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Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli & Sausage Served On Polenta

July 18, 2010   

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli on PolentaThis was a great dish I made up the other day. It was one of those days where I had no idea what I was going to make. I looked in my fridge and I had half a cauliflower and a bag of broccoli. As usual, I had sausage in the fridge as well. I took all of those ingredients out and decided to use them for an entree. I roasted them with a drizzle of olive oil until everything was golden brown and delicious. I then added the sweet pepper and tomato sauce to the veggies and sausage and made a delicious concoction.

I could have served it with al dente pasta but I thought of something different- how about polenta?? I had not made polenta in a very long time so I wasn’t sure if I had it in my pantry. I found just enough for the evenings dinner. A lot of people buy the pre-made polenta in a large tube. I don’t think that stuff tastes really good. Make it fresh- it is super simple and delicious. I used a combination of chicken broth, milk, parmesan cheese and a bit of butter. It took all of 10 minutes to make, and I had a delicious, healthy starch to serve for dinner.

I served the vegetables and sausage on top of the warm, creamy polenta. It was unbelievably delicious. It took a bit of convincing for my daughter to try the dish. It was the first time she tried polenta and ate it- I am not sure how happy she was, but she ate it.

Try the roasted cauliflower, broccoli and sausage on polenta- you will love it.
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Pad Thai with Seasoned Tofu

July 14, 2010   

Pad Thai1 I made this dish after reviewing a restaurant Nine Thai in Chatham, NJ. It was a really good restaurant with a friendly staff and great food. I gave it a great review and decided to replicate their pad thai at home.

I have been eating pad thai for years now and love ordering it at restaurants. I have always thought this dish as extremely complicated and hard to make.

Since I had to replicate a dish, I decided to take this one on. After a bit of research, I realized the noodle dish is really not hard to make- it just has a lot of ingredients. Once you have them on hand- it doesn’t take that long. You can control the amount of fat and salt when you make popular take out dishes at home.

In this case, I made it super healthy with tofu, bean sprouts and garlic chives. I had most of the ingredients at home- like tamarind, fish sauce, tamari, etc. I decided not to add any meat but it will be delicious with chicken or shrimp.

If you love eating pad thai in a restaurant, definitely make this homemade version- it is delicious.

  • 10 oz extra firm tofu, cut into thin strips about an inch long
  • 2 teaspoons tamari

Place the tofu strips in a zip lock bag with the tamari and marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

  • ½ pound rice noodles- soaked in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste with garlic

Mix the tamarind, fish sauce, palm sugar and chili paste in a small bowl and keep aside,

  • 3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 green onions, chopped (white parts only- save the green parts for the garnish)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup garlic chives, cut into 1 inch long segments (optional)
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon salt

Garnish

  • 1 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped (the green parts only)
  • One lime cut into wedges

In a large frying pan or a wok like sauce pan heat the olive oil and add the marinated tofu. Saute on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or till the tofu is golden brown. Add the shallots, white parts of the green onions and garlic. Saute on medium high heat for a minute. Add the garlic chives and sprouts and mix well. Move all the mixture to the side of the pan and make a well in the middle. Drop the eggs and scramble for 30 seconds and then mix with the rest of the mixture. Add the drained noodles and mix well. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tamarind mixture and mix well. Add the peanuts, cilantro and green onions. Mix well and check for seasonings. Squeeze the lime and serve.

Sweet Pepper Meatballs

July 12, 2010   

Sweet Pepper Meatballs1This is a fabulous recipe for meatballs. I make them all the time. We all love them, especially my daughter. My goal is to incorporate some kind of vegetable into the meat and make the dish more healthy.

In this case, I took a jar of fire roasted peppers and processed them. I added the puree into the meat. It gave the meatballs a delicious, sweet flavor and a soft texture.

A typical meatball recipe usually includes white bread soaked in milk. I have added breadcrumbs to bind the meat in the past. This time I decided to soak the breadcrumbs in milk and added it to the meat. It made the meatballs extremely soft and delicious.

I cooked the meatballs in homemade marinara sauce and the result was amazing. We had my daughter’s friend over for dinner and everyone enjoyed the meal.

