30 September 2010

59: Tomato Basil Soup

Ever since I have had a pretty and healthy basil plant in my house, I have been yearning to make some 'La Madeline' style creamy tomato basil soup.

For the tomato basil soup you will need,
8-10 tomatoes, cut into halves, de-seeded
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups water
1/4 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place your halved tomatoes on a foil-lined baking tray and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. 

Place tray in the oven to roast for about 30 minutes. While the tomatoes roast, saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil until the onions are lightly browned. Add the rice and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the white wine and allow the mixture to thicken slightly. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and remove the skin once the tomatoes cool.  Add the roasted tomatoes, the sugar, salt to taste and red pepper flakes. Add the water and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the heavy cream and cook for another 10 minutes. Check to make sure the rice is cooked. Place small batches of the mix in a blender and puree. Be careful in this step as hot mix will tend to expand as you puree it. Pulse initially and the puree. After the mix has been pureed, add the shredded basil and salt and pepper to taste. 

Beautiful, some warm creamy soup with fresh garlic knots...dinner could not get any better.

58: Garlic Knots

The whole experience of baking your own bread is truly wonderful and enjoyable....I enjoyed it so much that I am seriously considering baking my own bread for sandwiches too. I found the recipe for garlic knots on Annie's blog. I was planning on making some soup and this was just perfect with it.

For the garlic knots, you will need:

For the dough,
3 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast/ 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1-1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1 cup lukewarm water

For the glaze:
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp dry parsley
1 Tbsp salt
Now to knead the dough, mix the dry ingredients first. If using active dry yeast, dissolve it in 1/4 cup lukewarm water and let it stand for 10 minutes. Now mix the olive oil, milk, water and the yeast and knead the dough until the dough is soft and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled vessel and cover with a plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. Then separate the dough into 10 balls.
 Roll each ball into a long strip and tie into a knot
Tuck the ends into the knot. Place parchment paper on a baking tray and place the knots on the tray. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise further for another 45 minutes. In the mean time prepare the glaze by melting the butter and adding finely chopped garlic, salt and parsley. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spread the glaze over the knots. 
Bake the knots for 18-20 minutes until the knots are lightly browned. 
Enjoy the soft buttery goodness of the garlic knots with some hot soup.

28 September 2010

57: Not On The High Street

Great online store for home decor...Notonthehighstreet.com

Love the prints and the 'spell it out' frames and wall art.

Ceramic wall art

Heart shaped cutting board
Owl candle holder
A 'Spell it Out' wall art
Ceramic Egg Shell Candle Holder
Great Wall Stickers
Winter Trees Wallpaper
Now get shopping :)...

26 September 2010

56: Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Mint chocolate chip cupcakes to cure some Sunday evening blues.....

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and peppermint extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the chocolate chips and mix.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

Peppermint cream cheese icing

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla & peppermint extract; mix until smooth.

Have a great start to the week y'all....

25 September 2010

55: Hyderabadi Chilli Chicken

Similar to the Hyderabadi Biryani, this is another specialty of Paradise restaurant.

For the marinade you will need,
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken (breast/ thigh), cut into small pieces
salt to taste
1 Tbsp pepper
1/2 cup chilli garlic sauce
1 cup flour
2 eggs

the remaining ingredients are,
8-10 curry leaves
2 green chillies
2 tomatoes
1 tsp vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup chilli garlic sauce

Marinate the chicken with all ingredients mentioned in the marinade section. Marinate for 1 hour. Heat oil in shallow pan and deep fry the chicken pieces. Grind the tomatoes and one green chilli to a fine paste. Heat oil in a pan and fry the curry leaves and the green chilli. Add the tomato chilli paste and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and fry for a few more minutes until the raw smell of the tomatoes is gone. Now add the fried chicken to this and mix well. The chilli chicken is ready. Garnish with some onions and lime.

54: Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani and Mirchi ka Salan

My sweetie's best buddy is in town for the weekend. Decided to treat the guys to some authentic Hyderabadi food. Anyone who has been to Hyderabad, will definitely talk to you about the "Paradise" Biryani. And anyone who has tasted it knows that it leaves an indelible mark on you forever. It is by far the yummiest biryani and something that I have always missed after I left Hyderabad, India. The interesting fact about this, is that it is so unique to Hyderabad, that I have never had a similar biryani anywhere outside of Hyderabad and people who not from there do not realize how special this biryani is :)

This is my third attempt at making biryani. The first time was a total disaster. The second attempt was good, but I knew i could definitely improve it. I think I nailed it in the third attempt! It was near perfect...the guys loved it...and I couldn't be happier....

I always thought that making Hyderabadi biryani was really complicated. But not really, it is one of the easier recipes I have tried. A little bit of nurturing and patience is all that is needed and similar to baking follow the recipe to the T.

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani:

For the Marinade,
1 1/2 lbs chicken (I used a mix of chicken legs and boneless breast pieces)
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
2 green chillies, chopped
1 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 cup fried onions (use the store bought version or fry thinly sliced onions to a golden brown at home; I have used both and the taste is good; make sure that you don't burn the onions though)
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
2 cinammon sticks (half a finger length)
5-6 green cardamom
2-3 black cardamom
5-6 cloves
2-3 bay leaves
1 whole mace
11/2 cups yogurt
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp cumin powder
2 Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp cayenne powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup cooking oil

For the rice,
2-1/2 cups Basmati long grained rice
2 tsp saffron
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
1/2 cup fried onions
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 cloves
Salt to taste

Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients specified. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. (I marinated it overnight). Wash and soak 2 cups of rice in water and soak the remaining 1/2 cup rice in saffron water. Let the rice soak for 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat water in a wide bottom and deep vessel. I used a large pressure cooker I had. Once the water starts boiling, add the cumin seeds and cloves and a little oil. And add salt. Make sure you taste the water to check if the water is salty enough. We will cook the rice in this water, so it should have enough salt to give the rice a some salty flavor. Now add the entire rice to the boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes. You want the rice to be half cooked. This is extremely important, as you don't want you rice to turn mushy. Stay by the side and check to see if the rice is half done. As soon as you think it is half done, drain the hot water. In the same large bottom, deep vessel, add some oil and add the marinated chicken. then add half the rice and layer with some chopped mint, coriander and fried onions. Add the remaining rice and add another layer of chopped mint, coriander and fried onions. Mix 1 tsp saffron in water and add over the top. I also added a Tbsp of oil over the top. Now dampen a clean cotton cloth and cover the dish and place a lid over this cloth. The idea is to seal the dish and not let any steam escape. For the first five minutes cook at medium heat and then turn the heat to low and let it cook for 30 minutes.And the Biryani is ready!

Biryani always goes well with a side of Mirchi ka Salan.

For this you will need,
1 cup peanuts
1Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup grated coconut
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp methi seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder (hing powder) 
8-10 curry leaves
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp cayenne powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup yogurt
5 large green chillies

Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut. After they are browned grind with some water and make a fine paste. Heat oil in a pan and fry the dry red chillies and mustard seeds. After the mustard seeds sputter, add the methi and the asafoetida powder. Add onions and fry until golden brown. Add curry leaves and ginger garlic paste. Fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, cayenne powder, turmeric and salt. Mix well and add 1-1/2 cup water and let it come to a boil. Add the yogurt and mix well. Bring it to a boil and add the ground peanut paste. Let this mix come to boil and allow to cook for 10 minutes so that the peanut is cooked well. In the meantime, clean the green chillies, leave the stalk on and slit the chillies and clean the inside. Add these green chillies to the salan and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve the biryani with the mirchi ka salan.

24 September 2010

53: Poem for My Dearest Mom

Its one of those days when you get a little nostalgic and think of days gone by....I have never written a poem in my life, but today the words just came to me and I wrote this poem for my dearest mom...whom I shall love and miss forever.

How do you tell yourself it’s OK,

When you know that you will hold a void in your heart forever

How do you comfort yourself?

When you long for the touch, the kiss, the hug

That you can never feel again

Years have gone by, but I still miss you the same

My heart sheds a tear silently in vain

Knowing that I will never be able to hold you again

I love you Ma

Love you in a way that I can never love another again

22 September 2010

52: Lamb Chops with Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney

Okay before I get into the recipe I must admit I made the chops only because I really wanted to make the Apple Ginger Chutney and I knew it would go really well with some meat.....

Marinate the lamb chops with,
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder
Juice of 1 lime

Leave the marinated lamb chops for an hour. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and place the lamb on the pan. After the lamb is lightly browned, add 1/4 cup chicken stock and 1 Tbsp chopped mint leaves to the pan. Cook for 12 minutes for medium rare and 20 minutes for well done.

Spicy Apple Ginger Chutney:

1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1/4 cup Sultanas/ raisins
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes and then puree the mix (keep the mix chunky, not a smooth paste). Love this chutney!!

Serve lamb chops with the chutney and some Moroccan chick pea salad.

51: Home Decor: Cool Planters for the Home

Love green plants at home, they brighten up any room or corner and they are such an easy decor idea. 

My favorites at my home are,
A candle holder converted to a planter
The DINO planter..love it!

My three & half year old bamboo - my sweetie's gift..

I am always looking for new and unique ways to have more green at home...

Love the gravity defying planters from Boskke,

Wall bubbles from Flora Grubb,

DIY Light bulb planters..how cool are these things...

Wall tile planters,


 Wall mounted planters,

And finally this super cool stiletto planters by Giddy Spinster,

Whoa..that's a lot of great ideas...hope you peeps enjoyed these ideas and have some great ideas of your own to share...

20 September 2010

50: Sweet Paul Fall Issue is Here!

Love Sweet Paul's blog! His photgraphs of food and recipes are just wonderful....and the second issue of his magazine is out...it is beautiful... and I must say the recipes for Fall look so yummy and the photographs are just gorgeous...it captures the essence of Fall....it makes me want to start cooking and trying out all of the recipes! You can browse through his magazine here. Enjoy!

19 September 2010

49: Egg & Spinach Stromboli

Stromboli is usually Italian bread filled different kinds of meat or vegetables. I decided to make a simple  breakfast variant of this dish.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. I seasoned pizza dough with olive oil and some basil. spread the dough into 4 squares. Brush each square with some beaten egg. Sprinkle some pepper. Place a slice of cheese (optional, I used Muenster, as I that was the only cheese slices I had at home), some freshly washed spinach leaves, a boiled egg cut into half. I topped it off with some fried prosciutto.

Now cut the sides into thick strips with a spoon and fold both sides so that the strips overlap each other.

Brush some egg over the Stromboli. Place the Stromboli in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with some slices of tomato.

Have a wonderful Sunday y'all...

16 September 2010

48: Sweet Potato Cupcakes!

I am super excited! The first time ever that I made cream cheese frosting and it was perfect!! loved it...I wanted to make these cupcakes after I saw them on Emma's blog. it sounded so exciting....had to try it...bought my ingredients after coming back from work and spent nearly two hours making it...with 2 trips to the grocery store in between, as I was out of confectioners sugar and buttermilk....but whew..finally to see and eat these beautiful little things...nothing beats that feeling....

I used a Martha Stewart recipe for these cupcakes (Recipe)

Ended up making some sweet potato bread too..

My house is now filled with the aroma of sweet potatoes....the smell of Fall...going to sit back, take in the aroma and enjoy a delightful cupcake...

15 September 2010

47: Pretty Little Things (this week)

..Pretty little things on my wish list....can't help but love them...can't get my eyes off of them :)

From Anthropologie

Book boxes..storage with the look of vintage books..perfect!
Collection of Vintage Mirrors
Elephant Salt and Pepper Shakers..sooo adorable
Vintage key bottle opener
Silhouette Votives
A pretty ceramic rolling pin...I can picture myself rolling out pies using this :)
From ModColth
How adorable is this over the door coat hanger..I WANT!
The amateur photographer in me really really wants these adorable cameras

Instax Mini 7S
A hot pink Diana 35mm camera..love it!!
This is my lust list this week....sadly no birthdays or anniversary around the corner...hope a certain someone is reading this blog and decides to give me a "just because" gift ...here's to wishful thinking..xoxo
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