October 28, 2007


Walnut Pesto Fettuccine is my entry to Bee of "Jugalbandi"'s event "Click!". We are the clicking all kinds of "Noodles" this November. Thanks Bee!:))

And I clicked.....

Walnut Pesto Fettuccine sprinkled with grated Parmesan and garnished with a sprig of Fennel!
I made this quick Pasta for lunch on Saturday! Then I saw Bee's announcement of "Noodles" for this month! What a coincidence! Here it is!!:)

Walnut Pesto Fettuccine-1

A delicious plate of pasta without any "special" effects!:)

Walnut Pesto Fettuccine

A spoonful of Walnut Pesto!

To make Pesto at home:
This recipe makes a cup or so of Pesto. Use as much as you need for Pasta like two tbsps or more at a time.

Pulse 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup fresh Parsley (optional), 1/4 cup each grated Parmesan, 3 peeled garlic cloves, 1/3 cup walnuts slightly roasted, Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a blender until coarse, mix once. Then start pouring 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil thru' the spout with the blender on low until you get a smooth paste. Scoop it into a glass jar and store in the fridge.

Variations: Skip Walnuts and add Pine nuts for a beautiful green pesto or add soaked and chopped Sun-dried Tomato with Basil for a gorgeous red Pesto!!

To make Pasta:
Cook 1 lb pack of Fettuccine or any pasta you like until almost cooked. Drain the water and mix with 2 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive oil so they don't stick to each other. Add a big spoon of Walnut Pesto to the pasta and mix well. Adjust the salt and pepper. Serve on a plate, add grated or shaved Parmesan cheese and garnish with Fennel leaves!! You can add vegetables or meat to this Pasta to make it more nutritious!



My one and the only “Nightmare in the Kitchen”! How appropriate for Halloween!!:D

Lakshmi of "The YUM blog" has started a new MeMe called "Nightmare in the Kitchen". She started with her own disaster story and hilarious one too here, while baking a "Warm Walnut Brownie Pudding!!" Still wondering how that brownie pudding got on to her kitchen ceiling. Hmmm..!!;D

Anyhoo, she tagged me for this MeMe and here I am with one! Usually, a messed recipe in my kitchen is mostly fixable and edible except this particular Fried Ice Cream fiasco! I had already posted this at FH, I have to repost the same here again because this is the only nightmarish story I have to tell ya! Thanks for the tag Lakshmi.Can't wait to read other's "work of art" too!:))

My miserably failed attempt to make Mexican fried Ice Cream!!!

Well..I thought I will try making fried Ice Cream at home after I read the recipe in a book and tried the delicious dessert in the restaurant quite a few times.
I took 2 scoops of Ice Cream, rolled them in the Graham cracker crumbs powdered, and put them in the freezer for an hour.
I heated the fresh clean oil, brought the Ice Creams out and immediately added to oil. They did fry well at first ,I got happy at the thought of feasting on fried Ice Cream!!
And then the disaster happened!!! They split and started to melt right in the oil! Heartbroken(:D), I scooped them out quickly before they start splattering all over my kitchen and threw them all out along with the oil!!:P

Final "product" was not even worth clicking because there was nothing solid left in the pan! Hahaha!!

What might have gone wrong? I should have frozen the coated scoops overnight and heated the oil hotter, fry quickly less the minute and take them out! Shame on me!!:D

Well...that's my only disaster so far. Would I try to do this again? Sure! I don't give up on anything but will wait until next Summer and keep my fingers crossed!!:D

I tag:
Kribha, Raaga, Latha N and Siri. Have fun girls!

Happy Monday to all of you!:))

October 26, 2007


Masala (Spiced) Potato Bread is my entry to "Bread Baking Day #04", an event started by Zorra of "kochtopf". This month's host is Manuela from "Baking History" with a theme of Bread and Spices. Thanks for hosting manuela!:)

About this bread:
Ever since I baked sweet molasses Buns, I was craving for some spicy bread to bake. When I saw baking history's event at Zorra's, I knew this spicy bread would be perfect for the event! It does take a little time to prep and bake this bread but believe me, it's worth every second once it's done and ready to eat!:D
Masala means spices in Hindi. This Potato bread is spiced up with sauteed Potatoes, onions, Bell peppers, Green chillies, cumin seeds and ginger. Makes a great snack or brunch, slightly warmed and served with garlic butter or to eat on it's own at room temperature. Tastes better the next day at room temperature. Store the bread in the fridge if you are keeping it for more than two days and warm in the microwave when needed. Toasting in a upright toaster doesn't work with this bread for some reason. Enjoy!:)
For non-vegetarians: you can add crumbled sausages with masala too or you can add Ham with bread slices to make delicious sandwiches!

