Friday, April 27, 2007


Over the past few days I tried several recipes at home, but didn't write about any because I was extremely upset over Miami's performance in this years basketball playoffs. They are my favorite team and I just could not take it. I mean come on.......the 2006 champs being swept in the first round ?? That means I have to wait another year to watch them maul Detroit at the Palace. This is how crazy I am about this team: I watched them lose to the Pistons in Game 7 during the 2005 playoffs and cried for the next 30 minutes, called my dad in the middle of the night and explained to him how Miami deserved to win, and refused to talk to anybody for the next whole week. Thats how much I like watching them. This year was different though. D-Wade got injured, some other players were sub-par during the regular season and Shaq was the only one who showed some spark. Yet they managed to win games before the playoffs and so I was hoping that the series with the Bulls would be fun. Honestly, I didn't expect them to win without Wade being 100%. This guy is special. He knows exactly when, how and where he should be to be able to shoot through. The 2006 championship was undoubtedly his solo effort. After that win, I remember dancing on the couch for like 15 minutes cheering at the top of my voice. But this year proved to be a dud. Nevertheless, I am back to being myself and will update this blog more frequently.

Here is the recipe for these delicious crepes that I made Friday night to eat while I watched the third game in the Heat-Bulls series.

Spinach, Red pepper and Mushroom Crepes

Ingredients :

1 cup complete buttermilk pan cake mix
1 cup shittake mushrooms cut into strips
1/2 red bell peppers cut into strips
1/4 cup spinach
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
Olive oil

1 cup milk
3 tbs all purpose flour
2 tbs butter
4 tbs parmesan cheese
Few drops of dark chocolate sauce
1/4 tsp salt


1. In a sauce pan, heat some olive oil and saute the mushrooms, red pepper and spinach. Add some salt and red chilli flakes.
2. Melt 2 tbs of butter in a sauce pan and add the all purpose flour to this. Let this cook for 4-5 minutes so that the sauce doesn't taste powdery.
2. Slowly add the milk to this mixture stiring continuously. As this starts to thicken up, add the salt. Continue stiring until another 5-7 minute. Finally add a few drops of the chocolate sauce.
3. Make the batter for the pancakes as per the directions. Add some extra water to make it thin.
4. Heat a round griddle and spread some oil over it. Pour some batter on the pan and roll it over the griddle to spread evenly and thinly. Flip over after one side is cooked. Cook the other side for 1-2 minutes until crisp.
5. Stuff the mushrooms, red pepper and spinach mixture on the crepe and roll it.
6. Top the crepes with the sauce and drizzle some chocolate sauce on the top.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Crumbly Walnut and Date Bread

It's intresting how my brain throws out recipes when my I am faced with challenging traffic engineering problems at work. Today I was modeling a study area for some future year roadway network when I thought of making this walnut date bread. My simulation model failed to yeild the expected results but this recipe that I tried after I got home surely turned into a huge success.

Last Monday I ate a banana nut bread at Starbucks, the taste of which is still on my tongue. That is probably why I was thinking of making some light fluffy bread on my next trial. Oh, by the way, for all the coffee lovers, whenever you are at Starbucks don't forget to try their caramel toffeenut latte/cappuccino. You may not find it on their menu. Pratik thinks this is the girliest coffee ever, so he says that guys should not get it, but then again, Pratik drinks half of my latte everytime.

Here is the recipe-

Crumbly Walnut and Date Bread---


1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
1/2 cup dates, chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking power
1 cup water
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
1 large egg (Egg can be substituted for 1 tsp of baking power)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt


Pre-heat the oven to 350 F

1. Mix the dates, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add 1 cup of boiling water to this mixture. Mix well and allow it to cool upto room temperature ( 1- 1.5 hours).
2. Lightly toast the walnuts. Let cool and give a rough chop.
3. In a food processor, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking powder.
4. Add the butter and process until the mixture is crumbly like breadcrumbs. Add the walnuts.
5. In a bowl whisk the egg and add the vanilla extract.
6. Fold the egg mixture and the cooled dates into the flour mixture and mix well.
7. Grease a 9x5x3 baking pan and place the above mixture into the pan.
8. Bake at 350 deg. F for 30-40 minutes. Bread is ready when toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.
9.Let cool in the pan for a while and then turn over on a wire rack and cool completely.
10. Cut pieces of desired size and enjoooooooooooooooy!

I have this really bad habit of approximating ingredient quantities in all recipes. It is certainly not the right approach when baking. Also, baking time and temperature are very specific to the oven in use. Make sure you modify these little things while trying out any recipes.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Italian Asian American Fusion

Cooking is my passion.......not to the extent yet that I would be happy to accept that as a profession...but almost that!! Thanks to the food network channel, this passion is kept ever expanding and delightful......The only other time I turn my TV on is to watch Espn...Go Heat!! And that is the only time I probably don't think of cooking!!

So here I was on a boring afternoon at work trying to think of a recipe I hadn't tried yet which could whet my appetite (These days I am really bored of eating pasta, burgers, pizzas, chinese food....anything cheesy greasy.... strict no no!!) I mean, I don't mind using any ingredients that go into these foods but the final product should taste altogetherly different. So, simply said, I wanted to use a pizza dough, pizza sauce and cheese and turn it into a pizza which wouldn't taste like pizza. Hehehe.....funny isn't it?

And hello....... I came up with this super rich recipe that turned out to be simply yummo....

Here it goes:

Rosy Lemony Spicy Vermicelli---

1 cup milk
3 tbs all purpose flour
2 tbs butter
4 tbs parmesan cheese
1/2 tbs red chilli flakes
1/4 tbs fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 tbs fresh chopped lemon thyme
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp butter
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1 scallion thinly sliced
1 tbs asian spicy grilling sauce
Vermicelli (You can use spaghetti but I prefer the thinner vermicelli for this recipe!)
Firm tofu

1. Melt 2 tbs of butter in a sauce pan and add the all purpose flour to this. Let this cook for 4-5 minutes so that the sauce doesn't taste powdery.
2. Slowly add the milk to this mixture stiring continuously. As this starts to thicken up, add the chopped rosemary, lemon thyme, red chilli flakes and salt. Continue stiring until another 5-7 minutes. Add the cheese and mix well.
3. Grill the tofu in a pan with some oil or butter.
4. In a pasta pot, cook the vermicelli until al dente stage. (I usually use some oil and salt while cooking pasta).
5. While the pasta is cooking, in a seperate pan, lightly stir the red onions and spring onions over some butter. Add the asian spicy grilling sauce to this mixture and continue stirring.
6. Drain all the water from the pasta. (Reserve 1 big spoonful of the cooking water to use later).
7. Add the vermicelli to the onions and mix well with the pasta water. Add the tofu.

To Serve:
In a plate, serve the pasta and pour the sauce over it. Decorate with a sprig of rosemary. Serve with lemonade on a hot summer afternoon or with any light wine for dinner.

Meat lovers can easily alter the recipe and fit in chicken, beef or pork in place of tofu. Try using mushrooms, tomatoes etc. for a different taste.

Oh, by the way, today I completed planting my kitchen garden for the summer. I am growing two different varieties of tomatoes and green peppers in vegetables. In my herb garden, I have cilantro, mustard, rosemary, lemon thyme and possibly green chilly!! Also, our flower garden will soon be blooming with petunias and violas....I can't wait to watch them grow!!