Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pasta with Creamy Veggies

Wanting a quick dinner, I used this recipe of Rachel Ray's as a base and modified the ingredients to suit what I had on hand. The result is a yummy, wholesome pasta with lots of veggies and a creamy taste.

CREAMY VEGGIE PASTA

INGREDIENTS:

Penne (or any pasta) - 6 to 8 oz [I used half whole wheat pasta]
Onion - 1 medium, sliced thinly and into 1 inch pieces
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves, minced
Spinach - 6 to 8 oz (frozen, chopped)
Tomato - 1/2 chopped
Sun-dried tomatoes - 6 halves, reconstituted in boiling water for 5 mins
Zucchini - 1 medium, sliced into half-moons
Bell Peppers - 1 medium, sliced thin
Carrot - 1, slivered into thin matchsticks or Mushrooms - 8 sliced
Milk - 1/2 cup
Vegetable stock - 1/2 cup
Cream cheese - 3 to 4 oz
Parmesan cheese / Pepper jack cheese - 1/4 cup or more to taste
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
All purpose flour (maida) - 1 tbsp
Red Chilli flakes - 1 tsp
Dried Basil leaves - 1 tsp
Hot Sauce (Sriracha) - to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper - to taste

Method:
1) In a big pan, heat up lots of water for the pasta and when it boils season with salt and cook the pasta in it until al-dente. Reserve about a cup of pasta water and drain it.

2) Meanwhile, in a big, deep skillet, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and onions first.. cook till the brown a bit, next add the zucchini, bell peppers, carrots (or mushrooms) and saute till the vegetables are tender.

3) Defrost the spinach and wring it so it gets dry. Break it up with your hands and add to the vegetable mixture, along with chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and red chilli flakes.

4) When the veggies are cooked sufficiently, sprinkle the flour and stir for a few minutes before adding the vegetable stock and milk. This will thicken quite rapidly... Add in the softened cream cheese at this point and season with salt and pepper.

5) Add in the cooked pasta, dried basil and the cheese with some hot sauce (if using). Toss this together until the flavours get combined. Add some of the reserved, starchy pasta water if you feel it's drying out. Topp with more fresh basil if desired. Creamy Pasta with a load of veggies is now ready and all done in one pot!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Grape Juice

Grape juice has always featured on my favorite juices list but I've never made it myself and when I saw this post of Lulu's I was craving for some. I had a bunch of grapes on hand and proceeded to juice them.

GRAPE JUICE

Ingredients:
Grapes - 1 cup (I used red seedless)
Water - about 1/2 cup

Method:

1) Wash grapes. Blend them with water until desired consistency is achieved.

2) Refreshing juice is now ready to sip. Strain if you wish, I didn't.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tomato Dosa

My mom makes these yummy tomato dosas which are tangy, spicy and absolutely tasty. She normally serves this with a simple coconut chutney but I like it plain or with idli podi. This requires no fermenting to boot. I added in a chopped carrot this time, when grinding the tomatoes with no discernible difference in taste and also added green chillies (since I had lots on hand) but just red chillies will be fine. It was a hit with my 2 yr old too.

TOMATO DOSA

Ingredients:
Raw Rice - 1 cup, soaked for about 2 to 3 hours
Tomatoes - 2 to 3 big, cut into big pieces
Carrot - 1, peeled, cut into pieces
Ginger - 1.5 inch, peeled
Green Chillies - 3
Red chillies - 5
Curry leaves - few
Coconut - 2 to 3 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Onion - 1 medium, chopped very finely
Oil - to cook dosas

Method:
1) Grind tomatoes, carrot, coconut, ginger, green chillies, red chillies and curry leaves.

2) Next add the drained rice, salt and water as required to grind to a smooth paste ( I
use a mixie for this not the wet grinder).

3) Add the finely chopped onions and stir.

4) Pour the batter in a swirling motion (like making regular dosas) on a hot pan. Drizzle some oil on it.

5) When one side is cooked to a golden colour, flip over and cook the other side.

I would like to send this as my entry to Srivalli's Dosa Mela.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oats & Peanut Butter

A dear friend (who blogs at Hunger Pangs) suggested this lovely combination of Oats and Peanut butter and I've been hooked on it since. It makes for a yummy and filling breakfast and I even like the texture of it. I've paired this recent favorite of mine with some other good eats for a very satisfying and feel-good breakfast.

