Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Masala Oats Upma ~ Curried Oats ~ Protein Packed

Masala Oats Upma ~ Curried Oats ~ Protein Packed
Oats is definitely an acquired taste, not something that I was used to growing up. During my routine visit to Doctor she did reinforce asking me to eat more Oats, especially steel cut. I have tried eating Oats with fruit, yogurt, just plain. I could not get used to the taste and the glutton after taste. So I had to Indianize Oats and was inspired by an Indian cooking show. Today's recipe is customized to be protein rich, you can create your own version with many of your pantry staples.
Ingredients
1 cup Steel cut Oats ~ Soaked for about  a minimu 30 min( I did soak them in the morning for use in the night)
1/2 cup Blanced Almonds
1/2 cup Sprouted Channa
1/2 cup Sprouted whole Urad dal
(You can add any sprouts of your choice)
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup Tomato diced
1/2 mixed greens ( Cilantro, Spinach, Methi, Kale what ever greens you have at home)
Couple of sprigs of Mint (optional)
1/2 cup Roasted unsalted peanuts finely chopped for garnish

1 Tbsp Jeera (Cumin)
1 Tbsp Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp Urad dal
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped green chilies ( adjust according to your taste)
1 Tbsp finely chopped Garlic
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 Tbsp Jeera Powder
1 Tbsp Dhania Powder
1 Tbsp Tumeric
10 ~ 15 Curry leaves
1/4 Tspn Sugar
juice of one medium sized lemon
Salt according to taste
1 Tbsp of Olive oil

Process
1. Heat tbsp of oil in a pan, add cumin, mustard, urad dal
2. When mustard seeds begin to pop add ginger, green chilies, curry leaves, mint and tumeric
3.  Saute for a minute and then add sprouted beans and 1/4 cup of water a pinch of salt and allow to cook covered for about a minute or two
4. Add onions, greens to sprouts and mix well, fry till onions turn translucent
5. Drain Oats completely and add the above mixture
6. Add Cumin, Garam masala and Dhania powder
7. Add pinch of paprika or chili powder and adjust for salt
8. Add chopped tomatoes and almonds
9. Now add sugar and lemon juice mix well  and cook covered for about a minute or two

Remove from heat and garnish with crushed roasted peanuts and corriander and serve hot

Upma can be relished with raita or ketchup. Best eaten when hot
Oats definitely keep you full for a long and curb your hunger pangs. The fact that its filled with protein, fiber and is less on calories, this recipe is a sure keeper. I guarantee even the worst of Oats critics will ask for extra serving once they taste the curried version.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grilled Nectarines - With Honey, Vanilla &Berries - Must Try On Your Next Camping Trip - Has Summer Written All Over It

Grilled Nectarines - With Honey, Vanilla & Berries 
It is a long weekend for me this week, have our company shutting down couple of days and I took few days off making it the perfect 4th of July week. It's really been a while since I took a day off and had a "staycation". Spending the day at home with no agenda seems like such a luxury. Kids and I have enjoyed our outings, lunches and a movie. Hoping this week goes a little slower and last a little longer.
Stone fruit are abundant in the market, picked at their prime these stone fruit taste like sugar sweet, fleshy and delicious.Made grilled peaches for Mother's day barbecue few days back repeated the same with Nectarines today.

Absolutely simple, can be prepped ahead making it a perfect and healthy choice for BBQ's or camping. No hassle of clean up and can be customized according to ones taste.  

Makes for about 8 grilled Nectarines halves or 4 whole Nectarines
Ingredients
4 Nectarines well ripen, not to soft not to hard
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
tbsp of good Vanilla essence
1/2 tbsp of grate ginger optional
tbsp of lemon zest
few sprigs of mint
few berries like blueberries, strawberries or blackberries

1. In a microwaveable bowl add butter, sugar, Vanilla, ginger and lemon zest and mix well
2. Microwave on high for about two minutes checking in between
3. Remove from microwave and mix till sugar and butter are completely melted and mixed. Keep aside.


4. Clean and cut Nectarines into half, remove seed and lather butter sugar mixture, place berries in the middle and glaze with sugar butter solution. Add spring of mint and fresh lemon zest.
5. Wrap Nectarines in a aluminium foil and place in on the BBQ grill, fire pit or grill in an oven on medium heat for about 3~5 minutes

6. Remove from heat and when you open the aluminum pouch, you will be treated for some delicious caramel and grilled Nectarine.

7. Nectarines turns soft and creamy, a scoop of Vanilla ice cream would be a great compliment.

8. Optionally you can add fresh berries instead of grilling if you wish you. Since the fruit is in season and is very sweet few drop of lemon juice will also enhance the flavor.
9. You can ask your guests to create their own version by having various kind of toppings, also by making variations to the butter sugar mixture by adding various other flavorings.
Throw them into the campfire, wait for few minutes under the stars and in the company of your loved ones and cherish these delicious goodness.

This recipe can be made from Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, Apples or even plums.

Stay safe and happy Fourth of July !!!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Spicy Hara Bhara Paneer Kababs - Spicy Paneer Kababs - Perfect for Summer Barbecues

Spicy Hara Bhara Paneer Kababs 


The wait is over and summer vacations are officially on. When I dreamt of summer vacations I envisioned  schedule free days, no mad rush in the morning, no carpools and picks up to worry about kind of summer,was I in for a surprise or what ? summer vacations are turning out to be more stressful than imagined for the lack of routine. My childhood summers were spent carefree, the day school ended was the last time we looked at our books, off we were to grandparents home for close to two months. What followed was sheer fun, playing with cousins, sleeping on the terrace  under the open sky counting stars and looking for constellations, listening to uncles and grandmom's stories, eating mangoes to hearts content and just living a life of child. I so wish my kids experienced the same. The reality of today's summer is very brutal especially for kids in US as they get to higher grades. Summers for kids here especially in Bayarea is about taking courses in Math, computer sciences, etc.. to get to advance placements. The rush and the rat race for kids is really sad, sometimes I wonder what are we teaching kids when they can't think and act independent and enjoy some downtime and may be do nothing for a change.
Anyways planning to take sometime off work and spend time with kids and visit few places before the end of summer. Last weekend we celebrated Father's day barbecue at a dear friends home, and my soul sister made Paneer kakab's for BBQ and boy were they delicious. I brought home some leftovers and had to share the recipe with my dear readers so here goes the recipe for Hara Bhara Paneer Kabab's
Ingredients this makes for  marinate for about 10~12 kabab's

Marinate

1/2 cup Cilantro
1/2 cup Mint
1/2 cup Green chilies
1 cup Yogurt
1/4 cup Cream ( Optional, makes vegetable and meat tender)
1 tbsp of Pepper
1 tbsp of Red Chili powder
1 tbsp of Garam Masala
1 tbsp of fresh ginger & garlic paste
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
and salt according to taste
Paneer cubed about 2 inches
grape tomatoes
Green, Yellow and Red peppers
Sweet green chilies
1 onion cut into thick big chunks

Process
1. Grind green chilies, corriander and mint into a fine paste
2. Take yogurt in a bowl and add the above mixture and all the dry ingredients
3. Mix well till all the ingredients are well mixed
4. Now prick Paneer, pepper and chilies with a fork, this allows for the marinate to seep in and absorb the flavors
5. Add tomatoes and toss till all the vegetables are well coated
6. Transfer the contents into a ziploc bag and allow to marinate for atleast 2~3 hours, the longer the better.
7. I used mini skewers for today recipe, remove contents from the ziploc and stack paneer, tomatoe, peppers, onions and chilies in your desired order.
8. I use my trusted Cuisinart grill to sear, few minutes on all the sides and wallah delicious Kababs are ready to be savored.
Since its the season of Asparagus, got few tender ones from the farmers market and grilled the same. Just sprinkle some sea salt ,pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice and you can't stop at one.
Any one looking to buy an indoor grill/griddle I recommend Cuisinart  griddler, makes for one excellent grill without the hassle of clean up and did I mention its very portable.



So here is hoping for a relaxing summer and wishing all of you the same. Hope you unwind and relax with friends and family grilling and just plain doing nothing :) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Protein Rich Super Healthy - Spinach, Mint, Cilantro, Avocado & Paneer Parata

Spinach, Mint, Cilantro, Avocado & Paneer Parata 

Tried out this new recipe today and I had to post it on the blog. It's been quite hectic at home and work, I cannot wait for summer vacations to start.
Farmers market are abundant with fresh produce. Picked up Avocado's, baby spinach and fresh cilantro last week.

Ingredients makes for about 10 parata's
2 cups of washed spinach
1 cup cilantro/coriander
1 ripe Avocado cut into cubes
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 green chili
2 cups grated paneer
2~3 cups of whole wheat flour
2 tbsp of garam masala
2 tbsp of flax seed (optional)
pinch of chaat masala
tbsp of tumeric optional
tbsp of cumin seeds
salt according to taste
1. Wash all the greens and pat dry
2. Chop all greens and chili finely in a food processor, remove from the food processor and grated paneer and  mashed Avocado and mix well.
3. Now add all the dry ingredients
 5. Add flour and mix well. Spinach and Avocado leaves a lot of water so there might be no need to add any more, but if the consistency of the dough is not soft add water and adjust accordingly.
6. Take a small portion of the dough, roll into a ball and flatten using a rolling pin.
7. Heads up, this can be messy if the consistency of the dough is not right. Add flour if you see the roti sticking to the rolling pin.
8. Warm both side of the roti/parata on a tava/pan, add a little oil to crisp the edges.
9. Remove from heat and serve hot with Raita/pickle and a dollop of butter

 Healthy dinner/lunch option. Parata's come out extremely soft and best when eaten piping hot
Have a good rest of the week everyone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Celebrating 8th Blogversary With Vanilla Almond Biscotti

Celebrating 8th Blogversary With Vanilla Almond Biscotti 

Past month was my blog's 8th birthday, quite a milestone I say. Blogging truly changed my world. I remember when I decided to blog it was mostly to chronicle what I ate and this journaling opened up my world to eating better, being conscious about quality of food than quantity, exposed me to people and food around the world and presented me with options of eating healthier and becoming a better person inside out. There is no looking back since then. Blogging also allowed to develop my love for photography and provided an outlet for my creativity. The joy of cooking, composing a picture and posting a blog post is truly gratifying, brings a sense of accomplishment every time single time. 

There were many a times I was ridiculed for blogging and commented and made fun of, what I realized with my journey of blogging is, it does not matter what others say or the fact they make fun, what matters is are you having fun doing what you like and are you learning something new. Nothing gets me more excited than having a chance to learn something new and over years my worst critiques become my best ones. You just have to stay the course, a life lesson learnt from blogging. 

As they say when you love what you do it's never work and blogging for me is my space, my escape, my relaxation and my hobby.

Wanted to make something special to celebrate blog milestone and here is today's recipe, a direct adaptation from America's Test Kitchen's Almond Biscotti, Recipe is a copy from the original site. You can check out the video here as well.

Makes 30 cookies

The almonds will continue to toast while the biscotti bake, so toast the nuts only until they are just fragrant.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) whole almonds, lightly toasted
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, plus 1 large white beaten with pinch salt
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil spray
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Using ruler and pencil, draw two 8 by 3-inch rectangles, spaced 4 inches apart, on piece of parchment paper. Grease baking sheet and place parchment on it, ink side down.

2. Pulse 1 cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses; transfer to bowl and set aside. Process remaining 1/4 cup almonds in food processor until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; process to combine, about 15 seconds. Transfer flour mixture to second bowl. Process 2 eggs in now empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Add melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla and process until combined, about 10 seconds. Transfer egg mixture to medium bowl. Sprinkle half of flour mixture over egg mixture and, using spatula, gently fold until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and chopped almonds and gently fold until just combined.



3. Divide batter in half. Using floured hands, form each half into 8 by 3-inch rectangle, using lines on parchment as guide. Spray each loaf lightly with oil spray. Using rubber spatula lightly coated with oil spray, smooth tops and sides of rectangles. Gently brush tops of loaves with egg white wash. Bake until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.


4. Let loaves cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes. Transfer loaves to cutting board. Using serrated knife, slice each loaf on slight bias into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay slices, cut side down, about 1/4 inch apart on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 35 minutes, flipping slices halfway through baking. Let cool completely before serving. Biscotti can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 month.



At the end of the day my greatest reward for blogging will be when my kids and hopefully their kids one day get a chance understand and know the kind of person I was through my this digital food journal.