Masala Potato Bread:

Masala Potato Bread

A close up of a slice!

Potato bread

You Need these:
If you need to bake a smaller loaf, cut this recipe into half and bake in a smaller loaf pan.

Dry ingredients:
3 cups plain flour (Bread flour or regular)
1 cup Wheat flour
1 tsp Wheat Gluten(Optional but helps to rise bread well)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp active dried yeast

Wet ingredients:
3/4 to 1 cup warm milk (do not add all the milk at once, use as much as you want)
1/4 cup melted butter or 1/2 stick of butter
2 eggs, beaten.

To make Potato masala, you need:
2 tsp oil,
1 tsp Cumin seeds,
1 large grated or finely cubed red waxy Potato,
1/3 cup grated or minced red onion,
1/4 minced Green bell pepper,
1-2 Green chillies, minced or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp grated Fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin pd,
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder,
1/4 tsp salt,
2 tbsp minced Cilantro.

2 tbsp Milk to brush on top of the bread before baking
or Egg wash (1 egg+1 tsp water)

A non-stick 6" by 10 1/2" loaf pan sprayed with no-stick oil.

How to bake the bread:

Make the masala Potato first:
1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, add the cumin seeds. When they are reddish, add all the minced Potato,onion, peppers, chillies, ginger, turmeric and saute until they soft and cooked. Do not add water.
2. Add cumin powder,cilantro, salt(Do not add too much salt,just enough to bring out the taste of the veggies!). Take off the heat and cool the mixture.
Now make the dough:
1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl or KitchenAid with dough hook. Mix well. Heat milk for 40 secs in the MW or until it's between 115 to 125F. Melt butter in a separate bowl.Beat Eggs.
2. With machine on low, add the butter first, then milk and then Eggs and mix well until everything gathers in a slightly sticky mass. If too thin, add 1-2 tbsp flour, too dry, add little milk.
3. Now add dry and cooled Potato masala, mix just until they are well mixed in the dough. Add this dough to oiled loaf pan, cover and let it rise until double or for 1 hour in a warm place. I warm the oven at 170F and turn off the heat. Then keep the loaf pan covered inside for an hour or so.
4. When doubled, take out the loaf pan out of the oven, score or cut 3-4 slashes on the bread with a sharp knife and brush the top of the loaf with either milk or egg wash. Sprinkle some paprika on top for color if you like.

Preheat the oven to 375F with a thin cookie sheet inside to prevent burning the bottom of the bread loaf too much.

To bake:
Put the loaf pan in on the cookie sheet and bake for 25-30mins or until the a knife inserted comes out clean. Don't let it brown too much. Take out, cool it on a cooling rack. When cold, slice with serrated knife and serve as it is or warmed in the MW with a little garlic butter.

Enjoy. Have a great weekend, see you next week!:))

October 22, 2007


Kanchana of "Married to a Desi" is hosting WBB #16 this month, a event originally launched by Nandita of "Saffron Trail". Weekend Breakfast Blogging is all about cooking breakfasts with a theme.This month is dedicated to Omelet (in US) or Omelette (for the rest of the World!:D). Thanks for hosting Kanchana!:))

Hashbrown Omelet is my contribution to this event. What's so special about this Omelet? I have stuffed the delicious homemade Hashbrown in the Omelet, sprinkled with two kinds cheese and using my new gadget, cooked the Omelet in the microwave! YUP! That's my secret for rippled effect Omelet!!:D
Vegetarians: You can use Besan/Chickpea flour mixed with some baking soda or use Egg replacer you get in stores instead of Eggs.

About Hashbrowns:
According the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "hash browns" are "boiled potatoes that have been diced, mixed with chopped onions and shortening, and fried usually until they form a browned cake."

Legend of the Omelet and the largest ever Omelet, according to www.about.com:
According to legend, when Napoleon and his army were traveling through the south of France they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessieres. Napoleon feasted on an omelet prepared by a local innkeeper that was such a culinary delight that Napoleon ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelet for his army the next day.

On March 19, 1994, the largest omelet (1,383² ft) in the world was made with 160,000 eggs in Yokohama, Japan.