OATS & PB Breakfast

Ingredients:
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats - 1/4 cup
Milk (1 %) - 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar - 1 tsp
Peanut butter - 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp [I use half]

1) Soak Oats in some hot milk for about 10 minutes. Then microwave it in 1 minute intervals (so it doesn't boil over) for a total of 3 minutes. Adding brown sugar after the initial 2 minutes. I find that it's not too gooey and has a slight bite to it at this point - which is how I like it.

2) When done, stir in the peanut butter.

For a yummy variation: Add Nutella instead of peanut butter for a chocolatey breakfast treat.

Scrambled Eggs

1) Heat a non-stick pan and spray some oil, beat 1 egg and 1 tbsp of milk with some salt and pepper. Scramble on a low to medium flame to desire consistency. I like them well cooked and topped mine with some hot sauce.

Serve with fruit of choice.


NUTRITION FACTS: (1 serving - as shown, with Kiwi)
Calories - 310
Carbohydrates - 38 g
Protein - 16 g
Fat - 12 g
Fiber - 5g

I would like to send this as my entry to Mansi's WBB-Balanced Breakfasts which is an event started by Nandita, the Nutritioniste... :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Microwave Mushroom Biryani

This is among my first few attempts of creating an entire dish in the microwave... I think the only other recipe I've tried was Nupur's Sabudana Khichdi. I chanced upon this recipe on the Arusuvai website, had mushrooms on hand and Srivalli's MEC - Rice Dishes on my mind so decided to give it a try. The resulting biryani was spicy, yummy and a keeper for sure.

MICROWAVE MUSHROOM BIRYANI

Ingredients:
Rice - 1 cup, washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes

Button Mushrooms - 1 (8 oz) Pack ~ 15 mushrooms, chopped
Onion - 1 big, chopped finely
Tomato - 1, pureed in a mixie
Ginger - garlic paste - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped
Mint Leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Biryani Masala / Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Cloves - 2 or 3
Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Star Anise - 1
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

Method:
1) Drain the soaked rice and add 2 cups of water to it (1:2 ratio). Add the whole masalas (Cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise), a bit of salt and a few drops of oil. Cover and cook in MW for 9 minutes on high and then for another 6 minutes at 75% power. [ I selected Rice on my microwave since it has a sensor cook option].

2) Once cooked, empty out the rice onto a plate and allow to cool. Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth and chop.

3) Heat oil in a microwaveable bowl, cover and cook for a minute to warm it. Now add the cumin seeds and the chopped onion, ginger-garlic paste, stir and allow to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on high.

4) Now stir in chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric, cumin and pepper powders and microwave for another 1-2 minutes.

5) Next add the ground tomatoes and cook for about 2-3 minutes on high. Stir in the yogurt, half of the chopped mint and coriander leaves, garam masala/biryani masala and salt. Allow this to cook for another 3 minutes on high.

6) Finally add the chopped mushrooms and cook on high for 4 to 5 minutes or until you have a nice thick gravy.

7) Divide the rice into 3 portions and the mushroom masala into 2. In another microwaveable bowl, layer them thusly - Rice, Mushroom, Rice, Mushroom, Rice. Top with the remaining coriander and mint leaves. Cover this and microwave for about 8 minutes on 75% power. This is to mimic the 'dum' technique.


8) Gently stir the rice and mushroom masala without breaking. Mushroom Biryani is now ready to serve.

As mentioned earlier, I would like to send this as my entry to Srivalli's MEC - Rice Dishes. I finally managed to send in an entry to your super event.... :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Vazhakai (Plantain) Roast

Here's a quick recipe with Vazhakai (Green, Raw Plantains) and makes for a yummy side-dish. I usually eat a good quantity of this during the process of making it - hot off the pan :) The plantains we get here cook really fast - which according to my mom is not the case in India, so I usually just dice and throw them in the pan directly with no pre-cooking whatsoever.

VAZHAKAI ROAST


Ingredients:

Vazhakais (Plantains) - 3
Sambhar powder - 2 to 3 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp + Oil spray
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Asafoetida - few pinches

Method:
1) Peel and dice the vazhakai into small cubes.
2) Heat oil in a wide, shallow pan add mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.

3) Toss in the vazhakai cubes, sambhar powder and salt. Sprinkle a few drops of water and cover for a few minutes until the vazhakai is slightly cooked.

4) Remove the cover and let it roast on a medium flame with a few sprays of oil (if required) and toss until browned, crispy and cooked through.

5) Serve hot with rice, rasam and curds.



Monday, March 10, 2008

Mango Icecream

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Mythreyee's post of this delicious recipe.. it sounded too simple to be true. Since I had almost all the ingredients on hand, decided to give it a shot and was surprised at how simple it was to whip it up and it made our guests and us very happy. Thank you for this super recipe Mythreyee. I've made it twice now... and it tastes great just by itself or with a fruit salad.

MANGO ICE CREAM

Ingredients:
Condensed Milk - 1 (14 oz) can
Evaporated Milk - 1 (12 oz) can
Cool Whip (Whipped Topping) - 1 small tub, softened
Kesar Mango Pulp - 12 oz (or to taste) [I used the canned one]

Method:
1) With a wire whisk, beat the cool whip with some evaporated milk (pour gradually) till it blends well.


2) Now add the rest of the ingredients and beat / mix to a smooth consistency in a big bowl. Cover and freeze (atleast 6 hours) till ready to serve. Delicious Mango icecream is ready.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Enchiladas

Besides Quesadillas, I make Enchiladas quite often at home because it's quite versatile and easy to assemble if you have the sauce and filling ready. I have played with different fillings and usually make a Red Enchilada Sauce but recently tried a Salsa Verde from Namratha's Blog and loved it as well...

The following recipe makes 2 kinds of enchiladas... I used the Veggie and Tofu filling to make enchiladas with red sauce and the black bean filling to be used with the salsa verde (green sauce). Both are firm favorites at home.

ENCHILADAS

For Veggie & Tofu Filling:
Firm Tofu / Paneer - half cup of 1 inch cubes

Onion - 1 medium, sliced thin (1 inch)
Red and Green Bell peppers - 2/3 cups total, sliced thin
Mushrooms - 8 to 10, sliced
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves, chopped
Chilli powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt, to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

1) Spray a wide pan with some oil and sprinle some salt. Lay out the paneer or tofu pieces and cook on both sides till golden brown. Keep aside.

2) Heat oil in the pan and toss in the onion and garlic, when browned add the sliced mushrooms and bell peppers. When it's half-cooked add the powders and salt and stir for a few more minutes before adding the tofu / paneer pieces and tossing well. Add some chopped coriander leaes if you wish and cook for a few more minutes till it all comes together.

For Black Bean Filling:
Black beans - 1 (15.5 oz) can
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves, chopped
Green bell pepper - half of a big one, chopped
Tomato - 1 small, chopped

Sambar powder - 1 to 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp

1) Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, onion and garlic. Saute till slightly browned and add the bell pepper and salt. Whe it softens a bit add the tomato and sambar powder and also the can of black beans.

2) Let this boil until the filling thickens and is a bit dry, yet moist.

For Red Sauce:
Onion - half of a medium, chopped very finely
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Tomato - 1 small, chopped

Tomato Puree - half cup
Vegetable stock - 1 cup
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Dried Oregano - 1/2 tsp
Dried Parsley - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

1) Heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic and saute till browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till slightly mushy.

2) Now add the tomato puree, vegetable stock, dried herbs and powders with salt as required. Add about 1/2 cup water to adjust consistency.

3) When it boils, cover and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes till it's a bit thick.

For Salsa Verde (Green sauce):
Tomatillos - 5 or 6 small (I used canned variety) or 4 medium fresh ones husked
Onion - half of a medium one, quartered

Jalapenos - 2
G. Chilli - 1 or 2 to kick up the spicy taste (optional)
Garlic cloves - 2, peeled
Coriander leaves (cilantro) - a handful
Lime - 1, juiced (I omitted this since the canned tomatillos were soaked in citric acid)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp, toasted or 1/2 tsp cumin powder
Salt - to taste

1) Bring about 2-3 cups of water to boil and add the onion, jalapenos, g. chilli, garlic cloves. If using fresh tomatillos, add that as well (I omitted that for the canned ones since they were rather soft). Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool for a bit.

2) Blend this with the tomatillos, cumin, coriander leaves, salt and lime (if using) to a coarse paste. Salsa verde is now ready.

Assembling the Enchiladas
Tortillas - about 10 to 12 total
Cheese - 1/2 to 1 cup (depending on how cheesy you want it to be)

1) Pre heat oven to 350F
2) Spray a pan with some oil.
3) Take each tortilla and place some filling in the middle (either Tofu Veggie or Black bean) and roll it up tightly. Place it on the pan, seam side down.


4) When all the tortillas are in the pan, cover them with sauce of choice (red or green)

5) Sprinkle cheese on top and bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes till heated through and cheese melts.



I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Namratha, Seema & Uma for giving me the 'E' - Excellence Award. I am thrilled - Thank you!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Spicy Pasta & Veggies

I would've liked to come up with a better, more appealing name for this dish but I'm running short on time so this will have to suffice for now. The name may not be appealing but the taste of this sure to please your taste buds... Every time my friend Kaye brought this for lunch (when we were in school), there would be quite a clamor while we tried to dig our spoons in for a taste because we loved this... During a visit to her place I remembered to ask her mom how she made it and this is what I recall of aunty's recipe and follow it when we crave a spicy pasta dish.

SPICY PASTA & VEGGIES

Ingredients:
Shell pasta (small sized preferably) - 6 oz
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Tomato - 1 big, chopped
Carrots - 2 medium, julienned into thin matchsticks
Beans - 10 to 15, french cut
Green Bell pepper - half of a small one, chopped
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt, to taste
Pepper - to taste (optional)
Margarine/Butter - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Method:

1) Cook pasta in plenty of boiling water with some salt till al-dente (or acc. to package directions)

2) Microwave the carrots and beans with about 2-3 tbsp of water and a pinch of salt for about 5-7 minutes (covered) till tender.

3) In a pan, heat oil and fry the onions, when transparent and browned on the edges, add the bell pepper and saute for a few more minutes before tossing in the chopped tomatoes.

4) Add salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy. Now add the carrots and beans and stir till the masala and the veggies incorporate well.
5) Finally add the cooked shell pasta and the butter/margarine and mix thoroughly (but gently). Add in some cracked pepper to taste and let it cook for about 5 mins on medium flame, tossing every few minutes. Spicy pasta is ready to serve.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gutti Vankaya Koora

I had heard about this dish often but never really tasted it before. However just reading the ingredient list and remembering the rave reviews from anyone who has tasted this curry wanted me to give this a shot and hence I decided to prepare this curry - thanks to this website. I pretty much followed the recipe, except for some modifications and I replaced the green brinjals with young purple brinjals since that's what I had with me. Make sure the brinjals are tender (no brown/black mature seeds inside). The gravy was just perfect and lipsmackingly good.


GUTTI VANKAYA KOORA (Stuffed Eggplant Curry)


Ingredients:

Tamarind - lemon sized , soaked in warm water and juice extracted
Brinjals (green or purple) - 6 or 7
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Sambhar powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp
Jaggery/Brown Sugar - couple pinches (or to taste)


To Grind:
Red Onion - 1/2 of a big one or Shallots - 6
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 3 cloves
Cinnamon stick - 1 small
Cloves - 1
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame seeds (white) - 3 tbsp
Peanuts - 3 tbsp
Dried Red Chilli - 4
Coriander seeds - 3 tsp
Dessicated coconut flakes - 1 tbsp

Method:
1) Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, red chillies first and finally add the coconut flakes. In a tsp of oil, roast the ginger, garlic and onions till browned and grind along with the rest of the ingredients in the 'To Grind' list.



2) Remove the stems from the brinjal and from the opposite end, make a cross shaped slit till about 3/4th of the brinjal (take care to not do it completely or the brinjal will split into two).


3) Carefully stuff the brinjal with the ground paste. There will be paste left over. Dilute that with a cup of water and set aside for now.


4) Heat oil in a saucepan and add mustard and cumin seeds, when they splutter add the curry leaves. Carefully place the brinjals in the oil (in a single layer) and allow them to cook on a medium flame. When one side is done a bit, turn them gently over till all the surfaces are cooked.


5) Now add the diluted paste, tamarind juice, red chilli powder, turmeric, sambar powder (if using) and salt. Once this begins to boil, reduce the heat a bit, cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes till completely done. You could add some jaggery or brown sugar to taste and let it boil a few more minutes before removing from the stove and serving.




I would like to send this as my entry for Pooja's 'Vegetable of the Week' - Brinjal. Thank you Pooja for hosting this.