Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mediterranean Pesto Pasta Salad– Perfect for Summer Picnics

Mediterranean Pesto Pasta Salad– Perfect for Summer Picnics

Summer is officially on kids are off school and life seems to going on a tolerable pace.Summer also at our home means trips to beaches, hikes , camping and picnics and most importantly time to take a chill pill and live life the way it was intended too.
We are looking forward to our summer vacation to one of the most beautiful places in the world. I am getting impatient for my vacation to start.

Today’s recipe was created for a picnic few weeks back, must say everyone enjoyed the pasta salad including kids.

Ingredients ( makes for about 6-8 cups of pasta)
4 cups of cooked pasta( I used whole wheat fusille)
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 carrots blanched and cut into cubes
8-10 asparagus (blanched and cut into spheres)
½ cup olives sliced
½ cup capers
1 cup feta cheese
½ cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup baby spinach leaves cleaned
2tbsp pepper
1 ½ cup of pesto ( I used store brought pesto with walnuts)
½ cup pine nuts
Salt according to taste

1. Mix pesto and pasta and toss till pasta is well coated.
2. Add pepper and salt.
3. Add the rest of vegetables and feta cheese and toss.
4. Can be served at room temperature or chilled.

Here is wishing all of you a fun filled summer. Will be MIA for the next few weeks, I have places to visit, people to meet, food to eat and memories to create.
More when I get back. Ciao ☺


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gongura Pappu - Sorrel Leaves Dal

Gongura Pappu - Sorrel Leaves Dal

Mark Twain once said "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." , How true weather gods have been playing tag with us since the start of the month, one day its bright and warm and the very next day its cold and chilli. Seriously I think this is one of the longest season I have seen of cold spell, but once in a while when the sun shines bright our local farmers market bursts with fresh greens and fruits. Since few weeks sorrel leaves have been a regular.

I love sorrel leaves, I usually make pappu(dal) or pachadi(pickle) with it, Gongura pachadi is a quintessential in any Andhra weddings.

Simple recipe yet very delicious


1 bunch sorrel leaves/gongura
1 big tomato
1 cup toor dal boiled and made into a fine paste
1 tsp haldi
Salt according to taste

For tadkha ( seasoning)

1 tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp jeera
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 Red chilies
8-10 curry leaves
8-10 garlic cloves sliced
1 tbsp ginger
1/2 tbsp on hind
1/2 tsp of hing

1. Take a pan, add 1 tbsp of oil, when oil gets hot add all the thadka ingridents and saute for a minute or two till you get a strong aroma.
2. When mustard seeds start to splutter add finely chopped gongura add 1/2 glass water, let it boil for about 5-6 minutes
3. When leaves turn color and seemed cooked add cooked toor dal paste.
4. Mix well and boil for another 5 minutes, add haldi and salt.
5. juice of 1/2 lemon can be added, however this is optional.

Serve hot with rice and ghee and boy you will feel close to heaven.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Colors of Summer

Ahh I missed my blog for the last few days, but had other priorities to take care off. Anyways so glad it summer Yay !! finally winter seems like a distant memory now :)

I can't seem to catch up with my to-do list, it seems to be growing like crazy. I am looking forward to time off soon.

My garden seems to have come alive with all roses, Peach colored antique roses are my favorite, they smell as good as they look.

Have a great week everyone.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saffron Mango Lassi

I know, I know seems like I have caught the fever, Mango fever that is, but I can't help it's the season. Long days and hot sun makes you want to sip this cold concussion and seriously I love Mango lassi, must mention never heard of Mango lassi until I came to US. Lassi as I know was plain yogurt rich in cream and with cardamom and nuts beaten till it gets frothy and served cold. In US a sure find in any Indian restaurants in Mango lassi, pretty much the same recipe as Indian lassi but kicked up a notch with Mango .
Mango lassi makes a perfect accompaniment to spicy food, it cools your stomach and lets you absorb the spices .

My version today is Mango lassi with Saffron for added flavor. I ABSOUTELY love it. very simple yet very exotic.

Ingredients ( Makes for about 4 cups)
1/2 a can of Mango pulp ( Can be found in any Indian stores, I love Kesar Mango pulp)
2 cups of yogurt ( I use home made, can be substituted with greek yogurt or any other plain store brought)
1/2 cup milk
pinch of saffron strands ( soaked in warm milk for about 1/2 hr)
sugar optional

1. Blend yogurt/milk and mango pulp using a hand blender, till it froths.
2. Now add saffron and blend till it seems well incorporated.
3. Refrigerate and serve chill.

Now if this does not tell of Indian summer nothing else will.

Schools about to end and its going to be summer break for kids, looking forward to summer.
Wishing everyone a fun filled and a safe summer.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rustic Bread Salad - Greek Style

Rustic Bread Salad with Capers, Avocado, Olives, Tomatoes, Red Onions and Feta Cheese

I am sure all the ingredients mentioned above are making you drool, well for me there can't be any other perfect combination for a salad then the above. Had a perfect long weekend with friends and some traveling. Today's salad was an inspiration from one the salad I had during the long weekend which the restaurant served on a perfect bed of greens.

Anyone who is a regular on my blog know how much I love TJ's (Trader Joes), there is always something new and different to try every visit. Last time I went could not resist the fresh baked smell of rustic baguettes , so picked up few.

My personal favorite and very Sanfrancisan Sourdough baguette.

Rustic baguette with butter milk, it was yum, yum, yum ...

For salad dressing
1/2 cup red wine vinegar/substitute white
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup good Olive oil
1 tbsp mustard
pepper according to taste
salt according to taste
1/4 tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove chopped super super fine

For salad
1 big avocado diced into cubes
1 red onion ( I love the sweet kind)
1/2 cup olives chopped
1/2 cherry tomatoes halved
couple of tbsp of capers ( I love,love capers)
1/2 cup feta cheese.

1. Mix all the ingredients for salad dressing and keep aside.
2. Toss salad dressing on the cut salad and toss, add pepper and salt if you choose to.

Serve on a bed of greens or I had with a bowl of quinoa . Makes for one mouth watering salad.

Have a fun filled summer everyone.


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