Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's that time of year!

I have lots of recipes to share, and they unfortunately have not made it to this blog just yet. I also mostly post "healthy" vegetarian recipes. However, I was just at a close friend's house, and she taught me how to make this delicious and simple treat just in time for the holidays! Wanted to share. Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season and a new year!

Peppermint Bark:

Things you need (shown in photo)
1 bag of dark chocolate chips of your selection (i used ghirardelli 60% cacao)
1 bag of white chocolate chips of your selection (ghirardelli)
Bunch of peppermint flavoured candy canes for sprinkling
Meat Tenderizer (for smashing candy canes/bark)
Rubber/plastic spatula
Parchment Paper
Pan of any type (lasagna pan, or any square pan will do)

Method (for my microwave, yours might be slightly different):

1) Place Dark Chocolate in microwaveable ceramic bowl. Microwave on high power (100%) for ~1 minute. Take out, stir carefully. Make sure chocolate sauce is smooth, and chips have all melted. You can heat for longer (my microwave took another 45 seconds at 50% power), but make sure chocolate does not burn. It should be a smooth, saucy texture.

2) Drizzle Dark Chocolate over parchment paper, making a chocolate rectangle. Place in Fridge to chill.

3) Place candy canes in plastic bag, on top of paper towel on counter. Smash to bits with the tenderizer or hammer tool.

4) Follow step one in a separate bowl with white chocolate. The white chocolate may take longer to heat, so be patient. You might have to experiment. Mine took 70 seconds at 100% power. Mix well until saucy.

5) Drizzle white chocolate over slightly hardened dark chocolate that has been chilling in fridge. Coat it evenly over the dark chocolate layer. It is okay if a little bit of swirl occurs. Once layer has been achieved, sprinkle generously with candy cane bits. Chill in refrigerator for ~1 hour.

6) Break the bark- you can "Drop" the pan several times, or be more civilized and try to cut it with a knife. Does not have to look perfect :) There is an art to this, which i'm still figuring out.

7) Enjoy with friends!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Spinach is Amazing!!!

I apologize for not updating this blog in a while. I have been making new things, but haven't had time to update! I wanted to post a yummy recipe- This can be made with or without paneer cheese, or substituted with Tofu. Spinach is awesome, and has an extremely high ANDI score :) Very healthy and very tasty, must try! This photo is spinach alone.

1 lb Spinach (Frozen chopped works well, or Fresh if you prefer)

½ tsp turmeric

1 Medium yellow Onion chopped

½ tsp salt

1 tsp Cumin seeds

2 black cardamoms

Chop together - 1 inch cube ginger, 2 medium cloves of garlic and one or two green chilies depending on taste.

2 Roma Tomatoes pureed in hand blender (can add 1/4 cup whipped yogurt to puree if creamier texture is desired).

½ tsp garam masala

1 Tbsp Mango powder.

1-2 tsp pomegranate powder (for extra kick)

½ lb paneer cut in ½ inch cubes and soaked in warm water for 15 minutes or more.

1. Boil spinach in water along with turmeric. Drain and blend to a coarse puree in hand blender.

2. Heat some oil in a skillet and when medium hot, put cumin seeds and Black cardamom until cumin spatters. Put Onions and ½ tsp salt. (Salt helps even browning of onion). When starting to turn brown, add ginger, green chili and garlic. Stir until onions are golden brown.

3. Add Coriander powder. Stir 30 seconds. Remove cardamoms because they can be a choking hazard :)

4. Add Tomato puree and stir until oil separates.

5. Add Spinach and cook (check salt and add more as per taste). The mixture should be well cooked so that spinach tastes cooked. Add water in tablespoon quantity if required.

