Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Curly Sweet Crepes with Poached Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt - Guest Post by Aldy

I'm totally amazed by the amazing talent of all my peer bloggers. And one of the blogs which I admire every day is by my friend, Aldy. Everday I used to get fascinated by her new recipes in my inbox. So a couple of weeks back I requested her to write a guest post on my space and she obliged me. Today let me introduce you guys to one of my FAVORITE bloggers Aldy from Al Dente Gourmet. I appreciate her for her versatile skills in cooking amazing diverse dishes with gorgeous clicks and beautiful write ups. Plus, I am always inspired by her motto of 'Fabulous Dinning Experience in one's own Home'. I agree with her, we often crave to have a delicious platter, then why not to enjoy one in the comfort of our own cozy living room while browsing the channels on television. Sounds amazing to me.... !. Recipes made by Aldy are simple to make and yet classically presented, you can perhap attribute this to a rich heritage from Argentinianian, Italian, Spaniard and French cuisines. So Yes - I've no doubt, there's a lot to learn from her.
Now over to Aldy for her fabulous recipe of "Curly Sweet Crepes with Poached Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt" ..... ! I loved this excellent creation - which can be enjoyed at breakfast or at snack time and am sure my readers will enjoy it too. Cheers, Sonia !

Hi Everyone! First I have to say that I’m very excited to be guest posting on Sonia’s beautiful blog today. She is a wonderful cook and I’m constantly amazed by ‘’my creative flavors’’-Sonia’s delicious creations and spectacular photography—Have you seen her latest tasty posts and photos?  Aren’t they absolutely mouth-watering?  So you can just imagine the pleasure when she asked me for a guest post on her blog :)
After I had been asked I started to brainstorm ideas for a recipe to share. And about a week ago I finally decided to go for crepes. Although I have to admit that this was a tough decision! I wanted to share something that everyone enjoys eating. Something that reminds me of my childhood and of course something that looks pretty to the eyes and delicious to the palate.

I’ve been experimenting with crepes and crepes fillings for a long-long time. They are very versatile, for breakfasts and for easy dinners, sweet or savory, vegetarian or not, light or with any filling—the famous crepes are simply perfect! No matter if you're cooking for yourself or a dining room full of hungry people :)
Crepes and poached fruit were part of my childhood and they certainly bring back tender memories of warmth sunny summers and cold winters days. So I thought this post would be a great opportunity to combined and share two hearty –favorites of mine. A very rewarding  sweet treat recipe when it comes the time to prepare something easy, super tasty and fun to make.
Preparing real simple but flavorful food is my personal philosophy and this recipe is no exception. I hope you all would agree and find this recipe Delicious too!
Thank you so much Sonia for this opportunity to share this simple recipe and hopefully everyone will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it and photographing it.

Curly Sweet Crepes with Poached Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt
Crepes Recipe
makes 9-10 crepes

1 ½ C. All Purpose Flour
1 ½ C. Milk –Whole Fat
2 Medium eggs
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil
Unsalted Butter for cooking the crepes

In a medium bowl add flour-- move flour to the sides of the bowl creating a ‘well’ (an empty space) in the middle—and add the two eggs. Gradually pour in the milk – and using a balloon whisk--start whisking energetically to prevent any lumps until batter is as smooth as you can get it.Refrigerate for 45-50 minutes.
When ready heats a medium ‘non-stick frying pan’ over medium-high heat and add ¼ tsp. butter and let slowly melt, making sure it doesn't foam.Using a paper towel--wipe the pan evenly. And immediately pour a ladder of the batter--tilt the pan with circular motion from side to side. So the batter mix spreads evenly, coating the whole surface with a thin layer.
Cook the crepe for about half a minute each side— until corner and bottom is light golden underneath. Shake the pan to release the bottom of the crepe, quickly flip it over and cook the other side.
To Serve: Take one side of the crepe and roll it up tightly. Then cut into medium-thick slices and arrange slices on a plate topped with Poached Rhubarb and cover with Greek yogurt and the rhubarb syrup.

