Monday, December 29, 2008

Stuffed peppers

A red and a yellow pepper stuffed with egg noodles, top it off with some breadcrumbs for crunch and nicely shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake it off and your mouth will water....:)

A perfect comfort food for a perfect winter...:)

Let me start by mentioning that stuffed peppers as the name suggests is pretty versatile dish. You can pretty much stuff anything inside the peppers. You can stuff them with orzo, rice or may be a nice stuffing of boiled potatoes with a mixture of Indian spices. Variations are literally endless. 

A perfect dish to use your left brain....:)

So here's what I used-:
  • 1 Cup of wide egg noodles
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon of tomato paste ( Used store bought, you can also use tomato puree)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
Prepare the egg noodle- As per the instructions on the packet. 
Drain the noodles and keep it aside
Heads up:- Make sure your noodle are really shy to al-dente, because they are going to finish their cooking in oven later. 

Reserve the water before draining off the noodles. It's a nice starchy water which you can use later while making the sauce.

Cut the top off of the peppers.

and also the bottoms, just so that the peppers will stand straight.

Heat canola oil in a pan , add finely chopped shallots , Italian seasoning, followed by tomato paste.
Add some salt to taste and some freshly ground black pepper. Add some reserved starchy water from the step 1. Saute everything for a minute or so and then add the egg noodles you prepared in step 1. Turn off the heat, coat the noodles well with the sauce. Add some more starchy water if you feel to mix everything together.

Take one bell pepper, place it firmly inside a loaf pan of any baking pan which has some height. (You need to pour some water or some stock around the peppers when you bake them in the oven. That is why you need height to the pan.)
After you place the peppers in the loaf pan, stuff them with the stuffing we made in step 3.

Make sure to stuff every bell pepper up to the top. 

Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on the top. This will make nice brown top and will add a crunch on bite.

Toss in some ( actually a lot..) sharply shredded Parmesan cheese which will melt while in the oven.

Pour some water around the peppers. You can also use some chicken stock or vegetable stock if you want. That will enhance the flavor when the peppers bake. 

Cover the loaf pan with aluminium foil. 

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the pan in the middle rack. Bake it off for 40 minutes.

Check after 40, keep for few more minutes, if you fell the peppers aren't cooked yet. In that case 10 more minutes should do the trick.

Other way to cook the peppers-:
Instead of keeping them directly in to the oven, you can also cook the peppers after you cut the bottoms and tops off for about 10 minutes, and then stuff the filling and bake it off for 20-25 minutes.

Be very sure not to cook the egg noodles completely, just cook them for about 5-6 minutes in water, and allow to cook them later in the oven. It Will make the noodles too soggy if you cook them completely beforehand.

Enjoy stuffed peppers with  some rice or some nice grilled fish...:)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A sweet treat for holidays!!

Rawa (Sooji/semolina) Cake

One of the reasons to eat cake..............:D
Sometimes I make recipes sound so conveniently healthy that I don't feel guilty about eating them....:)

Interesting isn't it? A cake without egg, without maida (All purpose floor) I won't say without butter..well.... it is without butter, but with eventually, cream balances out butter, and give us a reason to feel guilty about....:(

Well..........this is a holiday season of the year everywhere and it's okay to go crazy once in a while.

So here it goes-:
A cake for holidays.....!!

Here is what you will need-:
  • 1 cup rawa (fine)- you can get in any Indian store, it's called sooji or semolina..if you prefer. Its essentially made up of wheat.
  • 1 Cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup of cream 
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of milk I used 2%
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Almonds, walnuts, raisins for crunchiness
This is how you do it-:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Mix all the dry ingredients first. Then add the wet once. Make sure that everything gets mixed up well with no lumps formed. 

Slice the almonds, chop the remaining nuts and add in to the tub.
Spray your cake pan with non-stick cooking spray or you can also rub some butter inside the pan. Pour the batter nicely.
Slide the pan in to the preheated oven and bake for about 50 minutes. The baking time may vary due to difference in the ovens. Check after 45 and decide. If you feel , keep baking for 10 minutes more or so.

Insert the knife and make sure it comes out clean, if not that means, it needs more baking.
bake to perfection and enjoy your holidays...!!!

Happy holidays...everyone...!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

HHDD #24 Pesto- another entry for a round up!

This one is specially made for HHDD round up. Here is the link to the host and the facilitator.
Thank you for hosting this round up.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

I love to send my entries to these round ups. This one was simple to make. Pesto- is an Italian sauce, commonly used on a pasta. I love a basic basil pesto. For this round up, I will be trying something different.

I love making pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and olives. Simple yet hearty dish, with red wine, and some crusty french bread is a perfect weekend lunch for me and my hubby. 
I decided to go with the same ingredients, except olives (I didn't have those in my pantry this time and I didn't have time to go buy them as the clock was ticking for the deadline).

I like the flavour of basil, so I decided to add the basil as well. 
It just took me 10 minutes to make this pesto. (or should I say less then 10!!)
I used-:

Sun-dried tomatoes (out of the jar and their oil)

Fresh Basil Leaves

Garlic Cloves, salt and pepper

Blend everything together . Blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer it to a bowl.

If you want to use it as a spread you can add some olive oil while blending. Otherwise, whatever oil sun-dried tomatoes have in the jar is enough.

As I said,You can use it as a spread over the bread, or toss in some cooked pasta and make it more delicious. 

I love to use this pesto as a dip with some corn chips or tostitos or with the pita chips.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I am a foodbuzz featured publisher now!!!!!!!!

Today is the day to celebrate for the perfect reason. I started blogging June 18th of this year. My blog will be six months old on 18th of this month. I will be posting my 30th post as we speak. 
I started this blog to document my trial and errors and learn from them later, also to share my experiences with the world, and most importantly to learn something which I didn't know before, from the bloggers all over the world.

This blogging creates a platform, which creates learning opportunities for foodie like me.
One of such platforms is  foodbuzz. I am sooooooooooo very excited, to know that I am one of the featured publishers of the foodbuzz now.

I already have updated layout of my blog. Lots and lots of fun yet to happen, a lot more experiments yet to fail and a lot more wonders yet to happen from those failures.
Can't wait.......:))

Thank you foodbuzz for giving me this opportunity to be a featured publisher.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quick dinner!!

I am always looking for something quick especially when it comes to weekday dinners. Many of the times I just cook once a day , mostly mornings and sometimes I make chapatis, some kind of vegetable (Sabji), and dal for lunch and then just make additional chapatis for the dinner or just some rice and dalfry for the dinner instead. 
Whenever I am out off all the options I mentioned above I just want my supper to be tasty, healthy, and a non-Indian item.

Last Wednesday evening was one of those non-Indian supper evening. I try to keep the list of the ingredients as less as possible on such nights, and this is for 2 reasons- 
First- to keep the calories under count and ...
second- sometimes less ingredients make more wonders and such wonders create some really great recipes, keeping it's simplicity alive....:)

This time I had wide noodles in my pantry and some soup cans as usual.
I decided to make egg noodles casserole with a can of cream of celery soup...:)

I Preheated the oven to 400°F.

Here is what I used-:

Wide egg noodles- half a pound
cream of celery soup- 1 can ( I used 98% less fat- of Campbell's- healthy request)
Milk- I used 2%,  1 cup
Spring onion chopped- 1/2 stalks
Breadcrumbs- I used Italian style
Butter few chunks

Start with boiling water in a pot, toss in the egg noodles when the water starts bubbling. Cook egg noodles for about 4-5 minutes. 
Heads up-: Cook them a little bit shy to al -dente, as they are going to finish their cooking process in the oven later. Do not overcook at this point of time.

Once the noodles are ready, rest of the things are very simple. Take a casserole dish/bowl. Mix 1 can of cream of celery and 1 cup of milk. Add the boiled noodles in to that mix well. Add chopped spring onion. ( You can completely skip spring onions, I just wanted to add some color to the dish and also I thought celery and onion goes well with each other.)

Mix everything together. Add a few chunks of butter on top, and sprinkle some breadcrumbs as well.
Bake it off in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.  Nice bubbles will be formed on the top and the top should look crusty and crispy....:)


Get ready to eat your weeknight supper in just 30 minutes........:)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My entry to Indian Adventure round up!!

