Janmashtami breakfast – Fresh fruits, Nutella Yogurt and Hashbrowns

Yesterday was Janmashtami. In India, it’s a big festival. Offices and schools are closed and there is a huge line in lord Krishna’s temple to offer prayer to the eight incarnation of lord Vishnu. I am an athiest so actually don’t feel bad about not being able to offer any prayer. We probably never had that culture in our family. Although I have had chances to celebrate it when with my grand parents. And even thought I am not much in favor of blind prayers and rituals that follow, but I absolutely love the festivity that the occassion brings. The beautifully liten and decorated temples, and especially the thorne of Lord Krishna are mesmerizing. Dahi handi celebration is what makes this festival unique and a very thrilling experience. And this all comes with high carb food that we (atleast in gujarat) eat as a part of our all day fast.(Yeah this is kind of wierd, but trust me all those foods are better indulgences than food eaten on any other routine non fast day). As I said my family was never that religious, but what we actually did celebrate was the fasting food (faraal as is said in gujarati) throughout day. Any person who knows these names will immediately have increased saliva secretion!! – Faradi patties, sabudana khichdi, moraiyo, buff vada, rajagra no sheero, bateta ni kheer, doodh paak, faradi paatra, suki bhaji…..omg…the list is long, but this covers pretty much of it, and writing more names will bring tears to my eyes as they make me terribly miss those days.

              Those days will never be back when me and my sister used to stay all day in proximity of kitchen, while our mother would cook those amazing foods. Dad would come down at the aroma of frying of very first patty to grab it. And by the time of lunch, probably everyone would be atleast half full.

Here I am sitting miles away from all of them just to be able to connect on phone and internet. Even the time zones do not allow us to celebrate the festival at the same time atleast electronically. Anyways I did continue with the tradition of fasting on the day of Janmastami, although the food changed a bit because of the lack of immediate availability of raw material. The morning started with this beautiful platter which included fresh fruits, nutella yogurt(home made) and freshly made hash browns.  That was a pretty fulfilling and delicious breakfast. Probably this can be one more addition to the list of foods served on janmashtami as the food habits of people evolve while still retaining the festivity within them :).

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Spinach Corn Sandwich

Spinach corn sandwich | cooktorelish.wordpress.com

Pic Courtesy : Jay Mehta

There are few things in this world which I find challenging to eat. Spinach Corn sandwich is one of them. But this one was good. The original recipe is from my sister in law, with few changes of my own.The stuffing went really well with German dark wheat bread. So in case you people are trying to make this, I would suggest you to make it with German dark wheat or Rye bread. Also, instead of using plain white sauce, I added some cream cheese to the base. It did enhance the flavor. Overall this was a good experience and if this is what a spinach corn sandwich tastes like, I am ready to add it to my frequent meal list. This is a good break from any of the routine Indian meals which are full of spices.

Ingredients:
Serves 2

For white sauce
Garlic – 1 clove finely chopped
Onion – 1 small finely chopped
Corn starch – 1 tablespoon
Milk – 1 cup and 1/4 cup extra for mixing corn starch
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cream cheese – 1 tablespoonful
Butter 1 tablespoon (or enough to saute onion and garlic)

Baby spinach leaves – 1 cup
Frozen corn – 1/2 cup(If you are using fresh ones, make sure they are soft enough to bite easily)
Bread slices – 4
Butter spread

Method:

  1. In a nonstick pan, heat butter.
  2. Add onion and garlic. Saute till onion are tender.
  3. Reduce the flame to medium. Add milk. Keep stirring.
  4. In some extra cold milk, mix corn starch. Add that mixture to the pan.
  5. Keep stirring till it forms into a sauce consistency.
  6. Add cream cheese and mix well while hot.
  7. Add salt and pepper. Mix well.
  8. Let the mixture cool.
  9. Once at room temperature, add spinach and corn. Mix well.
  10. Toast slices of bread. Apply margarine/butter to the toasts.
  11. Divide the stuffing into two equal portions and sandwich it between the toasts.
  12. Serve.

Garbanzo Onion Potato stuffed paratha

Garbanzo Onion potato paratha | cooktorelish.wordpress.com

I always wonder that I have some old association with Garbanzo. It usually comes as a savior and in fact a source of innovation in my cooking. The other day I was left with just two-three baby potatoes. And we all were in a mood of having aloo pyaaz (potato onion) paratha. But then I knew that 3 small baby potatoes would not suffice. I opened up my fridge and saw this can of Garbanzo lying there. And came up with this new concept. I added half a can of mashed garbanzo into my paratha stuffing and here is the result. It of course tasted much different from what our normal aloo pyaaz would have tasted. But it was a good. It came with some additional benefits of substituting potato with garbanzo.

  1. Rise in protein content of the dish.
  2. Ease of rolling paratha – Garbanzo gives some extra dryness to the stuffing. It made the rolling of paratha easier. In fact I could roll much thinner breads with uniform stuffing across paratha without any central only flour spots.
  3. Of course a new thing to try and taste 🙂

I would like to request all of you to try this and give your suggestions as comments.

Pic Courtesy : Jay Mehta

 

Home set yogurt

Homemade yogurt | cooktorelish.wordpress.com
IMAG2329
Creamy thick homemade yogurt
Homemade yogurt bowl | cooktorelish.wordpress.com
Homemade yogurt, home made granola with fruits ….what else do you need for a healthy breakfast?

 

I call this yogurt because when I first started making this at home, I used market bought non fat yogurt as a culture. Rest it’s difficult for me to understand the actual difference between yogurt and curd. Some sites showed that they are created from different bacterial cultures. But the method of making remains similar. I had been struggling with getting a good thick yogurt since some time. The reason was apparent. The 2% milk that I used had some extra portion of water which was ultimately resulting into a yogurt with large amount of separated water. This time , I decided to remove that access water by boiling the milk and reducing its volume to about 80% of original. And yes, I got it. A creamy thick yogurt. All ready to go into a bowlful of health with fruits and granola. Method is simple. As I said earlier, I used 2% milk. I brought it to boil. Then reduced the burner to medium heat and let the milk boil till I got approximately 80% of starting volume. Intermittent stirring was done to avoid formation of cream layer at top. Next I turned off the burner and let the milk cool till almost at just slight warm temperature. I used the culture from my previous made yogurt. About a tablespoon of this was mixed thoroughly with the milk. And kept it in microwave (turned off). In a hot summer day of outside temperature of 100 degrees and inside home of 70, it just took just 4 hours to set. Thick creamy yogurt finally done 🙂

Strawberry Melon Summer Drink

Strawberry Melon summer drink | cooktorelish.wordpress.com

Summer drinks  are supercool. My mantra is to keep it simple. There is no big deal about the recipe. Simple 3 ingredients – Watermelon, Strawberries and Dry Mint leaves. (Or Fresh Mint). Just make sure that berries are less in proportion so as not to dominate the taste of watermelon. One more thing – do not add any ice/water to dilute the stuff. Just blend those fruits from refrigerator and enjoy this fresh soothing summer drink.

Frozen Brownie

Frozen Brownie | cooktorelish.wordpress.com

We have heard a lot about sizzling brownies. Here is a twist. A year back I tried making frozen brownie. I am rewriting this old post of mine since I am transferring all of my food related posts on my cooktorelish blog.

I was left with some egg-less chocolate brownie the other day…  This needed to be reformed to something interesting as we already had eaten enough of it. This resulted into a small innovation named Frozen Brownie. The small modification of an already yummy dessert is worth a try.

Ingredients

½ cup chocolate brownie (mine had an extra rich flavor of coffee)

½  cup milk

1 tablespoon condensed milk

1 teaspoon Amul Pro (or any chocolate health drink should be fine)

½ teaspoon – shredded dry coconut

½ teaspoon – shredded roasted almonds

½ teaspoon – powdered sugar

Almond and Walnut to garnish.

Method:

  1. Cut your brownie roughly to smaller pieces.
  2. In a pan, bring milk to boil. Add condensed milk and brownie pieces to it.
  3. Stir on medium flame. The mixture will start forming a coarse paste (similar to brownie batter). Ensure all the large pieces of brownie have mixed well. This should take about 2-3 mins maximum. Add some powdered sugar if necessary for desired sweetness and mix well.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool a bit. While still warm, fill the mixture into your serving bowl/glass to make an even level. Allow it to come to room temperature.
  5. Make a layer of Amul Pro over the brownie paste.
  6. Dry mix grated coconut, roasted almonds and caster sugar. (My sister had already kept this ready mix for me to be used in various preparations or for eating as it is).
  7. Put the mixture creating one more layer over the Amul Pro layer.
  8. Garnish with Roasted almonds and walnut.
  9. Deep freeze this for 30-45 mins.
  10. Serve cold. So basically we start with the nutty coconuty flavor from coconut, almond, and sugar which migrates to the Amul Pro layer which provides a crunch to the preparation which ultimately transits to a soft heavenly taste of brownie mix as we move down.

Broccoli Basil Pesto Penne Pasta

Broccoli Basil Pesto Penne Pasta | cooktorelish.wordpress.com

There are various versions available for this particular combination. I came up with this particular one because of two reasons 1) My husband does not like broccoli much 2) I love broccoli. My husband will usually discourage the presence of broccoli at our home. And if by some means I succeed in getting one, he would procrastinate its use till the time it no longer remains fresh and interesting. Once in a while though I get a chance to use it not as a main ingredient but as one of the ingredients. So this thought of incorporating it into pesto itself. I made a fresh coarse pesto with broccoli, basil, garlic, and roasted peanuts. Again the taste was altered because most of the time a basil pesto will have pine nuts. I was just looking for some tweak in recipe and wanted to utilize available resources at home.
Well well well, this turned out great as complimented by hubby and here I am sharing the super-cool super-simple recipe.

Ingredients:
Serves 2

Penne Pasta – 200 grams
Basil leaves – 12 to 15 large
Roasted peanuts – 6 to 8
Garlic cloves – 2
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Broccoli – 6-8 florets
Onion – 1 small finely chopped
Tomato sauce – a tablespoonful
Southwest mustard sauce – 3 to 4 drops
Salt to taste
Ground Black pepper to season
Grated Parmesan cheese.

Method:

  1. Start cooking pasta in a large pan of water till al dente.
  2. Meanwhile take basil, peanuts and garlic clove in a food processor and grind till it becomes a coarse paste.
  3. Remove the paste in a cup. Now add broccoli to the same food processor jar and grind to coarse paste.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Saute the finely chopped onion.
  5. Add cooked pasta, basil paste, broccoli, salt to taste and black pepper.
  6. Add tomato paste, southwest mustard sauce. Mix well.
  7. Add Parmesan cheese and mix well. At the end drizzle a small amount of oil and mix well to give it a shiny look.