6. Add Paneer/Tofu cubes and cook another 5 minutes.

7. Add Garam Masala and Mango powder, and Pomegranate Powder

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Heirloom Obsession

It continues... As I keep discovering the unique flavors of the heirloom tomato, I'm enjoying not using canned versions of tomatoes more and more! Last night I made this pizza using the dough recipe from my recipe post from June 2010. This sauce is a slight variation of the previous post, only this time I blended the tomato to a pulp using a hand blender/mixer.
Proportions perfect for one pizza:

1) One large red heirloom
2) 2-3 mini green heirlooms (to add more tartness, optional of course)
3) 2 large cloves garlic finely chopped
4) 5-10 medium sized basil leaves chopped
5) 1/4 of a large red onion finely chopped
6)2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
7) 1 tsp dried oregano
8) sea salt to taste.
9) black pepper (optional)

1) Chop tomatoes into cubes. Combine in mixing bowl, use hand blender to blend tomatoes to a pulp. Add oregano and black pepper if desired.
2) Heat olive oil in saucepan. Add Garlic, Sautee for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Add onion. Further sautee until nice aroma appears (4 minutes)
3) Add basil, allow to wilt.
4) Add tomato pulp mixture to saucepan. Allow to simmer several minutes (~10 min) until sauce is at desired consistency. Allow some of the natural water to evaporate for a thicker sauce.
5) Add sea salt to taste
6) Drizzle over fresh homemade pizza dough and add toppings as desired :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seasonal summer healthy eats

On the run? No time? Try this very simple low-sodium pita pizza. Prep time? 10 mins. Bake Time? 5 min. Satisfaction? enormous! You'll love how this brings out the flavor of the fresh heirloom (only available in the summer, so take advantage NOW!) combined with the mild creamy jack cheese!


-1 medium size purple-red heirloom tomato
-1 mini green heirloom to use as topping
-1 large clove garlic finely chopped
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-handful of fresh basil leaves
-handful of Tillamook Monterey Jack cheese
-sea salt & italian seasoning if desired

Method: Chop heirloom tomato into small cubes. In frying pan, heat olive oil. Add chopped garlic, sautee for a few minutes. Add chopped tomato- continue to stir mixture until mixture becomes saucy to desired consistency, and finally add the fresh basil and allow it to wilt. Add italian seasoning and a pinch of sea salt if desired. Top on whole wheat pita, sprinkle jack cheese and a few small chopped green baby heirlooms for texture. Bake at 425 degrees for 5-7 minutes. This recipe is good for 2 pita pieces.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Complete Meal

I'm a big fan complete meals- meaning the majority of food groups are encompassed into one dish! Saves a ton of time on making multiple dishes :) For a vegetarian like myself, I do feel that this indian dish can just be eaten on its own- It has everything one could want,its very filling, and has a great flavor. I have to again credit my father in law for this recipe- I'm sharing it with you with a few modifications.

This dish is called "Aloo Shimla Mirch". The main staples in this recipe are: Red Pepper, Potato, and Paneer cheese. Just a little warning- this dish can be quite spicy. However if you do not like the spice, feel free to omit the red chili powder and the green chilis. Or just use one or the other. Tonight, I prepared this dish and served it with Brown Basmati Rice (from Trader Joes), and a Cucumber Raita ( Shredded cucumber mixed with yogurt and cumin powder/black pepper/mint powder). Bon Appetit!

Aloo Shimla Mirch (Red Pepper, Potato, and Paneer in a spicy sauce)

1 Large Red (or Green!) pepper (Shimla mirch) cut into 1 to 1.5 inch square pieces

3 small yellow dutch potatoes (trader joes carries them ) boiled and cut into same size cubes as red pepper. Make sure they are tender, but not mushy.

Cubed Paneer Cheese- The quantity is up to you. Alternately, you can substitute broiled tofu cubes for those conscious of calories. In my recipe, I used half a block of paneer as sold in my local indian store.

½ large yellow onion finely chopped

2 roma tomatoes cut into small cubes.

1 green chili finely chopped (optional, feel free to leave out)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves (optional for garnish, I did not use)

1 inch cube ginger peeled and finely chopped

1 tsp fresh lime juice (I squeezed half a lime in )

3 tbsp yogurt (I used lowfat organic from trader joes)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp chili powder (skip it if you do not want it- dish tastes great without as well)

¼ tsp garam masala powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

¼ tsp ground cumin (Jeera)

1 tsp salt

10-15 raisins

10 whole cashews

4 tsp water

1 tsp amchoor (mango powder).


1. Blend water, yogurt, turmeric, cumin, red chili powder, garam masala, cubed tomatoes, and salt. I use a handblender to do this to make a nice, smooth orange sauce with no visible tomato chunks.

