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21 November 2006

WHB # 59 Round Up

Thanks to Kalyn for letting me host the 59th edition of WHB, the herb and veggie tsunami that's taking over the food blogging world. Entries kept POURING in and it took me till now to just compile it all. And please forgive me if I've forgotten to include any of your entries.









Asparagus by Neil, At my table from Melbourne
Neil talks about the beauty of asparagus and his 'asparagus'sy conversations with this Italian hairdresser 25 years ago.

Basil and white beans by Katerina of Daily Unadventures in cooking
Katerina makes an exotic hummus with basil, white beans and goat cheese. Simple enough to make at home, this thing will probably cost you a bomb at your deli.

Berries from Cookin' with Cyndi, California
Cyndi uses up the mixed berries lying in her freezer in a Mixed Berry Cobbler made with healthful ingredients.

Butternut Squash by Virginie of Absolute Green from Nantes, France
Virginie turns out an inspired-by-Kalyn version. Butternut Squash and Tofu marinated with Rosemary and Basalmic Vinegar sounds like a beautiful idea for a winter salad.

Capers from Kalyn's Kitchen
Kalyn sends us a Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives, and Capers in advance for thanksgiving. Capers are the Mediterranean favourite unopened buds and are also used in Greece to make a medicinal tea!


Cauliflower by Jayshree of Spice and curry
Jayshree writes fondly about Cauliflower linking to a lot of facts and nutrition data. Her post - Aloo phulkupi torkari takes us down memory lane in her native city Kolkota and old Hindi movie songs.

Celery from Anna's cool finds, CA
She writes about the goodness of Celery and makes this unique Celery couscous which she served with Wild Alaskan Salmon.

Cherries by Haalo, Cook almost anything atleast once, Melbourne
Haalo finds them growing in abundance at this time of the year. Her delightful Cherry chocolate sponge cake with the anti-oxidant rich berries are sure to set you drooling.

Chestnuts by David of Serendipitous Chef
David has some real interesting things to say about chestnuts that are so in season at this time of the year in Socal, US. Pasta with Kobacha and Sage Sauce and Caramelized Chestnuts uses chestnuts in exactly that form. Caramelized.

Coriander by Emma from Kitchem - Sydney
Emma talks about her love for Indian food and her post Madhur Jaffrey's fish in green sauce features a truly Indian herb coriander.

Coriander by Scott, Real Epicurean
Scott wins me over by actually making naan in his kitchen. This Indian bread flavoured with coriander is the perfect way to mop up Indian curries.

Galangal by Anna from Moresels and Musings, Sydney
Anna has cooked up Sambal Goreng Telor or (Indonesian Egg Sambal). This Sambal is flavoured with Galangal which is the hero of her post.

Garlic and parsley by Anh of Food Lover's Journey, Melbourne
Anh bakes these savoury muffins with carrots and parsley. Served warm with a pat of garlic flavoured butter, these are a super breakfast idea. Read her post for a wonderful project to do with your kid.


Ginger by Peggy, What's cooking in Carolina?
This interesting post is about how simple it is to grow ginger in your backyard and what you can do with it. Right from ginger icecream to ginger flavoured yogurt to stir fry sauces, you have all the ideas here .

Green Jackfruit by Sandeepa, Bong mom's cookbook, NJ
Sandeepa prepares a green jackfruit curry in her own style unlike the traditional Bengali way which is made vegetarian. Shrimp and raw jackfruit make an interesting appearance in Enchor-er Dalna ba Enchor Chingri.

Honeycrunch apples by Rianna, Garlic breath
Rianna talks about her favourite crunchy apples, also called honeycrisp apples in the US. They are a cross between Golden delicious and Macintosh, she says.


Herbs de provence by Kate, Thyme for cooking
Kate talks about how dried herbs and spices are sold in supermarkets in France. Warm Chevre Toasts on a Bed of Prosciutto flavoured with herbs de provence is her offering for WHB.


Potatoes by Glenna, A fridge full of food
Glenna's made Cook's Illustrated Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme and Bay. Read her post to find out why she call's them the best scalloped potatoes ever!

Pineapple by Ed, Tomato
Ed features Pineapple for the WHB in Grilled octopus with pineapple mint & sweet chilli. He says - The problem is you can keep all of the pineapple out of mains some of the time. And you can keep some of the pineapple out all the time. But you can’t keep all of the pineapple out all of the time. Go figure.

Pumpkin by Chrispy of Experimentation of taste, US
While she was terribly busy preparing for a trip, Chrispy has been sweet to send us her Pumpkin Chocolate chip squares.

Pumpkin and rosemary by Ulrike of K├╝chenlatein from Germany
Ulrike creates an unusual dish by adding pumpkin and rosemary to pasta. Perfect flavours for a nice winter supper.

Rosemary by Sherry of What did you eat?
This one is a wonderful write up in autobiography style. Autobiography of a Staub La Cocotte in fact. Her chicken is beautifully flavoured with rosemary, thyme and parsley and served with roasted root vegetables.

Saffron by Ilva, Lucillian delights, Italy
The lady who takes luscious pictures makes an exotic pasta with cauliflower and snap beans, flavoured with powdered saffron. The pictures of Pasta con cavolfiore, fagiolini e zafferano are absolutely mouth-watering I must say.

Sage by Christa, Calendula and concrete, Washington
Christa's post features the sage grown in her garden which they use to soak a practice session turkey. Read 'Brine a turkey with sage' to find out the details.


Wasabi by Andreea, Glorious Food and Wine
Andreea's candidate for the WHB is Wasabi. Her love for the root is quite evident in her write up. According to me, Wasabi is strong enough to make you recollect events from your past life. It REALLY shakes you up!

Winter Melon by Nalini, Culinary Chemistry
Nalini makes a Puzhinikkai Kootu (Winter melon stew) with a traditional Indian vegetable that she is glad to find in the stores in the US. Served with some rice, this one is great for a quick weeknight dinner.

Yam by Pooja of My Creative Ideas, Pune, India
Pooja's made a colourful yam and tomato salad with this very Indian root vegetable.


Bunch of them.....

Anita from Mad tea party, India makes this extra special breakfast with eggs, mushrooms, bell peppers, spring onions, tomatoes and lots more herbs and spices. This eggs with vegetable medley is her entry to WHB.

Rooma from My khazana of recipes, Singapore has made a Sweet corn soup keeping in mind the bloggers from colder climes. The post also tells you what you stand to gain by eating vegetables like corn, carrots and cabbage.

Genie, the inadvertant gardener, gets 'happily accidental' by making a spontaneous frittata for WHB this time. With ingredients like fresh veggies, cheese, bacon and couscous, you ought to love it.

The chocolate lady from Inmolaraan invites us to a guessing game. Go over here and guess away!







This Fusilli with three peppers and spinach is my contribution to WHB.


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18 November 2006

Fussili with 3 peppers and spinach


Check out this Siamese twin of a chilli!



My first brush with cooking Italian was all thanks to Giada Laurentis and her lovely show - Everyday Italian on Food network. Her simple techniques, few ingredients and ample use of vegetables made me realise how simple Italian cooking can really be.

I remember one of her recipes which had all ingredients from the pantry. Using just pasta, basil, pine nuts and olive oil, she made a most simple yet flavourful dish. When I recreated this in my kitchen, my guests loved the simple no fuss flavours. A whole variety of pastas are used in my kitchen, usually going with the whole wheat variety. Soups, salads or saucy pastas are a hit with both of us. Bread or no bread, a glass of wine and pasta is a delightful dinner for the two of us.

This one uses peppers, basil and spinach for great textures and a ready made pizza sauce for a burst of flavour. This dish that is superb in its colours and super fast to cook (under 30 minutes).

I love the crunchy peppers in every colour and I dedicate them to this week's WHB started by the herb lover, Kalyn.

According to my favourite food for health resource site, bell peppers due to their bright colours are choc-a-block with anti oxidants. Eaten on a regular basis, they are good for heart and lung health. The beta-carotene is good for your eye sight while their vitamin C content prevents osteoarthritis. This peppered pasta is a great way to gather all these health benefits.



