Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday Night Barbeque

Pratik and I love being outdoors. That's why summers are great because you can spend a lot of time outside: gardening, going on a hike, relaxing by the pool and when it comes to food, having barbeques. Barbeques are special in that you can be outside but still be around home if you dont feel like getting away.

For me, the best part of having a barbeque party at home is that everyone involved has something to contribute. I love experimenting with the different inputs that I get from the guests in terms of what to and what not to add and then coming up with my own concoction. One common notion however, is that barbeques are not for vegetarians. Now, read the recipe that follows and you will realize why that might be the biggest myth in the world.


For the basil pesto sauce (Used as marinade):
2 cups basil
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper as per taste

Vegetables and other ingredients for grilling (Cut into cubes):
Choice of red, green, yellow peppers
Indian Paneer
Any other vegetables of choice

1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, walnuts, cheese, salt and pepper and process until a coarse mixture is formed.
2. Slowly add olive oil with the machine running and combine until the desired consistency is reached.
3. Let the sauce stand for 10-15 minutes before using as a marinade for grilling vegetables.
4. In a large bowl, mix the vegetables, paneer, tofu etc. with an appropriate proportion of sauce such that all the pieces are coated with the sauce. Cover and store the mixture for an hour before grilling.
5.At the time of grilling, arrange the pieces on skewers and grill them evenly on all sides.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My favorite salad in the whole world....

That I post all my recipes as a blog was originally Pratik's idea. But suddenly I found myself on this blogging spree. Today evening I made this very special salad that is almost irresistible. I ate it first at this restaurant called Chocolate Avenue Grill that opened recently in Hershey. Of course the salad that I ate in the restaurant is out of this world but my little changes (as usual) still kept the taste pretty neat and lovable. What I like most about it is the dressing and the selection of fruit s that make this salad so colorful. Try it sometime and I can assure you that it will brighten up your evening...

2 tbs poppy seed dressing
1 orange, cubed
10-15 strawberries depending on their size, cut into halves
Field greens
10 whole almonds

1. Mix the field greens, oranges, strawberries and almonds
2. Drizzle the poppy seed dressing on top of the salad.

Now is that difficult??

Add a grilled veggie burger or grilled portabello mushroom or for meat lovers, any grilled meat for added flavor. But even without all this topping, the salad is deliciously crisp, juicy, sweet as well as tangy. Making time is no more than 5 minutes!!!


Monday, May 7, 2007

Portabello Mushroom Caps Grilled in Balsamic Vingeratte and Sandwiched between toasty Sesame Semolina bread smeared with …yeah tangy Horseradish sauce

One thing worth mentioning while cooking is the "taste". I watch Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals almost everyday. Most of the times all these celebrity chefs present mouth watering dishes. I never remember a time when something that was seen on the TV screen did not appeal to me. (Except Alton Brown's show.....I just find this guy way too disgusting.....his food even worse).

Anyway, one day I decided to try out one of Rachael's recipes at home. I followed exactly the same procedure, same measurement, same vegetables, same sauces, same everything....but unfortunately the recipe did not taste as great as I thought it would. That was when I realized that while I was watching her cook, I was slowly and unknowingly developing a taste of the same recipe in my mind, which was different than what it turned out to be eventually. I kept wondering why my recipe didn't "feel" the same as the original, although I never really had tasted the original recipe in the first place. Wondering where I am going with all this?? ......This is the thing...Cooking is an art. You need to experiment a whole lot with what you cook. You will never get it right in the first shot. And that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Remember your cooking pots could be different, your cooking oil might be different, the sauces you use could be altogether different brand and therefore different taste, your vegetables and meat are possibly from a different producer. All these factors contribute a great deal to the taste of anything you make. So just continue playing with the quantity of ingredients, cooking times, oven temperatures or any other factors which you think might have turned the taste of your entree' down. I am sure with some little tricks here and there everybody could become great cooks as long as you put your heart into it! With all this said here is a recipe for a delicious sandwich which will leave your family and friends licking their plates.

Portabello Mushroom Caps Grilled in Balsamic Vinaigrette and Sandwiched between Toasty Sesame Semolina bread smeared with …yeah tangy Horseradish sauce!!!

1 loaf sesame semolina bread
1 large cap of portabello mushroom cut into long strips
2 spring onions cut lengthwise
1/4 red onion cut into thin strips
1/2 red tomato diced or cut into strips
1 tbs balsamic vinaigrette
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs horseradish sauce
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbs grated cheese of choice
Handful of field greens or crisp lettuce

1. Mix the mushroom, spring onions, onions, tomatoes in a dish. Add the balsamic vinaigrette, maple syrup and salt and mix well. Broil this mixture until the mushrooms and veggies are slightly crispy. (You can also leave them juicy and moist if you like it that way).
2. Grill 8 slices of bread in a panini grill or any stove top griddle.
3. Once the bread and the vegetables are ready, arrange the slices on your platter. On one side, spread some cheese, field greens and the prepared mixture. On the other side, spread very little horseradish sauce. Put the horseradish spread side on top of the other side. Arrange on the platter and serve hot with some chips or fries or fruit!!!

Remember to alter the quantity of balsamic vinaigrette and horseradish sauce according to your likes. Like I said earlier, cooking is an art, there is no right or wrong.....happy cooking!!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Grilled Vegan Sandwich

Here is a real quick fix sandwich for some fast after work dinners........I made this from some left over red peppers, mushrooms and hot dog rolls.

Grilled Vegan Sandwich

Ingredients: You would need the following ingredients for stuffing in one hot dog roll-
1/2 red pepper cut into strips
1/4 red onion cut into strips
1/4 cup mushrooms of choice cut into strips
2 tbs barbecue sauce
Salt per taste
Red chilli power or flakes per taste
1 hot dog roll

1. Mix the peppers, onions, mushrooms, barbecue sauce, salt, red chilli power together in an oven proof dish. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
2. Broil the above mixture until the veggies start to turn slightly brown. Remove from the oven.
3. Either broil the bread smeared with butter or grill it until the sides are toasty.
4. Stuff the veggies in the hot dog roll and serve them hot with any chilled drink.

1. Smear some poppyseed dressing on the bread after grilling it and then stuff the veggies.
2. Use some other vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, green pepper, spinach etc.

All in all, cooking is about your instincts. I just love to experiment with different flavors that make any dish. I start with a basic flavor that I would like to taste in the recipe. Then I decide the other ingredients that would complement the basic flavor. It is important though to achieve a balance of all the ingredients in your final product, at the same time you should let your basic flavor dominate!!! That's how I keep my taste buds on the prowl all the time..... last thing before I end this blog.... I watched Spiderman 3 last Friday....It is soooo packed with some stunning graphic effects and actions scenes. I especially liked the new Spidey clone and the Sandman. It would have been even better, if there were some more goody Spidey action shots. There were moments when I got desperate to see Spidey instead of the villains but nevertheless, Spidey 3 undoubtedly is worth seeing!!!