May 27, 2010

Our little Garden

After almost a month of getting things ready, we finally have a small vegetable garden now. Our landlords are avid gardeners, but the house is surrounded by ornamentals and they have never grown vegetables before. And so, we had to make a special patch in the backyard, and now we have the seedlings planted. I have a lot of swiss chard going and now that I am spending three weeks in St. Louis, I am hoping all my plants would be alive and well when I get back to Madison. I also have three varieties of beans, five varieties of chilli peppers, three tomatoes, one tomatillo and two varieties of eggplants in addition to a few kale and cabbage plants. And the spinach are happy in their pot :) 

May 26, 2010

Russian Mushroom & Potato Soup

A very simple Russian peasant soup made with mushrooms and potatoes was a big part of today's dinner. I used the recipe from The Russian Heritage Cookbook by Lynn Visson for inspiration and adapted it to the ingredients I had. 

Basically, I sautéed chopped Morel mushrooms and portabella mushrooms in olive oil & butter. When the mushrooms were cooking, I also added a small chopped onion. In another pan, I heated about 4 cups of water and added 1/2 cup of rice. Once the onions turned soft, I added the mushrooms and a chopped red potato to the boiling rice. Seasoned with salt and pepper, and let it cook till the rice and potatoes were done. Served with a dollop of yogurt. The soup was very earthy and the meaty texture from the mushrooms made it delicious. 

I am sending this recipe to A.W.E.D. Russian hosted by RV, started by DK of Chef in You.

May 25, 2010

Mango Peda for a crowd

For a recent get-together at one of my colleague's house, I had to make dessert and with the little time I had, needed to put together something quick and easy, but that can serve abut 40 people. Hence I adapted the Mango Peda recipe from Red Chillies and changed the quantity to make about 40 pedas. They were yummy and were such a big hit for the evening. However, it was not a quick recipe though. Next time, if I am making this, I would opt for a stove-top version than the microwave version. 

I used about a pound of ricotta cheese and whisked into it 5 cups of sweetened mango pulp. I also used about 1/2 cup more powdered sugar [my husband didn't think it was sweet enough, so may be add more sugar as per taste]. I also used 1 cup of shredded coconut, 1/4 tsp of cardamom powder, a pinch of saffron and some finely chopped pistachio nuts. Basically you have to cook all this down (under high heat) to a consistency where it can be molded. It took a lot longer in the microwave, as mine is a 1000 watts one and couldn't run for longer than 10-15 minutes without taking a small break. Also, the quantity made a big difference for the cooking time. Anyways, once they were shaped, for the final garnish instead of using nuts, I melted a portion of a mango-chili chocolate bar with a little bit of milk and used the coulis. They were perfect for the potluck!

I am sending this to Nupur's Blog Bites #3: The Adaptation Edition.

May 23, 2010

Plantain Casserole from Haiti

Shankar tries to get me Indian veggies that I usually don't get in Madison from St. Louis. Last week he had bought some plantains of an Indian variety. Some how with the busy week I had, they had been ignored and I realized almost after a week that they were too ripe for any of my regular recipes. And I have hardly cooked with ripe plantains before. A quick search led me to this recipe from A Taste of Haiti by Mirta Yurnet-Thomas. Though I was a little skeptical of cooking ripe plantains, the casserole turned out to be too good and not only do I have a favorite substitute for sweet potato casseroles, I don't have to throw away any more ripe plantains, ever!


I peeled and sliced about 4 plantains. In a pan, melted about a tbsp of butter and to that added a small chopped onion. Once the onions were soft I added about a tbsp of flour and cooked well. Then I added about 1/2 cup of milk to make a sauce. Seasoned it with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. I tossed the plantains in this sauce, poured it into a baking dish and added shredded pepper-jack cheese on top. Baked in a 375F pre-heated oven until there was a golden crust. It took about 30 minutes. If the plantains were not ripe enough, you might want to boil them first before cooking. Yummy :)

May 22, 2010

Black-eyed Peas from Mali (Mo Dunguri)

We have had a crazy busy weekend for the last three weeks and finally having a relaxed one at home. And I was able to cook a few dishes after a pretty big break. Tonight's dinner included Rice with Black-eyed Peas, Plantain Casserole from Haiti and a simple salad.

In a skillet, heat a tsp of olive oil (+ butter, if you like), and sauté one small chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic. Add a can of drained black-eyed peas, season with salt. The original recipe called for using a bouillon, but I used a tsp of Skhug and 1/4 tsp of cumin/coriander powder. Add 2 tsp of creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup or more of water. Heat thoroughly till the peanut butter has melted. Serve with rice. The dish was yummy and would be a pretty good weeknight dinner. This recipe was adapted from the World Cookbook for Students.

I am sending this to MLLA#23, hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook

May 7, 2010

Cozy Corner

Here is one of my favorite picture of Nikko taken in Owen, a couple of years back. He was hiding in Shankar's sweatshirt pocket and was curious what I was up to.

Dead Trees Next Door

This used to be the view from my living room window ~ minus the dude on the tree. Now the dead trees are gone! The view still looks good ~ minus all the woodpeckers that loved these three dead trees. And I miss scanning the trees for the peckers as I sip my morning coffee. On a cheery note, a pair of black-capped chickadees have taken residence in one of the bird houses in the yard :)

May 4, 2010

Almond Crescents from Morocco ~ Kab el ghzal

I made these Almond Crescents for a crunchy something to go along with the Venezuelan Coconut Rice Pudding a couple of weeks back. This was another recipe from Global Vegetarian Cooking by Troth Wells. The recipe was simple, but the only problem was the baking times from the actual recipe that called for 40 minutes. When I took them out in about 20, they were already getting burnt on the bottom. Anyways, if anyone is going to try this, please make sure you keep an eye on the timer. In spite of the little darkness, I scrapped the bottom burnt part and they tastes delish. I have to try them again with only 10-15 minutes of baking.

Preheat the oven at 375F. In my food processor I basically added about a cup of blanched almonds, about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and ground the almonds. Then I added about 1/4 cup more sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4tsp almond extract, 4 tbsp rose water and processed to a dough like consistency. Then roll them out into desired size, shape to a crescent on the baking sheet. Brush egg-wash on top of the cookies and sprinkle some sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes or until they are golden. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...