Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Love Thai Food…

I am in love with Thai food… It’s my go-to food when I want to eat something nice and familiar and be sure that I will love it. So making Thai food at home is not a usual thing for us as when we feel like it we just go out or take out from our favorite Thai restaurants around our place. A few weeks back I bought this cookbook from Barnes and Noble. The reason I picked it up was it was on sale and it had a ton of very pretty pictures. I love cookbooks with pretty pictures. It just makes it easier for me to decide on whether I want to or not make a particular recipe. So this book that I picked up is called ‘Curry Bible’ by Mridula Baljekar. There are a pages of recipes for different meats and vegetables all with the same link – curry. This is where I picked this recipe from – Thai Yellow Chicken Curry, one main reason being that it has baby corns in it. I love baby corns and so does Amit and both of us love Thai food, so why not. Oh and an added incentive was that it does not use all coconut milk, instead it uses yogurt which makes it an healthier version. I did make a couple of changes to the recipe either because I did not have the ingredients or felt it would make the dish just a little more flavorful. This recipe serves 4 and takes about 45  mins to prepare.

Ingredients:

  1. 6 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste (ingredients and recipe follow)
  2. 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  3. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  4. 1.5 cups water
  5. handful of fresh cilantro
  6. handful of thai basil leaves (I did not have these handy so skipped it)
  7. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  8. 1 large red onion cut into wedges
  9. 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  10. 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut into strips)
  11. 6 oz baby corns (halved lengthwise)
For Thai Yellow Curry Paste
  1. 2 orange habanero chili (I wanted it spicy, you could use normal orange or yellow chilies)
  2. 3 garlic cloves
  3. 4 shallots
  4. 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 12-15 black peppercorns, crushed
  7. 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
  8. 1″ fresh ginger

Directions:

  • Heat 1/2 tbsp oil and add the yellow curry paste. Stir fry the paste till it is fragrant for a min or two.
  • Add the chicken and baby corn to the paste and transfer it to another bowl.
  • In the same pan heat the rest of the oil and stir fry the onions and garlic till the onions are pink.
  • Now add the chicken and baby corn to this and stir fry till the chicken and baby corn are tender.
  • Now stir in the yogurt, coconut milk, water, cilantro and thai basil.  Bring this to a boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Garnish with some cilantro and basil and serve hot with rice.
For Yellow Curry Paste
  • Grind the ingredients together in a food processor or grinder to a smooth paste. You can store this in the refrigerator for upto a week.

I served this with some saffron coconut rice. The recipe for the saffron coconut rice will be uploaded soon. The recipe is very easy to make and goes well with either rice or bread. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Shilpa

Healthier Gulab Jamuns (believe it or not!!!)

This is to continue the post on my Dassera dinner. Since Gulab Jamuns are Amit’s favorite sweet dish, I decided to make some for dessert. Since I decided a little too late, I did not have enough time to make it from scratch. I decided to buy one of the packets from the Indian grocery store. I was sitting and talking to Amit about what I was planning to make for dinner, and when he heard gulab jamun his eyes lit up but then he had this suggestion. He wondered out loud if there was anyway to make desserts a little less unhealthy. Now to convert gulab jamuns to a healthier version, I would have to not fry them. The only other way to cook them would be to bake them. So that’s what I did. The recipe below is for making gulab jamuns without frying them (though not from scratch – next time around will make it from scratch).

Ingredients:

  1. 1 packet Gulab Jamun packet
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 7 – 8 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
  5. few strands saffron (optional)

Directions:

  • Knead the dough as instructed on the packet.
  • Instead of make small round balls from the dough make about 4-6 patties (like cutlets) about 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 deg F.
  • Grease a baking dish and place the patties on the dish with enough room between the patties.
  • Place the baking dish in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Turnover the patties when they are golden brown on the bottom side of the patties.
  • When the other side is also golden brown take the patties out of the oven and set aside.
  • In the meanwhile heat the water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the sugar, cardamom and saffron and let it simmer.
  • Let the mixture till boil till the sugar syrup is a thickens. You should end up with around 1.5 cups of syrup.
  • Place each patty in separate serving bowls and pour the sugar syrup over each patty.
  • Leave the patties soaked in the syrup for atleast 20 minutes before soaking.
  • Also tastes awesome cold.

