Sunday, May 29, 2016

Big Batch Vegetable Hash & Masala Omelets

For a few weeks, I couldn't seem to choose any books or TV shows or movies that I could really sink my teeth into. I flipped through magazines and half-heartedly watched some reruns of Frasier and Murder, She Wrote.

Then this week, a really good book and two great documentaries came my way.

The book was a graphic memoir, Blankets by Craig Thompson. As always, I am in awe of a talented artist who can bring emotions to life with detailed brushstrokes and not too many words. This is a honest and often painful story of growing up and of first love. This particular panel on the left resonated strongly with me!

I watched two memorable documentaries on Netflix streaming.

Waking up in the morning and going to school is a rather routine part of a dozen years of a kid's life- several of our neighbor kids here take the iconic yellow school bus, while Lila like many other kids gets dropped off to school in a parent's car. Going down memory lane, V's school was next door to the building that they lived in and he tells of hearing the 15-minute warning bell, and using that as his alarm to hop out of bed, brush his teeth and race to school. Apparently he slept in his school uniform to save time in the morning! I remember taking an autorickshaw to primary school- believe it or not, 12 little kids and their heavy school satchels would be crammed into one autorickshaw for the ride to school and back, fitting into that impossibly tiny space like clowns in a car. In secondary school, I rode my bike (red BSA-SLR) to school clear on the opposite end of town. It seemed grueling at times, riding a bike over hilly and potholed roads while dodging chaotic traffic and trying not to gag next to trucks belching exhaust. The school uniform was a thick navy blue pinafore seemingly designed to absorb every burning ray from the tropical sun.

All of this paled to nothingness when I watched the 4 kids in the documentary On The Way to School. The documentary follows 4 kids (11 and 12 year olds- middle schoolers) as they make their way from home to school. A Kenyan boy and his sister walk 10 miles over the Savannah dotted by wildlife, carrying jerrycans of precious water dug up from the ground. An Argentinian boy and his sister ride a horse through desolate plains. A Moroccan girl hikes with her friends over winding mountain roads for hours, then has to hitch a ride to school when she gets into town. An Indian boy in a ramshackle wheelchair is pushed to school by his two little brothers. We just watch these 4 journeys (there's no commentary or lecturing whatsoever) that are everyday life for these small, beautiful children but are in reality heroic journeys that they undertake to get what every child deserves by right- a chance to go to school and learn. The NYTimes review is here.

Attacking the Devil is a very different style of documentary but just as heart-piercing. Thalidomide is a drug that I remember first learning about in an undergraduate developmental biology class as a classic teratogen- it causes severe birth defects in fetuses. The full story of thalidomide, covered in this documentary, is shocking and tragic- from how it was developed in Nazi labs, how war and other factors came together to make it a very poorly tested drug that was given willy-nilly to pregnant women as a harmless remedy for morning sickness for a few years, until it was realized with deep horror that it caused malformed limbs in the babies and worse. The company marketing the drug (a distillery, of all things) refused to accept responsibility, while the British government of the day sided with corporate interests. Harold Evans, editor of the Sunday Times in London, ran a brave, prolonged and unstinting campaign to gain recognition and compensation for the families affected by thalidomide. This is an amazing story of history, medicine, journalism and the best and worst of the human spirit. The Guardian's review is here.

What are you reading and watching these days?

Today, I'm sharing a rather simple recipe, one I've made for about three weekends in a row when we had friends over for brunch. A favorite morning dish in our home is vegetable hash with masala omelets. For just our family, this vegetable hash is easy enough to make in a cast iron skillet on the stove. For a bigger batch, it is nice to pull out a baking sheet or two and make a whole lot at once.

Big Batch Vegetable Hash

1. Preheat oven to 400F (use convection bake/roast setting if your oven has it)

2. Cut into bite size, any mixture of these veggies:
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Bell peppers (green or any colors)
Onion
Zucchini
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts

3. Drizzle with oil (olive, canola or any other) and sprinkle with any combination of spices
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Cumin powder
Dried oregano
Paprika
Mexican chili powder
Salt and pepper
all to taste

4. Mix the veggies thoroughly with oil and spices, then spread in a single layer on baking sheet(s). Roast until veggies are tender with crispy browned bits.

For the masala omelet, whisk together large eggs (I use two eggs per adult diner) with minced onion, cilantro, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. I use a small ladle to scoop beaten eggs into a hot oiled nonstick pan, making small fluffy folded omelets that cook quickly and are easy to serve to a crowd.

If you're in the US, hope you enjoy the Memorial Day holiday tomorrow and get the summer off to a great start! I have a big freezer cooking date with a friend- we want to make a variety of recipes to stock both of our freezers, and will report back on how that goes. 

25 comments:

  1. Hi,

    Lovely post as always.

    I recently read "The Case of the Missing Servant" by Tarquin Hall and "Cut like wound" by Anita Nair. Both are very good. Also now reading Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra. It's a hefty one but so far finding it pretty good.

    Warmest regards,

    Indrani

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    1. Hi Indrani- I read a couple of Tarquin Hall mysteries and enjoyed them! Should check if the library has more. Thanks very much for the recommendations.

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  2. on the way to school is indeed a humbling documentary. Watched and loved it. Currently reading Game of thrones books. Loving the drama.
    The has looks delicious. Some times I wish I ate eggs...they are so easy and healthy. But just cant get past the smell. :/

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    1. Neha- I haven't yet touched Games of Thrones- the books or the TV show- something tells me I might not be able to stomach the violence. The hash would be great just by itself or maybe topped with some beans. Yup not everyone likes eggs.

