Monday, December 17, 2012


Its getting colder and so my appetite for soup/stews has begun to increase. Chili fits the equation perfectly. It usually is non-vegetarian; however can easily be 'veganised'.
          Chili is basically a mixture of vegetables,beans, meats and spices stewed together for a long time. Longer you simmer chili, better it tastes! I would hardly call this as a recipe as this changes from person to person. Feel free to adjust according to your taste with veggies and beans of your choice!

2 cups kidney beans (soaked overnight in plenty of water)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper,seeded and minced
1/2 carrot, cubed into bite size pieces
1 cup diced bell peppers (use different colours if available, go with green if using only 1 colour )
1 tb spoon canola oil
1 tb spoon chopped garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes (or use 1 14.5 oz can of no salt added diced tomatoes)
2 cups vegetable stock/water
salt and pepper to taste
2 tb spoon chili powder ( I use McCormick, different brands taste different so use according to taste)

Cook kidney beans in pressure cooker with plenty of water with just 1 whistle (the rest of the cooking will be completed while its simmering with spices and veggies). Heat a pot on medium high heat and add oil. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.Add carrots,season with salt,pepper and 1 tb spoon chili powder. Add 1/2 cup stock/water and let the mixture come to boil.Add chopped tomatoes,beans (with their cooking liquid) and remaining 1 and 1/2 cups stock/water and again bring mixture to boil. Switch heat to medium, add remaining 1 tb spoon chili powder (add more or less according to taste) ,cover pot with lid and let it simmer for at-least 20 minutes stirring in between.
            Serve with your choice of topping. Some options would be sour cream,cheddar cheese,chopped avocado,chopped cilantro or guacamole! Serve and eat hot.
Note: To cook beans, I usually take 2:1 ratio for water to beans. Basically beans should be completely covered in water to cook!

Friday, December 7, 2012


Jamie Oliver does it again! If you have some spare time on hand and are ready for an experiment, here is the one! This is a must try. It does require little more time to make it but it looks stunning and tastes amazing.
              In his book 'Jamie's Italy', he has given rotolo recipe for butter-nut squash and spinach. However, I read the book in summer when farmers markets were overflowing with tomatoes and basil. So here is the summer version of rotolo adopted from Jamie's Italy.


 For Pasta dough
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/4  tea spoon salt
2 tb spoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lukewarm water

For Filling
2 cups cherry tomatoes,halved (marinated in 1tb spoon balsamic vinegar,salt and 1 tea spoon sugar for at least 1 hour)
1 cup pesto (has to be thick)
1/2 cup asiago cheese , cubed into bite size pieces
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Start with pasta dough because it needs time to rest. To make the dough, mix together all ingredients except for water and mix well. Add little water at a time to make a stiff dough. You may have to adjust the amount of water required. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes,wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for half an hour. Divide pasta dough in 2 balls. Roll out each ball (using rolling pin) as thin as possible in a rectangular shape.
      Before building rotolo, make sure you have a clean dish towel and kitchen twine ready.Carefully transfer one of the pasta sheets on a clean dish towel. Make sure to take a bigger dish towel than the pasta sheet. Arrange 2 rows of cherry tomatoes on the long side of pasta sheet closest to you. arrange pieces of asiago cheese next and spread half pesto and sprinkle half of parmigiano-reggiano cheese on pesto,leaving 1 inch margin on all 4 sides (as shown in photo). Brush the sides of pasta sheets with water and start rolling pasta sheet from nearest side to you. Roll the sheet up and away from you. Wrap the pasta sheet log in kitchen towel and seal both ends of the kitchen towel with kitchen twine. You can secure it more by tying twine around the middle of the roll.Make sure to seal it properly otherwise, you will have a big mess in boiling water!
       To cook rotolo, fill a big pot with water coming up-to half of the height of the pot. Bring this to boil, season generously with salt and 1 tb spoon oil.Gently transfer rotolo (wrapped in kitchen towel) into the boiling water and make sure to keep it submerged in water while it is cooking.Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check if pasta is cooked by squeezing rotolo between your fingers,if it feels like a marshmallow it is done! If not, continue cooking. Once cooked, remove from water and cut all the strings and roll it out of the kitchen towel. Cut in 1/2 inch thick pieces with a serrated knife. Serve hot with the mixture of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar!