Blog Archives

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Yay, we have moved into our apartment. And its a big old mess here.

Boxes, books, clothes, toiletries, toys seem to be all mingled and on top of each other.

The only one place that is sorted out is the kitchen. Last night we made a trip to Whole Foods to replenish the food supplies. We were the grumpy and hungry parents with a whiny 3-year-old in tow. With supplies back in the kitchen, now we are back in business.

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Today, Vipul had a smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette. Still diet food but all gussied up with Smoked Alaskan Salmon.

A combination that we normally have when we eat out or when we visit Poonam.

Simple recipe that goes well with the Olive bread from Whole Foods smeared with fresh avocados. Give it a try with fresh eggs and home-grown spinach – if possible. The flavors party in your mouth. No kidding.

I could probably have it again for dinner. Yipee for cooking in your own kitchen and for breakfasts for dinners!

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omlette Recipe

Serves 2

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves chopped into ribbons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Smoked Salmon peices
  • 1 teaspoon oil or bacon fat

1. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper and spinal till pale yellow and fluffy.

2. Heat oil in a skillet. Whip the eggs once while the oil heats up. When hot, pour half of the eggs mixture in the skillet. Once the eggs are set on the bottom, gentle loosen the sides and flip the omelette. Layer the smoked salmon pieces. Cook for another minute or so. Fold in half and slide on a plate.

Serve warm with  toasted bread. avocados, roasted tomatoes and coffee.

Advertisements

Savory Tomato Pesto Tart

Ready to eat tomato tart

There are some dishes that come together effortlessly and are like a party of flavors in your mouth. Tomato and pesto is  one such combination. Quality ingredients shine and provide easy snack, lunch or appetizer.

Tomato Tart

I found some cherry tomatoes at our local supermarket. They were sweet and fresh and paired with pesto made for a savory side to soft scrambled eggs. They made the breakfast that much more special.

If you are planning a summer brunch with friends, this gotta feature on your menu. Paired with a salad and rose there is nothing more simple and more fitting ode to summer than this.

Tomato tart 2

Savory Tomato Pesto Recipe

  • 1 cup homemade pastry or store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon pesto
  • Salt to taste
  • Few cranks of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon mint leaves roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F

2. Roll out the dough into a 8 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Prick all over with a fork to prevent puffing leaving about an inch edge around the perimeter untouched.

3. Blind bake this pastry dough for about 6 – 8 minutes till golden brown. I weighed this down with an oven safe bowl with some beans to keep the center unpuffed.

4. Remove from oven and then layer the mustard and pesto over the base. Leave the edges as is.

5. Arrange the tomatoes in rows or circles. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6. Put it back in the oven and bake on middle shelf for about 12 minutes or so till the tomatoes are cooked at the edges and pastry is brown at the edges.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.

Cut and serve warm.

Mini Plum Tart

Plum tart2

Plums are in season here in India. Smaller than their US counterparts, these are part sweet and part tart. I had pastry dough on hand and after eating many plums as is I wanted to make something else.

A simple fruit tart is what I made. A good pastry dough or puff pastry sheets, fresh fruits and sugar is all that is needed. Its one thing that can be pulled together effortlessly and will impress your guests. For there is nothing like baking a cake or dessert for your family to say that you care!

fresh plums

We had this for breakfast – just because it was ready by then. But it pairs well with ice-cream for a light dessert post a heavy dinner.

The recipe works well with any fruit – pear, apples, nectarine, peaches and even berries. For juicy fruits make sure you macerate them with a little sugar and salt to release the juices. Lift the fruit from the juice and then use those slices on your tart. This will prevent the tart from becoming soggy.

The juice can be reduced and served as syrup or drizzled lightly over the tart before and after cooking so that it still will be juicy but not soupy.

The crusty base with sweet and tart plums as topping pair beautifully in this summer classic dish. I prefer this to be on tart side and hence have used very little sugar. Feel free to play around to suit your taste. I think the plums would play well with balsamic reduction and I am going to give that a try next!

Plum tart

Mini Plum Tart Recipe

  • 1 cup homemade pastry or store-bought puff pastry
  • 8 – 10 fresh plums, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar ( divided) ( more if your fruit is tart and how sweet you like your dessert)
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 190 C or 350 F

Place the plum slices with a tablespoon of sugar and salt in a bowl to macerate. This will help it release excess juice which otherwise turn the pie into a soggy mess.

2. Roll out the dough into a 8 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Prick all over with a fork to prevent puffing leaving about an inch edge around the perimeter untouched.

3. Blind bake this pastry dough for about 6 – 8 minutes till golden brown. I weighed this down with an oven safe bowl with some beans to keep the center un-puffed.

