Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 Cookathon -- "When it Rains, It Pours"

Ahem, everyone,I am back with a post after a double-day Cookathon for Thanksgiving day.I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a nice time bingeing/boozing with family and friends.
This year Thanksgiving was at my home with kith and kin. When I had agreed to do this, I hadn't realized what a trying chore it would be.As usual I had dreamt bigger and created a mega-menu of 22 dishes ranging from Appetizers-Soups-Maincourse-Dessert.Two days prior to Thanksgiving I concluded that it would be an impossible feat. So I had to curtail the menu,skipping a few and finally ended up with 17 dishes. BTW, I couldn't have made this all possible if not for my dear dear friends who came a day early to help me cook these wonderful dishes. So this year I am really truly thankful for having such wonderful friends who are a true example of the phrase "A friend in need is a friend indeed". Am I lucky or what?Thanks, girls.

Thanksgiving 2009 Menu-card:
I have only given the generalized menu since I don't want to spoil the surprise. Some of the recipes are mine but most of them are from fellow bloggers who were kind enough to let me borrow their recipes and from bosom buddies.The details will be revealed as and when I post the recipes. So keep checking periodically.So here goes the menu..
  • Stuffed Mushrooms and Stuffed Mini Peppers
  • Chip and  Dip
Main Course:
  • Veggie Pilaf
  • Fruity Rice
  • Veggie Lasagna
  • Cumin Rice
  • Navratan Kurma
  • Gravy Chicken
  • Chunky Lamb in Mint Gravy
  • Raita
  • Rasam (Pepperjuice)
  • Cookie in a cup
  • Fruity Kesari
  • Stuffed Fruit
  • Butter Cookie
  • Stove-top Pudding
  • Halwa
My Kitchen - "A calm after the storm": This is where all the magic happened -

I will post the recipes soon. At the moment I am completely drained of energy from all that cooking.Need plenty of R&R to get back to normal. So see ya guys.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving/Happy Holidays 2009

I wish all my fellow bloggers/friends a "Happy Thanksgiving". The recipe for this Cheese-N-Veggie Gobbler sandwich is from one of these magazines -- FamilyFun Or Parenting, October/November edition. Sorry, didn't pay attention to the month/name of these magazines. You see I came across this while I was in the Pediatric lounge, pensively waiting for my son's swine flu shots. I had to draw the picture on my palm so I don't forget how it looked like in the magazine.Lol. Since I had all the ingredients at home, I replicated this the same day and was patiently waiting a whole week to post about it.

  • Wheat Bread - 2 slices, cut with a round cookie cutter, for the face and a small rectangle for the nose
  • Cheddar cheese Singles - 1, cut with a round cookie cutter(for the face), and 2 triangles for the beak
  • Bright colored peppers - assorted crescents, for the feather and a red crescent for the Wattle
  • Raisins - 2, for eyes
  • Assemble the cheese and wheat slices for the face on a flat plate.
  • Arrange the crescents for feathers around the face.
  • Perch the rectangle wheat slice on the face for the nose.
  • Place raisins for eyes.
  • Angle the cheese triangles for the beak.
  • Place the red crescent for the wattle.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

South Indian Mini Meals(Version 1)

Who doesn't love variety on their plate? I am a major fan of mini meals that certainly pleases the eye and other senses. Mini meals are a rare indulgence in the house due to the amount of work involved. Mini items they may be..but they require major

Plate for one, please:
  • Mini Idlis with Homemade Milagai Podi/Chutney Powder(Click here for the recipe)
  • Teeny Tiny Puffy Poori(Wheat Unleavened Bread) and purple potato fry (Click here for recipe)
  • Ulunthu Bonda (Dhal Fritters)
  • Sweet Bonda With Banana and Jaggery(Raw sugar)
  • Eggplant and Potato Gotsu (Thick Moong Dhal Soup)
  • Peanut Chutney (Click here for the recipe)
Ulunthu Bonda(Makes 25-30 mini bites):
  • Urad dhal - 1/2 cup, soaked in water for an hour or so
  • Green chillies - 3, halved and chopped to bits
  • Red onion - 1, small, diced
  • Cracked Pepper - 1/ 2 tsp
  • Baking soda - a pinch
  • Cilantro - 2 tsp, chopped
  • Salt for taste
  • Canola Oil - for deep frying
  • Grind the urad dhal with very little water.
  • Transfer the ground dhal to a bowl and to it add salt, cracked pepper, chopped chillies, baking soda and the onions.
  • Briskly mix it and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Scoop small portions and deep fry in oil until browned on both sides.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve hot with peanut chutney.
Sweet Bonda(Makes 25-30 mini bites):
  • Wheat flour - 1 1/2 cup
  • Ripe Banana - 1, pulped
  • Jaggery(Raw sugar) - 4 tbsp, shaved
  • Cardamom powder - a pinch
  • Baking soda - a pinch
  • Canola Oil - for deep frying
  • Mix all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl
  • Scoop marble-sized portions of the batter and deep fry in oil until browned.
  • Drain and paper towels and serve as is.
Tip: Don't have the patience to shave the Jaggery? Use dark brown sugar instead.

EggPlant and Potato Gotsu(Makes ~3 cups):
  • Moong Dhal - 1/2 cup
  • Onion - 1 large, vertically slit and divided into 2 portions
  • Tomato - 3, medium
  • Eggplant - 2, small, chunked
  • Potato - 1, small, chunked
  • Garlic - 3 cloves
  • Turmeric powder - a pinch
  • Asafoetida(Hing) - a pinch
  • Green chilli - 4
  • Curry leaf - 2 stalks
  • Cilantro - for garnish
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard and Urad dhal - for seasoning
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Pressure cook the Moong dhal with half the slit onions, 2 green chillies, 2 tomatoes, garlic, hing and turmeric powder.Smash it to a smooth pulp and set aside.
  • In a pan, heat the oil, add mustard, urad dhal for seasoning.
  • Add the curry leaf, onion and saute until browned.
  • Add the cut eggplants, potato, remaining tomato and bring it to a boil with a 2 cups of water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Pour the smashed moong dhal and mix it gently.
  • Add salt and garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve hot with steaming idlis.

    Puffy Poori/Puri N Purple Potato Sides

    My only request before you are put-off by the purple potato -- Give it a try. I don't know if purple potatoes are available everywhere but they come in little netted packages in the gourmet-foods section of the supermarket. What prompted me to try this potatoes? Curiosity, why else? Now I am hooked. These mildly sweet bodied potatoes look gorgeous and taste awesome(even better than red or golden potatoes) when made into curry that goes so well with Poori/Puri and Yogurt Rice.

    For the Potato Sides:
    • Purple Potatoes - 6-8, small ones, cut, boiled,peeled and roughly smashed
    • Red Onion - 1, large, vertically slit
    • Gralic - 3 cloves, minced
    • Mustard & Urad dhal - for seasoning
    • Green Chillies - 4-5, vertically slit (A tsp of cracked Pepper may be used instead)
    • Curry leaves - Leaves of 2 stalks, cut chiffonade-style  (optional)
    • Salt - for taste
    • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
    • Cilantro - for garnish
    For the Puffy Poori/Puri:
    • Wheat Flour - 1/2 cup
    • Kachori Mix - 1 tbsp (optional)
    • Salt - a pinch
    • Warm water, for kneading
    • Canola oil, for deep frying
    For the Potato Fry:
    • In a pan, heat oil, add the mustard and urad dhal. Once the mustard starts sputtering, add the garlic, onions and fry until the onions are browned.
    • Add the green chillies/cracked pepper and smashed potatoes.
    • Sprinkle salt and a little water. Gently stir and cook for 5 minutes.
    • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with curry leaves and cilantro.
    For the Poori(Mini):
    • Mix all the ingredients except for the oil with the warm water and make a thick dough.
    • Divide the dough into small portions, about the size of a chickpea.
    • Roll it into small circles and do not dredge it in flour(The puri will absorb more oil this way. Dip in oil and roll).
    • In a deep pan, heat the canola oil.
    • Deep fry the rolled-out dough until they puff up and slightly browned.
    • Drain on paper towels and serve with potato sides.

    Basics: Chutney Powder (Idli Podi/Kaara Podi/Mailagai Podi)

    Who wouldn't love Idli Podi? Its the most easiest to prepare and yummiest accompaniment for hot steaming Idlis(Steamed Rice Batter). I love love Podi with Idli, Dosai and even mix it with rice, just like the Paruppu Podi..Here is an easy way to make it and enjoy it right from your kitchen. You need a powerful mixer to grind the pulses. Puny little juicers won't do the trick.If you don't have the tools to do it at home, there is always ready-made stuff in the Indian stores.
    In the picture below, the one on the left is homemade and the one on the right is readymade(MTR Brand).
    • Bengal Gram(Kadalai Paruppu) - 1/2 cup
    • Urad dhal - 1 cup
    • Dry Red Chillies - 10#s
    • Sesame seeds - 2 tsp
    • Curry Leaves - 10-12 stalks
    • Asafoetida - a pinch
    • Salt for taste
    • Olive oil - 1 tsp
    • In a thick bottomed pan, dry fry both the dhal until they are browned.Set aside.
    • Dry fry the sesame seeds until they are browned and set aside.
    • Heat the olive oil and add the hing, curry leaves and red chilli. Fry on a very low flame until the curry leaves are crisp.Sprinkle salt over the hhot mixture and switch off the stove. 
    • Once all ingredients are cool, corasely powder them in a powerful mixer.Check for salt. Add more if needed.
    • Store in an airtight container and use it as needed with little oil(Olive oil or sesame oil)

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Mixed Veggie Pilaf

    Pilaf/Pulao/Plav is a versatile dish that can take any form and perform.Its meaty version may please meat-lovers but its vegetarian version is sure to please all alike. I am partial to the vegetarian version with plenty of colorful vegetables..especially multi-colored peppers, peas, carrot and beans. So here is my version of this kitchen all-rounder.Use any medley of colorful vegetables for this. This star-quality dish is a standalone and doesn't need any accompaniments. To round it off, perhaps you may drink Yasmeen's tried and tasted Chocolate and Protein Oat shake, that is made with Xagave(Agave syrup), a natural sugar replacement that is making waves right now. Intrigued? So am I. To enter for a chance to win Yasmeen's generous giveaway of a book with recipes of Xagave check out the rules here. Good Luck.
    • Basmati Rice - 2 cup, soaked 30 minutes prior to cooking
    • Cubanelle Pepper - 1, julienned
    • Mini peppers - 2 each of red, orange and yellow, julienned
    • Carrot - 1, peeled and julienned
    • String Beans - 4-5, halved and vertically slit
    • Sweet Peas - a handful, fresh or frozen
    • Cilantro - 1 bunch (if small), else 1/2
    • Ginger - 1 inch, skinned and roughly chopped
    • Garlic - 4 cloves, skinned and halved
    • Red Onion - 1, large, roughly chopped
    • Tomato - 1, medium, chopped
    • Mint - a handful
    • Hot Green Chilli -5
    • Cinnamon - 1/2 stick
    • Cloves - 3
    • Cardamom - 1
    • Cracked pepper - 6 peppercorns
    • Marati Moggu(Dried Capers) - 1
    • Bay Leaf - 1
    • Olive Oil - 4 tbsp
    • Water - 3 cups
    • Salt for taste
    • Coarsely powder the dry spices- cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cracked pepper either in a blender or mortar/pestle and set aside.
    • Grind the ginger, garlic, red onion, tomato, cilantro, green chillies, cilantro and mint with little water.
    • In a wide thick bottomed pan, heat the oil,add the ground dry spices and bay leaf.Fry them for less than a minute taking care not to burn them.
    • Add the cut vegetables, fry them for a minute and pour the ground paste. Close the lid and let it cook for 5 minutes.
    • Add the soaked rice and 3 cups of water. Add salt and gently stir taking care not to break the rice.Close the lid and cook on a low flame for 8-10 minutes.
    • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cut peppers(optional).
    • Serve hot with cold Onion Raita or by itself.
    Makes ~3-4 Servings.


    Friday, November 20, 2009

    TwilightSagaFood: 'New Moon' Cheesy Crescents

    As I promised, here is the New Moon Treat some of you were waiting for. For this I had to scratch my brain and finalize on something that resembles a Waxing Crescent Moon(A sliver of a thing seen soon after sunset). These crispy and cheese flavored crescents will make an excellent accompaniment to Tea/Coffee or a replacement for popcorn. Recipe Idea adapted from Easy Home Cooking, June/July 2003 edition.

    • Quick Oats - 1/4 cup
    • Whole Wheat Flour - 1/4 cup
    • Shredded Cheddar& Monterey Jack Cheese - 1/2 cup or more
    • Parmesan Cheese - 1/8 cup, grated
    • Smart Balance Spread - 1/8 cup, softened (Margarine was used in the original recipe)
    • Water - 1 tbsp
    • Pine Nuts - 1/4 cup, dry roasted and smashed roughly
    • Salt - a pinch
    • In a bowl, mix both the cheeses, margarine, salt and water until completely blended.
    • Mix the flour with the above mixture and add the nuts and oats. 
    • Combine all and shape the dough in the form or a log.
    • Wrap it in cling wrap and let it sit for 4 hrs - overnight.
    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
    • Using a serrated knife slice the dough into thin chips.
    • Cut crescents from the chips using a cookie cutter.
    • Repeat the same with leftover dough and line them all up in a greased cookie sheet.
    • Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges are browned.
    • Cool and consume.
    Makes ~30 crecents.

    'New Moon' Quotes by Edward Cullen(Hero) to Bella Swan(Heroine):
    • I love you. You're my only reason to stay alive.. if that's what I am.
    • You smell just exactly the same as always. So maybe this is hell. I don’t care. I’ll take it.
    • I thought I’d explained it clearly before. Bella, I can’t live in a world where you don’t exist.
    • Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars—points of light and reason.. And then you shot across my sky like a meteor...
    • You will always be the most beautiful thing in my world..
    • Your hold is permanent and unbreakable. Never doubt that.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Root-A-Rama Soup - Rocking with Root Veggies

    I am proud of this creation for 3 reasons:
    • Catchy name that I decided to bestow on this soup. 
    • You won't find this combination of root veggie soup anywhere(Yup, I googled it and saw this combo nowhere) 
    • It turned out extremely well for an experiment.
    I used four root veggies(Root, Tuber-root, Tap-root and blah blah blah) for this soup- Celery Root, Onion Root, Ginger Root and Sweet Potato.Actually five if you consider the Garlic cloves that I used. So yummy this soup turned out that it is going down in my long-list of all-time favorites. If you let me, I will go on touting about this soup in such an audacious manner that it might upset some of the readers. So I will shut up and just type.BTW, I am sending this as an entry for this month's  No Croutons Required event hosted by Lisa@ Lisa's Kitchen.

    Main Ingredients Used:

    •  Celery Root - 1, skinned and chunked
    •  Sweet Potato - 2, skinned and chunked
    •  Red Onion - 1, large, vertically slit(save a few slices for a caramelized garnish)
    •  Ginger Root - 1/2 inch, skinned and diced
    •  Garlic - 3 clove, minced
    •  Bay Leaf - 1
    •  Cracked Pepper - 1 tsp
    •  Vegetable stock - 2 cups, homemade or store-bought
    •  Milk - 2 cups, skimmed or whole
    •  Salt for taste
    •  Olive oil - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
    •  In a stock pot, heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic, bay leaf. After a minute, add the onions and saute until they are browned.
    •  Throw in the chunked sweet potato,celery root, cracked pepper, ginger and salt. Mix well.
    •  Pour the vegetable stock and stir. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
    •  Add the milk and stir frequently until the mixture thickens for about 7-8 minutes.
    •  Switch off the stove and cool.
    •  Puree the mixture with an immersion blender or in a blender. Pour a portion of it into a serving bowl.
    •  In a skillet, add a tsp of oil and caramelize the onions.
    •  Sprinkle it on top of the soup.
    Makes 6 Servings of thick soup.

    Tip: Chop the celery root and sweet potato into roughly same-sized chunks for even cooking.Add more milk if you want a thinner, runny soup.And Celery root may be substituted with any other root that will go well with sweet potato.

    Enjoy! I certainly did(Burrrrpp)!

    I Had A Dream

    Note: I swear I had this dream in the early hours of this fine Thursday morning that woke me up and had me typing away this post. THIS IS NO FIB. A dream laced with so much vividness, a hint of incredulity, a tinge of weirdness, a lot of imagination,that it woke me up to write this.Again, this is NOT MADE UP and I KID YOU NOT.
    Ever since I have started blogging,I have been on a blogging-rush 24/7. Even when I am doing something, I am thinking what I should post, what I should cook and all that. Sometimes, when I am on the edge of sleep and wake, I get wonderful ideas of write-up and such.But this is a full-fledged dream that woke me up..a dream about me being at Priya's(of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes) house for lunch. All I know about her before this dream is that she is a dedicated, consistent blogger who posts away a storm from Paris..that she can speak Tamil(I have seen her comments in Tamil at other blogs), has a couple of school-going kids(mentioned in her post) and seen her picture in a Super-Blogger Sunday Post of EC's SimpleIndianFood.

    So here goes the dream: (Read only if you can spare 10 minutes of your time)
    I am at Priya's house for lunch on a fine Sunday son is sleeping in her guest bedroom..her kids(both boys in my dream) are playing in her lovely backyard that has a basketball hoop and a big black board that has french-english translation chalked on what I meant about my dream being vivid/detailed?My hubby and her hubby are talking about world peace,world economy and such while she is showing her kitchen where all the magic happens.She has served us "Mooli Paratha" and "Lorette"(a french delicacy, in my dream, that is) as a dessert. I googled about this Lorette and there is no such thing like that. She then shows me a book full of Paratha recipes and we bond over Culinary books. My son wakes up and we get ready to leave.Me and my hubby hop into our SUV, yes SUV and we drive back to the US. Hey, its my dream and we sure can drive from Paris back to my home..Anything is possible in dreamland.
          I thought about posting this entire thing as a comment in her blog..but I surmised that she might get freaked out or something..weird things do happen in the net..I should know..but what can I do? I don't have a control of my subconscious mind and I had to post about it to let you all know how blogging had affected me.
    You won't believe me when I say I was a shopaholic prior to this new passion..I would always go out for shopping at least once a week to buy something that I WANT but convince myself that it is something that I NEED. When I was at work(which I quit to care for my son) in NYC, I will forgo lunch and run to Fifth Avenue or Park Avenue stores during lunch break to get myself stuff..that is my extent of shopping craze. Recently,I had ordered 2 shirts and a top from EXPRESS.COM and it came 3 weeks ago and I haven't yet opened it. My hubby is like, if that is the case, then you certainly don't need send it back..Yeah, like that would happen! LoL.Its like my priorities/passions have changed overnight. I am hooked on blogging.
          So Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes, invent a dessert called "Lorette" and dedicate it to me. And don't freak out. I am not coming after you in my SUV, you hear? Atleast not until they invent an SUV that can fly over the Atlantic. So you are safe.Hey, did you know that there is a belief that early morning dreams come true? Lol

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    TwilightSagaFood: Edward Cullen's 'Twilight' FruitNVeggieVamp Drink (No animals were tortured to make this drink)

    "Twilight" When You can live forever, what do you live for?

    Okay, do not laugh. I am a sucker for all vampire novels/movies. Why wouldn't I? The idea of Eternity, Superior Senses and Ravishing Looks certainly appeals to me. Coming to the point, people say that Ms.Meyer's Twilight Series is for young adults. I say its for young-adults and adults-young-at-heart. Reading those books made me feel bubbly like a Champagne and a perma-smile pasted on my face for quite sometime.I read all the four books in 3 days..something of an accomplishment with a young toddler. So what does a twi-hard fan do to show her support for the second edition movie release? She makes a drink in honor of the most gorgeous vampire characters of all time -- Edward Cullen played by Robert Pattinson. BTW, my hubby frowns at me whenever I drool at that "Tall drink of water"(who is atleast a half-a-dozen years younger). Lol.
         Anyways, once the idea of beet-n-apple drink took root in my mind, I was of thinking of what other things I can incorporate in it and ended up with this recipe. Please don't be put off by the color, its very tasty and refreshing and perfectly safe for humans.Can be consumed with or without pulp.Come back Friday for a "New Moon" surprise.BTW. I am sending this as an entry for HealingFoods challenge hosted by Yasmeen.

    • Bloody Beet - 1/2, chunked
    • Blood Red Apple Drink Concentrate - 8 Fluid Oz(I used Apple & Eve Juice Concentrate)
    • Pomegranate Arils - a handful
    • Ice Cubes
    • In a small pan, add the chunked beet and add water to barely cover it. Cook it for 10 minutes in low flame.Once its soft, switch off the stove and cool.
    • Add the chunks, juice and the pomegranate arils to a juicer jar and blend.
    • Drink as is or strain the pulp and consume with or without ice cubes.
    Makes 1 Serving.

    My favorite Twilight Quotes: Edward Cullen(the vampire hero) Quotes to Bella Swan(the human heroine):
    • If I could dream at all, it would be about you. And I'm not ashamed of it.
    • The sound of your heart is the most significant sound in the world..
    • I prefer brunettes.
    • Look after my heart.. I've left it with you..
    • So the lion fell in love with the lamb..
    • What if I am not the superhero? What if I was the bad guy?
    • You are my life now..
    • When I told you that I didn't want you, it was the very blackest kind of blasphemy..
    • I've decided that if I'm going to Hell, I might as well do it thoroughly..
    • Hell's not so bad if you get to keep an Angel with you..
    • Yes, You are exactly my brand of heroin..


    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Acknowledging Awards

    I was so happy when I got a couple of awards from Priya of Priya's Feast. They were the first award bestowed on my blogging self for my Diwali entries. No doubt I am overjoyed and encouraged to work hard and acquire some more..Since I am a newbie I am still "learning the ropes" of awards and, a bit late in claiming them..

    Thanks a bunch Priya.

    This is from SrishKitchen,second place for EFM-Oats Series. I will cherish this one, Srilekha. Thank you.

    These 2 were passed on by Nithya of 4th sense samayal, Sweet Sarah of Vazhayila.Thanks a bunch you both.



    Immunity Boosting Salad - Packed with Vitamin C

    Did you know that Flu Season starts to peak during November and continues to peak until April?I didn't know either until I stumbled onto a website that claims it is so. So I will take their word. People who don't care to get the seasonal/swine flu shots should do everything to stay healthy. That means boosting the immune system with Vitamin C rich food. Ever since this swine flu breakout, I am in a perpetual state of worry wondering if/what/when I might get infected with HINI or any other strain of virus. I am doing everything to NOT get sick and pass it on to my little one, starting from washing my hands religiously to eating right..Anyways, here is a recipe that is good for the body, both inside and out, packed with Vitamin C and Antioxidants(Dark leafy Greens + deep colored Veggies/Fruits).I don't care for the store bought fatty dressing cause it negates the purpose of eating healthy. So I just use seasoned Olive oil as a dressing for this.Sending this as an entry for HealingFoods challenge hosted by Yasmeen.

    • Dark Leafy Greens - a handful(European Mixed Greens)
    • Red, Yellow and Orange Mini Peppers - 1 each (maybe roasted for an additional flavor)
    • Sweet Clementines/Mandarin Orange/Any Orange Segments - a handful or slightly more
    • Pomegranate Arils - a handful
    • Seedless Grapes - a handful
    • Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
    • Cracked Pepper - 1/2 tsp
    • Salt - a dash
    • Mix the greens, veggies and fruits in a bowl.
    • Whisk the Olive oil with salt and pepper.
    • Pour over the salad and gently mix.
    • Refrigerate prior to eating or not(I prefer it slightly cold)

    Check this post of mine for more tips about preventive measures and such..

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Brunch Setting For One

    There are times when you are in a desperate need of pampering..When you find yourself in such a situation, you should cook something nice.For yourself, that is! This is my go-to menu when I need a bit of TLC, which is more often than not.
    3-Course Brunch for One Menu-card:
    • Homemade Muesli with Milk
    • Spinach and Artichoke Frittata
    • Persimmon and Banana Smoothie with Pomegranate Arils.(Any other fruit can be substituted for Persimmon)
    Homemade Muesli: Click here for the recipe.
    Spinach and Artichoke Frittata:  Frittata is a baked Italian Omelet made with eggs, cheese, vegetables and meat(optional). I love the combination of spinach and artichoke.But any veggie combo or veggie-meat combo can be used.
    • Egg White - 2
    • Egg Yolk - 1
    • Milk - 2 tbsp
    • Onion - 1/2 small, diced
    • Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
    • Cheddar Cheese - a handful, shredded
    • Parmesan Cheese - 1 tbsp
    • Artichoke Hearts - 1/2 jar(~5 chunks), diced
    • Spinach - a handful, cleaned and drained
    • "Very little" Salt for taste
    • Cracked Pepper - 1 tsp
    • Olive oil - 2 tbsp
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • In a bowl, whisk the egg whites and yolk. Add the artichokes, cheese, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar and gently mix.
    • In a thick bottomed oven-proof pan(cast-iron or all-clad), heat oil and the minced garlic. Follow up with chopped onion and saute until browned.
    • Add the spinach and saute until it wilts.
    • Pour the egg mixture and reduce the flame. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and then move it to the oven.
    • Bake for 10 minutes or so until the mixture sets.(Again, this is personal preference. Some like it fully cooked and some like it under cooked.Your choice).
    • Divide into 2 portions(saving half for later) or enjoy it as a whole for a hearty brunch.   
    Persimmon and Banana Smoothie with Pomegranate Arils:After such a hearty omelet, a light dessert rounds off the meal nicely. I mixed the banana with persimmon to offset the hint of bitterness of the ripe persimmon.
    • Hachiya Pudding - 1, very ripe, peeled and chopped
    • Large Banana - 1/2, sliced
    • Milk/Yogurt - 1 cup
    • Pomegranate Arils - 1 tbsp
    • Blend the first 3 ingredients and sprinkle pomegranate on top.

    HomeMade Swiss Muesli - A Swiss Favorite!

    What is Muesli? As per the Wiki, Muesli, pronounced Mew-zz-li was developed around 1900 by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. It is available in the supermarket cereal aisle but it can also be made fresh. Homemade Muesli is so easy to make and the beauty of it is that the ingredients can be altered as per personal preference.Once you get a hang of making this at home, you ain't ever going shopping for the packaged one. So here goes the recipe that may appeal to most(for one serving).

    • Uncooked quick rolled Oats - 1/4 cup
    • Corn Flakes/Bran Flakes - 1/4 cup
    • Wheat Germ - 1 tbsp
    • Wheat Bran - 1 tbsp
    • Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
    • Choice of nuts(Cashew, Almond, Walnuts) - a handful
    • Choice of dry fruits(Craisins, Raisins, Apricots, Figs) - a handful, chopped
    • Apple Chunks - a handful
    • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
    • Honey - 1 tbsp
    • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
    • Mix the Olive oil and Honey in a bowl and slightly warm it. 
    • In a oven proof dish mix all the other ingredients and pour the warmed oil-honey mixture.
    • Give it a brisk stir and pop into the oven for 30 minutes stirring now and then.
    • Remove from the oven and cool for an hour.
    • Enjoy with warm milk.Sliced banana may be added on top.
    Makes 1 Serving.

    Tip: Multiple servings can be made in advance with the exclusion of apple chunks. Store in air-tight container to maintain the freshness.


    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Basics: Rustic Stuffed French Toast

    French toast is much loved in my family. This would be my first choice for a weekend breakfast or brunch on a lazy day. You will have to excuse the dirty shot of this toast cause I was ravenous by the time I made it and had no patience to do anything besides taking a hasty shot prior to gobbling it up.

    • Wheat Bread - 4 slices
    • Egg - 2
    • Banana - 1, pureed
    • Cinnamon - a pinch
    • Milk - 4 tbsp
    • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
    • Confectioner's Sugar - for dusting, optional
    • Butter - 1 tbsp, melted
    • Whisk the milk, eggs, cinnamon powder, and sugar in a shallow dish.
    • Spread the banana puree on one side of the bread slices.
    • Sandwich 2 slices with the puree side inward.
    • Dunk the sandwiches in the egg mixture and let it sit for 7-8 minutes per side until all the mixture is absorbed.
    • Warm half the butter in a skillet and toast the bread on a low flame 3-4 minutes per side until its browned on the outside.
    Makes 2 Servings.


    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Spanish Vegan Paella(Pa-YaY-Yea)

    What comes to mind when you think of Spain? Matadors, Flamenco dancers and PAELLA. Paella is a saffron-flavored dish made with rice, meat, seafood and vegetables. I have made many versions of this - with meat, seafood, both meat and seafood and just a vegetarian version. So what makes this a Vegan one? I soaked them Saffron Strands in water rather than milk. Lol. This is going as an entry to WYF:Specialty Food hosted by EC@ Simple Indian Food.

    • Basmati Rice - 2 cups, soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to cooking
    • Vegetable Stock - 2 1/2 cups, click here for the recipe
    • Mini Bell Peppers - 6, any color, oven-roasted(optional)
    • Cubanelle Pepper - 1, oven-roasted(optional)
    • Green Sweet Pea - 1/2 cup, fresh or frozen
    • Saffron - a pinch, soaked in 3 tbsp of warm water for 30 minutes
    • Onion - 1 large, slice vertically
    • Green Hot Chilli - 4, vertically slit
    • Cracked Pepper - 1 tsp
    • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
    • Salt for taste
    • In a thick, deep bottomed skillet, heat the oil and add the onions. Saute until browned.
    • Add the green chilli and cracked pepper and fry it for a couple of minutes.
    • Pour the vegetable stock plus saffron soaked water and bring to a boil. Add the salt and give it a stir.
    • Drain the water completely from rice and add it to the skillet.
    • Add the roasted or freshly cut peppers(I used oven-roasted peppers for this recipe) and green peas.
    • Check for salt and cook with closed-lid for 7-8 minutes on a low-medium flame. 
    • Serve immediately. Note: Paella really stands on its own. Side-dish is Optional. 
    Makes 3-4 servings.


    Basics: Basic Vegetable Stock

    Looking for a healthy, low/no sodium vegetable stock. Stop looking in the supermarket's aisles. This can be made fresh at home with easily available ingredients.

    • Water - 4 cups
    • Red Potato - 1/2
    • Carrot - 4, quartered lengthwise
    • Celery - 2 stalk, halved
    • Bay Leaf - 1
    • Pepper Corns - 1 tbsp
    • Red Onion - 1/2 medium
    • In a thick bottomed pan, pour the water and throw in all the ingredients. Boil for about an hour in medium flame until the liquid is reduced into half.

    Tip: Make in batches and freeze in little containers for later

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    FromFamilyNFriends: Chicken in Walnut Gravy

    This is from one of my closest friends.She and I have been thick as thieves for almost 15 years. That kind of friendship is hard to come by. She is my confidante, my agony aunt and best friend all rolled in one. When I told her I want to post her Walnut Chicken recipe, she was only too happy to share. This recipe is all about bringing the subtle nutty flavor of the Walnut to the forefront. Not too much spice additions either. Thanks Ms.Khary.

    • Chicken Drumsticks - 10
    • Walnut - 2/3 of a cup, ground to a coarse powder
    • Onion - 1, large, roughly chopped
    • Tomato - 2, medium, roughly chopped
    • Garlic Cloves - 4, skinned
    • Ginger - 1", skinned and chopped
    • Ground Black Pepper - 1 + 1 tsp
    • Garam Masala - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (Available in Asian store in the Spice section)
    • Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
    • Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp (optional)
    • Salt for taste
    • Olive oil -  2 tbsp
    • Cilantro for Garnish
    • Skin the drumsticks and put deep slits on them. Mix a tsp each of Garam Masala,  Black Pepper, Salt, Turmeric Powder and smear it on the drumsticks. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
    • In a pan, warm 1/2 tbsp of oil and sear the chicken in batches until a brown crust is formed on the outside(This keeps the chicken moist n juicy on the inside).

    • In a pan, heat a little oil and fry the onions, tomato, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and fry until the onions are browned. Grind to a paste in a blender with little water.
    • In the same pan, transfer the chicken and pour the ground paste, add little water, spices and salt. Bring it to a boil for 20-25minutes with the lid closed.
    • Once the gravy thickens, add the walnut and cook for a couple more minutes.
    • Garnish with Cilantro and serve hot with choice of bread, roti or rice.
    Makes 3-4 servings.


