Nov 26, 2010

Relax with some Mahi Mahi baked with Tomato-spinach and a hint of anise :)


 The smell of turkey is still heavy in the air. And the refrigerator is full of leftovers. And yet the tummy is craving light and simple. Here is a remedy for that. Fish baked with tomato and herbs...with a hint of fennel/anise. Fresh and new. And your pallatte is cleared. I tell ya...this one is a goodie. For those days after a holiday meal :)

Ingredients

1/2 lb of fish fillet. You can use Mahi Mahi, or any hearty fish.
1 tbsf of anise.
3 tomatoes. Coarsely cubed.
1/3 cup of dry white vine
salt and pepper for seasoning

Start by preheating your oven to 400F. 10 minutes
While the oven heats, heat oil in a skillet. Pop the anise. 1 minute. Add the tomatoes.Cook for 3-4 minutes. Till the tomatoes resemble a sauce like thing. Add the wine. Let the wine cook off for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the fish in an oven friendly tray. Make some criss cross on both surfaces of the fish. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce all over and around the fish. Place the tray in the oven for 20 minutes.
Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with spinach sauteed with garlic.

Feel fresh everytime :)

 

Nov 22, 2010

Squash curry with garam masala

A round of thanks is due. And here is a way of making it moist and yummy.

Tut tut..not the turkey. Not the turkey. Not the gravy. None of that.

Its a wild card entry this year. Its Squash or Pumpkin. As the harvesting season ends and the last of the seasons squashes hit the market stands, here is a good way of making use of the remnants of fall. After all we ain't gonna get it till almost a year :) Better make it spicy and sweet but not too bland :)


Squash cooked with onions on low heat and spiced with Garam Masala and chille pepper. The onion is made moist and sugary and soft and caramelized in olive oil for about half an hour and the squash is added after that. All you do is chop and drop.

Here is bidding adieu to fall

Garam masala squash curry
 
Ingredients:

2 squash. Remove the seeds. You can use a medium pumpkin too. But I like squash. you can use two medium eggplants. Skinned. Chop the veggie into bite size cubes.
2 medium onions
1.5 tsp of garam masala
3-4 large whole red chillies. YOu can also use 1/2 tsp of red chili flakes
1/2 tsp of sugar ( if you are using eggplants)
2 tbsf olive oil
salt and pepper for seasoning

Take your time

In a non stick skillet, put the onions and the oil. Cover and place on the lowest heat setting of your stove. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes. The onion will be brown, and caramelized and moist and delish.
Next put the veggies, garam masala and red chili in that pot. Mix together. Cover and let it do its own thing. Another 30 mins. Check every 10 minutes or so to give the thing a stir. Prevents scorching
When done, season with salt and pepper.

You got a deal on your hands for no effort at all :)

Happy eating and healthy living!

Nov 19, 2010

Corsican stew- hearty food for nippy days


Cambridge, Mass always feels good. Even in the thick of the winter, with river frozen all over, it still feels good.  Why! the pubs are open and the chowder tastes great. But there is something about fall in Cambridge that makes me go weak in the knees. 

Its only been a couple of days and I gotta tell you its been pretty warm compared to business-as usual. And as the gusty winds blow off the fallen leaves and strip the remnants of  fall from the trees, there is a smell in the air that cries out...holidays and bells and tinkers and candies and all things good. Life is not great. But sometimes it whiffs a little aroma and you feel, even for a tiny little moment , that life sure is great. And those moments are what makes life beautiful :)

A bit of a circular logic there. But feelings aren't mathematical. They come in all shapes and sizes and yet, it all works just the same way :) Slightly illogical :)

And on such gusty nippy days, one just can't do without a hearty stew. If the stew is from Corsica then there is a heartiness that accompanies the stew, the goes beyond eating. Its about heartfelt, rustic goodness. A feeling to be shared on a nippy fall day. Fall does not always end have to end a bump. It can float you down ...and I guarantee that with this Mediterranean stew right from the place where sheep are still herded on green mountains bordering the bright blue Mediterranean

A Corsican chicken stew...

Ingredients:
2 lbs of chicken. With bone and some skin. You can use lamb or goat as well.
1.5 medium onion. Or two small ones. Or 1 large :)
2 medium tomatoes. Chopped
1 large potato. Chopped into bite size peices
3-4 large cloves of garlic. Crushed
1 tbsf of flour
1/2 of ground sage.
1/2 tsp of dries thyme
1/2 tsp pf dried rosemary
1 tsp of dried parsley.

