Friday, July 18, 2014

Spicy Creamy Dip (with a twist)





Here is a super easy yet crowd pleasing dip for a party or a potluck. My husband came up with the combination so he definitely gets all the credit. It's so easy no recipe is needed. It's mayo free, so perfect for summer BBQs! In fact ,it will make a great spread ON your burger!

Mix together the following and chill in the fridge until it's time to serve.

-  1/2 cup jalapeno cream cheese
-  1 cup sour cream
-  2-3 Tbsp hot salsa
-  1/4 cup of finely chopped sundried tomato

Season with salt if needed.

Serve as a dip for crudite or tortilla/pita chips.

Veg Hakka Noodles



Hakka noddles is that popular Indo-Chinese stirfried noodle dish with a spicy kick. I maake it often enough when I have most of the ingredients. You can be relatively flexible with the combination of veggies but you almost definitely need cabbage, scallions, bok choy and .. yes, mushrooms!!  It comes out real easy and only takes a few minutes to prepare. You can easily substitute angel hair pasta if you don't have the actual hakka noodles.

Spice mixture for the sauce: Soy sauce, grated ginger and garlic, rice wine vinegar,  tomato paste, black pepper, sesame oil, chilli flakes.  In a pinch you could add Sriracha sauce and leave out the chilli and garlic individual ingredients.

I don't have exact measurements, I sort of winged it that day. :) Sautee all the vegetables on medium-high heat and then add sauce mixture and toss with cooked noodles.  Top with fresh sprouts if you have them on hand.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vegetable Chutney



I am probably the worlds biggest fan of chutneys and thogayals.  They are super easy to whip up and  are so forgiving.. any vegetable combination usually can work. This particular one has chayote, roasted red pepper, tomatoes and onion.

Start off by sauteeing veggies over a fairly high heat. You want a bit of char on the veggies as char=flavour. Add in your seasonings like channa dal, urad dal, salt, red chillies, a bit of garlic if you so incline. Add a couple spoons of puli (tamarind paste) I have a homemade thogayal podi made by my mother in law that I use for things like this. SAutee everything for 10 minutes .. move the veggies around the pan often so they don't totally burn. Alternately you could broil veggies in the oven and then blend but I like this method better.

Once everything is semi cooked, transfer to a blender and puree till smooth or semi-smooth. Peanuts are a great addition and gives good body to the chutney. Garnish with scallions and a tadka of curry leaves, urad dal and mustard seeds.

It goes great wtih rice, chappatis or dosa and you get your veggies in. Make it spicy and it will stay for upto a week.

Superbowl Chilli and Quesedillas




We love eating chilli during the fall and winter. I make it quite a bit because I almost always have ingredients on hand.. The colder the weather, the spicier the chilli! They go great with a side of cheese quesedillas. We didn't go to any Superbowl parties this year..  We watched the game upstairs in the recently finished media room put together from start to finish by R himself! Needless to say we also had chips/salsa and beer. 

Ingredients: 

- 1 small can of chipotle roasted tomatoes (or use regular tomatoes and add chipotle peppers)
-  1 can black beans
-  1/2 cup frozen corn
-  1/2 onion chopped
-  2 celery sticks diced
-  2 small carrots diced
-  1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 2 Tbsp southwestern chilli powder

Method:

1.  Sautee onions, garlic, chilli powder and oregano and all the vegetables for 5-10 minutes over medium heat
2.  Add chipotle seasoning or chipotle peppers 
3.  Add the can of tomatoes, black beans and about 2 cups of water and bring to simmer.
4.  Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and stir. 
5.  Season with salt as desired.
6.  Ladle into a bowl and garnish with sour cream and cheese. 


Monday, January 20, 2014

Asian Noodle Soup


I love soups.

Even more so now because it means the little guy can eat it too!  They are warm, and can be turned into a one pot meal.  This Asian Noodle soup started out by me wanting to make Pho. Somewhere along the way, I couldn't follow the recipe for Pho and it ended up as a noodle soup. Pretty easy but calls for a bunch of ingredients. But it's really yummy and warming on a Fall or Winter day.

Ingredients:

1 T ginger grated
2 cloves garlic minced
Veggies- all chopped about the same size- bok choy, zucchini, carrots, celery, green peas, carrots, baby corn, scallions (chopped fine)
1 cup cooked soba or buckwheat noodles
1Tbsp Soy sauce
Sriracha (As much or as little)...I did a few squirts
1tsp rice wine vinegar
2tsp sesame oil
4 cups low sodium veggie broth
1/2 block tofu cubed.

