Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pizza Quesadilla 'N Guacamole

Ever since the school reopened, my daughter returns home hungry for something to eat. From this year she is in middle school and has longer hours to spent at the school. Plus, she also has PE to do. I guess all this is making her hungrier by the time school ends. So I need to have something to feed her when she is back from school and this is one such dish which is easy to make yet is well liked.
Pizza Quesadilla
8 flour tortillas
8 ounces of shredded mozzarella /provolone cheese
1 16-ounce jar of pizza sauce
Pre-heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add one tortilla and cook until soft, about 15 to 30 seconds.Turn this over and brush tortilla with a thin layer of pizza sauce (so thin that if you turned it over, none would drip).Now spread  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 a little bowl of pizza dipping sauce.

3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tsp  cayenne pepper/2 green chillies sliced
1tbs olive oil

In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper and olive oil . Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Palada Pradhaman

  എല്ലാ മലയാളി സുഹൃത്തുക്കള്‍ക്കും  എന്‍റെ  ഓണാശംസകള്‍ !!
Of all the various items in a typical Kerala sadya (feast), the one that most people I know look forward to having is the Palada Pradhaman. The conventional way of making this is a long and difficult one, but this method of making it using a pressure cooker makes the whole process much easier. Thanks to my SIL who introduced me to  this method of cooking.
 1/4 cup Ada
 5 cups  Milk
 1/2 cup  Sugar
 1/2 tbs Butter
 1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
Boil milk and sugar together in the pressure cooker.  When milk starts to boil, reduce the heat to low. Put the weight on the valve when steam starts to come out of the vent. Allow the milk to cook on a low heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and wait till the cooker cools down to open it. Meanwhile, boil water in a vessel and add the ada. Cook till the ada become very soft to touch. Drain the ada and keep aside. Heat a thick bottom vessel and add the ada along with butter and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the milk from the pressure cooker and keep stirring till the milk thickens to your liking. Finally add  some cardamom powder and remove from the stove. Keep stirring till pradhaman cools off completely.

Here are some of the other paysams you can try out for this Onam.
Kadala Parippu Pradhaman         

Carrots and vermicelli kheer/payasam
Parippu Pradhaman

Semiya/Vermicelli payasam

Neypayasam (Ghee Payasam)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chocolate Overload Cake

Today is Aishwarya's birthday. She wanted an overdose of chocolate in everything on her special day. She wanted her lunch all chocolaty - with Nutella sandwich, chocolate brownies, chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate milk to wash it all down with !! And she wanted her birthday cake to be a chocolate cup cake with chocolate frosting. This is what I came up with - with an overload of chocolates to please my little darling.
This has milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate in it. The birthday girl hasn't seen this yet. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this Chocolate Overload would satisfy her craving for chocolate.

Chocolate Whipped Cream:
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 - 4 tablespoons (35-50 grams) granulated white sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch processed)
1 cup (240 ml) cold heavy whipping cream
 Place your mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes. Place the vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and cocoa powder in the cold bowl. Stir in about 2 tablespoons of the cream to form a thick paste (this will dissolve the cocoa powder). Then add the rest of the cream and beat just until stiff peaks form. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml) whipped cream

Chocolate Butter:
200gm butter
200gm dark chocolate ,chopped
Combine chocolate and butter in a pan and stir over low heat.When the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth,cool until mixture becomes spreadable.

Chocolate Strips:
2 cups White chocolate,chopped
Cut strips of baking paper the height required.  Melt the chocolate in two batches.I used the microwave and microwaved the chocolate for 20 second increments stirring at the end of every 20 seconds. take a small amount of white chocolate and spread it out over the baking paper strip using an angled spatula.  Once the chocolate starts to set  cut the chocolate into strips.

Chocolate Curls:
Milk chocolate,shaved into curls using a sharp knife

Chocolate Cake carved in the shape of a cup cake

Method to assemble:
Slice the cake in half horizontally. If you want your cake to be moist, you may drizzle some sugar syrup over the cake. Apply a layer of chocolate butter followed by a layer of chocolate whipped cream over the bottom layer. Now place the upper layer on top of it and and apply the whipped cream frosting all around the cake. Place the chocolate strips around the cake. Now pipe the top of the cake with chocolate butter and decorate it further with chocolate curls.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Adai Dosa / Multi Grains Crepes

Adai Dosa is a popular, power packed variant of the traditional dosa. Being high on the pulses this is a much more healthier option than the original. Unlike the traditional dosa, this takes very little preparation time as this doesn't need fermentation at all. I find it very convenient to make when I have to put something together in a jiffy. Even the typical soaking time needed can be reduced if you have a super powerful grinder like the VitaMix, which I use. This typically reduces my soaking time to a mere 1 hour.

Rice - 1 cup ( I used jasmine rice)
Chana dal-1/2 cup
Green Gram Dal  - 1/2 cup
Masoor Dal / Red Lentil - 1/2 cup
Toor Dal - 1/2 cup
Urad Dal  - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 large
Green Chilli - 5
Ginger - 2 inch piece
Curry leaves a handful
Chilli powder - 2 tbs or to taste
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Ghee/Butter/Oil for making dosa

Wash and soak the first 6 ingredints in water for 3 hours.  After 3 hours puree in a grinder to a fine paste by adding little water, the final batter should be thick as a pancake batter or dosa batter. Now take onion, green chilli, ginger and curry leaves in a food processor and chop them finely.Add it to the batter and mix well.(if you love a dosa of even texture you can add these along with the grains when you are pureeing them). Add asafoetida, salt, chilli powder to the batter and mix well. Heat a nonstick pan. Take a ladleful of batter and make into a thin dosa.Apply ghee on the dosa and cook till its crisp to your liking.Serve  hot with cuthney of your choice.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

 If you are looking for a way other than regular banana bread to finish of those bananas that are browning, do give this a try.Soon you would  deliberately brown your bananas just for this recipe.
Recipe Source: Savory Sweet Life
1 stick of salted butter, softened to room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 large ripened bananas mashed ( or 2.5 small bananas)
1 tsp. vanilla
1&1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbl. cocoa powder
1/2 cup of sour cream/Plain yogurt
1 cup of mini chocolate chips (regular chocolate chips work too)
optional 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan, or 2 mini pans with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla until well blended.
Add baking soda, cocoa, and flour.
Mix everything until well incorporated (about 3 minutes using a mixer).
Add chocolate chips and nuts (if applicable).
Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for 60 minutes – 70 minutes.
Insert a tooth pick into the center of the loaf and check to see if it comes out clean when you pull it out.
Remove from heat and allow bread to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.
Invert the loaf pans onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or cold.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Watermelon Agua Fresca

The last few days had been scorching hot in the bay area. For a hot summer what better thirst quencher than some freshly made watermelon juice. Add some lime juice and fresh mint to it and you will get a heavenly drink. Agua Fresca are non-coholic, Mexican blended beverages made with a variety of fruits and other  ingredients. I first came across this in the menu of the Mexican place that we frequent and was curious to know what it was. Once I tried it, I knew this is something I can make at home.

4cups of  seedless watermelon  cubed
1/2 cup  water
Sugar/honey to taste
2-3 tbsp of fresh lime juice
15 mint leaves
Puree the watermelon and water in a blender until smooth. Add sugar to taste. Add mint leaves and lemon juice and pulse the blender once more.Seive this to remove the pulp.Pour this into seving glass and fill each glass with ice and stir before serving.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spiced Herbal Tea

For this Blog Hop Wednesday by Radhika I was paired with Anisha of Flavours the vegan way.I had planned a few recipes to try from her space but when I showed Jai the recipes this is what he wanted me to try. I think his decision was influenced by the cold he had.He loved it and said he felt better and Aishwarya and I, though fine enjoyed it as well.This was so much like the traditional Chukku kappi which is a dried ginger and herbal tea but with a twist.Thank you Anisha for introducing me to this tea.
Recipe Source:Flavours the vegan way
Ingredients :
500ml Water
1tsp Pepper corns
1tsp Cumin seeds
1 inch piece of Cinnamon
10-12 Mint leaves
10-12 Holy basil
1 leaf of Lemon Grass(I didn't add this as I didn't have this)
1/2 inch Ginger
Lemon juice to taste
Honey to taste

Crush the cinnamon, pepper corns and cumin seeds using a mortar and pestle. Crush or bruise the herbs and ginger.Add the herbs and spices to water in the tea pot and microwave it for 4 minutes. You can use stove top to boil the herbs in water, it's just faster in the microwave. Strain it. Add lemon juice and honey to your taste.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Almond Burfi

I had some friends coming over today - and today being the Friendship Day, I thought I should treat them to a sweet treat. Almond burfi is something that can be made ahead and I prefer it that way as it tastes better the second day. I made this yesterday and took a photo then itself, as I knew I won't have time for any of that today. I didn't cut into slices, as I know that once cut, there would be hardly anything left to serve the guests :).
This may not look so strikingly good, unlike many of the other sweets, but one bite of this would surely get you hooked.
When I started this blog, I never imagined that I would end up having much more friends through this than I had so far in my life.I dedicate this post to all my wonderful blogger friends!
Happy Friendship Day!

1cup almond powder
1cup milk powder
1/2 cup milk
3/4cup Sugar
Few saffron strands
2tbs ghee
Dissolve the saffron strands in milk and add all other ingredients except ghee along with the milk to a heavy bottom nonstick pan and cook on medium heat stirring continuous.When it turns thick add the ghee and continue stirring till ghee starts to ooze out , immediately pour this mixture to a greased plate.Let them cool completely.Slice  burfi in your desired shape.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Zucchini Pizza

It is summer-time and whenever I go out for grocery and produce shopping, I find zucchini in abundance (though here in the bay area I find it year round ). I love eating Zucchini by itself, but wanted to try out some variations. So the last time Aishwarya wanted a pizza, I thought of trying this out as the topping so that I could put some veggies also into her. The result turned out to be a keeper.
2 large zucchinis
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup feta cheese
sea salt
red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
pizza dough(used the same recipe used for this bread)
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Grate the zucchinis and press out the water from zucchini using your hand.Soak up any extra water with paper towels. Mix the zucchini with the mozzarella feta and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.In another bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Italian seasoning or seasoning of your choice and garlic. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Work the pizza dough into whatever shape your heart desires. Spread the ricotta cheese on top and then top with the zucchini mixture. Add some red pepper flakes if you like . Reduce oven temperature to 450 and bake pizza for about 11 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden and the cheese has started to bubble.
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