Poached Rhubarb Recipe:
285 g / 10 Oz. Rhubarb, rinsed and trimmed
100g / 3.5 Oz. Caster Sugar, superfine
1 ¼ C. Water

Put sugar in a saucepan with water and bring to boil over medium high heat –stirring often--until sugar is dissolved. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cut the rhubarb stalks into medium pieces. Cook the rhubarb in batches in the simmering juice for about 3-4 minutes or until they become tender. When ready remove rhubarb from the heat and place pieces into a serving dish. Increase the heat to medium – high and let remaining syrup reduce by half.

Hope you enjoy this Creation !!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Aam Panna Made with Green Mangoes

I simply adore fresh homemade drinks to rejuvenate myself, be it Aam-Panna, Jal-Jeera { coming soon ;-) } or  Lemonade { Shared prev. ~click here to see~ }. Because one, these are free of any preservatives and two, these are made by fresh (homegrown/garden fresh) ingredients, so can vouch for its aroma and freshness in every sip which no carbonated drinks can beat....right ?????. OK now, back to out topic for the day - Aam panna, is a very famous Indian drink known from ages for its summer cooler properties, is sure to beat this summer heat. It is made with Raw green mangoes, some fresh mint and toped with roasted cumin. This is a very simple recipe from our home and is surely going to chill you inside out.  Take a big chilled bottle at the beach with you or enjoy it after a rigorous workout, as this is rich in Vitamin B1, B2 and C, it will be all yours forever.

Fresh Mango Drink...!!!

Fresh Mint and Raw Mangoes go really well together...

Raw Green Mangoes: 2
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Salt: 1 tsp or to taste
Roasted Cumin Powder: 1/2 tsp
A few Sprigs of fresh Mint

Wash and peel the mangoes, chop in to small chunks.
Boil in 1/2 cup of water till the chunks are soft and tender.
Let it cool down and blend it in a mixture to make a smooth puree.
Strain it through a sieve, if desired.
Add sugar, salt and cumin to taste.
Transfer the mango concentrate in a glass or stone ware bowl.
Prepare a drink by Putting 2 tsp of this concentrate in a glass and add water, mint leaves and ice.
Enjoy the fresh homemade drink to rejuvenate yourself.

Chopped Mango is looking so GOOD..... !!!

The magical Amalgamation of Cumin and Mangoes begins....!

Cooliooo ... !!!

Hope you like this recipe & would give it a shot.
Keep sipping the cool drink and applaud your efforts.... !
... and yes, dont forget to tell me how you like it, Cheers !!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays 22 June' 2011

“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”
Lyman Frank Baum

Taken: Hoboken, NJ
Camera : Lumix GF1
Lens : 
Lumix G 20 mm f/1.7 Pancake 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Homemade Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

OK now, dont get judgmental - It is Obvious & my love affair with Strawberries continues with this post. And as promised here's a post on how to make your own homemade Strawberry Ice Cream. This post is less about photography & more about strawberries and my guilty pleasure ICE CREAM. 
So sit back 'n' Chillax .....!

Ingredients: -
2 cups Strawberries, cut in half
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
A Pinch teaspoon salt
5-6 drops teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, take half cut strawberries and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice.
Toss to combine and set aside for ~2 hrs. Keep mixing occasionally.
Now in a pan, stir together cream, remaining  sugar and a pinch of salt.  
Bring the mix to a simmer, then turn the temperature all the way down to low.
Puree the strawberry mixture in a blender till smooth.  
Stir the strawberry puree into the cream mixture until completely incorporated, also add vanilla extract at this stage.

Place bowl in the refrigerator and allow the mixture to cool completely – at least two hours preferably overnight. Mix well & it is ready to go into ice cream maker as per instructions of manufacturer. Once done transfer to a air-tight container & leave in freezer at least for 2 hrs to let it firm up. Enjoy fresh homemade strawberry icecream topped with Mint leaves.

My lot couldn't survive for more than a day & was all gone. 

Hope you give it a shot and share with me how you did....... Love , Sonia.

Adapted from recipe by one of my fvt food bloggers Pinch-My-Salt.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Berry Bounty, So here is Strawberry Conserve

Oh my has been strawberries all around. I love the summers as it cheers up your mind and soul with its bright and sunny days. People are making the most of their weekends with Strawberry Picking in the farms. Its so much fun to pick and fill your baskets with fresh strawberries. Make any dish with these delicious berries and its surely going to be a hit. The recipes are loaded with antioxidants and full of natural sweetness and flavor.

I was reading the recent issue of Bon Appetit and fell in love with this recipe of strawberry conserve. So here is my reproduction of the simple yet classy recipe.

Strawberries: 2 cups
Sugar:1/2 cup
A dash of  Lemon
2-3 pieces of Lemon peel


Take strawberry halves, lemon peel and sugar in a pan.

Cover the pan and let it sit at room temperature for approximately two hours.
Keep mixing occasionally.
This will help the berries to ooze out their flavor/Juice and blend the sugar.
Now put this mixture over simmer heat, stirring gently till strawberries are tender (2-3 mins).
Take out strawberries at this stage & transfer into a glass jar.
Continue simmering liquid until it thickens into syrup consistency (4-5mins).
Discard the lemon and filter out the syrup over the berries in the glass jar.

Refrigerate and use whenever you want to cheer up.
This should last for almost a month in refrigerator.
A great way to consume is on a multigrain toast alongwith a Philadelphia spread.
Yummm.... !!!!!!!!

I had a happy and cheerful week, experimenting my hands with strawberries. I also tried ice cream with the rest of my box, will share recipe soon. Hope you love this conserve with any bread you like or even on top of your vanilla ice cream, its YUM in whichever way you decide to consume it ...... !!!!!!

PS - You must have noticed that photographs look a bit different here, the reason is that I decided to play with shadows, let me know if you like the photography.

Sharing the recipe of Strawberry Conserve with Simple Lives Thursday, 48th Edition

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mini Sweet Pizza/Malpua with kheer

Should I call these mini sweet pizzas or sweet pancakes, whatever.... these traditional Indian Malpuas are a delightful dessert to enjoy in the summers, especially in the Monsoon season and when made by your Mom. This weekend has been a relief from hot & humid weather we have had in New Jersey recently, and we welcomed little rain we had yesterday. Yeah, it feels like Monsoon & for once I took the backseat and waited patiently for my platter to be served as I jotted down the recipe. There are many versions of this recipe, but the most famous way of making it in Northern India is making a batter by mixing all purpose flour with semolina and milk. These sweet and soft pancakes are enjoyed with Rabdi (Reduced caramelized Milk) or Kheer (Rice Pudding) made with rice and milk. I used Kheer mix by Gits to make Instant Kheer and made it rich by adding chopped nuts.

All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup
Semolina: 2 tsp
Whole Wheat Flour: 2 tsp
Milk: 1/4 cup
Water: 1/4 cup
Fennel seeds: 1/2 tsp
Almond meal: 1 tsp (finely crushed almonds)
Cardamom Powder: a pinch
Saffron strands: a pinch
Sliced Pistachio/Almonds: 2 tsp for garnishing
Oil/Ghee for frying

For Sugar Syrup:
Water: 2 cups
Sugar: 1 cup
Cardamom pods: 3-4
Saffron Strands: few

For Kheer (Rice Pudding)
Kheer Mix by Gits
Milk: 1 cup
Raisins: few
Sliced Nuts: 2 tsp

In a bowl sieve all three flours together for 2 to 3 times.
Add fennel seeds, almond meal and a pinch of saffron and cardamom powder.
Add water and milk to make a thick batter of pouring consistency.
Let the batter stand for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a shallow pan and pour a teaspoon full into the batter to make mini Malpuas.
To make a bigger size, pour a ladder full into the oil.
Fry till it becomes light golden brown from both sides.
Soak it in the sugar syrup and take it out on towel paper.
Garnish with sliced pistachios and almonds.

For Kheer:
Boil a cup of milk in a pan.
Mix kheer mix in little quantity of milk and add to the milk.
Simmer for a while and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Garnish with raisins and nuts.

Serving Malpua with Kheer: -
The best way to enjoy this treat is by dipping Malpua in Kheer (immersing it fully) and having it.
Crispy texture of fried Malpua & caramelized flavors of Kheer create magic.

Believe me, these Malpuas were simply SCRUMPTOUS.

Can you resist a bite here ???

We enjoyed our Feast, Hope you guys give it a try and like it...

And let me know, if you do !!!!!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crispy Rhubarb Pockets & a refreshing Rhubarb Drink

I couldn't resist picking up Rhubarb at Farmers Market recently. Torn between doing a few things I decided  to go for Crispy Rhubarb Pockets. To my surprise the recipe was easy to do & full of flavors. This was my first experience with Phyllo sheets & believe me it was a pleasant surprise. I'm determined to getting another lot to do some savory based dish next time. 

A Great outcome that you'd like for sure, so here's how we do it.

Ingredients for the Rhubarb Filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb (about 2 cups ½-inch diced)
1/4  cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon vanilla extract

Method: -
Combine the diced rhubarb,sugar, the cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat. 

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb releases its liquid and begins to breakdown, creating a thick, chunky sauce, about 10 minutes. 

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. 
Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Layer 4 phyllo sheets, brushing each with melted butter.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Now let us cut four 4-inch squares from phyllo stack. 

Place 2 teaspoons of filling in center of square. 
Brush phyllo from edge of filling to each point of square lightly with water. 

Gather points of square and pinch together just above filling.
Brush pouch with butter. Repeat process for all 4 pouches.
Place filled pouches at least 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet or baking pan. 
Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Take the pouches out and let them cool on wire rack for ~5 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Luckily I was left with almost 1/4 cup of rhubarb filling & decided to make us a rhubarb cooler drink,

A Quick Recipe ( Makes 1 Glass of Rhubarb Cooler)
2 Tsp Rhubarb Filling
1 Tsp Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
Few Mint Leaves
1 tsp Sugar

In a Glass of water mix some rhubarb puree, freshly squeezed lemon juice & a tsp of sugar.
Top it up with Mint leaves & enjoy chilled.

My Family loved the crispy filled Rhubarb pockets & our refreshing rhubarb drink.
Hope you like it too.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Katri/Matri - Animal Crackers Indian style

Home made animal crackers are always a delight to nibble at summer picnics. These cute little snacks make your perfect date with family. This is my tried and tested family recipe and made in our home from ages, I just adapted my mom's recipe and made it with her help. The crackers were a huge hit at my place and by end of day we were left with no crackers to save. So go ahead and give your family a treat of Indian style animal crackers or "Katri-Matri" as we know it. Unleash your creativity on the dough and cut it out in any desired shape and present it the way YOU like. I tried to do a jungle theme so chose green flowery background to line up my Little Animals... !

All purpose flour: 1 cup
Semolina: 1/4 cup
Butter: 1/2 stick or Canola Oil: 1/4 cup
Carrom seeds: 1 tsp
Fenugreek flakes or Parsley flakes: 1 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Black Peppers: few
Cocoa powder: 1 tsp, optional
Warm Water for kneading the dough

Sieve all purpose flour  and semolina in a bowl.
Add salt, carrom seeds, fenugreek flakes and butter to make a soft dough while adding little warm water.
Cover the dough with a cheesecloth and rest for two hours.
Knead the dough again and roll it as flat as possible with a rolling pin.
Cut it into desired shapes with animal cutters.

Add black peppers for making the eyes.
Shallow fry the crackers till light golden brown.
Take out and allow to cool.

Let the crackers cool down and store in an air tight container.

Hope you guys enjoy these crackers.
Do share with me, your innovative ideas on making crackers... !

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays, 01 June' 2011

"Sun setting over Liberty Harbor - Shot from Battery Park,  Manhattan"

Taken: Battery Park, NYC 
Camera : Lumix GF1
Lens : 
Lumix G 20 mm f/1.7 Pancake 

Date & Walnut Birthday Cake!!!

Parenting is indeed a learning journey! Each day is a new day, learning and exploring the wonders of our little bundle of joy! This anecdote...