Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Potato Cheese Enchilada

Enchiladas have always fascinated me. They are the perfect answer in the quest for a menu that does not feature rice. If you love cheese and potatoes this is a dish, you do not want to miss. Conveniently, Washington Post's recipe section featured it last week. The kiddies coined a word for the dish - Gooey Goodness. Not a peep from the adult or kiddies in the household. It disappeared without a trace.

Update: This year happens to be the International Year of the Potato, and Sia from Monsoon Spice is holding a wonderful event Ode to Potato. This lovely dish is going to participate in her event but with a Warning - she may look at it but not taste it, she is on a diet you see :)

I also hear that DK from DK's Culinary Bazaar is organizing a Potato Fe(a)st. So off this goes to participate there.


Recipe Source: Washinton Post Recipe Finder


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Ingredients:
1. 3 Medium Sized Potatoes, peeled cubed and boiled to fork tender in salted water
2. 1 1/2 Coriander leaves washed and chopped
3. 1/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack Cheese
4. 1/4 tbsp red chili powder (optional)
Mix the above and set aside



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For the Sauce
5. 1 Can Enchilada Sauce (10 oz)
6. 1 Medium Sized Onion chopped
7. 4 garlic cloves chopped
8. 1 tsp cumin powder
9. 1/2 tbsp Chili powder



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Ready for the oven


Sauce Preparation
a. Heat about a tsp oil in a skillet, when hot add the onions and garlic and saute till translucent
b. Add the cumin and chili powders.
c. Add the Enchilada Sauce along with a cup of water.
d. Let it boil for about 10 minutes.
e. Check for salt and heat and adjust

10. 8 Tortillas
11. 1/2 Cup of Grated Gruyere Cheese + Cheddar/Monteray Jack Cheese



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Hot and ready to eat


Method:
1. Take a baking dish and spray with oil.
2. Spread some of the prepared Enchilada sauce on the bottom
3. Heat the tortilla
4. Set some of the potato mixture in the midldle and roll.
5. Place on the baking dish.
6. Repeat for all of the tortillas, stacking them tightly in the baking dish
7. Pour the sauce over the tortillas.
8. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top.
9. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes.

Serve and enjoy, Gooey Goodness indeed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tomato Chutney with Tortilla Chips - Thank you

Look what the Postman deposited on my door step last week. Dear Linda who blogs her lovely recipes at Out of the Garden sent me this delicious Tomato Chutney. They were the perfect accompaniment for tortilla chips and toasted bread. Linda says they are based of a recipe from Trial and Error . Thanks Linda they were wonderful.


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Jalapeno Red Peppers Tortilla Chips : FoodShouldTasteGood

Just the snack for novel reading on a cold sunday afternoon.
Novel Reading
1. Suspect - John Lescroart
2. I don't know how she does it - Allison Pearson

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ragi Dosai (with whole Ragi)

Americans I think unfairly get a lot of flak for being overly consumeristic and for shopping like there is no tomorrow. Sometimes rightly so because this is a society were the President exhorts his citizens to go shopping even when there is a national tragedy. But times they are changing.

The recent economic downturn has the rest of the world in jitters that Americans might just change their spend thrifty ways, thus clearly illustrating that the health of the world economy is strongly linked to American consumers' pocketbooks. This does not mean that the net zero savings rate is no cause for worry but before flinging mud, it is time the rest of the world stops to think. Americans don't have to be lonely in carrying this undue burden, citizens of China and India are competing with Americans in this arena pretty well. I have not visited China so don't know for sure but Indians don't seem to be any lower in their materialistic pursuits. The spending has clearly left the Americans with an abysmally low savings rate and comparing to the Chinese who have an extremely high savings rate and economists are of the opinions that neither trend is good for the health of the respective economies. But where is the middle ground and who is going to change? That is clearly something to think about.

Ragi Dosai
But with Ragi dosai there is nothing to think about, no fermentation is required so can make start making dosais right after the batter is ready. Using whole ragi gives it the intense brown color and also makes the dosais much softer and moister than using ragi flour.