I was sending something for a round up after a gap of almost 2 and half months. I was surely excited.  Joelen of Joelen's Culinary Adventure hosted this roundup and I had more than dozen of recipes to send her on this topic. I choose masala okra, that I posted on my blog recently.
You can take a look at the round up here.
If in case, you want to take a look at my blog post, it's  here.

Thank you Joelen, for considering my entry for the round up. I learned a lot from other entries too.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Instant Rava Dhokla

This one I wanted to make for a really long time. Loooooooooooong back I have had rava dhokla made by my mother's friend back in India.That was like 4-5  years back. I liked it very much then, and decided to make on my own, but somehow it took me 5 years to make one. 
I still can't believe I waited soooooooooooo looooooooong for such a simple and healthy dish. It was just a matter of 30 minutes, with just 3 main ingredients. It was that simple.....:)Dhokla is one of the favourite item when it comes to Indian snacking, especially Maharashtrian, and Gujrathi. I am not a huge fan of traditional dhokla which is made up of gram flour/ basan/chickpea flour.  This one is a nice little twist making it milder and much more appreciable. Made up of rava (Sooji), which is a healthier option to gram flour, with very little oil, and steamed to perfection.

It starts with 3 basic ingredients-:
  1. 1/2 cup of fine rava (sooji)
  2. 1/4 cup of yogurt
  3. 1/2  cup of water
With other secondary ingredients like:-
  1. 1/2 teaspoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon eno (or you can use soda)
  3. salt as per taste
  4. pinch of chilly powder
  5. pinch of black pepper powder.
For garnishing:-
  1. Coriander chopped (Cilantro)
  2. Tadka ( heat Some oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, when they splutter, add a pinch of turmeric powder and a pinch of asafoetida, add kadipatta if you want)
Mix basic ingredients in a bowl, keep it aside for about 15 minutes.
Grease an 1/2 inch  steel pan and keep ready to pour the mixture in to it. Boil water in a steamer or  a deep pan.
After 15 minutes, add oil, eno and salt in to the mixture of basic ingredients. stir well. Pour the mixture in to the greased pan and sprinkle chilly powder and black pepper powder on to the

Keep the pan in to the steamer/ the deep pot. Cover the pot with the lid. If you are using deep pot and don't have a tight lid, just take a small towel cover the pot with it and then cover with
 the lid. Keep it on a medium for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take the lid off and insert the fork or a knife in to the pan and check if it comes out without sticking anything to it, then that's an indication of a perfect dhokla. If not, keep it for another 2-3 minutes and it should be done. But as per my experience it should be done in 15 minutes.

Take out the pan and let it cool for about 1/2 an hour.  Garnish with tadka, and chopped coriander. After that you can take out of the pan and cut in to squares. Enjoy with chutney, or just as it is.
I still can't believe I took 5 long years to make such a simple dish. I am sure I will be the one making this again and again at least for next 50 years....:) 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dumplings in the hot tub!!

Winter is here in California!! Although it never snows in California, (at least around my area) it's chilly enough to enjoy a hot tub of tomato soup with couple of dumplings....:))
Today is the thanksgiving night, everybody must be enjoying with their families and friends. I decided to enjoy a nice hearty bowl of soup with my hubby. I wanted to make it a little fancy. That's when an idea of dumplings came to my mind. I used Nasoya's round wheat wraps I bought from pavilions last week. 

Also I had a can of Campbell's tomato soup. I was lazy enough to use canned soup to make my dinner in just 20 minutes. I love Campbell's, especially their healthy request series with less sodium and less fat....:)) and good part of it is you don't have to sacrifice the test...:))  I love it...:)

I guess no need to write the recipe for soup here, so here goes the dumplings....

For filling:-
You can throw anything in to the wrap as long as the filling doesn't become soggy or watery. The wrap should hold the mixture after boiling or frying. 
Here is the filling I made today-:
1 scallion chopped
5-6 baby carrots shredded
pinto beans (I used canned) slightly mashed with spoon.
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
salt to taste.

You can boil, the veggies before placing the filling in to the wrap, if you want. I used, baby carrots, canned beans which are not very raw. I like kind of a crunch to my dumplings. But if you feel, you can certainly go ahead and boil those in a water for a couple of minutes, drain the water and then add them.

Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add a spoonful of filling in the middle of the wrap. Brush the ends with a drop of water so that, they will stick to each other. Fold the sides by keeping the filling in the center of the wrap. Make sure that the ends get sealed nicely. To give them a nice shape, you can pinch the ends with your fingers. 

Boil the dumplings in the water for about 5 minutes or until they float in the water. Other option is you can fry those. I haven't tried that yet. 

Here is how they look after they come out-:

Let the dumplings float in the hot tub . Garnish them with chopped scallions, and shredded Parmesan. 

 Enjoy your dinner on a chilly night in winter.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some pictures of Indian treats!!

I have been trying to write recipes of all the goodies I enjoyed back home. Making these tasty treats is not a beginners job....:) SO obviously I wasn't the one who made those. I would definitely like to take credit for those but I won't especially because I know that it requires a lot of efforts.

For now..just enjoy some pictures of the healthy?????  well................treats..!!!

The background of the picture are kadboli ( made up of flour of different grounded pulses, deep fried )

In the left frame are Shankapali (made from the mixture of Maida , milk, sugar and ghee)

In the right frame are Karanjis (The cover is a mixture of maida, ghee, milk and water and the filling is fresh coconut, sugar, dry fruit powder, khoya/mawa, cardmom powder, and saffron.)
The karanjis are fried in ghee.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I am back.......:))

It's been over a week, since I am back from India.
Lots of stories to tell,...and lots and lots of indian faral( Sweets and savory snacks Indians make specially for Diwali holidays) recipes to share ....I am very excited.

I am just being lazy after having loads of fun in India. But I will be back to my routine of blogging as soon as I can.

So stay TUNED.......................

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My new blog..:)

I am almost addicted to blogging. Seems like this blog is not enough for me, I am on to another one. My new blog is just the world around me scribbled through my everyday thoughts.

Here it is- It's called Manaliscribbles.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Corn Patties

There are two reasons for this post.
  1. I wanted a breakfast item, which I can partially prepare a day before. Ever since we are on a healthy mode, me and my husband A usually have cereals for our breakfast,. But I love to start a day with a healthy yet yummy snack which does not distract me from loosing weight as well as help me break my everyday cereal ritual.
  2. There is an event due today called Sunday snack on the Taste of India and I wanted to participate.
So let me talk a little bit about this event-:

This event is hosted by Hima of SnackORama. The theme for this month's Sunday snack is Bake it.
So here it goes-: Corn Patties

All goes in one bowl-
  • 1 cup Yellow corn kernels ( I used fresh kernels, you can also use frozen)
  • 1 boiled smashed potato.
  • 1/2 inch ginger grated (about 1 tsp)
  • 2 cloves of grated garlic
  • 1 chopped green chili.
  • 1 tsp chaat masala ( you can find one in any Indian grocery store)
  • Half a lemon/ lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp of cumin seeds
  • half a palmful of coriander finely chopped
  • olive oil. about 2 tsp
  • salt to taste
  • One last thing is breadcrumbs or a good substitute for breadcrumbs is sooji (rava).
I prefer breadcrumbs over rava, simply because I always want a nice brown crust from outside, and breadcrumbs does that just perfect. Wait until you see my pictures...:)

Toss all ingredients above in one bowl except breadcrumbs, and oil. Mix everything together.

I was using fresh corn, so it was very soft and sweet naturally, but if you use frozen, thaw them and microwave them for about 5-6 minutes. When you are using fresh, if you feel that the corns need to be more soft , cook them a little bit.

Make small round balls of the mixture, and press them a bit to give them patties shape.
Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate. I used Italian style breadcrumbs. I love them because they are already seasoned with parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, different spices, and my favorite Pecorino Romano cheese....:) But you can use anything of your choice. I also happened to like Japanese style breadcrumbs called panko.

When all your patties are ready, place them on a baking sheet, which is sprayed with non- stick cooking spray. Toss a little bit of olive oil on the top of the patties. Just enough to give them a golden brown crust.
Turn on your oven on 350° and slide your baking sheet inside for about 12-15 minutes on one side, then turn the patties and 10 more minutes on the other side.
You should get a nice crust on both sides, if you feel you can keep them inside for a couple more minutes, but make sure you check on them.

