Sunday, January 17, 2016

Creating plants from cuttings

Even though it is the middle of winter, I am already dreaming about my spring/summer garden. This year I am planning my Spring garden with vibrant colors. I am more of a foliage lover. I like to have colorful plants throughout the garden especially on my patio. The reason I like foliage is because when you plant interesting foliage plants you get to enjoy beautiful colored and unique foliage throughout the season.

To plan a spring garden, one of the thing I do is make more plants from the existing plants. Rooting plant cuttings is the easiest technique to make more plants. It is a more economic way to plant opulent garden.

I have decided to make more plants from my favorite plants coleus, geraniums, Persian shield and blood coleus from my patio.

Soft wood(fresh and new growth) cuttings are the best for rooting. I use a sharp pair of pruners to make cuttings from the mother plant.

 Before you make the cuttings look for the nodes. Nodes are the place where the leaves and branches grow. The cut should be just below the node. Clip the leaves off the lower third of the shoot so you have a bare stem to insert in potting soil.

Fill small pots with a drainage hole with well-drained soil and pre-moistened soil. Make a hole with a pencil in the middle.

Dip the end of the stem in rooting hormone (rooting hormone such as Rootone is available in nurseries. This will help cuttings to root more quickly). Immediately insert cutting in the hole.

Some plants are easier to root than others. Keep the soil moist all the time. It will take anywhere between 6-8 weeks to root. Patience is key.

First, I started with my favorite plant: Persian shield


Keep some of the leaves on the cuttings for photosynthesis purposes



Blood coleus is ready to go through major trimming


and coleus

Gathered assorted cuttings





Hope all of them root and survive!


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, December 29, 2015

Black eyed peas dal and parathas


Wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Tradition says eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day brings a year of good luck and health. That is the reason I wanted to share the recipe for black eyed peas dal. In India, dal and parathas are the ultimate comfort food. I don't know whether eating black eyed peas will bring good luck or not, but I do know that dal provides protein and much needed fiber in our diet. Eating well brings good health. Good health is the best wealth anyone can ask for, which should be the top New Year's resolution.

Here is the recipe. Enjoy!




Black Eyed Peas Dal


In this recipe, seasoning is added to the cooked dal and the raw seasoning is added just before serving, to keep the onions crunchy.

Serves 4 - 6
• 1 ½ cups black eyed peas
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 1/8 teaspoon asafetida
• 2 dry whole red chilies, such as chile de arbol
• 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 10 fresh or dried curry leaves
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon coriander powder
• 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
• ½ - 1 teaspoon cayenne
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt
• 2 large tomatoes, chopped

Raw Seasoning:
• 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1 – 3 minced fresh green chilies, such as serrano
• 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro/coriander leaves

Parathas (recipe follows)

Wash the black eyed peas with several changes of water. Add enough water to cover 2 - 3 inches above the peas. Let them soak overnight. Discard the soaking liquid. Transfer soaked peas to a large heavy bottomed saucepan with 6 cups of water and heat over medium high heat. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until peas are soft and creamy. Mash the peas with the back of a spoon. The dal should be soft and creamy, but should have some texture.

Alternately, you can cook the peas in a pressure cooker. Place the soaked peas with 3 ½ cups of water in a pressure cooker. Close with the lid and heat over medium high heat. Cook on high pressure for 1 ½ minutes and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes and turn off the heat. Let the pressure drop on its own. It takes about 12 - 15 minutes. Open the lid and check if the peas are soft. If they are, mash them with the back of a spoon. If not, add 1 more cup of water and cook over medium heat until the peas are soft and creamy.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add asafetida and red chilies. When red chilies turn darker, add mustard seeds, and cover until the spluttering subsides. Uncover, and add cumin seeds. As soon as the cumin seeds sizzle, quickly add the curry leaves and onion. Sauté onion until the edges begin to brown. Add garlic and stir fry for a minute. Stir in coriander powder, cumin powder, cayenne, turmeric and salt. Add tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft and some of the moisture evaporates. Add cooked peas along with one cup water, and simmer over medium heat for 15 - 20 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Just before serving, mix all the raw seasoning ingredients together and stir into the dal. Serve with parathas.





Parathas

Yield 8
• 2 cups chappati flour (atta flour)
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¾ cup water
• 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
• extra flour for rolling
• ghee or oil for basting

Stir flour and salt in a bowl. Add water to the flour mixture and mix into a soft, pliable dough. If the dough feels too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix. If the dough feels sticky, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer dough onto a work surface. Knead for 3 - 5 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for ½ an hour allowing the gluten to develop.

Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Work with 1 portion at a time and keep the rest covered to prevent from drying. Roll out the dough into 5-inch circles. Brush the surface with a little ghee or oil. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of dry flour on top. Make a cut from the center to the edge. Roll the dough from 1 cut side to the other. Press down the pointed end in the middle to make a disc. Roll the disc into 7 - 8 inch circles.

Heat the griddle over medium high heat. When the griddle is hot, place rolled parathas onto the hot griddle. When the bottom is cooked and dotted with brown spots, flip it to the other side.
When the other side is also covered with a few brown spots, baste the top with ghee or oil. Flip it back and baste the other side with ghee or oil. Remove from the griddle. Cover parathas with a kitchen towel or foil while preparing the rest.

*You can substitute parathas with whole wheat tortillas.

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, December 22, 2015

Christmas openhouse

This year my friend Cheri's house was featured on a Christmas home tour. Every part of the house was tastefully decorated to showcase the homeowner's taste and love for decorating. The whole house was totally inspirational and a feast for the eyes. Come on in and enjoy the tour!

Entrance: As you are ready to enter the house, the outdoor bench is all decked out for the Christmas with a plaid blanket, boots and coordinating pillows.


Front door


Dining room:  Cheri's inspiration for this table comes from Pinterest.










 Now you are entering the kitchen


No corner is left untouched






Even the laundry room has a touch of Christmas


Hallway


The living room 





Master bedroom







Outdoors




Hope you enjoyed the tour.


Merry Christmas to 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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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Fruit basket from my orchard

Never ending fruit basket on my kitchen table from the orchard.


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.





Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I am thankful and grateful for the good health of my family. I always think that one's health is the greatest wealth of all.

Here are the some of the snapshots from my Thanksgiving spread this year.

Roasted vegetable platter is my all time favorite.



Home made Southwestern rolls and challah  bread






 Thanksgiving table is decorated with fruit from my orchard. This year's abundance crop of persimmons displayed all around the house.

Pie bar: Thanksgiving is not complete without homemade pies.

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, November 26, 2015