Omelet stuffed with Hashbrown and topped with Mozzarella/Provolone cheese, microwaved at full power:

Hashbrown-Cheese Omelet

Okay, here is how I made this:
You need: 2 microwavable wide bowls or 2 deep plates if you don't have my little Gadget, sprayed with little oil to prevent sticking.
3 Jumbo eggs or 4 large(for 2 servings), 2 cups of spicy Hashbrown, 1/4 cup each Mozzarella/Provolone and Monterey Jack/cheddar cheese.
1 tbsp butter or oil. A non-stick pan.
Peel, cube 2 large Potatoes into 1/2" pieces, 1 red onion sliced into small pieces,1 red bell pepper, 1 Jalepeno, minced,1/2 tsp Cumin pd, 1/2 tsp Garlic pd, 1 tsp minced cilantro or Italian seasoning, 1 tsp Mrs.Dash spices or any spice mix you like.

To make it:

Hashbrown first:
1. Heat butter or oil, add onions first on medum high heat,fry for a minute until softened.Add potatoes and fry until reddish without adding any water.Turn down the heat,cover cook for 2 mins.
2. Open the lid,add red bell pepper and Jalapeno, stir until softened a little.Now, add the spices and salt. Mix well. Keep it aside.
1. Beat Eggs in a bowl with little salt, add to two (sprayed with oil) plates or bowls or that gadget. Sprinkle half the Hashbrown mix into each plate or bowl.
2. Put it in the Microwave and cook for 3 mins on high. Sprinkle the cheese on top and microwave for min more.
3. Serve right out of the microwave with Salad on the side.

A Monterey Jack/Cheddar cheese and Hashbrown Omelet microwaved with 50% power:
I took this photo at night, didn't come out well in the artificial light!

1. When cooked with the microwave on high or full power, you get a beautiful rippled effect on the Omelet and cooks faster.
2. If you don't like that, you can cook at 50% for 4-5 mins for a pan cooked look.Either way, they taste great.

Note: Since Microwaves come in different power capacity, make sure to adjust the timings when cooking the Omelet.Start with 3 mins and cook more as needed.
If you use wide plate to cook, Omelet cooks faster, so start with 2 mins. Use any spice and cheese you like.


October 19, 2007

FOUR MeMes IN ONE!!! :)

Well.. here are 4 MeMes in one post! I have been tagged to two of these a month ago and others recently. Thought it's about time I did these!! These are just my thoughts, feelings and opinions, nothing personal about anyone or anything. Enjoy!:))


Whenever I saw the "What's in your fridge" MeMes in other blogs, I always kept my fingers crossed that I won't be tagged for this! But when checked my mail last week, there it was! Madhuli of "My foodcourt", tagging me to show my fridge! I thought "AHHHH!!!" ;D
Well, here it is! Thank you for tagging me Madhuli!:))

Here is my fridge and the overloaded freezer! Didn't prep the fridge for the photo but looks lot better here than I thought! Freezer on the other hand is whole another Enchilada!:D

Fridge on your left!
Well... nothing to explain really as you can see EVERYTHING.
Arvind stashes his chocolates in the butter section and his coffee pd next to my Hazelnut cream.Lot of kids' juice cartons, lunch meat and pudding cups for school lunches are stored there too. You can see kids' milk ready to grab when they come back from school around 4pm.
Loads of salad dressings, breakfast items like OJ, Bread and Eggs, veggies, Yogurt, Sor cream, pickles, Beverages, Cake Frostings, Cream, Nuts, and spice mixes in the lower sections.Dinner is ready to heat up. On the door,last section contains LOT of Chaat sauces along with box of Bacon too!!:)
A gallon of 2% milk, ran out of fat free milk which I usually keep for my Tea next to 2%. Next to the milk is what makes few of you happy that I have it! We are ready for winter already!! London dry Gin is in there along with few mixers.(I know I don't have to keep Gin in the fridge but I do it anyway!:P) We will keep it outside when it's time to open it, will get some Scotch in December too. Just waiting for the cold weather!:D

Freezer on your right? What can I say?
I am a hoarder.I keep buying frozen veggies! I am sure there is some Psychological explanation for that!;D
Even my daughter gets angry when she opens it and half of stuff teetering on the edge falls right on her feet, says "mom, why do you keep buying these when you already have some?" :D
That freezer has Ice and water dispenser outside,so lot less space inside for me to stash things. I have another freezer in the garage which is loaded too.
They both have veggie packs, meat, leftovers, lot of veggies I grew chopped and ready to go. I have Hashbrowns, lot of cheese, herbs and waffles there too.

