Friday, January 14, 2011

Quesadillas Galore

I absolutely love quesadillas: they are quick, easy, healthy and yummy . And you can serve them as appetizers or the main course.

What you need are tortillas. or rotis. For my pals in india, any thin rotis will work. You can use wheat, white, flavoured or even wraps.

Next you'll need some kind of a chutney or pesto to spread on the tortillas. You can use the pesto recipes posted here or really any of your favourite kind of spread.  You can also make a quick spread with beans. Use a can of refried beans, or just any cooked lentils/beans. Cook red rajma or kidney beans until soft and mash until chunky and smooth. Flavor with garlic, red chilli flakes and scallions.

cheese: go with your favourite here: feta, mozzarella, queso-fresca or even good old american cheese slices

filling: any veggie will work. sauteed mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, onions, scallions, leeks, fresh spinach, green garlic.

Assembly: lay two tortillas side by side. Apply spread to both. sprinkle cheese on one. Layer vegetables followed by another sprinkling of cheese. Top with the second tortilla, spread side facing down.

Heat a wide skillet or flat pan. Spray oil. Transfer quesadilla. Press down with a wide spatula. In about 3-4 mins, flip and brown the otehr side. Remove from heat. Cut into Wedges and serve with guacamole, sour cream and pico di gallo.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Crunchy Carrot Citrus Salad

Here's a refreshing salad with carrots and lemon juice

You'll need 5-6 carrots, peeled and grated. I like the match-stick size grate.

Lemon Juice: 2-3 lemons



Ginger: 2" piece peeled, slivered fine

Green Chillis: devein and deseed any kind if you want to make it milder. if you can handle the heat go ahead and use as it. Mince fine.

Cumin seeds: 1 tbspns roasted.  Add about a 1/2 tspoon oil to a pan and when hot, add the cumin seeds and they will turn golden brown.

Combine all the ingredients except salt. Add salt just before serving.

Makes a great filling for pitas and tacos as well.

For further flavor you can crush 8-10 mint leaves and add to the salad.

garlicky greens

This is a real easy go to recipe you can use with any leaft green you have on hand. All you need is:

Garlic Cloves: 6-7. Slivered not minced.  You can increase the aty if you like it to be more garlicky.

Curshed red chilli flakes: 1-2 Tbspns. Again you can use more or less depeding on your taste

Salt: preferably any coarse kind

Olive Oil: 1 tbspn

Heat oil in a flat wide pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and saute until garlic changes color. Add in finely chopped greens and salt and saute until cooked.

The only adjustment required to the recipe is the cooking time which depends on the kind of green leaf you have. Spinach ( if frozen, thaw and squeeze dry), fresh baby spinach, take only about 5-8 mins to wilt while the heady greens like kale, mustard, methi,collard, daikon greens ( muli patta), chard etc will need longer cooking time.

I like adding toasted seasame seeds to finish off the dish. Just take 2-3 tbspns of white seasame seeds and dry roast until  fragrant and golden in a pan. You can use crushed peanuts as well.

 To make this a more substancial side dish, you can saute sliced onions, leeks before adding the greens.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Olive and Pepper Tapenade

Tapenade to me is a great spread for crostini's, brushetta as well as paninis. It is typically made with olives. However, given my love for peppers and my husband's limited preferance for olives, i have included a few additional ingredients. 
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, drained
  • 1 cup pitted green olives, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped jarred red peppers. You can make your own with any color peppers by cutting them in half, removing the membranes and seeds, broiling on high until skin is charred. About 4-5 mins. Take out transfer to a ziplock bag. Seal. After abotu half hour open the bag and the skin will peel off with ease.
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, basil or chives. Works with any of the herbs or a combination of any of these. 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 tsp red pepper flakes. really depends on your heat tolerance
  • 4-6 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes. You can flip this recipe by substituting the olives with sun dried tomatoes.
Combine all except olive oil in a food processor and spin. When combined in medium size chunks drizzle in olive oil. Final product should not be a paste but more like crushed peppers flakes or bread crumbs.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hot and Sour Soup

A "hot" soup to keep the chills away.