I wasn’t too sure about how this would turn out, but believe me, the baked gulab jamuns taste awesome, and this comes from Amit who loves them. He is the best judge of gulab jamuns. Try them out, I am sure you will love them. And without the frying, you get all the taste without the oil!!! Hope you like them.

The Dassera Special

Being a Keralite brought up in Bombay has given me the opportunity to see different festivals celebrated in so many different ways. For instance Dassera, the name itself, can be spelt in so many different ways. I have always associated Dassera with two things, one being Dandiya and another being books (lets say the lack of it). For me Dassera is synonymous with the music and dance that people enjoy for during the entire festival. It does get pretty loud but it is also so pleasing to the eye – the colorfully decorated ‘pandals’, the beautifully dressed up girls and of course the music… You start dancing to the music without much effort, you don’t need to know how to – in fact I am sure Amit (who, I am pretty sure, has two left feet) can also manage pretty well.  I so miss being in India for these festivals.

The other reason for me so looking forward to this particular festival is the way we traditionally celebrate it in Kerala. At home we celebrate it primarily as Saraswati Puja (worshipping the goddess of knowledge). Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya Dashami the last three of the ten day festival are celebrated as Saraswati Puja in which books are worshiped. For me it had always been a three day festival at home. When you say worshipping the books, it literally means that, we used to set aside our school books for the puja on the 1st day and then on the 3rd day after the rituals are completed the books are given back to us. And during the three days we are not allowed to study!!! So now you know why, as a kid, this was indeed the most awesome three days.

In Kerala, the books are either kept at home for worshiping, or at the temple. The third day, Vijaya Dashami is also considered to be a very auspicious day to initiate children into the world of books (or rather into reading and writing). This ceremony is called Vidyarambham (which quite literally translates to Vidya – Knowledge, Arambham – beginning).

And then there was the Ayudha Puja (worship of tools, implements, weapons, automobiles, etc) which was also on the same day as the Saraswati puja. Our car used to get decked up in a garland. In fact any automobile you would see on the streets would have the garland.

In fact this festival is celebrated in different ways in different states in India. Since I am no expert, I won’t delve into the details. But it is celebrated with much grandeur in almost all the states.

So that being said, we celebrated Dassera this Sunday at home. And since I was a bit too busy celebration for us meant cooking and then eating some awesome food. I decided on a 3-course meal and I intend to share all three recipes right here. We started off with an appetizer, the main course and of course ended with a sweet dish.

This post is to share the Aloo Mutter recipe that I made thanks to the recipe I found online. The link is given at the end of the blog. The recipe I found was for Mutter Paneer (Indian Cheese with peas) but since the appetizer had paneer, I decided to adapt the recipe for Potatoes and Peas in a Tomato gravy. The recipe takes about 30-40 minutes from start to finish.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 medium sized potatoes (cut into chunks and boiled)
  2. 1 cup green peas (cooked)
  3. 2 large tomatoes
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  6. 1″ piece cinnamon
  7. 4-5 cloves
  8. 4-5 green cardamom
  9. 10-15 cashews
  10. 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  11. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  12. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  13. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  14. 1 cup plain yogurt (make sure the yogurt is not sour)
  15. 2 teaspoons cream (optional)
  16. 1 teaspoon oil
  17. Coriander leaves for garnish
  18. Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Soak the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and cashews in hot water for 10-15 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile cook the potatoes and peas separately.
  • Make a puree of the tomatoes in the blender.
  • Grind the whole spices and cashew to a fine paste.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat and add the paste to it.
  • Fry the paste for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in the tomato puree and cook for another 5 minutes (or till the sauce starts getting thick).
  • Add the chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and turmeric powder and let the gravy cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Now add the yogurt and continue stirring on a low flame to a simmer.
  • Add the cooked peas and potatoes and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the cream and garnish with some coriander leaves and serve hot.

