Thursday, November 12, 2015

Homemade Gnocchi

It's been a longtime dream of mine to make homemade gnocchi. From Scratch. I've seen it made multiple times on TV and it didn't look too hard. Then again, those TV food people make it look so easy. 
Except, it really was that easy. 
I followed Giada's recipe for making gnocchi for no particular reason. I have several of her recipes on my Pinterest board so I just went with it.
While the end result didn't turn out quite as pillowy and soft as I would have liked, it made for a really tasty first attempt.

-  1 russet potato
-  1/2 tsp salt
-  1/2 tsp pepper
-  1 egg
-  1/4 cup flour
-  parmesan to taste
-  2 sprigs rosemary chopped fine
-  1/2 cup butter melted (for the sauce)

1.  Cook the butter over a medium flame in a large skillet for a few minutes and add the rosemary.  Set aside to add finished gnocchi later.

2.  Pierce potato with a fork and cook all the way through in a microwave or in a pot of water. Cut the potato in half and scoop out all the flesh leaving the skin behind. 

3.  Dump on the countertop and add an egg, salt and the flour and gently knead till the dough comes together.

4.  Portion the dough into medium sized balls and roll it out into a long thin rope. 

5.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into one inch pieces and cook in large pot of salted boiling water until the gnocchi rises to the surface, about one minute.

6.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the butter/rosemary sauce and toss and serve.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Black Bean Soup

The inspiration for this dish came from an open can of black beans sitting in my fridge. And two sides of Chipotle black beans I'd gotten the previous week that was still good but was not being consumed.  My 3 yo has gone from willingly eating black beans to just glancing on them and carefully removing them from the plate.  So what do you do when you have random leftover stuff? YOU MAKE SOUP!!

This seriously cannot be any easier. 4 steps.

1.  In a large pot, sautee onions, celery, Black beans, and a tomato.

2.  Add seasoning- some chilli powder, oregano, salt and pepper.  Add some spicy stuff if you like. I didn't because I wanted it to be kid friendly. 

3.  Add a couple cups of water and let the whole thing simmer for 15 minutes. 

4. Turn off heat. Allow to cool. Blend to desired consistency.


<<<Where's the Easy Button??>>>

I also had a ripe avacado sitting in my fruit bowl so I did the next logical and made gauc. Can't have guac without chips. There you go! Lunch is ready!

Update- The kid ate it. He didn't lap it up and ask for seconds, but it went in. I'll leave it at that.

Green Beans Paruppusili

This is a simple South Indian side dish that is every mom's dream- combines veggies and protein (paruppu- lentils).  It's basically cooked green beans combined with a lentil "crumble". If your family loves green beans and you're not inclined to make a separate dal or protein dish, this work great with rasam or kozhambu served with rice.


-  1 pound of chopped green beans. Fresh is best, stay away from frozen.
-  1/3 cup toor+moong dal soaked.
-  2 dried red chillies
-  1 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)
-  1/2 tsp cumin or curry powder
-  a pinch of hing
-   tadka- urad dal, mustard seeds and curry leaves


-  Let the dal soak in water for an hour.
-  Grind it up coarsely with red chillies and a bit of salt and the hing
-  Add a tablespoon oil to a hot skillet and cook the green beans till al dente. Add the ground up dal mixture and let it continue to cook to completion.
-  Season with a bit of salt and grated coconut as desired.
-  Tadka with appropriate ingredients and mix.

A very similar preparation can also be used with cabbage, broccoli.

Grilled flatbread homemade pizza

I was on a pizza kick -  bang in the middle of summer - when it was too hot to even look at my oven. So, I went about searching a grilled pizza recipe. Pinterest, as usual, had tons. I found a basic recipe here. It worked great. I left the dough out in my backyard under the blazing Texas sun and it rose beautifully. 

Next, I lightly floured my work surface, kneaded the dough just a little bit and rolled it out to about 1/2 or 1/4 inch thick. Be warned, you will need to keep flouring your dough as you roll it out or it will stick. 

Keep your toppings ready in little bowls so you're not scrambling when the dough is done. There's no messing around when you're around a grill because things can easily go from gorgeous grill marks to EWWWW it's burnt in seconds. Yeah, I've been there.

Slap the pizza dough on a screaming hot stovetop grill pan and brush with some olive oil and cook it on both sides, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the dough once you see bubbles form like the last picture. Cook on other side for another 3-4 minutes and then add sauce, toppings and cheese and cover the grill pan with foil or another large pan. Turn OFF the heat. If you leave the heat running, the bottom side of the dough will burn. The residual heat is enough to just melt the cheese. 

Top with fresh herbs and DEVOUR!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Corn Chowder

If you like fresh corn, you will LOVE this soup. "Chowder" soup seemed intimidating to me in the beginning.. I was thinking several ingredients, lots of steps, babysitting and stirring the soup constantly. NOT AT ALL. This soup screams summer with every mouthful. I mean who thinks of soup in the summer? But I'm telling ya, this soup with a piece of grilled bread (or leftover pizza dough in my case ;)  ) is amazing and hearty and surprisingly light for a chowder. So give this a try if you have tons of corn from your farmers market, if you are lucky enough to have a garden that is producing these sweet, golden kernels.


-  2 ears of fresh corn or 1 package frozen corn.
-  2 Tbsp butter
-  1/2 onion chopped
-  2 Tbsp All purpose flour
-  1/2 tsp garlic minced or paste
-  4 cups water or vegetable broth or a combination
-  4 small yukon gold potatoes cut in small pieces
-  1/2 tsp dried thyme or oregano
-  salt and pepper
-  2 Tbsp half and half
-  2 scallions finely chopped
-  grated cheddar for garnish
-  fresh parsley chopped


1.  Melt the butter in a large soup pot, and add the flour. Whisk until the flour is cooked about 2 minutes.

2.  Add the onions, corn, potatoes and garlic and sautee on medium heat for 10 minutes until onion is sweating. Add couple of teaspoons of olive oil if the mixture seems too dry.

3. Add all the liquid (stock+water) along with salt, pepper and dried herbs and let it simmer for 20 minutes. The potatoes and corn should be cooked through.

4.  Blend about half the mixture till creamy and stir it in with the other half back in the pot. Add scallions and fresh parsley. More black pepper if desired.

5.  Lastly add the half and half for that extra creaminess. Garnish with chopped parsley and a bit of grated cheddar.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash- Italian style

I discovered my love for spaghetti squash last Fall (I know, it's the following summer and getting around to blog just now). I'd heard the amazing benefits of this vegetable - one thing being that its low in calories (1 cup = 30 calories) but incredibly satisfying when combined with a variety of flavours. I experimented with two variations of the stuffed squash- Italian and Mexican.  For Italian , think lasagna ingredients (no pasta here obviously) and throw all that into the mix. 

I didn't add spinach but it would be great in this dish.


-  1/2 cup ricotta cheese 
-  1/4 cup red onion chopped
-  1/2 tsp garlic chopped
-  1/2 cup cooked quinoa
-  marinara sauce
-  1/2 cup peas
-  bunch of cherry tomatoes 
-  1 tsp dried oregano (fresh if in season)
-  1/2 tsp dried basil   (fresh if in season)
-  mozzarella cheese to top.


1.  First, roast the whole squash in a 400F oven for 30-40 minutes. When it's cooled, cut it lengthwise and scoop out all the inner seeds.

2.  In a large sautee pan, sautee the onions, garlic, tomatoes,  herbs, peas, ricotta and quinoa. Add the marinara and some salt and mix for 10 minutes. Tomatoes do not have to cook down. 

3.  Spoon the filling into the squash.

4.  Top with as much or little mozzarella as you like and bake at 375F for 15 minutes till cheese is melty and bubbly.

Cranberry Thokku (Spicy South indian pickle)

Thokku is a South indian jelly like condiment made usually with tomatoes. It can also be made with tart granny smith apples. During the Fall when cranberries are EVERYWHERE (including bodywash and candles), I thought why not make the same with these wonderful, tart berries. My recipe is a spinoff from various other blogs and is a bit less spicy.


1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 tsp mustard seeds1/2 tsp asofetida
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp sesame oil 


1.  In a large saucepan (with a lid), add the oil and when it's hot, add mustard seeds and curry leaves.

2.  Add the bag of cranberries along with all other spices and keep stirring till everything is evenly coated and mixed nicely.

3.  On medium-high heat, let the cranberries start cooking down. Keep the lid on at this point but mix occassionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.  This will take a good 20 minutes at least.

4.  When the whole thing has reduced down to almost a jam or paste like consistency turn off the heat and let it cool.

5. Finally add the sesame oil and mix into the final thokku.

It tastes great with dosa, chapattis, or my favourite- yogurt rice.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Picnic Pasta Salad

I'm just now getting around to blog this super easy salad that I'd made for a picnic over the summer. Really light, refreshing and a breeze to put together.

1.  Chop up your favourite salad veggies - grape tomatoes, cucumbers,  red/yellow peppers , red onion

2.  Boil your favourite pasta (rotini or macaroni works best) according to package directions

3.  Make dressing- olive oil, italian dressing, salt, pepper, fresh basil, dried oregano. Add some pieces of fresh mozzarella if you have it on hand.

4.  Toss it all together.

Monday, December 29, 2014

15 minute Rasmalai!

So if you know me well, you would know that I'm not a huge fan of traditional Indian sweets. There's a handful of them that I really enjoy and rasmalai is one of them. It was my one and only major sweet craving while pregnant (apart from frozen yogurt). But too bad I didn't know this recipe existed back then.. probably a good thing LOL.

If you do make this recipe for a party, don't reveal the secret and it's simplicity to your guests. Yep, it's that good and that easy.

This past Diwali, I made this recipe for the first time and the entire batch disappeared pretty quick.


-  1 can of ready made rasgolla (I am partial to Haldirams)
-  1/2 cup condensed milk (adjust for desired level of sweetness)
-  2 cups of whole milk
-  Few strands of saffron
-  Cardomom seeds (5-6)
-  Toasted chopped almonds or pistachio to garnish


1.  Drain the rasgollas from the can and squeeze out all the extra syrup. Use a lemon squeezer if you have one, or else just gently place a large can or heavy pan over a plate of rasgollas and drain out the syrup.  The rasgollas can crumble if you place too much weight so be careful! This is the hardest step of the process, I promise!!

2.  In a large pot, combine the condensed milk and regular milk, cardamom and saffron and bring to a gradual boil.

3.  Add the drained rasgollas and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

4.  Add chopped nuts for garnish and enjoy warm or cold!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites

I was looking for an easy party holiday dessert to take to my husband's work Christmas Party last week when I stumbled upon this thanks to PINTEREST!!! I'm not a Pinterest-aholic by any means but I go on every once in a while when I'm bored of my recipes and want to venture into something I've never made before. Usually I'm pretty successful :)

This one is particularly GENIUS because it has only 4 ingredients!
  • Storebought premade gingerbread cookie dough - found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store
    • OR (as in my case), gingerbread cookie dough mix in a box- usually needs egg, water and butter to make the dough
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Once you've made the cookie dough according to package directions, make 1 tsp balls and place them in a mini cupcake lined tin.

I even used some festive ones :)

3.  Use the back of the teaspoon (back dipped in flour) to press the dough to form a cup.

4.  Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and get it into a ziptop bag , with the end cut ready for piping.

5.  Fill the cups about half or a little more than half way up the top.  Sprinkle with red sugar glitter and bake for 10 minutes.

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