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I was watching food television the other day- yes, I tend to do that a lot- and someone was making a French bread pizza… It brought back memories. My brother and I used to make it many years ago- I think when we first came to the States from India. We used store bought pizza sauce and a bag of pepperoni and cheese and it was fabulous!! I can still picture the tiny little kitchen in our tiny little apartment! I haven’t made a French bread pizza since then! Time to make one, I thought- so I started to picture in my mind… I wanted to use mushrooms – partly because my daughter loves them- and fontina cheese for its mild creamy flavor. I decided to also add caramelized onions for the adults only. The sauce was troubling me- I didn’t want to use the regular run-of-the-mill marinara sauce- not that there is any thing wrong with it- I wanted something different… after a lot of pondering; I came up with a roasted tomato and garlic sauce. Roasting any vegetable makes it sweet and nutty- including garlic. The mild flavor of this sauce went really well with the mushrooms, caramelized onions and the fontina cheese- overall it was a winner. The sky is the limit with the combinations you can add to this kind of pizza or for that matter, any pizza! I love the regular flat bread pizza I make at home or eat at our favorite pizzeria, but when I was eating the French bread pizza- it revoked memories of the amazing crusty bread in Paris! Just for that reason, French bread pizza is my favorite thing to eat- well, at least for now. We ate it with a fresh green salad and of course a French red wine!!!
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 3-4 garlic cloves, not peeled
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to sprinkle
Preheat the oven on 400 degrees.
On a cookie sheet spread the tomatoes and garlic and top them with the oil and the salt and pepper. Roast them for about 30 minutes or till the tomatoes are soft and almost bursting. Squeeze the garlic out of the husks. Add the tomatoes and garlic into a blender and liquefy the mixture till smooth. Adjust seasonings. You will need about half of the sauce for the pizza.
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil- divided
- 10 ounces cremini mushroom, sliced
- Salt to taste
In a medium frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the sliced onion. Cook about 20 minutes on medium low heat until the onions are soft and golden brown. Keep aside. In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook on medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until all the moisture is evaporated and the mushrooms are golden brown. Sprinkle salt to taste. Keep aside.
- 1 large French Baguette
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 7-8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
- Salt if needed
Preheat oven on 350 degrees.
Cut the baguette in half, lengthwise. Drizzle the olive oil and spread on both sides. Spread the roasted tomato and garlic sauce. Next, add the shredded cheese followed by the mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle salt to taste. Bake for about 10 minutes and serve!
After a torturous flight back home from Seattle, I was looking forward to going to the super market and filling up my fridge with lots of fresh produce and yummy things to eat.
I bought my usual supplies including a bunch of asparagus. I had so much fun working with it last week in the lasagna that I decided to buy another bunch. Didn’t know what I wanted to do with it but knew I wanted a one-pot pasta meal. When I think of asparagus and pasta, white sauce and lemon come to mind. I wanted to add a protein to the dish and decided on prosciutto. A small amount adds a big flavor punch to the dish. Usually the white sauce consists of cream. I wanted to lighten it up and decided to make a roux, which is a mixture of flour and fat cooked, together and used as a thickening agent. In this case I already had 2 tablespoons olive oil in the frying pan – so I didn’t need to add any extra fat and I used low fat milk for the sauce. Overall it was a very light dish. The lemon zest adds immense flavor. I used pecorino romano as a garnish before serving- again, this is a great example of using a big flavor ingredient in small amounts to get maximum results. We had a Merlot and a freshly baked baguette from the local store!
- ½ pound fresh fettuccine- any flavor you like will do
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, sliced thin
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 3 ounces prosciutto, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk, low fat or regular
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
- ¼ cup Pecorino Romano, shredded
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes on medium high. Add the prosciutto and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the onion mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the milk and whisk until smooth. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer- it will thicken up. Add the asparagus and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add the cooked pasta to the asparagus mixture and stir well. Taste for salt. Top the pasta with cheese before serving.
My sister-in-law makes this salad. It’s again part of the street food category that I love to eat and write about. I started making it a few years ago and have been modifying it every time I make it. The original dish is called ‘Corn Bhel’ and it’s made out of regular corn- I used roasted in the recipe; and tamarind chutney – which is a two- day affair. You have to soak the dry tamarind over night and then cook it with sugar, cumin, salt, etc. I always have a container in my fridge- but I started thinking, if I want other people to make this dish, I will have to make the recipe more accessible. That is how I thought of the tamarind vinaigrette- the tamarind concentrate I used is available at Whole Foods. The end product is obviously not the same but the flavor is similar to the original chutney. The pita chips bring a wonderful texture to the dish. My mouth was very happy to experience the soft corn and tomatoes with the crunchy green onions and pita chips mixed in with the tangy tamarind vinaigrette- writing about this is making my mouth salivate!! I served this salad with the Kathi Rolls. It was a great combination- we did wash the food down with some delicious Tamarindtinis… as soon as I can get my husband to give me the recipe, I will post it!!
- 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, mix the tamarind, honey, cumin, mustard, white wine vinegar and water.
Whisk together, while drizzling the olive oil. Add salt and keep aside.
- One 16 ounces package frozen roasted corn- thawed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 3 green onions, chopped including the green part
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup store bought pita chips, crushed lightly with your hands
In a large salad bowl, add the corn, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro. Add the dressing. Right before serving, add the pita chips (they tend to soften if sitting in dressing for too long- the idea is to give the salad a nice crunch).
I remember the taste of the kathi roll I had over three years ago in Delhi, like it was yesterday. There is a specific restaurant that makes it just right and I always make it a point to eat there. Kathi roll is essentially a tortilla cooked with a layer of a spiced egg mixture and then topped with perfectly marinated and cooked chicken or mutton pieces. Onion relish is added and served as a rolled up taco. On the tables, there is a bottle of cilantro and mint chutney as well as ketchup. It tastes best with a combination of both the chutney and the ketchup- it may sound strange but the sweetness of the ketchup goes very well with the spice and tartness of the chutney. I grew up in Delhi and have been eating this dish for as long as I remember. People from Mumbai have their own version of the Kathi roll- it’s called a Frankie. Depending on whom you talk to, they will claim theirs superior. According to me, the one we get in Delhi is yummier! Both versions are delicious, but also full of fat! The homemade version is quite healthy. I use whole-wheat tortillas and the chicken tikkas are marinated in low fat sour cream. My daughter loves it but of course without the onions and chutney! Beer goes very well with this dish or even a Prosecco. My husband makes Kir Royale, which is a bit of black currant liquor topped with champagne- it’s delicious with a Kathi roll.
Chicken Kathi Rolls
- One portion of chicken tikka (the recipe calls for a pound of chicken), cut into one inch pieces and keep warm
- 6 whole-wheat tortillas
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
In a medium bowl, add the eggs, salt, cayenne pepper and cilantro. Beat lightly and keep aside.
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 lime, juiced
Cilantro Chutney-recipe to follow in another blog.
In a small bowl mix the onion, salt, cayenne pepper and limejuice. Keep aside.
In a wide non-stick frying pan, heat one tablespoon olive oil. Add one tortilla to the pan and heat both sides, about a minute on each side. Take out of the pan and add 1/3 cup of the egg mixture. Immediately top the egg mixture with the warmed tortilla. Cook on medium high heat, till the egg is cooked at the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the egg tortilla and cook the other side for about a minute. Place the egg tortilla on a serving plate and place the chicken pieces in the middle from top to bottom. Add about a tablespoon or more of the onion relish and the cilantro chutney. Roll the tortilla like a taco or a burrito. Cut in half and serve.
Coconut milk is one of my favorite ingredients. I try to use it in as many dishes as I can. I always have a few cans in my pantry. I usually buy the low fat version- the flavor is the same and you end up saving quite a few calories. My cousin gave me this recipe years ago and I have been made it quite often until a few years ago- somehow forgot about it. It is a simple and delicious dish that doesn’t take very long to make. I used Tilapia for this dish. Any white fish can be used- Tilapia doesn’t have a very strong flavor and so it doesn’t take over the curry. I was able to taste all the subtle flavors in there including the ginger, lime and of course the coconut milk. Mustard seeds are easily available in the super market especially the yellow ones- they can be substituted for the brown ones. The curry leaves are not so readily available unless you find an Indian store. One might imagine that curry leaves smell and taste like curry powder, but they are not related to each other. The leaves look a lot like small bay leaves but their aromas and flavors are distinctly different. The flavor cannot be duplicated so I would leave them out if you can’t find them. This dish goes best with plain rice and either a beer or a Riesling!
- 1 pound Tilapia, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 3 inch piece ginger, grated
- 2 serrano chilies, chopped- take the seeds out if you don’t want too spicy
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cayenne pepper
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- ½ cup fish or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- ½ cup cilantro for garnish
In a wide pan, heat olive oil and add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. Wait till the seeds begin to sizzle, about a minute. Add the ginger and chilies. Saute on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Then add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Saute for another 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil and lower the heat to a medium low. Add the tilapia pieces and poach in the liquid on the low heat, for about 10 to 15 minutes or till fish is done (careful not to overcook). Check for seasoning and add the lime juice and cilantro.