You can also, shallow fry them in the pan/ tava. But this oven version is a figure friendly option to cut down oil to just 2 tsp. And olive oil is always better for you right? An oil which has a good cholesterol which keeps your heart in good condition. And guess what you don't have to sacrifice the taste. It gives me a satisfaction of doing good karma to my body....:) feels great.

This is how they look when they come out.

Scrumptious ..........Isn't it? I just love them. Try them out, I am sure you won't miss the fried version.

ohh.. and they are great with mint chutney, or a ketchup.

Just like that!!! Yummoooo!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Masala okra

One of the most common fresh vegetable you can find in India....Okra....(Bhindi)
It's hard to find fresh okra all around the year here in US. Masala okra is one of my favorites school lunches. I used to like it because of it's perfect consistency. It has a consistency of something between a dry and a curry version. That way it really holds itself for a longer time. Great with chapati/naan as well as rice. I prepare okra in 2/3 ways. Here is how I make the okra with masala. I will hold other 2 types for later.

You have two options for Okra, you can use frozen or the fresh variety. I used frozen here. I believe frozen versions are partially cooked, so you don't have to cook them more that 7-10 minutes, makes your life a little bit simple.

Look for this type of cut okra as shown in the picture.

Make sure that you don't thaw the frozen okra, just use as it is from the packet for the better taste.

Prepare the masala for Okra -:
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder (Cilantro seeds are called as coriander)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel seeds.
  • 1 tsp. dried mango powder( amachur) I used chat masala here...just the ingredient I like to use in almost everything.
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder, you can also you paprika
  • salt to taste
Toss all the ingredients together.

Next thing you want to do is be ready with following ingredients:-
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 medium size tomato
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 inch of freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 green chili chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Asafetida (hing)
  • 2 tsp oil
Coat the pan with the oil on a medium flame, add cumin seeds. Add asafetida when cumin seeds splutter. 1 shallot chopped goes next in to the pan. After 2-3 minutes add tomatoes to it and wait until you get a consistency like pulp. Now it's time to add frozen okra to the pan. After a minute or so the masala mixture joins the hot tub...:)

Make sure you coat all the okra with masala. Add little bit of salt if needed. Keep it on the medium flame for about 4-5 minutes. Turn off the flame when you feel the okra is cooked completely.

Add freshly chopped cilantro at the end. It's a good finishing touch for the yummy masala okra.....!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I am in to Crocheting!!!!!

This post has been moved to my new blog manaliscibbles. As this is a food blog, I wanted it to be that way, so I have started a new blog, which has more generic approach. I will be posting everything other than food on manaliscribbles. 

As far as this blog is concerned, I hope foodies like me would appreciate the change.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grilled Salmon- My Way

This is the first time I am posting something which is non-vegetarian on my blog. I am not a pure vegetarian. I do enjoy few meat options like fish or white meat for it's nutritional value.
I love salmon. Of course for it's taste, especially grilled than baked or poached.
According to American Heart Association, we should eat at least 2 fish servings per week.
Now that's a nice excuse for a fish lover like me....:)
I used to try different healthy fish recipes at home. I prefer cooking fish at home. That way I can control the quality of ingredie
nts. It's been a while since I cooked fish at home, that's the reason I was craving for fish this weekend.

I started with the salmon fish fillet from my local grocery store. I made my own marinade which I think came out really good. I served grilled salmon with steamed fresh green beans and mashed potatoes. I love to make marinade and love the taste when it gets all soaked up in to the fish.

All the ingredients I am mentioning here are enough for 1 salmon fillet.
You can adjust the ingredients as per the quantity.

For the marinade-:
  • 2 Tbsp of cumin powder.- I made a fresh cumin from cumin seeds. I like to make it fresh because I love the fresh aroma.
  • 2 Tbsp of Grilled seasoning- It's from the grill time. I love it. It has a nice blend of vegetables like garlic, onion, red bell peppers and little kick of Parmesan and Romano cheese, and different spices like red chili flakes, fennel seeds. It's a perfect combination for grilling.
  • 2 Tbsp of Thick yogurt- Greek style yogurt will be perfect. It has a nice thickness to it.
  • 3 tbsp of Soy sauce- To add a little kick to it, and also acts as a thinning agent on to your marinade.
  • A bunch of freshly, coarsely chopped cilantro. I would say the more the better.
You don't need to add the salt. The seasoning and the soy sauce contains enough of that. Just add freshly ground black pepper and there it is, your quick marinade is ready for you.

