Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Red chickpea cutlet


1 cup red chickpea soaked overnight, pressure cooked and mashed
2 boiled and mashed potatoes
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp chaat masala powder
Finely chopped coriander leaves
2 slices bread-dipped in water for a sec and water squeezed out
1 tsp tomato ketchup
Bread crumbs
Oil as reqd

Mix all the ingredients except oil and bread crumbs. Make balls and flatten them. Shape into round cutlets or heart shape. Roll into bread crumbs and shallow fry with little oil in hot tava till golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

dear all...i will be away from the blogging world til i can take care of some things at home. i miss you and will be back soon with wonky cakes and alice in wonderland, picnics and bbqs...

lots of love,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Zucchini Salad with Feta Recipe

Zucchini salad
Everyone I know is looking for a good recipe that uses zucchini. Enormous zucchini appear from behind large green leaves surprising even the most vigilant gardeners. It seems there is always too much of it. No one complains about too many peaches or too many tomatoes. Too much zucchini? It's likely to be left on a neighbors doorstep as a "present."

This salad is one of my favorite ways to cook and eat zucchini. It's based on a salad in Claudia Roden's The Book of Middle Eastern Food, a book I turn to again and again. I like it seasoned with toasted cumin instead of coriander and caraway and a little bit of scallion to add texture and oniony flavor. It's called a salad but it's soft, like a dip. The sweetness of the zucchini is balanced by the saltiness of the feta, the sourness of the lemon. If you want to make even the blandest vegetable taste good, I recommend dousing it in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and topping it with feta!

For a light Summer meal I'd serve this salad well chilled along with bread and other assorted vegetable side dishes like this Middle Eastern carrot salad, tomato salad, marinated mushrooms or with hummus and pita or grilled kebabs. It's a healthy dish to keep in the fridge for a little snack though you may find you polish if off pretty quickly.

Zucchini Salad with Feta
Serves 2-4

1 lb zucchini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili paste or harissa
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced and mashed
1/2 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
2 scallions, white and pale green parts only, minced
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Cut zucchini into about 5 pieces and place in a large saucepan; cover with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook about 15 minutes or until zucchini is very tender. Drain in a colander, while zucchini is still in colander, coarsely mash zucchini with a fork; pressing out the liquid but not the pulp.

Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, chili paste, garlic and cumin in a serving bowl. Add zucchini and minced green onion and mix. Taste for seasoning and salt, but don't use too much if your feta is salty. Top with feta. Chill before serving with pita or bread.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Birthday Cake ~ After Dark Miniatures

Today is my Birthday! Yay!
So, I just wanted to share the photos of the Birthday Cake made by Eve at After Dark Miniatures on occasion of The Mini Food Blog's Birthday in May. These were made after the contest, so they were not featured at that time, but it was so sweet of Eve to make a cake anyway to celebrate the event. Thank you Eve, and Thank You ALL for being with me on this mini food journey!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Red rice pongal


3/4 cup Red Rice
1/4 cup Greengram dal
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Few roasted Cashews
1/2 tsp ginger paste
Salt to taste
Curry leaves- few
2 tbsp Ghee

Soak the rice for 1 hour. Pressure cook the rice and greengram dal together with required quantity of water (approx water should be 2-3 times the quantity of rice).

In a small kadai, heat the ghee, add the cashews. When it turns golden brown, remove the cashews and add the cumin seeds, pepper, ginger and curry leaves to the ghee.

Transfer all of these to the cooked rice. Mix well.

Serve hot with chutney and sambhar.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lemon mint delight


Juice of a lemon
4 tbsp sugar
Bit of salt
Few mint leaves

Slightly dry roast the mint leaves for a minute. Grind all the ingredients together with a glass of water for a minute. Strain it to remove the mashed mint leaves. Cool and serve with some ice for a refreshing drink.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nursery Rhyme Cakes ~ Linda Cummings

Off the Grid

Off the Grid
Last Friday night I was glad to join the street food revolution, at Off the Grid. Off the Grid takes place Friday nights from 5 pm until 9 pm in the Fort Mason Center parking lot, right near the entrance by the little guardhouse. It's a great mix of carts, people, food and drink. Families, couples and groups can be found mingling, eating, chatting and discovering deliciously affordable bites of food.

Chairman Bao
There was plenty of room to walk around, chairs and a few tables and there was even some live music. There was no overcrowding, significant waits or lines (Chairman Bao had a line but it moved quickly). The most difficult decision may be what to try because with about 10 vendors, there is no way to try it all. They ranged from traditional taco trucks like El Tonayense to the new fangled Creme Brulee cart.

Malaysian food
I started with potato beef curry puffs from Malaysian Lacy Crepes. They were freshly fried to a crisp on the outside with a tender and mid curry on the inside. Like most things, the portion was good for sharing. I want to try their chai banana fritters next.

Chairman Bao buns
I was very impressed with Chairman Bao. I tried both a duck confit and mango bun and the pork belly bun, steamed, $2.75 each. Both were juicy and fresh but I think the crunchy daikon pickle in the pork version made it my favorite. They also have a baked version. Next time!

Adobo chicken
Lee had a cup of chai, which came in various flavors such as rose and vanilla almond. It seemed a bit pricey to me at $4 a cup. Most of the dishes were in the $2 to $6 range. He also approved of the lemon mochi and succulent adobo chicken.

Curry Up Now
The spiciest bites came from Curry Up Now. The Indian street food truck. The Kathi roll made from roti stuffed with pickled onion, chutney and chicken was hot stuff! In the future I'd love to see Chinese dumplings or some kind of noodle dish along the lines of the Noodle Fest in Chinatown. But the variety thus far is terrific and I will be back!

More on Off the Grid:

A Little Yum post

SF Weekly slide show

Yelp reviews

Monday, July 12, 2010

Red poha akkaravadisal

A healthier version of the popular akkaravadisal by using red poha instead of normal rice.


1 cup red poha
1/ 3 cup greengram dal
4 tbsp bengalgram dal
3/4 cup jaggery
1 tsp cardamom powder
A bit of orange red colour (optional)
A bit of pachai karpooram (edible camphor)
Few roasted cashews and raisins
1 cup milk

Clean and wash the poha well. Pressure cook poha and dals with 2 cups of water.

In a seperate vessel, add little water to the jaggery and heat till it starts boiling. Add cardamom powder to it and cooked poha and dal. Mix well. Add the food colour, edible camphor and mix well. Cook for five minutes. Add milk and mix well for 2 minutes.

Garnish with roasted cashews and raisins.

*You can even add some ghee to it.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Fourth of July ~ Linda Cummings

Celebrating Independence Day in the United States of America!

To view more minis by Linda Cummings, visit:
Website: http://www.linsminis.com
Blog: http://linsminis.blogspot.com
CDHM: http://www.cdhm.org/user/lindac5204
Etsy: linsminis.etsy.com

Stuffed ragi bread cutlet


Ragi bread slices
2 boiled and mashed potatoes
2 tsp finely chopped and fried onions
2 tbsp finely chopped and cooked carrots
2 tbsp cooked green peas
1 green chilli finely chopped
finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
1 tsp chaat masala powder
Oil as required

Mix all ingredients except bread slices and oil. Cut the corners of the bread slices. Slightly wet the bread slices by touching with wet hands. Put a bit of the stuffing in the center and slowly get the corners of the bread together to make a ball. Gently press it trying not to let out the stuffing to get the shape of a cutlet.

Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a tava and shallow fry the cutlets till golden brown.

Serve hot with tomato sauce.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Homemade Baby Food Recipes - Stage 2 (7 to 9 months)

homemade baby food recipes

As a working mother, its hard to find the right balance between spending time with your baby and excelling at work! More often than not, it is the latter that suffers, not because you lack ambition, but simply because maternal instincts are so strong they kind of presume priority over everything else:) And though life is full of compromises, it is upto you on how much and in what way you compromise. One thing I try to stick to is feeding home-cooked food to my baby. It is not an elaborate affair - just as you love preparing meals for your family, and find time to do so, you have to plan a ahead and prepare some baby food that you can feed to your growing child. Yes, it is a bit of work before they can start eating regular meals with you, but believe me, time flies! My little baby girl is almost a year old, and will pretty soon transfer from being a Baby to a Toddler!!

Last week we discussed about Stage 1 foods. Now, as your baby crosses the 6-month mark, and has already mastered the art of eating rice cereal and other starter foods, you can graduate to the next level, which will open up a variety of options, (and problems too) as you help your baby ride the Culinary train of Adventure!

Stage 2 Foods (6 to 9 Months)
Unlike Stage 1, now you don't have any particular constraints on what to feed. There are still a few things to avoid, mainly Dairy (excluding Yogurt & Hard Cheese), Egg Whites, high-sodium foods, Citrus fruits (until 8-9 months), any Soft Cheese like Brie, or Goat cheese, etc, Avoid Cow's milk and egg whites until 1 year of age. Remember, Breast Milk and/or Formula are the most important sources of nutrition for your infant up to 12 months old. Do NOT replace a nursing or bottle-feeding session with a solid food meal, unless you are planning to wean early.

Moving from Mushy Purees to Thicker Food
Your baby might still prefer mushy pureed food, up until 7-8 months, but you can start experimenting with thicker textures and finger foods like Cheerios, well-cooked pasta, cheese cubes, boiled peas and carrots, fresh fruit cubes like melon, soft pear, banana etc. The idea is to make them like texture along with taste. My daughter started eating finger foods quite early, especially because we made her sit with us through our meals and she showed an eagerness to try adult-kind-of-food quite early:) but you can assess your baby's interest and serve food accordingly.

Adding Spices to Food
After 8 months, you can start adding spices like parsley, oregano, garlic, turmeric, onions, etc to their food, just to bring some flavor and taste. Be stingy on use of these additives, and monitor your baby's expressions and actions at all times so you know his likes and dislikes.

My Favorite Stage 2 Recipes

1. Sweet Raagi Porridge
Take 2 tsp raagi flour and equal parts water. mix well to remove all lumps. Then take some boiling water in another cup. Add a pinch of brown sugar and ghee to the raagi. Turn on the stove, and heat the raagi mixture on low flame. Slowly keep adding boiling water till it forms a thick and glossy paste. I generally microwave the raagi mixture after adding water, in about 5 second intervals till the porridge becomes smooth and the flour gets cooked.

2. Vegetable Khichdi
Mix a couple of your baby's favorite and not-so-favorite vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, peas, carrots with 1/2 cup rice and 3/4 cup moong dal. Pressure cook all the ingredients or boil them thoroughly. Add just a pinch of salt (optional) and a pinch of asafoetida(hiing). Then blend all of it in a mixer to form a semi-solid paste. Serve it hot, with a drizzle of Ghee for a healthy nutritious and filling meal.

3. Roasted Carrot and Tomato Soup with Rice Cereal
Take a baking pan and arrange pieces of carrots and tomatoes in a single layer. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 5-8 minutes, till the veggies look roasted. Transfer the veggies to a pan on the stove, mixed with 1/2 cup water, a pinch of salt, some oregano or basil flakes, and some freshly chopped cilantro. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from heat and puree it in a blender to form a soup like consistency. No need to add more water at this step. When you want to serve, add some water, heat the soup and mix in a couple tablespoons of rice cereal or whole grain cereal to make a semi-solid meal.

4. Mixed Fruit Smoothie
One of the easiest and both mother-daughter favorite recipe is making a mixed fruit yogurt smoothie. Take any seasonal fruit like mango, peach, plums, blueberries, raspberries, or even combine a couple of them. Blanch with their skins removed for about 7-8 minutes (not needed for mangoes, bananas or berries, only hard skinned fruits). Once the fruit becomes mushy, blend with 1/2 cup yogurt to make a thick smoothie. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze.

5. Macaroni & Cheese
Another hot favorite, that doesn't need a recipe per se, is mac & cheese. Just cook some small macaroni pasta per package instructions, cooking a bit longer than required, not al dente. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on the top, or shredded cheddar cheese, and serve.

When it comes to recipes, there is never enough - just use the golden rules of combining tried-and-tested ingredients to create delicious meals for your baby. Pretty soon, she'll be reaching out for food that's on your plate - till then, hope you enjoy some of these homemade baby food recipes.

Related Articles
Homemade Baby Food Recipes - Stage 1 (4 to 6 months)

Fourth of July ~ Sarah Maloney

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rajma pulav


1 cup kidney beans soaked overnight and half cooked
1 cup basmati rice soaked for 1/2 hr
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
Small piece of cinnamon
1 Bayleaf
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Roasted cashews and raisins

Heat oil, add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon and bayleaf. Fry for a minute and add tomato puree, garam masala powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well and fry for 2 mins. Drain the water from the soaked rice and add the rice to the fried masala. Mix till dry and add 2 cups of water. Add the half cooked beans and transfer to a vessel. Pressure cook for 2 whistles.

Use a fork to seperate the grains. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with raita of your choice.
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Fourth of July ~ Kathy Obrenski

For more minis by Kathy Obrenski, visit:
Flickr: flickr.com/photos/weelittlewest
Blog: weelittlewest.blogspot.com
Website: weelittlewest.com
Etsy: etsy.com/shop/Weelittlewest

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fourth of July Cookies ~ Melanie Navarro

9 Stir Fry Secrets from Grace Young

Grace Young
Are you a stir fraud? Do you stir fry or do you stir faux? During a recent taping of You're Doing It All Wrong for Chow, I learned I was making some pretty big mistakes when it comes to stir frying hence my less than stellar results. The video is not quite ready yet, but to tide you over, here's what I learned from stir fry master and cookbook author Grace Young. Her latest book, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge is out now.

Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge

* Use a 14-inch wok. Other sizes are too small to cook enough food or too large to heat properly on a typical home range. Find a carbon steel flat bottom wok. RESIST the urge to use a non-stick wok! It cannot be heated high enough to give you good results. If you must, use a 12-inch skillet. But again, not non-stick!

* When you marinate meat for stir frying, which only takes five minutes, add a little bit of oil.

* Use a high smoke point oil such as peanut, canola, grapeseed. Grace said rice bran oil is good too and that's generally what I have on hand.

* Hot pan, cold oil! Do not add the oil to your wok until it is hot, hot, hot! Otherwise the food will stick, stick, stick.

* Use the highest heat possible!

* To get good caramelization, spread out the meat and really let it sear before stirring.

* Stir fry the meat only until it's 3/4 of the way done before removing it and adding the vegetables.

* Be sure vegetables are good and dry when they go in the wok.

* Don't crowd the pan! The amount of vegetables will vary depending on the type, but a rule of thumb is no more than 3/4 of a pound meat and maximum 4 cups vegetables.

But you want to know the most important thing I learned? You can make a better stir fry at home than you can get in a restaurant. Really. According to Grace, you are much more likely to use higher quality ingredients than your local Chinese restaurant. And if you do it right, your results should be better.

My thanks to Chow and Grace for inviting me to the taping. I'm only sorry I couldn't stay for lunch!

Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge

More tips on stir frying from Grace on Culinate