Monday, September 10, 2012

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

This summer season, we have grown tomatoes, and yellow squash, and also have had a herb garden with fresh basil, thyme, oregano, thai basil, cilantro growing in our backyard. Its so much fun to cook with ingredients out of the back yard!

The tomatoes and fresh herbs inspired me to make this dish and also my budding 3 year old, who loves to eatt spaghetti, and that too, she slurps it all in, just like any of us! :) Love to watch her eat her spaghetti, and so is my 14 month old, very skilled I must say at eating his spaghetti ;)

I make a raw tomato sauce, with the tomatoes in my garden as well as some herbs. It comes out delicious!

Here is the recipe:


  • 2 1/4 pounds unrefrigerated ripe tomatoes (preferably plum)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti or spaghettini
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound of fresh mozarella balls


  1. Pulse tomatoes, garlic,oil, thyme and basil, along with salt and pepper in a food processor and blend to make a coarse sauce.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss it in a serving bowl with the parmesan cheese. Leave some parmesan cheese to garnish. Toss in the raw sauce and the mozarella balls and toss gently to cover the pasta with the sauce. Transfer to 6 shallow bowls, and drizzle with oil. Garnish with the parmesan cheese and some torn basil leaves. Delish!

Breakfast Cookies

I got this recipe from the Martha Stewart Living Magazine. She has some really good recipes, which have always turned out to be a success! I modified this recipe quite a bit to make it completely healthy and delicious and crunchy. The modified version is as below. Also, I used only half the recipe, and inspite of that I made atleast about 2 dozen cookies!

They are delicious and go really well with tea or coffee! A must try!


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried mango
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried strawberries
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried banana chips



  1. Preheat a convection oven to 325 degrees or a conventional oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix just to combine.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture and mix until well combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, add oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, raisins, mango, and strawberries and chocolate chips; mix to combine.
  6. Add this mixture to the cookie mixture and combine gently.
  7. I used an icecream scoop to make the perfect cookies.  Place them on the prepared baking sheets. Top evenly with banana chips. Transfer to oven and bake until golden and firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Almond and Dark Chocolate Biscotti

YUMMM! These biscottis are the best that I have ever had. I got the recipe from Gourmet Mag, and I modified it to add more vanilla extract, and coated it with a luscious layer of dark chocolate to make it more decadent. Dip it in tea or coffee, and it is mind blowingly delicious!


  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole almonds with skin, lightly toasted , cooled, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup chocolate chips(ghiradelli 60% bittersweet)

  • Method:

    Stir together sugar, butter, brandy, and extracts in a large bowl, then stir in almonds and eggs. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
    Chill dough, covered, 30 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
    Using moistened hands, halve dough and form 2 (16-by 2-inch) loaves on an ungreased large baking sheet.
    Bake until pale golden, about 30 minutes. Carefully transfer loaves to a rack and cool 15 minutes.
    Cut loaves into 3/4-inch slices with a serrated knife.
    Arrange biscotti, with a cut side down, on a clean baking sheet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.

    Melt chocolate chips in a double broiler, and when warm and completely melted, in about 10 minutes, dip the straight end of the biscotti, straight into the bowl of melted chocolate and let it rest on a cookie sheet, covered with parchment paper.  It takes a few hours to set. Once set, and hardened, you can store it in an air tight container!

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Apple and Strawberry Crisp

    I had a close friend come over for dinner, and I wanted to whip up a quick dessert, that would be easy, yet delicious. First thought that came to my mind, was a crisp, and I had apples and strawberries at home, so I made the crisp accordingly! I made it in little ramekins, cause firstly its a good portion to eat, and secondly  they are just so cute with a dollop of icecream on the top of each ramekin! :) So pretty looking!

    Well, it turned out DELICIOUS :)

    Ingredients(This recipe makes 12 ramekins) :
    2 pounds strawberries
    2 pounds firm Apples
    1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    a pinch of salt

    For the topping:

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
    1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Peel, core, and cut the apples and strawberries into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the zests, juices, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into the ramekins.
    For the topping:
    Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.

    Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla bean icecream. DELISH!

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Piadine with gorgonzola spread, kale and roasted vegetables

    I saw Giada's latest episode with grilled flatbread, kale and mushrooms, and decided that I had to make this recipe, the very same weekend! It was too delicious to resist, not making it!:) I made a variation of it, with piadine dough, and used a different concoction of the vegetables. I used all winter vegetables, with butternut squash, carrots and zucchini, roasted the vegetables with olive oil and maple syrup, and cooked it in with the kale. DELICIOUS!

