Mar 31, 2010

Sunday Brunch

Last week, I had a class on eggs in my cooking school. I made tonnes of 'proper' french omelets (Omelette roulee); which is french for rolled omelet. The entire class was very informative and also enjoyable. I found many of the Spanish omelets to be very similar to the omelets I used to eat growing up in India.

Omelette Basquaise is basically a thick omelet made with a mixture of eggs, onion, green pepper and tomato. It starts on the stove top, then moves to the oven and gets finished on the stove top. While my mom made similar omelets with mixed vegetables, those were cooked entirely on the stove top. To achieve the thickness of the omelet she used to cover the pan with a lid and cook the omelet on low heat.

After this exciting class on egg, I decided to make my version of individual baked omelet for Sunday brunch. I also made a brie and pear sandwich to go with the eggs

Oven Baked Omelet Recipe
1 portabella mushroom
1 egg
10 milliliter (splash of milk)
40 milligram onion chopped
40 milligram green pepper chopped
Half of a plum tomato (chopped and seed removed)
Salt, Black pepper
1 tsp parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Clean the portabella mushroom with a clean damp cloth. In a heavy bottom pan add oil. When oil gets hot, add the mushroom cap, top side down. Wait for the mushroom to get a nice brown color on the top side. Then flip the mushroom. Wait till the mushroom gets slightly cooked. The rest of the cooking continues in the oven.

Mix rest of the ingredients. Brush the ramekin with olive oil. Put the portabella mushroom in the ramekin and pour the egg mixture into the ramekin. In the preheated 350F oven, bake it for 20 minutes. You can add a little cheese after removing the ramekin from the oven. The cheese will melt from the residual heat in the egg and ramekin. I didn't add cheese though.

Pear and Brie Sandwich
2 slices of whole grain bread (I bought mine from a local Italian store, It was really flavorful and nutty)
2 oz of brie
1/4 of a pear sliced
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp butter

Butter one side of each slice. Then keep the buttered side of the bread slice on a medium hot pan. Add cheese slices, pear and honey on top of the bread. Add the other slice of bread on top of the fruit and cheese, keeping the buttered side to the top. Let it stay for one minute and then flip it and wait for another couple of minutes or till the cheese starts melting. But keep an eye on the heat as the bread can get burnt very quickly.

I should have cut the sandwich in the picture to show the inside, But I was very hungry...just managed to take the picture of my plate.

Mar 29, 2010

Broccoli and Egg Salad

Today, I was thinking about making a salad for lunch. But there were no salad greens in the fridge. It was raining and I was in no mood for shopping. Luckily I found a broccoli head and made this crunchy broccoli and hard boiled egg salad. And I added chewiness to the salad by adding a leftover baguette piece that was hanging around in the freezer.

Broccoli and Egg Salad Recipe

2 cups broccoli florets
2 eggs
1 cup baguette cubes
1 garlic clove finely chopped
2 tsp of olive oil
salt, pepper, cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

Toss the broccoli florets and baguette cubes in salt, pepper, minced garlic and olive oil and bake it in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or till the rawness of the broccoli is gone.

To achieve the perfect hard boiled egg, in a pot take cold water and egg. Bring the water gently to a boil over medium heat. Then switch off the stove and cover the pot with a lid. Let it sit for 12 minutes and then put the eggs in ice bath/cold tap water. Let the eggs cool down a little. Then peel them under cold running water.

In a salad bowl, put the broccoli, baguette cubes and top them with the hard boiled sliced eggs . Sprinkle little cayenne and black pepper on the top.

Mar 28, 2010

Lemon Pudding

The most deliciously decadent dessert I have ever made. I didn't post the recipe because it was not mine. But I can provide the recipe on request.

Linguine with Acorn squash

Here is one more recipe with roasted acorn squash.

1 cup linguine
8 medium sized shrimp
1/2 cup roasted acorn squash
4 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium leek
1 teaspoon capers
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

2 TBS olive oil
Salt and crushed black pepper
Red pepper flakes

In a large pot, boil 6 cups of water over high heat and salt the water generously. Then add pasta and cook the pasta, stirring occasionally for about 8-9 minutes or according to the package direction.  Then drain the pasta.

Leek is a member of onion family and the taste is sweet and subtle. Only white and pale green are used in cooking and dark green part is good for soup.  Cut off the dark green part, leaving the white and pale green part. Then cut the leek lengthwise into half. Then clean it under running water by removing sand that might be in-between the leaves. Then slice both halves of the leek like you slice onion. In a pan saute the leek with little olive oil and butter till it gets soft. Set aside.

