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Mango Tomato Salsa

I made this with yesterdays fajitas and since it was made in the summer- I used mangos and nectarines. Mangos are still available although they are not as yummy as they are in the summer. You can substitute pineapple for mango and apple for the nectarine… so good!

  • 1 large mango, chopped
  • 1 large nectarine, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt

Mix all the ingredients and let the salsa sit for an hour before serving.


Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Simple summer salad!

  • 1 cup small mozzarella balls, sliced in half
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic glaze
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ cup basil, chopped

Add the mozzarella balls, tomatoes, garlic, balsamic glaze, oil, salt, pepper and basil in a medium bowl. Mix well and check for seasonings. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Nectarine and Tomato Salad

Nectarine and Tomato Salad I was in the kitchen listening to the radio the other day- which, by the way is my favorite thing to do- when I heard someone talk about summer tomatoes. They were saying how good the crop is this year because of the hot hot weather. I realized it to be true as I thought about the bumper tomato crop I have been harvesting from my backyard. The tomatoes have been unbelievable. I mostly grown cherry tomatoes- I love them. They are super versatile and delicious.

Anyway, the radio person suggested a peach and tomato salad- and that is where I got my inspiration.  It is so simple that I am almost embarrassed to post it as a recipe.

The key ingredient is balsamic glaze. You can buy it at a specialty store- I bought my from Italy but you can make your own as well. It is as simple as cooking regular balsamic vinegar down on a medium heat until it cooks down to a syrupy consistency. That is all this salad has- salt, really good olive oil and thyme.

It is very delicious- the combination of tomatoes and nectarines is unbelievable. Before summer is over- try this super simple salad…

  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 to 2 nectarines cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic glaze
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme

Add the cherry tomatoes and nectarines into a medium bowl. Add the salt and olive oil. Let them sit for at least an hour. Add the fresh thyme and balsamic glaze and serve.

Chicken Curry Biryani

Chicken Biryani I made the chicken curry and had a lot of it leftover. What should I do with it? I was very tempted to come up with a new dish to eat and post.

I thought of making a biryani. My favorite Indian recipe book came to mind- Prasad. It is a compilation of recipes written by the top chefs in India. The recipes are from all over the country and can be quite labor intensive- but they are all delicious.

I have made many dishes in the past and have never been disappointed. One dish in there is a sofyani biryani- cooked with saffron, yogurt and mint. It is the most delicious biryani I have ever had. I decided to replicate it using the chicken curry I had in the fridge. I made a mixture of mint, cilantro, saffron and yogurt. I then layered it with the rice and the chicken- just like the recipe.

This is so simple yet so flavorful- it came out delicious! My daughter and husband both loved it. I will definitely make it again. This is especially good for company because you can make this in advance and make a huge quantity of it. It is a huge crowd pleaser. Give it a try…

  • 2 cups prepared chicken curry
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 3 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom seeds. Saute for a minute and add the basmati rice. Saute the rice on medium heat for a minute and add the chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cover half way. Let the rice cook till bubbles form on the surface. Lower the heat all the way and cover completely. Cook for about 15 minutes or till the rice is almost cooked. Take out in a large platter to cool and separate the rice. Yields about 4 cups of rice.

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon saffron mixed with 2 teaspoons warm milk

Mix the yogurt, cilantro, mint and salt and saffron. Keep aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a square 8 X 8 serving bowl add the chicken curry at the bottom. Add ½ cup of the yogurt and spread on top of the chicken. Spread 2 cups of rice on top of the yogurt mixture. Add the remaining ½ cup of the yogurt on top of the rice. Add the remaining rice, spreading it carefully. Place a wet cheese cloth, covering all parts of the bowl. Place aluminum foil on top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with raita.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Watermelon and Tomato Salad I made this salad last year- and really enjoyed it. When I first heard of it, I thought, “what a strange combination”- but when I tasted it, I thought it was fabulous. 

Last month, a friend was hosting a good bye party for a mutual friend and she had the meal catered from a local place in Maplewood. The meal consisted of a variety of tapas style dishes including a watermelon salad. It was good but I thought the one I had made last year was better- yes I am very modest… A friend who was there as well commented on the watermelon salad and wanted to make it and asked me to post a recipe- well, here it is Nancy!

I have seen plenty of recipes for this kind of salad. They all start with the watermelon and tomatoes, there is some kind of a vinaigrette, fresh herbs and some cheese. I went with the vinegar and cheese of my choice. I made an easy and delicious vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar- I think the rest of the vinegars in my pantry feel quite ignored- I end up using balsamic for mostly everything. I had feta cheese in the fridge- it is one of my favorites. I thought the saltiness would go really well with the sweet and cold watermelon. My favorite kind of tomatoes are grape- I use them for everything including pasta sauces- so that is what went in this salad. In terms of the fresh herbs, somehow oregano kept coming to mind.. I love feta and oregano together but it can be a very strong combination (both the ingredients are quite loud)- so I decide to tone everything down with mint. Mint brought a great freshness and balance to the salad. 

Overall- a big success. I grilled chicken sausages as the main course and cooked up peppers and onions to go along. Will post the recipe on Monday. We ate the soft yummy peppers and onions with the delicious sausages. It was an easy and fast meal to make – best of all, it was delicious…

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Indian Breakfast Recipe: Scrambled Eggs with Green Onions and Cilantro

scrambled-eggs-with-green-onions-and-cilantroAs you have probably guessed by now or maybe not… that most Indian dishes include onions, cilantro, chilies, etc… this includes breakfast as well. A very popular way to make scrambled eggs in India is to saute chopped onions, green chilies and tomatoes. The egg mixture includes salt, lots of cayenne pepper and tons of chopped cilantro. Once the egg mixture is combined with the onions, etc- a perfect breakfast dish is created. It is usually served with soft white bread on the streets but can be eaten with a roti or  parantha as well. I remember eating this mostly for breakfast growing up- but once in a while, if I was lucky, my Mom would make it for dinner! She would make us individual portions in a small metal bowl – she would cook the eggs right in there on the stove and place it in our plates with a parantha! It was delicious! You should try it with a tortilla in case you can’t get your hands on an Indian flat bread.. the combination is great. Although it’s very delicious with sliced bread or even a fresh baguette. I made this particular dish with green onions- no real reason except that I like the color of green onions and they are milder in taste and flavor- any kind of onion will do. Tomatoes are optional- some people don’t like the soft tomato texture in this dish, but I love the tang and color they provide. Cilantro, to me is the key in this dish- although I love it in any and every thing I make.  I go through tons of cilantro and absolutely love the very mild leafy onion taste it imparts- some people don’t care for it, in which case, parsley can be substituted. I also like to top the egg dish with garam masala- it gives every bite a very distinctively Indian flavor. Garam masala being a combination of a number of dry spices ground together to form a powder used to cook and garnish. It can be purchased at the grocery stores now but if you are able to make it yourself or know someone who makes it- do try the homemade one- there is no comparison in taste, aroma and flavor! I do make my own in bulk and freeze it to keep fresh. The aroma reminds me of childhood- I remember my Mom mixing the spices together in a large circular metal tray before she would grind them up- every time I mix the spices myself, the smell takes me back…

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Whole Wheat Penne with Tomatoes and Spinach

whole-wheat-penne-with-tomato-and-spinachThis is a really healthy and quick dish to make. Everyone has a ‘go to’ ingredient in a pinch and mine is chicken sausage. I was in the mood to make a really healthy pasta- I had just bought some whole wheat penne. I used to be a big skeptic when it came to whole wheat pasta- it tasted like cardboard, but things have really improved over the years.  The pasta now tastes really delicious and nutty. The texture has improved as well- soft, just like regular pasta.  Now, my husband and daughter cannot tell when I have used whole wheat pasta.

In this dish I used some mushroom and fontina chicken sausages- my daughter, Sia loves them!!! I had also purchased the most fabulous looking grape tomatoes and baby spinach. I decided to incorporate all the items in this dish including some basil- the more the merrier!  It took all of 30 minutes to make so it is very quick. While I was putting it together, I noticed I had feta cheese in the fridge- “perfect”, I thought. I took some pasta out for Sia, since she finds feta too salty (and I can’t get enough of the saltiness!!). I added the feta into the rest- the mixture of some left over pasta water and the cheese made the sauce really creamy and light at the same time. Since this was a one pot meal- the only other thing I had to worry about was the wine. I opened the German Pinot Noir!

  • ½ pound whole wheat penne, cooked (save ½ cup of the pasta water)
  • 5 chicken sausages, casings removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup basil, chopped
  • Salt to taste

In a wide frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the sausages and brown on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the tomatoes and salt. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or till the tomatoes soften and begin to burst- push down with the back of the spatula to crush some of them. Add the cooked pasta and the pasta water and mix well. Add the spinach and cook till it has wilted. Add the basil and feta, mix well and adjust seasonings.