Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Spring Greens Salad with Sweet & Tangy Dressing

It's summer time and one of the most satisfying meals for me is a huge bowl of salad with loads of fresh vegetables and of course cheese ;). I just love the Organic Spring Greens Mix from Sams Club which contains a mix of red and green romaine, red and green oak leaf, lollo rosa and tango lettuces get a little kick from mizuna, arugula and radicchio. It comes in a one pound box and stays nice for a week. 
Spring Greens Mix
1 Small red onion, chopped fine
Handful of grape tomatoes - chopped in quarters
Handful of red grapes ( I love the contrast in flavor this brings)
Feta Cheese Crumbled ( Any other shredded / crumbled cheese of your choice)
Croutons ( love the ones with Sea Salt and Pepper)
Jalapenos (Optional - Hubby's topping)
Cucumbers (Optional - My topping)

For the Salad Dressing
1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 of 1/4 cup Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar 
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 Lime Juiced
1 Tbsp Honey
Salt & Pepper
Crushed Red Chilli flakes (as per taste)
Italian Herb Seasoning (as per taste)
1 Garlic Clove minced
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (Strictly optional)
1. In a salad mixing bowl combine all ingredients for the salad and toss lightly to mix.
2. In a glass bottle or mason jar, measure out all ingredients for the salad dressing, close the lid and give it a vigorous shake, till the dressing appears to be homogeneous.
3. Add the dressing to your salad mix well and adjust seasoning to taste. Add more cheese if you like or are like me ;)
4. Enjoy with a chilled glass of wine.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stuffed Mushrooms

It has been a long hiatus from my blog, no I didn't stop cooking -in fact, if you ask me I have done some of my best and most creative cooking during this time period. I however had a small problem with my camera which prevented me from taking photos and well I just didn't feel like posting recipes without pictures. But I have finally freed myself of that thought or rather what has freed me and pushed me into posting again is this quote from William Denton "Food is to eat, not to frame and hang on the wall." So I say touche to that and am back with a post on Stuffed Mushrooms. I have been meaning to make them like forever but never got down to making these. This time however, when I picked up this big box of mushrooms on my regular grocery trip I had decided then and there that a good part if not all of these mushrooms were gonna be stuffed.

16-20 White Button Mushrooms 
1 Tbsp Finely chopped Garlic
1 Medium White Onion finely diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper finely diced *(Optional but we love it hot)
Handful of Baby Spinach leaves, blanched and chopped fine
2-3 Sundried tomatoes finely diced
2 Tbsp Breadcrumbs
2 - 3 Tbsp Feta Cheese
1 Tbsp Olive Oil 
Fresh Rosemary 
Salt and Pepper

1. Wash mushrooms in cold water and pop out the stems. Chop the stems finely and set aside.
2. Finely dice onion, jalapeno pepper, sundried tomatoes. You can also use a chopper but do chop each ingredient separately.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
3. In a saute pan, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. I used this gorgeous rosemary and red-pepper infused EVOO that I picked up on one of our road trips ..
4. Add finely chopped garlic you will need approximately 4-5 garlic cloves and let it become golden brown.
5. To this add chopped onions and jalapeno pepper (if using) cook for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat till onions start to turn brownish. Now add the chopped mushroom stems and continue cooking for a couple of minutes, then add chopped blanched spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.
6. Season with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary. The mixture should be on the dry side if not cook for a couple more minutes till dry and then turn off the heat. 
7. Once the mixture has cooled a little, add bread crumbs and feta cheese and mix well.
8. Start stuffing the mushrooms with this mixture, smear into the cavity and heap a little on top as well, go on placing these in a baking tray.
9. Bake at 350 F for 18-20 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

10. I bite into one and am instantly transported to foodie heaven - an old ad jingle keeps ringing in my ears "ek baar khaoge to khate reh jaoge, No one can eat just one" ;) 
Enjoy !!!

A word of caution: The mushrooms leave out a lot of water, so be careful handling the hot baking tray with hot liquid.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake

I just so love the concept of upside down cakes. The beautiful swirls of fruit created at the bottom of the pan, baked golden and glossy become the top of a beautiful cake. The first time I came across an upside down cake was when my sis and bhabhi 'S' made it for my birthday. Oh those were some days - sis and I used to bake cakes for each and every family member's birthday or any other special occasion. Our whole family used to back us up and appreciate the end products, even daddy whose drink cabinet we would raid for our supply of rum or his finest cognac for our cake experiments :). Well the recipe I am now about to share is one with a very unusual (IMHO) combination ginger and pear. I wanted to try the recipe only for this combination and the verdict - both of us liked the flavor, it looked beautiful and tasted nice but we thought this was one cake which cannot be stored for very long, it was fab on day 1, mighty fine on day 2 but beyond that the difference in taste was quite noticeable. Since this is a big cake when I make it again I will halve the recipe if I am making for just two of us or bake it when we have company.
1 Cup Whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp Cinnamon Pdr
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 Cup Unsulphured Molasses
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
2" piece of Fresh Ginger Root peeled and grated
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lime
3-4 slices of Pear mashed and added to cake *(Optional - I had some extra pieces ;))
2-3 Tbsp of Raisins
For Topping or should I say bottom layer ??
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1&1/2 tsp Cinnamon Pdr
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime
3 Big Bartlett Pears peeled and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a small microwave proof bowl, add the first four ingredients of the topping and mix till butter is melted, approx 2 mins.
3. Pour this mix in an 8"cake tin and move it around and let it coat the entire surface of the tin, then arrange pear slices all around in a circular fashion. If you are a raisin fan like me feel free to add a few on top of pears.
4. In a mixing bowl sift all dry ingredients and in another mix all wet ingredients.
5. Now mix all wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, throw in the raisins mix lightly, then pour it over the pear slices.
6. Bake for 20-25 mins or until the cake tester comes out clean. Let it cool just a little bit, slice and serve.