Cook's Hideout: March 2013

March 26, 2013

Butternut Squash Curry (Revisiting Old Recipes)

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 4/ Day 3
Theme: Revisiting Old Posts with New Pictures
Dish: Thiyya Gummadikaya Kura (Butternut Squash Curry from August 2007
Butternut squash is one vegetable that I buy and keep in the pantry. It doesn't have to be refrigerated, which is a bad thing because I usually end up forgetting that I bought it and it stays in the cabinet for days. Good thing is it is a tough veggie and can be stored in a cool dry place for quite some time. Once the realize I have it and cook with it, I always end up thinking why did I wait for this long!! 
So this time I decided to make 2 dishes with the 2lbs. butternut squash that I bought. I cooked with half of it right away, then microwaved the rest of the pieces and stored it in the fridge for later use. I made a Kale-Butternut Squash risotto with one half and for this curry I used with the microwaved pieces later in the week.
I had blogged this post way back in August of 2007 and I think my pictures have come a long way from then :-)
This curry is tangy, sweet and spicy and once you have the cooked squash in hand, it takes mere minutes to put this dish together.

March 25, 2013

Quinoa Lemon Pulihora (Revisiting an Old Post)

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: Revisiting Old Posts with New Pictures
Dish: Quinoa Pulihora (from December 2009)
This quinoa pulihora is one of the top 10 posts on my blog and it desperately needed a face lift. Quinoa is one of the whole grains that I use quite frequently. Its nutty and I love how it swells up with that lovely saturn ring around it after cooking. 
Quinoa can be used in place of rice in many Indian recipes and this lemon flavored quinoa is one of the quickest and easiest dishes that I make.

March 24, 2013

Undrallu with Allam Pachadi (Revisiting an Old Post)

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: Revisiting Old Posts with New Pictures
Dish: Undrallu & Allam Pachadi (from June 2006)
Revisiting old posts with new pictures is something that I have been planning to do for quite some time now. But time seems to be of premium these days and since I can't even catch up with the present, past keeps waiting. So this week's theme is perfect as it lets me update some of my very old posts that are in dire need of better pictures.
When I started blogging almost 8 years ago, I didn't have any props and I didn't even think of buying any props for blogging. All I used to do was cook at night and click with the flash glaring right onto the plate. Didn't realize that food needs to be presented in an appetizing way. It was only recently that I started playing around with the props, settings and the camera.

March 19, 2013

Sweet Corn & Coconut Pudding

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 3/ Day 3
Theme: Pick 1 ingredient and Cook from 3 books -- Dessert
Dish: Sweet Corn & Coconut Pudding
I have been watching a lot of Indian cooking shows lately and it looks like 'sweet corn aka American corn' is the latest 'hot' ingredient. Recipes ranging from breakfast upma to filling biryanis/ kurmas and desserts are being made with this versatile ingredient. Though I found it hard to find a dessert recipe with corn in my cookbooks, I would have definitely found a dessert recipe on one of the cooking shows.
Today's recipe is from "Viva Vegan" cookbook by Terry Hope Romero. Majarete is a light sweet pudding from the Caribbean island nations and some South American countries. This recipe is based on majarete found in the Dominican Republic, which is corn based, creamy and coconut scented with vanilla and cinnamon.

March 18, 2013

Corn & Scallion Pancakes

Blogging Marathon # 26: Week 3/ Day 2
Theme: Pick 1 ingredient and Cook from 3 books - Breakfast Combo
Dish: Corn & Scallion Pancakes
When I started looking for breakfast dishes with corn, most of the recipes used cornmeal instead of whole corn. I found this savory corn pancakes recipe in the King Arthur Flour catalog. These can be served for breakfast or even brunch with black bean salsa and a dollop of sour cream.
Recipe uses Sourdough starter and since I'm always looking for ways to use my starter I made these pancakes right away. I made a few changes to the original recipe to make it eggless and add some fiber. Pancakes turned out great - they looked and tasted like cheelas (chickpea dosas/ crepes).

March 17, 2013

Corn & Roasted Pepper Bisque

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 3/ Day 1
Theme: Pick 1 ingredient and Cook from 3 Books - Soup
Dish: Corn and Roasted Pepper Bisque
Today we begin the 3rd week of blogging marathon (BM# 26) and my theme for this week is 'Cooking from Cookbook'. I thought this would be a great theme to make recipes from my cookbooks, but little did I know that this will be the most challenging theme of Blogging Marathon EVER. Valli wanted us to pick 1 ingredient and make 3 dishes from 3 different cookbooks. I had a clear mind till here, everything started to get confusing once I read that the 3 dishes also are predefined, like a soup/ breakfast combo/dessert or basic/rice/dessert.
I searched high and low for the recipes. I was going back and forth between ingredients like a mad woman,  I think I might have had couple of nightmares with the combos and the ingredients too.  It took me literally 3 days of research to finalize an ingredient and find 3 dishes from 3 books. It has been almost 10 years after my Masters that I did this much research on anything (I guess I just aged myself :-) But it was all fun and Valli, go ahead throw us as many curve balls as you can -- that will at least make our creative juices flowing.

March 12, 2013

Cream of Mushroom Soup (Low Fat)

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 2/ Day 3
Theme: Soups & Salads
Dish: Cream of Vegetable -- Cream of Mushroom Soup
For the 3rd day of blogging marathon with 'Cream of Vegetable' being the star ingredient, I made Cream of Mushroom soup. But the creamy consistency for the dish actually comes from pureed cauliflower. I thought  using  pureed cauliflower instead of cream or other thickening agents in a soup is a genius idea!! Don't you think?? It's not my idea though, I found this amazing vegan cream of mushroom soup here and absolutely loved the idea.
I added some fat free half-and-half that needed to be used up instead of non-dairy milk and hence this is not a vegan recipe. Also instead of cauliflower I used broccoliflower which is a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli. Other than that I followed the recipe to the 'T' and this soup is super creamy and hearty, perfect for the chilly weather.

