Thursday, May 2, 2013

Looking Back before Springing Forward -- My Favorite Fifteen of 2012

Dear Readers, How have you been? I know its been while, nearly a year since I decided to stop by and say hello. I thank you all for inquiring about the blog and me. I assure you, I have neither gone belly up nor decided to abandon the blog. Considering this being the first post of the year, is it appropriate to say 'Happy New Year'? LoL. I know its a little late, but its better late than never, right?

While I have come back from hibernation, its going to be a few weeks before I start regularly updating the blog. But I have to tell you that I do have plans for revamping the blog and making it user-friendly. First in the pipeline is to give it a new face-lift, adding recipe-index(although I cringe at the thought of indexing 425 posts..), bloghop and join in active social networking etc etc..

I am happy to say I bought a Nikon D7000 on Black Friday last year. Currently hunting for a great Prime lens and Macro lens. Recommendations are welcome. Here is the first ever picture I took using that camera. I was quite adamant that I won't experiment with it until I go to the temple of my favorite God "Lord Ganesha" in Flushing, NY. The husband was itching to get his hands on my toy but I didn't let him. The camera was sitting in the box for nearly a month before I was temple-bound. I haven't started taking any food clicks with it yet.. Have been very busy with this thing called life.

Anywayz, here are a few of my favorite posts of last year:

1.       First Post of the Year: Healthy Kadai Paneer-

2.       Sweet Beginnings:  Favorite “Festive Sweet” Post: Almond Halwa/Cake-

3.       Sweet Beginnings:  First (Holiday) Bake Post: Ginger Bread Man Cookies-

4.      Sweet Beginnings:  First Ever Cupcake Post:  Eggless Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting-

5.       Sweet Beginnings: “Go-to “ Loaf-Cake that is a family favorite: Eggless “Tunisian Date” And Walnut Loaf Cake with Flaxseed-

6.       Sweet Beginnings:  Second Favorite Cake –  Farmer John’s Beet Cake baked right-

7.       Curry Madness:  Chef Jacob’s Chicken and Okra Curry-

8.       Curry Madness: Khichiya Papad and Lentil Curry-

9.       Yeasty Goodies:  Stuffed Durum Wheat “Atta Flour” Sesame Rolls/Buns-

10.   Yeasty Goodies: Favorite Meatballs Sliders-

11.   Yeasty Goodies: Stuffed Pita Pockets With Falafel and Guacamole-

12.   Beverages/Smoothie etc:  Spinach Avocado and Banana Smoothie-

13.   Beverages/Smoothies etc: Indian spice sweet tea – Masala Chai-

14.   Beverages/Smoothies etc:  Flavored Buttermilk, Sumer cooler-

15.   Beverages/Smoothies etc:  Banana Blueberry and Whey Protein Smoothie-

See you all again with another post soon.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Fruit Kesari - Blueberry Kesari

I was craving for some mangoes a couple of weeks ago..this single wish/thought was driving me insane--  I wish I could sink my teeth into a plump juicy perfect mango-- My dad "telepathically" got the message. So when my sister and b-i-l came for a visit he sent 2 cartons of them from New Jersey's Indian stores. Now, that is Parental Love -- Greatest,boundless,all-encompassing, understanding and unconditional love.

So for the next ten days or so I had yet another awesome reason to look forward to in the evenings -- the simple joy of unwinding my day with a mango.I was on a mango high. LoL. I had plans for the last remaining two to be churned into a Mango Kesari for a few friends who were coming for a visit. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

You see, I am not the only mango lover in the house. My 4-yr old screamed and screeched for them and his dad emptied the carton. At the last minute I had to change plans and make do with blueberries. Initially was petrified to try cause blue food isn't everyone's favorite food. So with lots of doubts, concerns and worries tried Harini(Of Tamalapaku's) Mango Kesari with blueberries instead. That is how the "Blueberry Kesari" came to be. 

Before I go with the recipe here is a round-up of BM#19:

Now on to the recipe-
  • 3/4 Cup Sooji/Rava/Semolina
  • 1 Cup Skimmed Milk
  • 1/2 Water
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar or more/less
  • 1 Heaped Cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder or 4-5 Cardamom pods (Crushed to a powder using mortar and pestle)
  • 4 + 1 Tbsp Ghee/Clarified Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Cashews, halved
  • 1/8 Cup Golden Raisins
  • Blend the Blueberries into a smooth or coarse paste.Personally, I prefer the smooth texture.

  • Saute the Cashews in 1 Tbsp of Ghee. Add the raisins and lightly fry them along with cashews.
  • In a larger skillet, melt 3 Tbsp Ghee and fry the Sooji until it loses the raw smell. This needs to happen in a medium flame. Else the semolina will turn brown.
  • Add the milk and water to the semolina and stir to avoid any clumps. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the Sugar, cardamom and blueberry pulp to the pan. The mixture will liquefy and re-thicken.
  • Once it turns sticky and starts leaving the edges of a pan,switch off the stove. Garnish with nuts.
  • If desired, shape it to small bite-size pieces using mini ice-cream scoop.