2. I use a nonstick dutch oven for ease of cooking. Heat oil, add yogurt/spice mixture in and stir until the oil separates and a mesh-like texture forms.

3. Add ginger, green chillies, onions, raisins, cashews, and stir for ~5 minutes.

4. Add potatoes, and red pepper. If mixture looks too dry, add additional small amount of water (1-2 tbsp). Mix well and cook covered on medium heat for 7-8 minutes.

5. Sprinkle mango powder, and lime juice and stir. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

6. Serve with rice and raita

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Perfect Crust

I love pizza. Any kind, style, texture, you name it. What is so amazing about pizza is that it is simple and can be made quite efficiently from scratch. I don't remember the last time I've ordered a pizza to consume in my home since I've discovered how to make it from my mom-in-law. It has taken me several months to perfect the crust, and I just wanted to share with you my findings. I found that the type of yeast used makes a HUGE difference! I am a scientist so I get a thrill out of tweaking small parameters to get great results :) Hope you enjoy!

CRUST- Makes 1 14" round pizza

One Envelope Yeast- I prefer Fleischmann's Activedry to anything else!
1 cup (250 ml) warm water - just slightly warmer than lukewarm- this makes a difference- too hot will cause the yeast to rise too much!
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Olive Oil for brushing surface(see below)


Mixture of veggies- Pineapple, Olive, Yellow Peppers, Green Peppers,
Mushrooms, Campari or Roma Tomatoes, Red Onion

Cheese: I like to mix Fresh mozzarella with a bit of sharper cheddar, and some regular mozzarella. I prefer just a sprinkling of cheese and tons of veggies

Sauce- I'm a big fan of plain and simple. Ragu old world style spaghetti sauce works very well for me.


In measuring cup dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over and let stand ~10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, stir mixture and add the 3 Tbsp Oil. Measure flour and salt in a bowl. Stir. Add yeast liquid and stir until thoroughly, until mixed well with the flour. Knead ~50-100 times, and it should have a good amount of elasticity. Place dough in a steel bowl, and place in an oven that has been pre-heated to ~100 degrees F. To achieve this, Preheat oven to 425 degrees for 1-2 minutes. This dough should now rise on its own for a bit, while you prepare the toppings.

Roll out the dough roughly to the size of a 14" diameter pan greased with olive oil- the shape of this does not have to be exact. Stretch the dough out on the pan to reach the rim of the pan, and crimp the edges around to make the crust. This may take some practice. You should not have to spend a lot of time rolling, and should spend more time stretching.

Finally, top your pizza with spaghetti sauce, generous amount of veggies, and cheese to your liking. Bake at 425 degrees for 17 mins. Broil ~ 1 minute, but don't overdo it! Make sure the bottom of the crust is golden, and not too charred. It should taste light and fluffy.

ENJOY with your favourite soda:)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Simple Indian Delicacies :-)

This recipe is courtesy of my father-in-law who taught me how to make this in toronto this past christmas. I have really enjoyed it so far, and wanted to share. It's very simple to make and extremely tasty. This is a healthier version of what you would find in regular indian restaurants. The creamy sauce is yogurt based, rather than heavy cream. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Note- to make an even lighter version, you may use cubed firm Tofu which has been broiled and browned in an oven.

Shahi Paneer

The recipe is for 1 lb of panner cut into cubes or triangular slices about ¼ inch thick.

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1 Large Onion well chopped in a chopper.

½ in cube ginger and one or 2 green chilis fine chopped in chopper.

½ cup crushed tomatoes (I use can) and ½ cup thick yogurt - well blended into a creamy paste.

2-3 Tbsp shahi panner masala (MDH Brand from any Indian Grocery Store) dissolved in ½ cup warm water

3 TBSP Oil


  1. In a skillet, saute onions in oil, put ginger/chillies and keep on frying till onions are golden brown.
  2. Add tomato/yogurt mix and keep fring till oil separates.
  3. Add water to your desired gravy consistency and add salt to taste and ½ tsp of sugar. Keep boiling till gravy is well cooked.
  4. Put Paneer and let it simmer for 5 - 10 minutes till paneer absorbes the spices.
  5. Garnish with Cilantro at serving time

Note: You may add 3-4 green cardomom pods when putting ginger in onions in step 1.


Ok Sorry i've been lackadaisical about posting. I made this recipe this past thanksgiving and have been making it quite regularly. Its a great dish for veggie folk, full of protein and veggies. The key here is dry roasting the garlic for the sauce's unique flavour. Enjoy!!!


Corn sauce

  • 2 Large cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen corn (or 2 cans corn, liquid removed, dried with paper towel)
  • 1 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste & spice tolerance)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed and sliced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 12 corn tortillas (10 super size torillas)
  • 2 cups grated cheese (or any mixture like mexican cheese mix with jack, etc)
  • Salsa Verde
  • Light Sour cream
  • 1 can Black beans (optional)
  • chopped tomatoes for enchilada filling (optional)


  1. To prepare corn sauce: Roast garlic in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, shaking the pan often, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add half the corn and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Reserve the garlic; transfer the corn to a blender. Toast the remaining corn. Place all but 1/2 cup of the corn in the blender. Peel garlic, slice lengthwise and add to blender along with milk and cayenne. Blend until smooth. Stir in reserved toasted corn. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. To prepare enchiladas: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch or similar baking dish with olive oil.On top of oil, coat bottom of tray with salsa verde
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain off excess liquid. Remove from heat and stir in onion, salt and pepper(5 mins).
  4. Toast tortillas (see Tip).
  5. Sprinkle a generous tablespoon of cheese down the center of a tortilla. Cover the cheese with a scant 1/4 cup of the spinach mixture, some beans, & tomato if desired & some salsa verde. Fold one side of the tortilla over the filling, then roll up tightly. Place the enchilada seam-side down in the prepared dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese and spinach mixture. Spoon corn sauce over the enchiladas, covering completely. Top with some cheese as well if desired.
  6. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until heated through. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes more. (can broil 1-2 mins if desired)
  7. Serve with salsa verde & Sour cream

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • To toast tortillas, place directly on a burner (gas or electric) set at medium heat. Turn frequently with tongs, until golden, 30 to 60 seconds.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

All daaled up

I have a bunch of friends who blog. I'm a huge consumer of content, but a limited publisher, so wanted that to change that! This blog will be very random for the time being so please join me on this journey as I figure out what I would like to share the most that will help others benefit as well:) For now I'm going to use this as a forum to share recipes and musings on life.
I will also preface this blog by telling you I don't post things unless I actually try them and they work for me. Thanks for reading!

Today I'm spending a rainy sunday deciding what to make for dinner....I've perused several recipe books. After giving up as a result of not having all the ingredients, or just shy of 1 or 2 items, I decided to make something simple with my indian spice cupboard. Really enjoyed it, so wanted to share. Very filling and high in protein. Enjoy!

Brown Lentil with Spinach / Tomato

1 1/2 cups brown lentils
4 cups water
1 Green Chili sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt ( + salt for tasting at end)
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 Medium Yellow Onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. grated peeled fresh gingeroot
1 small lime
1 tsp. garam masala, 1/2 tsp aamchoor
4 cups spinach
1-2 diced roma tomatoes
Salt, to taste

Wash the lentils in several changes of cold water. In a medium pot, cover them with the water and add the turmeric, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring often, until very tender. This will take about 30 to 40 minutes for brown lentils. (It may be necessary to add more water to prevent sticking, but only 1 cup at a time, because the final consistency should be fairly thick.)

Combine 1 onion, 1 green chile, and garlic/ginger in chopper, until its diced reasonably, but not pureed (few pulses)

When the lentils are almost cooked, heat the oil in a small pan, add the cumin seeds, and cook for 10 to 15 seconds. Stir in the onions and ginger/garlic mix and cook until the onions begin to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1-2 diced roma tomatoes,
and 4 cups of fresh spinach, until wilted. Note: keep adding the spinach in small batches until the volume reduces, it is a bit easier.

When the lentils are tender,. Stir in the onion/garlic/chile/ginger mixture, lemon juice, garam masala, aamchoor, and salt, to taste. Serve with Rice and cucumber/carrot raita.