I used dry herbs as fresh herbs are becoming more expensive, now that cold season has set in. But by all means feel free to use fresh ones. They are always better. Use double the amount.
2 tsp of olive oil
1/2 cup of red wine. I used Cabernet Sauvignion. Any bold red will do.
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Stew away!

In a skillet (or oven proof dutch oven) heat the oil. Brown the meat. About 7-8 minutes. Add the onion and fry for another 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, herbs and fry for another minute or so. Add the flour and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, followed by the wine. Season with salt and pepper. Lower heat and stew for about 30 minutes (for chicken) or 2 hours for red meet
Alternatively you can transfer the stew in a oven proof casserole and bake at 420 for 30-40 minutes for chicken or 1-2 hours for red meat. Should be really tender.

Warm and cozy. Friendly and rustic. For cold and nippy days...:)


Happy eating and healthy living!

Nov 16, 2010

Chicken Biriyani-- inflight food! Flying just got a little better!


Airport waiting sure sucks. Inflight food, even worse. A late afternoon flight across the country, absolute nightmare. And even bad? reaching a cold city at the dead of the night. Life does look bad.

But if you have packed lunch that is called chicken biriyani, then, it ain't so bad...right? :):)

Well..I am at the airport waiting to board the flight that will hopefully take me into Boston sometime late tonight. And the only thing ..well I should actually say the only two things..that is making this potential trip look less daunting is free wifi and a lunchbox full of good quality homemade chicken Biriyani!.

You heard right. Biriyani for inflight food. I had made this whole big bowlful for R and now I am carrying a tiny savory part of it. Thanks R for making me carry it!

And so that you know how it looks like



This recipe is adapted from Sheba. A fantastic cook. Sheba makes biriyani and several other traditional Indian gourmet food with ease that is almost makes you feel guilty thinking of the toil for those who does it otherwise. You can look up her recipes on Youtube. I can guarantee that traditional food with Sheba becomes simple and healthy too. I have previously reported on my disastrous trip down the Biriyani Lane. But with Sheba, I have taken and retaken this journey. And never faltered. Comes out perfect every time. So, if you fear traditional Indian cooking like I do, a good time is now to check Sheba's recipes out. 

Besides you can always carry it for your inflight food. An aromatic chicken Biriyani.

Happy eating and healthy living..even if its on a flight!


Nov 12, 2010

'Sorry..I am really late'. Appologies with jar of goat cheese dipped in olive oil, herbs and garlic


Hello....

that kind of guilty hello you say after you come to dinner after a stroll that was supposed to last for no more than a few hours, but you got delayed? well...that onetime, when you went for a stroll and returned after an year. And your excuse? A small random something had caught your curiosity on a momemt when you felt uber curious and you went off to hunt that lead? Well of course nothing had come of that little sojourn...just that you are now delayed at the dinner table by an year :) And everybody is really upset :(

That kind of small guilty hello from me to food dom. I thought I would write tomorrow and the tomorrows went on to become a week. And here is my little gift from that little vacation what was supposed to be a great adventure but turned out no more than a random week of nothings and small things. 
So here you are...a small jar of goat cheese that I turned extra nice by adding some herbs and garlic...stuff that I picked up on the way :)

Ingredients:

1 4oz pack of goat cheese. Cubed into small bite sized pieces
1/4 th cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp of Sage
1/2 tsp of Thyme
1/2 tsp of Rosemary
1 large clove of garlic. Grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a airtight jar. Mix lightly. Close the lid tightly and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Serve with warm bread.

A  gift that will charm your hosts in case you got delayed :)



Happy eating and healthy living

Nov 5, 2010

The grandmother said 'let there be light' and there was Deepawali. The festival of lights :)


Lights, camera and Action!

No..No ..No..I am not talking about any trip to a Hollywood studio. I am talking about my favorite festival of  all times. It is the festival of lights! Well, lights feature in all festivals. What is a festival without light. Right? But a festival about lights?? That is my kind of festival. 

It is Deepawali. The festival of lights..lights and only lights. And action centered around lights. Firecrackers, indoor lightnings, out door lighting and what not. The skies light up, the roof tops brighten, the patio is flooded and the indoor is warm and glowy. The heart...well it only warms up and glows, with that much warmth going around, it radiates all that heat and light and warmth..making it the best best best festival in the whole wide world.

And it all started with a grandmother and her little granddaughter...in a village far far from here..

'....And a long  long time ago, in a small village lived a old woman. She lived alone on top of a small hill in a big mansion. The old woman would have been very lonely, if it wasn't for a little girl who came everyday to play with her in the garden. Her grand daughter. The little girls' parents lived somewhere away from the mansion, but she hung around the old place. The old lady and the little girl spent many a morning talking and playing little games but the old lady, much as she tried ,could not get the kid to come inside the mansion. The kid was fond of lights. But the mansion looked dark and gloomy. 

The old lady understood this. So one day, late autumn when the air was nippy and the Sun was going down and the little kid was about to leave, the old lady gave her some candies and asked her to wait while she made her favorite dinner. The little girl wanted to leave. But the candies and the promise of her favorite dinner was too much for her five year head to wrestle against. So she waited and waited and waited....

It seemed a long time that she was waiting. She wondered if her grandma was sick. Worried she walked to the door and with all the courage  she could summon, she opened the door. The aroma of dinner wafted out and the girl could not resist walking inside. And as soon as she walked inside, she saw her grandma with a candle. Starting to light little mud lamps on the sills of the large windows. She rushed to her grandma in excitement and together they slowly lit the whole house-- all three floors-- with the little candles. And when they reached the roof top...they lit the sky. And as the warmth in their hearts grew, it radiated so much heat that all the people of the land flocked around the mansion to see how the lights have lit up the sky and the rooftops and the windows and the ceiling and they all cracked up fires in all possible ways....and that's how the festival of lights was celebrated forever and ever.

But remember it all started with the dinner and candies. And here's the recipe for thae aroma that brought the little girl into that dark mansion in the first place :)

Chicken Chowmein!!

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast. Cut in small pieces
A handful of  small shrimp
Half a onion. Sliced
1 bell pepper. Sliced.
1 chiili pepper; Sliced
3-4 stalks of green onion. Chopped

1 pack of chowmein.
4-5 tsbf soy sauce
2 tbsf oyster sauce
1 tbsf garlic. Grated
1 tbsf ginger. Grated
3 tbsf of oil

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Saute and eat!
Boil the chowmein according to directions with 1 tbsf oil and salt. The oil keeps the strands separated. Drain and preserve.
In 1 tbsf oil, saute the chicken till done. Season with salt and pepper. About 3-4 mins. Dish up and set aside. Do the same thing with the shrimps.
Add a tbsf of oil and saute the ginger, chili pepper and garlic. For 1 min. Add the chowmein, with the soy sauce and oyster sauce for about 3 min. Add the veggies, fried chicken and shrimp and mix well together. Another 2 minutes. Add the green onion. Season with salt and pepper.

You have a dish that weakens even the boldest at heart :)

Happy Diwali. Don't let the lights go out!

Nov 1, 2010

Sweet November! with a breakfast from France :)


Hello all...it is November and that translates to--- Autumn in my sphere and Spring on those  of you on the other sphere. But whichever sphere you are in, November is the most wonderful month of the year! The ghosts of last year are starting to fade away (now that Halloween is over) and we are all getting ready to welcome the new! feasts, travel, friends, family, dinners and outings are around the corner.

And the only way I could think of celebrating the beginning of Autumn is by making the very first meal of November combining flavors that are both fresh and comforting. Things that will be with us for the remainder of this year and flavors that will catapult us into the next year. And who better to trust than the French with the task of  combining simple and fresh ingredients into a feast for all five senses, not least of which is the  eye :) 'You eat with your eyes first'-- this must have originated in France :)

So here is a French breakfast that combines heart with all five senses.

*Recipe adapted from Trish Dessine*

This one I hear, is strictly about boiled ot uncooked things layed out to gether. I tried to do a vegetarian version. But you can take it to different levels as you feel is fit for the day. I used mushroom, but you can use some bacon/ham/chicken breast/ fish. Your day. Your wish :)

1 box of small mushroom: Sauted with 1 tbsf oil for 3-4 mins till browned all over
2 small potatoes. Skin retained and boiled
2 hard boiled eggs. halved
A few black olives. I am sure your green olives are just as fine
Half a bell pepper. optional
3 tomatoes. Halved or quartered
A block of hard cheese of your choice. I like smoked gouda.

Lay all of the ingredients on the cutting board in parallal rows. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Toast up some sliced bread. I like wheat. And instead of butter, make the following 'Bechamal sauce'

Bechamal sauce:
2 tbsf butter
1 tbsf flour
1/3 cup of milk
a few grates of nutmeg
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Heat butte in a skillet. Add the flour and cook for 2 min. Add the milk. Reduce to half its volume. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. 
Use as spread on your toast.
Have it with some rich, dark coffee.



Welcome autumn. And welcome November

Happy eating and healthy living