Sunday, July 29, 2012

I have got the broccolini!

Broccolini is my latest love affair! These tender strands are very simple to cook and are good as a side dish or as a main course tossed with pasta like this.
        This is easily available in summer and makes a quick and wonderful meal. The thing that I like the most about broccolini is that you don't have to clean it or cut it like broccoli. The entire strand is edible!

1 bunch broccolini ( or 1/3 pound by weight)
1/2 pound angel hair pasta (I use whole grain)
1 table spoon finely chopped garlic
pinch of chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste
5-6 olives (preferably from the olive bar and not canned) sliced
2 tb spoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano / romano cheese
1 tea spoon lemon zest (optional)

Bring a big pot of water to boil. Once water starts to boil, add the washed broccolini and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Remove broccilini from hot water and transfer it to the bowl filled with ice to stop the cooking process.
           Add salt to the boiling water and add angel hair pasta. Cook according to the package directions. Angel hair pasta cooks very fast so start the sauce once the pasta is cooking. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil into the skillet. Add chopped garlic and chili flakes and fry until fragrant. Add broccolini and toss everything together. Add cooked pasta and olives and season with salt and pepper as per taste. Add lemon zest and mix everything together. Add cheese in the end and serve hot/warm.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Strawberry mousse in chocolate cup!

Strawberry is one of my favorite fruits. I prefer to eat it in its natural form however, I had this recipe on my mind for a long time. So when I had a heap of strawberries from my trip to farmer's market, I decided to give it a try.
        Making chocolate cup sounds difficult but it is not. This delectable dessert requires a little patience, but I would absolutely do it again and again!

For chocolate cup:
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 tea spoon vanilla extract (optional, use orange zest if like)
3 normal size muffin liners
pastry brush

For mousse:
5-6 medium strawberries,quartered
1/3 cup water
1 tb sugar
1/4 heavy whipping cream
1 tb spoon sugar
1/4 tea sp vanilla extract
1/2 tea spoon agar agar powder
2 tb spoon water

To make the chocolate cup, melt 3/4 of the 1/3 cup chocolate chips on a double boiler.Once the chocolate melts, remove from the heat and add rest 1/4 chocolate chips and stir well until smooth and glossy. Add vanilla extract/orange zest and stir everything. Take a muffin liner.Pour 1 tb spoon warm chocolate into the liner and coat the entire liner with chocolate using a pastry brush. Make sure to have even coating throughout and a relatively thick layer at the bottom of the liner. Freeze for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, coat again the frozen chocolate muffin liner with remaining molten chocolate and freeze again for 30 more minutes. Next, remove the cups from the freezer and leave them out at room temperature for a minute. Remove carefully the paper liner. If the cup is set, the liner will come out smoothly.You will have to work quickly else the cup will start to melt.
             In the meantime, boil together strawberries,water and 1 tb spoon sugar for 5 minutes. Puree it in the blender and sieve the puree to get 1/3 cup total smooth puree. Heat the agar-agar powder with 2 tb spoon of water and mix together warm strawberry puree with warm agar-agar mixture and set aside until it starts to thicken or starts to set. Whip the heavy whipping cream with 1 tb spoon sugar and 1/4 tea spoon vanilla extract until firm peaks. Gently mix strawberry mixture and whipped cream. Mousse is ready.
                    Pour the mousse into frozen chocolate cups and refrigerate for at-least 2 hours before serving.

Note: If paper liner sticks to the chocolate while removing, do it slowly even if the paper liner starts to come off in pieces.
 Handle the cups carefully as they are very very delicate and can break. ( take a hint!)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

soft polenta

I had never even heard about polenta until couple of years ago when food network's Alton Brown ran an episode about it. I was looking for more recipes to try and I stumbled upon this. This is a sure winner. Thank you ET for this wonderful recipe!

1/2 cup polenta (I use whole grain)
2 cups water
1 tb spoon olive oil/butter
salt and pepper to season
roasted brussel sprouts (with olive oil.salt and pepper)
1 tb spoon grated parmigiano- reggiano (optional)

Bring water to boil. Add butter/oil, and the polenta slowly, continuously whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat until it starts to thicken (about 10-15 minutes), whisking every once in a while. 
           To roast the brussel sprouts, cut them in half and coat them with olive oil and salt,pepper. Roast on 350F for about 30 minutes or until fork tender.
          Top the cooked polenta with roasted brussel sprouts. Add parmigiano- reggiano and serve warm. Roasted eggplant is a good substitute for brussel sprouts.
          This makes 2 decent sized servings.

Monday, July 9, 2012

bell pepper raita

I remember eating this raita in my grandmother's kitchen. There were some impromptu guests coming over and she had made this along with everything else. It is so easy to make that I had to post it here.
                It is a nice change to everyday koshimbirs/raitas often made with cucumbers/tomatoes/carrots etc.

2 medium sized green bell peppers (roasted)
1/2 small onion finely chopped
1-2 tb spoon roasted peanut powder(danyacha koot)
salt to taste
1/2 cup thick yogurt
pinch of sugar (optional)
1 tb spoon chopped cilantro

For tampering:
1/2 tb spoon oil
1 tea spoon mustered seeds
pinch of asaphoetida
2 dry red chillies

 To roast the bell peppers, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with a foil/parchment paper and broil them on 400 F for 10-15 minutes, turning them midway. Peppers should be cooked but still have firm texture (not like store-bought roasted red pepper texture). Let the peppers cool. In the meantime, mix together chopped onion,roasted peanut powder,salt,sugar and yogurt and set aside. Peel the skins off the peppers and chop the peppers into bite size pieces. Mix peppers into the mixture.
       Heat the oil for tampering. Add mustered seeds,asaphoetida and red chillies. Add the hot oil mixture to the bell peppers mixture and mix everything. Add cilantro at the end. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to eat.