    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    Wheat,Wheat Bran SweetPotato Mini Muffins

    This is a yummylicious, wholesome dessert to have around when hunger-attack strikes..Ages ago, prior to the popularity of blog sites, I had picked the base recipe from one of the google-search sites. I don't remember which one though..I played around with it and substituted wheat+wheat bran instead of all-purpose flour replaced eggs with honey and milk, varied the proportions of certain ingredients, entirely skipped some and came up with this recipe which is perfect as per me and members of my household. I am not against eggs, believe me. I love eggs but not in the dessert.Atleast not when I am making it at home. So I try to avoid it as much as I can in my dessert recipes. The eggs weren't missed. I am not against all-purpose flour either. Just like the wheat-flour flavor better than it. The end result is muffins that are moist and scrumptuos.

    • Wholewheat Flour - 1/2 cup, unsifted
    • Unprocessed Wheat Bran - 1/4 cup
    • Sweet Potato - 1 1/2 cups,shredded finely(Use box grater's fine-grate side)
    • Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup, packed
    • Cinnamon Powder - 1/2 tsp
    • Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
    • Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
    • Allspice Powder - 1/4 tsp
    • Salt - 1/4 tsp
    • Olive Oil - 3 tbsp
    • Skimmed Milk - 2 tbsp
    • Honey - 1 tbsp
    • Craisins - 1 tbsp
    • Walnuts/Almonds - 1 tbsp, roughly broken
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • In a bowl, mix wheat, wheat bran, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt.
    • In another bowl, mix the finely shredded sweet potato, brown sugar, dry fruits and nuts.
    • Mix the contents from both the bowl with oil,vanilla extract, honey,milk. The resulting mixture will be thick like a dough.
    • Grease the wells of the muffin pan with  little oil.
    • Using a spatula, spoon the mixture into the wells of the muffin pan, leveling at the rim.
    • Bake at the top rack of the oven for 35 minutes.
    • Cool for 10 minutes prior to removing the muffins.Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Makes 12 Mini Muffins.


    Two Cheese Veggie Hoagie

    Hoagie is nothing but a sandwich made with a long bun. This Hoagie can be done in a snap, probably with whatever you have in the fridge.

    • French or Italian medium-sized bread - 1, cut in half diagonally
    • Red Pepper - 1
    • European Eggplant - 1/2 (optional)
    • American Cheddar Singles - 4
    • Lowfat Swiss Cheese - 2 single serving wedges (Preferrably Laughing Cow)
    • Dill Pickle - 3 wedges (2 for serving with the sandwich, 1- grated
    • Mixed Greens - a handful
    • Cracked Pepper - 1 tsp
    • Salt for taste
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Cut the pepper in half and press it down on a oven-proof dish. Thinly slice the eggplants(if using). Sprinkle oil, cracked pepper and a dash of salt and roast for 30 minutes.
    • Assemble the sandwich by spreading the Swiss Cheese on the bottom half of the bun. Layer with mixed greens, 2 cheddar singles, roasted vegetables.
    • Sprinkle half of the grated dill pickle wedge and top with the other half of the bun.
    • Serve with chips and dill pickle wedge and some fruits.
    Makes 2 Servings.


    Friday, November 6, 2009

    Apple Banana Smoothie With Strawberry Floats

    This smoothie is truly refreshing. This is what I make myself after my  morning workouts. Instead of just eating a banana I make this as a reward for work(out) well done.

    • Banana - 1, medium, sliced, 2 slices - for garnish
    • Red Apple - 1/2, cored, peeled and diced
    • Strawberry - 3-4, 3 -fine diced, 1 - garnish
    • Skimmed Milk - 1 cup
    • Vanilla Ice cream - 1 small scoop (optional)
    • Throw all the ingredients except the Strawberry and the ones for garnish and puree.
    • Pour into a stemmed glassware and stir in the diced Strawberries.
    • Garnish with a Strawberry and couple of slices of bananas on either side of the strawberry for a visual treat.
    Makes 1 Serving.


    Chinese Okra(Ridge Gourd) Peel & SweetPea Chutney

    A chutney out of a peel? Yes. And tasty too. This is yet another chutney that is a frequent occurrence in the house that is loved by all. So what are you waiting for? Scroll down for the recipe and give it a try. This recipe goes as an entry to Spicy Fiery Chutney Event hosted by Ammu@ Ammaji's.

    • Peel of Chinese Okra - 1 cup (Use a knife rather than a peeler to get thick peels)
    • Sweet Pea/Green Pea - 2 tbsp, fresh or frozen
    • Bengal Gram - 2 tbsp
    • Split Black Gram - 1 tbsp
    • Hot Green Chilli - 4-5, vertically slit
    • Tamarind - marble sized, soaked and softened in a little water
    • Garlic - 1 big Clove
    • Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
    • Salt for taste
    • To remove the peel, first removed the sharp ridges with a peeler. Clean and then use a sharp knife to take thick chunks.
    • In a pan, heat the oil and fry both the gram until browned. Add the Chilli and chopped peel, sweet pea and fry until its raw no more.
    • Remove from stove and cool. 
    • Move the cooled mixture along with other ingredients to a blender and grind. The chutney shouldn't be too fine like a paste or too coarse but grainy.
    • Can be served with Indian breakfast items or with just veggies as a dip.
    Makes 2-3 servings.


    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Sevai(RiceNoodles) in Yogurt, Grape & Pomegranate Sauce

    This is normally made with rice. But now and then I substitute Rice Noodles for rice for a change. BTW, this was suggested to me by my Mil.

    • Rice Noodles - For 2 people
    • Yogurt - 1 cup, beaten using whisk
    • Skimmed Milk - 1/2 cup
    • Cilantro - 1/8 cup, finely chopped
    • Seedless Green Grapes - 1/4 cup, quartered
    • Pomegranate Arils - 1/4 cup
    • Black Mustard - 1 tsp
    • Split Black Gram - 1 tsp
    • Asafoetida(Hing) - a pinch (optional)
    • Hot Green Chilli - 3, vertically slit or just pierced
    • Salt for taste
    • In a pot, bring water to a boil. When its starts boiling, drop the rice noodles and switch off the stove.
    • Drain the noodles using a colander after 3-4 minutes.Separate the noodles using a fork and set aside in a bowl.
    • Add the yogurt and milk to the bowl.Sprinkle salt and mix gently.
    • In a skillet, add the oil and season using mustard and black gram. Once the black gram is browned, add the hing(if using) and green chillies. Saute and add to the bowl.
    • Follow up with the cut fruits and chopped cilantro. Gently mix and serve @ room temperature(in winter) or cold(in summer).
    Makes 2 Servings.