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Ingredients
1. 1 Cup of Whole Ragi kernels
2. 1/4 Cup Rice
3. 1/8 Cup Urad dal

Soak the above and grind with water to a consistency as that of idli batter.
4. 1/4 Red onion
5. tsp cumin
6. a few curry leaves
7. Blend the above rougly and add to the batter just before starting to make dosais. (Adding the onion mixture does not keep the batter in good condition for long so add them to just the right amount of batter to be used)
8. Salt to taste


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Ragi Dosai with Tomato Chutney


Method
1. Heat a griddle , add a laddle of batter and spread it to a circular shape using the back of the laddle
2. Spray some oil on the edges, when it starts to brown, flip and cook on the other side.
3. Serve with chutney of choice.



French twist on Ragi Dosai! ;)

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Here you go: David Lebovitz




Whole Ragi
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Beet(root) Dosai

Winter it seems is perfect for movie watching, endless nights stretched out before it is time to go to sleep. To find a movie that is OK for the whole family to watch is not an easy task. Adults in the household can only take so much of Cars, Monsters, Inc and Happy Feet and the kiddies are not yet ready for Michael Clayton. But not to despair we did hit a middle ground with 1940s and 50s Hollywood movies. Sometime ago it was Mr. Smith goes to Washington and more recently "The Talk of the Town", Jean Arthur has become my favorite actress. It had comedy, romance and was also a thriller to boot. What more can anyone ask. And did I say I love my local library?


When a choice is given between idli or dosai, usually dosai wins hands down. But even the ever favorite dosai can get boring after a while but jazzing it up by adding some color never hurts. Hand anything colorful, over to the kids or adults for that matter curiosity gets the better of them and then the taste buds take over. Beet dosai is one such, the color is amazing and a taste to match.



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Ingredients
1. Few Days old dosai batter
2. Grated Beetroot
3. Finely chopped onion
4. finely chopped green chilies (optional)


Method
1. Mix ingr 1-4, adding salt if necessary
2. Heat a hot griddle, pour a laddle of batter, sperad thinly in a circular motion
3. Add oil to the edges.
4. Flip, cook on the other side

Serve with chutney of choice. We had them with Tomato Mashers.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blueberry Yogurt Coffee Cake

It is that time of the year when sniffles and coughs make ther uninvited appearance. So to fill the house with wonderful smells I decided I need to do some baking. I am no big baker! I usually bake when the kids bug me, if some ingredients need to be used real quick or sometimes to satisfy a craving. Last week's looks at Washington Post Food section led me down such a path just when I was wondering how to make use of some blueberries in the freezer. I made a few modifications to the original recipe. The cake was not too sweet, hence was great for breakfast or with a slather of honey for a wonderful desert. I used a rectangular baking dish because that is the only kind I have but a round pan would be preferable.

Recipe Source : Washington Post Food Section - Blueberry Yogurt Coffee Cake



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Ingredients
Dry
1. 2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry flour
2. 1 tsp baking powder
3. 1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet
4. 3 Medium sized eggs
5. 1 1/4 cups homemade yogurt from 1% milk
6. 2 tbsp raw sugar
7. 1/4 cup molasses
8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
9. 4 tbsp butter at room temperature
10. 1 1/2 Cups blueberries defrosted

11. 2 1/2 tbsp of Honey bunches of Oats crushed or granola


Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. Sift the dry ingredients together.
3. Beat the eggs
4. Mix yogurt, vanilla extract, sugar, molasses and the eggs
5. Make a well in the flour and add the yogurt mixture in the middle and slowly mix it in.
6. Add the butter.
7. Gently fold in the blueberries
8.Add the batter to a buttered pan.
9. Sprinkle the honey bunches of oats evenly on top.
10. Bake for 35 minutes or till a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The cake was delicious, with the moist blueberries in the middle and the crunchy top.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Carrot and Tomato Chutney

We watched Taare Zameen Par last night. It is as much a movie for adults as much as it is a kids movie. Having watched endless promos for the movie while in India, DD could not wait to watch the movie and last night on her way back from swim practise she brought home the DVD . Dyslexia is a topic that is rarely ever talked about in India, so very heartening to see Bollywood trying to spread awareness of what it really means. It is not easy being a kid in the hyper competitive environment that is India, where every action is carried out to get admission in a prestigious professional college. I am not about to lay the entire blame on the parents who seem to push kids further and further but at society which defines success in these terms where any career other than in Math and Sciences is viewed as less than best. A very good movie with very good acting but DD was shocked, well for that matter me too, at all the teachers who came across as plain mean besides Aamir Khan's character ofcourse!


As for our riceless (by this I mean steamed rice ) dinners last week, but for one weeknight I managed to provide the family what they wanted. Idlis make their appearance often and I for one can't satisfy the family's request without it. Though technically it would not be considered riceless since the batter is made with rice it does not really fall into the rice category. Making new and tasty chutneys to go with the idlis present their own unique challenge. But with some carrots, tomatoes and onions that challenge is easy to surmont. Carrots provide the right texture almost similar to what adding coconut would do. And for those who are trying to avoid coconut subsitute carrot in one of those chutneys once and you would see what I mean.



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Idlis with chutney and some moong dal sundal

Ingredients
1. 2 Carrots peeled and cut into cubes
2. 2 tomatoes cut into small pieces
3. 1/4 onion cubed
4. 1 tsp of split urad dal
5. 1/4 tsp cumin
6. 6-7 pepper corns
7. 1 1/2 red chilies deseeded
8. Salt to taste

Method
1. Dry roast 4-7 and set aside
2. add a little bit of oil saute onions, followed by carrots and tomatoes
3. Cool and blend to a paste.

Excellent with idlis or dosais

Monday, January 14, 2008

Aloo Paratha

Happy Pongal!
Wish it were a holiday today.

Family's request to not put rice on the menu especially during dinner time is never an easy prospect, given that we are big time rice eaters. It is not like rice is completely banished, we do eat rice every afternoon. Hence the request of not eating rice during dinner time did not seem entirely unreasonable.

From the time I first tasted of Aloo Paratha this classic dish has been my absolute favorite. In fact it has to be up there in the list of my favorite foods. Give me some aloo parathas and I am in heaven already :) I am glad that it is also a family favorite, even DD the slowest eater in the house finishes it off in record time.


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Parathas with some sweet spicy mango pickle and yogurt



How can a riceless dinner menu not have Aloo Paratha?
Blog world is rich in Aloo paratha recipes, wonderful step by steps ready for our us to pick.

Here are 2 I consulted:
Musical's Kitchen
Shivapriya's My Cookbook

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Spicy Fish Burrito

There was a revolt in the household! This was not sudden and unexpected by any means it has been simmering for a while, just erupted one night last week when we were having rice for dinner yet again. It is just easy for me to cook rice go with a curry and a vegetable stir fry and perhaps the most easiest way to whip up a home cooked dinner. Well it is not working anymore. I am going to try to make rice less dinners and ofcourse you are going to hearing about it.


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It is amazing how the whole house wants to participate when it is a dish they all like. I had planned on stir frying the fishing but DH ended up shallow frying which actually was a very good idea, the fish was soft and buttery.


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fish shallow frying

Fish Burrito
Ingredients
1. 4 Fillets of Cat Fish washed, patted dry and cut into pieces
2. 1/2 Onion, cut into strips
3. 1 Bell Pepper deseeded and cut into strips (zucchini strips can be used as well)
4. 1 Cup of Black beans soaked overnight
5. 1 tsp of chicken masala powder + 1 tsp of red chilli powder
6. 1 tsp of chili powder
7. 4 cloves of garlic
8. 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
9. 1 Cup of cooked corn
10. 1 tsp of cumin
11. Sun dried tomato tortillas.
12. Shredded cheese


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assembling the burrito


Marinate
Marinate the fish pieces with salt, chili powder and chicken masala powder.

Method
1. Cook the black beans with some garlic cloves ,ginger and a bit of chopped onion
2.In a pan heat a bit of oil add cumin powder, add the cooked beans, salt and a bit of or chili powder and let the liquid evaporate, set aside

3. I a wok or pan heat oil, and saute the onion and bell pepper strips. Season with salt and chili powder.
4.In a pan heat oil and shallow fry the fish till golden brown.

5. Heat the tortilla and the burrito is ready for assembly

6. Add the fish, some beans, corn, onions, bell peppers, a dash of sour cream,sprinkle of shredded cheese and if preferred some chili garlic sauce or some spicy salsa.


Note:
If you are preparing a burrito bowl instead cook some coriander lime rice to add to the bowl.