4. Layer the plum slices over the pastry. Drizzle some of the juice over the tart.

Sprinkle remaining sugar over the plum slices/

5. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes till the tart is deep golden brown at the edges and the fruit looks cooked.

Remove from the oven, and let cool.

Slice and serve warm or cold with fresh cream, ice-cream or simply as is.

Mango Pistachio Filled Whole Wheat Crepes For Mother’s Day

IMG_0406_Resized

Mangoes are in season and what could be more fun that mango themed brunch for Mother’s Day? Mango and pistachio filled crepes, Green Mango Panha, salt and paprika sprinkled raw mangoes and mango panna cotta! A little sweet, a little bit savory. Something filling and something crunchy.

If mom’s in your family are mango lovers, mango and pistachio filled crepes will make their day! These are easy to make, with mostly pantry staples. Replace the mango with any other fruit (berries, pineapple or peaches!) to customize it to mom’s taste. Almonds could easily replace pistachios if that’s what you have on hand. It’s a very versatile recipe.

Healthy and fruity it brightened our morning. Even Varun loved them – though I suppose kids can eat anything with honey.

IMG_0400_Resized

Note On Buttermilk – If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, use milk with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar to clabber the milk. Set aside for 10 minutes and you have buttermilk. Else use yogurt and water in 1: 3 proportion. For this recipe use 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 1/2 cup water. Mix well and then use as indicated in recipe.

IMG_0389

Mango Pistachio Filled  Whole Wheat Crepes Recipe

For the Filling

  • 1 cup Mango Pulp ( Fresh or Canned)
  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger minced (optional)
  • 1/3 rd cup pistachios roughly chopped

For the crepes

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg separated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups Butter milk

Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon  pistachios finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flakes (optional)

1.  Make the filling by mix mango pulp with candied ginger and cooking it in microwave for 3 – 4 minutes till slightly thickened. Set aside to cool in a bowl. Keep the pistachios chopped in another bowl.

2. Sift and mix all dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and soda, salt and sugar.

3. Cream the egg yolk in the butter for a minute. Add vanilla and buttermilk and whisk again for 10 seconds.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white. Make an effort to do this as it will result in light crepe. If you are in a rush or don’t want to use an extra bowl, feel free to whisk the entire egg in step #3.above.

5. Add the flour mix to the butter milk – egg mixture and stir. You may have small lumps which is fine. Now add the egg whites and with a light hand stir them in the batter.

6. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a flat non stick skillet. Once the skillet is heated through, ladle a serving spoon size batter in the center of the pan and immediately spread it using circular motion with the back of the spoon. Just like making a dosa.

7. Reduce the flame to medium high. Flip after it is cooked / browned on edges – about a minute. Cook on other side for 30 seconds.

Flip back. Fill the crepe by spooning mango pulp in the center. Sprinkle pistachios. Carefully fold or roll the crepe. Remove from pan and set aside in a serving dish.

Repeat for the entire batter.

8. Garnish with coconut flakes and pistachios. Serve Warm with some fresh mango slices and honey.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Cinnamon raisin bread 2

Vipul’s parents are in town for the summer holidays along with his uncle and aunt. The day begins and ends with food and food plans. What should we have for breakfast/lunch/evening snack/dinner? They are determined to fatten us up while they are all here!

I volunteered to make cinnamon raisin bread one weekend mainly to give them a break. But it’s so hot in Hyderabad that I could not bear the thought of being in the kitchen and near the stove. Breads are perfect in such weather. You mix and knead the necessary ingredients and step aside for a couple of hours letting yeast do its job. Come back in knead, roll and shape and again step out to do your thing while yeast continues its work. Once doubled, the bread is then baked in the oven and ready to be served.

So, bread it was. But what kind? Basic sandwich bread would be too boring, something like a focaccia too time consuming… I wanted something basic with just a little bit of oomph to impress my visiting in-laws. Cinnamon raisin bread was what I settled on. It’s a little bit beyond basic, goes perfectly with tea and is not too sweet. Perfect.

Cinnamon raisin bread

I looked up a few recipes online and most of them were for 2 – 3 loaves of cinnamon raisin bread which seemed a bit excessive. If my experiment was not successful then who would finish the remaining loaves? I stumbled across a recipe from food.com with a built-in calculator for 1 loaf. Oh good, now I don’t need to do the math. Luckily I had all the ingredients on hand and off I went to make us some bread.