Fussili with 3 peppers and spinach
Category - Italian main course, salad
Cooking time - Under 30 minutes
Serves - 2



Ingredients

1 cup Fussili pasta
1 large red, yellow and green pepper each
1 cup spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
Handful of frozen green peas
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
5 flakes garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp pizza / pasta sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Method

1.Boil the pasta according to instructions on pack. Drain and keep aside. You may want to reserve some of the pasta water if you want to add some moisture to the pasta.

2. Wash and cut the peppers into strips. Discard seeds.

3. In a wok, heat the olive oil. Throw in the crushed / chopped garlic and chilli flakes. Stir them around for 30 seconds.

4. Add the peppers, sprinkle some salt and saute for 5-7 minutes till somewhat tender. Top with spinach and basil leaves with the peas. Stir them for 2-3 minutes, till greens have wilted and peas are thawed.

5. Add the cooked pasta to this, sprinkle required amount of salt and the pizza sauce. Serve in a warmed plate for a light anti-oxidant rich supper.


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14 November 2006

Egg Curry in Give thanks

Update:
Kalyn's Weekend Herb blogging
comes all the way to India. I'm hosting this week's WHB. Please send in your herbs at saffrontrail@gmail.com by Monday morning 20th November, 8 am IST. Should be around midnight of 19th November, for most of you!


Simmering in the wokBlogging is becoming increasingly difficult while keep track of half a dozen deadlines. However, this time it's another deadline here, Meeta's Give Thanks! I have been unable to participate in several of her events due to one reason or the other. This time I can't pass up.

The first time I made egg curry, DH absolutely loved it. He licked his fingers clean, as well as the bowl. I wonder why I don't make it more often. This Sunday he was leaving for London for two weeks and I wanted to go for a potluck party. Going alone to meet new people doesn't seem a very exciting thing to do, but DH asked me to catch up with some new foodies in the locality. I had to make something quick and easy, as well as well liked by most. Egg curry is what came to my mind, can be eaten by most vegetarians and meat eaters too. This one was made for 10 - 12 people, you can make half the quantity easily.



Ingredients

8 hard boiled eggs, cut in half

3 medium onions - sliced
2 medium tomatoes -sliced
1 cup sliced coconut pieces or use frozen grated coconut

Spices

7-8 dried Kashmiri red chillies (more colour, less spice)
Few pepper corns
1 long stick cinnamon
3-4 cloves
2 green cardamoms
5-6 fat cloves of garlic
1/2 " piece ginger - sliced thin
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 star anise (optional)
Salt to taste

100 ml coconut milk
Fresh basil for garnish (You can substitute with coriander)

4 tbsp oil / ghee

Egg curry garnished with basil

Method:

1. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a large wok. Once the ghee is warm, keep the flame on low and saute all the spices. After 30 seconds, add the sliced onions, tomatoes and coconut. Sprinkle some salt. Saute on a low flame for 8-10 minutes, until onions and tomatoes are well cooked. Remove it onto a plate and cool thoroughly.

2. In a blender / mixer, take the cooled ingredients and grind to an extremely fine paste, adding upto one cup of water.

3. Take the remaining 2 tbsp of ghee in the wok, add the ground paste, remaining salt, halved eggs and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk.

4. Tear fresh basil leaves and garnish the curry. Serve hot with steamed rice.

*Vegans / Vegetarians can easy substitute the eggs with soya chunks, available in most Indian grocery stores.

This curry is not for the faint hearted. It is a burst of spices, it is truly Indian at its heart. If you are using Kashmiri chillies, even 6-8 chillies can be added safely without making your guests sweat from every pore. Check for the heat in your chillies and decide accordingly.

This is dedicated to my husband, who whole heartedly encourages everything I do, who doesn't question the weird combinations I present to him, who doesn't hesitate to eat everything I make, who doesn't forget to compliment me on my every single creation in our warm kitchen. S, this one is for you!

I also give my thanks to Meeta for being a wonderful friend in the past few months that I know her. To know her is to love her. I'm glad she likes egg curry too!

This one goes to Monthly Mingle - Give thanks at What's for lunch honey.

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8 November 2006

Fattoush, Baba Ganouj and Lebanese food

What to cook?
I love cooking. But thinking of what to make each day is quite a chore. I generally get out some vegetables from the fridge and make them into anything that comes to my mind. It's like following my instincts and the ingredients are always throw as you go. That was the main reason for me to start blogging and maintaining a record of recipes which otherwise I would never be able to recreate. Unable to recreate a recipe especially if it turned out wonderfully good the first time is a frustration that I'd experienced several times in the past. But not any longer!

It's understandable that a vegetarian like me wouldn't be able to replicate much of world cuisine in her kitchen, given that meats are a substantial part of many an ethnicity. This led me to a search of vegetarian recipes from around the world. My first stop being Lebanon. With a broadband connection and a laptop, you don't need a visa or tickets to do this thing called arm chair travelling. And what better way than cooking up a meal from there to complete the experience?

Lebanese food

Lebanese food quite resembles a healthy Mediterranean cuisine. Fresh vegetables, fruits, olive oil, garlic and white meats form the base of this cuisine. Ingredients unique to this ethnicity are Tahini (sesame seed paste) and pomegranate seeds. The latter is probably related to the fact that Pomegranates were first found and grown in the Persian regions.

The meal starts with a mezze - which includes hot and cold starters. A typical mezze would include Baba Gannouj (Roasted eggplant with sesame paste), Hummus, Falafel, Shanklish (Goat cheese served with salad) and Kibbenayeh (Ground lamb's meat served with cracked wheat).

Main course is generally meat based so that is quite beyond the scope of my experiements :) Desserts like baklava are ofcourse extremely popular and well-loved by most of us. There is another popular dessert called Mahallabiye that is a kind of milk pudding made with almonds and pine nuts. Sweets are generally had with strong sweet cardamom flavoured coffee!

My love at first bite with Lebanese food started in Basha which was a Mediterranean eatery in Rochester. Sadly, its no longer open now. The Mezze, a Basha rice full of raisins and other exotic flavours, their lentil soup was so good that any time we had to go out for dinner, I didn't have to think twice. It was in London that I had the Fattoush for want of something vegetarian and I wasn't at all sad for choosing it. If yoy happen to be in central London, this is one of the VFM places serving fresh salads, falafel, pita breads and loads of other stuff.

Since I make Baba Gannouj pretty often, I thought I'd make Fattoush and a variation of the roasted eggplant dip.



Fattoush

1 large onion - cut vertically into a cross and remove each layer out from the 4 pieces
3 medium sized tomatoes - large bite sized pieces
2 medium cucumbers - peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium capsicums - deseeded and cut into pieces
1 pear - peeled and cut into chunks
4-5 slices of bread - toasted till very crisp and broken into big pieces
I also added some segments of an orange like pinkish-fruit, the name of which I can't recollect now.

Juice of one lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Paprika to taste


Bring all of the ingredients together in a big bowl. Mix with your hands with gentle pressure so as to release juices from cucumbers and tomatoes. Refrigerate for an hour or so.

The bread will soak up the juices from the vegetables, fruits as well as the spices and the bits of soggy bread will be the best part of the salad. However you can use the crispy bread pieces just before serving if you want to add a crunch to the salad.

Serve this salad along with chips / pita bread and some hummus & Baba Gannouj for a light weekday dinner. A glass of wine wont be a bad idea.



This time I made Baba Gannouj with the added flavour of fresh coriander. To accompany this, I rolled out a few chapatis with the leftover atta, cooked them on the tava till done on both sides. I then cut the chapatis into 8 pieces each, coated them with some olive oil and herbs. This went into a 250 C oven for 10 minutes to get crispy almost fat free chips.

