Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Birthday!!!

Hi Ma!


A very happy birthday and a happy new year to you!
It is a very special day for me too...to celebrate the new year as a member of our family...
Hope the coming year brings even more joy than the current...

-Love,
Your daughter

Ultimate Foodie at 7:23 PM

2comments

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Cimply Cinnamon


Cinnamon rolls for breakfast is ever appealing to me...And the resaon is this : you are done with all the time consuming kneading,rolling, pulling, pushing and stuffing steps in the night... Just get up in the morning, take it out from the fridge and bake it...Voila! freshly baked rolls for breakfast without having to lift a finger (after slogging the whole previous evening u certainly deserve that) ! For a "late to bed and late to get up" sort of person like me, this classic breakfast recipe is just perfect...

After hunting for the elusive eggless cinnamon roll recipe, I finally managed to find one here... made some modifications and ended up with this wonderful smelling, delicious tasting rolls...
This will be my entry for Nandita's WBB #8... As this is a Christmas Special edition, thought it would be a good idea to share some pictures we clicked,
as we went riding by the night...
the town so beautifully bright...
that was quite a sight!

Beautifully lit trees

Bike-riding Santa!

Santa resting admist gifts

The Dancing Lights - Lights tuned to radio frequency

Innovative Signs - My favourite

Artistic light decorated garden

Snow Man and Santa stop

Ingredients (makes 10-12 small rolls):

For the dough

1/2 cup Milk
1/2 package (1/8-oz) active dry yeast
1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup Warm water
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 cups cups all-purpose flour (more as needed)

For the filling

2 tablespoons Butter -- at room temperature
1/4 cup Brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon Ground cinnamon

Method:

For making the dough:

In a saucepan, heat the milk.
Add butter, sugar and 1/4 cup sugar to the milk.
Once the butter melts,remove the mixture from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, stir the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar into the warm water and let it stand for 5 minutes.
Stir in the cooled milk mixture and 1 cup of flour. Beat this with a spoon or an electric mixer until smooth.
Stir in the remaining flour, keeping the dough smooth. If the dough is still moist, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a soft dough.
Cover with a dry cloth and let it rise until the dough doubles in bulk, about 1 hour.

For making the rolls:

Punch down the dough and roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly oiled board, with a lightly floured rolling pin.

Spread the soft butter over the top of the dough. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon.


Beginning on a long side, roll the dough up a bit tightly (Do not roll dough too tightly because centers of rolls will pop up as they rise)

Cut the dough into 3/4 to 2-inch slices ( I cut it into 3/4 inch piece) and place on the baking sheets.

Cover and let the rolls rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

At this point you may decide to bake it straight away or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Remove from fridge and let it sit on the counter for at least an hour before baking .

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.


For glazing the rolls:

1/4 cup Powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter -- melted
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

In a small bowl beat all the glaze ingredients until creamy and smooth. Coat the rolls with the glaze immediately after taking them out of the oven. Allow the rolls to cool on a wire rack.

As we prefer our rolls without glazing, I left out the glazing part...

Ultimate Foodie at 10:31 AM

4comments

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bruschetta - Give me more!




I just love going to restaurants that we have never tried before... The thing that excites me most, next only to good food is - The Menu Card. Yes... I love to spend time going through the choices the restaurant holds in store for me... Be it the mouth watering array of foods or the description of the dishes or bits and pieces of information about the restaurant(like why the Mediterranean restaurant "Dishdash" was named so,etc), I can never be tired of them.. So much so that even after ordering, I request the waiter to leave a copy of menu with us [ pretending to ignore the strange look on the waiter's face ;) ]

But if there is one item that I order, without even a glance at the menu, it must be the "Bruschetta". I just cannot have enough of them!

Easy to prepare and bursting with flavors, these bruschettas make a great appetizer. This classic Italian dish is great for holiday entertaining and contains the herb basil and the fruit tomato. So what else can be a more apt entry for Holiday Cooking with Herbs (hosted by Kalyn) from this bruschetta lover?