A typical bread requires some sort of leavening agent like yeast to make it rise. And the leavening agents need time to do their magic. They cannot be rushed else it results in a hard bread. Patience is the key here. Slow rises in fridge and an extra third rise is considered to lend deeper flavor to the bread than the standard two rises. A few hours and a movie later, as the bread baked,our house was filled with enticing aromas of cinnamon. Everyone peeked into the kitchen one by one to get a whiff of when the bread would cool enough for them to taste. Even Vipul’s dad loved it with a hot cuppa tea after his nap.

Cinnamon raisin bread 3

Chocolate Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread Recipe

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder

1.Heat the milk until it just begins to form bubbles on the edges and then set aside to cool.

2. Mix yeast in warm water and set aside for 10 minutes to froth.

3.  Cream the butter and sugar together for a couple of minutes and then add the beaten egg to it.

4. Add salt to the flour and mix. Add the egg- butter mix, milk,raisins and the yeast to the flour and knead into a stiff dough. Start with 2 cups of flour, adding as necessary to knead the dough into form.

Grease a bowl with butter or oil. Place the dough in the bowl.Cover with a cling wrap and set aside for 2-3 hours till doubled in size in a warm draft free place.

5.  Mix the cocoa and cinnamon powder and set aside.

6.Punch down the dough to its original size and rollout into a rectangle 1/2 an inch thick. Moisten the dough with the milk and then spread a layer of the cinnamon-chocolate powder on it.

7. Roll into a tight log (along the long edge). Place this loaf  in a well-greased baking pan. Tuck in the ends. Cover loosely with a cling wrap and let this rise for another 30 -45 minutes.

8. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 F till golden brown. Brush the top of loaf with butter once the loaf is out of the oven.

Let cool before slicing.

Serve with tea, coffee, with some butter or jam or as is. Enjoy!

Homemade French Ambroisa – Hollandaise Sauce

Fresh hollaindaise sauce

Vipul has been meaning to make Hollandaise Sauce for sometime now. Every time I show him pictures of poached eggs, he thinks about making some. But having heard how temperamental Hollandaise is, we have never actually tried it.

Till this past Sunday, he decided to give it a try. Worst case, it will either curdle or thin out. We can throw it out and make something else. Thus mentally prepared we turned to Julia Child’s – Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The only cook book we own.In our experience, no one explains the how and why’s of a recipe better than her. Especially the tricky temperamental ones.

We followed her recipe and were delighted to have creamy hollandaise at the first attempt! We quickly made some poached eggs (another first) and devoured it all.

Separating yolks from whites

The success of Hollandaise is on preparation and patience. Have all ingredients ready – cold water bath, cold butter as well as softened/melted butter. Carefully separate yolks from the egg whites – taking care there is no white left behind as whites cook at lower temperature and can scramble the entire batch. And have a steady hand while whisking. The cold butter acts as an insurance against the eggs scrambling – Ms Child advises! Patience is amply rewarded here with a fragrant lemony sauce that does wonders to eggs, vegetables or even potatoes.Customize it with paprika or mustard to lend a different taste.

Sauce thickening

Be warned this sauce does not store for too long as the egg yolks are partially cooked. Unlike store-bought sauce, this isn’t pasteurized. But like everything homemade, will taste so much better that you will want to make it fresh and use it up all.

Luckily we didn’t have the sauce curdle or scramble on us. Neither did it thin out so don’t have any disaster recovery tips. Hopefully the cooking Gods continue to smile on us!

Poached eggs and homemade hollaindaise sauce

Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
Yields about 1 – 1/2 cups
From Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

  • 3 eggs yolks (carefully separated)
  • 1 table spoon cold butter
  •  1 table-spoon lemon juice
  •  1 table-spoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 2 sticks butter softened to melted
  • A bowl of cold water (for disaster recovery!)

1. Whisk eggs yolks for about a minute in a saucepan till they are pale yellow and creamy.

2. Add the cold butter, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper and whisk again for a couple of minutes.

3. Now, place the saucepan on low to medium heat. And continue whisking. The sauce will thicken. Now and then take the pan off the heat and whisk, making sure that the whisk reaches the pan’s corners.After couple of minutes, it will drape creamily over the whisk. When you whisk, you will start seeing the pan’s bottom.
If you see the sauce curdle or scramble, take it off the heat and plunge the pan in cold water.

4. Now take the pan off the heat and gradually add the softened butter, initially 1/4 tablespoons at a time and later about a table-spoon at a time. Continue whisking with each addition of butter, letting the yolks absorb the butter before adding more.

5. Once the butter is incorporated, taste, adjust seasoning and keep in the pan next to cooking range if not serving immediately.

Serve warm over eggs, veggies or potatoes.
Store left overs for up to a day or so in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat by setting the container in warm water and whisking or microwave for about a minute, whisking at 15 sec intervals.

%d bloggers like this: