The Weekend Kitchen

Some hits, some misses…..in my kitchen, over the weekends


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Stuffed Mushrooms – An easy to make starter / snack

Quick and easy is the way to cook for me. This is one dish that can can be served as a starter or a healthy snack. Its been a sureshot hit every time I’ve made it. It is truly versatile and you can experiment with as many variations as you want with the stuffing.

Ingredients:

15-20 Button Mushrooms
Half of a medium sized onion – chopped fine
1 green chilli – de seeded and chopped fine
1/2 of a medium sized tomato – chopped fine
Celery – 1 small stalk chopped into small pieces
10 black olives – cut this into half
Shredded cheese – about 3-4 tbsp (enough to top the stuffed mushrooms)
salt – as required
Schezwan / Tabasco sauce (optional , tasted good even without the sauce) – 1-2 tsp
Olive oil – 2-3 tbsp

Main stuffing – you can use any of these
Few pieces of chicken – cooked and shredded
Stems of mushrooms – chopped fine
Spinach leaves – blanched and chopped fine
In fact, you can use anything you like as the main stuffing

Directions:

Clean the mushrooms thoroughly
Take out the stem carefully leaving the base in tact (the stems can be used as the stuffing or for another dish)
Saute` the onions, chilli and tomato on high flame for 2-3 minutes
Add the stuffing of your choice, continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes
Add sauce,if you are using it
Add salt as required
Switch off the flame, add celery stalks and mix
Brush the mushroom base with olive oil
Stuff small teaspoon full of the mix into the oiled mushroom base
Top each piece with shredded cheese
Place the mushrooms on a greased baking tray

Preheat oven to 200C.
Bake for about 10 minutes (mushrooms will turn slightly brown and cheese melted)
Top with half olives, split side down
Serve warm

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Apple Crisp – Goodness of apples, oats, and cinnamon

There is something enticing about the smell of apples cooking with a dash of cinnamon and sugar. And when you love apples in all forms, this is one recipe that would appeal to you.

‘Vanitha’, the malayalam magazine is a good repository of real good recipes. They have a cookery publication ‘Pachakam’ that comes out a few times a year and the recipes in there are pretty enticing and fairly easy to try out as well. Got this recipe from a 2009 edition of ‘Pachakam’

Ingredients:

1. Flour – 1 1/2 cups (the recipe says 1 cup, but that didn’t seem enough)
2. Oats – 1 cup (again, the recipe says 3/4 cup, but….)
3. Brown Sugar – 1 cup
4. Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
5. Butter, softened – 1/2 cup
6. Apple, skinned and cut into small pieces – 4 cups (about 3 normal sized apples)
7. Sugar – 1/2 cup
8. Corn Flour – 1 tbsp
9. Water – 1/2 cup
10. Vanilla essence – 1/2 tsp

Directions:

1. Pre heat oven to 350F
2. Combine ingredients 1 to 5. This should be coarse

3. Tightly pack half this mix into a baking dish smeared with butter
4. Spread apples on top of this
5. Meanwhile, cook ingredients 7 to 10 on low flame, stirring constantly till it becomes thick
6. Spread it evenly over the layer of apple
7. Cover this tightly with the remaining oats mix
8. Bake for 45 minutes
9. Cool and serve with custard or cream

This tastes better the next day. Allow it to cool completely if you want the pieces to come out well when cut. If you are as impatient as me, go ahead, have it warm 🙂


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Garlic Bread – from scratch

There is something homely and inviting as you open the doors to a house to the heavenly aroma of freshly baked bread. I always love it when I am at home on a week day, decide to bake and son comes from school straight to the kitchen asking, “amma, are you baking Garlic Bread today?”

Gone are the days when I religiously noted down recipes in notebooks, then flip through it deciding what to make. Now, you think of a couple of ingredients or possible dishes, type it out, google it and a myriad of options opens out in front of you. You now devour the dishes with your eyes before even opening the kitchen shelves. After multiple experiments, I have zeroed in on a recipe for Garlic Bread which is pretty simple and straight forward.

