Vegetables Au Gratin and Quick and Easy Cucumber and Tomato Salad

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So here, where I live, it is beginning to cool down and I can almost visualize the months to come when I will be cold and bundled up with socks and a coat. Anyways, when winter begins to come, I start to look towards more warm, rich foods to satisfy my body’s cravings. As the winter months become cold our bodies begin to store fat in order to stay warm throughout the cold winter. With this in mind, I am sharing a recipe today from the awesome cookbook Great Vegetarian Dishes by Kurma Dasa which you can purchase easily here: http://store.krishna.com/Detail.bok?no=721&bar=_shp_media-books

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Vegetable Au Gratin

Delightfully simple to make, Vegetables au Gratin is a great favorite on the wintertime menu at Gopal’s Restaurant (Melbourne, Australia).

Consisting of lightly steamed vegetables in a mornay sauce, topped with grated cheese , and baked in the oven until golden brown, it combines wonderfully with a light soup and bread accompaniment, such as Vegetable Soup and Wholemeal Bread.

Preparation and Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Yield: enough for 6 to 8 people

8 cups (2 liters) assorted vegetables cut into large bite sized chunks (try a selection from the following: cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, French beans, green peas, baby potatoes, asparagus, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato)
2/3 cup (165 ml) butter
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafetida powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) nutmeg
2/3 cup (165 ml) plain flour
5 cups (1.23 liters) warm milk
2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt
3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) ground white pepper
250 g (about 9 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon (20 ml) extra butter
2 tablespoons (40 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1. Lightly steam all the vegetables until they’re cooked but still a little firm.
2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the asafetida powder and nutmeg. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly.
3. Return the pan to the heat and bring the sauce to a boil, still stirring. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the salt, pepper, and half of the grated cheese. Add the steamed vegetables and mix well.
4. Spoon the vegetables into a buttered baking dish. Cover them with the remaining grated cheese and dot with little pieces of butter. Bake in a preheated hot oven (205 degrees C/400 degrees F) for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

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Quick and Easy Cucumber and Tomato Salad
[Recipe by Pishima]

As the above recipe is quite rich, I like to pair it with a nice salad to get some balance. When I say quick and easy I really do mean quick and easy.

1 large European cucumber
3 Roma tomatoes or other flavorful tomato
Lemon juice
Good quality olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Chop the cucumber and tomatoes into small cubes and place in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the bowl carefully omitting the seeds. Drizzle some olive oil on top and add a little salt and pepper.

Variations: you can also add other fresh fruits or veggies such as avocado, radish, carrots.

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Happy Cooking!

Pishima
pishima@krishna.com

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