    About: The Blog and the Blog Author

    Who am I?
    In a word, a Certified-Foodloving-Flexitarian. But besides that, I was born to a hard working, dedicated, loving couple who eventually moved to the US in late 80s. Since then I have been shuttling back and forth between US and India before moving for good in mid 90s. My childhood and early-teens were in India and late-teens->youth->adult transformation happened in the US which makes me an AGCD(American Grown Clear-minded Desi). I am also a proud mom of a 5-year old boy who has taught me to be a little more patient, a lot more loving, a little less snappy and a lot less lazy. So it is really true when they say "Having a baby changes everything".

    How did Cooking end up as a passion?
    Even though I had helped my mom out now and then in the kitchen, I never really cared much for cooking until my early 20s.My dad and I were left to fend for ourselves when Mom went on an extended break to India.I had to learn everything from boiling water to making more elaborate spreads.What started off as a chore slowly grew on me and ended up as a passion. Inspiration and ideas for some of the vegetarian recipes come from mom(who calls herself an extreme Vegetarian and I was one too until ripe age of 17) and Meat-y ideas come from cook books,TV's culinary goddesses like Lidia Bastianich, Nigella Lawson, Ina Garten and a few others. Last but not the least, I get ideas from fellow bloggers.

    Why a Cooking blog?
    Even though cooking slightly falls behind Eating and Traveling in the Passion-meter, it is something that I (have-to)do frequently and I don't mind sharing. So far I have ended up posting 425+ Indian and International recipes(Hmm, mostly Indian) and it continues to grow.

    Why the name 'Pan Gravy Kadai Curry'?
    I like to think of me as a cultural melting pot with a blend of the Far East and the West.My cuisine mimics that attitude. So its only fair that I name my blog that represents both. PanGravy->West and KadaiCurry->Far East. Get it?

    Why the nickname 'Cool Lassi(e)'?
    Like how most writers have a pen-name, I thought I should have a blog-name. As for my real name/identity, I guess I don't have the interest to reveal it since I always look at the WWW as a double-edged sword. I like being mysterious. In that regard, I am in complete accord with Wandering Chopsticks, the mystery blogger.
    Cool Lassi(e) is the name I came up with because I am a big fan of Cold (Mango) Lassi. To me, it is not just any drink, it is the drink.Why, some people even think of  Mango Lassi as "Drink of the Gods". While its is natural to perceive Cool Lassi(e) as Cool and a young girl, I am neither. In real life I am known as NVC. That doesn't tell much, does it? LoL.

    Can you tell more about yourself?
    While I have thought and come up with 108 things(Tell your more about my fixation for this number) about myself, I will say random 3 for now:
    • God's perfect mediocre being-- Neither this or that, perfectly blending with billion other folks
    • Believes in culinary therapy as much as retail therapy
    • Loves color red
    Me, Myself.
    Time is the school in which we learn,Time is the fire in which we all burn  ~Delmore Schwartz

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Baked Eggless Persimmon & Strawberry Pudding: An English Pudding Faker

    Persimmon can be an intimidating fruit if someone has consumed it in its pre-ripened state. Once upon a time I had bought this because of its color appeal. I got home and bit into it without a thought. You see, this fruit was completely new to me and I wasn't aware of its astringent properties. Yikes! I couldn't get rid of the foul taste for quite some time.So when I see this in the stores I give it a wide berth. But now that I am blogging, I gave it another shot.The ripened fruit is something else allright! I couldn't wait to make a muffin spiced with this fruit.But I added a little bit more of honey and oil than required and the batter became runny. So I decided to make a pudding instead. I call this an English Pudding Faker cause it wasn't baked/boiled/steamed using the traditional pudding basin.
    The recipe is adapted from the base version that is actually for muffins,using all-purpose flour and eggs, and originally comes from 'Redwood City Kiwanis Farmer's Market Almanac' posted here.

    • Wheat Flour - 1 cup, unsifted
    • Baking soda & Baking Powder -  1/2 tsp each
    • Salt - 1/4 tsp
    • Cinnamon - 1/8 tsp
    • Allspice - 1/8 tsp
    • Ripe Hachiya Persimmon - 2,chunked
    • Ripe Strawberry - 6, diced
    • Olive Oil - 1/3 cup
    • Honey - 1/2 cup 
    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    • In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
    • In a blender, add the oil, honey,chunked persimmon and puree. 
    • Pour the puree into the bowl and using a whisk or spatula mix gently.
    • Pour into any greased baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the mixture gets a thick custard-like consistency.
    • Cool for 10 minutes and stir in the diced strawberries.
    • Use ramekins to mold the mixture into pudding. Serve warm.

    Makes 8-9 ramekins.


    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Four Season Chutneys: Pumpkin & Carrot, Peanut, Mint & Cilantro, Tomato Flavors

    Living in the North-east has its advantages as they boast all the four seasons to their fullest. That being said, I have to say Fall is my favorite of them all. Why? Because its neither too hot nor too cold plus the leaves are brightly colored and pleasing to the eye. I like that fact that when I take a stroll the crisp breeze makes me brisk. Next to Fall, I like Winter then Spring and finally Summer.Anyways, this chutney(Spicy Condiment) recipes are color-coded by all four seasons. I grew up eating all these chutney on a regular basis with Idli, Roti, Naan and such.. The Chutneys can be used as a dip as well. This recipe goes as an entry to Spicy Fiery Chutney Event hosted by Ammu@ Ammaji's. In the picture, from the right hand top and clockwise:: PumpkinNCarrot Chutney, Peanut Chutney, MintNCilantro Chutney, Tomato Chutney.