That's it! Now you know what's there! Latha and Lakshmi of "The yum blog", I am tagging both of your refrigerators for this. Hahaha!!



Raaga, Srivalli, Sunita have tagged me for the "Fantastic Four" MeMe. Thanks girls for tagging me! Here are my not so fantastic fours!!:))

4 Places I’ve lived:
Just 4 would be hard to choose, I have lived in many many cities!!
1. Belgaum, India.
2. Bangalore, India.
3. Dover, UK.
4. Minneapolis, USA.

I am in North Carolina now as you all know.

4 Jobs I’ve had:
1. A short stint as a Beautician (Facials and Electrolysis)
2. A blink of a job in a computer software company in B'lore when I was a young bride and bored out of my mind!
3. A wife, most thankless job in the World!;D
4. A mom, the hardest and the most stressful of all jobs in the whole wide World. Don't believe me? Go have some kids!!:D

4 Favorite places I’ve vacationed:
1. Malaga, Spain
2. France, Paris
3. Rome-Venice-Florence, Italy
4. Bern, Switzerland.

4 Favorite foods:
1. All Chaats,(Spicy light Indian snacks, not Chat lines!:D)
2. Dal-Roti
3. Jamun,(Indian sweet)
4. Strawberry Cheese Cake!

4 Places I’d rather be:
1. At home, in peace and quiet with a good book,
2. A home by the Ocean,
3. Surrounded by greenery and birds chirping,
4. Anywhere as long as I am with my family!!

4 Bloggers I’d like to tag:
This is hard since some of you have already been tagged for this MeMe.If you have done this MeMe already, please ignore the tag.
1. Roopa of Kitchen Aromas
2. Roopa of Chow Chow Bhath
3. Kribha
4. Suganya



I had been tagged by Twisted DNA for "Favorite things" MeMe few weeks ago.He specially asked me NOT to mention food!:D Thanks TDNA!:))
(Check out his hilarious MeMe, I am almost ashamed that I couldn't come up with any humorous things for this!)

Some of my favorite times or things are:

1. The day when my hubby initiates to discuss about our future plans!...THAT doesn't happen often!!:P

2. When we sit down to plan our yearly 10 days vacation and kids are excited too. THAT doesn't happen often either unless it's Universal Studios, FL!!:D

3. When we all agree in unison on one place to vacation!

4. You all know this..sitting and staring at the Ocean for hours!:D

5. A peaceful and eventless day.

6. Around any Festival or Christmas time when most people are happy and smile a lot!

7. When News media doesn't scare us with something or other every single day!! I am still waiting for that day!!;p

8. To look forward to watch a great movie and still happy about it when we are out of the theater!! "Mystic River" was one of them, had read the book and was so happy with the movie too!:))

I will tag Bee and Jai for this MeMe. I am sure you both are lot more creative than me!:))



I have been tagged by RV and Srivalli for "What's in a name?" MeMe. We are supposed to take the letters of first or middle name and say something relevant about it. For rules, check out rv's post. Thanks rv and Srivalli for tagging me!:))

Since I don't have a middle name; A-S-H-A it is!:))

A for Aroma, of course!!
Anything and everything that triggers my childhood memories, I love! Might be the rain and smell of Earth when it hits the ground after a long rainless days, aroma and sound of Garlic seasoning sizzling in the pan, aroma of Camphor which reminds me of temple and Sandal scented wooden boxes reminds me of Mysore, and most of all I love the smell of clean little babies which reminds me of my own kids!:))

S for Stubbornness:
Yes! I am and have always been very stubborn all my life, specially when I know I am in the right! You cannot convince me otherwise. No matter how many more degrees you have than me and how much more intelligent you are than me, if I know something is right I will stick to my guns, doesn't matter what you say!! You can go ahead and curse me all you want!:D

H for honesty:
Honesty is one of my favorite characters I would like to see in my family members and friends. Most of the time, I will know quickly when somebody is being dishonest. I will know when somebody says nice things to your face which they don't really mean!!;D
I have always told my kids that it's okay to fail in something and learn to better yourself next time than to pass with flying colors by cheating! I have taught them how "Karma" works!!
Honesty is great virtue, makes you grow into a wonderful human being. Yes, it's hard path to take in life but peace of mind you get from it in long run is worth a try!:))

