“East meets West” Veggie Sloppy Joe


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I’m back…not that I went away or was doing anything fun…nope, like all normal mortals I went out and got a job!!! Adjusting took way longer than expected, but hopefully now that I’m settled, my family can go back to eating the way they were formerly used too!!!

When I was growing up, US was this place that everyone dreamed of going to, the pinnacle if you will!! All the shows featured things that to me were quintessentially American, at least to my young eyes…burgers, French fries, pizza, Cola and sloppy joes. I have always wanted to make them. …well eat them then!!!! I have made my versions of burgers, fries and pizza. I have also drunk more soda than I care to admit and have pleasantly found that I can live without it quite comfortably!!! The one dish that I have never attempted is the Sloppy Joe….I would love to give you a truly compelling reason as to why not but don’t have any!!!!

We recently got our kitchen cabinets renovated and for this I had to empty my kitchen….that’s a whole story in itself…picture this, summer vacation, three kids and all their friends traipsing in and out, entire kitchen sealed and blocked off, no dishwasher or stove, a borrowed microwave and entire kitchen in the dining room, lets not forget tripping over a skillet…sounds wonderful doesn’t it ?? Anyway, while moving everything back, I decided to take the opportunity and clean as I arrange…while arranging my cookbooks, I found notes on a recipe I had come up with for a sloppy joe. I was inspired by a recipe from Rachel Ray.

It’s a simple recipe…dont be alarmed by the number of indgredients…..I always seems to have a lot of indgredients…hmmm, need to work on that!!! Most are things you have at home. Sounds delicious doesnt it……meaty, earthy black beans sautéed with sweet, caramelized red onions and garlic, red chili flakes,warm spices, sweet and tangy tomatoes, all somehow enhanced by the color the peppers bring in!!! I served it on a simple burger bun, topped with pickled jalapenos and a simple slaw tossed with lime juice, salt and pepper. I’m calling it the “ East meets West “ Sloppy Joe as I combined Asian, Indian, Mexican and American ingredients.

It tastes divine….the beans provide the buttery …for the lack of a better word, bulk/meat, while the tomatoes, corn and sugar give it a hint of sweetness. The warm spices give it that exotic flair while chili flakes and jalapeno add a kick!!! The slaw gives it crunch ….so important to have different textures isn’t it? I love the umami flavor that soy adds….quite unlike any other and the pickled jalapeno and chaat masala give it a tang that takes it over the edge!!!!

“ East meet West “ Sloppy Joe

2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup finely chopped Red, Yellow and Green Bell Peppers

¼ cup frozen Corn

2 jalapenos, finely chopped

1 small Red Onion, finely chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp. Coriander powder

1 tsp. Cumin powder

½ -1 tsp. Red chili flakes

½ tsp. Chaat Masala

Salt to taste

¼ cup crushed Tomatoes

2 tsp. Brown Sugar

2 tbsp. Soy Sauce

Juice of 2 Limes

½ cup shredded Cabbage

¼ cup shredded Carrots

1 tsp. Sesame Oil

4 Burger Buns, split in half

Pickled Jalapenos for garnish

Cilantro for garnish

In a tbsp. of oil, sauté the onions and garlic on low heat until softened and slightly caramelized, 8-9 minutes.

Now add the jalapenos, corn and peppers and sauté for a further 5 minutes.

Add the coriander pwd, cumin pwd, chili flakes and salt. Sauté for 30 seconds.

Add the black beans and salt. Sauté for a minute.

Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, soy sauce and juice of 1 lime. Simmer for 6-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the cabbage and carrots with the juice of 1 lime, salt, pepper and sesame oil. Chill till needed.

To serve, toast the buns lightly so that it does not become too soggy.

Top with black bean mixture, then place a few slices of pickled jalapeno, then sprinkle the chaat masala lightly and top with the slaw and the other half of the bun.

Note: Chaat Masala is a mixture of Indian spices that has both a salty and tangy flavor. It consists mainly of dried mango pwd, coriander pwd, cumin pwd, black salt etc. Its widely available in Indian stores.

This is off to ” Meat Free Mondays “ at Tinned Toamtoes and ” Recipe of the Week “ at A Mummy too.


Campanelle Pasta with Cauliflower


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Campanelle Pasta with CauliflowerAtlanta is experiencing freezing rain and low temperatures…its not big news for most parts of the country…winter weather in winter!!!!! But for Atlanta, this is just not normal…though I do have to admit …every year it seems like winter is extending its time in this part of the country by a few more weeks!! Anyway, as a result schools are closed and I have been stuck home with kids who have excess energy to burn since they can’t go outside to run and play!!! There is also the drama that comes along with every meal..”this again, why can’t you make something different???” Its been hard enough making sure that a hot, home cooked meal is on the table every day when you’re trying to keep the kids from eating junk, making sure they have something to do other than watch tv constantly and close the door everytime a friend of theirs waltzes in , so that the house is warm!!! I’m ranting now aren’t I??? Oops, lets get back to the topic at hand….I was lucky enough to have done my grocery shopping before the roads iced over but that also presents a problem…too many choices!!! Bored with rice, roti, dosa etc., I decided to make pasta.

I didn’t want to use a tomato based sauce …quite frankly I’m bored of it!!! I also wanted it to be very simple…yes, it’s a holiday and I have the time but quite honestly I wasn’t in the mood to cook an elaborate dish…I had TV shows to catch up on, reading to finish, not to mention the list of chores that had piled up….you know going thru the kids closet and removing the clothes that don’t fit, cleaning out the basement shelves etc.……the ones that I’ve been putting off for weeks!!!! So out came one of my favorite veggies, also my go to veggie…cauliflower. I love the taste of roasted cauliflower….it somehow becomes more luscious and sweeter. I decided to go simple with just garlic, lime zest, lime juice and mint. I also added pine nuts for their buttery texture and crunch. I tossed it all with the ear shaped pasta called Campanelle. Interesting fact….boxers often develop what is known as Cauliflower ears after being boxed in the ears repeatedly. The edges curl and end up looking like the veggie. Not the image you want when you’re eating but it just popped into my mind and lets face it I’m rambling today!!!! The pasta, however, has a ruffled edge and looked more beautiful and appetizing to eat!!!!

Campanelle Pasta with Cauliflower

It was delicious pasta..light with floral notes from the lime zest and a punch from it too. The roasted cauliflower was luscious but had some crunchy bits too. Mint made it fresh and added an herbaceous note that elevated this simple dish. Raisins added sweetness and pine nuts gave it more crunch. I left the garlic and cauliflower on the stove for a couple more minutes than I anticipated…a series of “ mommy “ calls do that!!! I was worried that I had burnt it but the low temperature had instead roasted it resulting in an addictive mixture that had both V and I fighting over those bits!!!!

Campanelle Pasta with Cauliflower

2 cups Cauliflower florets, cut small

3-4 cloves Garlic, minced

1 tsp. Red Chilli Flakes

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

3-4 Tbsp. Golden Raisins

3-4 Tbsp. Pine nuts, lightly toasted

3-4 tbsp. Mint, cut in a chiffonade

Juice and Zest of a Lime

Salt to taste

½ ib. uncooked Campanelle pasta (any short pasta will work)

First, get the water for the pasta on the stove. When it starts boiling, add salt and cook the pasta. (Now in my house it goes pasta al dente by a little bit as that’s how they like it but al dente basically means its cooked but still ahs a chew when you bite in)

Sauté the garlic in the olive oil along with the red pepper flakes. (I like spicy food, but if you do not use half the amount or even less)

Add the cauliflower and sauté over low heat until the garlic is golden brown and the cauliflower is soft but still holds its shape. (I leave it in a single layer without stirring which gives it a blistered look reminiscent of oven-roasted cauliflower)

Add the lime juice, salt, lime zest, raisins and pine nuts. Sauté another 2-3 minutes.

Toss in the cooked, drained pasta and mix well. (When draining the pasta, I don’t do a good job…there’s always some cooking liquid left and this provides a sauce for an otherwise dry pasta dish)

Add the mint and serve.

Campanelle Pasta with Cauliflower

This is off to “Cooking with Herbs- Winter Herbs” at Lavender and Lovage  and “Pasta Please – Veggie Pasta” at Knead Whine.