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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Soups (for winter)

The chill is descending in Bay Area and the soup bowls are out again. Yesterday I made a very simple and satisfying Tomato-Basil Soup

2-4 Tomatoes , seeded, diced
3-4 Fresh Basil leaves, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Method: Drizzle olive oil in a sauce pan, and cook the diced tomatoes. When they are about done, add chopped basil leaves. Blend it all in a blender- you can leave some chunks behind for bites. Put it all back in the saucepan, bring it to boil after adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a fresh twig of basil and some warm bread. You can put butter, grated cheese or cream to make it richer in taste.

Creamy artichoke soup 
2 strips of Bacon
1 medium Potato
4-6 Marinated Artichoke hearts
Chicken Stock

Method: Fry the bacon (cut into strips),1 medium diced potato and the artichoke hearts in a sauce pan. You will need no extra oil if you use bacon and the artichokes are already in olive oil. When cooked through, add chicken stock- boil. Blend in a blender for a creamy soup. You can add your favorite herb (like rosemary or cilantro) for garnish.

Another recipe Link [Foof Network, Giada]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicken roast with basil pesto

I used Cornish hen for this recipe, you can use any pieces, preferably with skin on, since we'll brown it later.

Thaw first, if frozen. Then clean the bird, pat dry,  loosen the skin and add spices like garlic salt, black pepper, lime juice, olive oil/butter, rosemary , and basil pesto inside the skin and over it. Roast uncovered in a roasting pan for 1 hour at 400 F in conventional oven, turning once when done half way through. Broil the last 10 mins to brown the skin. Bast occasionally with the drippings. Serve with grains and vegetables of your choice. Baked beets with a dash of lemon , baby carrots with pickled cabbage, or steamed string beans may make a healthy, tasty side. You can use the leftovers to make salad, sandwiches, wraps, or Chicken, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Casserole

You can make whole tandoori chicken by marinating the bird overnight in Tandoori powder, ginger garlic paste, cardamom , chili garlic powder, Dash garlic and herbs, pepper, yogurt.

And serve with avocado-romaine lettuce-pine nuts- shaved turkey-raisin/dry rainier cherries salad.
For crisper salads, place paper towels in the bottom of the salad bowl before filling with salad. Excess moisture will be soaked and this will help keep the salad crisp and fresh longer.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Crockpot Biryani

Here, I tried to emulate dum-styled cooking using a slow cooker/crockpot. For Dutch oven recipe, click here.
  1. Clean thigh pieces (I prefer with bones), make shallow cuts on the meat, dry well with paper towels. Add whole spices like : green cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, javitri(mace), peppercorn and any packaged biryani masala you prefer. Yogurt , salt if needed, ghee(clarified butter). Coat well and uniformly.
  2. Set the slow cooker for 4 hrs after greasing the bottom with ghee. Place the chicken. 
  3. Rinse Basmati rice and soak in water for couple of hours while you fry thinly sliced onions till brown.
  4. 2 hrs into cooking, turn the meat to the other side. Add browned onions, layer it with the soaked rice. (or  you can add parboiled rice later) Add saffron soaked milk, and rose water on top of it. Cook for another 2 hrs.
  5. You can add nuts, raisins and plums if you want to make it richer in taste(Shahi). Some ppl use tomatoes,  potatoes (interesting history of recession-proof Biryani). You can learn about several variants here.
Alternately, you can cook the chicken and the rice separately (difference with pulao), then  layer them in a rice cooker or baking tray in an oven for shorter cooking time.

Chicken first

After adding Basmati rice

Final product