Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sautéed French Beans

Busy busy busy week...that's why I chose this dish to post. I'd been away for training for a whole week almost and now, we are moving at work so have to start packing!

I saw this beautiful french beans in the supermarket. They were very pretty in the pack. I grabbed one with the thought of making green beans and potatoes dry curry. Came home and tasted the raw bean, it was sugary sweet! So the curry idea got cancelled. I instead sauteed them in a bit of garlic, served with shredded ricotta salada and walnuts as a side dish. They were really beautiful to look at. Almost same size and shape. I had a blast snacking on these beans with a bit of ranch dressing as a dip. This is one of those easiest and quickest side that you can ever put together. Perfect for a large crowd also.

Sautéed French Beans


½ lb partially cooked green beans (I parboil the beans in microwave)
2 tbsp EVOO
2-3 tbsp grated garlic
Shredded ricotta salada as required(or any other cheese)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped walnuts

How to:

Heat the oil in a skillet and add garlic.
Once the garlic is fragrant, add beans, salt and pepper.
Toss so that the beans are glistened with oil.
Place the beans in the serving platter.
Add cheese, walnuts, or any other garnish you feel like having.
Sliced red onions are very good with these beans too, gives that yummy, peppery crunch.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mediterranean Light Chicken with Tomato Mango Salsa

I call this chicken Mediterranean because it is merinated in lots of fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary with lots of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and it is topped with feta cheese. I call this chicken light because other than marination, no oil has been used anywhere, it is grilled and it is a perfect accompaniment for any salad.

Again, no recipe required. Just a method. Marinate boneless chicken in EVOO, lemon juice, salt, pepper, fresh herbs all chopped – for about 2 hours. Again, overnight is the best as it developes great flavour in chicken. When ready to use, grill it. When ready to serve, top it with crumbled feta and place the chicken under broiler so that the cheese gets a little brown hue.

This is my 30 minutes recipe, perfect for weeknight supper as well as an elegant weekend dinner.

And now onto Salsa. This was the quickest and tastiest salsa I ever made. Chopped tomatoes and mangoes, a pinch of oregano, lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper and green onions with some chopped cilantro. done. here it is...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This pizza satisfies both cravings—salty and spicy. We love buffalo chicken wings and bites. And I believe I saw a flyer of a local pizzeria selling Buffalo chicken pizza. I thought that’s a great idea. A full meal in its own. I added the usual carrots and celery that accompany the Buffalo chicken wings to the pizza sauce. I steered clear from the ‘stinky’ blue cheese though. I don’t mind that cheese but my two babies don’t like it at all! And both of them have very strong smell and taste senses! I was tempted to add a tablespoon or so with shredded mozzarella but at the end, I overcame that temptation. Didn’t want to ruin the dinner. Anyways, the pizza came out perfect, ooey gooey cheesy salty and spicy! Make it tonight and see how family reacts to this yummy pizza.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza


For Basic Pizza Dough
1 pkg. dry yeast
3/4 c. warm water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. oil
1 tsp. sugar
3 c. flour

How to:

Mix ingredients together, adding flour last. Cover and let rise 1 hr.

For sauce and toppings:

1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dry oregano
1 large chicken breast, skinless, boneless, roasted with salt and pepper,thinly sliced
Green pepper, sliced, optional
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup provolone cheese, shredded
½ cup Frank’s Buffalo wing sauce

How to:

Heat up oil in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
Cook onion and garlic till translucent.
Add carrots and celery and cook till they are soft.
Now add dry oregano and simmer the sauce on low heat for about 20 minutes.
Pre heat the oven to 450° F.
Roll the pizza dough to fit in 12 inch pizza dish.
Smear the dough with prepared tomato sauce.(I don’t use the salt in tomato sauce as cheeses are salty)
Now sprinkle cheeses.
Time for shredded or sliced chicken to go on top of cheese and then green pepper if using.
Bake in hot oven till cheeses melt and crust is baked to nice golden brown color.
Before serving, drizzle the hot wing sauce all over the pizza.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chicken Chili Masala


One side note: I hate when I am posting comments and I get to enter all those silly codes just to prove I AM NOT A ROBOT!

This is another one of our favourite when we go to the neighborhood Pakistani restaurant. The thickly rich and aromatic sauce, succulent pieces of chicken and fresh herb garnish ---simply mouth watering and lip smacking. I wanted to recreate this dish at home and after a few trial and error, I believe I got it just right The restaurant we go to, they serve it with red sauce with chicken tikkas precooked in tandoor, with some sautéed peppers and onions added to the sauce. They call it chicken chili masala Pakistani style! Whatever style it is, the focal point is: the dish is outrageously good. It is a perfect dish for chilly winter weather, with hot n steamy rice or flaky parathas or buttery naans, whichever your preference is.

  It is not regular Hakka style chili chicken. They use regular South Asian spices, tomatoes and lots of fresh ginger, garlic and red chiles. No soy sauce, no corn starch, no gimmick. Pure, simple, true to its roots- pleasure.

Chicken Chili Masala

For chicken:

1-1/2 lb. boneless chicken breast, cubed(Vegetarians can use paneer, tofu I am not sure!)
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of red color
1 tbsp each ginger & garlic paste
Juice of 1 big lemon(about 2 tbsp)

How to :

Marinade chicken pieces with the spices and color and lemon juice for about an hour. Overnight is the best.
Roast the chicken in 400° F. oven for about 15 minutes.
Keep aside.

For sauce:


1 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water(or as required to adjust the consistency of sauce)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp each of ginger & garlic paste
1-2 green chilies, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
8-9 pepper corns
1 big cardamom
A pinch of cardamom powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced,optional

How to:

While the chicken is being roasted in the oven, prepare sauce by heating up the oil in a sauce pot.
Add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, pepper corns,big cardamom and cumin seeds.
Once the seeds start crackling, fish out the whole spices, add cumin powder, ginger garlic paste, green chilies, turmeric powder, tomato sauce and tomato paste, cook on medium heat till the oil separates.
Add onion and pepper,cook till onion is tender and pepper is crunchy.
Add roasted chicken, cardamom powder and water and stir to coat the chicken pieces with spice mixture.
Simmer on a very low heat for about 15 minutes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baked Pancake

This is either called a German Pancake or a Dutch baby pancake, sometimes called a Dutch puff. It resembles very much with a sweet popover that is served for breakfast. This is traditionally served with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and sometimes, with fresh berries.  I so wanted to make this cutey ever since I laid my eyes on the recipe. And a couple of long weekend ago, I finally got a chance to make it. That was a visual treat to see this baby being baked in my huge convection toaster oven! The way it puffed up slightly and turned golden brown, I knew we were in for a treat! I served this with powdered sugar and maple syrup. Next time I guess I will load it up with berries and some kind of fruit compote. And the best thing to make this is as soon as you pour the batter in the pie plate, place it in the oven, you are done. No need to slave over the hot stove to pour and flip the pancakes AND most important to me is---not to smear butter or oil on that hot griddle!

Baked Pancake
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 teaspoons for the pie plate
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
Maple syrup and confectioners' sugar, for garnish

How to:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Rub 1 teaspoon of butter in a pie plate and set aside.
Place the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until mixed.
Add the milk and combine.
Slowly add the flour, vanilla, orange zest, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and the salt and mix just until smooth. Whisk by hand if the mixture is lumpy.
Place the pie plate in the oven for 3 minutes, until the butter is hot and bubbly.
Immediately pour the batter and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.
Drizzle with maple syrup, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve hot.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

South Western Potato Skins

Boston Pizza is one of our favourite restaurants here in Ontario, Canada. 3 of us always share a couple of appetizers and this is the ONE – always we have South Western Potato Skins with whatever other appetizer we are in mood for. It has never happened that we have ever said no to this appetizer. We all love potatoes, and if they come loaded with chicken, bacon and sour cream, no way we would pass! So one fine Saturday morning, when I was preparing my weekly menu and grocery list, I thought, why don’t I try to make these potato skins at home and see how it turns out. I know the main ingredients that go in the recipe. So I jotted down a few ingredients, made up my own sauces and come evening, prepared this same dish for our appetizer. And voila… it was a huge hit..If I ever ask both what they would feel like having for snack, the request is always for this dish.

BP skins
Here’s how I made it.

South Western Potato Skins

3 baking potatoes, cut into wedges(I made 6 wedges out of 1, so total of 18 wedges)
Salt and pepper as needed
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, optional
1 cup cheddar cheese
¼ cup oil
¼ cup bbq sauce(your choice, add a few drops of hot sauce if you like)
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp garlic powder(or more, depend on your taste)
1-2 tbsp water
2-3 strips of turkey bacon, optional
Chopped parsley for garnish

How to:

Salt and pepper the chicken breast and roast it in 400° F oven for about 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked.
Cube the chicken, set aside.
Take the potato wedges.
Slice off half the potato flesh, reserve for future use or just make mashed potato!
Arrange the wedges in a microwave safe plate, cook for about 5 minutes till they are almost cooked.
Toss the potato wedges carefully in oil, salt and pepper and Italian seasoning.
Arrange them on an oven proof platter.
Place chicken cubes on each wedge.
Drizzle bbq sauce and cheese.
Place in the hot oven till the cheese melts and the potato skins are brown.
In the mean time, prepare garlic sauce by mixing sour cream, mayo, water and garlic powder.
Once the platter is out of the oven, sprinkle with bacon pieces, garlic sauce.
Garnish with parsley and enjoy.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Portobello Pizza

I know a lot has happened in the blogging world since July 13(my last post). I got very busy at work, and then with planning our summer vacation. I am actually neck deep busy at work with lots of new things happening. Lots of training to go through.  And home front, same..with my  baby in Grade 12, I am mostly browsing university sites, checking for courses and deadlines for applications...See what we go through for our kids?!  But I will try my best to keep up with all of you and my blog, I promise.

I LOVE PORTOBELLOs! You all know me. These mushrooms bring such great joy to my kitchen while I am cooking them! They are perfect meatless “ meaty” wonders, perfectly capable to satiate the hungry tummys without the heaviness of meat. I absolutely go crazy when I see these big, beautiful, perfect mushrooms. My brain kind of rushes to use them in different recipes, to utilize them in a way to let these beauties shine on their own. And this pizza is just a dish. I was in a ‘no carb’ mood and at the same time, craving for something hearty and vegetarian. And these mushrooms came to the rescue. The dish is just so simple, so effortless, anyone can make it with a few basic ingredients on hands or you can turn it into a gourmet dish using exotic ingredients like they use at the Spago!

Seriously, what recipe? It’s just a method. Methods work great with me as I love to be a rebel in the kitchen. That’s why I don’t bake much. Baking doesn’t allow me to be myself. Cooking does. So, friends, just grill some Portobellos, smother them with love and pizza sauce, toppings like peppers, onions and cheese, and enjoy the hearty, meaty Portobello pizzas!