Tuesday, October 18, 2011

eating... Sushi.

I may actually start to like this sushi thing, I think.
This past weekend 'G' n I planned a sushi lunch.
I used to be a food conservative. Going with the safe, the familiar.
Then.... I got married to a man who absolutely adores experimenting with his palate and incidentally encourages me to push mine.
But that is a 11 yr old ongoing saga.

Sushi happened to me about 2-3 yrs back at a Thai restaurant. 'G' was familiar with it due to his long ago, long stint, in south east Asia;- Malaysia n Singapore.
For me being a non sea food eater the whole raw fare was a big no-no. The conservative still makes little peeks even after all these years!

But slowly I started pecking at the vegetarian rolls on 'G's plate! Hmmmm... I could do this I thought.
Slowly we found our favourite Asian fusion place ' miyos' offered vegetarian sushi choices. So it went.

Until this weekend, when we planned to do sushi at ' fusion bowl' another of our fav haunts.
'E' has learnt to peck at the veg offering on my plate. 'R' stands firm that the sprinkle roll ( the rice on the roll looks like white sprinkles to her) is 'food not made'( raw food!?).
So while I relished a whole serving of mixed vegetable rolls, 'G' ordered a combo of Boston rolls and California rolls.

'G' ordered a side of squid salad while I relished a salad bowl of sea weed. Yummy!

The vegetable roll had the cucumbers, avocado and asparagus. The Boston roll had salmon, cream cheese with cucumber. The California roll packed in it crab, cucumber and asparagus.

All served with the pungent wasabi and thin sliced fresh ginger!
Have learnt to relish the wasabi, mixed with soya sauce to dip the rolls.

Oh n by the way 'R' n 'E' enjoyed thier own 'made food' with bowls of Misp soup.
And so it goes.In our future I thus see many a happy sushi meals.

Tell me how you do yours.
Until next time, Bon Appetite.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mango Mousse ...made easy!

This is a truly 'Yum' dessert we have all loved.
True to its name its a mousse you can use as pie filling or on a wafer base.
But at our table we love eating it just like that!
Scoop after scoop!

Heres what went into making mine:
1/4oz Flavorless gelatin ( jello) powder
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar

 4oz plain cream cheese
4oz whipped topping ( cool whip)
15oz(1/2 can) mango pulp
1/2 cup sugar

How I make it:

Firstly I make the jello by soaking the 1/4 oz flavorless gelatin powder in 1/2 cup cold water.
To this add 1 cup boiling water and the 1/2 cup sugar.
Mix n refrigerate until jellies.
Yields about 4oz of jelly.

Now for the Mousse:
In a blender add the 4oz of jelly and 4oz plain cream cheese.
To this add the 4oz whipped topping ( cool whip)  with the 15oz(1/2 can) mango pulp and 1/2 cup sugar. Blend well and refrigerate until jelly like.

Serve cold!

We love this just like that but can be used as topping over icecream or pies!
Mango pulp can be replaced by any fruit of choice! Thinking strawberries?!

Yummy truly.
Tell me how yours turns out.
Bon Appetite.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Basil chicken

This is a favorite with both 'G' and I . Although in a 'greatest fan' contest, 'G' would win hands down.
The girls relish it with gusto! Especially E who can smell her way to it! 
So as the cook/ chef/ meal maker Iam truly flattered and have put this many a times on our dinner table.

I absolutely love the smell and taste of fresh basil and the texture of the green onions on the palate.

So here's what I use to make it:
250gms chicken
4tbspns olive oil
6-7 garlic cloves finely minced
1 bunch of green/ spring onions- chopped fine
3 long dry red chillies-slit long
3 green chillies - sliced long
3 full tbspns of fresh basil chopped fine
3 tbspns soya sauce.

How I do it:
Pressure cook the chicken. Debone and shred fine.
In a huge sauce pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic till fragrant. Add the chopped onions ( green n white parts) and toss some more. To this add the chillies and the shredded chicken. Fry. When almost done toss in the basil and soya sauce. Sauté and serve warm.

Goes well with any cuisine as a side.
We have tried it with soup and garlic bread.

The broth ( from the pressure cooked chicken) went into the soup.
Fresh basil works best for this recipe. But you can substitute 3 tbspn fresh basil for 1.5 tbspn of dry basil.

Vary the garlic and chillies as much or as little as your palate requests. We love lots of sauted garlic and spicy slit chillies.
Also you can try the more pungent fish sauce instead of the soya sauce for a more signature taste.

So here I pass a favorite from our kitchen to yours. From my table to yours.
Do tell how yours turns out.
Do you have any variations on this?

Enjoy and continue to Vote for me by clicking this link here. Vote for Sous Chef here.
You can vote once every 24hrs!
Voting ends Oct 11th 2011 at 8pm EST.

Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Curry leaves...fresh from my yard

Until next spring this may well be my last batch of fresh curry leaves from my yard. I usually wait till they are a very dark green which usually means they are fully grown. At this stage the leaves are bigger and more opaque. Although in a hurry and when necessary I have plucked some not so fully ready sprigs.

As any cook/foodie from India (or any other south asian country) worth his/her salt will tell you these curry leaves are as necessary in authentic vernacular cooking as eggs in good cakes. Well and then they have eggless cakes!

We use this mainly in dressings where 1 or more tbspns of oil is heated to which 1tspn ( or equivalent) of black/ brown mustard seeds are added. While the seeds splutter the heat is reduced and the leaves ( removed from the stem) are added. This is then poured ( as dressing) onto curries/ stews/ chutneys/dips and dishes.

This basic dressing is varied far and in-between by adding chillies, whole spices, powders and grains. It's even used as an ingredient by itself in authentic dishes.It imparts it's own special signature aroma and taste to the dish.While my more modern friends use the leaves and mostly throw the stem, I have learnt from my mother that the stem can be cut/ crushed and added to the dressing or cooked with the whole main dish.

I found this page on curry leaves at 'wisegeek' very informative from a non- Asian's point of view.

Growing up in south India mostly everyone had a plant or more in their backyard.
My mother still proudly doles out bushels full of sprigs to her more 'cosmopolitan ' (read as- lazy to plant/maintain or dwelling in yard-less apartment) neighbors.
She still tcch tcchs at her baby ( read as- good ol' me) not having these in bountiful!

Yet we make-do. The local Indian groceries do stock them for a price ( ofcourse) when they can n will!
But we have learnt to be self sufficient. My one sapling given by a benevolent friend has now grown into 3 plants in 2 pots.
They grow bigger and better in the ground but the climate here demands that we bring them in for winter! Thus the pots!

So unlike my mom ( and her neighbors) we enjoy our fresh curry leaves from spring to late fall. Until spring doth spring again!

I recently saw this clip on  Hetal's and Anuja's blog that egg shells are very good natural fertilizer to curry leaf plants. So since then all the eggshells cracked in the kitchen have found home in the curry leaf pots!

Do let me kinow if you use these aromatic leaves in your cooking!
Until next time happy cooking!

Continue voting for me. Vote for Sous Chef here.
You can vote once every 24hrs!
Voting ends Oct 11th 2011, 8pm EST.
Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kale and Mango salad.

Heh Look! This recipe of mine won an award for 'salads' on the ticklish taste buds!

A super healthy and tasty salad would be this!
And its super easy to make too!

What I put into it:
1/2 a bunch of kale- destemmed and chopped fine
1 half-ripe mango (sweet and tangy to boot)
1 cup roasted walnuts-chopped

For the dressing:
2 tbspns olive oil
2 tbspns lime juice
2 tbspns honey

salt to taste.
How I do did:
In a large salad bowl, mix the mango and kale.
Toss together the dressing on top.
Garnish with the nuts. And add salt to taste.
Refrigerate and serve cold.

You can substitute the walnuts for roasted sun flower seeds, pumpkin seeds or even watermelon seeds.
Would love to try this with spinach or other greens instead of the kale.
Although its tough to beat the kale on the crunch!

Tell me how this turns out for you.

Enjoy and Dont forget to Vote for me by clicking this link here. Vote for Sous Chef here.

You can vote once every 24hrs!
Thank you and Bon Appetite.