Friday, July 13, 2012

Shrikhand n Gujarati Thali! & See You In September!

With this, I am taking some time off for summer. See you friends in September! I will be around. No trip plans yet. So I sure will be dropping by your lovely blogs to look at those amazing pictures, to check out those lovely recipes…but I myself won’t be posting on my blog! Blah! Need to get away from the monitor and keyboard and laptop for at least in the will be ongoing..but I need to take some time for myself to enjoy beautiful and colorful summer and yes, to try out new dishes, to take lots of pictures to put them up on my blog later on…

Today, I present to you Gujarati you might know, thali is a typical Gujarati meal, we have a stainless steel thali, with lots of small stainless steel bowls, full of different vegetables, curries, daals, rice, sweets accompanied by pickles, papadums and salads. Since I already have these thalis with compartments, I don’t bother to use small bowls. And seriously, we can’t even eat that much food in the one go. So why bother?

I made Gujarati Kadhi, rice with peas and cashews, puris, chhundo(sweetened shredded mango jam), dry potato curry, patra(steamed rolls of Colocasia leaves, sliced and sauteed with mustard seeds, curry leaves, sesame seeds and freshly grated coconut), sweet and tangy rasawala vaal(Hyacinth beans in sauce!typical accompaniment with shrikhand) and of course, Shrikhand!

But, I will only talk about shrikhand, one of the favourite desserts of my dad’s and my hubby! And of course, my mother in law's! It is very easy to make and equally complex in calories! Yes, it IS FATTENING! It is nutritious with all the yogurt and nuts that go in it but at the same time, all the dreaded sugar makes it very very unhealthy and I personally try to steer clear from it. So this time around, I tried making it with Splenda. The result was awesome and I really felt good about it. The soft yellow hues from saffron was so inviting. The equally soft, velvety feeling in the mouth was absolutely divine. So here’s how I made it.



1 lb Greek yogurt
12 packets Splenda
1 tsp cardamom powder
Almond, pistachio nuts, chopped(optional)
½ tsp saffron strands, dry roasted and crushed

How to:

Easy, mix everything together, chill and serve!(I always make it a day ahead)
If you don’t have an access to Greek yogurt, then drain the regular yogurt overnight in the fridge over a bowl, using coffee filter or cheese cloth. And then mix everything.
If you want to use sugar, I suggest use the powdered sugar as it melts with yogurt quickly and keeps the shrikhand thick. You can add strawberry, grapes and/or mango pieces or puree as well. But pureed fruits thin out the shrikhand.

Have a safe and happy Summer!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Portobello Parmigiana

By now you all must have found out that I am a big fan of portobello mushrooms. I love mushrooms, period. I still have to try those gourmet mushrooms like Enoki and Oyster. But I try to incorporate portobello and regular mushrooms in my regular cooking as much as I can. I bought these beauties over the weekend and first thought of just bbq them to make sandwiches. Then the light bulb went off! Why not turn them into Parmigiana? I make chicken and eggplant Parm a lot. And these babies were about the same size, same texture and meaty. So I ended up with this dish and yes, as usual got the raves from family. Doesn’t that matter at the end? When your family loves your cooking and can’t stop talking about it and ask for more? Feels sooooo satisfying!

Portobello Parmigiana


6 large Portobellos
Oil, salt and pepper to taste
2 cups Marinara sauce
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to:

Grill or bake the mushrooms, drizzled with oil, salt and pepper in the oven till soft.
place them on the baking tray, spread with 1 cup of sauce.
Spoon more sauce and sprinkle cheeses on mushrooms and bake in the 425° F hot oven for about 10 minutes or till the cheeses melt and a nice golden crust forms on the top.
Serve with more sauce and crusty bread on the side.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thick Shake

When I was expecting about 17(doesn’t seem that distant past, seems like just yesterday! Time does fly by for sure!) years ago, I was feeling sick in my stomach, throwing up a lot and didn’t feel like eating or drinking regular food. I survived a first few weeks on McD’s pizza(yes, they HAD personal pan pizza back then) and thick shakes. My favourite was of course, strawberry thick shake. And it was really THICK! I remember I had to apply force from my guts to suck that thick shake out of the cup and into the straw. It was simply delish. I had lots of different milk shakes in India like banana, Chikoo, mango etc. But they were all kind of runny shakes. Not thick at all. I have developed a particular fondness towards the thick shakes and have turned them into my regular morning breakfast smoothies. This one was a new shake or smoothie I made just for fun and I really enjoyed it a lot.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thick Shake

1-1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup cold milk
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons creamy Peanut Butter
Whipped topping(optional)
Chopped walnuts(optional)

How To:
Place ice cream, milk, syrup and topping in blender container.
Cover; blend until smooth.
Garnish with whipped topping and cherry, if desired.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day N Fire N Ice Gazpacho

To all my Canadian friends, Happy Canada Day!

 and to all American friends, Happy Independence Day in advance!

For those long, arid summer days, what is better to cool us down than chilled gazpacho? A hearty and pungent soup that has gained fame throughout the world for its amazing thirst-quenching quality. Gazpacho soup was invented for the summer. Refreshingly cold on hot summer days, this adaptation of the classic Spanish cold tomato soup deliciously combines the best of summer vegetables. Make sure you only use the freshest, highest quality ingredients for this soup.

Today, the Spanish-style soup most nearly resembles a sort of chunky liquid salad, with lots of fresh, uncooked vegetables suspended in a broth of puréed tomatoes with chicken stock or tomato juice. In the summer when all of the vegetables are at their finest, this simple, modern soup is full of refreshing good flavor. This soup remains true to its culinary roots that it is one of the finest uses for too many ripe vegetables that might otherwise go to waste. And the original ingredients, especially vinegar, olive oil and garlic, remain essential to a successful gazpacho.

Fiery looking in a bowl but cool on a spoon, this refreshing half salad/half soup that's make-ahead, low in fat and high in garden-fresh flavour has all the potential to be anyone's favorite. As a bowl of this chunky soup makes an easy beginning to summer meal or satisfying weeknight supper.

Fire N Ice Gazpacho

2 tomatoes, peeled
1/2 sweet red pepper, halved and seeded
1/2 green pepper, halved and seeded
1/4 jalopeno pepper, halved(Don't seed the jalapeño if you like a soup with more zip.)
1/2 English cucumber, peeled
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
3-1/2 cup vegetable cocktail, (approx. I used V8)
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce( I used Sriracha)
1 pinch salt
pinch pepper
Green onions for garnish(optional)

How to:

Halve tomatoes; scoop out seeds, coarsely chop tomatoes, red pepper, green pepper and cucumber.
In food processor, or in blender in batches, puree chopped tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalepeno, cucumber, garlic, vinegar and oil until small chunks formed.
Mix vegetable cocktail and hot sauce. Refrigerate until chilled, at least two or up to 12 hours.
Thin it out with more vegetable cocktail if desired.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Now, add your chopped veggies and stir them all together in soup and enjoy!!