Just to show you how the marinade looks on the Salmon

All you have to do now is marinade the salmon fillet from all the sides. The easy way to do this is take your good old zip lock bag. Pour your marinade in to the bag along with the fish. Lock the bag, and rotate the bag so that fish gets coated from all the sides. Open the bag, remove
air if any. Seal it again tightly. Make sure that all the air is out and keep the bag in the refrigerator for about an hour. And now, It's grilling time.

Heat your grilling pan. I used my indoor grilling pan.

Spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Put the fish in to the pan with the skin side up. (This is very important, even if you remove skin, you should put the fish skin side up first.) Ohh..I removed the skin of the fish before marinating.

Leave it there for about 4-5 minutes on the first side. It will change the color of the fish from bottom.
Turn the fish and cook it for 2-3 more minutes on the other side. It's very important that you do not overcook the fish. It looses the nutritious value as well as the flavor.

Along with the Salmon, I served mashed potatoes. I just boiled the potato in the microwave and mashed them with the bottom of a small bowl. I added shredded Parmesan cheese while the potatoes were hot, a little bit of salt and I like to add some red chili powder in my potatoes, just for taste. This is a quick recipe of mashed potatoes which I like to prepare any busy night of the week.

For the green beans, I simply steamed the beans with the water on the stove top. I like to add the salt in the water, this way the beans retain there green color.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My entry to herb mania- Round up

I made my first entry last month in one of the events - Herb mania- Basil.
Dee of Ammalu's Kitchen has posted the round up recently here. You can view all the pictures of the participant's recipes here. I really like the experience and I am looking forward to next one...:)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Black and White Cookies

This was my first attempt to make cookies. I was a little nervous. I am not really a sweets person. I like spicy food over sweet pleasures. probably that's the reason I have never tried homemade cookies. My hubby although love cookies, any sweet for that matter. So I decided to make the cookies for him. I admit that my first attempt of making cookies was not completely successful. The lesson I learned is you have to have all the proper measuring equipments when it comes to baking.
As I have mentioned in one of my blogs before, that I don't really measure when I am cooking. but Baking was a whole lot of different experience.

This is what you will need:-

1/3 cup of cream
7 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped in to small pieces
3/4 cup of sugar
1 package of sugar cookie dough (18 Ounce)

Place a pan over medium heat. Add the cream and warm until boiling, for about 3 minutes.
turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir for 1-2 minutes, until chocolate melts.
Place the chocolate mixture in to a small bowl.
Cool the chocolate until firm enough to roll in to balls.
To cool the chocolate quickly, place the chocolate mixture in to refrigerator for about an hour.

Once the chocolate is firm, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the sugar on a dish. Roll the chocolate into teaspoon-sized balls and set aside.

Roll a walnut-sized ball of cookie dough into a thin log about 3 inches long about height of your little finger.

Place a chocolate ball on a work surface and wrap a cookie dough log around the
chocolate ball and press to adhere. It should look like a cookie version of the planet Saturn.
Roll the cookie in the sugar to coat.
Place the cookie on a large baking sheet and continue forming
the remaining cookies and rolling them in sugar. Once all the cookie balls are on the baking sheets, use the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten the cookies to about 1/4 inch thick.

Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool, then serve.

I didn't have an exact measurement of a cup. So my chocolate, cream mixture came out little thinner than I expected. The test was great, but because the mixture wasn't perfect it got spread all over the cookies in the oven. Everything other than that was fun.

I need to buy a nice cup measurement so that my cookies will be better next time...:)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Spinach Soup

I wanted to serve something in a cute little white bowl that I recently bought. The first thing came to my mind was a colorful spinach soup which is full of nutritional value as well as rich flavor. Every time I make this soup I use different recipe, the reason is I don't remember the recipe I used last time. It's funny, because I make this soup all the time, at least once a month or so...:)

So this time I am documenting it down so that I won't forget it. Although I kind of like the newness of this recipe every time. So I guess I might document it today in my blog, but I don't think I would be using it next time.

