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Having a great time, wish you were here! Grilling, chocolate caramel sauce, smoothies! | Tandoor Chef

Posted Aug 06 2010 8:27pm


After reading about our friends Claire and Alan's adventures assembling their fancy gas grill and grilling fabulous summer meals, I couldn't wait to be invited out for a summer feast. Believe me, we weren't disappointed — Claire outdid herself with amazing food. We started with a wonderful version of guacamole made from a recipe Claire got from her daughter. It was so full of flavor I couldn't stop eating it. I love avocados, and this was the best guacamole I've had in a long time.

Guacamole ingredients (personal preference decides quantities)
  • ripe avocados
  • finely chopped onions
  • chopped red bell pepper
  • chopped cilantro
  • lime juice
  • salt, pepper cayenne
  • chopped tomato
Mash avocados and mix in all remaining ingredients except tomatoes. Add tomatoes last. Claire burried a pit to the bowl to keep the avocado from turning brown.



On the grill, Claire cooked slabs of lightly oiled eggplant until they were perfectly charred, then served them covered with an amazing olive-garlic sauce, on a bed of home-grown lettuce.

The grilled eggplant with black olive dressing came from "Fresh and Fast" by Amanda Grant. The dressing contained capers, garlic, black olives, cilantro, parsley and olive oil, and was incredible. Here's another recipe, from the blog archives, for spiced olives, that would probably also be wonderful with grilled eggplant.

Zaytun Musabbeh (Spiced olives from Lebanon) serves 6 to 8
  • 1 lb. pitted green olives or marinated olives
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 firm tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh red or green pepper, chopped
  1. Place olives in a bowl (rinsing the brine is optional) and chop into small pieces.
  2. Add the dried spices to olive oil and then rub into the olives by hand.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the tomatoes and peppers.
  4. Add the tomatoes and peppers just before serving.


There were also grilled zucchini and portabella mushrooms.



And a spicy carrot and cabbage slaw.



This is what my plate looked like.



For dessert Claire baked a plum tart from an old family recipe.



And I brought two versions of chocolate caramel sauce plus fresh fruit to spoon over vanilla ice cream.



I really wanted to make this, but am unlikely to stand over a hot stove for three hours in the summer heat. I might possibly be too lazy to do it in the winter, too, so I was forced to come up with a ridiculously easy (but extremely delicious) version of fake caramel sauce.

Chocolate caramel sauce #1
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plain soy yogurt (I used Silk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used TJ's bourbon vanilla)
  1. Warm the syrup over low-medium heat in a small pot. After a minute or less, when bubbles start to form at the edges, turn the heat to simmer and stir in the chocolate chips. It will take less than a minute for the chips to melt. Stir until combined and creamy.
  2. Have ready, 1/4 cup yogurt in a small bowl or 8 oz. glass measuring cup. Add a large spoonful of the chocolate mixture to the yogurt, and stir to combine. Add this back into the pot and stir until smooth and uniform in color. Remove from heat.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  4. Use as is or refrigerate. It will thicken as it cools but will still be gooey and spoon-able when cold.
Chocolate caramel sauce #2
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk (I used TJ's)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used TJ's bourbon vanilla)
  1. Warm the syrup over low-medium heat in a small pot. After a minute or less, when bubbles start to form at the edges, turn the heat to simmer and stir in the chocolate chips. It will take less than a minute for the chips to melt. Stir until combined and creamy.
  2. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk, and stir to combine. Stir until smooth and uniform in color. Remove from heat.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  4. Use as is or refrigerate. It will thicken as it cools but will not be as thick as version #1. It will be more like a thick syrup.
Two of us preferred the yogurt version, and two preferred the coconut version, but we all liked both!

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Mango mango mango




Lately I've been blending up a sunshine-colored breakfast smoothie that's worth waking up for. It's not green, and I feel slightly guilty about that, but it's my favorite shade of orange, and it tastes great.

Mango-orange-yogurt smoothie
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup plain non-dairy yogurt (I used silk)
1 cup frozen mango chunks (more or less for thinner or thicker smoothie)
Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Sometimes the consistency is so so thick I can eat it with a spoon, like soft serve, and sometimes it's like a thin shake.

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More Tandoor Chef samples



We tried two more of the Tandoor Chef frozen food samples I received from Deep Foods. The first was Channa Masala, a delicious chickpea stew. Once again we were impressed with great flavor that reminded us of the kind of food we might expect at an good Indian restaurant. The package contained two five-ounce servings which was just the right amount for us when served with rice, kale and raw veggies. Each serving contains: 160 calories, 7 grams total fat (.5 grams saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 20 grams total carbs, 5 grams fiber, 4 grams sugars, 6 grams protein.



Next we tried Vegetable Masala Burgers. These didn't work as well for us as the other products we sampled. My husband cooked them , following the directions on the box, and they fell apart when removed from the pan. They tasted good — mostly of potato — but were kind of high in fat for their size, while low in fiber and protein. We served them alongside pasta with fresh tomato sauce and raw veggies. The box holds four burgers, and each one contains: 120 calories, 8 grams total fat (1 gram saturated fat), 360mg sodium, 12 grams total carbs, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar, 2 grams protein.
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