Add 1TBS of olive oil to the pan. Add red pepper flakes to the oil. When oil gets medium hot, add onion and salt and saute till it gets translucent. Add garlic and the roasted acorn squash. Then add the shrimp. Shrimp will take 5-6 minutes to get cooked. Then add the cooked pasta and sauteed leek . Adjust the seasoning, add capers, lemon juice, lemon zest and crushed black pepper.  Garnish with copped parsley.

Mar 20, 2010

Chana Dal with Acorn Squash

Couple of days back, I had roasted acorn squash for the first time in my life. It was so delicious - the sweet, earthy flavor just melted in my mouth. People generally eat the fleshy part and discard the skin. But the roasted skin is as delicious as the flesh. I ended up eating the skin, flesh everything. I was so impressed by the vegetable, it has topped my produce list for this week.

Based on requests from some of my vegetarian friends, I was trying to post a couple of vegetarian recipes for this week.  So I thought of combining acorn squash and lentil. This recipe is also a spin off of my mom's mixed vegetable curry with chana dal.

Chana dal is a variety of yellow dal. It is basically, split skinned off black chickpea. You can find this in any Indian grocery store or you can use the yellow lentil found in any regular grocery store. Chana dal holds the shape better than the regular yellow dal even after cooking. But you can always substitute with yellow dal.

1 cup chana dal (yellow lentil)
3 cups water
1/2 acorn squash
1 inch ginger minced
1/2 yellow spanish onion chopped
1 plum tomato
1 TBS cup sweet peas 
Juice of half a lemon

1 TBS of oil ( I used olive oil)
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 clove
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pod

In large pot put chana dal, tomato, whole spices (clove, cinnamon stick, cardamom) and water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer it for 45 minutes or till the dal gets tender with no resistance. If you are using a pressure cooker it will take 10 minutes. I don't have a pressure cooker, so I used a large pot. After the dal is done fish out the whole spices.

Add oil in a pan. When oil gets hot, temper the oil with cumin seed. Then add ginger and cook it till it gets fragrant. Then add the onion, little salt and saute the onion till it gets light brown.  The salt helps to bring out all the moisture from the onion and helps the cooking process. Then add roasted acorn squash (recipe follows) and saute for a 2/3 minutes till the squash gets little color.

Take the tomato out of the boiled dal mixture and put in the pan and mash it with spoon. Then cook till tomato gets cooked and all the vegetables get nicely coated with it. It will take 3/4 minutes.  Then add all the dal and water to the pan. Cook it for a couple of minutes and mix the dal well with the rest of the vegetable on the pan. Season it with salt. Then finish it by adding the cumin powder, lemon juice and chopped cilantro.

Serve it with steamed rice or whole wheat tortilla or Indian roti.

Roasted Acorn squash
Cut the acorn squash into half. Then brush the inside with olive oil. Roast the squash in a 400 degree F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Time saving tip - you can boil the dal and squash at the same time and you don't even have to be in the kitchen. After boiling and roasting is done, you can come back and finish the dish, which all together takes 10-15 minutes.

Mar 14, 2010

Chicken Wings

Chicken wings with salad is one of my favorite dinners on a cold or rainy night. It is easy to make and also delicious – tickles all the taste buds. I pan fry the chicken wings instead of deep-frying it, I guess it makes it a little healthier.

10 chicken wings
1 ½ teaspoon of all-purpose flour
Salt, pepper and paprika


¼ cup of hot sauce
2 TBS soy sauce
½ teaspoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon sugar
½ lemon
6 crush cloves (give the whole clove a coarse grind in the coffee grinder)
Parsley for garnish

Mix the flour with salt, pepper and paprika. Coat the chicken wings with the flour mixture. Put 1 TBS of canola oil on the pan, and then pan-fry the coated chicken wings. Fry till the chicken wings look brown on both sides. I started with 1 TBS of oil because lot of fat gets generated from the wings. So the frying process is somewhere between pan-frying and shallow frying. Mix rest of ingredients in a bowl for the sauce. Add the sauce to the pan and shallow fry it till the sauce thickens and the chicken gets coated with the sauce and oil (generated from the wings) mixtures. Then sprinkle some clove powder on the wings – this gives them a nice spicy kick. Garnish the wings with parsley.
Serve the wings with a homemade dipping sauce. The recipe for the dipping sauce follows below.

Dipping Sauce
1 teaspoon mayo
1 TBS non-fat yogurt
chopped scallion (can be substituted with chives)
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon chopped capers
Salt, pepper

Put all the ingredients for dipping sauce in a bowl and mix all of them well.

