Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Avocado Taco's

Avocado Taco's 

When I first moved to US almost couple of decades ago, it truly was a cultural shock. Unlike today where every component of living can be mapped with the help of technology and social media, it was learning and adjusting every day. 
For the first couple of months every day was a something first, my first ride in train, my first library card, my first attempt at driving test( no guesses for how many times I had to take a test to get my license). Thinking back and reminiscing  “Everything First” days makes me so nostalgic, those days were filled with either/or excitement, triumph’s, experiments and learning. Cannot imagine how we survived without Google, Cellphones or Facebook and those expensive calls to India which were always rationed. 
Come one more year I would have spent my life exactly half in India and half in US. Time did fly by very quick and I have enjoyed every step of the journey so far and can’t wait to see what is in store ahead. A part of becoming Americanized and adjusting was adapting to various cuisines.  California and Bay Area in specific is a melting pot, Californian’s enjoy high quality and fresh food. The abundance of fresh produce and the ease of access make us very pampered and not to mention the Sunshine. 

Today’s recipe was inspired by the fresh Haas Avocado’s at the local store. Creamy, delicious and oh so nutritious. Spread the creamy Avocado on a whole wheat toast and sprinkle with fresh pepper and salt, boy my kind of snack any time.

Very easy to prepare and makes for an healthy snack or an appetizer. Recipe was inspired by here 

Ingredients Makes for about 10 mini sized Taco's
Whole wheat Tortilla's  or I used whole wheat Lavash bread
1 large ripe Haas Avocado
cup of Humus, I used spinach & feta humus ( you can substitute your favorite flavor) 
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
sriracha sauce
flavored oil such as garlic oil
sea salt 
fresh pepper
cilantro for garnish
1. Warm Tortilla/ Flat bread slightly over the  pan on both sides
2. Cut Tortilla/ Flat into disks using a cookie cutter/pizza cutter
3. Slather Humus and lay a slice of Avocado on the top
4. Drizzle with garlic oil, generous Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper
5. Garnish with shredded cheese

7. Fold the disk to make a taco,sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
8. Fresh made Salsa makes for a perfect accompaniment
9. Perfect bite size makes it easy to eat and serve. Can't stop at one guaranteed 

This can make a perfect make your own Taco appetizer for your next party, serve multiple flavors of Humus, breads and various toppings, sauces and fresh slices of Avocado's for your guest to make their own creations.

So much healthier and better than your fried and run-of-the-mill appetizers.

Try it my dear readers and let me know what you think....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flaky, Utterly Buttery, Delicious And Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Flaky, Utterly Buttery, Delicious And Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls 

We like many other families in the valley are always on the go. There is always a deadline looming, always some  project due, some exam to prepare and always, always a never ending task list. If you have lived in the bay area and are raising kids I see you nodding in harmony. As crazy and quick the weekdays passes by our family over the years have developed a Sunday morning ritual.
Usually or most Sunday mornings, all four of us head to our local bakery for breakfast. Its the usual for me and my husband, coffee and bagel and kids change it up every time. Over the last few visits both my boys started loving the huge cinnamon rolls slathered with frosting, gooey and delicious.
And when I saw a recipe for Quick & Dirty Cinnamon roles at Joy the baker, I knew I had to give it a try.

This is my adaptation of the original recipe. You can find step by step instructions of the original recipe here 

For Dough
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk

For Filling

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup store brought cinnamon sugar )if you would like to make it home mix 1/2 cup sugar with 3/4 tbsp ground cinnamon)
3/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

For Glaze
1/2 cup of condensed milk thinned with a 1 tbsp of sugar ( As I said its the easy version)

1.In a small saucepan combine milk, butter, and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted completely. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool from hot to just warm.
2.Place sweet milk and butter mixture in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over the liquid. Stir to incorporate. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes to allow to yeast to activate, foam, and froth.

3. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and the egg yolk to the milk and yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon or hand beaters with the dough hook attachment and stir or beat until incorporated. Add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time if the dough feels to wet. Bring the dough together into a ball and knead a few turns with your hands.

4.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
7.Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a roughly 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
Spread with about 4 tablespoons of butter.
8.In a small bowl stir together cinnamon sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
9.Generously sprinkle over the melted butter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Roll starting at the longer edge into a tight coil.Slice into 6 pieces.
10.Use remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch baking pan. Place rolls in the pan leaving about 1/2 inch of room between them. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

11.While the rolls rise, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove plastic wrap and bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown, puffed, and bubbling
12. Remove from oven and douse with condensed milk mixture and melted butter.
Serve them hot or at room temperature
Cinnamon rolls come out flaky, buttery and delicious. Serve with warm milk or hot coffee.

Pamper your loved ones with breakfast in the bed this Valentines Day with these rolls some hot coffee and lots of LOVE !!

Happy Valentines Day !!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oats Dosa - Oats Adai - Oats & Lentils Crepe - Protein Rich & Guilt Free

Oats Dosa - Oats Adai - Protein Rich & Guilt Free

Happy New Year dear readers, I know I am tad late but its the thought that counts, right !!.  Had a blessed vacation end of last year and I am all geared up for the year this is going to be. Last year was a year of change on multiple levels, loved every bit of it the challenges and the rewards. Like every year my resolutions stay the same, eat healthy, exercise often, stay positive and let go of negative energy and people that come with it and yes loose those last ten pounds haha. But on a serious note this year unlike others I want to be more disconnected from devices, practice mindful meditation and read more. This year will be a special milestone year and I can sense it.

Today's recipe comes from co-sister(it helps having a co-sister who is a good cook and who lives stone throw away). Dosa's are an Indian favorite  especially South Indian, Go to any south Indian  home the chances are you would find dosa batter and in only about few minutes its whipped into a delicious savory crape with variety of fillings and served with delicious condiments and chutneys.

Adai is a variation of Dosa made usually with rice and variety of lentils, rich in protein and extremely filling. Today's recipe calls for Oats instead of rice to make a healthier version and practically/almost carb free ( Oats & Lentils do have carbs). Easy to prepare and no fermenting time makes it good choice for either  breakfast or dinner.

Ingredients - Makes for about 2 pints of Adai batter (serves 15 ~20 Dosa's)

1 Cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup Channa dal, Urad dal, Moong dal, Red Masoor dal(optional) , Toor dal each
3~4 stems of fresh curry leaves
4~5 red chillies (adjust according to your taste)
ginger about a size of a quarter
2 tbsp of Jeera/Cumin seeds
Salt according to taste
pinch of Asafoetida/Hing
1 cup fresh coriander leaves (optional)

For garnish
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2~3 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
2~3 tbsp finely chopped ginger

1. Soak oats, dals,curry leaves, ginger and red chilies in a bowl for a minimum of 4 hours
2. Grind into a fine paste, add  fresh coriander, salt ,hing and water as needed
3. Batter should be of consistency where it spreads well on the tava and not runny.

4. Heat tava/griddle and pour a ladle of batter and spread into a circle using the ladle.
5. Add little bit of oil to the edges to make it crispy

6. Add chopped onion, green chilies and ginger. Optionally you can grated carrot, coriander and nuts like cashew.
7. Let is roast for a minute or two and the turn over for a quick 30 secs and roll into a perfect crispy Dosa.

8. Kids version can me made by adding some grated cheese and variety of nuts like almonds, cashew and even Walnuts.

Relish with your choice of chutney such a Peanut Chutney and/or Sambar. Batter stays fresh for about 3~4 days when refrigerated. Hope you would love this version, please do leave feedback should it try it.

Here is wishing everyone an healthy and a happy new year once again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Easiest pickled Radishes ever, makes for delicious and tangy side

It is Thanksgiving already, truly grateful for my family and friends, and many countless blessings showered.
 Radishes are in season during the cold weather. Growing up my grandmom would make pickled Radishes all through the winter season. It was relished along with hot rice or soft roties. She made them everyday when in season. Making them brought back so many memories of her and my childhood, the power of food.
Today's version of mine is slightly enhanced from what I was used to growing up.

2~3 cups of cubed Radish
2~3 Thai chilies sliced thinly
1 tsp grated ginger (optionally)
2 tbsp of fresh mint chopped finely
2 tbsp of corriander chopped finely
2 tspn of lemon jest
2 tbsp of freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
salt according to taste


1. Mix lemon juice and all the ingredients except for radish and mix well.
2. Add cubed radishes and toss well.
3. Store in a air tight container, works best when marinated for atleast 2 days 
4. With weather being so cold, I left radishes to be marinated at room temperature.
5. If you live in warm weather marinate in an air tight container in a refrigerator
6. You might have to adjust for salt once radishes are marinated

Serve as side with Roti's or hot rice with ghee. Spicy, tangy, flavorful and of course delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving All !!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Spicy Mexican Dirty Rice - Loaded With Vegetables

Spicy Mexican Dirty Rice -  Loaded With Vegetables
Eating healthy is life style and a choice. In fact eating healthy is hard and take quite an effort. From shopping for fresh vegetables to cooking fresh food is work. As tedious as it seems once you are committed to eating healthy there is no going back. It's worth the effort as they say..

Last few weeks have been crazy and the next few weeks will not differ much. Tried this recipe few weeks and everyone at home loved it and this has become quite a staple at home. This recipe can customized to your taste, add as many vegetables you like to your hearts content. Recently started cooking brown rice at home more frequently and brown rice is perfect for it makes for excellent texture and taste.


1 carrot sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper
2-3 Picante peppers
1 Onion sliced thin
2 garlic cloves finely minced
1 cup of green onion chopped
1/2 cup of cooked beans ( I used pinto beans from the can)
1/2 cup walnuts (optional, substitute with nuts of your choice almonds, peanuts pecans) finely chopped
tbsp of Olive oil
1 cup brown rice
salt according to taste
pepper according to taste
2 tbsp Mexican seasoning (I use Taco seasoning McCormick, recipe for the same can be found here)
1. Cut all vegetables same size into thin strips

3. Add 1/2 tbsp of oil and bring to heat, add crushed garlic and toss till garlic is cooked. Now add rice and mix well. Add water according to instructions and allow to cook.

3. Stir fry all the vegetables and keep aside

4. Head a pan, add all the stir fried vegetables and saute for a min

5. Add cooked rice, green onions, taco seasoning, nuts and cilantro. Toss till rice and vegetables are well coated, check and adjust for salt.

Remove from heat and serve hot, you can add as many vegetables such a Broccoli, Spinach, sprouts and nuts like almonds, walnuts and pinenuts to your heart content. You can also substitute rice with oaks soaked in water for about half hour.

Makes for healthy, guilt free, delicous  and a complete meal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Bye Summer- Ode To The Fruit Of Summer - Tomatoes- Easy and Delicious Sandwiches

Good Bye Summer- Ode To The King Of Summer - Tomatoes- Easy and Delicious Sandwiches
Heirloom Tomatoes from the neighborhood farmers market

The crisp air and cool winds in the evening, the change of colors on the trees, short days and longer nights sure are an indication on an end of summer and natures way of slowing down and prepping for winter. If I have to pick a favorite season I probably would choose fall, everything seems so balanced, so colorful and not to mention the weather.

This year has been quite hectic, if I have  to give a theme for the year gone by I would call it "CHANGE". Experienced changed in multiple facets, I am not complaining, I love change especially the good ones but the emotions that I go through, the highs, the lows and all that in-between is what makes life interesting and a reason to wake up in the morning. I see no slowing down as the year winds down but I sure want to savor the last of summer and the bounty it has to offer and soak in the beautiful autumn sunsets and gorgeous change of landscape.

We are blessed here in the sun soaked Silicon Valley, a walk to the farmers markets inspires so much creativity and a change to create something different. This week the regular store where I buy produce from indicated that heirloom tomatoes he had for sale were the last of the season, sad need to wait couple of quarters before I get my hands on them again. I love heirloom variety, once you get used to them there is no going back. The character, flavors and the colors are so unique and addictive.

Picked up California Whole wheat Black bread from  Beckmanns Bakery at the farmers market.

California style open sandwich

Ingredients ~ makes for 1

1 slice of Black bread toasted ( use textured bread instead of regular bread made from enriched flour)
1 tbsp of goat cheese, I use TJ's herd and cheese
1/4 cup of sprouts ( I use green gram, any sprouts would work)
1/4 cup cucumber finely diced
1/4 cup tomatoes diced into cubes

1. Spread the goat cheese on the toast
2. Layer the sandwich first with sprouts, then cucumber and later tomatoes
3. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly grated pepper and garnish with mint leaves.

Spicy Sandwich with Picante Peppers and Sriracha sauce

Ingredients ~ Serves 1

1 California black bread toasted
3 Picante pepper - roasted
2 tbsp choice of shredded cheese
1 tbsp organic mayonnaise
fresh tomatoes sliced about three of them
cucumber sliced thinly about 3~4
salt, pepper and about a tbsp of sriracha sauce

1. Roast picante pepper ( these pepper are absolutely delicious, sweet and not spicy at all, yet have a strong Jalepeno flavor and aroma). I place them directly on the stove top and let it roast for about 2 minutes on each side. You can shallow fry or broil in the oven
2. Spread Mayo on the sandwich
3. Layer tomatoes and cucumber
4. sprinkle grated cheese of your choice
5. Add sea salt, pepper and a generous dose of Sriracha sauce

Bite into this delicious sandwich and you can't stop at one, guaranteed.

Sourdough Bruschetta with caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar
Sourdough Bread From Beckmanns Bakery

Ingredients makes for 1

1 slice of Sourdough toasted
1/2 Onion sliced thinly
1/2 cup tomatoes diced
2 tbsp of Goat cheese
tbsp of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper according to taste
1. Butter the toasted sourdough
2. Heat a pan, allow to get medium hot
3. Add tbsp of oil, salt and 1/4 tspn of sugar
4. Add sliced onions and allow then to saute without mixing/tossing  them for 2 ~ 3minutes, this allows for a beautiful caramelization. Now after 3 minutes turn around and toss till onions are coated on all sides.
5. Spread the sourdough bread with goat cheese
6. Layer with tomatoes
7. Now add caramelized onions
8. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper
9. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the open sandwich and relish

All the three sandwiched make for an appetizer, keep toasted bread, the topping and allow your guests to create their own sandwiches.

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.
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

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.

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