So thank you all my readers, friends and family. I know how precious and valuable time is and I am truly grateful for your time you spend on my blog.Here is to many many more blogversaries !!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Of The Mature And Not So Mature - Banana's - Banana Chocolate Bread -Eggless

Banana Chocolate Bread


Now that football season is over America can take a breather, the emotions, the pent up energy and not to mention all the junk food too. I am a mother of two boys and married to a sports fanatic. Me being me I hate sports, always did. Grew up watching my brothers go crazy over cricket, nothing mattered when there was cricket on TV, the superstitions,  the emotions and the crazy bets. I was always happy reading a book or a magazine in front of the TV while the entire house was glued watching every second of the game with their heart in their hands. Of course I was not all that naive about Cricket, I knew all the good looking cricketers or cricketers dating models etc.. you get the point.

Off late with kids growing up I often feel left out of their conversations, unlike before its hard to pick up a book while there is a game on TV and pretend or ignore the conversations. In the car, at the dining table, with friends, the gift they crave everything is about sports. Last few weeks back wanted to surprise both my sons with jerseys of their favorite team, found it so hard to figure out the names of the player whom they like.
Just like me I am sure my boys feel the same way, they hate shopping and are never into movies or any of the activities I find interesting . Sometimes I fear this gap getting wider as they age. But just like every other trooper mom I can't give up on finding things to do in common or spend time together. Eventually we found few activities where three of us and some time their dad chimes in too, enjoy. All four of us love going out for hike Sunday morning and breakfast at the local bakery. We paint sometimes together. I have gotten my sons to learn photography and they do an Ok job, the picture above of the Banana's was taken by my younger son. But most importantly realized that kids love to bake. We bake cupcakes, brownies and pizza's. The time spent in the kitchen while baking is precious. Get to hear stories about school, how they fell about things, my assessment report, questions like  how do grades in English matter in life?, etc.. etc.. All in all reminds and restores the faith that the strings that binds us are stronger and goes beyond my liking of sports.

Few weeks back a friend of ours introduced us to Banana bread, it has since become an instant favorite and we have been baking Banana bread on a weekly basis. So here goes the recipe.. recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients

1/2 cup shortening or canola oil, or butter etc. (substitute 1/3c applesauce)
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe mashed bananas 
1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/2  cup chocolate chips

Process
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). 
2. Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan. (This can be made in any size pan or muffin tins just adjust the baking time)
3. In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar and add vanilla. 
4. Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt. Blend in the mashed bananas. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 45~ 60 minutes depending on the size of the container and oven or until it tests done with a toothpick.
Banana bread makes for an excellent snack for school or after school treat, goes very well with a hot cup of Chai.
Here's to all the moms and to their crazy antiques !!! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Makara Sankranti Subhakanshalu

Wishing all of my readers a very happy Sankranti/Lohri. May the New Year bring in lots of happiness and peace. Growing up Sankranti was one of my favorite, it was time spent at grandparents, time spent with cousins, time spent playing endless hours of cards. Pongal brought festivities lasting for four days, the dressing up, the food and not to mention all the loot in the form of presents. Those were good old times and times that I will cherish forever. Today, thanks to the community I live in, kids get to experience a flavor of the same.

My previous blog post about Sankranti in pictures can be found here.
Made Sweet Saffron Rice as an offering. There are many flavors of the recipe which include cloves and cinnamon but today my version is the minimalistic few ingredients and cooked slowly with love. This recipe works best with Basmathi rice.

Ingredients
1 cup Basmathi rice washed and soaked in water for about 10 min
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp. Ghee/ Clarified butter
pinch of elachi/Cardamon pods (optional)
2 tbsp. of saffron soaked in warm milk or warm water
2~3 drops of orange food color
2 tbsp. of rose water (optional)
1 cup water

Process
1. In a thick bottom pan add two cups of water and then soaked basmathi rice and cook for about 8~10 minutes, till rice is well cooked.
2. While the rice is cooking, take a thick bottom pan add sugar and water and allow to boil
3. While the sugar syrup is boiling take two table spoons of saffron and allow to dissolve in warm water. Once the color comes out which takes about 2 minutes, add the water to boiling sugar syrup.
4. Add elachi and raisins which are sautéed in ghee.
5. Add orange color and optionally rose water for additional flavoring.
6. Allow sugar syrup to come to boil which is when you see small bubbles around the rim.
7. Now add cooked rice to the sugar syrup and cook closed for about 20~25 minutes on slow/medium flame. The rice grain absorbs the sugar and turns yellow.

Remove from heat and serve. Can be served both hot and cold.

Check out other delicacies for Pongal on my blog here

 
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