Monday, September 5, 2011

Grilled Vegetable and herbed goat cheese sandwich

I found this recipe on the SF gate website, and it was with a ricotta basil spread. I modified it with herbed goat cheese since I am not too fond of ricotta. We took this sandwich as our picnic lunch over the weekend with some chips and soda, and some homemade brownies and the sandwich  turned out great! :) It kept well too for a few hours. We plan to do many more picnics with modifications of this recipe :)

  • 1 medium eggplant, about 10 ounces, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 green, red or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and quartered
  • 3 medium zucchini, about 1 pound, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick strips
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced
  • -- Kosher salt
  • -- Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed basil, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 3 cups fresh arugala
  • -- Ciabatta bread or baguette, sliced horizontally and toasted or grilled
  • -- Leftover pesto if desired
Prepare and heat a grill to high, or preheat a grill pan. Meanwhile, combine the eggplant, peppers and zucchini with the 1/4 cup olive oil, the vinegar, thyme, a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and let marinate as the grill is heating. Combine the goat cheese with the basil and thyme, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, and set aside.
When the grill is hot, grill the vegetables on both sides until cooked through and with clear grill marks - 2-3 minutes per side.
To assemble, spread the herdbed goat cheese on one side of the bread, then layer the grilled vegetables and tomato on top. Spread the arugala on the sandwich. Spread the other slice of bread with leftover pesto, if using, and top off sandwich. Cut into portions and serve.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grilled Squash Quesadillas with Charred Tomato Salsa

I saw this recipe on Cooking Channel TV blogsite and loved the sound of it. It looked so enticing that I had to try it out. As usual I made my own variations and it turned out fantastic!! We had the quesadillas with the tomato salsa, sliced avocado and light sour cream on the sides. This combination was so good, that we wanted to eat the same dinenr 2 nights in a row which does not happen ever in our home! yum yum yum :)


Makes 8 quesadillas
1 zucchini or summer squash, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/2 onion thinly sliced
About 3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter or a combination
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 white corn tortillas
1/4 to 1/2 cup Ancho Chile Paste, recipe follows, or store-bought
8 ounces thinly sliced or shredded Manchego cheese
2 scallions, white and green parts, very thinly sliced
Charred Tomato Salsa, recipe follows, or your favorite green or red salsa

1 avocado cubed or sliced
1/2 cup light sour cream

Ancho Chile Paste:
6 dried ancho or pasilla chiles or a mixture
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Charred Tomato Salsa:
4 ripe medium tomatoes (about 1 pound)
1 jalapeno
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, white and green parts chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt


Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil. Put in the zucchini, bell pepper and onions onto the grill pan. Add salt and pepper and saute it till charred well enough. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add about 1 tablespoon of the oil or butter. Lay a tortilla in the skillet and paint a light covering (more or less depending on your taste) of the Ancho Chile Paste over the tortilla. Scatter or lay a slice of cheese just big enough to cover half the tortilla (about 1/2 ounce). Then the sauted veggies and some scallion slices and cover with another layer of cheese. Cook until the tortilla softens, about 1 minute. Fold the tortilla over into a half moon. Flip and cook on each side until golden brown and crisp and the cheese melts, adding more oil or butter if the pan gets dry, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with the Charred Tomato Salsa, avocado and sour cream! yum yum yum!

Ancho Chile Paste:
Stem, seed and pull the chiles in half. Toast the pieces in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning until fragrant and blistered but not charred, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of boiling water and set aside to soften, 30 to 40 minutes.
Put the chiles in a blender with the salt (not a food processor, it won’t be fine enough) and puree until very smooth. Add some of the soaking water, about 1/2 cup, if needed to engage the blender. Strain if desired.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the paste and fry, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Charred Tomato Salsa:
Position rack in the upper part of the oven and preheat the broiler. Line a small broiler pan with foil.
Place the tomatoes and jalapeno in the pan and broil, turning them as needed, until the skins blacken and split, 15 to 20 minutes. Wrap completely in aluminum foil and cool.
Core the tomatoes and stem the jalapeno (remove the seeds if you want to temper the heat). Puree the tomatoes, skins and all, with the jalapeno, oil, garlic and scallions and in a blender to make a smooth sauce. Pulse in the cilantro. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. (The salsa thickens a bit if prepared ahead and chilled; stir to loosen it up before serving.) Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Asparagus Soup with toasted Ciabatta bread

I made Asparagus soup yesterday for the first time. Asparagus is so healthy for you, and soups make a great way to have your veggies, no chewing and you can have it with some delicious toasted cheesy garlicy ciabatta bread.


1 bunch asparagus, roughly chopped
1 finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 cup of chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon oregano
3-4 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter

Toasted Ciabatta bread:
Ciabatta bread
clove of garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
Shredded mozarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste


In a stock pot on medium heat, add the olive oil and butter and after a minute, add in the onions and garlic. Saute it for about 5 minutes till onions are translucent. Then add in the asparagus, and the salt/pepper/oregano. Saute it for a couple of minutes and then add in the basil leaves. Add in the water and cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes till asparagus is soft.

Blend the mixture in a blender and then add it back to the stock pot. Add in the sour cream and let it cook for about 10 minutes. And the soup is ready!

For the Ciabatta toast, pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees. Slice the Ciabatta bread into half, drizzle olive oil over it. Put the bread on a baking tray and put it in the oven for about 5 minutes. Remove it and rub the garlic clove over the bread so that it gets a nice garlicy taste. You will be able to smell the garlic over the warm bread. Now add the shredded cheese on top, add salt and pepper and broil the toast for a couple of minutes till the cheese melts and is golden brown in color! Toast is ready to eat with the soup. Dip the toast in the soup, it is delicious!! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fresh Tomato Soup

We have tomato soup and grilled cheese atleast once a week. The Fresh Tomato Soup is made of fresh tomatoes, carrots, and i add whole milk instead of cream so that its not heavy. It turns out delicious! Great for taking it to work for lunch the next day as well! :)


3 tablespoons good olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 small onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
3 cups water Or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup whole milk
Croutons, for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, water or vegetable stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the milk to the soup and blend it in the blender until processed completely. Strain it through a sieve. Add the cilantro and reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with croutons. Enjoy with grilled cheese! :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Carrot Walnut Coconut Bread

I baked today, after so many months! Ever since Anishka started crawling, i have had no time to bake or make something different. With her growing older(17 months now), and more understanding, its become a bit easier to do some cooking! So I decided to bake today! Made this carrot walnut coconut bread that even she could eat. She devoured it :)

Its made out of wheat and all purpose flour making it healthier. You could even substitute the white sugar for brown sugar, giving it more flavor and depth.

Vegetable oil cooking spray

3 medium carrots (7 ounces), thickly sliced
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the carrots and boil over moderately high heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash the carrots with a potato masher. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a pie plate, toast the walnuts for about 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Sift both the flours with the baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale yellow. Whisk in the oil and buttermilk. Stir in the carrots, coconut and walnuts, then stir in the flour mixture until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until risen and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.