Other Kesari:


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ragi(Finger-Millet) and Cracked Wheat Idli

Second recipe from Tamalapaku: Ragi Idli/Steam Finger Millet Cakes. I pretty much followed the base recipe but substituted Cracked Wheat instead of Cracked Rice/Idli Rava. I had it with pressure cooked chicken curry (~ to the one I posted last week) and Stuffed Egplant in Kadai Gravy.
  • 2 Cups Ragi Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Whole and Hulled Black Gram/Urad Dhal
  • 1/2 Cup Cracked Wheat
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • A pinch of Baking Soda
  • Salt, as needed (to be added post-fermentation)
  • Soak the Black Gram for 4 hours.Soak the Cracked Wheat in Warm Water for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Grind the Black Gram to a smooth paste with little water. Mix the Black Gram batter and Ragi Flour with little Water.
  • Add the soaked cracked wheat to the batter along with the baking soda. 
  • Add water to until the mixture reaches a batter-like consistency. The mixture shouldn't be thick or runny. Let the mixture sit and ferment in a warm spot overnight. It might take upto 18hrs in cold places.
  • Once the volume has almost doubled and the mixture has a distinctive odor, it is fermented. It can be used rightaway and the leftover can be refrigerated upto 3-4 days.
  • Stir in the salt before using.
  • Grease the Idli moulds and pour little batter. 
  • Steam it for 15-20 minutes.
  • Tastes best when consumed hot/warm with spicy chutney or spicy chicken kurma and eggplant gravy.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Coconut-Walnut Chutney

For this week's recipes I am going to borrow recipes from Tamalapaku  for the theme "Cook from fellow BM-ers". It was difficult to narrow down to just one was a tough task.

For today, I wanted to start off with a chutney recipe perfect for Idli, Dosa, Pongal, Upma or almost any Indian breakfast items. The base recipe is Tamalapaku's Walnut Chutney that kind of evolved into this recipe. I have seen my friends totally give up on coconut and simply substitute walnut paste instead. I am/was surprised to see that I couldn't tell much difference and I finally made the transition too... Well, I am half way there but I like when I am at- I can't completely give up on coconut which is why you see that I have thrown some grated coconut balls into the mix. :). Oh yes, it all can be done in under 30 minutes.

  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts
  • 4 Tbsp Fresh/Frozen Grated Coconut (2 grated coconut balls)
  • 2 Hot Green Chili
  • 2 Dry Red Chili
  • 1 Stalk Curry Leaf
  • 2 Tbsp Red Lentil/Masoor Dhal
  • 1 Large or 2 Small Cloves Garlic, roughly cut
  • Marble-sized Tamarind
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt as needed
For Seasoning:
  • 1 Tsp Split Hulled Black Gram "Urad dhal"
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Stalk Curry Leaf
  • A pinch of Asafoetida/Hing ( I used L.G brand)
  • Gather all the ingredients needed. 
  • In a tbsp of Olive Oil, lightly brown the red lentils. A minute later add the roughly cut garlic cloves, both the chilies and a stalk of curry leaf.
  • Add the walnuts and saute them for a minute of so. Switch off the stove and add the coconut and tamarind. Mix and let it cool. Move the cooled mixture into a blender jar and add a little salt. Grind it to a thick (slightly gritty or smooth, its all personal preference) paste.
  • Season the chutney with the seasoning ingredients.
  • Pour over the chutney. Enjoy with Idli, Dosa etc.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 19

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lychee, Peach and Coconut Water Elixir

Inspired by Naked Juice's "East-Meets-West" Lychee-Coconut Water juice, I set out to make a similar version at home with the addition of peaches. The Lychee is super sweet, so is the coconut water so there is no need to add sugar. A true elixir for anyone having a summer meltdown.
Ingredients(1 Large or 2 Small Servings:
  • 12 Lychee, peeled and stoned
  • 1 Cup Chopped Fresh/Packed Peaches (Fresh is Better as packed is too sweet)
  • 1-1/2 to 2 Cups Coconut Water
  • 1 Cup Ice Cubes/Crushed Ice
  • Gather all the ingredients.

  • Holding the Lychee in one hand, cut the tip off with a sharp knife. Start peeling. 
  • Cut open and remove the stone. 
  • Repeat for the remaining fruits. 
  • Add the peeled-stoned Lychee and all  the other ingredients into the blender. 
  • Blend until smooth and pour into serving glasses.Drink immediately or refrigerate. Perfect summer drink! 
Umm delicious. Enjoy!