Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thai Yellow Curry

Thai style vegetables (onions, carrots, broccoli, red and green bell peppers) in yellow curry sauce made with coconut milk and flavored with lemongrass, sweet basil and ginger.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cold Pasta Salad

-With baby broccoli, onions, red and green bell peppers, yellow squash and carrots and a zesty Italian dressing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My 'Taster" Arnav!

Its been a while since I shared pics of my bachchu here- so here is a recent collage that I put together!

He is performing a "taste test" here for one of my kid-friendly culinary creations and I can usually gauge whether a dish meets his approval by his various expression while tasting it! This one looks like a winner!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Customized" Aloo Chaat with "localized" spices!

I made this quick aloo mutter chaat for a snack with tea last evening. My husband took one bite of the aloo and said "There's too much salt!" Then before I could say or do anything, he ate another piece of aloo and said "No, its ok-I think the salt was localized on that one aloo!" So, I told him that it is a "customized" chaat and no two bites would taste the same becasue each piece of aloo has its own combination of spices!

2 potatoes. boiled and cubed
1 chunk of paneer (roughly that would yield half the number of slices of potato)
1/2 onion, chopped onti chunks
1/2 cup peas, boiled (I used frozen and cooked them in the microwave for 1 min)
1 green chili, chopped
cilantro for garnish
salt, red chili powder, chaat masala to taste
juice of half a lemon

1. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the potato cubes till browned on each side.
2. Shallow fry the chunk of paneer on each side and then cut into cubes.
3. When the potatoes are almost done, add the onions and saute them for about 1 min, till they are slightly soft, but haven't completely lost their crunch. Then thorw in the peas, red chilis and cilantro. Turn off the heat and in the same pan, season the chaat by sprinkling salt, red chili, and chat masala all over the chaat and then put the lemon juice. Mix well and serve hot, with ketchup if you like.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chili Gobhi

Cauliflower florets 2 cups
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 big jalapeno pepper, cut into rounds
red and green bell peppers, cut into strips, 1/2 cup
2 chopped green onions
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
salt and red chili powder to taste

1. Mix flour, corn starch, salt and red chilli powder and add water to it to make a batter (ketchup consistency)
2. Coat the cauliflower florets in the batter (reserve some batter) and shallow fry them in hot oil for about 3-4 minutes. (You can deep fry them for better taste) Drain on paper towels and keep aside.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onions. Fry for about 3-4 minutes, then add the ginger, garlic and jalapeno peppers. Fry for another 2-3 minutes and then add ketchup, say sauce, vinegar, salt and red chilli powder.
4. Add about half a cup of water and cook till the sauce is boiling. Then add the cauliflower florets, red and green bell peppers and chopped green onions (reserving some green part for garnish)
5. Adjust for tartness/heat/acidity by adding more vinegar, soy sauce and red chili powder. Cook for about 3-4 more minutes and if the sauce is too liquid, add 1 tbsp of the batter that was used to coat the cauliflowers, to thicken the gravy.
6. Garnish with spring onion greens and serve hot with steamed rice.

The Garlic Naan Experiment

I tried making the garlic naan at home, in my oven, and it turned out pretty well for a first time!

For the dough:
2 cups flour
1 cup Bisquick
Ajwain/salt/red chili powder optional/to taste
Warm water for kneading

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Knead the dough using warm water and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
3. Roll in an oval shape for the naan, sprinkle some chopped garlic and chopped cilantro on it.
4. Put on a cookie sheet, lined with foil and put it in the oven very close to the top heating element (turn the oven on "broil" now)
6. Keep an eye on the naan and turn it, when it gets cooked from one side.
7. Spread butter on it and serve.

This dough is actually my friend Anjali's recipe for making soft bhaturas! I had made the bhaturas, which were yummy, and had some dough left over, so decided to try to make naan out of it. The naans were great too, though a little hard around the edges, I probably overcooked them, so next time, I will keep a closer eye on them.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Amy's Bake Swap and Spinach-Artichoke Lasagna

My co-worker Amy had a Bake Swap at her place this weekend. The idea was for all the guests to bring one baked dish, either sweet or savory, along with the recipe, and make enough quantity for us to eat over there and bring it back home with us (ie swap) There were about 10 guests and the party was great fun! Most of the guests decided on sweet items, so there were cookies, cakes, cupcakes and other goodies. I decided to make a lasagna and it was a big hit!

Here are some pics of the goodies- I have the recipes and will be trying them out myself when the fancy strikes.

Low fat Lemon pound cake (the only :low fat" item on the menu!)

Top-to-bottom crumbly cupcakes and apple struesel cupcakes

orange glazed cranberry spiced teacakes

chocolate chunk oatmeal-pecan cookies with cherries

Blondies (brownies with butterscotch instead of chocolate)

And here's my Spinach-artichoke-mushroom lasagna

(This recipe makes one 8”x 8” lasagna, which serves 4)

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups baby spinach
1 bottle marinated artichokes
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
Ricotta cheese
Pasta sauce (approx 3 cups)
Barilla “No Boil” lasagna noodles
Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes
Italian seasoning to taste
EVOO for sautéing
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese, grated

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté till it becomes translucent. Toss in the mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
2. Take the marinated artichokes and roughly chop them up. Drain out most of the liquid, reserving about 2-3 tbsp for flavoring.
3. Add the artichokes to the skillet, followed by the baby spinach leaves. Cook for another 2 minutes and season with salt, red pepper flakes and the Italian seasoning. Taste and add the artichoke marinade, if needed. Set aside.
4. Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Spray a 8 X 8 lasagna pan with oil and then spread some pasta sauce at the base.
5. Put a layer of lasagna noodles.
6. Make a layer of the ricotta cheese on the noodles, followed by a layer of the spinach/artichoke filling, followed by a layer of the pasta sauce. Continue to make the alternate layers till you reach the top of the pan and then put in one last layer of the noodles.
7. Spread some pasta sauce on the last layer and then put the parmesan cheese, pepper jack and the cheddar cheeses.
8. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly, and the cheese is browning!

Here's what it looks like during assembly:

Just before baking:

After baking, when the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly:

1. The “No boil” noodles do not need to be precooked, but do need extra moisture, so if assembling the lasagna the same day, just before baking, soak the noodles in warm water for about 5 minutes before assembling and add some extra sauce.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Berry Vanilla Cupcakes

These are vanilla cupcakes, decorated with 3 kinds of berries- blueberries, blackberries and raspberries over peach/orange spread and dusted with some powdered sugar.

As pretty as they look, it was hard to make the berries stick onto the cupcakes! They just kept sliding off and I had to resort to some "cheating" and used orange icing color as glue to stick them (and even that wasn't very successful) I think next time, I'm going to try some sort of a cream icing on top.

Cupcakes are so versatile and you can do almost any kind of icing on them to decorate! Also, it is a great thing to involve kids in! Arnav loves to decorate his cupcakes with whipped cream and sticks color sparkles on them!

The cupcakes are great plain too!