Since it was Dassera, I decided to indulge in some puris to go along with this dish. But you can serve this with any form of bread (indian or otherwise).  The ingredients listed above make about 4 servings. The original recipe is  available at http://www.tarladalal.com/Spicy-Mutter-Paneer-15657r. Hope you enjoy this version of Aloo Mutter. Sorry about the pictures, I took it a hurry, as I was worried that we would finish most of it and I won’t have any left to take pictures.

Apple Crumble

Posted: October 16, 2010 in Apple, Desserts, Recipes
Tags: , ,
A Warm and Scrumptious piece of heaven

Apples have never been my favorite fruit. So I usually just make end up making apple juice. The other day, I wasn’t too keen on drinking apple juice but definitely did not want to let the apples go bad. So when I found the various apple crunch, crumble recipes, I decided to try it, one because it’s pretty easy to make and looked delicious. There are tons of recipes online and I had no idea which one to choose, so I just came up with one as a combination of the many recipes I read. This recipe requires a prep time of about 15-20 minutes and a baking time of around 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  1. 3 Apples (I used three different kinds)
  2. 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  3. 3 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon ( I do not like too much of a cinnamon flavor, if you do like a stronger cinnamon flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon more)
  6. 3 tablespoons butter (cold)
  7. 4 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  8. Vanilla Ice Cream

Directions:

  • Core and dice the apples into small chunks. (I leave the skin on but if you choose to, you could skin the apple)
  • Cover the apples with 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • Cook the apples on medium heat in a saucepan for about 10 minutes.
  • Mix the lemon juice with the apples and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
  • Mix the all purpose flour, cinnamon, remaining sugar and butter (cut into pieces).
  • Mix this together by hand till it resembles coarse crumbles.
  • Transfer the apples into a 8 inch by 3 inch rectangular baking dish.
  • Add the coarse crumbles over the top of the layer of apples.
  • Add the brown sugar on top and bake for about 30 minutes – 40 minutes (till the apples are cooked throughly).
  • Serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This recipe serves 4 – 5 persons. The warm apple crumble and ice cream make a perfect pair. This apple crumble recipe is one of the easiest desserts that I have ever made. There are a few more apples left over from the previous batch of apples I bought. Thinking of trying out another apple desert recipe with it in the coming week.

Hope you enjoy this recipe.

A Healthy and Wholesome soup…

After the not so healthy but awesome chicken wings last night, we needed something a little lighter for our dinner tonight. Our stomachs were definitely ready for a hearty and healthy soup. So this is what I came up with. A carrot soup with some fresh coriander and parsley. I am not a very big fan of large chunks of vegetables in my soup. I love my creamy soups. Since I wanted to use only vegetables in the soup and also make it creamy, I decided to use potatoes. This recipe serves 4 persons.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 medium carrots, cut into chunks
  2. 2 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
  3. 1/2 onion, chopped
  4. 1 tomato, chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 2 cups vegetable / chicken stock
  8. 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
  9. 1/2 freshly chopped coriander
  10. 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  11. Salt to taste
  12. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan.
  • Fry the bay leaf till it turns a light brown.
  • Add the garlic and onion and fry till it softens.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook 3-5 minutes.
  • Add 3 cups of water and the chopped carrots and potato into the saucepan.
  • Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender.
  • Add the parsley, coriander and the chicken / vegetable stock and simmer till the vegetables are cooked completely.
  • Discard the bay leaf and puree the soup in a blender.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with some sour cream, cream and croutons.

This recipe takes about 45 minutes from start to finish. I heat the soup just before serving as I cool it a little before pureeing it. I usually serve the soup with salad. Next time I am going to try making some bread-sticks to go with the soup and salad. Hope you enjoy this soup.

A lip smacking, juicy wonder

I think I made these chicken wings for a party about a year back… and then another and another. Well this is such a fail proof recipe that I just can’t skip it at any dinner party. And add to that the fact that once your friends and family eat it, they will ask you to keep making it.