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  3. I have become so disillusioned by so many bloggers (I have multiples in my blog feed including some high profile ones, Indian and otherwise) where I seriously doubt the food was really cooked to be eaten and enjoyed, or just made for a photo op. It's good to find things that may not have a fancy picture, but you just know will taste good.
    After a long time, I read a blog post that had so much to offer! Thank you for sharing so generously of the reading, watching, and cooking.

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    1. Oh gosh food photography is an art in itself and so many bloggers are amazing at it! I am in awe of them. Me, I find that I enjoy the cooking and writing parts of food blogging very much but the photography not so much so over time I've sort of given up on it.

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    2. I agree wholeheartedly with you, Neha! Nupur, your posts are worth the read, and I have enjoyed making many of your recipes. The roasted veggies and omelet could easily become a favorite with my daughter and me. Thank you for being a blogger of substance.

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    3. You're very kind to say that! Hope you enjoy this recipe.

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  4. Your hash looks simple and delicious.
    Watching Bloodline on Netflix....very good.

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    1. Ooh haven't heard of that show. I'm looking for something new to watch so this might be one to try.

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  5. I wish we had Netflix now, we disconnected that when we got cable. I have since realized that I am hopeless at remembering the show timings and miss everything. Dhat Teri!
    Reading: The mistress of spices (Divakaruni) but not sure I can finish it. I have too many things happening now :(
    But I indulged a bit! I am going to India and have ordered a few books on amazon.in.
    And the picture, in your post, I felt exactly! like that when I visited a library in the USA for the first time. I'm sure many others feel the same way :) I'll try and get this book from the library when I return.

    The hash looks so good. I am yet to get the hang of baking veges to perfection, mine taste good, but do not look as good :(


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    1. We're the opposite- got rid of cable and kept Netflix. I am SO thankful I don't have to watch election coverage right now ;) I couldn't get past a few pages of Mistress of Spices- it just did not click with me.

      Your baked veggies- are you not using a high enough temp so they don't get crispy charred edges?

      Have a wonderful time in India!!

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    2. We have to pay for cable with the rent, it's mandatory :(

      I'll try the veggies again, after my trip.

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  6. When we were in Nepal, we came down a 2,700 stair section to reach the bridge and cross the river. As we crossed, we passed a group of school children just starting to make their 2,700 step journey UP the stairs to get to the school. Our guide told us that they were proud to get to go to school and didn't mind the climb at all!! Too bad our kids are as motivated!!!

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    1. Oh Frances, what a story. Kids in these remote places are born into a tough life- and how touching that they live it with such grace, with smiling faces.

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  7. Most of the time, I watch cookery shows in Fox Channel and travel series in Travel XP channel. Travel XP has some shows exploring the local regional cuisines in different parts of India. Foodies would enjoy those shows.
    Read a book 'The Withering Banyan' by Hyma Goparaju. It is an interesting but a very lengthy read. The story is about the ignorance and taboo associated with mental illness and how it affects generations.

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    1. How fun to watch regional cooking shows! The book sounds very interesting too.

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  8. That looks lovely. I've discovered roasted veggies late in life, but oh, I'm making up for their previous absence very rapidly. I can eat a baking sheet's worth at one go!

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    1. Me too! Roasting is my answer to everything these days ;) dispatching large quantities of veggies all at once and putting them in everything.

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  9. The documentary made me realize how easy it was for us to get to school without ever given a thought to it. Please continue to share the latest books and shows you have been reading and watching. Love your choices....

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    1. Thanks Chaya. Yes, SO many things we take for granted on a daily basis that are just a dream for other people.

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  10. Lovely post as always Nupur. V getting ready at the 15 minute warning bell reminded me of my childhood and schooldays; I continued that habit during first few months of my job as well:-) To catch an 8.15 AM bus, I'd wake up by 8 AM and just brushed, wore my clothes, gulped breakfast and ran to the bus stop. hahaha
    I have been painting more off late,but have had no time to watch/read.Our weekends are busy with graduation parties; started second week of May and still going on and on. I'd love to watch 'On the way to school'...makes me think how much our kids take school or education for granted at times.

    Hash looks yummy; I'm not a big fan of eggs; so will try hash with pasta.

    Happy summer
    Meena.

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    1. Meena- school and work are clearly not designed for non-morning-people! After years of living with me, V has resigned himself to waking up early.

      How fabulous that you're painting! Enjoy all the grad parties!

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  11. The hash looks tempting. Planning to cook for weekend breakfast.
    I subscribed to TIME magazine a couple of months ago. Its a treat to receive an issue in the mail every fortnight. I finish reading the magazine cover to cover within 2 days of arrival and then wait for the next.
    My 3 year old has been getting reading homework from daycare (can you imagine!) So also on my list are the current favorites Big Franks Firetruck, Llama Llama Red Pajama, Oh the Places you will go and Giraffes cant dance :)
    -- RK

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    1. RK- Homework for 3 year olds- why, oh, why :( I hope it is "fun" work and not really homework. We LOVE the Llama llama books and Dr. Seuss around here. Haven't come across the other two yet. Enjoy reading the magazine- it is fun to get fresh new reading material in the mail :) beats the junk mail and bills!

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