Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Omelet Roll

We all know the goodness of eggs. They are wholesome food. And there are endless ways to make eggs. Boiled(yuck!), poached, fried, over easy, sunny side up, omelet, frittata so on and so forth. We can also numerously use eggs in our Indian dishes. Mom makes this delicious egg curry and egg masala. She simply fries the onions and other spices till the oil separates, then slides the eggs on top of the masala, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and let them cook till they are done. That's so good with rice or rotis. My mouth is watering just thinking about that dish. And she makes rich, creamy egg curry which as long as I remember used to be our emergency meal. Whenever we would come back from long vacations, this had to be the dinner as we had not done any grocery shopping!

I also use eggs to make egg biryani. With lots of onions and spices and deep fried potatoes, that biryani tastes awesome. Here, I am talking about the breakfast though. I made this over the Family day long weekend(February 21). I was planning to make heavy dinner that day and we were all sleeping in obviously(!) so this was quite a brunch we had. I served it with salsa, fruits, juice and hot caramel coffee. Ooohhhh… yummy!

Omelet Roll
8 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup AP flour
1 red pepper, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 cup Mozza-Cheddar Shredded Cheese
1 cup salsa, warmed (optional)

How to:

Heat oven to 350° F. Line 15x10x1- inch sheet with parchment paper, with ends extending over the pan. Spray with cooking spray. Beat eggs, milk and flour in large bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in next 4 ingredients; pour into prepared pan.

Bake 14 to 16 min. or until edges are almost set. Top with cheese; bake 2 min. or until melted. Roll up omelet immediately, starting at one short end and peeling off paper as omelet is rolled.

Place on platter; cut into slices. Serve with salsa

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Bites

Didn't I tell you I use my alfredo sauce in different recipes?! This is one of them. It is like small, fold over, bite size pizzas you just can't stop popping in your mouth! Feel free to omit bacon from the recipe but with bacon, everything tastes amazing! I used the leftover grilled chicken from the day I made fettuccine alfredo. If you don't have any grilled chicken on hand, you can make your own or use the store bought.

Chicken Alfredo Bites

1 can Pillsbury crescent roll
1 cup cubed grilled chicken
2 chicken bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup alfredo sauce
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Unroll dough. Pinch the perforations to seal and spread the dough to make 13X9" rectangle. Cut it in half. On one portion of the dough, spread the sauce, sprinkle chicken and bacon on top. Place the other half of the dough sheet on top and seal the edges. Make pieces as if you would raviolis. Fix the stuffing if it comes out. Seal all the pieces and separate them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle chopped parsley. At this point, you can freeze them for later use also. Bake in 400° F oven for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Caesar Salad


I love to have salads. Most of the times, I try to use lots of greens and beans in my salads. But when one is having Caesar salad, there is only a few limited things you can throw in. Well I had tried this salad with cherry tomatoes, eggs etc. but then, it doesn't stay Caesar salad! So I try to be as authentic as I can when I have Cease. This one was made as per regular Caesar , only the presentation was changed. I was thinking about using up the last drop of the dressing and the last shred of Parmigianino Reggiano cheese out of this salad. And I needed something to scoop them up. Of course a bread stick would be perfect for that task but how about using the Romaine leaf instead?! I did exactly that. I made so many cups of this salad and got oohs and aahs from my guests with little kids. Kids had fun crunching on the leaves and garlic bread stick. Of course for them, I used the transparent paper cups!

It's a well known fact that I don't like chopped salads! Weired but true. I loved to eat those salads and just last year, don't know what happened, I was totally put off eating salads. I started having soups instead. But I was craving the crunch of the salad so much, had to do something! Once I just washed the bunch of Romaine and started pulling out the leaves and munching on them! Yes, just like a rabbit! And then I realized that I really don't have to make bite-size pieces of salad at all. And as a result, this was born! Now Caeser salad is around for so long, it has become universal. But it was invented in Mexico.

I was having a few guests over and this is what I did to serve them salad. They were all very impressed! Yes, for a good reason. I bet they had never seen the salad presented in this way before! Actually it looked so pretty, nobody wanted to eat at first. Once they started pulling the leaf out, dipping it in the dressing and enjoying, they wanted more! Maybe next time I will throw just the salad party and see how it goes!

