Friday, April 30, 2010

Kesar Mava Peda

Peda or penda as they say in Gujarati is one of my favorite sweets. Memories go way back when it comes to these... the best ones I remember are from my native place Rajkot, there was milky white doodh pedas and kesar pedas. During Navratri there would be mava peda another favorite. I like kesar and mava ones so here was an attempt to make them. These are also the best way to celebrate, whether it is SSC and HSC results or wedding announcements. My parents distributed a lot of pedas when my marriage was announced and so this dish goes to Priya's JFI - Wedding Feasts, an event started by Indira. You can see a portion of my actual wedding invitation in the picture above. This dish also goes to Priya's Cooking with Seeds - Cardamom. At Ramya's blog, I found a microwave recipe and I used that as a basis. This portion makes about 8-10 pedas depending upon how much tasting you do in between.

Ingredients:

1 cup milk powder
1/2 cup condensed milk
8-10 kesar strands (saffron)
1 teaspoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons ghee 
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
Few pieces of pistachios

Heat the ghee in a large microwaveable bowl. When it is melted, add the condensed milk and milk powder and heat for 2 minutes, stirring after every minute. Heat the milk in a separate bowl and add the saffron and cardamom. Add to the condensed milk/milk powder mixture and heat for another 2 minutes, stirring after every minute. It will bubble similar to boiled milk and also thicken. If you like milk pedas stop here. As I like a mava like flavor, I cooked it for an additional minute, it also gives it a slightly darker color. 
Cool and when you can handle it, roll into small 3/4 inch balls and flatten them with a depression in the middle. Chop the pistachios and place in the depression. Place them in mini-muffin wrappers and serve. They can be stored in the fridge for upto a week.

** If you dont want to microwave them, you can cook them on stove top till the mixture bubbles and thickens, stirring constantly.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Khariyu (Cabbage stir-fry)

This is one of my mother's favorite dishes and now my husbands. Its quick cooked cabbage with carrots and green peppers so it retains its crunch. Its easy to make with prep work taking the most time. The green chili and the pepper is an essential ingredient in the dish, making it spicy and contrasting it with the sugar notes. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

1 head of cabbage, chopped
1 carrot julienned
1 green pepper jullienned
1 green chili, chopped very finely
Pinch turmeric
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil
Salt

Heat oil in a wok and add the hing, raee and jeera. When they start to splutter, add the green chilies. Saute for 30 seconds and add the turmeric, cabbage, carrots and green peppers. Toss the vegetables so that they are well coated with the seasoning. Cook for a minute or two. Add the sugar and salt and toss again to coat. Serve hot with rotis, daal and curds. 

I am sending this to Yasmeen's Crucial Cruciferous Event and to Graziana's Healing Foods - Capsicum event, started by Siri.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Picnic at the lake!

The weather has warmed up and there are wildflowers everywhere. Every tree, shrub and vine has flowers on it. It was really the time for a picnic. Dallas has a number of lakes but we are partial to Grapevine lake. The lake is huge one and has a lot of activities from the north end to the south one. City of Grapevine itself maybe one of my favorites in the metroplex. Its a old city and has a very quaint downtown area. Additionally it has a number of award winning wineries. Gaylord Texan is located there. And before I start sounding like a brochure for the city, here is what I made for the picnic, my favorite part. After all its a food blog. I made a Pesto Pasta salad, Russian sandwiches, Empanadas and got apple juice (not wine :D), oranges, chocolate chip cookies and vegetable straws from the store. Below are some pictures from out trip.

The lake was tranquil, there were some fishermen on the shore. The wildflowers were pretty in their myriad colors and the food was so much tastier then eaten at home. Go enjoy a picnic before it gets too warm...

The food
The plate up close
And finally the spring wildflowers

Persian Vegetable Omelette

This recipe for Champa's Baking from a Book - Break fast event. Once I went beyond movies and novels, I found the local library to be an endless source of cookbooks and hence new foods. Every few weeks, I bring back books to look at and admire the photos. Every now and then I would bookmark a recipe to make. This is one such recipe. Its a tasty vegetable filled dish with a little crunch from the walnuts. I added a little milk and cream to make it a little like quiche but you can skip that if you want. So here is the recipe...






