A for aspirations:
I don't have any BIG aspiration or never had one really to become popular or famous or CEO of a corporation or anything like that. Just a little one, to lead a peaceful life, be good to myself and others. Yeah! There are many ups and downs in life which is quite okay,I accept without much complaint!:)
To have a ambition and to aspire to become something in life is a realistic goal for many, nothing wrong with it at all, my kids have their's too. This is just how I feel, my opinion. I am happy with what little things life offers me. My goal is to just accept life as it comes to me gratefully, count my blessings and be happy about it. Que Sere Sera!!!:))

Now to tag, I can think of:
A for Aarti
S for Supriya
H for Happy Cook
A for A kitchen scientist & a white rat hubby aka Sona

Thanks Y'all for tagging me. Take up these tags only if you want to, do when and if you have the time. I know how busy you are. Absolutely no obligation!! Enjoy the weekend!:))

October 15, 2007


A delicious cake with Peach and coconut, is my contribution "a fruit a month aka AFAM" which is launched by Maheswari of "Beyond the usual" blog. This month's guest is our dear Mansi from "Fun and Food" blog and her choice of fruit is "Peach". Thanks for hosting Mansi!:))

Original recipe for this Baltimore Peach cake is from The Urbanite Magazine's food section and then I found a blog who already baked this cake with little variation which I liked and adapted the easy cake crust method and jam idea from this "Too many Chefs" blog.
Then I added my own variation of vanilla and coconut to this recipe as well, which is why I didn't name it "Baltimore" cake! I bet they don't use coconut in their authentic Baltimore Peach cake, don't want to mess with the originals now, do I?:D
Unlike the other traditional cakes, this recipe is more like a German Kuchen (cake), with a thinner Yeast raised base with fruit topping and somewhat tangier than sweet.
If you want to bake exactly like the original recipe, check out the Urbanite magazine. Whichever recipe you choose, I am sure you can't go wrong!:))

Peach and Coconut cake:

Peach-Coconut Cake
A slice anyone?

Peach-Coconut Cake

This is how I made my Peach and Coconut cake with the help of the above two sites, adding my own little touch!

You need:
1 3/4 cups All purpose plain flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Package(1/4oz) active dry yeast,

1/2 tsp Vanilla essence (my addition)
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup warm water, temp. betn 115F-125F (any colder or hotter, yeast won't rise!)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 tbsp Raspberry Preserve or any fruit preserve you have or like
1 1/2 cups peaches (or 2 ripe peaches), peeled and sliced or 1(16oz) can,drained
1/2 cup sweetened coconut(my addition)

For glaze:
2 tablespoons sugar,1/4 cup Orange juice, 1 tsp butter. Microwave these for 2-4 mins or until you get a thickish syrup.

1 8" or 9" round or square non-stick cake pan, sprayed with oil on the bottom and the sides.
A sheet of foil to cover the top while baking.

Click on the image to see larger collage of the step by step photos:

How to bake the cake:
1. Add the first four dry ingredients to a mixer with a paddle hook to mix well for a minute.
2. Then add Vanilla, butter, Egg, mix for a minute and then add hot water slowly. Mix until you get a sticky mass like thick batter. If it's too thin,add 2-3 tbsp or so of plain flour but not too much.
3. Pour it out into the prepared baking pan, with wet fingers spread the batter/dough to all the corners of the pan gently.
4. Mix the Raspberry or any fruit preserve or Jam, and spread on the dough roughly, sprinkle Cinnamon on top.
5. Arrange the Peaches as you like on the preserve, press them a little and sprinkle coconut on top.
6. Cover and let it rise for an hour in a warm place. After an hour,you will see the unbaked cake risen and ready to go in the oven.
7. Preheat the oven to 400F. Slide in the pan, place a foil on top to prevent the coconut from burning and bake for 25-30mins.
8. When done, cool for 10 mins and transfer it to a cooling rack.Brush the glaze on top. When cooled, keep it covered in a cake stand.
9. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes a great breakfast with coffee since it's not very sweet. Keep it in fridge for few hrs for the best taste.

Note: If you don't like the tanginess of Orange glaze, skip it. Just sprinkle some sugar on top as soon as the cake comes out of the oven for a sweet taste!