Try these next time you feel like eating meatballs…
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Kadhai Paneer- Homemade Cheese Sauteed with Peppers

July 11, 2010   

kadhai-paneer I make this dish both with homemade or store bought paneer. Paneer is very much like ricotta in texture and is very easy to make. It simply takes milk, yogurt and some lemon juice. Once the milk comes to a boil, you add some yogurt and lemon juice. Once the curd is separated from the whey, it is strained and used for several dishes. It is also available at Whole Foods. Either one works really well.

In this case, I used the homemade version and cooked it with sliced onions and garlic. The main source of flavor is provided by cumin and ajwain seeds. Ajwain has a very distinct pungent taste and a little goes a long way. In case you are not able to find it, eliminate it from the recipe and only use the cumin seeds.

The rest is easy- I cut up a sweet pepper- either red, yellow or orange. With the help of crushed tomatoes, this dish is quick and super flavorful. This is a great entree to make through the week since it takes a short time to cook and it is also ideal for entertaining. Either way, I think you should try it- your family will love it.
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Chocolate Rice Pudding with Amaretto Cream

July 8, 2010   

Chocolate Risotto Pudding1 My daughter loves chocolate pudding and I love rice pudding (actually she loves rice pudding as well). I love a generous portion of rice pudding with a sprinkle of a good Vietnamese ground cinnamon on top. It is the most delicious thing ever.

My husband, on the other hand, thinks rice should only be eaten with savory dishes. He does not relish any dessert made out of rice- what- seriously?? I love desserts made out of rice. Rich, creamy and delicious. My daughter, on the other hand, like me, loves all kinds of rice desserts.

I made this dessert combining chocolate and rice puddings together. I used arborio rice and cooked it in milk. I then added chocolate, sugar and vanilla extract. Once the pudding came together, I served it hot but with a twist. I whipped some heavy cream and added amaretto liquor and almond extract with some sugar. I served the dessert with the whipped cream and some toasted, sliced almonds.

It was absolutely out of this world delicious. It can be served cold as well but I prefer it hot. Either way, it makes a fabulous end to any meal- in the winter or the summer.

Try this one- I bet your kids will like it too…
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Mango and Rice Salad

July 7, 2010   

Rice and Mango Salad I love, love this salad. I utilized our favorite fruit in the house-mangoes. I make everything with this delicious fruit- entrees, appetizers, salads and dessert, oh, and some delicious drinks as well. I needed to serve a side dish with the shrimp curry I posted yesterday. I wanted to make some kind of a starch and also vegetables. I decided to make a rice salad (never made one before) and use mangoes, red peppers, green onions, cilantro and mint. How can you go wrong with all those delicious ingredients??

I made a fabulous dressing consisting of rice vinegar, honey and olive oil. It is amazing to me how just the right ingredients can make such a big difference in a dish. The tangy dressing made the rice salad absolutely delicious and it went perfectly with the shrimp curry.  We ate the rice salad a few days even after the curry was finished. It tasted better the next day.

This salad will be perfect with any grilled entree like hamburgers, hot dogs or even steak.  This will be a staple in our house for the summer.
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Shrimp Curry with Roasted Onions

July 6, 2010   

Shrimp curry with roasted onions

This recipe is based on an Indian dish made with eggplant called baghare baingan. It is very popular in Indian restaurants and I have made it a few times in the past. Actually I was looking to cook shrimp and somehow thought of this flavorful dish. Although it is typically made with eggplants and is obviously vegetarian, I could envision myself making it with shrimp- so that is what I did.

I used jumbo shrimp and sauteed them briefly. I used the same pan and oil and cooked the onion, ginger and garlic mixture. I then came up with a spice mixture consisting of coriander, cumin and sesame seeds. The flavorful seeds bring a creamy taste and texture to the mix. Curry leaves, tamarind and fish broth finish this truly delicious curry- I loved all the flavors together, especially with the shrimp.

In fact I loved it so much- I am not sure I will make it with eggplants ever again!

Next time you don’t know what to do with shrimp- make this shrimp curry- you will love it!
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