Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto

Asparagus Pizza
This past weekend was pretty much a washout here in the Washington area. It rained in the morning, it rained in the afternoon, it rained in the evening and it rained all night. It rained on Saturday and it rained on Sunday. In fact, it even snowed for a couple of hours. Imagine.

Opie, who will not give up his walks for hail or high water, put his best face on the weather. On Sunday morning he went to his favorite trail, got soaked in the rain, sniffed around three other intrepid (and equally soaked dogs) who were also braving the weather, sat around on the slush-covered grass, and came home smelling like… wet dog. It took Desi the best part of an hour and multiple towels to dry him out.

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Asparagus PizzaWith Opie’s walk out of the way and not much else to do, it was time to get cooking. Something warm and comforting, like sunshine for the belly. And what’s sunnier than a slice of crispy, crusty pizza?

I have been dreaming of an asparagus pizza for months now, and I’d been dreaming of a potato pizza for even longer. Why not combine the two, I thought. I love the idea of potatoes on pizza — in fact, there isn’t a better substitute for cheese, in my mind. Potatoes are just as satisfying as cheese, most people love them, and icing on the cake, they are far healthier with no cholesterol or fat to worry about. Yes, they do have carbs but you are not eating so much potato here that you have to worry about that. In fact, there are just about four super-thin potato slices in each slice of pizza.

Besides, you have all that great healthfulness from the kale pesto that also goes on this pizza, making it super delicious and super good for you. In fact, this kale pesto is perfect not just for this pizza but for pastas as well. Try it and you’ll never stop making it.

Gotta run now, but here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!

Asparagus Pizza

Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • For the pizza dough:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the kale pesto:
  • 1 packed cup baby kale
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the toppings:
  • 20 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
  • 4 red bliss or yukon gold potatoes, sliced very thin (1/8th of an inch). Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water and let them stand 30 minutes.
Instructions
  1. Make the pizza dough:
  2. Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar or maple syrup in a bowl and set aside to activate the yeast.
  3. After five minutes, add the whole wheat flour and a cup of the bread flour along with salt.
  4. Knead by hand or on low speed in a stand mixer until the dough comes together. If needed, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time. You want a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Continue to knead for another five minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top. Cover loosely with a plastic bag or kitchen towel and set aside to rise and double, about 2 hours.
  6. Make the kale pesto:
  7. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until they have broken down into a fairly smooth paste. Set aside.
  8. Prep the veggies:
  9. Heat a large pot of water and add some salt to it, like you would for cooking pasta. Blanch the asparagus and the sliced potatoes by adding them to the pot of boiling water. Let them be for three minutes, then turn off heat, strain the vegetables and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  10. Assemble and bake the pizza:
  11. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it slightly to deflate, then let it rest for 10 minutes, covered.
  13. Roll out the pizza dough as evenly as possible to a diameter of about 15 inches. If the dough is too resistant, let it rest for a few more minutes, then roll.
  14. Transfer the pizza dough to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or, if you have one, a pizza peel also sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape and stretch again with your fingers if the dough shrinks. Using your fingertips, make dimples in the surface of the pizza. This will keep the pizza from forming air pockets when it bakes.
  15. Slather the pesto on the pizza, then top with the blanched slices of potato and asparagus spears. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top, if desired and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  16. Place the pizza directly on top of a pizza stone in the preheated oven or leave it in the baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is all crispy and golden.
  17. Remove carefully, slice, and serve hot.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 320 Fat: 5 grams Sugar: 4.2 grams Fiber: 6.5 grams Protein: 10.8 grams

 Asparagus Potato Pizza***

More pizza recipes at Holy Cow!

Basil Pizza

 Caramelized Onion Tart with Olives

Pizza topped with Tandoori Tofu

Ragda Pattice

Indian English speakers are usually tempted to change the spelling of this voluptuous street snack — always spelled ‘pattice’ at eateries– to the more correct ‘patties.’ But I say why spoil a good thing by forcing on it unneeded refinement?

There’s nothing proper about this bold, tarty street snack from the swollen crush of Bombay’s streets. It is a hodge-podge of random flavors and textures that no cook in their right mind would dream of putting together. There’s sweet here and spicy and sour and salty. And then there’s creamy and crispy and crunchy and crumbly. The final result is lush genius on a plate.

