Sunday, July 30, 2017

Swallow Babies

Swallows are a common site around her dirtying everything they sit on. So it is only expected that one of them builds a nest right next to our front door. The bird family quickly built a nest and moved in and the young ones are ready to fly away on their own pretty soon. Captured some photos and shocked to see that from being helpless to being ready to go off on their own was a matter of 20 -30 days.

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mountain View - Sugarloaf

Some people like living near the beaches while others like the mountain. I am not sure if I can live in either of those places for a long time. I simply like watching the mountain from my window. They take on different qualities depending on the humidity and moisture in the atmosphere. They are spectacular when there is rain approaching.

Here are some pictures to enjoy!

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Chocolate Ice Cream with nuts (just 4 ingredients)

If you do not have an ice cream maker, this post should convince you to buy one. It makes the job of making a creamy and smooth ice cream that much easier. A few times of eating home made ice cream, it is almost impossible to enjoy store bought ones. Home made ice creams are lighter, creamier and more importantly the sugar level and everything else that goes into it can be controlled.

The basic ingredients that go into making this ice cream are milk, cream, sugar and cocoa powder. I did not have chocolate on hand and subbed cocoa powder and it turned out just fine with this amazing smell of cocoa. I added some walnuts to add some texture.

Takes less than 1/2 hour and you have smooth creamy ice cream ready.

Ice cream making in pictures,

Heat the milk and whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
Once the cocoa is mixed in. Add the rest of the milk.
Whisk in the milk and pour into the ice cream maker.
Chop the nuts and add it to the churning ice cream.
Churn for 20 minutes till done and then freeze in a freezer safe container.

Enjoy with more more nuts sprinkled on top.

Chocolate Ice Cream with Walnuts
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Churning Time: 30 minutes
Freeze Time: 4 hours
  1. 2 cups whole milk (I used 2%milk)
  2. 2 cups heavy cream
  3. 3/4 cups of sugar
  4. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  5. 1/4 - 1/2 cup of roasted walnuts chopped

  1. Heat about 1/2 cup of milk to boiling. Add in the cocoa and sugar and let it dissolve completely. Add the remaining milk. Bring the mixture to room temperature. Now add in the cream. Mix and refrigerate for about 20 minutes or so (optional).
  2. Setup the ice cream maker and add in the chocolate mixture and churn as per instructions for 20 minutes.
  3. Towards the end add the chopped nuts and churn for just a minute more.
  4. Freshly churned ice cream can be eaten right away. It will be really soft.
  5. Freeze the rest for a firmer ice cream. Freeze for 4 hours at the minimum.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Wild Blackberries in the farm

I ran out of jelly. Now that we are used to eating home made jelly I try to find fruits that can be made into jelly. Earlier in the summer DD2 harvested mulberries from the trees around here. Mulberries can be eaten just like that, with purple juice and their natural sweetness they are a delight but cannot be kept around for a long time. So I made jelly out of them.

When that ran out our currant bushes gave just enough fruit to make currant jelly. When that was almost coming to an end the wild blackberry bushes were starting to fruit. I am not that fond of cultivated blackberries. They are not as sweet as the other berries. But these wild blackberries are sweeter and smaller than their cultivated counterparts.

Picking blackberries is an adventure unto itself. It might be a good idea to be in hazmat suits :). Wearing thic gloves is a good idea. Anyway I managed to pluck about a couple of pounds of blackberries getting pricked and pulled by the thorns that are abundant on the plant. But they are sweet and fresh and the jelly turned out pretty good as well.

Here is the blackberry bush in pictures,

See the thorns?

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Button Mushrooms Fry

These white button mushrooms were my first introduction to mushrooms. We started seeing mushrooms in my corner of India when I was perhaps in middle school. These tiny button mushrooms were fresh and cooked with just minimal of spices and the taste was earthy and hearty like eating succulent chicken. That is the taste that comes to my mind when I think of mushrooms. But mushrooms were not an every day affair. Occasionally you got them in the markets.

Fast forward to life here in the US. There are umpteen varieties of mushroom but for some reason I kept away from the white button mushrooms perhaps this thing that anything white is bad was perhaps playing in the back of head when I was passing by these white button mushrooms?

These cute white fresh button mushrooms came home with me on one of my grocery runs and they have several times since. We are all glad they did. Cooked this way the mushrooms are a treat.

Button Mushrooms Fry
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  1. 1/2 - 1 lb small white button mushrooms
  2. 1/2 cup of chopped shallots (Red onion can be used but it is preferable to use shallots)
  3. 2 tsp chili powder or 1/2 tbsp sambhar powder
  4. salt to taste
  5. seasonings: mustard, curry leaves
  6. 2 tsp oil

  1. Wash the mushrooms and let the water drain completely and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Leave them whole, no need to chop.
  2. In a kadai or a wide mouthed pan, heat oil and add the seasonings.
  3. Add the onions and saute till they are nice and brown.
  4. Turn the heat to high and add in the mushrooms, saute for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add in the spice powder and salt and saute for 4-5 minutes more and turn off the heat.
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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Crisp Bread with melted cheese and vegetables

As you are on the road driving have you seen heads on the driver side bent and you are wondering when that car is going to cut into your lane? Then the head lifts up at the last minute and the car corrects itself on the lane and you breathe a sigh of relief and think to yourself you are much smarter than that right? This is until you realize you are doing exactly the same thing!! Though DD2 thinks that I have finally joined the digital world after purchasing a smart phone. I feel like I have lost something and I realize instead of observing people in the cars I am one of those people with a bent head.

I apologize for not being active on this blog. Too many things going on. We moved and now live in the farm, which means more fun and lot more work. Anyway on to the recipe,

A friend made an unexpected visit a weekend. She brought some crisp bread with her. They are more like crackers but only bigger and crispier. While I was wondering what to make I thought who doesn't like melted cheese on crackers? Pair them with some sliced Avocadoes or fig jam and they are a treat. You can also add sauted some vegetables and top them on the crackers.

Get the crsip bread ready. Get the vegetables sauteed and ready to go.
Add the cheese and vegetables to the crisp bread. Place them in the toaster oven till the cheese melts for about 10-15 minutes.
Add the cheese and vegetables to the crisp bread. Place them in the toaster oven till the cheese melts.

An easy to eat snack is ready in just a few minutes. If you do not want to bother avocado, tomatoes or even minced jalapeno pickles very well.

Crisp Bread with melted cheese and vegetables
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 1 Zucchini (mushroom or any kind of squash, avocado, tomatoes)
  2. 1/2 tsp chili or pepper powder
  3. salt to taste
  4. Pepper Jack Cheese chopped or sliced (or any cheese of your choice that can be melted)
  5. 1 packet of Crisp Bread or any hard fairly larger size crackers **
  1. Chop the zucchini into tiny cubes (if using mushroom or squash do the same thing). Slice the avocados and tomatoes if using but skip the next step. *
  2. In wide mouthed pan heat the oil and when hot in high heat add the zucchini and saute till it partially cooked. Add salt and pepper or chili powder and give a good mix and turn the heat off.
  3. Take the crisp bread and line it with cheese mixed in with the vegetables.
  4. Place in a toaster oven at 350F for about 10-15 till the cheese melts.
  5. Note:** Use crackers that can toasted to get the cheese melted.
  6. * If using avocados or tomatoes add them and sprinkle the pepper after the cracker comes out of the toaster.
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