Here's what you need:
Napa cabbage: one small. No biggie if you dont have it. You ccan skip all together or use regular cabbage. Regular cabbage will need to be cooked with the remaining veggies while the napa can be stirred in for the last couple of minutes when the soup is simmering.
Red onion 1 large (minced)
Red tomato :cut into pieces. do not drain the liquid.
carrot ,green pepper ,red pepper : julienned or cut into match sticks
mushroom sliced fine
egg two: crack and whisk until golden yellow
Tofu: extra firm kind, drained patted dry and cut into small cubes

spices: cooking oil, soy sauce 2 tbspns, cooking vinegar 2 tsp, black pepper powder- 2 tbsp, Crushed red pepper: 2 tbspns, garlic: 3-4 coves minces, salt, scallion greens

Heat a tbspn of oil on a deep pan.  When the oil becomes hot (you'll know its hot when it glistens) add minced onion and garlic , fry it for 1 or 2 minutes. Add  pepper and chilli flakes. fry for another 3-4 mins. Add the veggies except mushrooms, tofu and cabbage. Stir fry 4-5minutes. Add tomatoes, soy sauce. Cook for 2 mins. You don't need the tomatoes to get mushy. Just softened. Add 5-6 cups water and bring the whole mixture to a boil.
When the soup is boiling  add the egg mixture and stir vigorously. It'll form fine threads as it cooks. Now add the Napa cabbage,mushrooms and tofu. Give it a couple of good stirs. Now add the vinegar and bring back to a boil.

It's all done and ready to serve.

You can add in cooked noodles to make it a meal.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

quick, easy cheesy quesadillas

Made this today for the handymen working on my kitchen cabinets. Hope they get it done faster!

4 large tortillas. You can use rotis as well.
Spicy chutney: any kind will work.. red chilli, green chilli, my green chilli pesto, in a pinch even store bought spicy sauce
onions: one large red cut into thin rings
shredded cheese: monterey jack or pepper jack

Apply the sauce or chutney to one side of two tortillas. Lay them side by side. I love using a silicone brush to apply the sauce or chutney. Spreads it evenly.

Now layer the onions and then shreddedcheese. Top with other sauced tortilla.

Heat a grill pan or flat griddle. Lightly oil. When moderately hot, place filled tortilla. Cook for 5 mins or so. Flip.Should have beautiful golden color. Wait another 5 mins until other side is cooked.

Remove from heat, cut into wedges.

You can eat it as is or serve with cilantro-jalapeno ranch dressing, salsa, pico-de-gallo, sour cream or guacamole.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Loaded Omlette

My husband and i have egg white omlettes for breakfast most week days. I change up what goes in them so it keeps it fresh.

I use 3 eggs per person. Add salt , 1 tbsp skim milk and whisk. You need to set it aside for the bubbles to settle.

Fillings: i saute these combinations during the weekend and keep them in little ziplock containers so it is convenient to use in the mornings. Take out the one you are going to use when you start your morning coffee so it's at room temp when you add it to the egg mixture.

Here's a base to which you can add any vegetables:

4 medium red onions: minced small
5-6 serrano, thai or indian green chillis, chopped fine
cilantro: one bundle leaves ones: washed, rinsed, minced
4-5 garlic cloves peeled and minced
Spices: salt, red chilli powder or crushed red chilli, turmeric( optional)
oil: 2 tbspns

Heat pan, add oil. When oil glistens add everythign but spices. sautee until onions are caramalized and golden.Add in spices. Sautee for a few minutes. cool. transfer to a bowl to store.

veggie toppings: can be used raw or sauteed with the above onion mix:

spinach and grated cheese: prefer fresh. chopped fine
spinach+ mushrooms: chopped fine
Zucchini and Yellow Squash: julienned or diced into small cubes
peppers: diff colors cut into thin strips
fennel and chives
leeks and scallions

use any combination of veggie toppings and 2 tbspn on onion mix. Add to egg mix. Add salt to taste. Stir.

Pam spray a 8 or 10 inch non stick pan. pour in egg mixture. do not stir until set. Then lift on one side and let egg mixture run into the base. Cook until firm and flip.

Remove and serve with whole wheat toasted toast.

You can also roll inside a tortilla with shredded cheese and ketchup inside the omlette.