Cook's Hideout: May 2013

May 31, 2013

Eggless Chocolate Cake with Jam for a Celebration

May is a month of celebration in my real home and also in my virtual home. It happens to be my birthday month (yup.. I'm a tough Taurean :-) ) and of course there's Mother's day celebrations. It is also my blog anniversary month -- Cook's Hideout has completed 7 years of blogging. 
Blogging years seem to me like dog years. There are a quite a few blogs that were active at one time, but are no longer virtually alive. I feel like a veteran among many new and upcoming food bloggers. I have to thank my family for their support and patience without whom I wouldn't have been blogging for so long. I was telling my mom the other day that I cook and eat well even when I'm alone because of my blog. 
Eggless Chocolate Cake with Jam
Big thanks to Valli, the master mind behind Blogging marathon and all my fellow marathoners for their infectious enthusiasm.

May 26, 2013

Israeli Couscous with Pesto & Carrots

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 4/ Day 3
Theme: BM Pairs - Chef Mireille's Gourmet Global
Dish: Israeli Couscous with Pesto & Carrots
For the final day of this month's BM, I'm paired with Chef Mireille who blogs at Gourmet Global. Her blog's name says it all. She has tons of gourmet dishes from all over the globe. I was lucky to meet her in person and she is as lively and bubbly in person as she is on her blog.
I've bookmarked a ton of recipes to try from her blog, but today I made this very simple one-pot dish, Pesto Israeli Couscous with Carrots. Mireille used Roasted garlic spinach pesto in her dish, but I made broccoli-mint pesto. Other than that I followed her recipe to the 'T'. 
This recipe uses Harissa, a Middle Eastern chili sauce. Luckily I had a jar of harissa in my pantry, an impulse buy from a Turkish grocery store. The combination of pesto and harissa gave this dish a very unique and interesting taste that I totally loved. I loved it so much that I added them both again to a 3 grain pilaf I made the very next day :-)

May 25, 2013

Quinoa Pongal

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: BM Pairs
Dish: Quinoa Pongal from Suma's Veggie Platter 
For day 2 under "Cooking from BM members" theme, I'm paired with Suma @ Veggie Platter. Suma has been blogging for over 6 years and I've probably known her virtually for almost 5 years. Her blog is filled with ton of delicious Andhra, Karnataka and kid friendly recipes. I love the way she writes her recipes, she makes everything seem so easy even the most elaborate ones.
Quinoa Pongal
I've tried a lot of recipes from Veggie Platter in the past. Her onion-tomoato raita, tomato bhath have become our household favorites too.

May 24, 2013

Sesame Rice (Nuvvulannam/ Ellu Saadam)

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: BM Pairs
Dish: Sesame Rice/ Ellu Saadam from Veena's Veg Nation
My theme for the last week of BM# 28 is "Cooking from BM members" and Valli paired us with 3 of the BM members, so I will be cooking from one of them each day for the next 3 days. All the 3 blogging buddies I have been paired with have been blogging for a long time and have ton of recipes that I'd like to try. Picking just one recipe was a very difficult task and I spent quite some time browsing through their pages  and it was mind boggling on how many options I had. 
So finally I decided that I need to have a theme (of sorts) to pick the recipes and since I was cooking for myself (again) this week, I looked for recipes that were (almost) one-pot and didn't leave me with a lot of leftovers. That made my search a little easier and I was able to narrow it down based on the ingredients in my fridge and pantry.
Sesame Rice (Nuvvulannam/ Ellu Saadam)

May 22, 2013

Pasta with Mushrooms and Chipotle Cream Sauce

I have signed up for this month's Taste & Create event after a long time and I'm paired with Min @ The Bad Girl's Kitchen. There are a ton of dessert recipes that I looked awesome and I really wanted to try them from her blog, but it's just me and my 5 year old at home this week, so didn't feel like making a whole batch of anything. 
Pasta with Mushrooms and Chipotle Cream Sauce
When I saw this penne pasta with chipotle cream sauce recipe, I knew I had to make it. It sounded delicious and I had all the ingredients at home. I made very few minor changes like using rotelle pasta instead of penne and I used frozen wild mushrooms instead of fresh. I reduced the amount of chipotle sauce since I'm not a big fan of smoky stuff.