That's it! It may not look as beautiful as the other two cakes in those sites but hey, who is complaining!! It was tangy with Orange glaze, not too sweet (Just the way I like it!) and delicious!:))

October 11, 2007


Herb Swirl Bread, is my contribution to "World Day of Bread-2007" which will be held on October 16th this year and this event is organized by Zorra of "kochtopf" blog. Thank you for hosting Zorra!:))
Update: here is the round up!

Bread; according to www.answers.com:
bread (brĕd) pronunciation..noun

1. A staple food made from flour or meal mixed with other dry and liquid ingredients, usually combined with a leavening agent, and kneaded, shaped into loaves, and baked.
2. Food in general, regarded as necessary for sustaining life:
“If bread is the first necessity of life, recreation is a close second” (Edward Bellamy).
3. Something that nourishes; sustenance:
“My bread shall be the anguish of my mind” (Edmund Spenser).
4. Bread;
1. Means of support; livelihood: earn one's bread.
2. Slang. Money.
bread·ed, bread·ing, breads.
To coat with bread crumbs, as before cooking: breaded the fish fillets.

World day of Bread; October 16, 2007!
I did not participate in last year's World day of Bread. When I came across this cute logo in quite a few blogs, I immediately jumped at the chance to bake some bread. I chose this bread from a magazine which has a fabulous taste like Garlic bread which I love and easy recipe to follow too. Here it is! Happy Bread day to all of you!:))

Herb Swirl Bread:
This recipe is adapted from my favorite cooking magazine "Taste of Home".

Herby Swirl Bread

A close up of swirls!

Swirl Bread

Ingredients you need:

3 - 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
herb filling
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 minced fresh parsley OR 1/4 dry parsley
1 tbsp minced chives
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry red chilli flakes

3 tbsp of cornmeal for the bottom of the pan when baking the bread.

Here is how to bake the Swirl bread:

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Heat water and oil to 120F-130F temperature and add this to the flour mixture and beat well.Add in the rest of the flour little at a time making sure you get a soft pliable dough.You may not have to use the last 1/4 cup of flour at all.It took me 3 cups using a Kitchen aid mixer with a dough hook.
2. Turn on to a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic. Apply some oil on the dough, cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, for about an hour.
3. In a small bowl, combine all the herb filling until everything is mixed well.
4. Punch down the doubled dough, turn on to a floured surface, roll out into 15"x12" rectangle. Spread herb filling within 1" of the edge of the dough, roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the 12" side.Seal the seam.
5. Spray a baking sheet with oil lightly, sprinkle cornmeal on it, and place the loaf seam side down on the pan. With a sharp knife, make 3 or 4 shallow diagonal cuts across the top of the loaf. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled for about an hour.
6. Bake at 375F for 25-35 minutes, or until golden on top. Remove from the pan, cool on a wire rack.

Note: You can add any kind of cheese or your choice of spices to this bread. Enjoy!

That's it! Slice them and serve with coffee or with Spaghetti and meatball marinara sauce. My thanks to "Taste of Home" magazine!:))

October 8, 2007


Saffron infused sweet and savory Butternut Squash Patties are my contribution to Sunita from "Sunita's World" blog's "Think Spice..Think.." event.This month's spice is "Saffron", thanks for hosting Sunita!:)

This is how Saffron looks in it's natural form:

Photo from Wikipedia.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of saffron crocus (Crocus sativus).Saffron, has been always the world's most expensive spice by weight,is native to Southwest Asia and Kashmir in India.It was first cultivated in the vicinity of Greece.
Saffron, when used in excess in strands or powder form tastes bitter. When used sparingly, it imparts a beautiful fragrance and color to any dish.Saffron strands have better fragrance when soaked in warm milk or water than the powdered Saffron. Do store them in the freezer to prolong their shelf life than keeping them in a dry place in the pantry.
For more info and to look at the beautiful pictures of Saffron flower, click here and about Kashmiri Saffron and to buy it, click here.

Here are my Saffron-Vanilla pudding and savory Butternut Squash dish and Butternut Squash Waffles, enjoy!:)

Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Patties or mini Pancakes infused with World's most expensive spice, Saffron!

First you need to: peel and cube about 2 cups of Butternut squash. Place them in a microwavable dish, add 1/4 tsp Saffron Strands and about a cup of water, cover and cook in the MW for 5-10mins or until squash is soft, almost dry and water is evaporated.Let it cool a bit, and grind the squash into a puree.
Add 3-4 tbsp of plain flour or as much it needs to make it thick into a thick batter, 1 tbsp Corn starch (optional) to the puree and mix well. You can add 2-3 tbsp Potato flakes too to the hot puree if you like. Texture should be like very thick batter.Add more flour if it's thin. Divide this mix into two in 2 different bowls.