  

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped onion and greens
1 bunch spinach, stemmed and chopped
1 1/3 cups lettuce (I skipped this)
1 bunch parsley, stemmed and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced 
5 eggs
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, chopped and toasted
6 cherry tomatoes, hulled and halved
3 tablespoons grated Monterey jack or Romano cheese (I used Parmesan)
Salt 
Pepper

Additionally I used

2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cream

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch pie pan (I used a cake pan).
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and saute the onions until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach, lettuce, parsley and garlic. Cook stirring for 2-3 minutes. Set aside. 
In a large bowl, beat the eggs (along with milk and cream) just until blended. Mix in the salt, pepper, sauteed vegetables and half the nuts. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side down, over the top. Sprinkle the remaining nuts and the cheese. 
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until set. Let cool slightly and cut into wedges. Serve hot or room temperature, with yogurt, if desired. I ate it with toast bread and butter and some piping hot coffee.
I broiled the omelette for a few minutes to soften to tomatoes and have a browner crust as a result.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Russian Sandwich - No Cook for Earth Day

I had seen this recipe years ago on TV. I had made it a couple of times then and remember that I had liked it. Originally I had made it with thick curd and Amul cheese, today I am using mayo and cheddar to bind. You can use as many vegetables you like and in any proportion. You can also add some ketchup or chutney in the mix. It will just make a red or green hued sandwich. So here it is... Russian sandwiches as I remember...

Ingredients: 

6 slices bread - any kind you like
1 1/2 cups vegetable mix - I used finely diced onions, tomato, red and green peppers and grated carrots
2 tablespoons cheddar cheese - you can use any you like
1 1/2 tablespoon mayo or miracle whip or thick yogurt
Butter (optional)
Salt and pepper
Mix the vegetables with the mayo, cheese, salt and pepper. Lightly butter one side of the bread. Layer about 1/3rd of the mixture and close the sandwich with another slice of buttered bread. Make the other two sandwiches the same way. Serve with a side of chips or fries. Enjoy with tea or coffee.

I am sending this to Bhagyashri's Cooking for Kids - Filling Breakfasts, an event started by Sharmi of Neivedyam. And to Indrani's Spotlight: Summer Foods & Drinks.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bateta nu shaak / Aloo ki subzi (Potato vegetable)

This the most versatile potato preparation in my repertoire. Its delicious and pairs well with rotis, puri's or paratha. Along with those you can have kadhi, basundi, shrikhand, sevaiyya... endless possibilities. My favorite combination is puri's and a quick dessert like this one. The very Indian brunch, simple enough to make on a lazy Sunday, hot fluffy puri's with piping hot shaak. Also using this as a base you can add ground peanuts for crunchy dish, tomatoes to make a curry version, some garam masala for a spice delight. Go ahead and try the possibilities.

Ingredients: 

4 large potatoes boiled, peeled and cubed
2 green chilies, slit in two
1 inch knob of ginger minced or grated
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5-6 curry leaves
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)

Heat oil in a pan and when hot add the hing, jeera and raee. When the start to crackle, add the chilies, ginger, curry leaves and turmeric. Saute for a minute. Add the potatoes and mix to coat evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes and serve hot with a side of puri's, parathas or roti!

I am sending this to Bhagyashri's Cooking for Kids - Filling Breakfasts, an event started by Sharmi of Neivedyam.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Vegetable Kadhai Paneer

This was made with leftover Paneer Butter Masala and to make it more interesting I re-seasoned it and added all the vegetables in my fridge. It was yum and we enjoyed it with parathas. Then I wanted to blog about it and couldnt think of a name... Vegetable PBM, Vegetable KP, Panchratna Paneer, Paneer Jalfrezi? Finally I went with VKP and here it is... To make it from scratch, make it the same way as PBM but add the vegetables as soon as the onions are cooked. When they are softened, add the milk cream, paneer and finish up. And yes it does look like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are right there in the masala dabba. If using fresh vegetables, cut the green beans into 1 inch pieces, onion into 1 inch squares, separating the layers and same for the green peppers. Slice the carrots into rounds.