Novel Reading
Piece of Work by Laura Zigman

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chickpeas and Potato Curry

I believe in Evolution! Yes the same evolution "Darwin's theory of Evolution" that we all studied in school. I recently happened to watch a program on PBS "Intelligent Design on Trial" very very informative but somewhat unsettling because something like this even went into trial. I may be very wrong, but I don't know of anywhere else in the world, battles being waged for having only Evolution taught in Science classes. It gives me a slightly (may be more) uneasy feeling about the quality and future of science education in the US. Watch the program online here.

In my kitchen I believe in Evolution strongly and also have solid proof :) Food evoltion happens in my kitchen everyday, starts with something and ends with something that is totally unrecoginzable. This ChickPeas Potato Curry evolved from two very tasty recipes I saw recently on two lovely blogs

Sailu's Gongura Mutton
Lisa's Chickpea Vindaloo

I wanted to make Chickpea Vindaloo but the awesome looking Sailu's Gongura Mutton lead me in a different direction but combining ideas and ingredients the result was tasty Chickpea and Potato Curry.


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Ingredients
1. 1 1/2 Cup of Chickpeas soaked overnight
2. 1 Large Potato pealed and cubed
3. 1 Medium sized onion chopped
4. 3 Green Chilies split
5. 1 tbsp coriander powder
6. 1 tsp cumin powder
7. 1 tsp turmeric powder
8. 1 tsp red chili powder
9. 1 tsp masala powder (garam masla, chicken masala, anything you prefer)
10. 2 tbsp heaped yogurt
11. Lemon Juice (lemon from half a juice)
12. oil
13. 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
14. 1 Sprig of curry leaves
15. 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Saute and blend 1. 6 -8 garlic cloves
2. 1 inch piece of ginger
Saute and blend to a smooth paste.

Method
1. In a pressure cooker or heavy bottomed pan heat a teaspoon of oil, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves.
2. Add the green chilies and onions and saute till translucent.
3. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes
4. Add all the powders except the garam masala
5. Add the yogurt and mix well.
6. Now add the cubed potatoes, garam masala, lemon juice
7. Add sufficient about 2 1/2 cups.
8. DO NOT ADD SALT yet

Close the lid and pressure cook.
9. Once cool open the lid add required salt, coriander leaves, if too thick add a little bit more water and cook for a few more minutes.

Now Tasty Chickpea curry is ready to eat with chapatis or steamded rice.

Novel Reading
Digging to America - Anne Tyler
Bridge - Doug Marlette

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ridge Gourd and Coriander leaves Chutney

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a great Holiday and New Years.

We made a quick trip to India for a couple weeks. It was short and now that we are back feels like we were never there. Weather was pleasant but it rained non stop for three days due to a depression in the bay, that schools had to be closed and exams postponed. India is busy and on the move which makes for some very bad traffic I guess, even during the short time we were there a lot happened.

1. Narendra Modi won his third consecutive term as CM of Gujarat. The victory in Cricketing terms as quoted in a newspaper "Team BJP won and Man of the Match was NM". Madame Gandhi put her foot in her mouth with the "Merchant of Death" comment, what was she thinking, so the defeat at least by me(?!) can be laid at her door step. Italy is a lovely place to retire I hear!!.

2. The Boxing Day (apparently has nothing to do with Boxing) test match was Prince of Kolkotta's (or is he King of Kolkotta) 100th test match. Indians lived up to their reputation and lost that one quiet easily :( the king for his part did better than the most. The second test is already underway, India are 532 for Australia's 463!

3. BJP won in HP too.

Goes without saying that we enjoyed great home cooked and delicious food.
DH's SIL prepared this really tasty chutney to go with idlis for breakfast one day.
The recipe recreated from taste.

Ridge Gourd Coriander Chutney


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Ingredients
1. 2 Ridge Gourd peeled, deseeded and cubed
2. 1/4 Onion chopped
3. handful coriander leaves
4. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
5. 2 Red chilies
6. 1/2 tbsp Channa dal
7. 2 tbsp grated coconut
8. a small piece of tamarind
9. salt to taste

Method
1. In a pan heat oil, roast the dal, coriander seeds and red chilies and set aside
2. Now add the onions and saute till translucent
3. add the ridge gourd and saute till cooked
4. add the coriander leaves and saute for a second or two
5. Add the coconut, salt and cook for a couple more minutes till everything comes into one big mass.
6. Turn off heat, cool and blend.


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Tastes great with idlis and as a spread for toasted bread.