Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Salad in Disguise

Browsing through my old food pictures, I ran into this salad which I made years back, and it brought me back memories of parties I used to throw and the fun we used to have!!! Well, with a new baby on board, life changed quite a bit (to better), but I no longer have the luxury of time to entertain the way I used to....well, not till long- my daughter already shows signs of culinary talent!- 
Back to the cake- I remember some of my guests used to ask :"Is this a cake?" well, you might as well call it a cake, but it is a salad cake: layered potatoes, eggs, mushrooms, carrots, ground walnuts, and mayonnaise between each layer- be creative! Layer one level at a time, and shape it into a circle, then proceed with the next one! 

My Tiny Inspiration!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fried Plantain with Coriander Spice Blend- Not the Usual

I learned how to make this blend of spice and coriander leaves (kothamalli thokku) from my mother-in-law and we love it as spice for rice and other dishes out there, but I discovered that it offers a very interesting flavour when fried as seasoning for  potatoes or plantains (or other veggies for that matter). Instead if using the dried one, I made a fresh small batch  just before the frying process and then added it to the frying plantains. Forgive me, Indian purists out there, but things like this happen in my kitchen pretty often! (my mil would probably get a shock!)

Well, I used it for spicing up these plantains here- and needless to say-  the spice blend lived up to its promise. I do not have the recipe for now, but will post it pretty soon since I have 3 bunches of coriander leaves in my fridge that are waiting to transmigrate into Thokku!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mrs. Cubbison's Gourmet Variety Pack- and my Soup with Croutons

Somewhere I was shouting that I never ever win anything, but it turned out it was a bit too soon! I was the lucky winner of Mrs. Cubbison's Gourmet Variety Pack!
I really love everything in the pack, but the recipe books is my favourite item! With this occasion, I decided to make a quick root vegetables and spinach soup and dress it up with the seasoned croutons I received- it turned out marvelous!!! Thanks a lot!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Black Bean and Salsa- Another Day, Another Soup

I might have inherited it from my father, for his meals are not complete without a soup (the bortsh type though). I find soups to be acting like a balm for the stomach, and one cannot go wrong with them, seriously!
And anytime I cook beans, I save some for soups- and such is the story of this fellow here. After we enjoyed the black beans in quesadilla and as dip for corn tortillas, the next in line was the soup.
I got the inspiration from a Special Edition of Family Fun- Dinnertime. Although the recipe called for store bought salsa, I decided to customize mine at home: tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, chilies...on the fly, indeed! Did not dice the salsa too fine- I love texture in my soups! The black beans beautifully complemented the heat in it- and a treat it was!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tofu and Spinach Stuffed Potato Rolls

The making of these rolls was a challenge for me as I have never worked with potato dough and I was skeptical it would hold together as I wanted it to be a vegan dish. Surprisingly, it did well, and I give the merit to the type of potato used in it- a waxy one- and the starch used in it. The crust was crunchy and fragile...and it tasted great. We enjoyed it with a yogurt based sauce but I guess there are many gravies out there that would complement this delicate potato roll...

Here is the recipe:


For the filling:
  • 1pound frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mild paprica
  • 1 pound firm tofu, cubed
For the potato dough:
  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 8 spoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

Baking pan and oil for greasing it. For cosmetic purposes I smudged the pan with some potato dough- one of my crazy ideas!

  1. Separately cook the spinach with little water and squeeze all the excess moisture.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and slightly fry the cumin, coriander, black pepper and paprica.
  3. Add the cubed tofu and stir fry for a couple of minutes till all flavours are incorporated.
  4. Add the cooked spinach and stir fry for an extra one minute. Set aside to cool.
  5. Cook the potatoes. Let cool. Peel and mash using a potato masher
  6. Add the starch, spices, salt and knead to form a uniform mass.
  7. Divide the dough into 8 parts.
  8. Sprinkle the working surface with bread crumbs and flatten the dough to form a rectangular shape about 1/4" thickness.
  9. Place some stuffing along the center of the rectangle.
  10. Fold the lateral sides and roll the dough to form a roulade. Repeat the same with the rest of the dough.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  12. Grease a baking pan/ dish with oil and carefully place all the rolls on the bottom. Bake for about 20-25 min, till the crust is crisp and golden in color.
  13. Enjoy them with yogurt or your choice of gravy.

Important: Do not let the dough sit for too long before making the rolls or it will get soft and unmanageable.

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