Caeser salad
1 bunch of Romaine lettuce, washed, leaves separated
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
For dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon rind
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
How to:
Toss the ingredients for dressing together in the closed jar. Arrange the salad and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wontons-my way!

I absolutely love to work with Wonton wrappers. They are just so much versatile. On top of it, they cook faster, perfect for me. I use the wrappers to make appetizers which are inexpensive and pretty-looking on the platter. I have used them to make filled pasta, but believe you me, it just reminds me that this is filled wonton and not ravioli! Can't get that wheaty taste out of my mouth. So I have stopped using them as raviolis as they are just not raviolis. But other than that, I use them to make appetizers, desserts, dumplings….. This post is all about wontons. I will be making something new out of them for sure. But for now, enjoy Taco appetizers, Raspberry filled wontons, Spanakopitas(!) and paneer cigars! And yes, you can easily transform taco apps to taquitos! Just roll up the wrappers instead of making shells. Equally good and so delicious than the storebought frozen stuff!

Taco Bites
12 Wonton wrappers
1 can shredded chicken
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 tbsp taco spice mix
1/2 chopped onion
1 crushed garlic
Salsa and sour cream for garnish

How to:

Heat the oven to 375° F. place wonton wrappers, separated on large board. Brush them with oil on both the sides. Place them in the mini muffin tray and bake them for about 7 minutes. Don't overbake them or else they will be very chewy.

While wontons are in the oven, heat up the oil in a wok, saute onion and garlic till onion is transluscent. Add chicken, corn, taco spice mix and cook till the chicken is coated with spices and corn is soft. For about 10 minutes. You can use whaterver ingredients you want here. Just let your imagination run wild.

Now fill up the shells with chicken mixture and place them back in the oven till everything is warmed up. Enjoy your taco bites topped with Cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream.

Paneer Cigars
100 gms paneer, crumbled( I made fresh paneer)
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Ginger, garlic and green chiles chopped to taste
Salt to taste
Garam masala to taste
12 Wonton wrappers

How to:
Do I really need to write the recipe?! BTW, oven part is the same as Taco Bites…..

Raspberry Turn Overs
12 Wonton wrappers
3/4 tbsp. raspberry jam
Powder sugar

How to:

Well, we all know now what to do!!!!

Spanakopita(yes, with Wontons!)
10 wonton wrappers
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup feta
Salt, peppers, oregano to taste
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, smashed

How to:
Just go bonkers!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Taste The Rainbow

Happy father's day to all the fathers out there, and lots of love to my dad and hubby on this special day. I can't think where I would be without my dad. The love of reading(no matter what comes our way, my sister and I would read anything, be it the labels on the bottles of dressing etc, the newspaper wraps that are still used in India to wrap up the food, soiled in oil!), the passion for Kishore Kumar's songs(!), the zeal for James Bond movies(still going strong!)---these are all dad's gifts to both of us. He always has encouraged us to move forward in life, always has taught us to go for our goals and always has helped us reach there. Can't thank him enough but still want to say….THANKS DAD FOR EVERYTHING!

Now, what's fitting for dad's day meal than the bbq? Dads in our life are not steak people. They love chicken and so do we, so I decided to grill chicken, peppers and stuffed mushrooms. We enjoyed being with each other again on this day and this great dinner only complemented it. My parents will be leaving for India in Fall and I have no idea when I will see them again so I was ready to go any extra miles that I have to go to make this day one of the most cherished and memorable for my dad.

Stuffed grilled chicken with rainbow peppers
6 small chicken breasts, boneless, skinless,slit open
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chopped parsley, oregano and rosemary
12 Asparagus, trimmed

How to:
Stuff chicken breasts with asparagus. Salt and pepper inside and outside of chicken liberally.
Grill on hot grill until chicken is cooked through. During the last few minutes, sprinkle shredded cheese, herbs and cover the lid of the barbeque so that the cheese would melt.
For the peppers, thread the pepper pieces on the skewers, sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper, grill till crunchy soft.

