Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Bites

I have been looking for an outlet for my recipes: My Quick Fixes. I enjoy cooking thoroughly and don’t like to spend hours cooking as well. Hmm... Hence the balance: Quick Fix: And plus, the lesser time you spend, chances of you making it healthier are higher. Don’t ask me why... but I have noticed it in my cooking. Now due to lack of creative options: I am starting it right here: Monday Bites.
Aim: To post at least bi-monthly for some quick creative recipe I experimented with. Or I ate at a friend's place.
Reason: I am a foodie and I enjoy a few dishes and the simplicity of cooking them.
Purpose: Just to share!

So here is my first Monday Bite of Quick Fix: I guess my previous two posts: Apple Cobbler and Stuffed Peppers fit in well as well.

It is no secret that I am a snacker. And it is also no secret that I "try" to cook healthy => Olive Oil, bare minimum cheese and even lesser of fried food. And it is no secret that I looooove Namkeen- The bhujia, the chivda's and the category of super marwadi snacks.
This Paryushan, I have quit fried food at home => No eating anything fried at home... which implies: Yes I can come over to your house and eat. :-) But seriously, it is good, it will keep my unhealthy snacking in control. Or that’s the plan
Now how this fit in my Monday Bite does: I made "Cereal Chivda": No frying, 2 tsp of olive oil and it was super yummy!

Name: yummy Namkeen (Per my daughter)
Time to cook: 10-15 minutes (If you using out of box cereal which I use)
3 cups each toasted rice cereal or 6 cups thin poha
2-3 fresh chilies (I used jalapeño)
2 tsp Olive oil (Feel free to use any other oil of your preference)
1 teaspoon Rai
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup roasted unsalted Chana (Feel free to use almonds/ cashews/ walnuts)
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries if you like the sweet-spice flavor
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar : Optional. I recommend adding it, it gives a nice combination flavor.
1 teaspoon salt
Few curry Patta leaves (optional)
Spice: Red Chili Powder, Amchoor, Haldi

Steps to bliss:
1. Spread poha in a 12- by 17-inch baking pan. Bake in a 200º regular or convection oven, stirring occasionally, until flakes are very crisp, about 20 minutes.
If using the cereals, omit this step. I have always made it with Rice Crispies. It reduces one step for the lazy me.
You can also add any other cereal you like, mix and match for variation. I have tried Honey Oats, Cheerios, Wheat Bran, Kellogs original etc.
2. Meanwhile, rinse and dry chilies. Chop finely (do not seed).
3. Pour oil into a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat; when hot, add rai and stir until they begin to brown, about 30 seconds.
4. Add chilies and stir for 1 minute. Add Kadhi Patta until crisp. About 30 seconds
5. Add peanuts, and any other nut, raisins, cranberries etc. Stir until fruit is puffy, about 1 minute. Add lime juice, salt, red chili powder, amchoor and turmeric; stir until blended. Add sugar if you like.
6. Reduce heat to medium. Add poha/ cereal/ Any other cereal and stir until completely infused with spiced oil and golden throughout, about 6 minutes.
---- You can add dried Nariyal flakes.
7. Let mix cool completely. Serve or wrap airtight.
8. Enjoy

Next time you make a batch... mix and match.
Example: Rice Crispies + Peanuts + Raisins
Cheerios + Kellogs Original + Dried Cranberries + Chana
Wheat Bran + Raisins + Cheerios + Walnuts + Almonds
With the nuts you add, it makes it high in protein> Being vegetarian and not liking Daal as much, this really helps!

Cook Away!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Quick Fix Recipe: Stuffed Red Peppers

This weekend we swung by our neighborhood farmers market and bought a case (read 31) red peppers for 5$. Yes people... in regular stores where one red pepper costs one dollar. In our lovely farmers marker, 31 beautiful, organic, ripe red peppers cost only 5$. I did try to convince a friend of ours to split the case... but since he was still finishing off his case from last week, so I let it go.

So now... so many red peppers and what to do.
I tried making a couple of things last night: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup- my friend’s recipe. It was divine, Croissant/Filled puff and the following Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers.

Here is my quick fix recipe for the same... it took me twenty minutes minus baking time. And I love things which look presentable and don’t take hours to get done and of course taste "yummy in the tummy"

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
1 cup rice (Feel free to replace with quinoa/ brown rice)
4 large red bell peppers (Green is fine as well)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 green chilly
Spices: Salt, Pepper, Turmeric, Chilly Powder, Chilli Flakes
2-3 finely chopped tomato (or 1 can of diced tomato)
Additonal: If you like tangy.. Chaat Masala
If you like aromatic..Oregano/Basil (Dried or fresh)
Feel free to add nuts like: Pecans/ Cashews/ Almonds

For Stuffing
1. Cook rice like you normally would. I tend to drain the starch water away.
2. On a skillet, heat olive oil. Add garlic and onions. Fry until translucent.
3. Then add the chopped tomatoes and chopped green chili.
4. Add the spices. Feel free take a pick at tangy/ aromatic.
5. Cover the skillet for the tomatoes to get cooked.
6. When the gravy is cooked, add cooked rice, mix, and adjust seasoning.
For Base
1. Meanwhile, cut the top part of the red pepper and deseed. It becomes like a cup and a cap! :-)
2. In a microwave container, fill 1 inch water. Place the red pepper and on high start for 6 minutes. (Alternatively boil on gas)
3. The red pepper should be soft but firm.

In the red peppers, fill in the stuffing. Top with cilantro/cheese and bake it in the oven (300F) for 15 minutes.
Put the cut cap back on and serve. itself.
That's what I like about this recipe, since the stuffing is rice, we didn’t need additional things with it. Plus did I mention it took me about 20-25 minutes for making this which included helping V with her art and me gulping my coffee.

Now... I am up for suggestions.. what do I do with the remainder of my 22 red peppers!!! Any recipes/ recommendation welcome. Note, we are vegetarian.
Also...which will stuffing in red pepper might taste better, if at all:
A: Cream Cheese/Greek Yogurt + Spinach + Artichokes + Dried Cranberries (I know it’s not the healthiest option!!)
B: Pasta + White Sauce + Carrots/Peas/Spinach
ANy place you guys know for fun contribution.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wohoo.. Tag Time.. Bloggy Award time.. Wohoo.

Woooh... Maddie I am honored. Being tagged and of course receiving the blogging honors. Now to accept it, I must

1. Thank those who loved you enough to bestow this gift.
2. Share seven (7) things about yourself.
3. Bestow this honor onto 10 newly discovered or followed bloggers – in no particular order – who are fantastic in some way.

So for 1.. .Maddie... Thanks thanks thanks... :-) Truly.. Its so cool to get all three.. Sweet Blog, Versatile Blog and Lovely Blog. Yippie..

Now for number 2:
7 Secrets.. Hmm.
1- I laugh through horror movies, just so that I don’t get scared. And then I keep telling myself... it’s so lame, I better laugh. But then, deep down, I do get scared... and now I have come to accept that, I can watch horror genre with someone in the room- never alone. Luckily, hubby doesn’t like this genre as well.. and sure as hell, I am not paying 10$ for this genre. Chick Flicks are great, thank you very much.

2- I love post-its, spreadsheets, planning and organizing. I think I am pretty good at it and I enjoy it. I am an endless list maker. I like checking stuff off. However, I am slowly letting go of the 'my way' planning and going along with the flow. It does feel good sometimes to not fret about the details and just really chill. It's hard, but I am getting better at it (I think). It’s funny, I like planning as much as I like spontaneity.

3- I started blogging to get over the fear of being read. Seriously. I like writing and though I am not skilled at making it catchy, funny... I really enjoy the passion of words.

4- I would love to ‘someday’ own a tool shed, a complete tool shed with saw, cutters, and paints and so on. I would love to make stuff, try out stuff and again, really not worry about how it turns out but enjoy the process of it all.

5- Hmm, I am sucker for romantic movies, series, but I hate reading romance novels. They are simply boring. The words which should induce passion, pain, love just come across as cheesy. It aint my cup of tea.

6- I like to be on the move, on the go. I do like sitting back and chilling, only to be 'planning' for something to do next. SD and I are suckers for being out the door. We like fresh air. On cold days, we'll even just be happy going to gym or penthouse.. just to be outside the house for a bit.

7- When we begun our parenting journey; I was really waiting for the "maternal" instincts to kick in. V was about to come out in the world, and I was still waiting. V is now 2.5 years old... and I have the "mama bear.. dont you DARE hurt my precious cub feeling"... May be this is 'maternal instinct'. Is it?

And now for 3: re-tagging.
Here it goes.
Forever Mother,

And drum roll.
Sweet Blog Award
One Lovely Blog
Versatile Blogger

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I think I found my Coffee Twin.

No seriously I did. Someone who is as passionate about the perfect brew, perfect blend as me. Hang on… you have to read this post before you continue. Only then will you follow.. I will wait.

All right, now. You know how particular I am about my coffee.

So. I think I found my coffee twin. Back in India, a very dear friend would whip the coffee to perfection. I have to credit her for making me crave coffee this bad. I have to credit her to make me enjoy the real flavor of coffee. We both have spent countless hours and a huge chunk of cash at our JATC. Same Table, Same setting. So far, with every trip to India, we both have managed to meet up. Same Table, Same setting. We both always know where to meet... it has to JATC of course. Why even bother to ask.
I digress.
Now, my morning includes washing my coffee cup mug and then going to my cafeteria to get my coffee. It’s simple: It's in the green colored dispenser. It reads dark organic roast. I take that half way, the remaining quarter is decaf to keep me sane and then one sachet brown sugar with 2% milk. Nothing more, nothing less.
My cafeteria staff knows me. If my coffee is out or almost over, I just glance away. The lady smiles, happily brews my fresh coffee and gives me a pat. She knows; I need it, just right.
It’s a morning ritual. If I skipped a day, she would ask where I was the day before. :-)
Recently, a new person joined my team. I bumped into her a couple of times at my coffee dispenser. I noticed, she follows the exact same pattern as me: 1/2 dark brew, 1/4 decaf, one brown sugar and oh well.. skim milk!
Darn... almost a twin.

And yes, I am serious about my coffee. Feel free to ask Sumit. Recently we were out of coffee at home and in my knowing ways... I told him, don’t get it from 'there', it’s always more expensive, when we go to Costco, we will pick up the right Nescafe there. He just nodded. He went 'there' and bought the right Nescafe. Money be damned. He knows I needed it. There is no way I would survive without coffee till the weekend Costco trip. Or rather he would not survive my coffee-less moods.

I smile each time I fix my coffee at home. The tiny over priced box reminds me of Sumit's smile when he handed me the coffee. Perfect. :-)