I got this recipe online at Deeba’s blog (I have given the link at the end). And she mentions, this recipe is from the cookbook – Modern Spice by Monica Bhide. I give 5 stars to the recipe. Trust me on this, you have to try this recipe. And for all the vegetarians out there, just toss out the chicken and toss in some potatoes, beans, carrots, etc. This serves about 3-4 persons.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup heavy cream
  2. 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  3. ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  4. ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  5. 1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  6. 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  7. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  8. 1 ½ teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
  9. 1 teaspoon dried mango powder
  10. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  11. 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  12. ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  13. 10-12 chicken wings

Directions:

  • Mix the cream with all the ingredients except the wings.
  • Marinate the wings in this mixture for about 3 hours (I have made this recipe after marinating for about 1 hour as well and it turns out absolutely delicious).
  • Turn on the broiler and preheat the oven to 500 deg F.
  • On a baking dish line the wings in a single layer and pour the marinade over the chicken. (Keep about half  aside for later).
  • Broil the wings till they are brown on one side, turn it and let it brown on the other side as well. (This takes about 10-12 minutes)
  • Turn over one last time and let it cook for another 5 mins.
  • Cook the left over marinade on the stovetop for a delicious dipping sauce.

This recipe takes about 10-15 minutes of prep time, 1-3 hrs marination time and 20 minutes if cooking time. I have made this dish with shrimp or vegetables instead of chicken wings and they turn out to be absolutely delicious as well. The only change I have made to the original recipe from http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/2009/06/indian-chicken-wings-the-monica-bhide-way.html is to reduce the number of wings to marinade proportion.

I love chicken wings but the original american version is half the time deep fried and are not as flavorful as these. These chicken wings are easy to make, less messy and heavenly!!!

Bharleli Vangi (stuffed eggplant) goes VIRAL!!!

I was supposed to post the recipe for the Indian style chicken wings next, but there was this big huge eggplant lying around in my refrigerator and would definitely have gone bad if I had not used it. I so wanted to have the Maharashtrian style stuffed eggplant but for that I need the smaller eggplants. So I decided to try something new, a fusion – if u will, of Maharashtrian cooking and Italian cooking. The stuffing is Maharashtrian style but the cooking method is Italian…

I used to look up the recipe for the Bharleli Vangi (Stuffed Eggplant) online when I initially started making it. But now that I have made it so many times, I have my own recipe. I wasn’t too sure how this amalgam of two recipes would work but but it turned out to be absolutely awesome!!! This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 large Eggplant (Brinjal)
  2. 1/4 cup of unsweetened grated coconut
  3. 1/4 cup peanuts
  4. 3-4 dry red chilies
  5. 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  6. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  7. 2 teaspoon tamarind paste
  8. 1 teaspoon jaggery / brown sugar
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1 1/2 tomato
  11. 1 green chili
  12. 3 cloves Garlic
  13. 1/2 cup chicken / vegetable stock
  14. 2-3 teaspoons oil
  15. salt to taste
  16. toothpicks

Directions:

  • Dry roast the peanuts, dry red chilies, cumin seeds & coriander seeds.
  • Once the peanuts start turning a slight brown, add the grated coconut and fry till the coconut turns brown.
  • Grind this dry roasted mixture to a fine powder.
  • Add the tamarind paste, jaggery, turmeric powder and 3-4 teaspoons of water.
  • Grind the mixture once again to form a thick paste.
  • Now fill a large saucepan with water and salt and bring to a boil.
  • In the meanwhile cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Toss the sliced eggplant into the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Dry the slices of eggplant on a paper towel.
  • Apply 1-2 teaspoons of oil on a large baking dish.
  • Apply the paste on the eggplant in the middle, roll the eggplant and use a toothpick to hold it in place. (Do not wash the grinder once you have used up all the paste)
  • Place the rolled eggplants in the oiled baking dish.
  • Put the dish with the eggplants into the preheated oven (375 deg F) and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Chop the tomatoes and green chili and grind it in the same grinder you used before.
  • Finely chop the garlic.
  • Heat a saucepan and fry the garlic till it browns.
  • Add the tomato paste to this and let it simmer.
  • Add the chicken stock to this and take the saucepan off the heat.
  • After 15 mins of baking the eggplants, pour the tomato sauce over the eggplants and leave the dish in the oven another 5 minutes.
  • Switch on the broiler after 5 minutes and let the eggplants brown. (This will take no more than a 2-5 minutes)
  • The rolled stuffed eggplants are ready to serve.