Whatever, here is how I made my favorite soup-:

Heat some unsalted butter in the pan, add chopped onions fry for a minute and add 1 chopped potato to it, add half a cup of vegetable stock and and half a cup of 2% reduced fat milk( I used 2 % , you can certainly use whatever you have on hand.) Bring it to a boil. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes on a lowered heat.
Add cut spinach leaves, keeping aside few leaves to add later when you blend the mixture.
Add 2 cups of stock to it. Bring it to boil. Allow to simmer for 10 more minutes with a lid on it.
Allow the mixture to cool down, before you blend that in a mixture.
When you blend the mixture, make sure you add remaining spinach leaves. This will give your soup nice green color.
Return the mixture to the pan heated with little more butter. Heat the mixture, add some salt, sometimes I add crushed cumin seeds that gives nice fresh taste to the soup. But you can skip that. Do not allow the soup to boil. Serve in a nice plate garnished with spinach leaves and some Parmesan shaves or any grated cheese.

Coming Up: Black and White Cookies

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Roasted potatoes and onions with rosemary

Ever since I worked with basil, I am in the mood of using herb in to one more dish. This time it's rosemary and this time it's not for any event. I saw this really simple yet tempting dish on food network. Ohh.... I love food network. I love Rachael ray's 30 minutes meals. I think it's a very smart idea to show people that cooking is not really very complicated if you pay little attention to it, just like you do at your job. I loooooooove Giada's Everyday Italian. She shows some fancy looking but not so complicated dishes. It just makes me inspire to cook more and more and more!!
Food network is full of food choices. But I try to stick to the healthy yet tasty dishes, just like the one that I am going to share with you all.

So it's oven roasted onions and potatoes with lots and lots of rosemary.

This is a dish you can make with only 6 simple ingredients that you can find in your regular grocery store any time of the year.

6-7 baby red potatoes(Scrubbed and halved ), you can use white if you want, but red potatoes and white onions add a nice color to the dish. So I used red.
1 8 oz. packet of cippolini onions( peeled) - these are cute little white onions.
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
dried rosemary- around 2 teaspoons
black pepper

It's alright to use dried rosemary here because we are going to roast it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes.

For peeling the onions a simple trick is heat some water and put onions in to it for about 2-3 minutes, on a medium to high heat. Drain the water and it will be more easier for you to peel the onions.

Now toss all the ingredients( peeled onions, halved potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, salt and freshly ground black pepper) together. Mix it with your hands. Spread on a baking sheet.

here are those tiny little guys ready to go in to the hot tub.....:)

Heat the oven to 400°F. Keep it in for about 30-35 minutes. Turn them once after 15 minutes to make them crispier on both the sides. Your nose will know when they are done.


Coming Up: Spinach Soup

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vegetable puffs with basil- An entry to Herb Mania

Alright I really loved this idea. Herb mania- Any vegetarian dish you are allowed to prepare using specific herb, this time it was basil. I was sooooooo excited to read about this event here. I love herbs. There are so many different types of herbs available around, with culinary as well as medicinal values attached to them. One of my favorites is basil.

So little bit about why I decided to go with this one. I wanted to work with puff pastries for a really long time. This recipe came to my mind when I was going through one of stack of cookbooks I have. I thought this might be the right time to use the recipe from the book and add couple of ingredients to make it more tastier.

So I started with picking up the fresh basil first, of course what would I do without that. I bought puff pastry and paneer. Yes this was the one of the ingredients I decided to add.

here is what I used:-
  • Onion chopped
  • Garlic chopped- 1 clove
  • carrot- Just half- medium sized
  • A small potato
  • A palm full of peas
  • 1/2 a cup of vegetable stock.
  • a really good amount of fresh basil leaves.
  • And one egg lightly beaten.
I started with a some oil in a pan, added garlic and onions. I added some salt after onions, to bring out sweetness from the onions. This way onions gets evenly cooked. Then I added carrot and potato. After adding vegetable stock in the pan I lowered down the heat and simmered it for 10 minutes, until the stock got entirely absorbed by the vegetables cooking them completely. Add little more salt as per taste, and some red pepper flakes. And the lastly I added the peas and the paneer and basil leaves. I crumbled the leaves with my hands and added in to it. Kept it on the stove for a minute more and that's it. This was my mixture to stuff in to the puffs. One thing to remember here is basil is the last thing you want to add, because it will loose the flavor if you add them early in the preparation.