Here is how to make both of these patties:

For sweet patties:
Add 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tsp Vanilla essence, 1 tsp Cinnamon pd, 2 tsp Pumpkin spice ( or 1/8 tsp clove pd, 1/4 ginger pd) to one portion of squash puree and mix well.
To make sweet patties:
Heat a non-stick pan, add 1 tbsp of oil or butter and drop 1-2 tbsp of thick batter,spread a little to a thick about 3" rounds about 3 patties at a time. Let them cook until golden and flip carefully and cook the other side. Repeat the same with rest of the batter.
Serve these sprinkled with powdered sugar or Maple syrup or both.

For savory patties:
Add store bought 1 tsp Rasam or Sambhar or Curry pd, 1/2 tsp Garlic pd, minced Cilantro or Parsley,salt and chilli flakes or green chillies if you like, mix well.
For making savory patties:
Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel, add oil and heat again. Do the same as above and cook both sides until golden.
Serve with Ketchup or coconut chutney and a lemon slice.

I loved the sweet patties. Sugar and squash becomes caramelized when cooked and gives them a crunch and tastes great with syrup. Try these for breakfast.Using the non-stick pan prevents you from using too much oil or butter.
Savory patties are a blend of sweet squash and spicy hot curry pd, wonderful with coconut chutney. Enjoy!:))


Masala Peanuts, "fried" in the Microwave is my entry to "Easy cooking with Microwave" which is hosted by Srivalli for "Cooking 4 all seasons" with a theme of "snacks" this month. Thanks for hosting Sri!:))

Trial and error!
When Sri announced microwaved "snacks", first thing came to my mind was the crunchy masala peanuts which I used to deep fry in oil but found this recipe in the MW cookbook I have mentioned below. I followed her recipe EXACTLY at first as she has written but I wasn't that happy with the result although tasted good.
The author has asked us to heat 4 tbsp of oil first and then add the wet, spiced peanut mix to the oil to fry in the MW for 6 mins but I found that Peanuts were still tasted raw inside even though the spices are crispy,little over cooked.(I have high powered MW and used huge Spanish Peanuts!:P)
I improvised on her method to make it better.I microwaved the raw peanut for a minute first to crisp them, let it cool and then added the water and masala mix on top.I sprayed the no-stick oil on the other plate lightly to prevent sticking while cooking, then spread the spice coated peanuts and sprayed again on the top of spiced peanuts to save some calories instead of cooking in 4 tbsp oil to cook for 3 minutes.
Voila! Got a perfect plate of crunchy masala peanuts. Try it, I am sure you will love it as much as we did!:)

Microwaved spicy crunchy masala Peanuts:

This "Masala Kadalai" recipe adapted from the Microwave cookbook by the author Mallika Badrinath with my own additions and improvisation:

You need:

1 cup unsalted Peanuts, 2 tbsp water.
Mix these in a bowl: 2 tbsp Besan or Chickpea flour, 1 tbsp Rice flour, 1/2 tsp Garlic pd, 1/8 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp Cumin pd,1/4 tsp Ajwain(Carrom) seeds, salt and chilli pd to taste.
No-stick oil to spray. Two microwavable plates.

How to make it:

1. Spray a microwavable plate with no-stick spray lightly and keep aside.
2. In another plate, microwave peanuts for a minute and cool and then add water. Sprinkle all the flour and spices on the wet peanuts, shake the plate or roll the peanuts gently in masala to mix until well coated.
3. Add all this to sprayed plate and spread gently in to single layer. Spray the oil again lightly on top of coated peanuts. DO NOT spray oil on the wet peanuts, spices won't stick! Add masala first, mix and then spray!!
4. Microwave for 3 mins on high. Check once after 1 1/2 minutes just to make sure they are not burning. After 3 minutes,it looks clumpy but as it cools Peanuts will get crispy.
5. Cool on a paper towel. MW few seconds more if you feel that they are still not crisp enough after it's cooled.
5. When completely cooled, gently separate the clumps. Serve with coffee or even better, cold beer.YUM!

Notes: Other nuts you can use in the same way are Cashews, Almonds etc. You can also throw in some Rasam pd, Sambhar pd and any curry pd to the batter for a different taste!