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed frozen vegetables of choice (I used green peppers, onions, carrots, french beans, peas)
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
1 star anise pod
1 stick cinnamon
2-3 cloves
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup milk
Coriander for garnish (optional)

Thaw the vegetables and microwave for 3 minutes on high. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and when it is hot, add the jeera, raee, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. When the start to crackle, add the onions and spices and saute till soft. Then add the vegetables and saute for 3-4 minutes till everything is mixed well and cooked. Add milk along with PBM. Stir well and bring to a boil. Serve hot with parathas or jeera rice.

I am sending this to CoL Leftover Delicacies.
[CoL.jpg]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sev Puri

Sev Puri is one of the cornerstones of Mumbai chaat. While winter may be time for the hot ragda patties or chole bhature, summer is for the cold chaats. This one fits the bill. Its an easy dish to make if you have ingredients at hand. There is also no definite proportion to ingredients. And you can eat a dozen in one sitting... I made the chutneys at home but in a pinch you can substitute store bought ones. I also used store bought puris.

Ingredients:

Enough flat puris/papdi - I used around 40-45
3/4 cup green coriander chutney
1/2 cup thick tamarind - date chutney
2 fresh tomatoes diced fine
1 medium onion diced fine
1 large boiled potato diced
3/4 cup sev (I prefer thicker sev)
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Place 6-7 puris in a plate. Then spoon the green and red chutneys. Top with potato, then tomato and the onions. Sprinkle sev on top and garish with coriander. Serve immediately else the puris will get soggy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pizza Sandwich

Sometimes despite my best efforts, I have some pizza sauce and toppings leftover when pizza is made. They are not enough for a whole pizza but can be made into small sandwiches. These yummy sandwiches were the result of one such evening. They are tasty with tangy sauce, fresh vegetables and stringy cheese. They can be packed into tiffins and or eaten as a snack. I made these when I had onions, tomato and green pepper pizza but this would taste good with any toppings you may have.

Ingredients:

4 slices bread
4 tablespoons pizza sauce
1/2 cup chopped or 4-6 thin slices green peppers (capsicum)
1/2 cup chopped or 2-4 thin slices onions
4-6 slices tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
Butter
Apply a light layer of butter on the bread. This helps the bread not turn soggy with the pizza sauce. Next spread 1 tablespoon the pizza sauce on it. Top with half the onion, peppers, tomatoes and cheese. Cover with another slice of bread layered with butter and pizza sauce. Make the other sandwich the same way. Apply a little butter on the outer sides the bread slices. This will help the bread turn golden but it is optional.  Place in a sandwich toaster or a panini maker and grill till its crispy and golden. Enjoy with tea or as a lunch with chips!

Filling variations:
Jalapeno and pineapple
Olive, artichoke hearts and mushroom
Tomato, roasted garlic and spinach

I am sending this to CoL Leftover Delicacies.
[CoL.jpg]

Friday, April 9, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I probably was an Italian in my past birth. I can eat pizza, pasta, anything with marinara all days of the week. Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. In this preparation it a coated with breadcrumbs and shallow fried till its crunchy. Topped with tomato sauce and cheese it is a hearty dish along with pasta. I usually have this dish in restaurants and love it. Its a little time consuming but worth the effort. 

