Cook's Hideout: August 2011

August 29, 2011

Greek Style Panini

Good news is our area was not affected by hurricane Irene as much as predicted. We had gusty winds and heavy rain, but thank god we did not have power outages or flooding. So all is well that ends well..

Today is the last day of our week long Blogging marathon and keeping with the theme of "Cooking with 5 ingredients or less", I made this tasty and healthy panini. Another recipe from vegetarian times magazine. It turned out super simple to make, filling and tasty too.

August 28, 2011

Banana-Cocoa Smoothie

Hurricane Irene is causing major destruction in the east coast this weekend. As I type, I can hear the wind blowing and the pouring rain. They say there are thousands of people without power due to fallen trees. I can see a big tree limb from a neighbors tree in our backyard. I just hope my tomatoes and bottle gourd survive the hurricane (I know I'm being a little wane, but can't help thinking of them).

So for today I have this very simple smoothie that I made for snack time the other day. If you have frozen bananas this is a snap to make. I have been storing my over-ripe bananas in the freezer, so they can be used in some way or the other rather than throwing them out.

Smoothie has only 5 ingredients and is very filling. I had it with some pita chips and hummus.

August 27, 2011

Sinangag (Filipino Garlic Fried Rice)

The theme for next 3 days for BM# 8 will be "Cooking with 5 ingredients or less". I turned to Vegetarian Times magazine for inspiration, since they have a monthly feature called "5 ingredients". I wanted to try new recipes that make a meal or at least a filling snack and do not require any side dishes to go with it.

Today I made this simple rice dish with left-over rice and it seems it is made as a breakfast dish in the Philippines with lots of garlic. Eating rice for breakfast may sound strange to some of non-rice eating people, but for us rice  being the staple grain it was served for all 3 meals in the day. I remember my mom making lemon rice or alu-bhath or tomato rice or some fancied up rice dish with left over rice, which kept us going until lunch time. 

August 26, 2011

Tomato Pachadi (Chutney)

This is a delicious and classic tomato chutney that needs no introduction. Every household in India might have their own recipe for this yummy dish — some tangy, some spicy, some a little sweet—any which way you make it, it is absolutely delicious and comforting.

I bought 2 packs of Campari tomatoes that needed to be used up and I thought this would be the perfect. Campari is a variety of tomato that is juicy, less acidic, and sweeter than a regular tomato. A quick call to my mom and I was on my way to make this easy pachadi.

August 25, 2011

Peach-Mango Jam with Vanilla

What do you do when there are only 2 adults (and one kid who doesn’t eat fruit AT ALL) and crate full of peaches and mangoes to eat before they go down south into the garbage. First thing I would do is to bring some sense into the people who are buying these excessive fruit. But come on who can resist those sweet smelling mangoes in Indian grocery – one fruit is definitely not enough and the next best (cheapest) is the crate with a dozen of them, I picked up the latter. Also peaches had a $2 coupon at BJs, so they came home too.

After eating the fruit for a week, I started thinking of options of consuming them in bulk. Some of the peaches went into this yummy summer soda that I made for the BBQ – very summery and refreshing. With the rest of the peaches I made this peach-mango jam and added some ground vanilla as flavoring. I still have a couple more mangoes that I’m planning to make mango lassi with – don’t want to end the summer without enjoying an ice cold lassi.

Traditionally whole vanilla beans are used to flavor the jam, but I used pulverized vanilla (ground vanilla??) instead. I added pectin to the jam to get a more jam like consistency. I also used a hand blender to make a smooth jam instead of chunky.

August 24, 2011

Indian Style Mushroom Bruschetta

We have a love-hate relation with mushrooms in my home. I love mushrooms and my husband hates them with a passion. I don’t cook mushrooms when he’s around. So now you know what features on my menu when he’s travelling!!! But the past weekend we had a BBQ at our place and I saw this Indianized version of Bruschetta in Cooking Light way to Cooking Vegetarian cookbook.

This bruschetta is a thick tomato based curry that was wonderful as bread topper. (I ended up making Italian style eggplant bruschetta for my husband.) Ingredient list is quite long compared to the simple Italian bruschetta, but my Indian palate really enjoyed the different flavors in the dish – it’s spicy, tangy and delicious. 

August 23, 2011

Corn-Tomato Relish

I’m back to blogging, thanks to Valli for another edition of Blogging Marathon. This is the 8th edition and I join the 2nd group of 20 bloggers who are all set to blog for the next one week. I chose “Condiments” and “Cooking with 5 ingredients or less” as my themes for this week. So you will see 4 lip smacking condiments and 3 easy to put together 5 ingredient dishes.

For the first day of the marathon, I made this fresh, no-cook Corn & Tomato relish that goes well with some corn chips or as a side for tacos. Use the freshest corn and tomatoes you can find for the best taste. Also I read somewhere that it is best to use corn as soon as you buy them; if you keep them too long they start to develop starches and make the veggie mealy.

August 09, 2011

Injera (Ethiopian Sourdough Crepes)

This is a foolproof recipe for Injera that I found on one of the forums at Fresh Loaf website. I forgot to write down the name of the person who gave the recipe on the forum, but it really works. I have read that many people had trouble making injeras, with stinky batters, crepes sticking to the pan etc. But using sourdough starter and steaming the crepe before flipping them made “the best” Injera I’ve ever eaten (to be honest I ate them only once in my life in, Mesob, an Ethiopian restaurant in NJ). This is another great way to use some of the Sourdough starter.


August 07, 2011

Gutti Vankaya Kura (Andhra Style Stuffed Eggplant Curry)

This is one of my absolute favorite dish, but I’ve never made it myself before. You can call me a lazy practical cook, as I like to take short cuts while cooking. As a matter of fact, I’m constantly thinking about how to maximize the efficiency of whatever I do (now don’t ask me if I’m successful in increasing the efficiency of everything I do, but it works may be 50% of the time---for the other 50% I say to myself “there’s nothing wrong in trying”).

Gutti Vankaya Kura4

For example, I wash my dishes while sautéing onions. I don’t like babysitting my dishes, but I know a lot of people who would stir and hover around the stove until the onions turn translucent, then red, then brown. I don’t have time for that.
Well anyway coming back to the gutti vankaya curry, I’ve never actually stuffed the eggplants before; I cook the pieces in the gravy and call it a day. The fact of the matter is, when you are eating you eat the piece with the gravy anyway, so why spend time on the stuffing part.

But this past weekend, I bought these tiny eggplants that were begging to be stuffed. I couldn’t turn my back on these beauties, so I succumbed and made this awesome stuffed eggplant curry.

It did take some time to cook the dish, but I thought the end result was worth the effort – at least in the looks category. May be I’ll try stuffing if the vegetable really forces me to; otherwise I’m back to my quick & easy route.
Gutti Vankaya Kura

August 04, 2011

Almond Brown Rice Pudding

This recipe was love at first site for me. When I saw the recipe on Whole Foods website, I just had to make it right away. But that right away did not come for another 2 months, even though I was thinking of the dish a lot. It is a simple rice pudding with brown rice, almond milk and pureed dates and I usually have all the ingredients in my pantry & the fridge. What really caught my attention was the use of pureed dates in the recipe and I was imagining the combination of creamy almond milk with the rich sweetness of the dates even before making the dish.

Almond Rice Pudding1

It was so totally worth it when I finally made it, wasn't disappointed at all. It was slightly chewy, sweet and nutty - a perfect balance of taste & texture -- totally awesome. I used Lion brand date syrup that I brought back from India instead of pureeing the dates. I also used long grain brown rice, but short grain rice would probably make a more creamier rice pudding. So if you want to make this dish, try to get some short grain brown rice.

Almond Rice Pudding4


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