Monday, June 28, 2010

Breakfast Burrito

Continuing with the theme of cooking with eggs, here is another breakfast idea for egg lovers. If you are bored with the regular scrambled eggs then this sure will spice things up. Its hearty and filling - moreover its easy to make. You could serve them as burritos or on your favorite piece of toast.



1 Tbs olive oil
2 eggs beaten
1 small potato, cubed
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning
grated cheddar cheese
fresh herbs
salt and freshly ground peppercorns


Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and potato and keep frying. Lower the heat and make sure it doesn't burn. Add salt and seasoning, mix well and once the potatoes are done set aside.

In a separate pan add the beaten eggs with some salt and pepper and scramble the eggs. When the eggs are half done, add the potato mix to it and cook until the eggs are well done. 

Garnish with the grated cheese and some fresh herbs if you like and serve.

bon appetit !!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pancakes with Stuffed Omelette

Sundays call for brunch and brunch calls for eggs and pancakes. I decided to make black bean stuffed omelette and to go with it, some whole wheat pancakes served with fresh berries and banana. Its healthy and very satisfying and most of all easy to put together.

Whole Wheat Pancakes


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbs sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt


Whisk all the wet ingredients starting with butter, eggs, buttermilk together. Mix the dry ingredients and add to the buttermilk mixture. Continue mixing until the batter comes together and let it rest for 5 min.
Place a non stick pan on medium heat or if using an electric griddle, set it at 350 F. Once the griddle is hot, rub with butter and wipe it up with a paper towel.
Pour 1 scoop of batter on to the griddle and cook until bubbles form, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for a minute.

Serve warm with maple syrup and some fresh berries.

Black Bean Stuffed Omelette:


2 eggs
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 can black beans, drained
1/2 small onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1 Tbs chunky salsa
1 tsp oregano
2 Tbs grated cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat oil in a pan and saute the chopped onions and bell peppers for 3-4 minutes. Season with oregano, salt, pepper and the salsa. Cook for another 2 minutes and set aside.

Whisk the eggs with some salt and pepper. Heat oil in a pan and cook 2 thin omeletes.

Fill the omeletes with the black bean mix. Top with some grated cheese and serve.

bon appetit !!!

Easy Egg Frittatas

Weekend is here and I am already thinking about my breakfast for the upcoming work week - that's when I am tight on time. Since I am not a morning person and don't like to skip breakfast, I go for easy fixes like mini egg frittatas which can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Eggs are so satisfying and there s nothing like a protein boost to kick start your day. 


4 eggs
1/2 small onion
1/2 cup chopped spinach
fresh ground peppercorn


Preheat the oven to 350 F
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the chopped onions and spinach. Season with salt and ground pepper. Place in the egg mixture in a muffin pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the frittatas start to brown on top. Cool and serve.

Tips: to reheat toss a couple of them into a toaster.

bon appetit !!!

Dinner for 2

This whole menu was created just to try out one of my favorite sauces for ravioli - sun dried tomatoes cooked with smoked Gouda. Since I set out to serve it with an appetizer and a cocktail I didn't find time to make the ravioli - that will be for another time. For this time around I used a store bought 4 cheese stuffed ravioli. But before we get to that, its time for a bellini with bruschetta.

Strawberry Bellini:

Make a puree of strawberry and sugar. If the strawberries are sweet enough then go easy on the sugar.
Mix 2 Tbs of the puree with your choice of sparkling wine and serve.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta:


2 tomatoes diced
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large French baguette, sliced 1-inch thick
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add the diced tomatoes, basil leaves, olive oil, and 2 cloves of garlic to a food processor and pulse until it is chunky. Season with salt and pepper.
On a baking sheet, line up baguette slices. Toast in oven for about 3 minutes or until light golden brown. Rub the remaining garlic on the toasted side of each slice and then lay a piece of mozzarella cheese on top. Place bread back in oven and melt cheese slightly, about 45 seconds. Remove from oven and spread one tablespoon of the tomato mixture on each piece and serve.

Ravioli in Smoked Gouda Sauce:

8 ounces Smoked Gouda cheese
2 Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (2 to 3)
2 cups Milk
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Flour
chopped green onion and tomato for garnish.

Heat butter in a sauce pan until it melts, whisk in flour and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Whisk in milk and cook for about another 2 minutes until thickened.

Add 8 oz smoked Gouda cheese and 2-3 chopped sun dried tomatoes. Mix on med-low heat until cheese is melted. Pour over stuffed ravioli. Top with chopped green onion and tomato.

bon appetit !!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cuisines of India - Part I

Today's post is not a recipe but a glimpse into the cuisine of one of the Indian states.

India as most of you know is a very diverse country in terms of the culture, language, and cuisine. I come from the south-western state of Kerala - whats unique to this region are the lush green fields, the backwaters, ayurvedic practices, coconut trees and such. It is a coastal state that thrives immensely on tourism.

It was a major spice trade center and early dynasties traded with the Greeks, Romans and Arabs. Later years saw the dominion of Portugal, Dutch and ultimately the British until India gained its independence.

As with any Indian state, festivals in Kerala is celebrated with much pomp and ceremony. One of the main aspects of which being 'the feast' or as the Keralites call it 'Sadhya'. It is lunch that's normally served on a banana leaf and can have anywhere between 10 to 20+ vegetarian dishes served in it.

In a typical feast you will find banana chips, fresh bananas, about 2-3 different kinds of pickles and chutneys each, as many curries as one can possibly fit into their schedule, some dry roasted vegetables, papad - all of which is served with rice and ended with a sweet pudding called 'payasam', typically made of rice, milk and sugar.

You will find that almost all the dishes made in Kerala contain coconut in some form or the other. There is a heavy infusion of the coconut flavor be it either ground mixture of coconut and spices, or dry roasted, or food that's simply cooked in coconut oil. What i love though about the dishes is the variety of vegetables that one uses - you could make 95% of the dishes without having to chop a single onion. Also there is very limited or almost no frying involved which basically means less oil.

Seafood is another staple food of Kerala. With an unlimited supply from the sea and lakes it is an everyday feature in most households, some starting with breakfast. Typically though you will find that 'feasts' made on Hindu festivals are a pure vegetarian affair

If you would like recipes please drop me a line at

Raspberry Mousse

Fridays are always the best. Its the end of the work week which means a lot of people walk in late and walk out early than other days. Its also the day where most of us have the luxury of a long lunch hour or surprising treats at the office cafeteria.
On one such Friday, I walked to the cafeteria to get my weekly dose of fish and guess whats on the menu....about 3 different kinds of mousse for dessert in shot glasses...oh my...getting generous are we ?

The closest thing we normally get to a dessert is a yogurt parfait. So, you can imagine what my next step was...oh by the way...did I mention that I love love love mousse. Since I settled on a chocolate-vanilla mousse that day, the following weekend, I decided to whip up a raspberry mousse. It turned out pretty good though a tad sweeter than I d like. So if your berries are high on the sweet quotient, go easy on the sugar.


1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 egg white
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 - 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbs unflavored gelatin

Add the gelatin to 2 Tbs of warm water and set aside. Grind the raspberries along with the sugar and some water to get a thick syrup. Pass the raspberry mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. Add gelatin to the raspberry mixture.
Beat the egg white until stiff and add to the raspberry mixture. At this point, you could add more sugar. I find that the sweetness of the berries are sufficient though. Beat the whipping cream on high until its creamy, light and fluffy. Fold the raspberry mixture into the whipped cream little at a time.
Refrigerate the mousse and garnish with raspberries or chocolate chips when ready to serve.
bon appetit !!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Parippu Pradhaman (Indian Kheer made with lentils)

One of the most prominent desserts in India is the 'kheer'. Pretty much everybody makes it with some ingredient or the other. It is a milk based dessert and is more like a pudding and there are so many different varieties of it made all over India.

