4 Insanely Simple Hacks To Be Kitchen Cool This summer!

Tags

, , , , , , ,

With the summer season upon us, we are trying out different ways to keep our cool and to look cool in soaring temperatures. But one place that always eludes our cool zone is the kitchen. Fire from multiple burner stoves, heat from the baking oven, latent heat from the fridge, and trapped heat from the steam of pressure cooker ensures that we all have a nice n steamy time in the kitchen, and not in a nice way! 😬

Steaming head

Let it out this summer! PC : http://www.daily mail.co.uk

And God help you if you enter the kitchen to poke around when Mom is at her sweatiest best, with hair and temper both flying high…

So here are a few quick ways to keep your cool, your Mom’s sanity and to restore the balance in the universe this summer! ☺️

  1. Ventilation: Throw open your kitchen windows and switch on your exhaust fans as soon as you enter the kitchen, even before you start with cooking. If you have a fan, or a chimney switch it on while you chop vegies, marinate, use the blender etc… actions that don’t require the flame to be on. Basically keep the cool air circulating for as long as is possible.
  2. Hydration: Keep yourself hydrated at all times. Make yourself a jug of lemonade and keep sipping a glass while you cook. And since it’s summer time, no one will fault you if you guzzle down the bright red, rose-flavoured Rooh Afza by the glassful. I personally prefer the Kokum Sherbet, while I know quite a few friends who are still crushing on Rasna! Whatever your drink, keep it non-alcoholic (just in case alcohol blocks your judgement of salt in your cooking, just saying!) and chug away. Alternatively, you could snack on a few sticks of cucumber with a little bit of black salt sprinkled on, or a few cubes of fresh, juicy watermelon which will cool you down instantly!
  3. Timing: Morning hours are cooler for cooking, so finish all your cooking and prepping, even for dinner, by around mid-morning. This will cut down on the discomfort you face cooking in higher afternoon temperatures, and will keep you looking and feeling cool in the evening for dinner too.
  4. Multi-cooking: Use as much of the table top/kitchen top appliances as possible to prep, chop, blend, steam etc. Stack up those bowls inside your pressure cooker or steamer and boil or steam your vegies, meats etc. at one go. This not only lessens the heat in the kitchen but also saves time and fuel/electricity. Get clever with the oven too… throw in your jacket potatoes, casseroles, roasts, breads etc. all at once, in different racks to keep track of time. This way you can leave the kitchen and sit under a fan or in the nice aircon room nearby, and count the number of pressure cooker whistles, or keep track of the timer in the oven without baking yourself up in the kitchen heat!

So thumb your nose to the heat outside. Try out these quick hacks this summer, and watch your cool quotient and your cooking  rise up in the cool factor, even as the mercury levels rise! 😀

 

 

 

Advertisements

Beet Greens – The best kept secret!

Tags

, , , , ,

 

Did you know Beet Greens or Beetroot Leaves are a thing?

beets

Beetroot and Beet Greens (Pic – fuelixir.com)

Rich in vitamins, high on fibre, low fat and amazingly versatile is what you get with Beet Greens. You can use the slightly-peppery, bright-green leaves with beautiful red veins as salad leaves, in place of, or mixed in with, lettuce. You can blanch them in hot water and drain and use the wilted leaves in Pilafs, Soups, Stews and Dals. You can make Indian ‘Saag’s or Curries with them, or add a texture to your everyday Sauted Vegies. You can even turn it into a yummy Pesto to use as a healthy dip for your lavash crackers or breadsticks, as a paste on bruschetta, or tossed in with your curly pastas as a pasta sauce. Got your creative foodie juices running?

And now for the best part…

Where I live in Bandra, I see shopkeepers and shoppers alike wrenching off the stalks and leaves of the beetroot and chucking them, before putting the blood red beet bulbs on the weighing scale to buy. Nobody wants them, because they don’t know what to do with them! So I always ask the guy behind the counter to fish out the discarded leaves for me, and I stand in a corner and pick out all the nice, crunchy, fresh good ones to bring home with me… absolutely free!!! 

Up until now, I guess, because by letting you into this secret, I am sure more and more people will start reaching behind the counter for those discarded greens, and the shopkeepers will get wiser.

But hey, I am all for sharing something good, and would love it if you shared your something good in return. Come, get creative with me… add your own Beet Greens recipes, drop in suggestions or ideas here. Let’s ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, and have some fun AND get healthy doing it!

Pictured here is my first Beet Greens Dish of the Week… I have used them simply as a zingy, green salad bed, topped with crunchy, fluffy Quinoa, and a slightly indulgent broth – a stewy mix of Pancetta and Peas – for this light and healthy meal-in-a-bowl! What’s your first Beet Greens dish?

IMG_5171

 

5 Food Trends You Can’t Run Away From in 2018

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

If you’ve had enough of the smoke and fire and bells and whistles popping out of your plate of food, and would prefer to be incommunicado with Avocado (yes, we all need a breather from the Avo craze!), then 2018 is the year for you.

God save the Green!

plants-vs-zombies-heroes-games-large-green-indoor-plantsgreen-pictures-plantscapes-peoria-il-of-planet-collard-greens-for-1024x725

Lack of hygiene, increased heart-related problems and growing awareness of inhuman conditions of animals for slaughter is making more and more people switch to vegetarianism and veganism. I truly believe that not all who turn Vegan are doing it for fashion by day, and wearing fur by night. Some genuinely have trouble digesting milk products. And some really do love animals enough to give up eating them. It’s about where you draw the line, right? For example, I can’t bring myself to imagine eating horse meat.

And then there is the ab-mad, protein-hungry world that could potentially be lured into having plant proteins instead of animal proteins, as long as their washboards are intact. So all in all, green proteins seem to be the win-win solution for all. Although I AM a wee bit worried about what this sudden mass attention to plants and plant based products is going to do to the green cover of our planet… Rise of the Planet of The Fish???

For Guts and Glory…

digestive-health-101-with-real-food-by-aglae-jacob-ms-rd-author-may-2014-37-638

Food that is gut-friendly is going to take off and so should you! From the Indian Idli to the Ethiopian Injera, from pickled gherkins to spicy Kimchi, from probiotic yoghurts to raw cheeses, kitchens all over the world will be clamouring to bow allegiance to your stomach and serve you gut-friendly, easily digestible, pro-health plates of food. So no more excuses for muffin-tops and meat-beards, know what I mean? 😉

Getting hyper about local food…

Look around you, see anything interesting? How about those little Green Peppers, or those tiny Sour apples, or those luscious Sea Buckthorn berries, or those Filbert nuts that only grow in your part of the world?  Grab those and make a dish out of them. Because these haven’t traveled halfway across the world covered in wax to finally make it to your plate, but are growing locally, often in the wild. Because by picking them up, you are making a teeny-tiny contribution to your local farmers’ and foragers’ well-being, and helping your community too. And, finally because you have the upper hand in having access to something unique, which others outside your area don’t. And that makes YOU unique!

Putting booze on the snooze…

lemon-water-gi-365-4

Finish up all that’s left in the bottles in all that’s left of the year. Because if you want to be in on it next year, you will want to be seen reaching for the Kombuchas and the Lassis and the Grape Spritzers at the bar or at the house party. Alcohol free is the new cool, and the new way to keep your cool. And even your serving water with fresh lime or orange slices, or sprigs of rosemary, in clear glass jugs at your home do is going to draw admiring glances…

Pretty please!

pink-latte

It’s the return of flower power. No, not a gun-controlled, terror-free, daisy-clad world, but a world of instagrammers who have the uncanny knack of making everything look droolingly appetising and mind-bogglingly beautiful. Maybe it’s a way of helping this bunch by giving them a natural, healthy tool to decorate their frames with. Maybe it’s a way to appease the ‘anti-bubblegummers’ – people who look down on those who love fruit flavours, and go for the next best thing, flower flavours! Or maybe it’s the striking visual of the barely-suppressed sexuality of eating Marigold, the Indian wedding flower, in Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding that will be perpetuated in the big fat Indian weddings. But the use of edible flowers to add colour, vitality and fun to food plating, and a more unique and ‘new’ flavour to food and beverages is going to be one helluva trend next year. So next time you’re at St. Regis’s Luna, ask for my special Elderflower Martini. And watch out for Hibiscus lattes at your corner cafes!

Here’s raising a toast to your great, green, clean, gutsy, flowery and YOUNIQUE 2018! Cheers!