The entire recipe took about 45 minutes to complete. I served this with hot chappatis and garlic pickle / relish. You could also serve this with bread. If baking is not your thing, you could use the stove-top to cook it, you would make the tomato sauce and add the eggplants to it in the stove-top version. You may also want to increase the amount of chicken / vegetable stock to 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup.

An Original Recipe

Today I came home in the afternoon and wanted make something different for lunch. I rummaged around the kitchen to see what I have at home and then I saw the Sweet Potatoes. When I see sweet potatoes I am reminded of the dish my Mom used to make at home. But today was not the day for that recipe. Remember I wanted something different!!!

So I decided to come up with something on my own. I decided to call this recipe Savory Sweet Potatoes. I basically came up with the recipe based on whatever was there in my refrigerator.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 large Sweet Potatoes
  2. 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  3. 1 Green Chili
  4. 5-7 Green Onions
  5. 1 small Red Pepper or 3/4 large Red Pepper
  6. 1″ Ginger
  7. 4-5 Garlic pods
  8. 2 teaspoons ground Cumin
  9. 1 cup Chicken Stock (for a vegetarian meal you can substitute this with Vegetable Stock)
  10. 1 cup Paneer (1″ slices) (You will find this in any Indian store, or you can substitute this with cream cheese)
  11. 1/2 cup Peas
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoon Lime Juice
  13. 1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
  14. Salt to taste
  15. 4 six-by-six inch square aluminum sheets.
  16. 4 teaspoons Corn Meal

Directions:

  • Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven (heated to 400 deg F) for 30 – 45 minutes or till tender.
  • Chop the green onions, red pepper and green chili.
  • Mince the ginger and garlic together.
  • Heat 1/2 tsp Olive oil in a saucepan.
  • Toss in the chopped green chili and fry till brown.
  • Add 1/3 cup of chicken stock and let it simmer.
  • Add the chopped green onions and let it cook in the chicken stock for 3 minutes.
  • Add the minced ginger garlic and cumin powder.
  • Let it simmer till the mixture is almost dry.
  • Now add 1/3 cup of chicken stock and the red pepper.
  • Cover and cook till the red pepper has softened. (This will take about 10 minutes but keep an eye on the saucepan every 2 minutes)
  • In the meanwhile cook the peas in the microwave for 3 minutes.
  • If using Paneer: Sprinkle some water on the paneer and heat it in the microwave till it is soft.
  • Once the red pepper has softened, add the peas along with the rest of the chicken stock.
  • Add some salt to taste and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Crumble the paneer and add to the saucepan. (if using cream cheese just toss it in and take the saucepan off the heat and mix well)
  • Cook it uncovered and keep mashing the paneer to incorporate into the mixture.
  • Let the water evaporate, add the black pepper, mix well and remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, once tender, and peel off the skin.
  • Mash the sweet potatoes and add the cooked mixture into it.
  • Add the lime juice and mix well.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • You can refrigerate this till ready to serve.
  • Shape the aluminum foil into small bowls.
  • Divide the sweet potato into 4 parts and fill the 4 aluminum foil cups. (You could  use ramekins instead)
  • Sprinkle the 1 teaspoon of corn meal over each serving.
  • Heat the oven to 350 deg F and place the sweet potato servings in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Then switch the oven to the broiler setting at 500 deg F and let the corn meal brown. (This should not take more than a couple of minutes)

This entire recipe takes about an hour from start to finish including prep time. I had green salad with some Italian dressing and roasted nuts with the Savory Sweet Potato. You can also serve this dish with some garlic bread.

This recipe can be modified to make smaller sized portions and then can be served as an appetizer.

Panna Cotta or Mousse, who cares, it’s yummmmm

A few weeks back I accompanied a friend while she went on her wedding dress shopping. It was an exhausting evening for her what with all the dresses she got in and out of. So we decided to get some dinner before we headed back home. And we landed up at Macaroni Grill. The side of bread and the entrees we ordered there were awesome. We then debated on whether or not to order a dessert and then we ended up ordering one each. I ordered the Panna Cotta with fresh Berries and it was definitely one of the BEST DESSERTS I have ever eaten at a restaurant.

Ever since I have been thinking of and contemplating making Panna Cotta at home. Then a couple of weeks back when I went to the store to pick up the ingredients for the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup with fresh basil, I picked up the ingredients to make some Panna Cotta at home.

I think this would be an appropriate place to mention a blog I really love. I have made a few of the dishes following the recipes on the blog and they turned out to be amazingly good. The blog is http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/ and I have adapted my panna cotta recipe from there.

The ingredients listed below serves 6-8 persons.

Ingredients:

  1. 3 cups whipping cream
  2. 3 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  3. 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Nestle hot chocolate powder)
  5. 200-250 grams milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Measure 3/4 cup of the whipping cream. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cream and set aside.
  • Mix the sugar and cocoa powder in a sauce pan and add the 2 1/4 cups of whipping cream.
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat to a simmer.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate chips and stir to dissolve the chips.
  • Heat the saucepan on a low flame to dissolve the chocolate to a smooth consistency.
  • Add the softened gelatin and cream mixture to the saucepan and make sure the heat is on low as you do not want to heat the mixture to a simmer.
  • Once the gelatin has completely dissolved remove the saucepan from the heat. Use a fine strainer and strain the mixture into a big bowl.
  • Transfer the Panna Cotta into smaller individual serving bowls.
  • Leave the Panna Cotta in the refrigerator for 3 hours or till it sets. (I left it in the refrigerator overnight)

The entire recipe from prep to refrigerating takes about 15-20 minutes. This wasn’t like the Panna Cotta I ate at Macaroni Grill but it was absolutely delicious. But I must warn you this is not for the health conscious foodie. This is one of those sins you allow yourself to indulge in once in a long long while.

The original recipe can be found at http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/2008/04/dark-chocolate-panna-cotta-its-all-about-the-kidz-in-us.html. I adapted it based on some of  the ingredients I already had at home. I replaced the dark chocolate with milk chocolate and instead of using authentic cocoa powder, I used the hot chocolate powder.

Soup Time!!!

Amit (my husband) was down with a cold the other day and he so wanted to have some soup. So instead of buying the sodium loaded soups at the grocery store, I decided to try making some homemade soup. After a lot of  “you decide, no you”, we agreed on tomato soup. I then found this recipe online for tomato soup with roasted red pepper and fresh basil. The recipe just looked interesting and easy to make. And I can vouch for the fact that it was delicious too. I did make some modifications to the original recipe.

The quantities listed below will serve 3 persons if you are serving just the soup and a salad. We decided to go healthy that night and have a salad and soup for dinner.

Ingredients:

  1. Crushed tomato (15 ounces)
  2. 1 Red Pepper
  3. 2 teaspoons white cooking wine
  4. 1 teaspoon oregano
  5. 3 cloves garlic
  6. 1 small onion
  7. 3 teaspoons olive oil
  8. 2 cups chicken stock
  9. 1/2 cup fresh basil (chopped)

For the basil cream

  1. 1/2 cup sour cream
  2. 1/4 – 1/2 cup whipping cream
  3. 1/4 cup fresh basil
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Slice the red pepper into 1 inch thin slices (slivers).
  • Mix the white cooking wine and oregano with the red pepper and set aside.
  • In the meanwhile chop the garlic cloves and onion.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a saucepan and add the marinated red pepper.
  • Roast the red pepper till the edges turn brown.
  • Set the red pepper aside.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the same saucepan.
  • Once the oil is hot add the chopped onion and garlic to the saucepan.
  • Saute the onion and garlic till they turn light brown.
  • Mix in the red pepper, crushed tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to boil.
  • Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, mix together the sour cream, whipping cream, basil, salt and black pepper and set aside.
  • Transfer the soup to a blender and blend till smooth. (It takes me a just a couple of minutes to achieve the soup like consistency)
  • Pour the soup into bowls and add the basil cream on top. (I also added a few cut sprigs of basil to give it a very colorful and fresh feel)

This soup takes about 20 – 30 minutes to serve including prep time and cooking time. I love to serve this alongside some fresh salad with a ranch dressing.

The original recipe can be found at http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/red-pepper-soup-basil-cream-recipe?click=main_sr. I only made a change in the red pepper part of the recipe. Instead of buying a can of marinated red pepper I made my own fresh roasted pepper.