February 9, 2012

100th post - Vanilla & Gulab Icecream

So, here I am … at my 100th post. It all started with just a spark, but I love the way it is shaping up now. Most importantly, a big thanks to all my family, friends and fellow bloggers who travelled with me through this enjoyable blogging journey of mine and encouraged me to try different recipes.

Do you see the number 100?
Without a doubt, blogging helped in pushing my envelope in archiving traditional recipes, to attempt at different cuisines, to experiment with baking and above all, to share all the cooking fun & experiences that I had. Blogging also helped me in bringing out my hidden interests in writing & photography to light. I am sure my writing & photography skills will get even better with time :-)

I had a few recipes in my mind that I wanted to try for my 100th post and my daughter helped me in narrowing down to one (no prizes for guessing though !!!!). Yes, ice cream it is and this time, I made vanilla ice cream and gulab (rose-flavored) ice cream. They came out perfect. I have to say, ice cream is one of the easiest desserts to make at home :-) Moreover, it feels really good eating homemade food without any of those artificial preservatives & chemicals.

Couple of months ago, I tried to make strawberry icecream but it tasted like frozen strawberry milkshake rather than icecream. What actually happened was, I got so curious about tasting and more so, blogging that I did not give enough time for it to freeze. But this time, I froze it overnight and result ?!?!?! - smooth, creamy, melting, yummy, sinful, delicious icecream.

My daughter simply loved it and her favorite among the two was gulab ice cream (for the color, without a doubt :-)). She thinks that her amma can do all wonders when it comes to cooking and so, I happily decided to keep this magic going and stretch it out as far as it'll go ;-) This time, my hubby didn't have anything to comment as he got really busy into enjoying this sweet delight with a cup of fruits.

Heavy whipping cream - 2 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Milk - 2 cups (I used 2%. You could also use whole milk)
Vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
Rose extract - 2 teaspoons

Whip cream until it doubles in size using an electric hand mixer / stand alone mixer (I used my hand mixer at speed 2 for about 10 mins). Add milk, sugar and whisk until sugar dissolves completely.

Now, divide the mixture into two equal parts. To one, add vanilla extract and mix well. To the other, add rose extract and mix well to combine.

Leave both the mixture in freezer for about 45 mins - 1 hr. Then, using a spatula / electric mixer break all the ice particles and mix until creamy. Repeat this process for every 30 mins for 2-3 hrs (about 4-6 times).

Then, freeze the ice cream mixture overnight (or 5-6 hrs). Serve & enjoy!!!

Linking this to "Lets cook #12 - Sweet Somethings" hosted by Radhika

February 8, 2012

Rajma masala

Rajma a.k.a Red kidney beans masala is a popular & healthy north-Indian recipe. Rajma is known for its high protein content and soluble dietary fiber that helps in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Tomatillo kootu

Have you tried tomatillos before?! If not, you should definitely try. This is my first time cooking/tasting tomatillos and I loved the tanginess it added to the regular moong dal kootu. Needless to say, tomatillo kootu paired up great with parathas.

Tomatillos (cousin of tomatoes) has a vibrant green color and looks like a small, under-ripe tomato hidden inside a paper-like husk. Discard this delicate husk, and what you have inside is a slightly sticky  vegetable with a sweet-tart flavor. When saute 'ed tomatillos becomes very soft and gives a citrusy flavor.

Tomatillos works beautifully well with moong dal to make this luscious, comforting kootu.

Tomatillos - 4 nos (chopped into cubes of 1 inch)
Tomatoes - 2 nos (chopped into cubes of 1 inch)
Cooked moong dal - 1.5 cups
Onion (Medium sized) - 1 no (finely chopped) - optional
Grated Ginger - 2 tsp - optional
Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 1 no
Green chillies - 2 nos
Hing - 1-2 pinches
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp - optional
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Oil & Salt - to taste
Chopped cilantro - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp - optional

Pressure cook moong dal with turmeric powder & green chillies for upto 2 whistles. Keep it aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat a tbsp of oil. Splutter mustard seeds, add cumin seeds and let it crackle. Add onion, red chillies and saute until onion turns translucent.

Add tomatoes, red chilli powder, hing, salt and let it cook until raw smell of tomatoes & chilli powder is gone. Now add tomatillos, cilantro and let it cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Finally, add cooked moong dal, mix well and allow it to cook for one more minute. If required, taste & adjust salt.

Remove from heat and serve it with rice / roti.

While cooking, remember that tomatillos tends to lose its shape & color when cooked in heat for long time (just like tomatoes).

February 6, 2012

Broccoli & Cauliflower fry

This is another delicious curry that I tried making in the oven roasted with peanuts & spices.

Broccoli is a new, happy & healthy addition to the list of vegetables that we like. I have never tasted, seen/heard this vegetable until few years ago. Though I had a lot of recommendations for this vegetable from my friend's circle, I was always kind of unsure about it.

If you are following my blog, you would have known by now that my family is a great fan of CPK. This is where we were first introduced to broccoli. My daughter especially is a great fan of their pasta - "Sun-dried tomato fusili with broccoli" and she simply loves the saute'ed baby broccoli. She is so crazy about their baby broccoli that she wouldn't leave even a single floret for us to taste. This is one of the main reasons for me to give-in for broccoli and try it at home. I decided to give it a try with the most familiar, look-alike & fair vegetable - cauliflower. 

My daughter loved this curry and I am definitely making this curry more often from now on! How I wish I tried this veggie a couple of years earlier !!

Broccoli florets - 1.5 cups
Cauliflower florets - 1.5 cups
Red chilli powder - 1-2 tsp (adjust to your spice level)
Coriander powder - 1-2 tsp
Raw peanuts - a handful
Hing - 1-2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Olive oil - 2 tbsp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

Chop the tops off of cauliflower & broccoli and slice them into small pieces, leaving the thick stems behind. Lay them in a single layer on a non-stick sheet tray.

Drizzle 1-2 tbsp of olive oil over the veggies. Sprinkle red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt & hing. Sprinkle a handful of peanuts on top. Toss them with your hands until you've got all the veggies & peanuts coated with oil & spices.

Return it to the oven and bake for a total time of 20 mins or until desired crispiness (look out for brown crispy layer on top of the crown), mixing once in between (after 10 mins).

Enjoy it as a side with hot rice or chapathi/paratha.

Oven roasted potato curry

I am yet to find a person who would say "NO" to potatoes. For most of us, potato fry is more than a comfort food. Usually I make potato fry on the stove top, but this time I tried it in the oven. Result ?!?!?! - Perfect & evenly roasted spicy & crispy potato curry, that too with very less oil !!!! What more do you need ?!?!

Only after this, I realized that making potato fry in the oven is one of the easiest things to do!! I am also planning to try okra fry / eggplant fry in a similar way sometime soon. 

Oven roasted potatoes can be used as a side for rice varieties.

Medium sized potatoes - 6-8 nos (I used yukon gold. This recipe should work for other varieties too)
Red chilli powder - 2-3 tsp (adjust to your spice level)
Hing - 1-2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Olive oil - 1-2 tbsp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

Peel outer layer of potatoes & chop them into cubes of equal size (about 1 inch). Lay them in a single layer on a non-stick sheet tray.

Drizzle 1-2 tbsp of olive oil over the potatoes. Sprinkle red chilli powder, salt & hing. Toss the potatoes with your hands until you've got all the potatoes coated with oil & spices.

Return it to the oven and bake for a total time of 20 mins or until desired crispiness (look out for brown crispy outer layer), stirring once in between (after 10 mins).


February 3, 2012

Roasted corn salad

Last week I was at farmer's market and couldn't resist myself from buying some fresh & colorful corn (they were very cheap too). I actually wanted to make the traditional oven roasted "corn on the cob", but what I ended up making was a scrumptious salad instead. I now have a new, healthy & delicious way to enjoy sweet corn with other vegetables. Hands down, this salad is downright delicious and I can finish the entire bowl in no time (absolutely guilt-free). Whatta way to munch on something for evening snacks :)

At home, we are not great salad eaters and this is my first time making salad at home. But, you have to believe me, all of us simply loved this sweet, crisp & fresh salad for its fuller & bolder flavor. Couple of things that I loved about this salad - fresh vegetables and my dearest "avocado" (found another healthier way to eat avocados, yipppee!!!).

Use this salad recipe just as a guideline and feel free to adjust the quantity of the vegetables (or) add/remove veggies of your choice.

Oven Roasted Corn - 1
Avocado - 1 (seed removed & chopped)
Tomato - 1 (finely chopped)
Green chillies - 1 (deseeded & minced) (you can also use jalapeno pepper)
Cilantro - Few (finely chopped)
Fresh lime juice - 2 tbsp
Salt & black pepper powder - to taste

All you need to do is set the oven to 400F, throw the corn in (remove the husk) and broil for 20 mins (make sure to turn the corn occasionally). Let the corn cool to room temperature.

Using a knife, remove the corn kernels and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add chopped avocados, tomatoes, green chillies, cilantro and lime juice. Carefully stir until ingredients are well combined. 

Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

I added crushed tortilla chips (jalapeno flavored) to my salad and it definitely elevated its taste
  • You can also add finely chopped onion (1 no) to the salad. I skipped it.
  • You can crush 4-5 tortilla chips on the top of the salad (just before you eat). It adds an interesting flavor & a crunchier texture to the salad.
  • You can also use this as salsa to go with tortilla chips (chipotle style).
Linking it to the event "Show me your HITS" hosted by Sangee Vijay.
Linking it to the event "Cooking with seeds - Corn" hosted by Shylaja.