Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

I am craving spicy food these days.

Pohe (flaked rice), spicy fish curry, chicken wings with hot sauce, spicy soups, curries and dal. The list is endless. Thanks to mom being here and her cooking; its easier to indulge in the spicier palate.

Yesterday, we made these cornmeal pancakes for breakfast. After routine of eggs, toast and oatmeal; they were a refreshing change.

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

The pancakes themselves were not too spicy ( though you can kick up heat a notch if you will easily with more green chilli peppers) but with homemade pickle it sure did hit the right note. I suppose some garlic chutney would go well with it too.

I wanted to add grated zucchini or cucumber to them but we didn’t have any on hand so made them plain. This looks like a good vehicle to sneak in some veggies. I made a couple of small-sized ones for Varun. He ate the bits without cilantro so next time I will chop them super fine so he gets in his veggies for the day.

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

Savory Cornmeal Pancakes Recipe

  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 – 2 spring onions finely diced
  • 1 green chilli pepper finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1  tablespoon oil

1. In a large bowl, mix  cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside

2. In another bowl, beat the egg with milk. Add yogurt and beat well so there are no lumps.

3. Add the milk-yogurt mixture to the flour mix. Add ginger, garlic, chilli pepper and cilantro. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside for 10 – 15 minutes.

4. Heat oil in a non stick girdle. Ladle 1/4 cup of the mixture on to the girdle when hot. Cook on each side for a couple of minutes till golden brown.

Serve warm with sour cream, pickle or yogurt.

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

If there is one thing I didn’t know about San Francisco before the move, it is about its extremely fickle weather.

It’s not like Seattle where it can rain anytime. Here it is extreme.The mornings that usually start with a roll of fog or cloud cover, make way for splendid sunny afternoons. Warm enough to be in shorts and sandals. And sunny days can give way to foggy afternoons. Yesterday it was 70 F and today its 48F.So locals tend to dress in layers.

The fog and clouds brings chilly weather and it is perfect for soups.

Pumpkin and sage, chicken noodle or even simple tomato and bell pepper. We had a lovely mussels in sofrito based soup over the weekend for lunch and ended the day with a hearty cauliflower soup.

Creamy, cheesy and healthy. Not something you will see in same sentence. Usually. But its the milk that adds to the natural creaminess of roasted cauliflower here. Sum total being greater than parts.

I have seen pinterest pictures of this being made with colorful cauliflower heads. I made with plain old white one.

Mom was a little skeptical. She is used to standard normal tomato and clear broth soups. For her,vegetables are had stir fried with a little spices. Not with cheese and blended into a soup. This was too much of a paradigm shift for her. But we all loved it.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup Recipe

  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into florets ( about 2- 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon  + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Toss cauliflower with spices and olive oil. Lay it in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 – 40 minutes till golden spots begin to appear.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the teaspoon of olive oil. Saute onion in it till cooked for about couple of minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add cauliflower, mint, salt and 2 cups of water. Mix well. Cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend the cauliflower soup. Else wait for it to cool a bit and blend in a regular blender. Hot liquids and blenders need to be handled carefully. 
  5. Add milk and cheese. Mix well and cook for another minute.

Serve warm with garlic bread.

The Long Wait

Muir Woods

I am officially tired of being pregnant now.

Crib, carseat, baby clothes, diapers and wipes are in the house.

Grandparents have arrived. They are over jetlag. They know the bus route to the hospital, Varun’s preschool and even Whole Foods.

Muir Woods

Baby is full term – we are at 38 weeks for crying out loud. Varun was already born by this time. And at home.

The wait and this extreme sleepiness is driving me crazy. I mean I sleep all day and night as if I have already been through labor and have a baby keeping me up.

It sucks.

In the meantime, we drove to Half Moon Bay and Muir Woods over the weekend.

Muir Woods And Half Moon Bay

Muir Woods

Had a lovely time over meat and cheese platter and wine flights at Amelie. Hung out with friends.Even had a spicy shrimp curry from Gajalee.

Don’t have the energy to detail out the trip details yet, but will one day.

Muir Woods And Half Moon Bay

Muir Woods And Half Moon Bay

Just wanted to chime in and say, sorry about the lack of regular posting. Can only imagine blog being neglected for a while.

Will probably post once a week going forward – at least for the next couple of months while we wait for the  baby and then bond with him. Hopefully he will be a better sleeper than Varun and let us get back to our routine quickly.

Thanks for understanding and hanging around. And for reading me!

Green Smoothie with Kale and Peaches

Kale and Peaches smoothie

A semi seasonal combination, Kale and Peach smoothie is truly my go to second breakfast combination these days.

As part of the move, we found our Magic Bullet. I love it for its one container usage – prep/make and drink from same container makes it prefect for on the go food recipes, not to mention one less container to wash. So we have begun making smoothies. They are great way to incorporate greens, veggies and fruits.

A Vitamix would make it even smoother and kid friendly (green leafy bits would be blended real fine) but this works for us for now.If we do find ourselves drinking a lot of smoothies consistently then we will consider an upgrade but so far I am a fan of the magic bullet.

Without ado, here is my ginger spiked green smoothie recipe.

Kale and Peaches smoothie

Green Smoothie with Kale and Peaches Recipe

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen peach slices coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 4-5 Kale leaves ( Washed and coarsely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1. Start layering the coconut milk, frozen fruits, kale and ginger in the magic bullet container. Screw on the blades and give it a whirl till its all blended and smooth.

Divide into 2 small glasses or one tall one.

Serve immediately.

A Simple Homemade Dressing

Homemade Salad Dressing

Mom and Dad will be here tomorrow. I will hand over the kitchen to my mom once she is here.It’s the best thing about mom being here 🙂

But it creates a dilemma. My mom’s diet is primarily Indian. She will rarely venture into salad’s.

Vipul is still mainly eating salads. But he cannot will not make dressing.

Even if its a simple act of putting together olive oil and lemon/ balsamic vinegar to conjure up a dressing, it is filled with questions.

How much lemon juice? Is this much olive oil a lot? Should I add pepper? Or garlic? How about fresh herbs? It still doesn’t taste like what we had two nights ago!

I roll my eyes.

Call it a combination of late pregnancy hormones, exhaustion and general 10 years of marriage 😉

Here is a simple homemade dressing , bottled up and kept in the fridge.

No more every day Q & A session on how to make a dressing.

Take it out of the fridge, warm it up in microwave a bit, pour as much or as little, toss and serve.

We have sorted out one thing out.

Now the questions have changed.

Which cheese, which mix-ins, which bowl,… ( Le sigh! I exaggerate for effect ;))

Simple Homemade Dressing Recipe

  • 3/4 cup  Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon Mustard sauce
  • 1 – 1 1/2  tablespoon Garlic finely minced
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bottle. Shake it till mixed through. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Pour over salad immediately or refrigerate for later use.

Along The Road to Hana

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I have always wanted to drive on the Road to Hana since I saw it on some travel channel years ago.

In one of our earlier versions of the trip plan, we planned to stay overnight in Hana and explore the Seven Sacred Pools and hike in the vicinity.

Of course, this time we didn’t really want to change hotels etc. So we just decided to do a day trip. Drive as far as we could go and then turn back. the trip was more about the journey than the destination.

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We didn’t want to wake up early just to complete the drive. The drive one way is about 45 miles and there are several guides/maps that list what to do mile by mile. The roads hugs the coast and crosses many single lane bridges as it winds its way to Hana. On a busy day there is a pile of cars and that tends to slow folks down. Most folks tend to drive all the way to Hana, have lunch there and then stop at different attractions on the way back.

We took it easy and left Wailea after breakfast and decided that we will probably go up to mile marker 17 or such and then head back.

First stop – Paia Town

This is the last big town before you embark onto the road to Hana drive. We stopped here to pick up picnic lunch, water and use restrooms before continuing further. Didn’t really spend much time here though it has some excellent shopping opportunities – jewelry, clothes, restaurants etc

With our lunch packed we headed to our first real stop on the drive.

Mile Marker 2 –  Twin Falls

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Varun hates long drives. To get him excited about the trip we told him about waterfalls and how he could splash in them and get wet. In fact the only reason he agreed to sit in the car for this long was to see waterfalls. So, we were very happy to find a decent waterfall right off the bat. Parking was a bit tricky here as this is the first stop on the trip and almost everyone stops here but we managed to find one along the road. Varun hiked the almost one mile gravel trail to the falls.

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Flowers, fruits, singing and dragging a stick behind him helped him walk on the uneven trail.

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The falls were strictly ok but Varun loved getting wet in the big pool.

And holding a big green gecko on a stick.

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As a reward for walking, we treated him to coconut water and bananas at the fresh fruit stand right outside the trail head to the falls.

Exhausted he slept in the car. So now, we had a dilemma – should we stop along the way and carry him or drive a bit further and then stop on the way back. We decided to do the latter.

We stopped and ooh-ed-aah-ed at the views from the car but our real next stop was in Ke’anae Peninsula.

Mile Marker 16.5 – Ke’anae Peninsula 

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Tall waves spraying over rocky lava coastline, taro fields, a beautiful old Hawaiian church and not to mention the most amazing banana bread. Need I say more why we stopped here. Shaved ice was heaven. It was dramatic and hypnotizing. Inviting us to stay, lay a blanket and have a picnic lunch right there.

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The open green fields next to the church would be perfect for Varun to run around but he was still asleep.

We sat there taking in the dramatic scenery and munching on the warm banana bread and then drove down further south to see more waterfalls and coast.

Mile Marker 25 – Nahiku Landing 

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Nahiku landing promised a drive through forest and a hidden waterfall on the beach. We though this would be perfect for Varun. Wake up from his nap, have lunch on the beach and then spend time in the waterfall before heading back. The drive was beautiful. But unfortunately the waterfall had dried up. We met another couple who hiked around the beach to find the waterfall with no luck.

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This was the least touristy spot on the drive thus far and the solace was very comforting.

Varun was a bit disappointed about the waterfall but was happy to see the giant waves splash on the rocky shore below.

We decided to head back as it was past 3 by now and see if we could wrangle in one more waterfall stop on the way back.

Mile Marker 17 – Pua’a Ka’a Park & Falls

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We stopped at the Pua’a Ka’a park for late lunch and rest room break. Across the road there was a small waterfall and Varun was very impatient to cross a little stream to reach it. He wanted Vipul to help him jump from one rock to another while crossing the stream. The water was a bit cool to actually bathe in but it was fun splashing around in it.

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We spent some time here and then decided to drive back home. Clouds started gathering and it was bit dark. We drove back playing car games like I Spy games and  asking him to recognize animal sounds.

It was a lovely day out – away from the resort to see the real Maui.

I am sure areas around Hana are even more prettier but we got a glimpse of it on this lush green tropical drive. Wonderful seascapes, quaint one lane bridges, thick bamboo forests and taro patches. A must do while on Maui.

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