Just in Kerala, which is a southern state where I am from, I can think of at least 6 different kinds of kheer on the top of my head. We call it 'Payasam' or 'Pradhaman' depending on the ingredients used. The difference between the two is that while Payasam uses milk and sugar, Pradhaman is made with coconut milk and jaggery. Pradhaman is also mostly made with ripe fruits like banana, jackfruit and even lentil.

Of course like anything else in life you will find exceptions here. So you are quite likely to stumble over a Pradhaman that's made with milk and sugar.

Whats featured here is a 'Pradhaman' that's made with lentils cooked in coconut milk and jaggery.


1/2 cup split moong dal (lentil)1 cup jaggery melted
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
pinch of salt

For the garnish:

2 tsp ghee
slivered almonds and cashew nut


Boil the dal with some water until it is cooked enough that you can mash it slightly. Add the jaggery that was melted with water to dal and cook further, for about 2-3 minutes.
Mix the coconut milk and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Add salt, and bring it to a slight boil. Turn of the heat and add the cardamom powder.
Add the almonds and cashew nut roasted in ghee or just dry roast and garnish.

bon appetit !!!

Herb Roasted Potatoes

You can do very little with potatoes and it will turn out to be the most satisfying dish. That's how I see them. It is very extensively used in Indian cuisine.

I know that deep fried foods taste real good, but most times you can get the same tastes with baking and without all the guilt that goes with fried foods. So I decided to make a nice accompaniment to our dinner by roasting potatoes with herbs.


1 large potato
1Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp rosemary leaves
garlic salt
fresh ground peppercorn (I used a mix of black, white and pink peppercorns)


Peel and cube the potato into 1 inch pieces. Add the oil, herbs, salt and pepper to the potato and mix well so that the potato cubes are evenly coated. Place them in a roasting pan or if you are using a tray - line it with foil and use some cooking spray on it. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the pieces over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy it as a snack with some sour cream or just by itself.
Tips: If you do not have garlic salt, you may just add a dash of garlic powder.

bon appetit !!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chickpea Wrap

Last night was one of those days where you get home late and your tired and the last thing you want to do is putter around in the kitchen for even a half hour. So I decided to make a veggie wrap for dinner. I had some italian herb flatbread and a can of chickpea handy. Also whipped up a yogurt sauce to go with it.



1 Tbs olive oil
1 can chickpea
2 small red onion finely chopped
1 tomato minced
1 cup cilantro chopped
1 clove garlic minced
small piece ginger minced
2 green chili chopped
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp all spice
1/8 tsp ground pepper
salt to taste

 Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions, garlic and ginger for about 3-4 minutes.
Add the tomoto and green chili and fry for a couple of minutes and then add all the spices.
Once the spices are mixed in, add the chickpea and cilantro. Cook for about 5-10 minutes.

Yougurt sauce:

Mix together 1 cup of plain yogurt, 1/4 tsp italian seasoning, garlic salt to taste and a pinch of ground black pepper.

Serve the chickpea on a flatbread lined with baby spinach and topped with the yogurt sauce.
It quick and simple and guess what - takes about 15 minutes.

bon appetit !!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Malai Kofta

Here s tapping into my north-indian bonds. Ever since my in-laws made the lauki kofta its been in my head to try out koftas made with a variety of vegetables.

Koftas are basically meatballs. The vegetarian variety has a lot of possibilities - you could make vegetarian koftas with 'lauki' (bottle gourd), potato, paneer and a mix of other veggies. What I have attempted here is a vegetarian kofta cooked in a spicy curry.

for the Kofta:


1 small potato boiled and mashed
1/4 cup green peas boiled
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup shredded paneer
1/4 cup khoya
corn flour
red chili powder
cumin powder
garam masala
salt to taste
vegetable oil to fry the kofta


Mix all the above ingredients except for the corn flour by hand to form a dough that can be rolled into small balls. If the mixture is too dry and doesnt stick together then add more potato or paneer. You will have to eyeball the spice levels. Taste the mixture before you roll it and increase the spice level accordingly. The curry will be spicy, so go easy on the spices here.

Once you have rolled them into a ball, gently dust it with some corn flour - just enough to make them a little crispy.