Method:

1. Stirfry all veggies  and tofu with ginger and garlic and the sesame oil on high heat for 3-4 minutes.. Try and get a nice char on them because char = flavour. Reserve a few scallions for garnish.

2. Add the stock (or water) along with the soy sauce, sriracha. YOu could also add a whole piece of ginger for that extra ginger flavour and then take it out when soup is done cooking.

3. Let it simmer for 10 minutes on low and then add the cooked noodles.

4.  Garnish with scallions and some bean sprouts (I didn't have any sprouts so left them out).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The reason for my sabbattical

As you've probably noticed this blog has been on a sabbatical for quite some time now. Here's why:


So I've had my hands full for some time. Here's hoping the New Year will bring more cooking inspiration to all of us!!

Semiya Payasam




Anyone who knows me well knows that I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I will eat a few select milk based sweets and the occassional cake type dessert.

This is a traditional South Indian milk based dessert that's really easy to make and taste so good. To maximize taste and texture, use whole milk and some evaporated milk. Half and half is even better if you're not very calorie conscious. It takes only 20 minutes or so and you can sweeten is as much as you'd like. Here's my loosey goosey recipe:

Ingredients:

-  1/2 cup dried semiya/vermicelli noodles
-  2 Tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
-   4 cups of whole milk
-  1/2 can of 2% evaporated milk (4oz)
-  1/4 cup sugar (or more)
-  6 strands of saffron
-  1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Method:

1.  In a saucepan, roast the vermicelli noodles in the clarified butter for 5-10 minutes on low medium heat until the noodles turn slightly brown

2.  Add the milk and evaporated milk and saffron to the pan and gently bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and then add the sugar and mix.

3.  Once noodles are cooked, turn off the heat and add vanilla. This is my own twist on the payasam. I've been critiqued a couple times saying it tastes like "cookies" but whatever. I like it and the little dude digs it too.

4. Pour yourself a bowl and enjoy. It tastes best when consumed warm. I once made a huge batch for a party and then actually forgot to serve it for dessert (imagine that..) No REALLY. I FORGOT. It was entirely unintentional. R, Lil D and I proceeded to have it for breakfast for 3 days straight. Not a bad thing. :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Veggie Pasta Frittata


So one evening I sat on the couch (ok not really but...) thinking about dinner menu and i was literally sick of the same options night after night. PAsta. nope. Rice- nope. Chapattis and sabji- nope. Quesedillas- nope. Dosai- nope. Pizza takeout- nope.............

Anyway I've eaten eggs for dinner before and it always left me feeling hungry by the time I went to bed. So I wanted carbs.. I love carbs- in moderation. I think they're very important and my body screams in pain if I go without carbs at least at dinner time. So I did what anyone in need of cooking inspiration does... I googled. And came across a recipe by Giada on foodnetworks website.. about pasta and veggie frittata.

PERFECT!

It's really so simple you don't even need a recipe. This is what I did.

I mixed the egg batter - 4 eggs, chopped veggies (zuchini, mushrooms, frozen broccoli.. you can add anything you like). Then add a cup of cooked pasta to the egg mixture and cook the whole thing on a large large skillet. Add as much or as little cheese as you'd like. I added a mixture of mozzerella/parmesan but cheddar would taste great too. Or Gruyere.  Just as the eggs start to cook, throw the skillet in a 350F even for 15 minutes and allow it to finish cooking.

It's simple easy and covers all basic food groups. :)

Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese



This is one of those sinful dishes that you can consume but don't need to beg for forgiveness after. :)


Ingredients:

Cubed butternut squash
1/2 medium onion
Vegetable stock
Frozen green peas
garlic
Macaroni
Parmesan cheese
Mozzerella cheese
Dried basil, oregano

Directions:

-  Sautee up a bag of frozen butternut squash, onion, seasoning like garlic, dried basil, s&p.

- Add some broth or water and let it all simmer for 15 minutes on medium.

-  Blend until it's a nice smooth puree (almost like a soup, but not too thin). Add a bit of half n half or cream if you want extra richness. Add a few tablespoons of grated parmesan.

-  Cook elbow pasta or any short pasta as per package directions.

-  Drain pasta and toss with the sauce. Add a couple tablespoons of butter and stir in some frozen green peas. I always add extra black pepper at the end.

-  Pour in a casserole dish and top with some mozzerella cheese and bake at 370 for 15 minutes until cheese is melty and gooey.

You could also throw in some pumpkin puree for extra veggies and a different flavour.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Grill Cheese and Roasted Tomato Soup

You need : Oven roasted tomatoes, dried herbs, onion, 1 can whole fire roasted tomatoes, veggie stock, s&p.

Bring to boil, reduce to simmer.

Puree.

Serve.


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