Oct 18 2012

Roasted Romanesco

Published by under Sides

My husband and I love to go leaf-peeping in the fall to the Adirondacks in upstate NY and Vermont. This year we decided to stay a little closer to home and went to the Catskills (NY). The weather was perfect. It was sunny with a chill in the air. I call it perfect fall weather. We stopped at New Platz for lunch. I must say New Platz is a charming little town with a downtown that has restaurants serving ethnic food in addition to the regular diners and pubs you would find in a small suburban town.

Driving into the Catskills there were many small farms with their own farm stands along the route. We decided to stop at one such. This farm stand also had a bakery attached and the smell of freshly baked apple pies was wafting thru the entire store. Before getting to the bakery, we did go to the produce section which had this unusual looking cauliflower. I had seen it on the various food channels on TV before and was excited to get my hands on it. Its called the ‘Romanesco Caulifower’. It is a beautiful vegetable with a nice bright green color. Here is a picture before I took my knife to it.

The florets looked like tiny Christmas trees! I decided to keep it simple and just roasted it. It turned out great! I found it better tasting than a cauliflower. Do give it a try if you see one in your grocery store. You can try this with a regular cauliflower or broccoli.

3 cups Romanesco cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt + Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F. In 9×13 baking dish combine all the ingredients. Toss well so that all the florets are coated well with the seasonings. Roast for about 45 mins.

P.S: For all those who were wondering if I visited the bakery at the farm stand, Yes, I did. I got apple cider donuts with cinnamon sugar that went great with my coffee. Sorry, I do not have pictures to share, they were that good :).

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Dec 29 2011

Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables

Published by under Salads,Sides

Its been a long hiatus for me and I think I am finally getting back to my blog again. I have been getting a lot of requests for this recipe (you know who you are) and that in turn motivated me to start blogging again.

A simple easy side salad with Quinoa which can be served with anything from a summer barbeque to an elegant indoor dinner. Quinoa is gluten free and is therefore a goto side for entertaining when you have guests who watch their gluten. It is also packed with protein and pleases the carb watchers alike.

Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables

Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups chicken broth/Vegetable broth/water
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 medium zuchinni
1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 scallions, chopped
salt + Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Chop the vegetables(cut the peppers and onion lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide strips and the zucchini into 1/2 inch half moons.) and peel the garlic (leave them whole). Toss them with 1 Tbsp olive oil, some salt and pepper and roast them on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and when cool to handle give them a dice.

In a sauce pan on medium heat add 1 teaspoon olive oil and the quinoa and saute for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile heat the broth/water in the microwave and add it to the quinoa. Lower the heat and cook covered for about 20 minutes, until there is no liquid remaining. Allow the quinoa to cool. I use an organic pre-washed quinoa. Check the cooking instructions on the packaging to see if you need to rinse the quinoa before using it. If you do rinse it, please allow water to drain completely before adding to the oil.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and the 2 Tbsp olive oil to make the dressing. In a bowl, combine the quinoa, roasted vegetables, scallions and the dressing and toss well.


  • You can substitute lemon juice with vinegar.
  • Use any veggies you like.

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Feb 18 2010

Couscous Salad with Almonds and Cranberries

Published by under Salads,Sides

Here is a healthy side dish which we made to go with some grilled chicken this past weekend. It does not take more than 10 minutes to make. The couscous takes 5 minutes to cook, once you add it to the chicken broth. You can go all vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead. Using broth instead of water helps flavor the couscous.


1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 and 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup chopped scallions

In a sauce pan bring the chicken broth to a boil, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and the couscous. Stir and take it off the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, salt and the olive oil to make the dressing. In a bowl, mix the couscous, almonds, cranberries, scallions and the dressing.


  • Zest the lemon before juicing it.

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Feb 15 2010

Pork Ancho Mole

Published by under Recipes,Soups & Stews

This was my first attempt at making a Mexican mole. I was trying to find dried Ancho chillies for a while now and was surprised to find them at our local grocery store in the Mexican foods aisle. I have seen Bobby Flay use it in quite a few recipes on the Food Network and I just had to give them a try.

I cannot say that it was authentic, but it sure tasted good. The Ancho chillies impart a dark red color to the mole. It complemented our Mexican menu for the super bowl party that we had with family. I managed to save some for the picture before it was all gone. If you love Mexican food, you have to give this a try. It tastes better the longer it sits!

You can substitute chicken instead of pork and a dark chocolate for the Mexican chocolate.


Pork Ancho Mole

5 dried Ancho chillies
2 pounds pork, cubed
1 large onion
1 jalapeno
5 cloves of garlic (with peels)
1 quart chicken stock
1 ounce Mexican chocolate
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
4 medium plum tomatoes
1 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp canola oil
about 2 cups hot water

Peel and cut the onion into wedges. Place them on a sheet pan along with the tomatoes, jalapeno and garlic. Roast at 425 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until they are charred at the edges. Allow to cool. Peel the garlic and the tomatoes. Blend the onions, tomatoes, jalapeno and garlic with 1 cup of the chicken stock. Season with salt. Meanwhile soak the Ancho chillies in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove the stems and seed the peppers. Blend the peppers with a couple of ladles of the soaking water.

Season the pork with the ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron pot on high heat and add the oil. Add the pork in one layer and brown both sides. You can do this in two batches if the pork does not fit in the pot in a single layer. Lower the heat to medium and return all the pork to the pot. Add the onions and tomato mixture to the pot. Stir, scrapping the bottom of the pan to pick up the drippings. Cover and cook until it starts bubbling. Add the ancho chilli paste, chocolate and the remaining the chicken stock. Season with salt. Cover and let cook for about and hour on low heat or until the pork is cooked and falls apart with a fork.

Garnish with cilantro and lime. Serve with rice or warm corn tortillas.

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Feb 09 2010

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

Published by under Deserts

This is a borrowed recipe from Giada De Laurentis from the Food Network. On one of her shows she showed how to make this decadent desert. I found that it didn’t use heavy cream like other mousse recipes and hence makes you feel less guilty eating it. Best of all, it is extremely quick and easy to make.

Its the kind of desert that can wow your guests and only you would know how easy it was to make. I love to have some make ahead deserts in my repertoire for entertaining. With Valentine’s day around the corner this is a great desert to surprise your Valentine!

I have adjusted the recipe from the original, by reducing the sugar by 1 Tbsp, using good quality dark chocolate and doubling the espresso.

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

Ingredients (makes 6 servings):
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp espresso powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups dark chocolate chips
6 large egg whites
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)

Light whipped cream
chocolate shavings

In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat the milk, sugar and espresso powder until it is just scalding. Do not let the milk boil. You can do this step in the microwave as well.

In a blender add the chocolate chips and pulse it a few times to break them up. Then with the blender running add the hot milk through the opening in the blender cap. Allow to run for about 30 seconds. Then pour in the egg whites and the grand marnier. Beat for about 1 minute. Pour the mousse in serving cups and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

When ready to serve, garnish with some light whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

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Feb 08 2010

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Published by under Breakfast

I love making roasted vegetables as sides. So, I usually make a big batch and use the leftovers to make soup, frittata or pasta.

I had roasted onions, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, grape tomatoes and garlic. If you haven’t tried making roasted vegetables, you should give them a try. The sugars in the vegetables caramelize when roasted and they taste great. Just toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Ingredients: Serves 4
2 cups chopped roasted vegetables
2 tsp olive oil
3 eggs
3/4 cup egg product (egg beaters)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or hot sauce
salt & pepper

Heat a saute pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat the vegetables through for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the eggs, egg product, milk, cayenne, salt and pepper. Beat until all ingredients are well mixed. Add the mixture to the vegetables and lower the heat to low. Using a silicone spatula gently mix the eggs and the vegetables. Cook on low heat for 4 minutes and then transfer the pan to a 350 degrees F, preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes.


  • You can use 3 egg whites instead of the egg product.

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Feb 01 2010

Homemade Tomato Ketchup

Published by under Condiments & Spice blends

Here is a secret about my eating habits that only people close to me know. I cannot stand the taste of fresh tomatoes! I know..you think I am crazy! But it is true. I can eat any amounts of tomatoes when they are cooked, but not raw. So I use ketchup on my burgers and sandwiches instead of fresh tomatoes.

This is derived from a recipe that John and Patty shared with me. John and Patty are working on their cook book where they will have healthy recipes and information on harmful chemical ingredients found in prepackaged foods like MSG. More information can also be found on their website.

I have modified John and Patty’s recipe a bit to suit our taste. The first 3 ingredients are the essential ingredients to making a ketchup. You can can use other spices to your liking. I have added 8 ounces of tomato sauce to make the ketchup a little thinner, so if you like your ketchup to be thick, leave it out.

Ketchup can be used as a base to make other condiments like BBQ sauce, Russian salad dressing, cocktail sauce etc.

14 oz tomato paste
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp crushed cloves
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and cook on medium heat until the mixture just starts to bubble (about 10 minutes). As EASY as that!

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Jan 17 2010

Chicken and Tomatillo Stew (Pollo Verde)

Published by under Recipes,Soups & Stews

I had always wanted to try and use tomatillos because I love their tangy, fresh flavor. So when I saw tomatillos at the farmers market last weekend I went ahead and bought some to make some salsa verde (Green Salsa). The week went on and I didn’t get around to making the salsa. When Friday came and I was clearing my refrigerator I saw the tomatillos sitting there and thought I would make a stew using some chicken and the tomatillos. The salsa verde would just have wait until another day, maybe superbowl?

The stew turned out great. I loved the tangy taste the tomatillos impart to the stew. It is the kind of dish that tastes better the longer it sits. It reminded me of the green curry chicken that my mom used to make, using a lot of cilantro. My big B (brother) used to call it the “Military Curry” because of its color :).

Chicken and Tomatillo Stew

1 and 1/2 pound of chicken breast cut into chunks (you could use bone-in chicken as well)
1 pound Tomatillos
1 large onion diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno
1 and 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp canola oil

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash them under cold water. Cover the tomatillos with some water and cook the on medium heat until they change color. The tomatillos will turn from bright green to a khakhi. Seed and chop the jalapeno. In a blender, blend the tomatillos, water, cilantro, jalapeno,salt and garlic.

Heat a cast iron pot on high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken in one layer and season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon cumin powder. You can do this in two batches if the chicken does not fit in the pot in a single layer. Brown the chicken on both sides and remove from the pot. Lower the heat to medium low and add the onions to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, the remaining cumin powder and the oregano. Stir, scrapping the bottom of the pan to pick up the chicken drippings. Cook for about 15 minutes until the onions are softened. Add the chicken back to the pot along with the chicken stock. Cover and let cook until the stock comes to a boil. Add the tomatillo sauce and cook covered for another 30 minutes on low heat, stirring ocassionally.

Serve with rice or warm corn tortillas.

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