March 11, 2013

French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

Blogging Marathon #26: Week 2/ Day 2
Theme: Salads & Soups
Dish: Lentil Based - French (Puy) Lentil Salad
Today's salad has "Lentil" as the star ingredient and one of my favorite lentils in salads happens to be French Lentils aka Puy lentils. These lentils look very similar to whole masoor dal, but are greenish with spots. They don't fall apart and still have a good bite when cooked which is perfect for Salads. 
Today's salad is inspired from a recipe that I received in my mailbox from Everyday Food. Recipe was actually for roasted vegetable salad with french lentils, but what caught my attention was the use of goat cheese. I've tasted goat cheese a few times, but never bought it myself. So I picked a small log of goat cheese on my recent grocery shopping and make this hearty & delicious salad. Goat cheese is creamy and has a tart taste to it.

March 10, 2013

Chickpea & Vegetable Salad with Yogurt Tahini Dressing

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 2/ Day 1
Theme: Soups & Salads
Dish: Protein Based - Chickpea Salad
We are onto our 2nd week of marathon for this month. My theme for this week is "Soups & Salads" and to add interest and make the theme a little more challenging, Valli wants us to make soups & salads that use one star ingredient for each dish. Today's dish has a "Chickpeas" as the star protein rich ingredient.
I picked this theme because with my husband travelling on business for the past couple weeks I've been cooking for just myself. Salads fit right in since making a single serving salad is much easier than cooking something. 
This salad is full of fresh crunchy vegetables and fruits and the dressing is yogurt & tahini (ground sesame paste) based. I love adding sweetness to my salads in the form of fresh or dry fruits. Blueberries, sliced strawberries, chopped apples, pears, grapes are great in salads and so are dried cranberries, raisins and other not too sweet dry fruits.

March 05, 2013


Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 1/ Day 2
Theme: Goan Cuisine
Dish: Sakharbath
After two savory and spicy dishes from Goa, I was looking for a dessert recipe to try. Goan cuisine has ton of delicious desserts that use coconut, cashews. One dessert that really caught my eye is Bebinca, but after seeing that the dish has a dozen egg yolks and cup and a half of ghee (clarified butter), I changed my mind. Also I was making this dish just for myself since my husband is travelling, so I didn't want it to be too labor intensive and wanted just 1 or 2 servings.
Finally I zeroed in on this Sakharbhath recipe. This is a very simple, easy and quick sweet rice dish. I used only ¼cup of rice, but the recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. Rice is cooked in just water and then sweetened to taste with sugar, so this is a dairy free which I'm sure my milk-hating husband will definitely appreciate.

March 04, 2013

Vegetarian Vindaloo with Eggplant & Mushroom

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 1/ Day 2
Theme: Goan Cuisine
Dish: Eggplant & Mushroom Vindaloo
For Day 2 under "Goan Cuisine" for BM# 26, I made Vindaloo with Eggplant, mushrooms and red pepper. A little bit of Wiki gyan (knowledge) about Vindaloo -- "Vindaloo is derived from a Portuguese dish named "Carne de Vinha d' Alhos" which is usually made with pork, red wine and garlic.The Goans modified the dish by using vinegar for the red wine and kashmiri chilies and additional spices."
When I saw this recipe Eggplant and Mushroom Vindaloo on Vaishali's blog, I wanted to try it myself to see how it tastes. This recipe uses balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar and that sounded delicious to me. Balsamic vinegar gives the dish a mildly sweet tangy flavor that goes great with the veggies. I add balsamic to my roasted veggies, so I know it tastes amazing. I wasn't disappointed at all. When I tasted the dish, there was a party of flavors in my mouth. Its tangy, spicy, sour, sweet, all at the same time.

March 03, 2013

Vegetarian Xacuti

Blogging Marathon# 26: Week 1/ Day 1
Theme: Goan Cuisine
Dish: Vegetarian Xacuti with Meatless Meatballs
Today we start Blogging Marathon# 26 and my theme for this week is "Goan Cuisine". The only dish that  I have tried from Goa is the Vegetable Vindaloo. So when I saw this theme, I decided to try more dishes from this cuisine.
When I think of Goa, I think of scenic blue seas, beautiful churches and lush greenery. All this from watching a ton of Indian movies because I'm fortunate to visit this paradise on earth yet. Hopefully one day we can make this trip. When I think of Goan cuisine, I think of seafood and meat, because from movies like Saagar of the coast, the Portuguese colonization and the Christian population. But what I didn't know that there are vegetarian dishes that are unique to konkani region.

March 01, 2013

Goan Mixed Vegetable Curry

Pressure cooker is a quintessential equipment in any Indian kitchen. I own 6 pressure cookers in different sizes, shapes and materials -- stainless steel, aluminum and hard anodized. Each one has its own purpose, one can fit the idli stand, one cooks for a crowd, one for 2 and so on. More than a couple of them have served me well for the past 12+ years. Fortunately I've never had an accident in my kitchen (touch wood).
So when Jaya posted about a cookbook author belittling my beloved kitchen equipment, I wanted to show my love to my pressure cooker by posting about it. Like any Indian, I cook rice, lentils, beans, veggie curries etc in the pressure cooker. In today's recipe I used the cooker to cook the veggies and give me a head start in making the curry. 


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