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Besan Burfi

Besan and Nariyal Barfi (Indian Confection Made with Chickpea Flour and Coconut)

October 22, 2014


Here is one of my favorite Indian sweets! Happy Diwali! Enjoy…


This was the first time I attempted an Indian confection. I really enjoy eating them, but somehow never made them at home. I would either buy them or my Mom would make them for me. She would tell me how easy they are to make but I never seemed interested.

This time, I decided to give it a try and see what the fuss was all about. Well, it is quite simple to make. All you need is chickpea flour, butter or ghee and nuts. You have to saute the flour in ghee for a bit – kind of like risotto. Once the flour is similar in color to milk chocolate, you add the sugar and any other flavorings you like. The mixture is smoothed onto a platter and refrigerated. Once it is set, cut it up and serve.

Try something different this New Year, your guests will love it…

  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • ¼ cup ghee or butter
  • ¼ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 4 to 5 green cardamoms (seeds taken out and crushed)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • Sliced almonds
  • Pistachios, chopped

Heat a medium frying pan and add the ghee and oil. Add the besan and sauté on medium heat for at least 30 minutes (or more) till the mixture turns a light caramel color.
Add the ricotta, coconut and cardamom seeds. Mix well and let the moisture from the ricotta cook out- about ten minutes.
Turn the heat off and add the sugar. Mix well until all is incorporated.
Spread the mixture on to a shallow platter with edges. Smooth with a spatula and sprinkle the almonds and pistachios and press down with fingers. Keep in fridge for half an hour to set. Take out and cut into small squares and serve.

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Fresh Roasted Corn Bread

Toasted Corn Bread with Fresh Corn

October 21, 2014

This is a yummy recipe adapted from Michael Symon. The cornmeal is toasted and I added fresh corn, cilantro and some roasted chilies. It is delicious, especially with the cheddar cheese! Perfect with chili!

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons salt

½ cup cilantro, chopped

Fresh corn off a cob, chopped

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¾ cup whole milk

1/3 cup honey

1 large egg, beaten

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup canned roasted chilies


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 8 by 8 inch pan.


In a medium frying, toast the cornmeal over medium heat, stirring constantly until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in flour, baking powder, salt, cilantro, corn and cheese. In a separate bowl whisk the milk, honey, egg and butter. Mix well and add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix till smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


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Chicken Chili

Chili with Leftover Chicken

October 21, 2014

This is a great recipe for leftover chicken- any kind, really. I had roasted quite a bit of chicken on a Sunday and I made a bunch of different dishes with it including some homemade stock. It is a great idea to do so on a Sunday afternoon…

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 2 teaspoons roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 cup fresh or canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 14 ounces black beans, drained
  • 4 to 5 cooked chicken drumsticks or any kind of leftover chicken, chopped
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • Salt

Heat a wide frying pan with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cilantro, chili powder, chipotle powder and cumin. Saute on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, black beans and chopped chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes on a low heat. Take the lid off and continue cooking, add the half and half and salt. Check for seasonings and serve with corn bread.


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Mushroom and Pesto Lasagna

Mushroom and Pesto Lasagna

October 19, 2014

Yummy lasagna for the fall…

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper

Heat a saucepan with the butter and add the flour. Stir with a whisk on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the milk and garlic gradually and continue whisking and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Check for seasoning and keep aside.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • Salt

Heat a frying pan with the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes till the mushrooms are golden brown. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and keep aside.

  • ½ cup prepared or homemade pesto
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 9 to 12 no boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 8X8 oven-proof pan

Pour a ladle of white sauce to the bottom of the pan, add one layer of noodles on top. Add another ladle of sauce. Spread ¼ cup pesto and sprinkle ¼ cup of Parmigiano cheese on top of that. Then, add half of the sliced mushrooms. Top with another layer of noodles and repeat the process. Top with another layer of noodles and pour the remaining sauce covering the top and sides. Top with the mozzarella cheese, cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes till the noodles are fully cooked and cheese is gooey. Let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.





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Ricotta and Spinach Dumplings with Sausage

Ricotta and Spinach Dumplings with Sausage & Cherry Tomatoes

October 15, 2014

What do you do with leftover dumplings?? You cook them with chicken sausage, add basil, some roasted cherry tomatoes and make a delicious dish!

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Transfer the tomatoes to a lined cookie sheet. Add the oil and salt, mix well and roast in oven for 40 minutes. Take out and let cool.

  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 5 chicken sausage links, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 4 to 5 leftover dumplings with sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 cup fresh basil, torn

Heat a frying pan with the oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sausage and brown on medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the dumplings with the sauce and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Check for seasonings and top with fresh basil.


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Ricotta and Spinach Dumplings1

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

October 14, 2014

I think I will call these vegetarian meatballs! They were really delicious and no one missed the meat! Make sure to buy a good quality ricotta- preferably fresh and drain in for a couple of hours so the extra liquid comes out before forming your dumplings. I always have fresh tomato sauce on hand – which is quite handy with a number of dishes.

  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese placed in a strainer above a bowl for 3 to 4 hours
  • ½ box 9 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out and chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup all purpose flour (plus more)
  • Semolina for holding dumplings

Ricotta and Spinach Dumplings

Take the ricotta out of the strainer and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach, parsley, eggs, cheese, nutmeg, salt. Mix well. Add ¼ cup flour, mix, if the mixture is still wet, add in the remaining ¼ cup. I added the entire ½ cup.  Using a spoon take about a tablespoon of the mixture and place them on a platter with some flour. Form into a ball and transfer them to a tray lined with semolina. Form all the dumplings and keep aside.




  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 cups fresh tomato sauce or a 28 ounces can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • Salt

Heat a wide frying pan with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and some salt and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste for seasonings.

In the meantime, bring a large pot full of salted water to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and gently add the dumplings to the simmering water. Cook until the dumplings float and swell, about 3 to 4 minutes. You may need to cook them in badges in order not to over crowd. Using a slotted spoon remove the dumplings from the water and add to the sauce. Serve warm.


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Roasted Beet and Apple Salad

Roasted Beet and Apple Salad

October 13, 2014

I found gorgeous yellow beets, roasted them and paired them with apples in a delicious, easy salad!

  • 4 small or 2 large beets (I found yellow ones but any color will do)

Place each beet on a square of aluminum foil, drizzle a bit of olive oil on each and wrap. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes or till the beets are tender. Take out and let cool. Cut into quarters.

  • 1 large Honeycrisp apples, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 to 3 cups of mixed greens

Apple Cider Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Add all the ingredients to a air tight container and shake well and keep aside. Transfer the beets and apples to a salad bowl. Pour 2 tablespoons of dressing and mix well. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and let sit for 15 minutes. Add the mixed greens. Toss and add more dressing if needed. Serve.

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