Garlic bread is always a hit, with or without an accompaniment, a hot cup of tea is good enough:-)

Here goes the recipe from food.com. In fact, this is one web site that I keep going back to for anything 🙂 I have adapted it a little bit to suit my preferences

For the dough:
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
A little more flour to adjust the dough if it is too wet
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon instant yeast ( I used the regular Active Dry Yeast)
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil

Garlic Mix:
1/4-1/3 cup butter (room temp, homemade really is better)

7-8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
5-6 stalks of coriander leaves chopped fine
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp driied thyme ( in fact you can use any herb that you prefer)
Mix all these together and keep aside
Directions:
1. Mix the yeast and sugar in a measuring cup, that keeps it from getting lumpy, add the cup of warm water and stir together. let sit for 5 minute.
2. Mix the flour, whole wheat flour and salt in a med sized bowl, then dump in yeast mix and stir until a soft dough forms.
3. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour if needed. It should be just soft, and slightly wet to the touch
4. Rub the bowl with oil and keep the dough on it. Smear some oil on the dough ( I used olive oil)
5. Cover with a wet towel and keep it in a warm place for about an hour and half
6. Remove from the bowl onto to flat surface smeared generously with flour, punch it down and divide into two. Slash it diagonally across just a little deep below the top. Keep it on a baking sheet / aluminium foil smeared with butter.This is how it looked like

7. Cover with the wet towel again and keep aside for another hour
8. Preheat the oven 180C for 10 minutes. Bake for about 20 minutes.
9. Take the bread out and let it cool slightly.
10. Make a few vertical slashes almost till the bottom of the loaf. Smear the insides with the garlic butter mix. Brush the top of the loaves with the mix that is left over
11. Cover loosely with aluminium foil and return to the oven . Bake for another 15 minutes.
12. You can brush a beaten egg to the top of the loaves to get a golden brown colour.
13. Turn of the bottom filament in the last 5 minutes of baking keeping only the top filament on to get a nice brown crust.

Serve with any gravy of your choice. I made it this weeekend with meat loaf. Do I need even say that it disappeared in minutes?


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Sausage Bites (or whatever you name it ;) )

You are back home after a long drive, everyone including you is ravenous and all the snack boxes are empty – creativity is made from moments like these. You raid all the boxes, scrutinize the compartments in your refrigerator and get a pack of forgotten sausages and some leftover green and yellow capsicum. Sauces were invented for situations like this, so here goes….a quick recipe , can be used as a delicious starter too.

Ingredients:

1. Sausages – 1″ long, about a cup
2. Onion – 1/2 a medium sized one, cut into squares
Capsicum – red and yellow, cut into sqaures – about a cup
3. 1 green chilli – deseeded and cut into thin strips
2 flakes of garlic – cut into small pieces
4. Worcestershire Sauce – 1 tbsp
Tabasco Sauce ( i used the pepper one) – 1 tbsp

5. Salt and Oil – as required

Non – stick pan is the best, since you need minimum oil. Heat a little oil, throw in 3. Fry till that lovely aroma comes and the garlic turns slight brown. Now put in 2, increase the flame to high and stir for 3-4 minutes till the onions start getting a glazed look. Remove this from pan.

Reduce the flame, add the sausages to the pan, don’t add more oil. Stir in between till it turns brow. Add the friend ingredients, the sauces and salt. Taste and add moe salt if required.

Serve hot.


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When you go overboard….bake a cake :-) (Banana Carrot cake)

Son calls daughter a monkey – she just loves bananas. Guess she got it from her father. He just have to have a banana after lunch and dinner irrespective of whatever dessert is available. So bananas – yelakki, robusta, ‘poovan’, ‘palenkudan’ – are a staple at our house. But sometimes it so happens that I go a little overboard or forgetful at times and end up buying much more than all of us together can finish before they get rotten.

From the time I started baking, bananas getting rotten was no trouble. The chocaholics and the banana lovers get a combined treat – banana chocolate cakes – they turn out perfect almost always – soft, dark and with a mild flavor of the fruit. This time around, wanted to try put something new. Edible Garden’s Moist carrot Cake had been tempting me for some time and over the weekend, I had gone overboard with carrots as well. So Banana carrot cake it was and where else turn to other than our trusted Google?

I am a lazy bum and elaborate and time consuming recipes put me off, unless I am really really in the mood to impress someone 😉 Zeroed in on this recipe from food.com finally.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed banana
2/3 cup canola oil (I used the normal sun flower oil)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 cup quick-cooking oat (uncooked)
1 cup carrot, shredded
1/3 cup chopped nuts (used walnuts, guess any nut will do 😉 )

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine sugar, banana, and oil.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.
Add to banana mixture and mix well.
Stir in carrots and oats; mix well.
Spread in greased 9×9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Pretty easy to prepare, it is just ready to go into the oven

Fresh out from the oven

I still had some leftover bananas and guess what?

Yes, made a chocolate banana cake too, son thinks it is a normal chocolate cake 😉