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Shrimp with Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Shrimp with Pumpkin Seed Sauce

May 2, 2016

We have a local Mexican restaurant that my daughter absolutely loves.. I on the other hand, am not a fan… well, until recently. I found a delicious shrimp dish cooked in a pumpkin seed sauce. It was creamy but extremely light- unlike a lot of Americanized Mexican dishes… this was perfect.. so I thought why not try to make it at home. It was very delicious and easy to make…

  • 1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped

Roast pumpkin seeds in a heavy skillet on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or till the seeds are golden brown. Transfer the roasted seeds, green onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic, oregano, cumin seeds, salt and 2 cups of chicken broth in a powerful blender and blend till completely smooth. Heat a heavy saucepan with the oil and transfer the sauce into it. Cook on medium heat, stirring for 5 to 6 minutes or till the sauce thickens. Add another cup of chicken broth and continue to cook for another 20 minutes on medium heat. The sauce at this point may separate but don’t worry. Turn heat off and transfer back to the blender and add ¾ cup of cilantro and blend till the sauce is smooth again. Return to the saucepan and adjust seasonings. Cook the shrimp in the sauce and garnish with the remaining cilantro. Serve with lemon and cilantro rice.

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Soba Noodles with Mushrooms

Soba Noodles with Mushrooms and Red Peppers

May 1, 2016

Meatless Mondays have never been yummier! These easy to make soba noodles are a crowd pleaser- no one will notice how healthy they are! I would eliminate the dashi to make it a 100% vegetarian!

Sauce

  • 1 cup vegetable broth, warm
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dashi
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and keep aside.

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced, any variety
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1 pound fresh or dried soba noodles, cooked to package instructions, drained and rinsed with cold water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 green onions, sliced on a bias

Heat a wok like pan with the peanut oil. Add the mushrooms, green beans and red peppers and sauté on high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cooked and drained noodles and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to a boil and mix well. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper accordingly. Garnish with green onions and serve.

 

 

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Chicken Curry with Dill and Cilantro

Chicken Curry with Dill and Cilantro

April 27, 2016

If you like going out for Indian food but are too scared to try cooking something at home… try this dish. It is easy to make and the ingredients are readily available. The garam masala is a challenge as the varieties available in stores are not as good but you can still use one or just eliminate it. Either way, the result is delicious and healthy…

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, skinless, with or without bone
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • 2 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

Mix the yogurt, half and half, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, salt and garam masala in a small bowl. Transfer the chicken and the marinade to a zip lock bag for at least 2 hours if not over night in the fridge. Take out half an hour before cooking.

  • 1 cup fresh dill
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 10 to 12 green onions
  • ½ cup water

Blend the greens and water in a blender till smooth. Keep aside.

  • 3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • ½ cup tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat a heavy saucepan with the oil. Add the green dill sauce and sauté on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper and sauté for another minute. Add the chicken with the marinade. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid and simmer on a low medium heat for 20 minutes. Take the lid off and turn the heat up to cook away any extra liquid in the sauce, stirring constantly. Check for seasonings. Serve warm with fresh rotis.

 

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Cabbage and Pear Slaw

Cabbage and Pear Slaw

April 26, 2016

This is a yummy slaw that complemented the chicken tacos really well. The pears are delicious with the cabbage…If you can’t find pears any more, pineapple will be a delicious addition…

  • ½ cup plain kefir or buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ small cabbage, shredded
  • 1 pear, julienned

Mix the kefir, mayonnaise, lemon juice, honey, cilantro and salt in a small bowl. Transfer the shredded cabbage and pear in a serving bowl. Add the kefir mixture and mix well. Check for seasonings and let it sit for half an hour before serving.

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Pulled Chicken Taco

Pulled Chicken Tacos

April 25, 2016

I love making tacos- especially pulled chicken or pork… chicken being healthier, I tend to make them more often. I made a delicious crunchy cole slaw to go on top…

  • 1 pound chicken thighs, skinless, with bones

Spice Rub

  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Mix all the spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle all over the chicken thighs and marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge.

  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 cup blood orange juice (regular orange juice will work as well)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (preferably homemade)
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pack of small tortillas

Heat a medium saucepan with olive oil. Brown the chicken pieces on high heat on both sides. Reduce heat and add the onion and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the orange juice to deglaze. Mix well and add the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and cover with lid. Lower to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Take the lid off and turn the heat off. Let the chicken pieces cool. Take out the pieces and shred with a fork. Return to the pan and bring back to a boil to cook any extra moisture. Check for salt and garnish with cilantro. Assemble the tacos with the pulled chicken and top with cabbage slaw.

 

 

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Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna

April 24, 2016

This is a great way to get some veggies into your kids. They may not notice all the greens while they enjoy the yummy noodles, cheese and sauce. Eliminate the pancetta if you want to keep it vegetarian. If not then it is great way to infuse some great flavor without adding a lot of meat.

  • 9 to 12 lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup pancetta, chopped (eliminate if making vegetarian)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 10 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 10 ounces Shiitaki mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups mixed greens (I used a combination of kale, green cabbage, red cabbage & Brussels sprouts), shredded
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups fresh tomato sauce, preferable homemade

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the lasagna noodles until they are soft and pliable, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the pasta and lay flat on a sheet tray to cool.

Add olive oil and pancetta to a large frying pan. Saute on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté on high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the greens and cook for another 5 minutes until they are wilted. Check for seasonings and turn heat off and let cool.

In a small bowl, add the ricotta, garlic, parsley, salt, egg, and ½ cup of cheese. Mix well and keep aside.

In the bottom of a 8 by 8 baking dish, add a half cup of sauce. Spread evenly. Arrange three to four noodles to completely cover the sauce. Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture over the pasta. Add ½ of the mushroom mixture and spread evenly. Repeat with noodles, sauce, ricotta and mixture. Finally add the last batch of noodles and cover with sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano and all of mozzarella on top. Cover with foil. Place the lasagna on a baking sheet and bake in oven for an hour 15 minutes, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

 

 

 

 

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Last Day In Berlin!

April 19, 2016

So, here we are- last day of our vacation…. I so look forward to a trip once we book it, which is usually almost 11 months in advance as we usually have at least 2 seats on miles- so we try to do it ASAP…My favorite part is the anticipation of a trip- I love it… Of course I love the trip as well, but the anticipation lasts way longer than a trip. The other thing I love to do is go home… my daughter always asks me the last day of a vacation, “are you happy to go home”? and my answer is always, yes!! No matter where I am, how exotic or fun the place is, I love, love coming home…
Anyway, our last day started around 10 after we finished breakfast. We headed back to our hop on hop off bus and went to the museum island, where all the main museums are..what a smart idea..you can even buy a combination ticket for multiple museums. We wanted to visit one and I had done some research on the most popular and it was called Pergamon Museum that has artifacts from Mesopotamia, Syria and lots more.

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We got there and there was a bit of a line… so we decided to wait- turns out it took forever to get in…so if you are going, I would recommend you buy tickets in advance and make reservations so you can walk right in….although the wait for us was totally worth it… the museum was amazing – a must see, in my opinion. After spending a couple of hours in there, we got back on the bus and decided to go to a department store called, KaDeWe- a high end clothing store with the most amazing food hall on the top 2 floors… the choices of gourmet foods was mind boggling…

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We looked around and then went up to eat… I got the most yummy cheeseburger and my husband got a weiner schnitzel… his was okay… but mine was great!

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We had a delicious Rose wine with our meal and finished it with a delicious chocolate mousse… picked by my daughter… overall, it was a great experience. We came out after a while and decided to walk around a bit and do some shopping.
About an hour later, after visiting a grocery store- which is a must when I go to any city, we returned to our room. We bought a bunch of small wine bottles from the store as the wine here like other European cities is yummy and cheap!
So, that is it- time to wrap it up. As usual it was a very enjoyable and yummy trip. Of the 4 cities we visited, I would want to come back to Salzburg, although it doesn’t need a lot of days.. and I would come back to Berlin – as it is a very big city and one needs a while or many trips to explore…

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