As you roll the balls and let them rest, cover them with a wet cloth or paper napkin so that they do not dry out. Once you have rolled them all, heat some oil in a deep pan and fry the koftas. Keep truning them so that they are cooked all the way through and evenly.

for the Curry:


2 onions quartered
2 tomatoes halfed
2-3 green chili
small piece ginger
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
2 Tbs olive oil


Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute. Add the tomatoes and green chili and fry for a minute. Add all the spices and fry for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and cooll the mixture for about 5 minutes. Add the onion-tomato mixture to a blender along with the cream and a little water and grind to a smooth paste.

Once you get the smooth paste return it to the pan on medium heat and add the fried koftas to the curry. Let is cook for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Do not mix too much once the koftas are added. You might end up breaking them apart.

Serve with Roti or Jeera rice.

Tips: You could try different koftas with the same curry. For a lauki kofta, peel and shred the lauki, mix in besan and the spices. Fry them up like pakoras. These will not be regular balls but more like the odd shaped pakoras.

bon appetit !!!

Avocado-Basil Rice with Spicy Shrimp

I love love love Rice. Its something that I have to have everyday. Every once in a while I make some kind of flavored rice. Be it a pulao or tomato or lemon - nothing is more satisfying to me than rice :)

Anyways fish or shrimp cooked in a lot of spices and some rice to go along with it was my staple food growing up...what with me being a Keralite. I love my seafood cooked in a lot of different ways but cooked with a lot of spices beats everything else hands down.

So I set out to make some spicy shrimp and to go with it, I try an avocado-basil flavored rice courtesy of Claire Robinson of Food Network.

Avocado-Basil Rice

Ingredients :

1 cup basmati rice
1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 lemon, juiced
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups water
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste


Wash and soak the rice for about 15 minutes. Bring the rice, 2 cups of water and salt to a boil. Recude the heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is cooked. You should be able to separate the rice - make sure they dont end up being mushy.
Remove from heat and let stand, covered.

In the meantime, gring the avocado, basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil, and a littel water (1/4 cup) in the blender. It should be slightly thick so watch the water.

Fluff the rice with a fork and gently fold the avocaod-basil puree into the warm rice. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve it with your choice of spiced seafood or meat or veggies.

Spicy Shrimp

Ingredients :

1.5 Tbs olive oil
2 cups shrimp - peeled and deveined
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 small tomato finely chopped
2-3 small green chillies chopped
1 small bunch cilantro finely chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
pinch of black pepper powder
salt to taste


Heat the oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion until well done. Be careful not to burn them. Now add the tomato, green chili and fry for 2 minutes. Add all the spices and a little water and cook for 2 minutes until the gravy thickens. Add the shrimp, cilantro and salt - cover and cook making sure that the gracy is thick - not dry and not too thin.

Once th shrimp is cooked cover and let is rest for a few minutes. Serve with the rice.

If the spices are a little too much to your taste or if you have a weak stomach you might want to go easy on the green chili and avoid the black pepper. But if you have to have it spicy but still cant handle it then I suggest you make sure you have a cup of plain yogurt to with your rice and shrimp.

Tips: This recipe also works well with paneer if you want to go vegetarian. You could also try it with potatoes or cauliflower. Be sure to add some green bell peppers for the crunch.

bon appetit !!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Minestrone Soup

I am not a very big fan of soup but there are some that I really like. One of the them is the Minestrone, specially the one you get at 'Olive Garden'. After several trials I have come as close as I possible can to re-creating it. Ofcourse what really goes into a minestrone soup is totally up to you.


1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion minced
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/8 cup minced celery
2 tsp minced garlic
2-4 cups vegetable broth
1 can red kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
2 diced tomatoes
1/4 cup carrot shredded
1 tsp minced fresh parsley
3/4 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup small shell pasta


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Saute onion, celery, garlic, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent. Add vegetable broth to pot, plus tomatoes, drained beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

I started with 2 cups of broth and then added more half way through. The amount of broth would really depend on the consistency that you would like. So make sure you have enough broth if needed.

bon appetit !!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Raspberry-Almond Coffeecake

My husband loves his evening 'chai' and I am always looking to try a new snack to go along with it. Since I love baking, I put on my imaginary thinking cap and start searching for ideas online.I am not sure how many people know this but 'Kerala' which is a southern state in India is also famous for "bakeries" along with coconut, fish, bananas, spices and .....the list is endless.

anways getting back to my point, I remmember these small cakes that we used to buy from our favorite bakery. It had pieces of fruits in them and they came individually wrapped like a toffee - they were very comforting. All those memories of good old days drive me to try a coffeecake that uses fruit and since my husband's going to be eating most of it, I have got to incorporate nuts too.

So here we are finally with a raspberry-almond coffeecake.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan.
Combine the raspberries and brown sugar in a bowl and set it aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients starting with butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and sour cream. Now add the dry ingredients to this mixture. Stir just until moist. Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread raspberry mixture evenly over the batter. Spoon remaining batter over raspberry mixture. Top with lightly toasted almonds.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and then by all means attack the cake :)

Tips: since I had a 9-inch pan the cake was thinner than what I had in mind. I personally wouldnt change anything when I make it again, but If you have a lot more people to serve then you might want to increase or double the proportions.

bon appetit !!!


1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tps brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbs butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Coconut Cream Pie

'Coconut', 'Cream' and 'Pie' -- there is something irresistable about those 3 words. Coming from the 'land of Kera' which means coconut, It is almost impossible to stay away from it. Its a lifelong addiction to coconuts :)
I also love homemade custard - so here is the end result of it.


1 9-inch pie shell
2 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the egg whites
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups toasted coconut
1 Tbs butter


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bake the pie shell as per the instructions that came along with it and let it cool while you proceed to make the custard filling.

In a saucepan, whisk together 2 cups of milk and 3/4 cup sugar and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks together and temper the hot milk into the egg yolks. Add the egg mixture into the hot milk. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk, and then add this to the hot milk mixture. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the filling is thick

Fold in the vanilla, toasted coconut, and butter. Mix well. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and cool the pie completely. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg white to soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and whip the egg white to stiff peaks. Spread the egg whites over the top of the pie. Place the pie in the oven for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown.

Tips: If you are not a big fan of egg whites you could use a whipped cream topping. Also I kept my custard plain. You could always add any flavors you like to it to suit your taste.

bon appetit !!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Chocolate Frosting

I have finally found a reason to bake a cake from scratch. I have always used the store bought cake mix and icing, but not this time. This time around its going to be some hard 'sweet' work. And what better time to make it than my husband's Bday.

The recipe that I have chosen is one by Ina Garten (Food Network). Its her Beattys chocolate cake. I have changed the measurements/methods some to suit my taste/style.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee powder mixed with 1 cup hot water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease 2 (9 or 8 inch pans) - I used a 9 inch.
Using a hanld held mixer mix all the ingredients adding one at a time at a low speed.

I generarlly start with the liquid ingredients and then add the dry ones ending with the flour. I added the coffee right at the end - the only reason I do this is cos then there s less dishes to clean and the cake tasted jsut fine :)

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 30 minutes and then cool completely on a rack.

Place 1 layer flat side up and using a spatula spread the frosting evenly. Place the second layer on top and cover the entire cake with frosting. The decorating part would depend on how skilled you are.

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs instant coffee powder

Chop and melt the chocolate and cool it to room temperature. (I made my husband do this. You have got to walk the walk to eat the cake :) )Beat the butter until it is creamy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and continue beating.
Now add the sugar in parts and beat it on a low speed until smooth and creamy.
Mix the coffee powder in 2 tsp of hot water. On low speed add the coffee and chocolate to the butter mixture until well mixed. Spread it on the cooled cake.

Tips: chilling the mixing bowl beforehand helps. Also helps to turn on the air conditioner :)We totally enjoyed the cake and I shall not use a store bought cake mix ever again.

bon appetit !!!
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