Kid's Delight-5 Ingredient Fix Roundup

Finally I'm here with the Kid's Delight-5 Ingredient Fix roundup. First off big thanks to Valli for letting me host the event. Thanks to all of you who have sent your delicious dishes to the event. My special thanks to my non-blogging friends and cousins who took time out of their busy schedules to cook, take pictures and write about their kid's favorite dishes.
As Priya said in her email that this is not a tough theme, but it definitely makes you think about what we are feeding our kids. Basically my concept is 'less is more' and that holds good for kids food too. I'm so glad so many of you joined in to share these delicious kid friendly dishes. There might be some dishes that have more than 5 ingredients, but I let them slide since the whole point of the exercise is to have fun.
I think I've included all the entries that I received. If I missed your entry, I sincerely apologize and if you leave a comment on this post with the link, I will update the post with it. Thank you.
So without further ado, here are the entries:

First up is my dear friend Jyothy who sent 3 of her daughter's favorites:
Carrot Rava Laddoo
 Sago Murukku (Saggubiyyam Murukulu)
 Sago Murukku (Saggubiyyam Murukulu)
Banana Mini Rounds
Banana Mini Rounds

May 20, 2013

Walnut Chutney

Recipe Courtesy: My Dear friend Himabindu
Here's a delicious no-cook recipe from my friend Himabindu. Bindu and I went to school together years and years ago and I think it's been that long that we've seen each other. But thanks to Facebook, we are only a 'message' away from long lost friends.
Bindu lives in India and has adorable twin boys who keep her busy. She sent this simple no-cooking involved Walnut Chutney that sounded so good that I had to make it right away. It takes so little time to make and needs everyday pantry ingredients -- so there's no reason not to make it right away. The resulting chutney was soooo good, creamy, nutty with the walnuts and spicy with the chilies and garlic. I had it for lunch with rice, but Bindu says it goes well with rotis too.

May 19, 2013

Sindhi Kheerni (Vermicelli-Sago Kheer)

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 3/ Day 3
Theme: Sindhi Dishes
Dish: Kheerni with Seviyan & Sago (Semya/ Vermicelli & Saggubiyyam Payasam)
For the 3rd day of BM# 28, I wanted to make a Sindhi dessert, and since I was making for myself, I didn't want to deal with elaborate process and lot of leftovers. After looking high and low for a simple Sindhi dessert I found this Kheerni recipe on Alka's Sindhi Rasoi. She made her kheerni with crushed up seviyan (semya/ vermicelli). 
Vermicelli-Sago Kheer
Upon further googling for Sindhi Kheerni, I found Shobha's recipe that she made with Sabhudana/ Sago pearls. I wasn't sure which one to choose for my kheerni, so I decided to add them both for a creamy and delicious kheer.

May 18, 2013

Sindhi Whole Green Gram dal & Aloo Took

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 3/ Day 2
Theme: Sindhi Dishes
Dish: Sindhi Mung-a & Aloo Took
For day 2 of BM under 'Sindhi dishes' theme, I made 2 very delicious and simple dishes. Dal with moong beans and a dry curry with potato. I had a lot of Sindhi dishes bookmarked to try like this amazing Sindhi Saibhaji, Kokis and other veggies dishes. But my husband's been travelling and I didn't want to make these just for myself because even if I make just a little bit, there will be a lot leftover for me to eat for a whole week. So after browsing through Vaishali's & Alka's blogs, I ended up with 2 dishes that can be made with minimum ingredients and in small quantity, so I won't have too much leftover.
Aloo Took
First up is this simple dal made with whole moong beans. I love all beans, both for their health benefits and texture. When I saw the recipe on Vaishali's blog, I thought how different can it be from the dishes I'm used to. But I was pleasantly surprised on how much flavor just finely chopped ginger and garlic imparts to a dish.

May 17, 2013

Dal Pakwan

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 3/ Day 1
Theme: Sindhi Dishes
Dish: Dal Pakwan
My theme for this week's BM is "Sindhi dishes" and I'm going to start it off with a very indulgent Sindhi dish, 'Dal Pakwan'. Traditionally this is served for breakfast, I have to say it is very a filling breakfast that one might skip lunch after having this. 
It has 2 main components, dal & pakwan and served with green chutney, tamarind chutney, sliced onions and fried green chilies. Chana dal is used to make the delicious dal. Pakwans are deep fried unpuffed puris that are dunked in the dal and relished along with all the accouterments. The taste was just awesome, it was like explosion of flavors and textures in the mouth.

May 15, 2013

Kid's Flower Pot Dessert

Kids love Ice cream. Kids love Cake. So what happens when we combine 2 of their favorite desserts in one easy to make/ assemble dessert -- they will ABSOLUTELY LOVE it. I made these for a party last weekend and all the kids when googoo-gaagaa over it. This is will be my last entry for Valli's Kid's Delight: 5 ingredient fix event happening right here this month.
Kid's Flower Pot Dessert
I saw Pioneer Woman make edible flower pots on her show and thought it is a cool idea to serve cake and ice cream in a little terracotta pot, sprinkled with oreo (dirt) and some gummy worms. I bought tiny terracotta pots (2.25") from AC Moore and they were just the right size for my little guests. 'Ice cream wafer cones' would also be great as edible flower pot.
I used homemade chocolate cake and homemade flavored ice creams (here are recipes for homemade ice creams). But good quality store bought stuff would work perfectly. Pioneer woman used store bought pound cake.

May 14, 2013

Chuduwa (Poha Mixture)

Post & Recipe Courtesy: My dearest Cousin Pallavi

One more entry from my cousin Pallavi for Valli's Kid's Delight: 5 Ingredient fix event being held right here on my blog. I'm going to let Pallavi do the taling today :-)
The recipe that I am going to share here is extremely easy to make. This is yet another recipe I learnt from My Mother-in-law. ‘Chuduwa’ is very famous in Telangana. My kid loves to have it all the time. It serves as a snack. Equally liked by adults too (spice level varies). 
Chudwa (Poha Mixture)
If you know how to handle ‘Rice flakes (poha/Atukulu) then you are almost done with the recipe. To make this recipe I prefer Thin Poha over thick. My mother-in-law uses half & half of Thin & Thick. Thicker ones are hard enough to chew. Thinner ones are easy to deal with in many ways.

Sabhudana Khichdi

Recipe Courtesy: My dearest cousin Pallavi

Continuing with the guest posts for Valli's Kid's Delight: 5 Ingredient event being here right here on my blog. Today I have my dear cousin Pallavi's Sabhudana Khichdi. Pallavi lives in Delaware and has 2 beautiful daughters. She is a great cook and makes amazing Andhra dishes. She is a busy working mom, so big thanks to her for taking time and sending 2 delicious dishes for the Kid's delight event. She even took awesome step-by-step pictures.

I'm going to turn it over to Pallavi now:
I have been waiting all these days for my elder kid to ask me make a specific dish of her choice. Before hitting the bed her wish was for Sabudana kichidi for next day’s lunch pack. Immediately Pavani’s (Proud to say my cousin) Kids Delight Even flashed in my mind. Sabudana Kichidi is not much famous in Andhra (my native place). I had it the very first time and often during my stay in Mumbai. Probably I like it as much as my kid does. Later I learnt it from my Mother-in-law, a magical chef. People often say she cooks with lot of passion and love. I learnt basics in cooking only after marriage that too inspired from my Mother-in-law’s cooking. 
Sabudana Khichdi

May 13, 2013

Banana Nutella Nut Milkshake

I wrote about my son's love for chocolate a lot of times. His mom is obsessed with everything related to cooking and eating and he is obsessed with everything chocolate. The other day when he had to pick between vanilla and strawberry ice creams, he told me very seriously that he doesn't like vanilla. I couldn't help myself from laughing out loud because I wasn't sure if he knew why he didn't like vanilla. My guess is he thinks he shouldn't like vanilla because he loves chocolate :-)
Well anyway, chocolate actually makes him eat bananas, because he eats bananas drizzled with chocolate syrup. Not the best way to eat a fruit, but I'm happy he's at least trying it. I believe in baby steps and I'm sure one day he'll get better at trying and tasting different foods.

Banana Mini Rounds (Banana Ebelskivers)

Recipe Courtesy: My dear friend Yagna Jyothy

Another yummy kid friendly creation from my friend Jyothy. She calls them Banana mini rounds, a  fun name for kids to get excited to eat. They look similar to appam and they sound simple to make and delicious to eat for both kids and adults alike. 
Here's what Jyothy had to say about the recipe: "The recipe was put together by something my sister said she made for her coffee mornings out of left over bananas- as I was complaining about bananas rotting often in the kitchen."

Sago Murukku (Saggubiyyam/ Sabudana Murukulu)

Recipe Courtesy: My Dear friend Yagna Jyothy

Here's another crunchy and delicious snack recipe from Jyothy. Here's what she said on how and what made her make these murukkus for her daughter Raaga:"Cheese puffs are my husband's favorite junk food and he keeps them stocked at home much to my annoyance. Raaga has been munching on them lately and it got to a point where she has to have a handful of them EVERY evening while I make dinner. I decided that if she must eat junk, it might as well be something homemade- and somehow minimize the junk factor. Put in a call to my mom and got this recipe. Raaga has not eaten cheese puffs since I made these. My next goal would be to move from murkulu to fresh veggies for a pre-dinner snack, although that may just be my wishful thinking."
Sago Murukku

Carrot Ravva Laddu

Recipe Courtesy: My dear friend Yagna Jyothy

I reached out to my cousins and friends to contribute to Valli's Kid's Delight: 5 Ingredient fix event that I'm hosting here this month. I'm so happy that they took time from their busy schedules to make some of their kids favorite dishes and send them over to the event. 
First recipe comes from my friend Jyothy, who lives in Portland, Oregon and has a most lovable little daughter, Raaga. Though I haven't seen Jyothy in over 12 years, I've been in virtual contact with her on Facebook. Thanks to the world wide web and to Facebook for connecting people together and making the world much smaller (virtually). Here's the recipe for Ravva Laddoo from Jyothy that she made healthier with the addition of grated carrot. She says these are Raaga's favorite and she enjoys them for breakfast and dinner.
Carrot Ravva Laddoo

May 12, 2013

Aam Panna (Green Mango Juice)

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 2/ Day 3
Theme: Mango Special Dishes
Dish: Aam Panna (Panha) Raw Mango Juice
I'm used to making and drinking juices/ milkshakes and smoothies made with ripe mangoes only. So making this juice with raw green mango took me this long. I've seen recipes for aam panna (panha) on Nupur's blog, on Valli's blog and I bookmarked them to try, but kept postponing since I wasn't sure how it would turn out. Finally I took the leap and saved 1 raw mango to make this summer favorite drink.
Aam Panna (Panha)
I followed Nupur's recipe and since we like things a little sweet in our household I added a little more jaggery than recommended in her recipe. I'm so glad I finally tried it -- it's sweet, tart and oh-so refreshing. I'm sure it's the perfect drink on a sweltering summer afternoon.

May 11, 2013

Raw Mango Masala Curry

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 2/ Day 2
Theme: Mango Special Dishes
Dish: Raw Mango Masala Curry
For the 2nd day under "Mango Special dishes", I made Raw Mango curry. Like I said in my previous post, I have never tried any curry dishes with mango. So when I saw this being made on a Telugu cooking show, I noted it down knowing very well that I'll be trying it soon for BM. 
The highlight of the curry is the freshly ground masala (spice paste) that is added and it is flavorful and spicy. This masala can be used with other vegetables to make delicious curries.

May 10, 2013

Homemade Pesto Pizza

This is our first Home Bakers Challenge. Home Bakers is an enthusiastic group of baking enthusiastic bloggers and is started by Priya Suresh @ Priya's Versatile Recipes. For the first month's challenge Divya @ Divya's Culinary Journey picked Homemade Pizza.
Homemade Pesto Pizza
We were given couple of different pizza crust and toppings recipes and I made Martha Stewart's pizza crust recipe with few minor changes and a store bought pesto topping. I liked that this recipe can be conveniently made in the food processor. I added wholewheat flour along with all-purpose flour to add some fiber and nutrition.

Raw Mango Salad with Moong Dal (Mango Kosambari)

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 2/ Day 1
Theme: Mango Special Dishes
Dish: Raw Mango Salad with Moong Dal
We start our 2nd week of Blogging Marathon today and my theme for this week is "Mango Special dishes". It's not summer yet in our neck of woods, but nothing can stop us from enjoying mangoes. We get mangoes all round the year but the taste of summer mangoes cannot be beat, in my opinion. 
For this week, I have tried 3 new recipes with raw green mangoes that I've never made before. I usually make dal or rice or pickle with raw mango. But I wanted to try raw mango in completely different form for this week.

May 05, 2013

Vegetarian Tacos with Pinto Beans & Cheese

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 1/ Day 3
Theme: Kid's Delight - 5 Ingredient Fix
Dish: Vegetarian Tacos with Pinto Beans & Cheese

Today's dish for Kid's Delight - 5 ingredient fix is my son's latest favorite. My 5 year old is slowly getting better at trying ingredients and dishes these days (knock on wood). I was surprised when he wanted me to order 'tacos' at Chipotle and surprised me even more when he liked them a LOT. He especially loved the corn salsa they put on his tacos and now he says that corn is his favorite veggie (not sure how long that will last). Anyway, right now I'm a happy camper because at least he's willing to try something new instead of just saying 'no' for everything.
Vegetarian Tacos with Pinto Beans & Cheese
I wanted to make tacos for him at home and what better day than today, 'Cinco de Mayo' (5th of May) to post them here for Valli's Kid's Delight event being hosted by me this month. 

May 04, 2013

Vegetarian Pita Pizza with Meatless Meatballs

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 1/ Day 2
Theme: Kid's Delight - 5 Ingredient Fix
Dish: Pita Pizza with Meatless Meatballs
Kids LOVE cheese, kids LOVE pizza, so it's only obvious that we have a pizza post for Kid's Delight: 5 ingredient fix, that I'm hosting this month right here. Thanks to Valli for giving me the opportunity to host.
Coming back to kids and their love of pizza, my 5 year old son is no different. He absolutely loves pizza and he thinks Friday is the best day of the week and he wants everyday to be a Friday just because they have pizza for lunch in school. He wanted me to make meatball pizza because he saw that flavor on the pizza box and wanted to see how it tastes. So, of course I had to make it for him.

May 03, 2013

Tofu Fried Rice

Blogging Marathon# 28: Week 1/ Day 1
Theme: Kid's Delight - 5 Ingredient Fix
Dish: Tofu Fried Rice
We are back to our regular blogging schedule for this month and my theme for the first week is "Kid's Delight - 5 ingredient fix". I'm hosting Valli's Kid's Delight event this month and for the next 3 days I will be posting recipes that are my kid approved and have 5 ingredients or less.
Tofu Fried Rice
I was watching Dr. Oz's show this morning and one thing he said that was interesting was 'never buy any prepared food that has more than 5 ingredients' and 'if it has ingredients that a 6 year old cannot read -- do not buy'. But if you can make tasty and interesting dishes right at home, then there is no need to buy junk from outside. What do you guys think?

May 01, 2013

Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables

After posting sugary desserts for the past 4 days, I thought it was time for something healthy and definitely savory. Also May happens to be the 'National Month of Salad', so what's better than a healthy salad to kick start this month. I didn't know that there was such a thing as salad month, but I guess it's never too late to know about good things, right??
Farro Salad with Roasted Veggies
Today's salad is made with "Farro", an ancient grain believed to have sustained the Roman legions. I have heard about and have seen a number of bloggers cooking with it, so I bought some from Whole Foods recently. Since the weather is still a little chilly, I roasted some veggies in the oven and mixed them with cooked farro for a simple, filling and healthy salad.


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