Left over Thursday – July 21st 2011

Pizza Partaaayyyyy!!

I like saying Partaaayyyyyy !!! so here you go, It’s pizza night, “Freaky Curry Left over Thursday” way..

I think you can have so much FUN with pizzas !! Have everyone “top” their own pizza bases.. in our case, naan breads. I bough these naan bread from TJs.. I actually did not enjoy them at all.. so this is a great way for me to use them as something else..

For my pizza, I am using carmelized red onions, left over marinara sauce and a few fresh ingredients to put it all together.

To Serve 2,

2 Naan breads
1 cup marinara sauce (or fresh tomatoes- chopped)
1/2 red onion, sliced and carmelized on low heat (till the red becomes light brown)
fresh basil
1 wedge creamy swiss/ cream cheese (optional)
some cheese cubes (I didn’t have shredded, so am using Luca’s cheese snack cubes)

Mix the below
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp fresh ground mustard
2 Tbsp OO

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split the naan into two to reduce the thickness of the bread if you would like.

Brush the naan with the OO mixture. Spread about 2-3 Tbsp of the marinara sauce and then the creamy swiss/cream cheese. Add the onions and the fresh basil. Top with the cheese cubes/ shredded cheese.

The key to this pizza is “go low”.. there are a lot of flavors going on so keep everything in moderation. Bake for about 10 min..

Enjoy !!

"What’s in your pantry ?" Mondays July 18th 2011

I have this..

This is called “Vermicelli” or “Sev”.

and I am going to make this

Khat Meeth Sev

To Serve 2

1 Cup of dry Vermicelli
1/2 Red onion chopped
1/2 a Carrot grated (for color)
2 Tbsp grated fresh coconut (use dry dessicated if fresh not available)
1 Tsp mustard seeds
1 Tsp moong (yellow) daal
Pinch of Asafoetida
Few fresh curry leaves
Handful of dry fruits like cashews, raisins etc.
1 Tbsp OO
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil. Add vermicelli to it and boil for about 4-5 minutes till al dente. Drain under cold water. Let is sit in a seive over a bowl to collect extra water.

Use a non-stick pan for below. Roast mustard seeds, daal in OO for about 2-3 minutes on med heat. Add Onions, curry leaves and the dry fruits. Continue roasting till the cashews show some color (DO NOT BURN). Add the carrots and the coconut. Roast for another 2 minutes till you can feel the carrots and coconut scrape against the pan.
You’ll hear it.. 🙂

Add salt (if necessary),pepper or green chillies, sugar and the asafoetida. Gently fluff the vermicelli and fold it in the carrot mixture in the pan on low heat. Do not press or prod. Gently fold.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and a fresh squeeze of lime.

Enjoy !

Budget Brunch Sundays 07/17/11


People might not know what countries make up the Middle East but they sure know Falafels. I remember eating a falafel sandwich for the first time at my masi’s (Mom’s older sister Veena) place when we first visited the US in 1989. I was 8 years old. I think I just ate the lil fried patties with the yummy dipping sauce she served with. I have come a long way with the way I make falafels starting out traditional way and then making it “my” style. I still think my masi makes them the best. This recipe is my version of my Veena masi’s falafels.

To serve 4

1 Cup of Chickpeas (soaked overnight and cooked on med heat for 40-50 min in water OR 1 can of chickpeas from the store)
2-3 TBSP of fresh parsley, cilantro and mint leaves chopped
1/2 a small red onion chopped
2 TBSP of chickpea or all purpose flour
1 Tsp each of ginger and garlic smashed/ paste
1 Tsp all spice (garam masala) and 1 Tsp red pepper powder
Salt and pepper

Mash all the above or blend in a blender to a chunky paste. I like mashing better because it lets me control the consistency better. You want it a thick chunky paste and NOT smooth.

Shape into little patties/ balls/ hearts whatever shape you wish. Use extra dry flour if needed to avoid stickiness. Fry on medium heat in oil. (I use Canola).
Use medium heat and not high. You want the patties to be brown on the outside with a light crunch and a little soft on the inside.

Serve with Pita points (or in an open pita as a sandwich with salad) and my pineapple herb dipping raita.

Pineapple Herb Raita

To serve 4
You will need

1 cup of fatfree yogurt
1 cup of pineapple chunks
1 cup of mixed herbs (cilantro, parsley and mint leaves chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the above and chill for atleast an hr. Enjoy !

