Soup

Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup

This Italian meal is just not hearty and healthy but it’s really flexible too…There’s something incredibly satisfying about using up whole bunch of vegetables, beans and vegetable broth, this soup is a meal in itself .

Ingredients:

4 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 celery rib chopped

7 cups vegetable broth

1 medium potato peeled and cut into cubes

1 medium zucchini trimmed and cut into cubes

1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cup cannellini beans

Method:

Remove and discard the stems from the spinach. Wash, chop and keep them aside. Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add the leeks, carrots, onions and celery and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add the stock, potato, zucchini, spinach and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour. stir the beans and salt to taste. Simmer just until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve immediately with grated cheese!

Minestrone soup

 

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Appetizers/Snacks

Sun Dried Tomato and Black Olive Puree

Sun dried tomato and black olive puree

I made this purée for an italian dinner party and it was an elegant crowd pleaser!  Filled with loads of  flavors which are distinct, dense and absolutely delicious.. you can not go wrong with this recipe, its simple and easy to make… This puree is great served as a dip/spread along with a sliced baguette or pita chips.

Ingredients:

15 sun fired tomatoes packed in oil, drained

8 large black olives, pitted

1 medium garlic clove

2 tbsp whole fresh parsley leaves

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt

1 loaf Italian bread cut into 24 pieces 1/2 inch thick

Method:

Place the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic, parsley and thyme in the work bowl of a food processor or a blender . Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until all the ingredients are coarsely chopped. Pulse in oil, 1 tbsp at a time to form a smooth but a still slightly coarse paste.

Scrape the purée into a small bowl. Add salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet. Bake, turning the slices once, until they are lightly browned  and crisp.  Place the toasted bread slices on splatter and spread 1 generous teaspoon of the purée over each slice. Serve immediately.

Sun dried tomato and black olive puree

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Side dish

Lauki kofta curry (bottle gourd dumpling curry)

Lauki kofta

Bottle gourd is a very unique vegetable and is liked for its simple and mild flavor. Lauki kofta called in Hindi or bottle gourd dumpling curry is the lightest of all kofta recipes when it comes to calories and I prefer it for the same reason!

Ingredients:

For making the koftas

2 cups grated Lauki/ bottle gourd

4 tbsp besan/ Gram flour

1/2 tsp – garam masala

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

1 green chilli finely chopped

salt as required

For making the curry 

2 large tomatoes chopped

1 onion chopped

2 green chillies chopped

1 inch giner chopped

2 tbsp  broken cashews

1 tsp  coriander powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

For tempering :

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

oil for frying

salt and sugar for taste

Method: 

For making the dumpling:

Heat oil in a pan for frying. Peel and grate the bottle gourd. Squeeze all the liquid from the grated bottle gourd and keep aside, store the liquid as it can used for the curry.  Add rest of the ingredients listed under making the kofta and mix well. If the mixture is too thick sprinkle little water and make them into round balls.  Add this dough mixture gently into oil and fry until they are golden brown. Remove them from oil and put them on a tissue paper to drain out excess oil.

Lauki kofta

For making the Gravy- 

Blend tomatoes, onions, green chilies, ginger, garlic and cashews to a smooth paste, add 1/2 cup of water while grinding.  In another pan heat 3 tbsp of oil and add cumin seeds and allow it splutter. Add turmeric and the ground mixture into the pan, keep stirring for a minute. Add 1/4 tsp garam masala, red chilli powder and 1 tsp coriander powder, give it a stir. Cover the pan with the lid and allow it to boil for few minutes. Add the liquid that was reserved from straining and little water if required.

The consistency of the gravy should be thick and not runny. Before serving, put the bottle gourd fried dumplings in a serving plate, top it up with gravy and garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or roti.

Lauki kofta

 

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Appetizers/Snacks, Cakes n bakes

Desi Pizza (Indian style pizza)

 

Desi Pizza

I was first introduced to this so called “desi pizza” when I was 17 years old… One of the chaat center near my place in India made this pizza. We all were going crazy for this and one day I realized that they were not making any tomato sauce for the base nor were they making a pizza base but added tomato ketchup on a Italian style bread!. This is the most simplest of all desi pizzas I have had and just got reminded of it and baked it at home!

Ingredients:

1 loaf Italian bread

1 finely chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper

24 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

Tomato ketchup

Mint chutney

To make mint chutney:

Coriander/ cilantro – 10 to 12 strands

Mint leaves – 1 cup

Green chillies- 2 to 3

Cumin seeds- 1 Tsp

Sugar- 1/4 Tsp

Blend everything together with little water and make a thick paste.

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Make half-inch thick slices of the bread. Arrange the slices on cookie sheet and spread 1-2 tbsp of tomato ketchup on the slice following by mint chutney.  Add 2 tbsp of onions and bell pepper on top and sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese generously on top of it.

Desi Pizza

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Desi Pizza

 

 

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Side dish

Rajma

Rajma

Rajma is a popular Indian vegetarian dish consisting of red kidney beans and a thick gravy consisting a lot of Indian spices…It is part of a regular diet in northern India but its popular all over India and overseas too.  It goes really well with rice or roti (wheat flat bread).

Ingredients:

1 (14 oz can)-Red kidney beans, drained and washed.

If using raw beans, take around 1 1/2 cup of beans and soak for 6-8 hours and pressure cook the beans until done (2 whistles).

1 finely chopped onion

3 small tomatoes chopped

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 green chillies

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Salt to taste

1 tbsp butter optional

3 tbsp oil

Method:

Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, allow it to splutter. Add onion, ginger garlic paste and green chillies. Sauteè until onions turns translucent. Mix in chopped tomatoes, red chili powder.

Rajma

Turn off the heat. Blend the mixture once cooled. Then bring back to heat and add garam masala.

Rajma

Now add the drained kidney beans and mix well.  Cover the lid and cook for 8-10 minutes under medium heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro and add a tbsp of butter  and cover the lid. Serve with hot rice or rotis.

Rajma

 

 

 

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Main Course

Pasta Puttanesca

puttanesca

This dish mainly originated in mid twentieth century. Some believe that it was a sauce created by a restaurant owner … Petti who was near closing his restaurant one evening, found a group of customers sitting at one of his tables, Petti was low on ingredients and told the customers he didn’t have enough to make a meal. They started complaining and said it’s too late and they are hungry. “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi (Make any kind of garbage),” they insisted. At that time Petti had nothing more than tomatoes, capers and olives, so he used them to make a sauce for the spaghetti and later from then he included this dish in his menu as spaghetti alla puttanesca- source history of pasta puttanesca.

I personally love this sauce, it has wonderful taste of capers, olives, tomatoes and herbs. Its jam-packed with intense flavors and very simple and easy to make.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves chopped finely

1 tsp red pepper flakes

20 large pitted black olives (coarsely chopped)

3 -4 tbsp capers

1/2 white onion chopped

1 (32 ounce can )- chunky style tomato

1 (14 ounce can)- diced tomato

Black pepper and salt to taste

1/4 cup parsley chopped

1 pound spaghetti cooked to al dente

Method:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, chopped onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sautee until the onions and garlic are translucent. Then add  chopped olives, capers, tomatoes and bring them to boil. Simmer and heat the sauce for another 8-10 minutes. Add pepper and salt according to your taste and garnish with parsley.

puttanesca

Toss the sauce with pasta and serve with bread and cheese/olive oil, vinegar mix.

puttanesca

 

 

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Cakes n bakes

Strawberry cobbler

Strawberry Cobbler

Don’t let the strawberry season slip away from you without trying this strawberry cobbler recipe. Its my first time trying and absolutely loved it with a cup of vanilla ice-cream. It almost has a cookie like texture its soft and tender with fresh strawberries intermingling. This classic cobbler makes the most of the season’s best berries.

Ingredients:

3 cups strawberries diced

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 stick butter melted

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl add diced strawberries and 3/4 cup sugar and mix well and keep aside. In another bowl add sifted flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup sugar, mix well. Add in milk, butter and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Grease a 9 inch casserole dish. Pour the batter evenly.

Strawberry cobbler

Spoon strawberries evenly on top of the batter, do not stir.

Strawberry cobbler

Bake on the top rack of the oven for 38-45 minutes or until the crust and sides turn golden. Serve when warm with a scoop of your favorite ice cream!

Strawberry Cobbler

 

 

 

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