Stuffed mushrooms
About 24 button mushrooms
Small onion
Garlic as required
Salt and pepper
Bread crumbs
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
How to:
Remove the stems of the mushrooms. Chop them finely with onion and garlic. Sauté in oil till dry. Then salt and pepper the mix, stuff the mushrooms with it.
Sprinkle bread crumbs, cheese and drizzle with oil.
Grill covered till mushrooms are soft and the tops are browned.
Garnish with chives and serve.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bread Fries

I came up with this crazy idea of making bread fries and it was such a hit! Mark couldn't stop eating them, saying this is sooo good! This was truly so good, you can't stop eating and praising with your mouthful. Who cares about the etiquette when you've got something so delicious to snack on? It was simply a different twist on garlic bread and crostini together.

Bread Fries
1 loaf French baguette, sliced crosswise and then thinly sliced
1/4 cup EVOO
About 6 sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

How to:

Heat the oven to 400° F.
Arrange the bread slices on a baking tray, sprinkle with oil, sundried tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.
Bake them till they are golden brown.
Sprinkle parsley over them and serve.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mawa Cake

This recipe and I were meant to be! No kidding! Mawa cake is one of dad's favourites. Since I was a little kid, every time we go to Mumbai, dad would take us to Merwan's(the very popular Irani café at the Grant Road) just for this cute little cupcakes.

Original Merwan's Mawa Cakes!
I instantly fell in love with the taste and the texture. Of course, at that age, I knew nothing about texture, but taste, yes I knew a lot! Thanks to mom's great cooking! Since then, I was trying to recreate those cakes in my kitchen. I always had thought that one day, I will make perfect mawa cakes that dad would say, these are just like Merwan's! and finally, that time is here! After so many trial and error, I got this right and I just amazed myself as to how simple this was! And what's more fitting than this: I made these for my mom and dad's anniversary!
This is a bit on crumbly side but the cake itself is so moist and bursting with flavours. I added some citrus zest and almond essence to liven it up. Pure heaven! Although Merwan's are simple cupcakes, I embellished mine with a little whipped cream on the top!(not in the picture! Also, I made another batch with the same ingredients in a spring form pan, not in the picture)

Mawa Cake

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
1-1/2 cups drained paneer
1 cup milk powder
1 tsp powdered cardamom
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

How to:
Sieve all the dry ingredients together(except sugar) in a large bowl, keep aside
Cream butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.
Add one egg at a time, incorporate all the eggs very well.
Now add the cheese.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until nicely blended, for about 2 minutes.
Line the muffin pans with liners.
Divide the batter equally in the cups and bake at 375° F. for about 35 minutes.
Makes 18 muffins.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chicken Picasso in Rosé Sauce

Chicken Picasso! Now this is something that is got to be a very colorful dish right?! Whatever is attached to the name Picasso should undoubtedly be vibrantly colorful. I am not sure if this dish was made before. It might have. All I know is that I got such brightly colored peppers(hence Picasso!),

sharp cheese and perfect vine-ripened tomatoes that made me think about Italy which lead me thinking about food, it's culture, Michelangelo and Pablo Picasso! See how crazy I am! Any way, so here I am with this colorful, bright, flavorful and easy chicken dish that is an eye candy as well as an Opera in mouth(got to be an Italian term for the music too)!

I made my own roasted tomato sauce. Just chopped tomatoes, garlic and onion, place in the hot oven till every thing is nicely charred. Puree in a blender, salt and pepper and some Italian seasonings and voila! You've got yourself roasted tomato sauce. Add enough heavy cream to make it Rosé ! Pour some in the ice cube tray and freeze for later use(before adding the cream).

Chicken Picasso

4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Slices of 1 each red, green, orange sweet peppers
1 large onion, sliced
Garlic cloves to taste, grated
About 3 cups of Rosé tomato sauce
Provolone cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil as needed

How to:

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil. Sear chicken breasts(salted and peppered on both sides) till lightly colored. Place them on a baking dish.
Sauté onion and garlic in the same oil(add more oil if required) till onions are translucent. Spread evenly over chicken.
Lightly cook pepper rings till bright in color and spread over onion slices.
Gently pour tomato sauce over, sprinkle as much cheese as you like and bake it the 400° F oven for about 20 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.
After 20 minutes, remove the foil, cook for further 10 minutes till cheese is bubbly.
Enjoy with slices of artisan bread.