    Fall-ing-For-Fall Pumpkin And Carrot Chutney:
    • Pumpkin - 1 pound,skinned and chunked 
    • Carrot - 2, small, shredded
    • Onion - 1, medium, diced
    • Tomato - 1, medium, diced
    • Garlic - 4 cloves, skinned and slit vertically
    • Hot Green Chilli - 4, vertically slit
    • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp (available at Indian Stores)
    • Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
    • Salt for taste
    • In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. After a minute, add the onions and saute till browned.
    • Throw in the chunked pumpkins and shredded along with the green chillies, tomatoes and turmeric powder. 
    • Sprinkle with salt and gently mix.
    • Lid the pan and cook until the pumpkins are soft and about to get squishy.
    • Coarsely grind using a blender and serve either hot or at room temperature.
    Winter-White Peanut Chutney:
    • Peanuts - 1 cup,shelled, dry roasted until there are light-brown spots and de-hulled
    • Garlic - 1 cloves, skinned and slit vertically
    • Hot Green Chilli/Serrano - 4, vertically slit (or less for less heat)
    • Tamarind - small marble sized, cleaned (For the Tang, available at Indian Stores)
    • Curry Leaves - 2 stalks, optional
    • Cilantro - 2 stalks
    • Salt for taste
    • Puree all the ingredients in the food processor with water as needed to form a thick chutney.
    Spring-Green Mint And Cilantro Chutney: 
    • Mint - 1 Bunch, cleaned and separated from stalk
    • Cilantro - 1 Bunch, Cleaned and roughly chopped
    • Hot Green Chilli - 3, vertically slit
    • Tamarind - marble sized, cleaned (available at Indian Stores)
    • Ginger - 1 inch
    • Bengal Gram - 2 tbsp (available at Indian Stores)
    • Split Black Gram - 1 tbsp, dehulled (available at Indian Stores)
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt for taste
    •  In a pan, heat the oil and fry both the gram and chillies. Once they are browned, slightly wilt the mint in the pan and switch off the stove.
    • Once cooled, grind them along with the other ingredients to a coarse or smooth paste.
    Red-Hot-Summer Tomato Chutney:
    • Tomato - 3, medium, chunked
    • Onion - 1, medium, diced
    • Dry Red Chilli - 3, medium
    • Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
    • Salt for taste
    • Curry Leaf - 2 stalks
    • In a pan, heat the oil and add the onions. Once browned add the chilli and tomatoes. 
    • Spinkle salt and add curry leaves. Cook until tomato loses the raw smell with little or no water.
    • Grind coarsely and serve at room temperature.


    Tip: All the above chutneys can be seasoned with Black Gram, Mustard Seeds, Compounded Asafoetida(Hing), Curry Leaves sauteed in Olive Oil. Its an optional step. They taste good as is.

    Vermicelli Upma With Carrots & String Beans

    Just like it is customary to have Pizza on a Friday Night in the US, it was customary to eat Vermicelli Upma once every week as a breakfast or Brunch when I was growing up. I used to create lame excuses to not eat this  when I was a kid simply because it lost its appeal due to its frequency. Haha.. After I started cooking I made it a point to not cook it because I never did appreciate this as a kid. That all changed when one day I bought the vermicelli and cooked it with colorful vegetables..With my adult taste buds, I was able to appreciate its visual appeal and great taste.

    • Vermicelli - 2 cups
    • Carrot - 1/2 cup , julienned
    • String Beans - 1/2 cup, julienned
    • Corn Kernels - 1/4 cup, cooked (optional)
    • Curry Leaf - 2 stalks
    • Green Chilli - 4, vertically slit
    • Red Onion - 1, medium, vertically slit
    • Mustard seeds and Black Gram - For Seasoning
    • Olive Oil - 3 tbsp
    • Water - 2 cups
    • Salt for taste
    • In a deep bottomed pan, heat the oil and season it with mustard seeds and black gram. Once the mustard seeds start sputtering  add the onions, cut vegetables,corn kernels(if using) green chilli and curry leaves. 
    • Saute until the onions are browned.
    • Add the water and salt to the pan. Bring the water to boil.
    • Once the water starts bubbling, add the vermicelli and cook just until its soft but firm.
    • Serve it immediately with Peanut Chutney.
    Makes 2 Servings.


    Monday, November 2, 2009

    FromFamilyNFriends: Minty Lamb/Mutton Biryani

    Want to know what Biryani is, or what the difference between a Pilaf and Biryani is? Click here to see the answers from one of my previous posts. This is a recipe for Minty Mutton(Lamb) Biryani that has been passed on from a dear friend of mine whose version tops my Mutton Biryani List. I mean, no one does it better than her. Everyone has a favorite and this one is mine. Every time I go to her place, I request/plead her to make this..not that she doesn't ace in other dishes..but this is her best one yet.I made this for lunch yesterday and there wasn't any left for a second helping. Thanks for sharing this with me, Ms.Prabhu.
    • Short Grained Rice(Sona Masuri, Ponni) - 4 cups, soaked in cold water 30 minutes prior to pressure cooking
    • Lamb/Mutton - 2 pounds, with some bones, cut into bite sized chunks
    • Onion - 1, medium, finely chopped
    • Tomatoes - 2, medium, chopped
    • Olive Oil  - 1/2 cup
    • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
    For Grinding1:
    • Cinnamon - 1 stick
    • Clove - 4
    • Marati Moggu(dried fruit of the caper tree) - 2
    • Bay Leaf - 1
    • Fennel Seeds - 1 tbsp
    For Grinding2:
    • Garlic - 1 head, skinned and cloves separated
    • Ginger - 1 1/2 inch
    • Mint - 1 small bunch
    • Hot Green Chili - 16#s
    • Pressure Pan
    • In a saute pan, dry fry all the spices and grind its finely.
    • Blend all the ingredients under "Grinding2" to a coarse paste with very little water.
    • In a pressure pan, heat the oil and throw in the ground spices. Fry for a minute and then add the onions and tomato.
    • Saute until the onions are browned. Pour the ground paste and fry until it loses the raw smell.
    • Add the lamb chunks and saute for a couple of minutes. The paste should evenly coat the chunks. Add the turmeric and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.
    • Drain the soaked rice completely and add it to the pressure pan. Pay attention to the liquid inside the pan. If there is plenty if liquid then water to rice ratio of 2: 1 doesn't apply. Pour 6 cups of water and pressure cook for 3 more whistles.Let it rest for 10 minutes prior to opening the pan.
    • Serve hot with cold Onion-Carrot Raita.
    Makes ~5-6 servings.


    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Booo It was Halloween Night -- Boogity Boogity Boo

    On Halloween Night, me, my family and friends went to this Jack O'Lantern spook fest called Blaze in upstate NY that people were ooh-ing and aww-ing about. Boy was I glad I went! They had converted about an acre of land into a huge pumpkin patch where 4,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack o’ lanterns were arranged into breathtaking display of dinosaurs, beehives, nest of snakes, cemetery, sea world, mummies, sunflower field and what not.. I have never seen anything like that. It was un-freaking-believable..Such pumpkin artistry all in one place..I was thrilled to bits..I did my best to capture them in the photos but its true what experts say - Eye is the best camera. Loved Loved Loved it.Can't wait to go there next year with a much more sophisticated camera and with more tricks up my sleeve to capture them at their best with my clicks. Anyways, check these pictures out. I`m posting a handful from a load of shots taken:

    The entrance to the pumpkinhenge:

    Beehives: Pumpkins arranged into bees and beehives:

    Jurassic Park:

    Anaconda on the prowl:

    Jack O'Lanterns Lined up in a row:

    Witches on Broomsticks:

    Squiggly EyeBall: