Monday, April 27, 2009

Fenugreek Arugula Parata

Paratas are the quintessential Indian pancakes. Sooo fragrant and adapts so well to breakfast lunch or dinner.

I used to employ an Indian nanny for A. She used to make the most amazing paratas with pretty much any vegetable I had in my crisper. Spinach, potato, peas, fenugreek leaves... It was parata heaven for a while there... Its a great way to sneak vegetables into my little guy's diet.

It takes a bit of skill to make these little guys. Mine used to turn out looking like single-celled biology specimens. Till she taught me.

I still get a couple of them that look like they just came off a map. But for the most part they do come out great- if I say so myself.

I had some left over Arugula from my last trip to the farmer's market. So I decided to mix peppery Arugula with slightly bitter Fenugreek leaves. I added some sugar to balance out the bitterness. The result was a nice hearty parata with a bit of a bite.

All you need with a stack of these is a small bowl of Yogurt and a teaspoon of spicy Indian pickle.

Fenugreek Arugula Parata

Wheat flour -2 cups
Fenugreek leaves- 1 small bunch
Arugula- a handful
Garlic- 1 clove
Onion- 1/4
cumin powder -1/4 tsp
Ajwain seeds- 1 tsp
green chillies-1 or 2
turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt -1/2 tsp
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Clean and pulse the fenugreek and arugula in the food processor for a minute. Put it in a microwave- safe bowl with turmeric and salt and cook in the microwave for 2 mins.

Add the onion, green chilly and garlic clove in the food processor and pulse till it is finely ground.

Add the oil, salt, sugar, wheat flour and the cooked greens with its water and pulse. Add just enough warm water -if necessary- to form a soft dough.
Keep it aside for 30 mins.

Pinch small balls off the dough and roll them out.

Roast in a hot pan smearing a little oil or clarified butter on both sides till done.

Honey Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta will always be one of my favourite desserts... So easy to make and ohhhh so decadent.

It couldnt be simpler - just cook cream with gelatin and include any flavourings you may be in the mood for... There are many fancy ones out there. But my favourite remains Honey Panna Cotta.

Honey adds a subtle floral sweetness instead of that in-your-face sweetness of sugar.And with strawberry season, could there be a more mellow sophisticated canvas to showcase those ruby red berries?

So go on. Indulge!

Note: The original recipe is made completely with cream. For the figure conscious (read buzzkills), swap out the cream with half and half.

Honey Panna Cotta

2 cups whole milk
2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch ground pepper

Place the milk into a heavy saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. Turn on the stove and stir the gelatin-milk mixture over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes. Whisk for a minute to make sure all the gelatin is incorporated into the milk.

Add the cream, honey, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat when you see bubbles start to appear along the sides of the pan.

Pour into 6 wine glasses so that they are 1/2 full. Cool slightly.

Refrigerate until set, overnight or at least 6 hours.

Hull and quarter the strawberries. In a bowl add the berries with the balsamic vinegar, sugar and pepper 10 minutes before you plan to serve the panna cotta.

Spoon the berries atop the panna cotta and serve.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Tart

I discovered Meyer Lemons recently and I just cant get enough of it. I found a few at my neighbourhood Trader Joe's and at Costco (the very last box).

I made this fantastic whole lemon tart in January and I have to say what a brilliant idea to use the whole fruit!

I made a few different desserts with the lemons but I froze most of them so I could indulge any time I wanted.

There is nothing like a dessert with Meyer Lemons... Try this. The next time you take a bite of a Meyer Lemon tart or mousse, close your eyes, roll the bite around with your tongue and exhale- pushing the taste from your mouth through your nose and out... The elusive floral sweetness just makes you crave more.

Today I decided to treat myself with a Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Tart to share with friends tomorrow. It is my birthday after all :)

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Tart

1 pack honey graham crackers, processed into crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tblsp Turbinado (raw) sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temp.
scant 1 cup sugar
3 eggs
dash salt
1 whole Meyer Lemon cut into slices and seeds removed
1 Tbl. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325°

Pulse graham crackers in a food processor till it becomes crumbs.
Mix the crumbs and butter and pulse till it resembles coarse sand.

Press evenly into bottom and sides of a tart pan with removable bottom.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Wipe down the food processor and process the meyer lemon, salt, vanilla and eggs till smooth. Add the sugar and process till the meyer lemon is completely blended into the mixture. Now add the cream cheese and pulse to combine.

Pour into pan and bake on middle rack of oven for 40 minutes.

Cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 10 pieces; 5 if you are me.

Life happened....

And thats my excuse...

Enough said.

Since my last post... a year ago... I got so absorbed in other food blogs that it got me thinking pessimistically of what I could contribute...

Then I had a Eureka moment...My sisters!

I have two younger sisters who live in different corners of the world...

S is not too bad in the kitchen though she is just starting out. M, however, the youngest one, living alone for the first time, had to read up online on how to boil an egg.

Yes I know. And no, I dont think she is beyond help.

This blog hopefully will be the start of a journey that will be the stuff of family legend.

Here's to new beginnings....