Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stuffed Bell Peppers - with minced turkey

While Thanksgiving is when most people of think of turkey, I buy them throughout the year. No! not the whole bird but the minced (kheema) turkey. Spiced up they are tasty. Those days when getting goat kheema was almost impossible turkey filled the void pretty nicely. Those of you who are trying to use up the turkey you cooked up last week this could be a change from the usual sandwiches and soups people tend to use the leftovers for.

This past summer I had a few bell pepper plants but due to lack of water or nutrition or whatever the pepper I grew were not the ginormous size we usually see in the grocery store instead there were about 1/3 of the size and tastier. Smaller the size, tastier the end result - go figure.

I had wanted to give chile relleno a try but was not too keen on the the tomato because at that time in the summer we were to our gills with tomato and did not want another meal with tomato sauce so left that out.

Though it looks like a time consuming affair, cooking these stuffed bell peppers is pretty easy. Clean the bell peppers and pat them dry. I have used minced turkey for stuffing but really the choice is really up to you. Mashed and spiced potatoes or beans can be used. If you like soy granules they could be used here too. Cook the turkey kheema using whatever spices you prefer. Cook rice - I used brown rice.

Recipe in pictures.

Clean the bell peppers and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.
Drain the bell peppers, apply oil on the outside and set aside. Cook the minced turkey .
Arrange the bell peppers in a oil coated baking dish. Add some rice followed by the kheema into the bell pepper.
Top with cheese and bake in a 350F preheated oven for 15 minutes or till the cheese is melted and looks golden brown.
Serve with some preferred sauce on the side.

For a vegetarian version use mashed spiced potatoes or soy granules cooked the same way.

Stuffed Bell Peppers - with minced turkey
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  1. 10-15 small sized bell peppers or use 5 large bell peppers preferably green
  2. l lb cooked turkey kheema(minced turkey) - recipe
  3. 2 cups cooked brown rice
  4. 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  5. spicy ketchup or any other tomato sauce (optional)

  1. Cook the turkey kheema as per recipe of your choice, should be dry.
  2. Cook rice if desired with a bit of butter, lemon juice and salt. Fluff and set aside.
  3. Clean the bell peppers, cut the top step portion off and remove the seeds and ribs. Set aside.
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil, the pot should be big enough to hold all the bell peppers or do them in batches.
    Submerge the bell peppers and let it blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain the water immediately and set aside.
  5. Spray or rub the outside of the bell pepper with oil.
  6. In a oil coated baking dish arrange the bell peppers so they stand upright.
  7. Start by adding rice to each of the bell pepper for about quarter of the way. Fill with kheema or add the kheema and add a bit more rice and top with cheese as much as you want.
  8. Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, till the cheese is melted, looks golden brown and the bell pepper look roasted on the outside.
  9. Serve with ketchup or any other salsa or tomato sauce.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Basil Pesto with Pecans and Jalapenos

Sick of the news coverage? Afraid that this is going to be our lives for the next four years? An ugly reality TV show that will never end? Maybe this is a good time for us to turn off the idiot box and spend more time in the kitchen and outdoors and perhaps improve our health.

If you are curious, I am not completely torn up about the elections because the status quo was not working and everybody needed a jolt. But I had visions of mobs chasing us from our homes. All of us probably have to step out of our comfort zones and stop thinking that our views are superior to everybody else's. Didn't someone say "In a democracy we get the government we deserve"? So it is our fate to be part of the reality TV show for the next four years or God forbid more!! I have standing bet in my house that the reality TV star is going to resign in 1 or 2 years. Let's see. Kidding aside let's hope for all of our sakes saner heads will prevail and everybody will behave like adults.

Let's move on to some pleasant things like growing Basil and making your own pesto. Basil plants are easy to grow in pots. They are perfectly happy near a sunny window. DD2 decided to grow a few basil plants. Sitting outside during the summer they produced an amazing amount of leaves. Basil Pesto was what came to my mind. If you bring the plants inside you are sure to get some more leaves for a couple more months at least.

I also had some home grown jalapeno on hand which worked beautifully in this recipe. If you don't want the heat leave the peppers out.

The basil pesto can be added to pasta, noodles or even dumplings.

Wash basil leaves and take them in a blender along with the jalapeno and add the pecans.
Blend to a smooth paste along with some olive oil.

Basil Pesto with Pecans and Jalapenos
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  1. 3 cups Basil loosely packed washed and patted dry
  2. 5-6 Jalapenos de-seeded and roughly chopped
  3. 3/4 cup pecans
  4. 1/2 cup olive oil
  5. salt to taste
  6. Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup (optional, I did not add any)

  1. Take the basil leaves, chopped jalapeno peppers, the pecans, salt and the olive oil in a blender.
  2. Add in the Parmesan cheese if using.
  3. Blend to a smooth paste. Remove to a container. Add some more olive oil on top to avoid discoloration.
  4. Cook the pasta as per the cooking directions. Add in the basil pesto and mix it in, add a bit more olive oil and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Multigrain flour and Moongdal Murukku - Multigrain savory crackers

Anytime I come across multigrain anything I tend to buy it and give it a try. This time it was multigrain flour gluten free. I bought it for the purposes of making rotis. But using gluten free flour to make rotis requires lots of patience. No gluten means there is nothing to hold it together to make a shape out of it by rolling. You might be far more successful patting them into round shapes. On the other hand, the rotis made with this flour is very tasty.

So we had to find other ways of using it. They make excellent dosai by themselves or mixed with a tiny bit of regular dosai batter. I make roits by using half multigrain flour and the other half regular chapathi flour. They are easy to roll this way. When it came time to make some Deepavali snack I wanted to give this multigrain murukku a try. They did not disappoint. I also added some roasted moongdal flour along with the multigrain flour.

Combine together rice, multigrain and moongdal flour and whisk them together. Add chili powder, salt, asfoetida.
Add cumin seeds and sesame seeds and mix them in. Start sprinkling water and making the dough.
Continue sprinkling just enough water to bring together to form a stiff dough.
In a wide mouthed pan or kadai heat the oil for deep frying. Use the murukku maker to make the murukku shape on the back of a laddle or on a small plate.
Drop the presses murukku into the oil. Initially there will be a lot of bubbles which will slowly start to subside when the murukku is cooked completely. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Multigrain flour and Moongdal Murukku
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
  1. 2 cups rice flour
  2. 1 cup multigrain flour
  3. 1 cup moongdal flour
  4. 1/2 tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
  5. 1/4 tsp asfoetida
  6. salt to taste
  7. 1 tsp sesame seeds
  8. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  9. 1 tbsp butter melted
  10. Oil for deep frying

  1. Whisk together the rice flour, multigrain flour and moongdal flour. Add in the butter, chili powder, asfoetida and salt and mix together with sesame seeds and cumin seeds.
  2. Sprinkle water a little at a time and bring the dough together till it smooth. Do not add too much water.
  3. In a wide mouthed pan or kadai heat oil.
  4. Take the dough in the murukku press and press out the shapes.
  5. Keep the heat in medium once the oil has reached the required temperature. To check if the oil has reached the desired temperature add a tiny bit of dough and see if it comes to the top and bubbling.
  6. Keep the dough covered by a wet towel so it does not dry out.
  7. Once the oil is hot add in the pressed murukku and let it cook. Initially there will be a lot of bubbles which will slowly die down and the murukku will change color to golden brown.
  8. Remove the cooked murukku with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  9. Repeat the process till all the dough is done.
  10. Note:If the dough is too wet it will absorb too much oil. If there is too little it will be hard to press and the murukku won't hold its shape. I had the dough slightly stiff so it was not easy to make shapes but worked for our us.

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