    Recipe is as follows:


    Piadine dough:
    1 envelope active dry yeast
    1/2 cup lukewarm water
    About 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
    1 cup cool water
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 teaspoons gray salt

    Gorgonzola Spread:
    1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese
    1/3 cup sour cream
    4 ounces cream cheese
    1/2 lemon juice
    salt and pepper to taste

    Salad on top:
    1/2 bunch of kale, well washed
    1 cup butternut squash cut into small pieces
    1 cup carrots cut into small pieces
    1 cup zucchini cut into small pieces
    2 shallots cut into small pieces
    2 tablespoon of olive oil
    1 tablespoon of maple syrup
    salt and pepper to taste


    For the Piadine dough:
    Whisk together the yeast, lukewarm water, and 1/2 cup of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Dust the top lightly with flour, cover the bowl with a tea towel, and leave the sponge to rise until the flour dusting "cracks," showing the yeast is alive and well, about 20 minutes.
    Add 3 cups of the flour, the 1 cup cool water, the olive oil, and the salt. Start kneading at low speed, then increase the speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to produce a slightly moist and soft dough. Knead with the dough hook attachment until smooth and silky and the dough adheres to the hook.
    Dust the dough lightly with flour and, using a pastry scraper, scrape it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly, folding the dough over on itself. Shape into a ball, flatten slightly, dust lightly with flour, cover with a towel, and leave to rise on a floured surface (or in a bowl) until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
    Punch the dough down, wrap, and freeze for up to 1 month if not using immediately. Defrost and let rise in a large bowl in the refrigerator.

    For the Gorgonzola spread:
    Put all ingredients into a food processor and run it, until well blended, about 2-3 minutes.

    For the vegetables:
    Put the butternut squash, zucchini and carrots into a square pan, coat it nicely with 1 tablespoon olive oil and maple syrup, salt and pepper and roast it in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees.

    In the meanwhile, in a saute pan, put the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, and add the shallots, once oil is heated at medium heat. Add in the Kale, and saute with pepper, and little salt. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar. Kale is done in about 5 minutes. Now add the roasted vegetables to the kale, and your salald topping is ready!

    To assemble:
    Take about 1/4 of the dough, and roll it out onto a cookie sheet, into a very thin layered dough. Use your hands if you cannot roll it out with the rolling pin. Brush the top with olive oil, or garlic infused olive oil, and pur it in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees, for 15 minutes.

    Once piadine is done, top it with a generous layer of the gorgonzola spread, and then the salad topping. Piadine is ready to eat!:)

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Fleur De Sel Caramel

    I love thumbprint cookies! They are bite size, and so cute to look at ! I have made chocolate thumbprint cookies, which were a hit the last time I made them. This time I made coconut thumbprint cookies with fleur de sel caramel(since I had the fresh caramel candies made already!). Nothing like homemade caramel, to make the cookies taste divine!

    3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
    1 cup sugar
    3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 egg lightly beaten
    8 ounces flaky sweetened coconut(grind it to form a powder)
    About 30 fleur de sel caramel candy
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    Fleur de sel to sprinkle over the cookie


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Beat together the butter and sugar in a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and beat it. With mixer on low, gradually mix in the flour and salt to form a dough. Press dough together in plastic wrap and combine to form a big ball. Now make 1 1/4 inch balls. Dip each ball into the beaten egg, and then roll it into coconut. Place the balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, and press an indentation into each cookie with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven and re-press the indentation. Bake cookies, until golden brown in color for 10 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat until dough is over.

    Place the caramels, and cream in a saucepan and on medium low heat, whisk until well blended for 5 minutes. Spoon caramel into the indentations, and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Le it set for the caramel to harden slightly. Store in airtight container for 2 days.

    Fleur de Sel Caramels

    My hubby and I love going to this place in San Francisco called Miette, in the Ferry Building MarketPlace. They have the most beautiful pastries, cookies, candies, macaroons that I have ever seen, and so beautifully presented. I came across the book in a store, and bought it, so that I can try the delicious goodies, myself.

    Hubby LOVES caramel! He could swim in caramel if he could! Hence I decided to try fleur de sel caramels as my first recipe. I did reduce the sugar content, and it turned out just fine. I even used half and half instead of the heavy cream, as mentioned in the recipe, and it turned out fantastic! One thing to remember and a tip, the key to fantastic caramel is constant whisking!

    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    1 1/4 cups whole milk
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1 cup light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    3 tablespoons water
    1/2 cup fleur de sel for sprinkling


    Butter the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish. Line with the bottom with parchment paper, long enough to extend over both sides by about 3 inches to use later as handles, if needed.

    In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar, brown sugar, butter, salt, corn syrup and water. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Place over medium low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 246 degrees F, 30 - 40 minutes.

    When the caramel reaches the correct temperature, remove it from the heat and pour it into the buttered pan, scraping out any caramel on the sides of the saucepan. Caramel is very hot, so be careful. Let the caramel cool for 15 minutes and sprinkle the fleur de sel evenly over the caramel. Cool completely to room temp. Wrap the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes upto 1.5 hours for it to set, and cutting caramels, easier.

    Run the tip of a knife by the edges to remove the entire caramel by the parchment paper. Measure 1 inch intervals and cut the caramel into 1 inch squares. Peel the caramel squares from the parchment paper. Wrap each caramel into a square of waxed paper or candy cellophance and twist both ends. Store in airtight container for 10 days.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Spinach, zucchini and corn lasagna

    I made this vegetable lasagna for a xmas dinner when my brother and sister in law were visiting from India. I was supposed to have a dinner with friends over, but unfortunately Anishka fell ill, and had high fever so we decided to cancel the party. We had an intimate dinner amongst ourselves, where I had made tiramisu the previous day, made lasagna, bread with garlic compound butter and mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette. DELISH! :) Was a xmas eve dinner to remember :)


    Two 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan
    1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 yellow onion, diced
    1 zucchini, diced
    6 cups store-bought or homemade marinara sauce
    12 no-boil lasagna noodles (8 ounces)
    1 bag of chopped spinach
    3-4 fresh corn off the cob boiled
    1/2 large onion thinly sliced
    3-4 garlic cloves minced


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the mozzarella, Parmesan and basil.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the spinach, corn and zucchini, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess liquid.

    Spread a third of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on top. Spread a third of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by a third of the cooked vegetables. Sprinkle with a third of the shredded cheese mixture. Repeat to make two more layers, ending with the shredded cheese mixture on top. Cover the top of the dish with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

    Honey Vanilla Pound Cake with Nutella

    This is Ina Garten's recipe and I had been wanting to try it for the longest time. Pound cake is called pound cake cause it used to be one pound of butter/sugar/flour/eggs(main ingredients). I made a few variations like not adding lemon zest as the recipe calls for, and adding nutella(YUM!!!). It turned out great! Loved the smooth soft texture, and goes so well with coffee or tea!


    1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
    2 tablespoons honey
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1/2 cup nutella
    2 cups sifted cake flour
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, and vanilla  in a glass measuring cup but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.

    Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Add the nutella and swirl it around gently with a thin spatula to create ripples. Smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Vegetable Enchiladas

    I made these vegetable enchiladas last week, something that I wanted to try out for the longest time. I was inspired by the enchiladas, that I had at this small mexican eatery in Palo Alto called Sanchos. Delicious mexican food, and just the perfect seasoning and perfect condiments. Could not ask for anything more or less! Even my 2 yr old loved the enchiladas at this place! I was determined to replicate them at home, and so I did :)

    next on my to do list is the perfect the black beans and salsa!


    4 corn tortillas
    1 small zuchinni thinly sliced
    1 small red bell pepper thinly sliced
    1 small onion thinly sliced
    2 garlic cloves minced finely
    1-2 tablespoon olive oil
    About 2 cups red enchilada sauce(recipe to follow)
    2 cups grated cheddar cheese + monterey jack cheese
    1/4 cup chopped green onions for garnish
    1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
    1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
    salt and pepper to taste


    In a saute pan, pour in the olive oil, and add in all the vegetables, along with paprika, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Saute the veggies on high heat to char them a bit to get the grilled flavor. Put the veggies aside.

    In a plate, pour one cup of the red enchilada sauce, and keep it aside. In the same saute pan, grill a corn tortilla for a couple of minutes. Then add it to the plate with the red sauce, and coat both sides with the sauce. Add 1/4 of the veggie mixture in the center, with about 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture, and roll it up and add it to a ceramic baking pan. Do the same for the remaining 3 tortillas, until the baking pan is filled with the enchiladas.

    Now cover the entire baking pan with the remaining enchilada sauce, add in the remaining 1 cup cheese on top, and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese melted. Garnish with the green onions! its ready to eat with some guacamole, black beans and salsa! yummm! dont forget the hot sauce ;)

    Hot Chocolate!

    A perfect end to a cold night :) HOT CHOCOLATE! :)

    Ingredients :
    2 cups whole milk
    2 cups half and half
    8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder


    In a saucepan, on medium heat, add the whole milk and half and half, and add in the chocolate pieces as well. Stir until combined. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined and boiled once.

    Pour in your favorite mug, add a dollop of whipped cream and get cozy and comfortable :)

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Vegetable Burrata Sandwich

    My hubby and I, have been into eating good sandwiches lately. I created this recipe from experimentation, and it turned out delicious!! I used pugliese bread(DELISH!) and burrata cheese, and veggies and micro greens. It is so filling! a VERY satisfying meal!
    Burrata cheese is essentially mozarella cheese, but very soft and creamy in texture and yes Delicious!!:)

    - Loaf of Pugliese bread
    - small container of burrata cheese(from Trader Joes)
    - red and yellow bell peppers(grilled)
    - Tomato slices(about 3 per sandwich)
    - Sundried tomatoes in olive oil (about 1 tablespoon per sandwich)
    - micro greens
    - about 4 cloves of garlic
    - olive oil
    - salt and pepper to taste

    Cut slices of the bread, brush it with olive oil and toast it lightly for a few min, about 5 min in the oven at 350 degrees. Once it is out of the oven, immediately rub it with the garlic clove, so that it gets a nice garlicky taste.
    Layer 3 tomato slices on the bread, some grilled bell pepper slices, a tablespoon of the sundried tomatoes. Spoon a tablespoonful of sundried tomato olive oil on top of all the veggies. Layer the burrata cheese on top to form a layer over the veggies. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Add micro greens and cover it with another slice of bread.
    Your sandwich is ready to eat! :) With some kettle potato chips it is delicious!! :) ENJOY!