Banana Bread wih Nutella

Banana bread is one of my ‘rescue banana’ recipes. Banana is not only rich in vitamin, but it also acts as an anti-acid. After dinner, banana is a easy and healthy dessert with a little nutella or peanut butter on top. But sometime it just sits on the counter top unnoticed and turns black and mushy. That’s when my banana bread recipe comes into play, one recipe that demands for ripe, mushy banana that is not very appetizing on its own.

4 ripe bananas
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
½ cup honey
2 TBS granulated sugar
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup raisin
¼ cup chocolate chips
nutella (Chocolate hazel nut spread)

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mass all the bananas in a separate bowl using a fork, then add melted cold butter and egg to the bowl. Mix them well. Then mix all the dry and wet ingredients. Butter the pan and add the mixture and bake it for 30-35 minutes. The house smells good, cinnamon, and banana, just like home.
I am addicted to nutella. I can spread it on any baked goods, fruits or any sweet thing. Nutella tastes even yummier with this chocolate banana cake, got to try this to believe it. After the bread cools down, spread a generous amount of nutella, sprinkle some chopped hazel nut, pecan or whatever else you have at hand.

Chicken liver with Leek

After a leisurely stroll in central park, coming back home I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some onions. Even when I go to the grocery store to pick up one thing, it never stops at one. I got some beautiful chicken liver and my latest favorite vegetable, leek and bunch of other things.

Since I got my favorite vegetable, I decided to use it with chicken liver. I cleaned and finely chopped the leek and then sweated it with little bit of olive oil and salt. Sweating with butter will make it even more flavorful, but olive oil is a much healthier option. Then I sautéed chicken liver in a mixture of butter and olive oil and seasoned it with salt, pepper, cayenne, and cumin powder. I served the chicken liver on the bed of leek and with a chipotle-mayo slathered ciabatta bread.

Mar 12, 2010

Sweet and Savory Weekend Brunch

Weekend brunch is one of my favorite meals. Last Saturday was a gorgeous day in NYC. I was craving for something savory followed by something sweet. Eggs, some baked items and fruits are the must haves of my weekend brunch. I decided to do something simple with the egg other than making omelet or frittata. I also wanted Heini’s yogurt cultured semi-soft cheese that I bought from Gourmet Garage to be the star of the show. The cheese is very creamy and spiced with jalapeno. It is just delicious. To satisfy my craving, I finally settled on a open faced ciabatta sandwich with poached egg and lots of melted cheese.

Ingredients for the open-faced Ciabatta sandwich
2 Eggs
½ Avocado
10-15 Cherry Tomatoes
Olive oil
Ciabatta bread
Salt, pepper, cumin powder
Heini’s yogurt cultured cow’s milk cheese with Jalapeno
Juice of half a lemon

I poached two eggs according to steps listed in the simply recipes blog and I had perfect poached eggs. Thanks Elise for sharing the recipe.

I lightly toasted the ciabatta bread with olive oil and a little salt. Melted the cheese on the bread on the stove top. Added the poached egg, sweet cherry tomato, avocado, lemon juice and drizzled olive oil on the top. Then I seasoned the sandwich with salt, pepper and a little cumin powder. The recipe serves 2 people. And here is the sandwich…

The sandwich was accompanied by pear and blue berry crisp, which I baked in individual ramekin. Here is the recipe

Fruit mixture
1 pear
1 cup blue berry
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon mixed berry jam
Freshly squeezed and zest of half orange
½ teaspoon of all-purpose flour

¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup chopped roasted pecan
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon of granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 TBS of unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients for the fruit mixture. Divide fruit mixture into two ramekins.

Put all the ingredients of the topping except the roasted pecans in a bowl. Add butter to the dry ingredients and rub the butter till texture of the mixture gets crumbly. Add the chopped pecan to the mixture.

Sprinkle the topping on top of the fruit filling. And bake it for 40-45 minutes till the fruit gets bubbly and the top gets crispy.

And the brunch served.

Mar 4, 2010

Home coming dinner

After me and my husband did a long distance relationship for 2.5 years, I decided to quit my job and just come home and start living together. Quitting my job was not an easy decision but sometimes you have to do things because you have to do it. So here I reached home. A delicious, comforting dinner was waiting for me prepared by my husband, who is really challenged in the kitchen, believe me, I am not kidding. It made my heart filled with awe…so sweet. The chicken soba noodle soup and the garlic bread were delicious. The yellow cake with pink frosting from Amy’s bread was delectable…yummy! I felt welcomed. There couldn’t have been a better dinner than this, the best meal I have ever had.