In Bombay, you can buy Ragda Pattice at the open stalls and carts lining the city’s long beaches and eat it standing right there, your feet burrowing into the soft sand and the sea breeze whipping your hair into a salty tango. Or, if you’re worried about hygiene and all that annoying stuff that gets between a foodie and his/her indulgences, you can order it at one of the city’s restaurants.


When I lived in Bombay, one of our go-to places after work was Vithal’s, a restaurant in the maze-like Fort area. Vithal’s offered almost every snack invented by the ingenious food hawkers of the city’s streets, and although you were sitting in an air-conditioned room that sealed you off from the humidly oppressive heat, the raucous laughter and voices of people young and old at the tables around you could easily make you think you were actually out there.

I had one colleague who never ordered anything at Vithal’s but Ragda Pattice. She was that person who, although a vegetarian since birth, ate no vegetables other than potatoes (doesn’t everyone know someone like that?). And although I can’t think of a veggie I don’t love, I can easily see why Malathy was so obsessed with the mighty Ragda Pattice.

The pattice in Ragda Pattice are two flat patties made of nothing but boiled and mashed potatoes, salt and green chillies, which are then pan-fried to golden perfection. The patties are placed atop a white-pea sauce, or the ragda. White peas are not actually white but rather beige, with a flavor that’s perfectly neutral and therefore perfectly wonderful for this dish, because here’s the secret to a perfect Ragda Pattice: you want the two building blocks — the ragda and the patties– to be as mildly flavored as possible without being bland. That way they can provide the perfect backdrop for all those delicious toppings that go on, like the sweet-spicy-sour tamarind sauce, the crispy, savory sev (tiny yellow squiggles of chickpea flour you can buy in a packet at an Indian store), the pungent onion and the lemony, leafy coriander.

Just so you get the full effect of eating the Ragda Pattice, I wanted to share with you a video of the streets of Bombay, shot beautifully and true to life in this evocative song from a late ’70s movie, Gaman. It’s the city through the eyes of one of those cabbies who ferry passengers around in little yellow and black cabs. The streets of Bombay today are perhaps more crowded and certainly more choked up with cars of foreign make, but you will get the idea. The gentle, pensive voice in the song belongs to Suresh Wadkar who, before he hit the big time, briefly taught music at my school, Arya Vidya Mandir. We kids would call him “Wadkar sir” and he was a really sweet guy.

Finally, here’s the recipe for this perfect comfort snack that’s impossible for even the finickiest eater to resist. Enjoy your weekend, all!

Ragda Pattice

Ragda (White Pea Curry)

Ingredients:

1 cup dried white peas (you can find these at any Indian store). Soak for about 6-8 hours or overnight and then cook until tender, either in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop. To cook on the stovetop, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender, making sure that the peas are covered with water all the time.

1tsp ginger and garlic paste (you can even skip this, but don’t use more than this because like I said before, you don’t want a too-strong taste to your ragda)

1 onion, minced

1 tsp chaat masala (also available at Indian stores)

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions. Saute over medium heat, adding a little salt, so the onions sweat and turn translucent but don’t brown.

Add the ginger garlic paste and give it a stir for about a minute to cook the paste.

Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and chaat masala, stir to coat with the oil.

Add the white peas and stir together. Add water if the gravy is too thick, because you want it to be fairly runny. Add salt. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.

Pattice (Potato Patties)

Ingredients:

4 medium russet potatoes, boiled in their jackets, then peeled and mashed

2 green chillies, finely minced

1/4 cup cornflour

Salt to taste

Oil or oil spray to coat the bottom of a skillet

Mix the potatoes and other ingredients and form into flat patties, about 2 inches in diameter. I got 14 out of mine, but your results could depend on the size of the potatoes you use.

Heat the skillet, coat the bottom with a thin veneer of oil and, when hot, place the patties about an inch apart. Let each patty cook about 2-3 minutes on medium heat or until the surface is a rich golden-brown. Flip over and cook the other side.

Date and Tamarind Chutney

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1/2 cup chopped dates (make sure you take out the pits)

2 tbsp tamarind paste or a ball of deseeded tamarind, about the size of a lemon (adjust this up or down depending on whether you like your sauce sweet or really tangy)

2 tbsp jaggery (an unrefined Indian sugar sold in blocks at Indian stores)

1/2 tsp cumin, roasted until a couple of shades darker, then ground to a fine powder

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

Salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, then cook, stirring, about 8-10 minutes or until all ingredients are really soft

Place in a blender and add more water if necessary. Blitz. You should have a fairly runny sauce.

Toppings:

1 cup fine sev (found at Indian grocery stores)

1 onion minced, mixed with 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander

To build you plate of Ragda Pattice, pour some of the ragda into a plate. Place two patties on it, then top with the tamarind chutney followed by the onion-coriander mix and finally with the sev.

Enjoy!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi is one of those dishes that you’re almost certain to find on the menu of any Indian restaurant– that’s just how popular it is.

It’s one of the simplest Indian dishes to make, yet hearty with the robust flavors of cauliflower and potatoes woven through with the delicious spice of cumin, coriander, chili powder and ginger. Aloo Gobi is also a supremely versatile dish– it goes beautifully with some parathas, chapatis, or just some dal-chawal (dal and rice).

I adapted this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. Jaffrey deep-fries the cauliflower and the potatoes separately, but I can’t be bothered with the fat and the time and fuss required to do this, so I just put my ingredients in one after the other. The result was delicious and healthier minus all the fat.

I’ve been rather busy these last few weeks, so I’ve been less chatty than usual. But keeping these posts short is not easy because I just love to vent at the keyboard :)

I didn’t want to let too many days lapse, though, before I shared another recipe, so here goes another short post.

Trust me, if at all you miss all the chatting (although I can’t imagine why you would!), it’ll be back soon.

Aloo Gobi
 
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Aloo Gobi or Potato and Cauliflower
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, cut lengthwise into thick fries
  • 1 medium cauliflower, florets separated
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. In a cast-iron or any other heavy skillet, heat the oil
  2. Add the potatoes and stir-fry over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are almost golden-brown and barely tender.
  3. Add the ginger and stir-fry for 10 seconds.
  4. Add the cauliflower and heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili powders and salt to taste. Mix well with the potatoes and cauliflower and then add ¼ cup water.
  6. Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid and cook on medium-low fire about 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the cauliflower is cooked but not mushy.
  7. Check salt, then garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  8. Enjoy!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Easy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Oven-roasted potatoes
I love potatoes, but then, who doesn’t?Even those folks who claim to “hate” veggies — believe it or not, they exist– usually make an exception for the simply spectacular spud. Fried, boiled, roasted or mashed, potatoes are always delicious.

The bad rep potatoes have earned over the years as being fattening and unhealthy is quite undeserved. Sure, a large serving of french fries is loaded with calories, but then no food would be healthy deep-fried- not even spinach. Besides, moderation is always the keyword. Eaten in satisfying but sensible portions, potatoes can be health stars– they contain good carbs, a ton of minerals, including potassium and manganese, that are located just under the skin (so don’t peel the spuds for maximum benefit) and other goodies like fiber and even protein.

I like my potatoes crunchy, but I also like them without too much fat. So I roast them with a little bit of olive oil, along with some simple spices like garlic powder, turmeric and chili powder, which gives them the crunch without adding unwanted calories. A spritz of lemon juice, a sprinkle of cilantro, and you have a wonderful side-dish that’s yummier than any order of french fries.

And this one’s not going to stay on your hips for a lifetime.

Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Easy Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Coriander and Lemon
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 medium red potatoes (you could substitute with white), cubed into 1-inch chunks
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt to taste.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • Wedges of lemon or lime
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients (except lemon and cilantro) on a baking sheet, making sure the potatoes are coated evenly with the spices and oil.
  2. Cover loosely with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and golden-brown.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and add cilantro. Serve with wedges of lemon and spritz with lemon juice just before serving (don’t add the lemon before serving as it can cause the potatoes to lose their crunch.)
This is my entry to The Potato: A Blog Event at Eating Leeds
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.