I love cheese, but not every kind of cheese out there. My problem is well addressed by my neighborhood gourmet food store where several samples are place out for customers like me who are very picky about their cheese. I love to sample some of the interesting cheeses at the neighborhood gourmet store and then buy a different new cheese each time I visit the store and that way I know what to buy when I am in a rush and have no time to savor various cheeses and decide. Creamy brie cheese is my all-time favorite although I try to experiment with new cheeses, and yesterday I saw this beautiful cheese - cheese with cranberries! I tasted the sample and loved the complexity of flavors of the cheese melding with the cranberries. You can actually get little bursts of the berries and it is very innovative. The cheese is flaky, crumbly and moist made with cows milk and comes from Upper Wensleydale in England. My husband didn't much like the sweetness (he is not fond of desserts either), and you know what that means, I get to savor all the cranberry cheesy goodness!
February 28, 2010
February 27, 2010
In my earlier post, I showed you the snowicane pictures. And, did I have to shovel and shovel to get the inches of wet heavy snow off our steps and sidewalk. After all that snow shoveling with the wind blowing half of it back into my face and eyes, I am ravenous and famished and ready to eat a pig which obviously is not waiting for me in the dining room :), and so what do I eat in a jiffy. The eternal standby- Eggs. I don't think there is a recipe for this instant 2-minute dish. If there was, it would go something like this...
Heat a skillet, add a few drops of oil, and crack an egg into the skillet. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper, lots of it. Swirl, scramble, whatever suits you, and tear in some baby spinach. Give it all a good mix and pile onto a toasted roll.....serve warm. And, believe me, plain ol' eggs have never tasted so good.
The snowstorm that dumped over 2 feet of snow in most of the Northeast was called a "Snowicane" by Accuweather forecasters. Earlier in the month, the storm was called a "Snowocalypse." I wonder what the next term will be - snowizzard or snornado!! Well, if it is any of those terms, I can say I used the words first!
And this snow is going nowhere for several days - with piles and piles of snow everywhere. People love the snow and people hate the snow - I'm the in-between kind - I love it the first few hours but then when I have to bring out the shovel.....I don't like it after a few grueling shoveling sessions. These pictures were taken on my way back home from work - everything was so serene and quiet. It will be a whole different picture by tomorrow.
February 22, 2010
I haven't met a fried food I didn't like. Isn't there something about fried foods, be they fritters, chips or fries, that sets off the nonstop munching. Of course, they are bad for you but if you eat only a few occasionally then its okay - I convince myself by saying that and now please don't disagree with me after you have tasted these plantain chips. Crispy and tangy and spicy all in one bite....
I used green plantains, peeled and sliced thin. I fried the chips in batches in a deep wok and sprinkled the chips with a mixture of salt and chilli powder. I used *amchur (dried mango powder) for tanginess.
To fry plantain chips you will need - 2 green plantains, peeled and sliced thinly. Heat olive oil in a wok or deep pan. When the oil is hot, add the sliced green plantains in batches and fry to a golden crispy brown. Drain well on paper towels and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Serve warm.
*Amchur is available in Indian grocery stores.
February 21, 2010
There is something so comforting about a bowl of warm soup in this unrelenting winter. NY has been having a considerably warm spell with temperatures in the 40s for the past 2 days, and I'm lovin' it. That didn't stop me from roasting veggies for dinner. The plan was to have a soup with some roasted veggies, but somewhere along the roasting process, my thoughts turned to a roasted veggie soup - how good does that sound? So, when the roasted veggies came out sizzling from the oven, I cooled them off and used most of it to make the soup and saved some for a wrap for tomorrow's lunch. Chunks of carrots, parsnips, onions, red and yellow peppers, potatoes, and zucchini were sprinkled with salt, pepper, and olive oil. I sprinkled some dried thyme over the veggies before roasting the veggies at 425 degrees.
Once the veggies were cooled, I pureed them with vegetable stock. You can also use chicken stock as the base for the soup. The soup was velvety smooth and a gorgeous golden color - blending the colors of carrots, yellow and red peppers. A crusty loaf of bread was a perfect accompaniment to the soup.
To prepare the roasted vegetable soup you need:
2 of each - carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions, zucchini
1 of each - red and yellow bell pepper
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp drid thyme
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the vegetable into chunks, approximately the same size so that they are roasted at the same time. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil, thyme and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes until done. Remove from oven and cool.
Pour 2 cups of vegetable stock in the soup pot. Add the cooled veggies to the blender with 2 cups of stock. Puree the mixture. You can use extra stock if you want the soup thinner. I like the soup chunky. Do not use hot stock in the blender as it could be a disaster with the steam buildup. Pour the pureed mixture into the soup pot and heat. Serve warm with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.
February 19, 2010
Yucca is very popular in South America. But, did you know that yucca is a staple food item in South India, particularly in the states of Kerala and Tamilnadu where it is called Tapioca. In Kerala, mashed yucca is often accompanied by beef, fish or chicken curry, and it is delicious. I was surprised to find yucca in the local stores in NYC when I came to the US. Back home, my mother often made yucca curry, yes, yucca curry that is delicious with rice pancakes (dosas). Yesterday I bought some yucca and made this quick stir-fry. It tastes delicious when served with onion chutney, but since I didn't have the patience to make the chutney, I just made the stir-fry.
To prepare the stir-fry you will need:
1 or 2 yucca, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup diced onion
3-4 minced green chillies, depending on your tolerance for heat
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
A pinch of turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Boil the yucca chunks with the salt and turmeric until tender. I used a pressure cooker to boil the yucca because it takes only about 5 minutes. Heat the oil in a pan and add the black mustard seeds. When they have all spluttered, add the diced onion and cook for a few minutes (do not brown). Add green chillies, salt and turmeric. Carefully, add the boiled yucca and stir gently. If you want mashed yucca, cook until very soft and then mash it before adding to the onion mixture. Sprinkle lemon juice for tanginess and extra flavor. It is best eaten warm, although tastes very good at room temperature. I used it in place of potato salad for lunch and was a welcome change.
February 18, 2010
This is the second quickbread loaf I baked this week! The apple cheese loaf vanished sooner than expected - there is something comforting about a warm slice of homemade bread - any kind of bread. For this wheat flour bread, I used stone ground wheat flour that has loads of bran making it healthier. For extra crunch and nutrition, I added toasted walnuts and a handful of raisins. The bread was delicious and I managed to take a couple of pictures before the bread vanished! I will post the recipe soon - as soon as I find the scribbled handwritten recipe.
February 16, 2010
I have a weakness for breads, any kind, all kinds, yeast breads, quick breads, yeastbreads, muffins, etc. The list goes on and sometimes I bake just to finish off the remains of an item, sometimes it is fruit, cheese, or some herb. I had apples that I no longer wanted to eat. An apple pie was the first choice, but thought that is too much sugar (Oh, I forgot to mention I am trying to eat healthy!). Good old friend Google came to the rescue and I came upon Apple Cheese Loaf on the King Arthur Flour website. The recipe was fairly simple and I happened to have most of the ingredients except bran cereal, which I substituted with crushed shredded wheat cereal and my apple cheese loaf was born! The combination of apples and cheese is classic and a warm slice is heavenly. Since I didn't cut the apples too fine, tiny nuggets of cheesy apple lie strewn about in each slice making every bite a pleasure. A couple of thin slices is perfect anytime, breakfast or an afternoon snack. If you like it extra cheesy, serve with cream cheese or a cheese spread.
February 15, 2010
Here is my scoop about our Valentine's Day. Well, was I surprised when my husband said we were going to the movies and then we'll decide about dinner. We saw "It's Complicated," which had been on our forever To-Do List. I thought Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin were marvelous and not to mention Steve Martin. Aboslutely worth watching - I know all of you who have seen it will agree. After the movies, it was off to dinner at a lower Eastside Persian Grill.....skewers of marinated chicken and ground sirloin served alongside roasted onions and tomatoes on a bed of fragrant basmati rice. The food was delicious - the chicken skewer was well seasoned and out of this world. Warm pita bread was served with pickled vegetables (Torshi ) that served as a dip. I said let's skip dessert - which my husband thought was rather unusual. We headed back home and then I had a surprise - two mini chocolate cakes I had baked earlier in the day.....perfect indulgence for Valentine's Day - does it get any better than this?
February 14, 2010
These pictures were taken 3 days after the snowstorm that snowed out NYC. I was walking by the park and stopped to admire the beauty of the storm despite the havoc it created. I see folks still digging out their cars and, not to mention NYC is expecting another 6 inches of snow in the next 48 hours!
Happy Valentine's Day to all. NYC is welcoming a sunny day (although it is blustery). I am not sure about what we are doing today, but will be back tomorrow with the scoop.
February 11, 2010
Yesterday New York City was snowed out, and I managed to take a few pictures of my snowy neighborhood. The snow day seemed perfect for a bowl of steaming soup, and we decided to make some simple red lentil soup with an Indian touch. Since the lentils cook in about 15 minutes, that seemed the easiest way to a warm dinner. The remains of a crusty loaf of bread sitting on the counter seemed just right to mop up the soup. I kept the soup really simple and used only a few ingredients to make a brothy soup as opposed to a chunky heavy soup. Also dished up a side dish of simple potatoes (that recipe is for another day!) to go with the soup.
To prepare the soup you will need:
- 1/2 cup of red lentils
- 2 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 2-3 dried red chilles
- 1 tbsp oil
- Salt to taste
*A pinch of turmeric (optional)
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions. When the onions turn golden brown, add the minced garlic. Add the red chillies and stir well. Add the vegetable broth and salt to the onion mixture and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are done. Add cilantro and serve.
*If you like your soup yellow in color, add a pinch of turmeric to the vegetable broth while it comes to a boil.
February 10, 2010
Today was a snow day and New York City was completely snowed out! Schools and colleges were closed. I ventured out to work (my husband thought I was too adventurous), and managed to find public transportation - buses and trains were running for those who wanted to ride them.....Thanks to a great boss, we were let off at 1:00pm and I was home soon. It was a pretty sight as the snow had been coming down all morning, and the wind was blowing it all over the place. Trees were bowing graciously with the wet snow dripping down their branches, but I didn't have my camera to take pictures. However, back home after shoveling the sidewalk, I managed to take these pictures. I wanted to reach out and touch the branches of the magnificent tree outside the window. Tomorrow is another day and back to work - but I'm sure there is no returning home early!