Sunday, July 29, 2012

Caesar Salad and Dressing

Caesar salad doen't have anything to do with Julius Caesar. The name is attributed to restaurateur Caesar Cardini, who is credited with inventing it. The recipe for the dressing doesn't use anchovies just like how the original recipe is, though this is not exactly the original one. Instead of using coddled eggs, this recipe uses mayonnaise for ease and convenience. Typically for Caesar salad, it is lettuce that is used predominantly and there would be croutons to go with it. But in my variation below, though I have used lettuce, there is almost an equal amount of carrots, tomatoes, olives and onion - and also as we were having it with pizza, I opted not to put croutons in it.
Ingredients for the dressing:
2 tbs lemon juice
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tspWorcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
Add mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic,lemon juice and black pepper to a bowl; whisk until blended. Add mayonnaise; whisk until smooth.  Whisking, add oil to mayonnaise in a thin, steady stream. Continue whisking until blended; stir in parmesan cheese. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve. Store dressing covered in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients for the salad:
2 cups torn romaine or iceberg lettuce
1/4cup pitted ripe olives
1 tomato deseeded and diced
1/2 onion diced
1 small carrot grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
1/2 cup feta cheese
Croutons (optional)
Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bombay Karachi Halwa

Halwa is a popular dessert across the Indian sub-continent and middle east. This comes in different forms though the main ingredients are mostly flour and nuts. This particular version of Halwa is made with corn-flour, which gives it such a visually appealing, glossy finish, that is hard to resist. Being the sweet lover that I am, this used to be one of my childhood favorites. These days when I have to be more careful about what I eat, I justify myself eating this by telling myself that having a piece of this would give me my daily share of nuts ;)

Recipe Source:VahRehWah
Cardamom powder-1tsp
Lime juice -1tsp
Add sugar and 100ml water  to a sauce pan and bring it to a boil, add lemon juice and set the syrup aside.Mix corn flour with 100 ml of  water to form a batter without any lumps. In a non stick pan add 1 tsp of ghee (do not switch on the stove now)add cornflour mixture to it and mix, now switch on the stove at low.when the mixture starts to thicken  switch of the stove  and add sugar syrup little by little and keep mixing to avoid any lumps.Continue this till all the syrup is used up. Now turn on the stove and cook on low stirring add ghee little by little  and use up the entire ghee.If you are using food color add it at this stage along with cardamom powder.Continue cooking  till ghee starts to ooze out,now add almonds/cashewnuts, mix well. Transfer  this to a greased plate  and once cool cut into desired shape.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Three Cheese Quesadilla with Kiwi Salsa

Typically, I make Mexican food at least once in a week or so. Quesadilla and salsa are couple of the regulars that we have. But when I was looking at the Mexican dishes I had blogged so far, I was surprised to note that I hadn't put Quesadilla yet; may be I thought of it as something too simple to put together. But I am  here with this post today hoping that there would be someone somewhere who can benefit from this post.
Though I stick to the same quesadilla recipe whenever I make it (as this is how we in our household likes it), I always try to make a different dip to go with it based on what is available in the market or in my pantry. Some of the our favorites are guacamole, tomato salsa, mango salsa and pineapple salsa.I hope to post all these different dips some other day. The kiwi salsa I have here today is light, refreshing and has a bit of kick and goes well with the cheese quesadilla. 

1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
1/2/ cup shredded provolone cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 onion sliced
6 wheat /flour tortillas
Mix all the ingredients except tortillas and keep aside.Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add one tortilla and cook until soft, about 15 to 30 seconds.Turn this over add  1/4 cup or little more of cheese mixture on one half, fold in half, and cook on both sides until cheese melts  and tortilla is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Repeat with  remaining tortillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4.Serve with salsa or any other dip.

Recipe Source for salsa:All recipes
6 kiwis, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Salt to taste
Mix kiwi, onion, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, olive oil, honey, cumin, salt and curry powder together in bowl. Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gulab Jamun

I don't make gulab jamuns from scratch as a norm. This  is so because, I usually find that the ones made with the Gits Gulab Jamun mix to be good enough that I had never tried making it from scratch. But this time, as I wanted to use up some of the milk powder that nearing its expiry, I thought of doing it from scratch. The result justified the little bit of extra effort.
Recipe Source: My Treasure My Pleasure
Milk powder – 1 cup ( preferably Nido brand)
All purpose flour – 1/2 cup
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Melted Butter – 2 tbsp
Whole milk – enough to make the dough
Oil – for deep frying
For the sugar syrup:
Sugar – 2 cups
Water – 1 cup
Cardamom pods crushed – 2

On a medium heat simmer sugar and water in a sauce pan until the sugar is well dissolved in water  along with the cloves. Add the powdered cardamom and set aside.
Seive together all the dry ingredients add melted butter combine well.Add enough milk and knead it to make a soft dough.Divide the dough into 18-20 portions,take each portion and gently roll between your palms to make it a smooth ball.Cover the balls with a slightly damp kitchen towel.
Heat oil in a deep pan until it is hot and then lower the heat to medium.Now slowly put the balls in the hot oil and deep fry it,gently roll the balls so that the balls are browned evenly.See that the temperature remains the same. When they are browned on all sides,slowly remove it from oil and put immediately in the warm sugar syrup.
Keep them undisturbed in the warm sugar syrup for atleast 30 minutes and then serve hot/cold.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Black Pepper Ghee Rice

Last few days I had been feeling under the weather with some bad cold and fever. I was having a bad appetite and was in no mood to cook. So when Jay asked me what I would like to have for lunch, I remembered seeing this recipe at Radhika's blog that looked appealing - definitely for someone in my condition. I did ask Jay to make some little modifications as I wanted it more spicy and zesty. It did turn out good and gave me some relief from my sore throat and perked-up my taste-buds.
Recipe adapted from:Tickling Palates
Basmati rice/Jasmine rice – 1 cup
Black pepper corn – 1 tbs
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Shallots – 10 to 15
Garlic cloves – 10 to 12
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
Ghee – 2 to 3 tbs
Cook 1 cup of rice and set it aside. In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee and fry the pepper corns at low to medium heat till they are crisp.Set this aside and do the same with the cumin. Once both pepper and cumin cools, powder them fine.Add the remaining ghee to the kadai and sauté finely sliced shallots and garlic till they almost turn golden color. Now add the turmeric powder saute for a few seconds,add salt, ground powders and the cooked rice and mix well  till all the rice is well coated. Serve hot and with love. As per Radhika  you can do this in oil too but since pepper is a heat provider to our body, using ghee acts as a coolant and it is also appetizing at the same time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Microwave Palkova /Palgova

For this month's Blog Hop by Radhika I was paired with Roshini. She has a wonderful blog with so many tempting dishes but the moment I saw this, I knew this  is it as I have so many special memories connected with this dish. Palgova always takes me back to my mother's kitchen. I was lucky to grow up in a family which owned many cows. We used to get so much milk that even after our daily consumption, my mum had to think up ways to use up the rest. Come summer and it would be ice creams, custards or payasams; but in the rainy season she made Palgova. My brothers and me used to eat  platefuls of this week after week and never got tired of this.
It typically used to be a lengthy process making palgova from scratch. But these days when you no longer  has the patience to stand for hours stirring the milk, you can always opt for short-cuts like these. And these do taste as yummy as the ones made from scratch.
Recipe Source:Roshini's Kitchen
Sweetened condensed milk - 1 can
Ghee/butter - 1 tbs to 2 tbs
Curd - 3 tbs
Mix all ingredients in a thick and deep glass bowl .Microwave for 2 minutes ,Keep an eye on this all the time. If it rises, take out and stir and continue.Now microwave for at 1 minute intervals and stir after every minute.Continue this till your palgova  gets thick, and attains a golden brown  color and starts letting ghee out.Serve garnished with nuts of your choice.
Microwave times will vary. So you may reach your desired consistency by 5 or 8 or even 10 minutes,so keep an eye from 5 minutes.
Sending this over to Blog Hop Wednesdays

and to  Celebrate Olympic Games at Priya's
 Celebrate-Olympic Grames

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Strudel with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

I have had my share of fruit strudels before, but vegetable strudels were new to me until the time we were in hospital for Aishwarya's procedure. We wanted Aishwarya to have something healthy from the hospital menu, and she being a vegetarian, this looked like a good bet. I didn't expect much when I ordered this for her, but Aishwarya liked it so much that we tried it for our lunch from the hospital canteen the next time.
After coming back home from the hospital, Aishwarya had a poor appetite and was on a diet of soups and vegetable strudels most of the time. I had to make different varieties of soups for her every day, but the strudels was something she didn't mind having, almost every day.
This recipe below is a combination of many recipes I could find online; I have combined it all to make what tasted best for my family's pallets.
One good thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever vegetables you fancy and the final product would be pleasing for your eyes, taste buds and your tummy!

6 button mushrooms cleaned and cut into strips
1 carrot cut into 2 inch long strips
1 zucchini, cut into 2-inch long strips
7 greenbeans,cut into1/2-inch long strips
1 green pepper,cut into1/2-inch long strips
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup morrzeralla cheese
1 tsp chilli paste
1/4 cup chives
1/4 cup basil leaves and thyme
1/4 cup of roasted garlic
Pre made Phyllo sheets
Melted butter as required
Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss all the cut vegetables with olive oil in a large bowl until each piece is coated with oil.Now sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a baking sheet and roast until tender. Allow the vegetables to cool and then place them in a large bowl. Toss in the cheese, chilli paste, chives,basil and thyme along with roasted garlic until combined.
Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
Take a sheet of phyllo and lay it flat and brush with melted butter or olive oil. Place another layer and repeat the process.Once you have brushed the third phyllo sheet, place 1/2  to 3/4th cup of vegetable mixture along the bottom edge. Now roll up the phyllo along with veggies. Seal the end with melted butter.Then brush the whole roll with melted butter on the outside. Now cut this roll into 5 inch pieces at 45 dregree angle to make it look nicer.
Bake until golden brown, for about 7 to 10 minutes. Top the strudel with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and serve.
Roasted Red Pepper Coulis:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups roasted red bell pepper strips
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the peppers, onions, leeks, and garlic and saute until translucent and the garlic is slightly brown. Add the basil, oregano, and cilantro, along with the vegetable stock, and salt and pepper, to taste; simmer over medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes. Pour the mixture in a blender and puree until smooth, while slowly drizzling extra-virgin olive oil into the pitcher. Strain the mixture through a coarse strainer and serve over the strudel.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Root Beer Float

This is an ice cream soda made with root beer and vanilla ice-cream. Don't mistake it for an alcoholic drink, though. The first time I heard about this was when Aishwarya was in kinder-garten. She came home one day saying that we had a Beer float today at the class party and that it was "yum". I was taken aback initially, but with a little bit of help from Google, realized that it had nothing to do with "Beer".Root beer is a carbonated, sweetened beverage, originally made using the root of a sassafras plant (or the bark of a sassafras tree) as the primary flavor.
It is basically an ice cream soda -you can substitute Root Beer with any of the other sodas - if you use coke, it would be a coke-float. Chocolate ice cream is a delicious alternative to vanilla. Then this would be called a "Brown Cow Float". Sprinkle chocolate or add a bit of whipped cream for extra flavor! It is a great drink for the summer days, that kids would love to have.
Celebrating 4th of July with an All American Drink!
Happy Independence Day!

Vanilla ice cream
Root beer
Add a  scoop or two of vanilla ice cream into a tall glass. Slowly pour root beer into the glass, allowing the foam to rise and then recede before adding more root beer.
Serve with straws and spoons.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Canned Biscuit Dough Donuts and Holes

If you are looking for a way to make easy melt in your mouth doughnuts without stepping out of your house with very little effort and in no time you ought to give this a try. These are simply awesome and no one  will believe that you started out with canned biscuits!
Recipe adapted from Food Network
1  can Texas style Biscuits (or your preference, just not flaky layers)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Tsp cinnamon
Vegetable Oil For Frying
1cup confectioners' sugar, I used powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk,
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oil on medium to medium high for about five minutes(350degree). In a bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar.I n another bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla extract and set it aside.
Using a plastic bottle cap, cut the center out of each biscuit. Fry them in the oil until golden and then flip with tongs to fry the other side.  Fry the donut holes too. Drain on paper towels and then toss in the cinnamon-sugar or dip one side of the dough nuts in the icing. Serve warm.
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