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FMR event

I was supposed to be the guest host for this month's FMR. Due to lack of time and overload of committments, Meenakshi, the original hostess of FMR has decided to give it a break since the last month. But she has left it to the designated hosts to decide if they want to do the hosting or no. Any further questions on this matter can be kindly directed to Meena at Hooked on Heat.

Just wanted to keep you guys posted about this one!

Here are the details for WBB # 7.

Also I shall be hosting Weekend Herb Blogging the next weekend, ie. Nov 19th. Shall remind you folks about the same later. This week, it's at Meeta's. Submissions must reach her by 12th November.

Cheers then,
Nandita

3 November 2006

WBB # 7 Baking for Breakfast





Autumn's almost over and winter has arrived. Well atleast in most parts of the world. So what if Bombay neither has an autumn nor a propah winter, I can always think about the snow, the wind chill, the nightfall at 5 pm and the fun of wearing mufflers & woollen caps and feel happy about it.

Winter is a time when the warmth and aromas from your kitchen can cheer up the whole family. The theme for WBB# 7 is Baking for Breakfast. Breads, cakes with fruits and nuts, muffins - you get the idea? Sweet, savoury, spicy, you have a variety of options to explore!

Some of the stuff that I've baked for breakfast so far :

~Handwo
~Honey Banana Muffins
~Morning Glory Muffins
~Banana cardamom bread



Rules for the event:
1. Post your entry for the event on your blog between now and 30th November.
2. Email me the url of your post and your name before the 12 am. IST, 30th November at saffrontrail@gmail.com
3. If you'd like to have a picture posted too, resize it to 160X120 pixel or 120 X 160 for a vertical pic and mail it along with the url.
4. Your recipe should be a baked one and servable at breakfast.



So get baking and see you at the round up. My dear friend Meeta has put the spotlight on baking too. Check it out and get inspired.

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1 November 2006

WBB #6 - Twist in the plate - Round Up

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From 4 to 20 in 2 days....Were this an ad for a bike, I'm sure it would have been the biggest flop of the century. But I'm talking about WBB # 6 and I must thank all my dear readers for making me a happy hostess. Until 29th October, I'd received just 4 entries, that too including my own ;) . I said to myself - May be the theme was way off, way too complicated but now what- I must do a round up anyway. It'll be more like a private party, but so what? And then the entries started pouring in, enough to keep me browsing and typing for a good 3 hours. A big vote of thanks to all my Twisted Sisters.

Firstly, a very warm welcome to some of the new bloggers I've discovered during the course of WBB #6.

Alison - A full tummy , Palo Alto, CA
Brilyn - Jumbo Empanadas, Canada
Julianne - Petit Chou, Bay Area, CA
Pooja - My Creative Ideas
Rooma - My khazana of recipes, Singapore
Sandeepa - Bong Cookbook, NJ

Asha of Foodie's Hope sent me her pancakes almost as soon as I'd announced the event. Her Zucchini Sage Pancakes were a twist on regular breakfast pancakes (Uthapams?) made healthier with veggies and flavoured with sage.






One of the bloggers who's got me 'hooked' to her wonderful style of writing – Anita of a really MAD Mad tea party sent in her idea for Dalia as a good breakfast cereal, all dressed up with veggies.






Shilpa of Aayi's recipes made these Spring Roll dosas, the perfect Indo chinese fusion food - dosas stuffed with veggies in Chinese sauces.






Julie Ann from Petit chou makes her quiches 'berry' cheesy instead of savoury - Cranberry Gruyre Quiches . Don't you crave for a wedge already?






Prema, of My cookbook gives us a great idea for a Sunday brunch with her Kadai paneer fortified with bean sprouts.








Priya of Akshayapaatram lends a true twist to our event, using twisted Rottini pasta in an Indian Style.







Brilyn from Jumbo Empanadas shares her idea of the deconstructed omelette with a picture that is worth a thousand words






Alison, from a Full Tummy makes her entry into WBB with a bang. Not one but two entries. Her fruity cottage cheese pancakes are something I haven't had or thought about making before. For those who get flavoured cottage cheese in your friendly neighbourhood store, this one's a must try.




She's also made some Dill Potatoes (dill the herb and not Bollywood's favourite word for a movie title). This one's her take on Aloo Methi. Keep a watch on her blog for some good Russian cuisine. Why Russian? Read her post.





My good friend, Meeta turns her French Toast savoury as many of us had done almost co-incidentally a few months ago. Meeta, me and another friend also share a secret about some scandalous affairs over the savoury French toast that I'd made. Hence the title for her 'twisted' breakfast post!




You are familiar with Idli-sambhar, but are you familiar with Sambhar-idli? I wasn't until I was introduced to this in Bangalore by DH. It means instead of having the Idlis and Sambhar separate, you dunk the entire lot of idlis in the sambhar, like idliettes swimming around in sambhar. On those lines, Maheshwari from Beyond the Usual makes tiny dosas and throws them into a pool of Sambhar.




Authentic Andhra , lots of authentic Tamil and Malayalee cuisine and now authentic Bengali food. Am I happy to discover Sandeepa's Bong Cook Book? A first timer at WBB, she prepares some super wholesome, egg parathas stuffed with spiced up, healthy soy chunks.





Shaheen from Malabar Spice spices up our event with her potato filled quesadillas or shall we call it baked samosas. I would give this entry the prize for the best innovation, if there were one such prize announced that is. I want to try it now so that I can get a taste of this baked wonder.





Mystic of Chatpat food made a festive breakfast with Poha for Diwali. Called Poha Pulao, it is loaded with vegetables.








Jayashree of Veggie Delight adds one more to the dosa galore with her Cucumber dosas. Just 3 ingredients and salt, and you get this cute dosas, sorry Cuke Dosas. She's got her inspiration from Shilpa's Cucumber cakes.



Another one that comes close to the poha pulao is the regular Aloo poha jazzed up with some peas and tomatoes. This has been sent by yet another newly discovered blogger, Pooja – My Creative Ideas.





Our beloved food blogger Indira, is into some major space engineering, all from her new Seattle kitchen. Wait, wait, I'm not telling tales. Just have a look at these space saucers she's cooked up with a bunch of wholesome ingredients. Adding spinach, crunchy watermelon seeds and chironji to regular dosa batter, these Spinach and Saara Pappu Ponagalu are a real treat!




Proteined up with soy granules, Fortified poha is what I'm presenting to you for this event.





Meena from Cooking Pleasures sent me this entry yesterday. Upma made with tomatoes and called tomato bhaath, with the flavours of garlic and chillies. Sorry about the picture guys, blogger posing its usual picture upload problems.



Finally, 3 entries, that didn't exactly fall into the set guidelines for WBB #6, but are into the round up for reasons mentioned below:

Priya of Sugar and Spice has moved onto her own domain and must I say, it rocks! She wasn't aware of the all new and hot (WINK) – theme based breakfast blogging and sent me her two breakfast entries that I had no heart to leave out. Being the good hostess that I am, I can't deprive you all of some serious eye-candy, can I??

Onion Uthapam - Our good old Tam tiffin item made with 'always-stocked' idli-dosa batter.





Gram flour pancakes aka Besan ka cheela, the Indian answer to breakfast pancakes.
Now tell me this isn't eye candy!





I didn't know one could do anything else with Rasagulla other than squeezing it and stuffing it into the mouth. Rooma, a new blog buddy I discovered thanks to this event tells us exactly what else we can do with it. Ok, I'm not suggesting to all my Twisted Sisters that they start eating Rasagullas for breakfast – but times like Diwali..hmm....?? It's OK, isn't it? :)



Ah! That was a satisfying round up. While I'm yet to finalise upon the theme for WBB#7, check out the twisted breakfasts. And go on, treat your family to some non-cereal breakfasts this weekend. Or better still, throw a brunch party for friends. I'm going to try Shaheen's baked samosas ( I like to call it that, takes the guilt off the samosa) and Indira's wholesome Ponagalu as soon as I buy the pan. And, you also have some more new bloggers to welcome into the 'community' :)

Come over in a couple of days to check out what's churned out of my mind for WBB#7.


Till then, take care!



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