatoes – 2 nos medium sized

Leek – 1 no

Bay leaves – 2 nos

Red onions – 1/2 medium sized

Garlic – 2 cloves

Parsley – 1/2 bunch

Celery – 1 stem

Barley – 2 tbsp uncooked

Orzo – 2 tbsp uncooked

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Water – 5-6 cups

Chop up the potatoes, leeks and celery to 1/2 inch pieces. Heat up olive oil and saute the onions till they are translucent. Add the garlic and bay leaves and saute for a minute. Add all the veggies and cover it up with water. Add salt and let this simmer away till the veggies are cooked well. Take half the soup out, let it cool down and then puree it. To the other half that is on the stove, add uncooked orzo, barley and chopped parsley. Continue cooking till the pasta is done. Dilute it further if required. Now add the pureed half and add salt and pepper according to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.


September 1, 2006

Minestrone Soup

Filed under: Italian, Mixed Veggies, Soups — Hema @ 3:16 pm

I love drinking soups. Drinking? or is it eating? Hey! do we eat or drink soups? hmm……

I just got back from a google search hoping to find a good answer. I thought I could do two searches ‘eat soup’ and ‘drink soup’ and decided to go with the one that generated more links with the phrase. I typed in ‘eat soup’ first. Some links popped up but I did not get a convincing answer. ‘Drink soup’ was typed in next, and Lo behold! the very first link said – Google answers: Do you eat or drink soup?. Apparently people have been smarter  than me and thought about this before:)…and long live google. Forget the internet, I dont think I can think of life without google. Soup, as I understand, is eaten. Mainly because you dont pour it into a beverage glass and gulp it down (though I do it a lot of times when I have left over soup). It has to be relished with a spoon, sip by sip. The second important reason being, more often than not, it has veggies that have not been pureed. So is the case with minestrone soup. Definitely not one of the soups that can be drunk…not even leftovers. It is a wholesome, nutritious and delicious meal in itself. Here is the recipe.
Blanched, peeled and Chopped tomatoes                     1 cup

Chopped Onions                         1/2 cup

Corn kernals                               1/2 cup

Peas                                          1/2 cup

Diced Carrots                             1/2 cup

Chopped Yellow squash               1/2 cup

Chopped Zucchini                       1/2 cup

Chopped Celery                          1/2 cup

Pinto or Kidney beans (Rajma)     1 cup

Fresh basil leaves                       8 – 10 nos.

Dried Basil                                 1 tbsp

Dried oregano                            1 tsp

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Sugar                                       1 tsp

Butter                                      1 tbsp

White vinegar                            1 tsp

Small shell pasta                        1/4 cup (uncooked)

Olive oil                                    2 tbsp

Chop all the vegetables into about 1/2 cm pieces. Heat up the olive oil and saute the onions till they are transparent. Add the tomatoes and cook them till they are soft. Add the remaining veggies. Add enough water to cover up the vegetables and put a lid on the pot. Let this simmer on a medium heat till all the vegetables are well cooked. This should take about 20-25 minutes. Mash it up lightly with the spoon. Dilute the soup if you like it more watery. Infact, using vegetable broth instead of water is a good way to enhance the flavour of the soup. Add the dried basil and oregano leaves, salt, sugar, pepper, vinegar, butter and the beans. The canned beans work just as well. Make shell or any small size pasta according to package instructions. I break up spaghetti into very small pieces if I dont have any other small pasta. The cooked pasta goes in next. Finally add in fresh whole basil leaves and stir the soup lightly. Make sure you do not mash the beans or pasta. Serve hot with bread.



August 29, 2006


Filed under: Cheese, Italian, Mushroom, Pasta, Spinach, Sundried Tomatoes — Hema @ 3:32 pm

Last week when we were at our local grocery store, my husband complained that they had stopped selling his favourite sun-dried tomato ravioli that used to be one of his staple meals before marriage. I guess the store decided that since he was now married and had a wife who could cook, they didnt need to make his favourite ravioli anymore. Blame it on me or on the store, the most obvious thing to do was to make my husband say ‘I dont miss the store bought ravioli anymore’. I remembered one of the episodes of Everyday Italian on Food network, in which Giada made spinach and sausage ravioli with wonton wraps. Ah! brainwave!!! Back home with a packet of wonton wraps and my brain loaded with brilliant ideas, I opened my pantry to find I was out of sun-dried tomatoes!! I should have thought about that. The closest thing to sundried tomatoes was a bottle of sundried tomato pesto that I use in pastas. I found my imagination at work again and came up with very simple ‘can do this after work’ recipes for two kinds of raviolis – Sundried tomatoes and Spinach-mushroom. Here are the recipes:

Sundried tomatoes filling

Sundried tomatoes pesto                      4 tbsp

Grated Cheese any kind (I used cheddar + mozzarella)        3/4 cup

Mix the above 2 ingredients and that’s that!

Spinach – mushroom filling

Basil pesto                                          3 tbsp

Spinach cooked, chopped and drained   1/2 cup

Mushroom                                          1/4 cup

Crumbled paneer or riccotta cheese       2 tbsp

Make sure all the water is drained from the spinach. It should be nearly dry. Mix the above ingredients.


Preparing the ravioli:

Lay a wonton wrap on a cutting board. Place a spoonful of filling in the centre. Place another wrap on top of it and press it in lightly. Make sure the filling doesnt creep out of its designated area. Add about 2 tbsp of water to 1 tbsp of all purpose flour. Use this to seal the edges (you could also use eggwash). Press edges tightly and make sure there are no gaps. You could use a ravioli cutter and trim the edges for a store made finish. I just pressed the edges down with a fork.


Boil water in a big pot and drop in the raviolis 5-6 at a time. It takes about 4 minutes to cook up a batch. Once you take them out, rub some olive oil on each of them, else they tend to stick together.


Mix this with your favourite pasta sauce and you are done!


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