Left over Thursday – July 14th 2011

Demystifying Casseroles

When someone mentions a casserole, I cringe.. They are soooo mysterious, so “What is in it?” yet so humble, so warm, so so so great..

Here’s my take on a Wild rice and chicken Casserole and you got it, it’s made from leftovers. Enjoy !

I have the below ingredients:

A handful of bella mushrooms sliced
1 carrot peeled and sliced
Left over steamed corn on the cob

1 clove of garlic chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tsp of OO

Left over grilled chicken
A cup of wild rice (I made this)
Few fresh Basil leaves
1 1/2 cups of white sauce or Bechamel (Recipe coming soon)

I personally love wild rice instead of regular white rice. Even better is a combination of wild, brown, red and white rice. I actually got a few different types of rice and mixed them to use.

To every cup of rice, use about 2 cups of water on medium heat in a covered saucepan. Cook till all the water is absorbed.

Stir fry the garlic, veggies and the seasonings in the OO for about 2-3 minutes.

Prepare an oven proof dish with some OO.
Layer half the rice , veggies, and the sauce (about half a cup) and repeat about twice. Cover with the rest of the sauce. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Crush about 1/2 cup of pretzels with 1/2 Tbsp butter and spread on top of the casserole. Bake for another 5-7 minutes..

Your Casserole —- Demystified !

Shweet tea

My son is a southerner..and I don’t mean because Krishnan is a SouthIndian, I mean American Southerner.. He loves his pickles and his tea sweet. (and Yes I am stereotyping.. get over it !)..

When we go out to a restaurant, he wants sweet tea.. Not half and half (what I get) but SHWEET TEA..

this is for my bubbu.. 🙂

To make about 4 glasses

2 Tbsp loose leaf black/ orange tea
2 Tbsp loose leaf green tea
1/2 Orange sliced
2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint leaves
1/2″ ginger root peeled and mashed
Honey to sweeten
(Use Sugar if you don’t like honey)

In about 4-5 cups of water, boil the tea leaves, and the ginger for about 5 minutes.
Strain into a serving Carafe. Cool till about warm to touch. Add the orange and the mint and let it soak for about an hr.

Serve over crushed ice. and Enjoy in this summer heat !

You can add more tea leaves if you like your tea strong or reduce it, if you like it weak.

"What’s in your pantry’ Mondays 07/11/2011

I have popcorn in my pantry !!

so I LOVE popcorn as a healthy snack.. but the good ole’ popcorn gets boring soooooo here’s an easy topping for the basic popcorn to give it a little zing !!

Try it the next time for your snacking choice or even for a casual cocktail event..

You’ll need

1 cup popping corn or instant popcorn packet
1/2 tsp butter/ OO
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp shredded parmesan or Romano cheese dust (yeah, the cheese in the green box) 🙂

Pop corn as per instructions.
Mix rest of the ingredients in the packet and shake well.

Serve ! Enjoy !!

Budget Brunch Sundays 07/10/11

Baked Mexican Migas

This is my take on the traditional Migas where eggs are scrambled and are made in a skillet. My version has similar ingredients but I bake it for the ease of cooking and presentation.

Enjoy !

To Serve 4

6-8 Large eggs
1 cup chopped red onion
1 med tomato seeded and diced
1-2 green chillies chopped
1 cup of cheddar cheese grated (split in two half cups)
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro + mint leaves
1 cup of crumbled bacon (cooked) or chorizo sausage
1 ear of corn roasted in the oven or grilled (split the kernels using a knife holding the corn lengthwise)

10-12 fresh corn tortillas
salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste

Beat eggs and all the ingredients except the tortillas and one half cup of cheese.
Roast the tortillas on an open flame till you see some color. cut them into 1/8
wedges or strips. Split into two parts.

In an ovenproof shallow dish, spray some OO and layer one part of the tortillas in a single layer. Slowly pour the egg mixture. Layer the remaining tortillas and sprinkle the rest of the cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 min.

Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Ice Cold Coffee !!

Growing up in India brings back many memories.. One of them is drinking cold coffee at cafe’s with friends and making iced coffee at home after afternoon naps..

This is one drink I can always enjoy.. Day or Night ….

Enjoy !!

To Serve 2

2 Cups of 2% milk (We use organic)

2-3 Tsp of ground instant coffee powder (The desi in me uses Nescafe’ Sunrise)

2-3 Tbsp sugar

A pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon powder

1 pod of cardamom seeds crushed (Hush… that’s the secret)

2 cups of ice

Blend all of the above till you reach a “smoothie” consistency.

Serve in tall glasses with a dollop of chocolate icecream.

(I served it with chocolate & Vanilla popsickle)

Enjoy !!

Carbs for the soul !

Forget chicken soup.. What makes me warm and cozy inside is a bowl full of carbs.
It’s no shame in admitting that I am on a quest to lose those last “8” and yes not “10” but “8” pounds. but a bowl of carbs will not KILL me.. Instead it’ll just leave me satisfied and I think we all need some carb-love sometimes.. Don’t you think ?

Here’s a recipe for a quick fresh tomato sauce loaded with veggies and herbs served over a bowl of …. wait for it …. Spaghetti.. yummm… It’ll warm you up and make you feel all snug in your pants the next day.. but c’mon , run an extra mile.. 🙂

It’s so worth it …. Buon Appetito..

To Serve 4

About 2-3 fistfuls of whole grain Spaghetti (Whole grain just has more fiber so it’ll fill you up faster)

2-3 cloves of garlic smashed
1 small white onion chopped fine
4-5 ripe tomatoes – crushed or pulverized
2 firm tomatoes – chopped fine (I like my sauce chunky)

2-3 Tbsp capers
2-3 Tbsp black olives sliced
1 cup of baby portobello mushrooms – wiped with a wet paper towel and chopped up
1 small zucchini chopped
1 small yellow squash chopped

1/2 cup of red wine (optional BUT strongly encouraged: They lend to the tomato taste.. somehow !)

A handful of fresh basil leaves – chopped fine
A handful of fresh mint leaves – chopped fine

OO – about 3-4 Tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese grated as desired

Make Spaghetti according to package instructions.
Keep aside. Save some of the pasta water. You’ll use it in the sauce.

For the Sauce

Heat up the OO in a heavy bottom pan.
Add the garlic and saute till golden brown.
Add Onions and cook till translucent.
Add the pulverized tomatoes.
Cook the onions and tomatoes till the tomatoes reduce in size and start losing water.
Add the chopped up tomatoes and the rest of the veggies. (including the capers and the olives).

Cook for about 7-8 minutes on med heat and then add the wine.

Add about 2 cups of the Pasta water.

Slow the heat down and let simmer for about 20-25 min.

Let the salt and pepper rain and add the herbs towards the end.

Add the cheese and let the sauce rest for about 2 hrs at room temperature.
Serve over pasta or dunk some hot bread into it.

Fish poppers !!

So my hubby is a “fishie”. Let me explain..
I am a foodie and he’s a fishie.. Make sense ?
He will eat fish NOT seafood BUT fish in any form !! dead or alive.. well I won’t be surprised if he does eat it alive..

We once “fish sat” my sis’s two beta fish(s). and he passed that aquarium everyday just eyeing those lil guys.. One day the fish mysteriously vanished.. ok fine, am making that up.. 🙂 somewhere my sis is cringing ..lol

Anyway, my son is also following in Krish’s footsteps. We had finished lunch one afternoon and I marinated some fish for a cocktail party we were having that night. Needless to say the fish was made and finished before the guests arrived 🙂

Love my boys! this is for them.

To serve 4

4 filets of fresh Tilapia – cubed about 2″
(trust me there is a difference in the texture and the cooking experience when you use fresh vs. frozen)
1/4 cup OO


2 Tbsp grated garlic
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp green chillies chopped (optional)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tbsp cumin seeds or 1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp all spice powder (optional)
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
salt and pepper to taste


1/2 cup of all purpose flour (or use gram flour for a crunchier texture)

Mix the ingredients of the marinade in a ziploc.
Add the fish and shake to coat well.
Keep in fridge for 2 hrs.

Bring the fish out and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Add the flour next to coat the fish well.

Heat up OO in a wide bottom saucepan. Turn the heat to a medium temperature.
Line the fish gently in the pan with enough space in between to flip over. Lay one side down and let them cook untouched for 2-3 min on each side. Flip and do the same. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with your fav dipping sauce !!

Have a Fishie day!!!