Now it was the time to deal with puff pastries. As I said this was my first time to use them. I was a little nervous. But they were more perfect than I expected. I wanted to make rounds out of it and then fill in the mixture and fold them in to a half circle. But I ended up by making square and folding them in half. It was more easy to handle. I bordered the cut sheet with water, added a spoonful of mixture in it. After folding it, sealed the edges. Brushed the beaten egg on the both sides of the puff.

And then I spread the oil in the baking pan and layered the puffs on it. Heated up the oven on 415o F. Left those puffs for about 20 minutes. And the result was great.
Beautiful golden puffs with aromatic basil in them. They were just perfect.

To make them more perfect I made a gourmet sauce, which was even more delicious.
Try it and you will love it.

Ingredients for sauce-
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • some onion chopped
  • 1/4th cup of wine (I used red here)
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
I started with heating some olive oil in a pan, added some onion and tomatoes. After a minute added wine and vegetable stock. I boiled the mixture and simmered it for 15 minutes and allowed to cool. Then I made a puree out of it and returned it to the pan. Then I added the tomato paste and dried oregano and the dried basil. A little bit of salt and it's ready. The sweetness of tomato and the sourness of wine was great together.
You can serve the sauce hot or cold.

The combination was way too perfect. My idea of adding basil in to the puffs was worth it. A little hint of basil at the very end of every bite. Neither too much nor too less.
So try these once. They are really fun.
Lets grab a plate and enjoy while they are hot.

This is how they look from inside:-

Coming Up: Rosted onions and potatoes with rosemary

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

This one is my entry to the Sweet and Simple Bakes Monthly Baking Event, hosted by Rosie and Maria

Thank you Rosie and Maria for hosting this wonderful holiday season baking event for beginner bakers like me...:)

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I am not a baker. In fact it was just 2/3 months back, when I started to think about baking. The credit goes to my co-worker Ivy from little Ivy cakes. She inspired me to start baking, and not just baking but also for this blog. HOW???? Check out her blog and you will know.
She has some really delicious recipes, that you will feel you should try.

Baking is not a part of regular Indian cooking. Baking takes place on a really large volumes for making cakes, pastries or different kinds of breads and biscuits in the bakeries in India. During last 10-15 years or so people started buying small ovens for making cakes at home.

So here is my second attempt of baking.
First time I baked was the oatmeal bran muffins, by using the recipe that was on the Quaker oatmeal bran packet. They turned out well. One thing I loved about baking is you have to be precise with the quantity of ingredients you are putting in and you are good. There is no room for eyeballing things. This was really hard for me to begin with. I am very comfortable eyeballing stuff. My mother always cooked the same way. I guess that's true for most of the Indian cook. But again you are good eyeballing when you are making food for a few people.

So this one is the inspired recipe from Bunny's warm oven. Which is inspired from Stonyfield farm. As I am a newbie to baking, I could not make much changes in to the recipe.

Here is what you will need-:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated( I used lime zest)
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

I used fresh blueberries. I love Costco for the fruits. I love fruits in a large quantity. They are never too much for me. I am a regular Costco shopper for apples, oranges, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. I love them all and they never go waste on me.
So this time I decided to use my blueberries and make these muffins.

Blueberries are high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It's all good right?
Not just that, blueberries are full of antioxidants which prevent cancer causing cell damage and limit age related diseases. So there are reasons why one should eat as much blueberries as they can.

So you should start with mixing the dry ingredient -the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in one bowl.
In other bowl combine the eggs, melted butter, yogurt,sugar, cinnamon, lime zest. Mix them nicely. Now mix dry ingredients in to this mixture and just mix until blended. Do not over mix it.
Now add the blueberries in to it and just mix it once.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF . Spoon the batter in to each muffin cups, filling each cup about two thirds full. It will be done in 15 minutes. They should be brown on top. You can check by inserting a fork or a knife in the middle of the muffin, If it comes out clean, your muffins are ready.
Allow them to cool , and then remove and serve warm.

My muffins turned out great. The only thing was the sugar. Some more sugar would have been fun.

Coming up: An entry to an event - Herb mania