Ingredients:

10 slices eggplant, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 cup fine bread crumbs (don't use Panko)
1 egg (See note below for vegetarian version)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
3 cups marinara
1 cup shredded mozzarella
3 tablespoons Parmesan
1 inch round of spaghetti
3-4 pieces of garlic bread
Salt
Oil to shallow fry

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and leave for 30 minutes over a counter to drip. Pat dry and remove the excess salt. In a shallow flat bowl, beat the egg and in another dish mix the breadcrumbs, and the spices along with the salt. In a non stick frying pan, heat a little oil. Dip the eggplant in the egg and then coat with the seasoned breadcrumbs. Put the slice in the hot oil and cook till golden brown on both sides. Use minimal oil as the eggplant will absorb as much oil as you use to cook. Cook all the slices this way. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a deep pan, make the marinara. In a casserole dish, layer the bottom with 1 cup of marinara. Layer the eggplant slices next and then 1/3 the mozzarella and third of the Parmesan. Next layer 1 cup marinara, then eggplant and third of the cheeses, then the remaining marinara and finally the remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes till the cheese is melted. Cook the spaghetti like in this post. When the parmesan is done, leave it on the counter for 10 minutes to set. Serve hot with spaghetti on the side and garlic bread.

Note: If you don't want to use an egg for coating, use a mixture of 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (maida) in 1 cup of water. 

I am sending this to tobais' 6th Mediterranean Cooking Event - Italy
6th mediterranean cooking event - Italy - tobias cooks! - 10.03.2010-10.04.2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Garlic bread

Garlic bread goes great with pasta dishes. Its easy to buy frozen but I dont like the taste of garlic powder in it. Also when I make it at home, I can control the ingredients that go in it. Its fairly simple to make and tastes yum. The portion below makes about 15-18 pieces. I like pieces of garlic so I just chopped it, if you like it finer, you can mash it or make a paste.

Ingredients:

1 loaf french bread
8-10 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the butter, parsley and garlic. Cut the bread into slices. Apply the butter on the slices and bake for 5-7 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes till the top is golden and sizzling. 
If you want to freeze some for later, before baking, chill them first so the butter solidifies and then pile together and freeze them. To cook them, remove from freezer and cook as given above allowing 2-3 extra minutes to bake. 

I am sending this to tobais' 6th Mediterranean Cooking Event - Italy
6th mediterranean cooking event - Italy
 - tobias cooks! - 10.03.2010-10.04.2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs - the vegetarian version

Spaghetti is Italian and meatballs are Italian but in my mind there is nothing more American than spaghetti and meatballs. Its a perfect combination of the tangy sauce, creamy cheese and taste bombs in the form of meatballs. You can make it with the thicker spaghetti - spaghettoni, but I like the medium thickness spaghetti as it cooks to the prefect thickness when done. Thinner pastas - spaghettini, capellini will not be able to take the thick sauce and the meatballs. 
The best way to measure how much spaghetti to cook is to have a pasta measure but you can make do by cooking spaghetti the size of a US quarter, about an inch or so for 1 person if making it for main course without any side dishes. If you are serving it with garlic bread about 3/4 inch round should be sufficient. It also converts into about 3 oz per person. Portion below is for 4 servings.

Ingredients:

3 inches raw spaghetti
3 cups marinara
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Salt

First make the meatballs. Then make the marinara. When the marinara is almost done add the meatballs to it and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then remove the meatballs and keep aside. Make some extra meatballs for snacking and tasting.

Boil a huge pot of water. When it reaches a boil add salt to it, enough to make it salty like salt water. Then add the pasta. If all the spaghetti does not fit into the water that is fine. As it cooks it will slip into the pot. Dont break the pasta to cook it. To check al dente, take a bit of a strand, if its without any raw crunch in the center its done. Remove, spool on a plate, add some of the sauce with the meatball on top. Sprinkle Parmesan and serve hot! Or you can add the spaghetti to the sauce and mix well. Serve a spool of the pasta and top with meatballs and then some grated Parmesan. Serve some garlic bread on the side. Pair it with your favorite wine and make it an evening...
* I hate throwing out a huge potful of hot water after making pasta as its wasteful of water and energy. I try to plan two pasta dishes close to each other so that I can make the second pasta in the same water. Just cool the pasta by washing it in cold water, add a little olive oil and refrigerate the second batch.  It stays for 3-4 days in the fridge. Water becomes too starchy after the second batch so no third round. Also too much pasta in one week!

