The second week of the A to Z April Blog Challenge ends with the letter M. With Mother’s Day at our heels, my mom has been on my mind more than usual. In general, human beings tend to take the most important people in their lives for granted. And I know that I have been guilty of not being as grateful as I should be to the people who matter the most to me in my life, which is my parents and family.
It is in-grained in my mind – that my mother will always be there for me. Perhaps, it is the security of her love, or simply one of our weaknesses for being human. One thing I do know that if it wasn’t for my mom – I wouldn’t be here, period. The funny thing is that growing up, my mom didn’t cook for us. She had a full-time job and we had house keepers. Most people are raised with fond memories of their mom’s cooking. I think that sentiment skipped a generation in my family. My mom expressed our love through other ways. Most importantly, she expressed her love by being by our sides, no matter which path we took.
My mom’s mantra to us, ” this is the right path, that is the wrong one; regardless of what choices you make, I will always love you and be here for you”.
And till today, across continents, she is supporting me; whether it is to share a recipe, or to discuss new ventures; I know she is just a phone call away.
My mom and immediate maternal extended family are purely vegetarian; not even eggs are consumed in their diet. You can very well imagine what an ordeal it can be trying to cook with such stringent restrictions on a daily basis, especially for a person like myself who considers herself an omnivorous eater (who will eat just about anything cooked or raw). But with perseverance and practice, I have managed to create many a vegetarian dishes to please one of the most significant people in my life – MOM.
Enough mushiness, let’s talk about my passion: food. Since, this post is about my mom, sharing my mom’s favorite dishes that I cook for her seemed the natural course to take. Here’s me expressing my gratitude, mom – Thank you for making me who I am today!!
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
Pasta is a great canvas for any vegetarian’s palate. With the endless array of sauces one can create to dress the pasta, it suffices as a first preference especially in restaurants for most vegetarians. Of all the pasta dishes I create, my mother favors Puttanesca sauce the most. It is light, and ultra flavorful with the addition of fresh herbs and red chili. I of course, add extra chili when my mom is visiting.
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Pinch of sugar
- 6 Tbs. of parsley & oregano combined
- 6 anchovy fillets (optional)
- 1 Tbs. minced garlic, or to taste
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes (I used Indian dry red chili)
- 1 1/4 cups fresh basil, cut into thin strips
- 20 Mediterranean-style black olives, preferably Gaeta, pitted and quartered or sliced
- 1 lb. spaghetti (I use fresh pasta, feel free to play with the different pasta shapes)
- To make the tomato sauce, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to release its fragrance. Stir in the tomatoes and pinch of sugar, reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir fresh herbs and simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. You only need 2 cups of tomato sauce for this recipe. You can freeze the rest for another time or use it as pizza base too.
- Mash the anchovy fillets and 1 tbs garlic together. Saute over medium heat the fillets, garlic, and red chili flakes for a few minutes. Stir in 2 cups of tomato sauce, basil, and olives. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes.
- Boil the pasta as per the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Heat thoroughly.
- Serve immediately.
Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes Drizzled with Lemon Curd & Raspberries
As I have mentioned earlier, traditional Indian breakfast is savory and spicy, and hardly ever sweet. By contrast I find that breakfast dishes here in the States tend to me more sweet than savory, ranging from pancakes, pastries, fresh fruit medley, granola etc. Now my family adores pancakes and crepes, but it’s hard to appease them at times as most recipes tend to lean majorly on the sweet side.
I stumbled across this recipe by chance and it immediately won my family over. It’s light, airy, flavorful, with a hint of sweetness. In my opinion, I don’t feel the necessity to add any maple syrup, in fact if anything, maple syrup or honey would ruin this dish.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 lemon, zest and juiced
- Butter, for griddle
- 1 jar prepared lemon curd
- Fresh raspberries, for garnish
- Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
- Preheat a non-stick griddle.
- Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together the cheese, eggs, milk, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl. Whisk the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Brush the hot griddle with butter. For each pancake, pour approximately 1/4 cup measure of the batter on the griddle and cook on both sides until light golden brown. Repeat until no batter remains.
- Empty the contents of the lemon curd into a small saucepan and warm over low heat. Alternatively, remove the lid and place in a microwave oven and heat 1 minute at a time. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the curd over the pancakes, top with fresh raspberries, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Check out my favorite Brunch items at: