Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Loaf

Lemon loaf cake itself is very refreshing and good. Add a handful of fresh blueberries to it and it is robust with flavours and much better! I made this on hubby dear's birthday. Made it a couple of days ahead and then poured the freshly made tartalicious glaze on top. All that was leftover were the crumbs.

This is one of THE easiest recipe one could ever find. We all have these ingredients on hand. And the fruit is interchangeable. You don't have blueberries, throw in any berries or any fruit that can withstand the heat of the oven and you will have a fantastic cake to go with your tea, coffee or even better, brunch with friends and family.

Lemon Blueberry Loaf
1-1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter
1-1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/3 cup milk
1-1/2 cup fresh blueberries coated in about 1/4 cup flour
How to:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl.
Cream butter and sugar together with hand mixer.
Add eggs one by one and mix till thoroughly incorporated.
Now add milk, vanilla extract and mix well.
Lastly, add blueberries coated with flour, fold into the batter.
Pour in the loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes or till the tooth pick comes out clean once inserted in cake.
Lemon glaze:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

How to:
Disslove sugar in lemon juice.
Once the cake is cooled, pour glaze on top.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner

Nothing much to say about this post. We just celebrated Thanksgiving. This is the usual feast we have every year on Thanksgiving. Roasted chicken(I roast turkey only when there is more than 5 people for dinner!), stuffing, gravy, roasted root veggies, cranberries(I like to incorporate cranberries differently every year, this year I made jam), corn and other green veggies, potatoes etc. This is the meal we look forward to all year long. We know exactly what we will be eating and still, every year we share the same excitement on the dinner table of tasting the entire fare as if it is completely new to us. This truly is the family dinner with hearts filled with thankfulness to God for providing us all the health, wealth and the nature's bounty.

roasted root vegetables

Corn salsa

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Scalloped Potatoes

My 7 lb Chicken!

Roasted Potatoes

Cranberry Jam
Finally, Dinner-Family Style!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Banana Nut Crunch Muffins

I've got loads of bananas in my freezer. Every Saturday morning, before going grocery shopping, I dump at least a couple of bananas in the freezer. I use them for my smoothies but still it is an overload of frozen bananas. So this time I decided to use up those 2-3 leftover, overripened bananas for these muffins instead of throwing them again in the already full freezer. Everything was a cinch to put together and we've got ourselves a greatly healthy breakfast with loads of nutrients.

Just look at these charts!

Banana Nut Crunch Muffins

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tbsp sugar

How to:

Heat oven to 350 ºF. Grease bottoms only of 1-12 cup muffin pan or line with the paper cups.
Mix sugar,butter and egg in large bowl. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in 1/3 cup nuts. Pour into muffin cups.
Sprinkle with leftover nuts and sugar mixture.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Enjoy warm muffins with a dollop of butter.
Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 2 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.
This is my entry for Priya's Healthy Cooking Challenge! and for Smita's HCC bakes!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chicken Nihari

A very quick post before the start of a very busy Thanksgiving weekend!

Nihari is a very popular meat dish in the Indian subcontinent. It is known for its spiciness and taste. I remember growing up, the Muslim neighbors and friends would make Inhere for their early morning breakfast during Ramadan and after the Qurbani, the leg bones and shanks of either goat or beef being cooked in huge "Degs"(pots) till the meat would fall off the bones. The richness and the color of the sauce is still fresh in my mind. I still remember how big of a production Nihari making used to be! With no ovens, no microwaves, nothing fancy like that available, it used to be left cooking overnight sometimes depending on the size of the bones. The aroma of tempering of lightly fried red chilies in ghee is still treasured in my brain's aromatic compartment. The stew, garnished with fresh cilantro, julienned ginger, lemon slices - would be eaten with freshly made naans or parathas with sliced white radishes and red onions. Just a mere thought of this has transported me back to the streets of old city of Ahmadabad!
Traditional Nihari recipes that call for almost 8 hours of cooking time, in addition to the preps of the ingredients is highly uncalled for these days. With the availability of all the electric gadgets in the kitchen and more tender cuts of meats instead of tough bones, it is no longer a production. It is now something we can make as a busy week night dinner. It is that simplified. And you can use any meat or vegetable you would like, no need to use beef or goat bones if you don't eat them or can't get them. I prefer to make it with chicken so this is my version of traditional Nihari.

Chicken Nihari
1 lb boneless chicken, cubed
1 cup tomato puree
1 tbsp tomato paste
Salt to taste
2-3 cups chicken broth

For stew:
2 medium onions
1/2 cup oil
Salt to taste
Ginger and garlic paste to taste
Cinnamon, cloves, pepper corns, bay leafs, big cardamom---everything whole
2-3 pods of green cardamom, seeds crushed
Red chili powder
Turmeric powder
Cumin powder--- all to taste

How to:
Crush the onions with whole spices with little bit of water.
Cook the paste in oil till it's golden brown.
Add rest of the spices, tomato puree and paste, ginger garlic paste and cook till the oil leaves the sides of the pot.
Now add chicken pieces and cook on medium heat till chicken is no longer pink or until 4-5 minutes.
Add broth to the stew till preferred consistency, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro, julienned ginger, almond slivers(all optional) and serve.

It is best eaten with rotis or naans but for a change, I made this quick veggie rice to incorporate some greens in the dish. So perfect for the cold Autumn weather!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Margheria Pizza We Had at the Naples Restaurant
Everyone seems to have their own idea of the perfect pizza. It could be a thin-crust, a dangerously deep Chicago-style, or a hammy Hawaiian. Neapolitan pizza is pretty different from anything you might find elsewhere in Italy, or anything called "pizza" cooked up around the world these days. The dough for the genuine Neapolitan pizza has to use the right kind of durum wheat flour and be left to rise for at least six hours. The toppings should use only buffalo-milk mozzarella or fior di latte cheese and local sammarzano tomatoes. The Neapolitan pizza must be made in a traditional wood-burning oven, and so on. In Naples, perfecting pizza is a local passion. There are hundreds of restaurants in Naples that specialize in pizza. By the way, I got all these information from the waiter at the restaurant in Naples where we were waiting for our pizza. We made a point to have a real Margherita pizza in Naples. It was so simple and so fresh. A big nail in my plan to make my Margherita pizza was that I couldn't find San Marzano tomatoes anywhere here! I had gathered basil from my garden, fresh buffalo mozzarella with no tomatoes. So had to change the plans slightly. Instead of making Margherita pizza, I ended up making bbq chicken pizza! Far different than what I actually wanted to make. Still, everything worked out and the fresh, home made pizza was a delicious delight.

BBQ chicken pizza
For dough: there is a recipe somewhere on my blog for basic pizza dough!

2 small breasts of chicken, roast and cut into thin slices
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
Shredded mozzarella as required

How to:
Simple. Pre heat the oven to 450° F. roll out the dough into thin disc.
Spread both sauces, cheese and chicken.
Bake in the hot oven till the crust is nice and golden brown.