I am sending this to Sowmya's Cooking with Pasta Event and to tobais' 6th Mediterranean Cooking Event - Italy
6th mediterranean cooking event - Italy
 - tobias cooks! - 10.03.2010-10.04.2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Meatless Meatballs: Polpette di Lupo

I like meatballs, more so since I like marinara and anything slathered in it with lots of cheese would be delicious. They are also a good party food and really fun to make. I made this version based on Mario Batali's version with a few tweaks of my own. 

Ingredients:

1 pound stale bread (I used 10 pav)
3/4 - 1 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup Parmesan grated
2 tablespoons Italian parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons dry basil or 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 clove garlic
Salt 
Pepper
Oil to fry

Soak the bread in milk. First add 3/4 cup and if the bread is dry add additional milk. Don't make the bread soggy. Squeeze the excess milk and mash the bread well. Add the eggs, cheese, herbs and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Form into balls about 1 inch in diameter and allow to dry for 15 - 20 minutes. Deep fry till golden brown on all sides. 

Serving suggestions:
Serve on a platter with marinara on the side
Soak in marinara sauce and serve in between a split sandwich roll with cheese on top
Serve with spaghetti

I am sending this to tobais' 6th Mediterranean Cooking Event - Italy
6th mediterranean cooking event - Italy
 - tobias cooks! - 10.03.2010-10.04.2010

TAG Award from Priya and Kiran

I got tagged today by two fellow blog pals, Priya and Kiran. Thank you for the tag award and as per the rules:

1. I should pass it on to 7 friends.
2. I should post a favorite picture/pictures.

I am passing this award along to these blog pals


Coming up with a favorite picture was tough... I finally picked this pic from Pensacola, Florida. Florida has been a favorite place for both my husband and me. I picked this one in particular because it is as beautiful as a postcard. The sand is white the water is emerald green. It was a fabulous trip and the beach even more gorgeous.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rotini Alfredo with Vegetables

This dish is another favorite which I make often. Its simple to make and ready in a jiffy. Rotini is a type of spiral pasta and allows the sauce to stick in the ridges. It is not to be confused with fusilli which is also a spiral pasta but rotini has more tighter spirals. You can use either of the pastas for the recipe. Since it is just a white sauce, I add vegetables to give it more nutritional value and some color.

Ingredients:

1 packet (16 oz) rotini pasta 
1 cup mixed vegetables (I used peas, green peppers and carrots)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons AP flour (maida)
3 cups milk
2-3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons Parmesan (optional)
Salt

Heat a large pot with water. When it comes to a boil, add salt to make the water salty like seawater. Add the pasta and cook till al dente. Pinch the pasta along the side of the bowl, if its gives easily, its done if not add a minute or two. Perfect al dente pasta is plump and soft but not mushy. Oil and keep aside. 
In another non stick pan, heat the olive oil. Saute the vegetables for a minute or two and keep aside. Then put the butter in the pan. Add the garlic and when the garlic is cooked, add the flour and saute till the flour starts to brown. Add the milk and cook down. Add salt, pepper, Parmesan, oregano and basil as the sauce starts to thicken. At this time add the vegetables and the pasta. Toss to coat well. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little milk to thin it out. Serve hot with a garlic bread!

I am sending this to Sowmya's Cooking with Pasta Event.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fajeto - Gujarati Mango Rasam

Summer is the season for mangoes and aam ras (mango pulp) is made for meals often. Once the pulp is extracted, the seed is used to make this dish. It has mango notes and is sweetish and spicy. It is eaten in place of daal along with roti, sabzi and ofcourse aam ras.

Ingredients:

2-3 mango seeds (just after pulp is extracted)
1 inch knob ginger minced
2-3 green chilies
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Dash of sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
Coriander for garnish

Soak the seeds in about 5-6 cups of water and put them to boil. Add the ginger, chilies, chili powder and turmeric and boil them for 15-20 minutes. In a separate vessel, heat the oil and add the jeera and raee. When they start to crackle add it to the mango water. Add sugar and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Garnish with coriander and serve hot!

I am sending this to Nithu Bala's Think Beyond The Usual - Fruits.
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