Shrimp and Lump crab pasta

Some days just call for a little indulgence. Whether you are celebrating something special or just staying in and rejoicing the fact that you have finally conquered the 4 loads of laundry, a little treat can go a long way. 

This was my treat to myself this past week after a hectic day at work. Under 20 minutes with a few seasonal and fresh ingredients and under $12 to serve the whole family. It does NOT GET better than this! Add a glass of wine and enjoy!

Photo: Shrimp and lump crab tossed in a creamy garlic flavored sauce with some fresh asparagus and a touch of noodles...perfect with a glass of wine tonight!
Shrimp and lump crab tossed in a creamy garlic flavored sauce
with some fresh asparagus and a touch of noodles…

To serve 2-3 generously

1 Pack of your favorite noodles (Thin/Thick spaghetti)
2 Medium shallots chopped fine
2 Cloves of garlic minced

2 Tbsp of chopped bacon/pancetta
1/2-3/4 Pound of Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
6 Oz of lump crab meat

1 Cup of asparagus (Rough ends removed). Chopped into 2″ pieces.
1 Tbsp of fresh parsley chopped
1/4 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of full cream

1/2 Tbsp of butter

Salt, black pepper, red cayenne 

1-2  Tbsp of fresh grated Parmesan 

Cook the noodles Al-Dente and drain. Toss with a Tbsp of OO and  keep aside.

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes. Drain and and “shock” in cold ice water for about 3-4 minutes. (Blanching). Drain. 

In a pan, saute the onions, garlic and the bacon/pancetta in the butter and a Tbsp of OO (about 3-4 minutes). Cook till the onions turn a pale pink and the meat crisps. Add the shrimp and the asparagus. Cook till the shrimp turn opaque. (Another 4-5 minutes)

Add the wine and season with salt, black pepper, red cayenne. Bring to a boil. Add the cream and the crab meat and toss gently. Bring to a gentle boil and toss the noodles in batches. 

Check for seasoning to your liking. Toss with the fresh parsley and grated cheese right before serving.
Enjoy !

Morning fuel!!

2 cups of baby spinach
1 cup of watermelon and pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves chopped
1/4″ ginger root peeled
1/2 cup of ice cubes

Blend all the above in a high powered blender. Add a splash of OJ if you need some liquid to help blend.

Revisiting the Spice Route

Ahh.. What a beautiful day!! It’s snowing, raining and hailing.. Ok so.. the weather is kinda gross outside but it was nice and warm indoors. Guess what we did today ? We cooked.. I know shocker!
🙂 (Really, what else do you expect from me anyway?)

We revisited the Spice route and created some delicious Indian food..
Here’s the menu and a scrap book of pics.. Recipes below. !

Gucchi Pulao

(Mint flavored mushroom pilaf)

Mango Dal

(Lentils cooked with sweet mangoes and tangy tamarind)

Murgh Methi Malai

(Boneless chicken simmered in fenugreek cream sauce)

Nariyal Payasam

(Sago pudding with coconut milk)

Kesari Meethi Lassi
(Sweet beaten yogurt drink flavored with saffron and cardamoms)
Getting started!!

 What a fun day to “cook” our weather blues away!! 

All recipes to serve 2-3 

Gucchi Pulao 

(Mint flavored mushroom pilaf)

1 Cup of Basmati rice, rinsed in cold water and drained. 
1/2 cup of sliced red onions
1-1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms  (Wiped clean with a damp towel)
(We used rehydrated porcini (Drain the mushrooms and strain and save the mushroom water), cremini and shiitake)

1 clove of garlic minced

1-2 Tbsp of fresh mint leaves (chiffonade)

Dry spices:
1 Tsp cumin
2 Bay leaves
1-2 black cardamoms
1-2 Cloves
1/2 Tsp whole peppercorns
1 Cinnamon stick


1-2 Tsps of Garam masala
Salt to taste

1 Tbsp Ghee (Clarified butter)

Saute the dry spices in a Tbsp of OO (or any vegetable oil) for a couple of minutes till you can smell the aroma. 
Add the onions and garlic and saute till the onions turn pink. (about 4-5 minutes). Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes till the onions turn a cool brown and the mushrooms wilt. Add the rice and toast for a couple of minutes. Add the seasonings and Add 2 cups of water( including the mushroom water). Cover the pot and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the mint leaves and the ghee and stir gently. Cook for about 3-5 minutes more till all the water is absorbed and rice flakes easily with a fork. 

Optional garnish- Squeeze some fresh lemon juice before serving. 

Mango Dal 
(Lentils cooked with sweet mangoes and tangy tamarind)

1 Cup of yellow lentils (Split pigeon peas/ Toor daal), rinsed and drained
1 – 1/2 cups of chopped mangoes (Use the seed too! It’s delicious)
1/3 cup of tamarind juice/pulp (Let dry tamarind sit in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Squeeze the pulp  and strain the seeds out using a sieve. Reserve the pulp/juice)

Tadka: 1 tsp of whole mustard seeds
1/3 cup of chopped white onions
1/3 cup of fresh tomatoes chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
2-3 whole red chillies
2 Tbsp of fresh curry leaves

1-2 Tsps of curry powder
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red chili powder (More if you dare!)
1/2 Tbsp of Sugar
Salt to taste

2 Tbsp of chopped  fresh cilantro. 

Cook the lentils in about 1 1/2 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder in a covered stock pot till completely done (About 18-20 minutes). If using a pressure cooker, cook for about 10-12 minutes. Keep aside. 

Saute the mustard seeds, the whole red chilies and the curry leaves in 2 Tbsps of OO till the seeds start to sputter. Add the onions, garlic and tomatoes and continue to cook for about 5-6 minutes till the onions turn pink and the tomatoes cook down. Add the mangoes and saute them with the rest of the mixture. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the tamarind juice , salt, sugar and curry powder and bring to a boil. Add the lentils to the mango tamarind party and mix everything well. Simmer on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. (Add more water and seasonings to your taste). 

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves before serving. 

Murgh Methi Malai

(Boneless chicken simmered in fenugreek cream sauce)

2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 Cup of onions roughly chopped
1 Cup of tomatoes roughly chopped
2-3 Cloves of garlic smashed
(Puree all the above without water if possible)

2-3 Tsps of curry powder
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red chili powder (More if you dare!)
2-3 Green chillies sliced
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp of kasuri methi (Dry fenugreek)

2 Tbsp of tomato paste
1/3 cup of full cream
2 Tbsp of chopped  fresh cilantro. 

Saute the Gravy ingredients in 2 Tbsp of OO. Saute the first 5-6 minutes with the lid on the pot with a little opening for the steam to escape. Remove the lid and continue cooking the mixture down till all the water has evaporated. (another 8-9 minutes). The mixture will turn a carroty orange. Add the tomato paste and saute for another 3-4 minutes. 

Add the chicken and mix well. Cook on medium heat for about 6-7 minutes. Add about 1 1/2 cups of water and add the seasonings. Mix well. Lower the heat to a low-medium and cook for about 12-15 minutes. Keep stirring in between. Cook till the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove the lid and add the cream and the cilantro. Bring the gravy to a boil. Let simmer till your desired consistency of the gravy. 

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves before serving. 

Nariyal Payasam

(Sago pudding with coconut milk)
3/4-1 cup of Sago/ Tapioca pearls – (Rinsed in several changes of water till the water runs somewhat clear. Soak in water for about 20 minutes. Drain)

1 Cup of whole milk
1 Cup of coconut milk
 Sugar- To taste ( I used about 1/2 cup)
1 Tbsp of Ghee (Clarified butter)

Saffron strands (Blossomed in a Tbsp of warm milk)
Cook all of the above (while gently stirring) in a heavy bottom stockpot for about 12-15 minutes on medium heat till the pearls turn translucent. Adjust the sugar according to your taste. 
Roast 1 Tbsp of cashews, almonds, raisins and melon seeds in a Tbsp of ghee till they turn a golden brown and raisins plump up. Garnish the pudding with the dry fruits and ghee mixture right before serving. 

Kesari Meethi Lassi

(Sweet beaten yogurt drink flavored with saffron and cardamoms)

3/4 Cup of unflavored yogurt (Greek or 2% will work)
About 2 cups of cold water
Sugar to taste (About 3-4 Tbsp)

Spices: (Grind the below using a mortar and a pestal)
A pinch of saffron strands
2-3 Green cardamom pods (Crushed to remove the seeds)
A pinch of sugar 

Mix all the above and using a hand whisk, blend all… Adjust the sugar according to your taste. Serve chilled.. 

I’m taking on a new lover

You know there comes a time atleast once in a woman’s life where she has to decide who she wants to give her heart to.

In my case, I think that time has come. But alas, I’ve been pushed to make that decision. See till now, the two loves of mine had me in their grasp of promising love and bliss. I had all their attention and they had mine. Never did I have to make a decision to choose just “one” but today all that changed.

Sigh.. I was at a store and I saw this pair of shoes.. They were perfect. Lime green wedges. Perfect for spring, summer, rain oh I don’t care for winter! They saw me and I saw them. We flirted..a couple of stolen glances later, I had to bring them home.

As I walked towards the cash register, my eyes met with .. Wait for it..the best looking dutch oven! Yes, it was perfect. Robust, sturdy oh so masculine. I just had to have it. But my pockets made me choose one. Just one! Why can’t I have it all?!

Sigh.. I chose the dutch oven 🙂 I brought it home feeling a bit guilty for my actions but who can control the heart’s desires. I cannot wait to feature it in my next recipes and posts.

On a second thought, Maybe just maybe, I don’t have to make a choice just yet. Maybe the shoes and I can be on a “break” till I figure out what I really want from “this relationship”. Maybe just maybe, the shoes will understand that I’m just a woman. A woman in love. In love with anything food. (For now). 😉

Happy weekend all!!