Well at least you can't say I didn't warn you. I said things might slow down around here for a bit, and they really have, haven't they? But to make it up to you, and partially in celebration of my approximate one year blog-o-versary, I have something special for you. If you've been reading with any regularity, you've probably noticed that while I'm not a vegetarian, I lean that way. There's a catch phrase for my kind of eating floating around. Mark Bittman has used it. So has Peter Berley. Now you can add Bindu Grandhi to the list of proponents of the Flexitarian lifestyle. So when Ms. Grandhi offered to send me an advance copy of her brand new cookbook Spice Up Your Life The Flexitarian Way, of course I said yes!
And here's the thing. Even my picky husband can be convinced to go light on the meat if he's presented with Indian food. It makes sense, of course, since Indian cuisines in all of their variety are so vegetarian friendly in the first place. But Grandhi does not present you with lists of 20 spices, each requiring a specialty store. You'll be able to find most of what you need easily, and each of the recipes I tried came together very quickly, which is a huge plus for me right now. I really want to stress that this is not complicated, time consuming cooking. She uses simple, fresh ingredients in inventive ways for dishes with truly wonderful flavor. Serious.
Okay, so how were the recipes? I've made three things from the book so far and every one of them has been amazing. Pictured at top is her Shrimp in Butter, Lime and Cilantro Sauce and it was excellent. Served over her favorite Vegetable Couscous, it made for a healthy, and incredibly flavorful meal. Not to mention rather pretty, if I have to admit it. I would make both again in a second.
I also made her Chickpeas and Spinach, in which wilted spinach is combined with onions, ginger, garlic and a melange of spices, then puréed into a silky gravy before being poured over the chickpeas and tomatoes. I'm going to give you the recipe for the shrimp, bellow. And now for the real treat.
Ms. Grandhi was kind enough to offer two Cooking Books readers the chance to win a copy of the book! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Monday, August 17th and I'll draw two names. I'm only allowed to accept entries from those in the US for this one. But if you'd like to pick up a copy of the book yourself, it will be in select Barnes and Noble and Borders stores soon. It's available on-line right now, on her website and from Amazon (see the link at the end of the post). If you get the book, really do try the chickpeas!
Shrimp in Butter, Lime and Cilantro Sauce
With permission from Bindu Grandhi's Spice Up Your Life the Flexitarian Way
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 green chilies, stemmed and split in half lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 macadamia nuts, chopped
1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled, cleaned, deveined, and butterflied (I forgot to butterfly mine!)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, washing and chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 teaspoon salt.
Heal the oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Add onions, chilies, turmeric and macadamia nuts.
When onions are done (about 5-7 minutes), add shrimp, cilantro, lime juice and butter. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through.
Add salt. Serve on a bed of plain pasta, basmati rice, or vegetable couscous.