October 27, 2012

Grilled Cheese

There are times one just has to ignore habit and indulge! We had a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner one day last week, just because I had a craving for it. This one was made with my favorite oat & nut bread with  3 years aged cheddar, caramelized onions sauteed with apple slices and cracked pepper. Yum :)


October 15, 2012

8 Season's Grille

Madison Magazine's festival of Food was last week in Madison. And I won a couple of gift certificates for the 8 Season's Grille. On Saturday, S and I had a romantic luncheon there, with a three course meal. Well, we had leftovers for the next day's lunch. I was surprised we had not been to this place before. The ambience was neat and the food was good - except for a couple of minor things. 

The chai was very dilute and though S liked it, I couldn't be happy with it, especially after the wonderful description they had on their menu. Chai needs whole milk folks. Especially when it is made from a concentrate. And my quinoa quesidilla was minus the quinoa. Even when I mentioned that to the hostess, there was no explanation and it was disappointing. But the bisque was totally worth going there in the first place. Delish! And the huevos rancheros was wonderful too. We couldn't have enough of the key lime pie. 

Thank you Madison Magazine for the free lunch :)


Roasted red pepper - tomato bisque

Quinoa Quesidilla

Huevos Rancheros

Key Lime Pie

October 11, 2012

Lablabi - Tunisian Chick Pea Stew

This simple dish with chick peas and garlic from African Dinner night turned out to be Shankar's favorite of the evening. Almost all the African dishes I have looked into so far have turned out to be very flavorful, yet easy to make one pot meals. Lablabi has many variations, but I followed this recipe, and it was very yummy!

Add two cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas in a pot with four cups of water (or less). Add three cloves of minced garlic, salt and cook for a few minutes. Then add two tablespoons of harissa - I used store bought one this time, though harissa (or hrissa) is pretty easy to make. Adjust salt per taste. I didn't have cumin powder, so I added toasted cumin. Cook till the chickpeas are tender. In a separate pan, brown two chopped up slices of bread (I used 7 grains). Before serving, add a spoon of olive oil and juice half a lemon over the chickpeas and stir in the croƻtons. A delicious stew in a few minutes!

I am sending this to Flavors of Tunisia, hosted by Simply Food.

October 7, 2012


We recently had visitors from Kansas and they brought along with them some delightful & hot red peppers. The only thing I could think of making with them was a 'thokku' or a grated pickle. I also had some frozen raw mangoes that were waiting to be used up and so here is my experiment at making them work together into a delicious side kick!

Ingredients: Raw Mango - 2 (chopped); Red Chili - 8 sliced (leave seeds in for more heat); turmeric - 1/2 tsp, Cayenne pepper - 1/2 tsp, mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp for tempering; Curry Leaves - few; Asafoetida - a pinch; Sesame Oil - 1/4 cup; Pickle masala - 1 tsp (optional)
  • In a pot, add 1/2 the sesame oil and once hot, temper the mustard seeds.
  • Add the red chili and saute for a few minutes
  • Add the curry leaves, mangoes & let it cook for a couple of minutes
  • Add the cayenne and turmeric, season with salt. Let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add the rest of the oil and if using, the pickle masala, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or so. Add the asafoetida and mix well.
  • Open and cook for a few more minutes for the flavors to meld 
  • Let it cool and grind to desired consistency. Alternately, you can grate the mangoes beforehand.
  • Store in an air tight container and use up quickly!

October 6, 2012

Tomato Rice

S and I watched a movie called Today's Special this afternoon, which is about a Sous Chef in New York who finally ends up as the Chef in his father's Indian restaurant. The nostalgic factor was pretty high in the movie with one of the older lead characters listening to the old & classic hindi songs all the time. Anyways, it brought back memories of some of the comfort food that my mom makes. The beauty of these dishes that I generally think of as comfort food is that they are simple. Easy to make, doesn't take too much time and makes you want to lick your fingers at the end of the meal :) 

The tomato rice is one such quick fix recipe in my mom's kitchen, and it has taken me multiple attempts to bring back the taste I remember from my school days! The trick is in letting everything simmer for a while. I find that when I am crunched for time, I seem to turn off the heat too soon. And these days I seem to appreciate the simmering similar to learning to appreciate negative spaces in a painting :)

Ingredients: Tomatoes - 3 (chopped); 1 medium onion - sliced; Green Chili - 2 sliced; turmeric - 1/2 tsp, Cayenne pepper - 1/2 tsp, mustard seeds & cumin & lentils - 1/4 tsp for tempering; Curry Leaves - few; Asafoetida - a pinch.
  • In a pot, add olive oil and once hot, temper the mustard & cumin seeds & lentils, add the sliced onions, green chili and saute till translucent
  • Add the curry leaves, tomatoes & let it cook for a couple of minutes
  • Add the cayenne and turmeric, season with salt & pepper. Let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add water as needed, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or so. Add the asafoetida and mix well.
  • Thicken the sauce if needed. 
  • Cook rice separately and mix with the cooked tomato sauce.
  • Serve hot with a dash of ghee!
I am sending this to the Favorite Recipes Event (Vegetarian Recipes) hosted by the Zesty South Indian Kitchen.

October 3, 2012

Salsa Verde

A couple of weeks back, our friends J & J were visiting us and brought with them a bag of delicious tomatillos and green peppers that were mild. All the pepper plants in our garden were eaten by either squirrels or bunnies this year and the tomatillos are just starting to fruit. I have been using the gift from my friends in different dishes and finally used up most of them in this simple salsa verde. Five ingredients and its totally tasty!

Either in the oven or on stove top, roast Onions (1 sliced), Peppers, Tomatillos, Cilantro and Salt. Cool and then grind to desired consistency! Simple :)
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