Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Playing with foliage

By now, all my readers know that my most favorite hobby is harvesting flowers from the garden and making arrangements for the house. I believe that flowers bring life into any room. Most of the time, foliage is an accent in my flower arrangements. I thought it would be nice take a break  from the flowers and just use foliage in the arrangements for the house. 



I love the contrasting foliage in this arrangement. The colored leaves are from the bush Alternanthera Hoja del Loro, commonly called Brazilian Red Hots.



 In this arrangement, just two different textured leaves in a small vase accent the end table.


Just adding one flower makes a simple yet elegant arrangement


A bunch of variegated geranium leaves in the other corner of the room



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, September 16, 2014

Super food; Moringa, the tree of llfe

During our garden tour last May, one plant that attracted the most visitors in my kitchen garden was Moringa. Moringa Oleifera is also known as the tree of life to many people in the world,  containing more than 90 nutrients, including 40 antioxidants. It is the world's most nutritious foods on earth in one tree. While growing up India, it was common to spot a moringa tree in many backyards. It is also known as drumstick tree because the young pods look like drumsticks.

Moringa tree in my kitchen garden




Every part of the moringa plant is used. Moringa pods are commonly used in soups and curries. The leaves and flowers are used in many curries.  The bark, sap, roots, leaves, flowers and leaves are used in many traditional medicines. Even though this plant is relatively new to the Western world, it has been well known in Indian Ayruvedic medicine for its anti-bacterial, antifungal, antviral and anti-inflammatory properties. According to India's Ayurvedic medicine, moringa cures more than 300 diseases. Modern science is confirming this traditional knowledge. Moringa leaves are scientifically proven to reduce diabetes and high blood pressure.



The World Health Organization is advocating that moringa is a solution for overcoming the world's malnutrition.
Moringa leaves are considered the super food. Here is the reason:
Moringa leaves are the most nutritious part of the moringa plant. 

This is how moringa looks compared to some of the common foods.

Food nutrition in one cup
General food ...............................................Moringa leaves
Carrots 1.8 mgs of Vitamin A.............. ...6.8mgs of Vitamin A
Milk    120 mgs of Calcium.....................6.8 mgs of  Calcium
Banana 88 mgs of  Potassium.....................259 mgs of  Potassium
Yogurt 3.1grams of Protein........................6.7 Grams of Protein
Oranges 30 mgs of Vitamin C....................220 mgs of Vitamin C

100 grams of moringa leaves contain 28 mgs of iron, which is equivalent to eating 7 ounces of chicken or 9 ounces of beef tenderloin. 
Moringa leaves contain all 9 essential amino acids, including two amino acids that are essential for childrens' diet. 

Now you do the math, isn't it the worlds best food especially for vegetarians?



I am pleasantly surprised to see that moringa is slowly catching on in Western society. Check for these leaves in health food stores and farmer's markets. You can find moringa capsules online. 
Moringa leaves are best to add to your morning smoothies and salads. If you heat moringa to 118 degree Fahrenheit, it looses some of its nutrients. Now I am sneaking moringa leaves into all my family meals. Since the leaves themselves don't have much flavor, they can be easily adoptable in many dishes. I think that it is important to get acquainted and educated about this super green. I hope the new food trend will be moringa. 

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, September 9, 2014

Flowers on my table

I plucked different shades of pink old-fashioned roses from the garden and arranged them in a vase with white spray flowers. It is my favorite combination of colors. It looks like something from a Victorian era. What do you think?







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, September 2, 2014

Indian wedding: Ravi and Ashley's wedding

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending one of our good friends son's wedding. It was a delightful moment to watch him grow up from an adorable child to be a confident young man finding a love of his life and commencing with a beautiful marriage ceremony. The groom's parents are immigrants from Punjab, India and the bride is a native to US. They both opted for an Indian wedding. As always, Indian wedding are made up of vibrant colors and rich traditions. The wedding took place in a beautiful woodland scene.
The mandap was under the canopy of beautiful oak trees native to Southern California.


The Baraat: It was a colorful and vibrant ceremony. The groom arrived to the mandap on a horse with all his fanfare dancing around, rejoicing the moment. Notice the groom's face is covered with a beaded screen as part of the Punjabi wedding tradition.


The groom's family and friends are escorting him to the mandap.



The groom reached the mandap and is waiting for the bride to arrive. Notice the beautiful oak trees are a backdrop for the mandap. I loved that natural and rustic setting.


The bride is arriving to the mandap with her four brothers and uncle holding a canopy of fabric over her.


The wedding: After vedic ceremony the bride and groom are exchanging garlands.





The bride and groom are taking seven symbolic steps together around the holy fire toward a long and happy married life. The sacred fire represents a divine witness that sanctifies the ceremony.


They are leaving mandap as Mr.& Mrs. Bajaj


After the wedding, there was a cocktail hour before the reception. Can you imagine this is just a part of the appetizers buffet?


Mehndi cake





I like this rustic table with a burlap runner with country flowers and lots of candles. Gold rimmed glass chargers against a rustic table looks very glamorous.


Detail: a sprig of lavender at each place setting. Nice touch, don't you think?



Another table covered with tablecloth but burlap covered vase filled with flowers.



I liked the way the plates are arranged at the 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, August 21, 2014

The 100 foot journey inspired lunch

One of my newly favorite movies is The Hundred Foot Journey. I have watched it two times already. Yes, I liked it that much! In the movie, Hassan, the hero, and his family experienced problems with their car's brakes and got stuck in the French countryside. The heroine, Marguerite, kindly invites them into her home and offers them tea and a tray full of French food with her homegrown vegetables. This afternoon I fed my family with a lunch inspired by The Hundred Foot Journey. Well, as expected, I had to create a platter with what I had on hand with my own touches, such as a garbanzo bean salad flavored with garlic, parsley and olive oil.






For a sweeter note for the tray, I also served some homemade fig ginger jam with crackers.




Two different olive oils to dip the bread


I have never eaten tomatoes grown from the French countryside. But homegrown heirloom tomatoes ripened under the California sunshine are absolutely divine. They taste as good as they look!



We decided to indulge in some French wine for our lunch 


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.

Monday, August 11, 2014

On my table



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, August 5, 2014

Garden party: Entertaining with colors and textures from the garden harvest

The colors and textures of my kitchen garden always give me inspiration for my summer entertaining. My garden harvest not only inspires the menu but also the theme and the decor of the event. This was exactly the case with my last garden party.

Instead of using traditional flowers, my colorful kitchen garden harvest was arranged on cake pedestals to decorate the buffet table











The centerpieces were made with zinnias, carrot flowers, dill flowers, bunches of Sun gold tomatoes, hyacinth beans and jasmine vines. Another inspiration from the kitchen garden.



Appetizers were served in one side of the the garden


Spanakopitas were made with beetroot and Indian spices


Dhokla sandwiches


Stuffed mini peppers


My daughter made labels for all the dishes


Buffet table is all set in the patio 


Almost all the dishes were made with my kitchen garden harvest 


Raita, wafers and chutneys. Chutneys are an integral part of Indian food.


Coconut rice and chicken biryani for the carnivorous guests


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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