Ingredients:

1 medium baguette, French or Italian bread cut into 3/4 inch slices
4 tomatoes roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
8 tablespoons traditional Italian sauce (optional)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic finely minced
3/4 pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan and saute garlic for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lightly brush both sides of bread slices with olive oil (oil used to saute garlic can be used).

Spread Italian sauce evenly over the bread slices (optional).

Sprinkle the sauteed garlic on the bread.

Place a slice of cheese over the bread.

Add the chopped tomatoes and basil.

Sprinkle with Salt and pepper.

Line the slices in a baking sheet and bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until cheese starts melting and the edges become a golden brown.


Note : I can see you searching for any hints of basil in my photos... Only after topping the bread with the tomatoes,did I start searching for basil (which by the way is my usual style) and to my dismay found out that I had run out of basil... but the bruschetta tasted great nevertheless! :)

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!!!

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Ultimate Foodie at 2:31 PM

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Impromptu Mexican Dinner



One of the most difficult decisions for me to make,next only to "my aim in life", is - what to cook for dinner ;)... so when something helps me to arrive at this super difficult decision, i am so very grateful... and yesterday a very simple term decided what we are going to have for dinner.. and that was : expiry date!

We had got a packet of tortillas some time last week and completely forgot about it...when i was cleaning the kitchen i discovered the packet comfortably hiding ad mist other provisions and found that the expiry date was the next day... so "Mexican dinner" it was going to be! for once we also had all other ingredients in stock... with that settled, i decided to prepare guacamole and burritos...thus i went about making the dinner and it turned to be real authentic! Here go the recipes....

Chunky Guacamole



Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados
1 small red onion (finely chopped)
Juice of half a lemon
1ripe but firm tomato (seeded and finely chopped)
1 fresh jalapeno pepper (finely chopped)
1 tsp ground cumin
chopped coriander (cilantro) for garnish
salt to taste
A dash of pepper ( optional)

Method:

1.Mix the finely chopped onion, jalapeno , tomato and coriander in a medium-sized bowl.

2.Cut around the avocados lengthwise , then twist the halves in opposite directions to separate.Remove the seed and scoop the avocado flesh from the skin with the help of a spoon.
Mash together with a fork till it forms bite size chunks ( but not very smooth).

3.Add the avocado chunks to the mixture in Step 1. Add salt,ground cumin, pepper and lemon juice and mix well.

4. Serve immediately. Or cover the guacamole with a sheet of plastic wrap to inhibit browning and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to let flavors blend.

Burritos:

I had not soaked any beans overnight and as usual i turned to my saviour - the web - looking for the recipes that do not require soaked beans and managed to find one here... I modified the recipe replacing pinto beans with kidney beans and adding some tomato paste, vegetables and spices...and it tasted great...

Ingredients:

6 medium size tortillas
Sour cream ( optional )
Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheese
1 small tomato ( seeded and chopped)

For Bean filling:

1 1/2 cups of kidney beans
7 cups of water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped vegetables ( i used green bell pepper & mushroom) - optional
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste



Method:

Make the filling:

Rinse the beans in water.

Put beans into a Pressure Cooker; cover with at least 2 inches of water and cook for 40 - 45 minutes,until the beans are soft and the skins are barely breaking open.
( They can also be cooked in a pot. But it will take a long time ,about 2 1/2 hours.)

Strain the beans from the cooking water.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add onions and cook on medium high heat until onions are translucent . Add the finely chopped vegetables and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and sprinkle salt, chili powder and cumin powder. Add 1 cup of water and let the mixture boil for 3 - 5 minutes.

Add the strained beans. Using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pan, until they are a rough puree. Add water as required. Simmer till the flavors have blended ( about 10 - 12 minutes) . Turn off the heat and let it cool a bit.

Assemble the burrito:

Assemble burrito by spooning approximately 2 Tbsp bean filling into the center of each tortilla and top with 1 Tbsp sour cream, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and shredded cheese. Fold in the bottom end and then the sides.

Cook the burrito:

Place burritos seam side down on heated pan and cook for 1 minute. Flip it and cook for another 2 minutes till golden brown.

We actually dabbed with some ghee ( i know its so very un-mexican, but taste is our aim right? ;) ) and had it with guacamole.

Ultimate Foodie at 1:34 PM

6comments

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Ma!!!


"December 14"


....is a special day in my life for more than one reason. Not only bcoz it is my dear Amma's birthday, it is also the day I met my hubby for the first time. So naturally a day for Double Treat!

My Mom has been asking me to start a blog for a long time now. I was quietly doing the background work ( without letting her know ;) ) and today is the day when I am going to reveal her my "little secret". So here it is............

Dearest Ma!

Here is my birthday gift to u!


Mom!
You've given
me so many memories
to cherish forever...

On your Birthday..
Here's a gift
from me to say,
no matter where we are...
You're always
close to my heart!


Have a wonderful day Amma...

-Love,
Ammulu

Ultimate Foodie at 9:20 AM

3comments

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Going Bananas - The Fruity Nutty Bread


All the elders of my family love me for one very good reason - i seldom fuss about eating fruits and vegetables... but if there is one fruit i hate eating, its the bananas... yes though it's surprising, i just can't stand bananas... and to my dismay, the only fruit that they fed us at hostel ( for 4 whole years!)was - u guessed it - bananas...poor me :(... but my friends had no problem eating an extra fruit...

So never in my wildest dreams did i think that i would be blogging about bananas...but after i saw an array of banana bread posts in Nandita's WBB#7 round-up, i was tempted to try out "the bread"...thus i went out looking around for an egg less banana bread recipe...and i was overjoyed when i found out an "egg less butter less recipe" here.. i replaced all purpose flour with a mix of all purpose and wheat flour...and added raisins,dried blueberries and prunes...the result was a wonderful smelling healthy breakfast...here goes the recipe...

Ingredients:

Makes 1 loaf

1-1/3 cup flour ( i used 1 cup wheat + 1/3 cup all purpose flour)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
2 large ripe bananas ( mashed )
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup reduced fat buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mixture of dry fruits (raisins, dried blueberries and prunes)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slightly grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan with non stick cooking spray( or a drop of butter). Set aside.

Blend the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

Mash Bananas. Add oil, buttermilk and vanilla to the mashed bananas. Mix well by hand or using food processor.

Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients. Stir until just mixed.

Add chopped walnuts and dry fruits. Stir until just mixed. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 45-55 minutes or until rich brown and the center is set.

Allow it cool completely and cut into thick slices.

Serve with fruits for a healthy and tasty breakfast!

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Ultimate Foodie at 1:23 PM

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Monday, December 4, 2006

Lima Beans Sambar




"Lima beans are rich in the best sort of fiber - soluble fiber - which helps to eliminate cholesterol from the body. They are a good source of potassium, iron, copper and manganese. As a high potassium, low-sodium food they help reduce blood pressure. Not only are they low in fat, but when combined with grains, beans supply high quality protein which provides a healthy alternative to meat or other animal protein. Lima beans also contain protease inhibitors which frustrate the development of cancerous cells."

When i read the above paragraph here, i was naturally tempted to cook something out of it. The first time i saw it, it reminded me of "mochakottai" ( a kind of beans popular in Tamilnadu )... as mochakottai sambar is our favorite, decided to cook Lima beans sambar..and it turned out to be a wise decision with the Lima beans (aka butter beans) being as soft as butter...


This is my post for Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging,hosted this week by Pookah of What's Cooking in Carolina... this is one event in which i had always wished to participate even before i had my own blog... now that i have started one, nothing could stop me :)


Ingredients:

1/2 lime sized ball Tamarind
1/2 cup Toor Dal

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder

2 teaspoons oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1 small tomato
1 1/2 tablespoons sambar powder ( see note)

2 fistful Lima beans

1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves (coriander leaves)

Salt to taste



Method:

Cooking Dal :
In a pressure cooker, cook Toor Dal and 1 cup of water with a pinch of turmeric and mash them to a smooth paste.
Dal can also be cooked without using pressure cooker, just that this takes time. If you are not using pressure cooker, boil 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan, with turmeric and salt. Add Toor Dal. Reduce heat to med-high and cook covered till Dal has softened.Stir at constant intervals till done and add a bit of water if necessary. This must take somewhere around 30 - 40 mins.

Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of water for a while ( or microwave it for 3 mins.) Squeeze it out, adding water little by little to prepare 1 cup of juice.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel.Once the oil is hot,add the mustard seeds and allow it to splutter.
Add fenugreek seeds and after they have turned reddish,add the curry leaves.
After a minute, pour in the tamarind paste and sliced tomatoes.
Now, stir in salt and sambar powder.
Once the mixture starts boiling add the Lima beans and cook for 10 to 15 mins., till the Lima beans become tender.
Now add the mashed Toor Dal paste. Add water to obtain the required consistency and let it simmer for 15 - 20 mins. Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves.

Note:
There are various options for sambar powder.
1.The simplest option being ready made sambar powder.
2.To make dry powder:
Roast the following in a pan for 3 mins. till aroma is released (without oil) and grind it to a very smooth powder using spice grinder.
6 red chillies
2 1/2 tablespoon dhaniya
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon Toor Dal
1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek seed
When the ingredients are roasted without oil and ground without adding water, they can be stored up to a week
3. The third and the most commonly used method is to roast the above ingredients in oil and make them into a fine paste.

Any of the above methods could be used but the final result is a delicious sambar.

This goes very well with idli, dosa and rice. We had with Anita's (of Mad Tea party) Rava idly for this Sunday brunch and it was yummmmmmmmmy :)

Do try it out and lemme know how it turned out...



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Ultimate Foodie at 11:00 AM

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Friday, December 1, 2006

Must tries - Planned future projects :)

Traveler Lunch Box's Baklava
Priya's roasted Chickpeas
Artisan Bread
Ciabatta Bread
Baking sheet's Vegan cheesecake
Fatfree Vegan Kitchen's
Calamondin (or Lemon) Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

Ultimate Foodie at 4:12 PM

0comments

Of Rainy Days and Street Food...

Annita's Layery porotta with Kay's veg. kurma - our dinner on a rainy day


It was pouring outside and i was shivering in cold, when the sudden a nostalgic feeling hit me...

It was one of those wonderful college days wen v went out and got stuck in rain with no way of returning back to hostel in time... v were hopelessly hungry and cold and the sight of street side mobile stalls just lured us... so there v were..oblivious to the screams of warden that awaited us, tasting and smelling great food...

Brought back to the real world by honking of horn, i started searching for a nice street food recipe for dinner...and hurray!!! i found one that exactly matched my requirements...armed with the recipes i went about making Annita's Kerala Porotta and Kay's vegetable kurma which turned out super delicious... we ended up having a great candle light dinner and oh boy did my hubby enjoy it!

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Ultimate Foodie at 2:06 PM

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Nalvaravu (Welcome)!!!

Its 5 months since we got married & i started cooking... my feelings for food has grown from one of love and adoration to that of amazement and reverence! All made possible by the wonderful world of blogs and the unflinging support & encouragement of my hubby...

Daily,I spend around 4 hours searching and sifting thru the recipes and finally manage to pick out a recipe for dinner [ na..not the lunch recipes..they come from my dear mom,sweet MIL and the Tamil cookbooks ;) ]... thus, day after day i was building my precious recipe collection ( which was close to 200) wen our laptop suddenly crashed!!!! poor me, felt as if the world has come to a grinding halt...actually not xactly :)..but sumwhere close to that feeling..

That's wen i decided to start this blog as an archive of all the recipes that i have tried, wanna try out and also some of my own creations, with valuable inputs from my enthusiastic mom,ever helpful MIL and aunts...

So, Blogging World -
here i come :) .................

Ultimate Foodie at 12:37 PM

2comments