Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring flowers around the house

This is my favorite time of the year, where every thing starts blooming around the house. Proteas have been blooming for a while in the garden. Before the season is over, I salvaged last crop of flowers and arranged around the house to share with you all.








For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Designing the kitchen garden

This morning I sat out on my patio and had breakfast with my family while I sketched the design for my kitchen garden. After last year's garden tour, many people ask me how I grow everything perfectly in my kitchen garden. (My kitchen garden was very popular with the visitors at last year's garden tour). The first thing I tell people is that I can't grow everything right and I make plenty of mistakes. There was a time in my gardening experience where I didn't have a plan and would planted things randomly. After this many years of gardening I have learned from my many mistake and now I try to have a plan on a piece of paper before I begin planting. With regard to a kitchen garden, you should plant based on your family needs. I try to grow lots of Indian vegetables. I don't want to use up my valuable real estate in the kitchen garden for cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, because these vegetables are readily available in supermarkets and farmer's markets. Instead I want to grow exotic varieties.


Sketch the design:
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I have a triangular kitchen garden plot on top of a small hill. This kitchen garden has 16 raised beds. This morning I sat with all my seed catalogs, eating my favorite breakfast, avocado toast, and  sketched the design for my kitchen garden. My favorite thing to do in the spring is to sit outside with a cup of coffee and go though the seed catalogs to check for new varieties.











The view from the patio is not bad, either!



Last years kitchen garden



Final sketch is ready for this year based on crop rotation






Preparing the soil:
Now that the design is ready, it is time to prepare the soil. A good garden begins with good soil. I always prepare the soil by mixing it with homemade compost (more on that subject later).Composting is a natural way of recycling. I am a firm believer in composting kitchen and garden waste and it has served me well for the past few years.

Crop rotation:

Think about crop rotation when you are planting the kitchen garden. Crop rotation is very important for an organic vegetable garden to balance soil fertility and to reduce soil-borne diseases. For example, tomatoes deplete a lot of nitrogen and phosphorous from the soil. If you plant tomatoes at the same spot year after year, naturally soil will be lacking nitrogen and phosphorous, making the yield very low. A general rule of thumb in my kitchen garden is that I won't plant the same crop for three years in the spot.That is why keeping the garden journal is important.

Happy gardening! Spring is here, time to stop and smell the roses.

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.


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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Visiting a nursery in India

I know some of you are wondering where I have been for the past couple of months. I was visiting my 87-year-old mother in India. I didn't want to be bothered with blogging, facebook or twitter. I just wanted to spend some quality time with my mom. I wanted to share some photos from India with you all.

When I travel to India, I try to visit local farmer's markets, nurseries and farms. Sometimes I want to keep in touch with the food trends in India. Other times, I want to know how farming trends are changing in India with the globalized world.

While travelling on this visit, I came across a town called Kadiam near Rajamundry, home of over 600 nurseries which supply plants to all over India. For people who are avid gardeners, it feels like heaven to walk into these magnificent nurseries to see all plants. I was drooling over all the plants that I can't grow in California.






Mango plants. 


It was very painful to leave all these plants. Too bad it is illegal to bring biological material into California!


For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!


 I want to thank each and every one of you for reading this blog and generously commenting and giving feedback.  I have enjoyed sharing my gardening projects, my recipes and entertaining ideas.
In the coming year, I am looking forward to share new healthy recipes, more gardening ideas, flower arranging and entertaining tips. 
My new year's resolutions are the same each year, eat healthy, exercise and organize. Most of all I want to pause and enjoy simple things in life which I often take it for granted. Thanks for being a part of my journey! Without you, this blog would not exist.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year! 
Cheers,
Komali.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tandoori Fish Tikka

Tikkas are small pieces of boneless meat or fish marinated in spices and later grilled or baked. Here is the recipe for all your entertaining needs during the holiday season. Fish tikkas will make the perfect appetizer that are light, flavorful, healthy and easy to prepare.


Tandoori fish tikka

These tikkas are great eaten as they are. Serving it with mango salsa is like gilding the lilly.
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless salmon fillet

Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Trader Joe’s curry powder
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon oil for basting
  • bamboo or metal skewers
  • Mango salsa homemade or store bought

Cut fish into two inch pieces and set aside. Mix all the ingredients for marinade and add fish to the marinade. Gently mix fish and marinade together until all pieces are coated with the marinade. Cover and transfer to the fridge and marinate for 4 – 24 hours.

If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water at least for an hour.

Preheat oven to broiler.

Thread marinated pieces onto metal or bamboo skewers. Line the edged baking sheet with a metal rack. Place skewers on to the rack and broil for 5 - 7 minutes, depending on your oven. Baste them with oil.

Transfer to a serving platter and serve with mango salsa.

* Recipe is adopted from my cookbook, Trader Joe's Simply Indian.

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),,please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving at my house 2014

Here are some of the highlights of this year's Thanksgiving at my house. For this year's Thanksgiving, all the centerpieces were made with nandina berries, gourds and pumpkins. Big candles were set immersed in different colored lentils. 









Dessert buffet






For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),,please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted root vegetables are constant at my Thanksgiving table. Hope they will be at your table too.




Roasted root vegetables

Serves: 4 – 6
  • 12 ounces butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 11/2 - 2 inch pieces
  • 12 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 11/2 – 2 inch pieces
  • 12 ounces rutabaga, peeled and cut into 11/2 – 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400˚F. In a medium bowl stir together oil, garlic powder, black pepper, cumin, cayenne, salt, sugar and thyme. Add butternut squash, sweet potatoes and rutabaga to the spice mixture and toss the ingredients to coat. Transfer all the ingredients to a baking sheet and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender and begin to caramelize. While roasting, make sure to turn the squash couple of times with the spatula to make sure all the vegetables are evenly roasting. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

*Recipe adopted from Trader Joe's Simply Indian.

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),,please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.