That's it, enjoy the quick, full of nutrients and a low fat snack too!:))

October 2, 2007


Spooky Eggpressions are my little fun entry to Bee of "Jugalbandi"'s brand new event called "Click". we are the clicking the "Eggs" this October. Thanks Bee!:))

Why? What? Where?
When Bee chose Eggs as the subject for this month's "Click", I immediately thought of making these Eggpressions. Of course, my kids gobbled these up sprinkled with salt and pepper and some eggs were added to dal too after I took the photos. No waste here!!
October is THE month for Halloween. When you have kids at home, Halloween comes VERY early for parents as you mommies and daddies know!:))
What better theme than scaring the heck out of Y'all good people with my spooky bleeding eggs with creepy crawlies coming out of everywhere?!:D
There are just hard boiled Eggs, cooked with my new little gadget "Microwave Egg cooker" which works very well and Eggs are decorated with Ketchup, Gummy worms, plastic Spiders, few black Olives along with a black cat and of course, a scary Pumpkin Dracula to protect the evil ones!!

My camera:
My trusted little cameras is Sony Cyber-shot with 8.1 Mega Pixels. I use Macro mode and auto digital Zoom to take all my photos.

My own Spooky Eggpressions with creepy crawlies!:))

Spooky Eggpressions

Another look:

Have fun!:))


Lentil Salad, is my contribution to Hima of "SnackORama"'s event called "What's your favorite" with a theme of "Diet food" this month. Thanks for hosting Hima!:)

Diet food:
I personally have never dieted but you can always make your everyday lunches or dinners light, healthy and nutritional by choosing low fat, low calorie dishes which are high in Protein and high in Fiber and have smaller portions.Once in a while, go out or cook and eat whatever you like to your heart's content, smile and be happy!:D
Doctors advice that loosing 2 lbs per week as healthy and ideal rather than loosing 10 lbs a week, binge and gain all that you lost back and some more by crash dieting.Yo-Yo dieting has very bad effect on your heart and on your bones (risk of Osteoporosis). Use your judgment and remember "slow and steady wins the race".
Eating moderately and to have some kind of physical activity/exercise everyday would be more helpful to keep us healthy. To have a little bit of meat on your bones is quite okay too if you ask me!!:D

Whole red lentil salad:
Here is a light lentil salad for you. This recipe serves about 4 people. Salad recipe is adapted from "Complete Low-Fat cookbook" by Anne Sheasby.

Lentil Salad
About this Lentil Salad:
I used whole red lentils or whole Masoor as we call it in India for this dish. They are soaked and cooked until tender and mixed with lightly spiced onions and Lettuce and served with few Cherry Tomatoes, they make a great salad for a light lunch. Jalapeno and Cheddar Tortillas are optional. Nutritional values for this Lentil dish are at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!:))

What you need:

1 cup whole red lentil or whole Masoor, soaked for few hrs and cooked until soft but mashed and drained until dry. 1/2 a head of Iceberg lettuce (or you can use Cabbage too), thinly sliced into long slivers. 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar or any flavored vinegar like Raspberry vinegar(optional).
To season:
1 tbsp olive oil, 1 small red onion sliced into long slices, 2 garlic,sliced into rounds, 1 Bay leaf, 2 cloves, 1 tsp dry or fresh Thyme leaves, 1/2 tbsp Lemon juice,salt and pepper(or/and few red chilli flakes).

To make the salad:

1. Keep the lentils cooked and drained aside. Chop all the veg and onions, keep aside.
2. Heat olive oil, add bay leaf, cloves.When they puff, take them out and add garlic and onions. Saute until soft, slightly reddish.
3. Add thyme, lettuce or Cabbage, stir fry for 3 mins.You don't have to cook too much,still little crunchy to bite lettuce tastes great.
4. Stir in the vinegar, lentils, salt, pepper to taste.Heat thru' for a minute or two and take out.Add enough lemon juice to taste.
5. Serve with a warmed Tortilla,Toast and few Tomatoes or on it's own. Delicious!:)

Lentil salad per portion without the Tortilla has all these approximately:
228 Calories
4.38g Total Fat
0.44g Saturated Fat
0 Cholesterol
8.09g Fiber
and loads of Protein of course!!

One 12" Tortilla has;
210 calories, 5grams Fat, 3g Fiber, 6g Protein, 800mg of salt and 3g of sugar.

Enjoy the delicious and nutritious Lentil salad. Be healthy and happy!:))