Cook's Hideout: July 2015

July 31, 2015

Strawberry Crush (Strawberry Concentrate)

I wrote about the huge load of strawberries we got from strawberry picking in this post. After making those pancakes and the syrup, I still had a lot of them leftover. So I asked my blog buddies on whatsapp on how to use them up before they go bad.
Strawberry Concentrate

Ever resourceful Vaishali gave her Strawberry crush recipe. She said it's her tried and tested recipe and I immediately set about to make the crush. Vaishali uses the crush in many different ways: as a sauce to serve chocolate desserts, to make popsicles and so on. Head over to Vaishali's blog for many more yummy ideas to use with strawberry crush.

July 26, 2015

Tomato Dosa with Oats

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 4/ Day 3
Theme: Lentils -- 3 Ways
Dish: Tomato Dosa with Oats
I have an interesting dosa recipe for the final day of this month's blogging marathon. Dosas are an excellent mix of lentils and rice and give a good dose of protein and carbohydrates to the body.
Dosa with Tomato & Oats
I saw this recipe for dosa with tomato and oats on a Telugu cooking show and immediately noted it down in my book. I made these couple of days ago and they turned out great. Adding oats makes these dosas a little more nutritious.

July 25, 2015

Lentil Chickpea Burger

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: Lentils -- 3 Ways
Dish: Lentil Chickpea Burger
For Day 2 of this week's marathon, I have a protein rich burger made with a combination of lentils and chickpeas. Homemade veggie burgers usually don't hold up too well on the grill, but these burgers didn't fall apart on the grill and tasted awesome after grilling.
Grilled Lentil Burger
Recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine and it was originally a Greek flavored burger, but I changed it to more of an Indian flavored one. If you want to, change up the herbs and spices and make up your own version.

July 24, 2015

Greek Lentil Salad

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: Lentils -- 3 Ways
Dish: Greek Lentil Salad
My theme for this week's blogging marathon is 'Lentils -- 3 ways'. Valli wants us to use 3 different lentils in 3 different ways, so for the next 3 days I have some interesting dishes using lentils.
I love dals and I am always looking for ways to incorporate them into my daily diet. Lentils are one of the most important sources of protein for vegetarians and I stock up on quite a few varieties in my pantry.
French Lentil Salad
For the first day, I made a Greek Lentil salad using Puy or French Lentils. These tiny lentils cook up in about 25~30 minutes and do not need to be pre-soaked. So it is really quick and easy to make this salad. Recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine.

Honeydew Citrus Juice

I am enjoying the warm summer weather, the lovely fresh summer fruit and my backyard garden these days. It makes me sad that it's already middle of summer -- I wish I can hold on it a little longer.
May be I can with this refreshing drink made with honeydew melon and citrus juice. I bought a honey dew melon the other day, it was super juicy, sweet and delicious. After eating most of it as is, I used the rest to make this drink.
Honeydew Orange Juice

July 19, 2015

Summer fruit and Yogurt Popsicles

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 3/ Day 3
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Cooking from Kid's Books/ TV shows
Dish: Yogurt & Summer fruit Popsicles
For the final day of this week's BM, I made these colorful and delicious fruit & yogurt popsicles. Since this is for Kid's Delight: Cooking from Story books/ TV Shows, being hosted by PJ, this recipe is from one of my son's books, Black Lagoon adventures.
Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles
The main character in the book starts a popsicle business in his neighborhood during summer vacation. But no one comes to buy them and the popsicles melt away into a puddle. He then decides to start lemonade business instead. I think this is were my son got the idea to start a lemonade stand. He bugged me for a long time to make lemonade, so he can open a lemonade stand in the front yard.

July 18, 2015

Vegetarian Tamales with Spinach, Corn and Cheese Filling

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 3/ Day 2
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Cooking from Kid's Books/ TV shows
Dish: Tamales with Spinach, Corn & Cheese Filling 
For the second day of BM# 54 under 'Kid's Delight: Cooking from story books/ TV shows', I made Tamales. I asked my son to give me ideas for this week's theme and he said he watched a TV show where they made tamales and he wanted me to try them too.
Tamales have been on my to-make list for a very very long time. I asked my blog buddy Mir to buy me some corn husks and the sweet heart she is, she brought me a big bag of corn husks that I finally got to use today.
Vegetarian Tamale
Tamales are made with masa harina, a traditional flour used to make corn tortillas and other Mexican dishes. The flour is made from dried masa, a dough made specially from treated corn. If you want to know more about masa harina, read this. The masa dough encases the filling and the whole tamale is wrapped in a corn husk or a banana leave and either steamed or boiled.

July 17, 2015

Vegetarian Green Eggs (with Spinach)

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 3/ Day 1
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Cooking from Kid's Books/ TV shows
Dish: Green Eggs with Spinach
My theme for this week's Blogging Marathon is very interesting, it is 'Kid's Delight -- Cooking from Kid's Books/ TV shows'. PJ is hosting this month's Kid's Delight event with this very unique and interesting theme. My son loves to read books and like any kid watches TV too. So I thought it would be fun to make some dishes from books & TV shows he reads and watches.
Green Eggs with Spinach
For the first day, I made Vegetarian Green Eggs from Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham children's book. Like other Dr. Seuss books it is a very child friendly book with lots of rhyming words in simple vocabulary that even beginning readers will understand.

Tostones (Fried Raw Green Plantains) with Mojo Sauce

I made these Tostones or fried green plantains for Cuban meal earlier this week. From what I've read, fried green plantains are very popular and pull together most any Latin Caribbean meal. They have different names (tostones, patacones, tajadas, mariquitas) and shapes depending on the country.
These crunchy slabs of fried plantains make a very addictive snack or appetizer when served with lightly salted or with a garlicky mojo sauce. This recipe is from Viva Vegan cookbook.
Fried Raw Green Plantains
Green plantain is fried twice, smushed down just prior to the second frying to create a thinner and extra crunchy treat. There are many methods for crushing tostones for their second frying. The idea is to use a heavy, flat object to evenly apply enough pressure to the cooked plantain to flatten it, but not so much that it falls apart. There's a special Latin kitchen tool; called a tostonera that is designed just for the smashing purpose. I used my handy-dandy poori press for that and it worked great for me.

July 15, 2015

Sanna Pakora (Sindhi Onion Pakoda) for Indian Cooking Challenge

For this month's 'Indian Cooking Challenge', Valli chose a delicious Sanna Pakora, a Sindi specialty. She gave us 2 recipes to refer from - one from from Vaishali and one from Alka.
Sindhi Onion Pakoda
We made a fritter, Patnam Pakodi, from AP for last month's challenge. But this Sindhi pakoda is quite different. Though the ingredients are almost the same in both the recipes, these Sanna pakoras are double fried. First the batter is fried in big chunks, then cut into smaller pieces and fried the second time. This second frying makes the fritters extra crispy and yummy.

July 14, 2015

Cuban Style Yellow Rice (Vegan recipe)

The second Cuban dish I made for #Food of the World challenge is this quick, simple and delicious Cuban style Yellow rice. Recipe is from All recipes and it needs just a few ingredients.
Vegan Cuban Yellow Rice
Rice gets its yellow color from annatto seed powder and paprika. Annatto is an orange-red condiment and food coloring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. It imparts a yellow or orange color to foods and is also used to give flavor and aroma to dishes.

Cuban Black Beans for #Food of the World (Vegan Recipe)

For this month's #Food of the World event, we are traveling to Cuba. Cuban cuisine is quite new to me. I've never made any Cuban dishes at home nor tried anything outside. So I took to Google looking for vegetarian Cuban recipes.
Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean cuisines. Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. Traditional Cuban meal is not served in courses, all the dishes are served that the same time.
Cuban Black Beans
The typical meal consists of plantains, black beans, Cuban bread, pork with onions and tropical fruits. Black beans and rice, referred to Moros and plantains are staples of the Cuban diet. Garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaves are the dominant spices.

Oats Bread with Maple and Walnuts for #BreadBakers

For this month's #BreadBakers challenge, our host for the month Rocio picked 'breads with oats'. We are free to pick any form of oats -- steel cut, rolled or quick and it can be a sweet or savory bread.
Bread with Oats, Maple Syrup & Walnuts
I chose to make Oats bread with maple syrup and walnuts from King Arthur Whole Grains Baking cookbook. Whole wheat and oats are the featured whole grains in this soft, high rising loaf. Original recipe used maple sugar, but since I don't have it, I just used light brown sugar. Maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness and the nuttiness of walnuts is a nice counterpoint. This bread is great as is or toasted with some butter, jam or my kids favorite Nutella.

July 12, 2015

Vegan Banana doughnuts with Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 2/ Day 3
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Fruits in any form
Dish: Banana Doughnuts with Chocolate Fudge Sauce
I am not sure who liked these doughnutss better, the kids or me!!!!!! These banana beignets or mini doughnuts are just insane. They taste so good that I ate almost all of them the first time I made them, may be I gave a few to my daughter. I had to make them a second time because I just had to (no actually the first round pictures turned awful).
Vegan Banana donuts
This will be my last post for this week's BM under the Kid's Delight -- fruits in any form theme. I saw Bobby Flay make these beignets on his 'Brunch with Bobby' cook show. They looked so good on TV that I had to make them at home right away.

July 11, 2015

Strawberry-Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Strawberry Maple Syrup

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 2/ Day 2
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Fruits in any form
Dish: Strawberry-Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Strawberry Maple Syrup
For the second day under Kid's Delight -- fruits in any form theme, I made strawberry pancakes and served them with strawberry maple syrup. My kids love pancakes and waffles for breakfast, but I rarely make them. After a lot of nagging from them, I finally treat them with some pancakes.
Eggless Strawberry Pancakes
Last month, we went strawberry picking and seeing all the beautiful strawberries we got too excited and picked way too much than we can really handle. Strawberries are quite fragile and need to be treated very gently. I sorted them out and put them in a single layer on paper towel lined baking sheets in the fridge.

July 10, 2015

Cherry Tomato Pachadi (Cherry tomato Chutney)

Cherry tomatoes have lately become my absolute favorite. I buy a big tub of them from BJ's and use them in different dishes. They are so juicy and have just the perfect taste. I planted a cherry tomato plant in my garden this year, I'm waiting for my harvest.
Cherry Tomato Chutney
After adding them to salads, pastas and other non-Indian dishes, I wanted to make something Indian with them. After a quick call to my mom, I set out to make this quick, easy and tasty cherry tomato pachadi.

Mango Almond Smoothie

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 2/ Day 1
Theme: Kid's Delight -- Fruits in any form
Dish: Mango-Almond Smoothie
We are starting a brand new week of blogging marathon and my theme for this week is 'Fruits in any form'. It's for Valli's Kid's Delight event being hosted this month by Harini. I have 2 extremes at home, my son doesn't want to touch any fruit and my daughter loves most of the fruits. So for this week, I've tried to make dishes that would (hopefully) please both of them.
Mango Badam smoothie
First up is this delicious and nutritious mango-almond smoothie. With mango season in full swing, I am making sure to keep fresh, juicy mangoes in stock all the time. We eat most of them as is -- peeled and diced.

July 05, 2015

Creamy Pesto Pasta

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 1/ Day 3
Theme: Vegetarian Italian dishes
Dish: Creamy Pesto Pasta
Kids sure are very unpredictable. My son is the picky eater in the house and my daughter is an adventurous eater, but they are slowly reversing their likes. The little one is becoming too picky and doesn't want to try anything new.
Pesto Pasta
I made this creamy pesto pasta for dinner one day and since I wasn't sure if the kids would like it, I made them something else too. But my son declared that pesto sauce is his second favorite pasta sauce right after marinara sauce. Then my little one tried a little bit and wanted to eat it for her dinner too. So the kids ate most of the pasta and the adults ended up eating what I made for the kids.

July 04, 2015

Green Mango-Potato Pulao

Sometimes I wonder if I would be this adventurous at making new dishes if I was not a food blogger. I saw the recipe for this raw mango & potato pulao on a Telugu cooking show one day and made it the same day because I had all the ingredients on hand. As I was making it, I started wondering if I would try this combination if I wasn't thinking about posting it on the blog.
Kairi Alu Pulao
After that I started wondering how the dish would taste and how the husband would like it. The dish ended up tasting pretty good, even though in hindsight I should have added a little more chili powder and green chilies to make it a little more spicy.

Asparagus & Spinach Pasta with Checca Sauce

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 1/ Day 2
Theme: Vegetarian Italian dishes
Dish: Asparagus & Spinach Pasta with Checca Sauce
Today's dish is a simple pasta with sauteed asparagus and spinach that is then mixed with a no-cook checca sauce. We had this dish at California Pizza kitchen couple of months back and I wanted to try it at home ever since.
Spaghetti with Checca Sauce
The first time I made it, I wasn't sure if the kids would like it. But both the kids came back for seconds. This dish will be in my meal rotation now.

July 03, 2015

Eggplant Parmesan with Creamed Spinach

Blogging Marathon# 54: Week 1/ Day 1
Theme: Vegetarian Italian dishes
Dish: Eggplant Parmesan with Creamed Spinach
We are starting a new edition of blogging marathon today and my theme for the week is 'Vegetarian Italian Dishes'. With my son thinking that he is half Italian, it is only obvious that I take up this theme to try some new Italian dishes.
Eggplant Parmesan with Creamed Spinach
I already have a lot of Italian dishes on my blog and I wanted to try something new and different for this week. First up is a spin on classic eggplant parmesan. The traditional way of making this dish involves frying eggplant and then burying it under piles of gooey cheese and tomato sauce. It's very delicious, but it has enough calories for the whole day.


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