Wednesday, February 27, 2008

C'est mon anniversaire blog!! As Dear As Salt turns ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

C'est le temps de célébration!!!!! C'est mon anniversaire blog!!
As Dear As Salt turns ONE !!!!!
Sounds better in French, doesn't it ;) It is celebration time :)
Blogging - one of those things that exceeded my expectations!!
Definitely more than the sum of it's parts. What's not to like? I found a place to profess my love(!), unabashedly, for a topic so close to my heart - FOOD! Had to happen someday, after all have been eating since as far back as I can remember ;)
I believe the kitchen is the central place for a family, 'You Are What You Eat' ! All the good memories are centred around food and nothing gives me more pleasure than making good delicious food for my family and friends. I love to see the happy faces when they taste the food I make :) Talking about food gives me the goose
I've blissfully spent a great deal of "free" time blogging away this past year and I've a good feeling about 2008!
It was on an impulse that I started blogging and the warm and fuzzy feeling never dwindled after that. I found it to be a creative outlet for my love of cooking, savoring and writing. I thought it would be a good way to put my camera-phone to some good use ;)
I never could have imagined the grip it can have on you, am talking about the positive aspect here ;)
I find it so mystifying that relationships develop with many over food and a peek into their kitchens brings me immense pleasure, something that cannot and will not be equated with anything else :)

Sure some months saw as many as 19 posts and some saw as few as 2, but every post is very close to my heart and you all made it all the more fun :)
I soon found that blogging is such a fun and creative way to connect with like minded people, call it food obsessed ones ;) Also, the fact that you have never met all those who comment on your blog (bare a few) makes it even more mysterious and fascinating, and boy do i like the mystery!!!!
Along the way, I picked up some delicious recipes,
educated myself with some new tips, tricks & ingredients,
learnt more about different cuisines,
heard some heart warming stories,
picked up quite a few awards,
participated in events,
was directed to some great nutrition blogs,
saved millions$$ on electrical bills, after zeroing in on a blog recipe I stopped staring at my open refrigerator for hours at end thinking what to make ;),
upped my patience for photographing & writing AND
most of all indulged in ALL the comments you lovingly left me :) Thank You for your encouragement & feedback!
Some of the chefs who have their own blogs whip up such mind blowing stuff, I like to spend a lot of time ooh-ahing over their creations!
As is natural in any walk of life, one gets close to people you start out with & are able to relate well with them ;). A shout out to my friend Archana of Tried & Tested recipes for her support & encouragement, unfortunately she has stopped blogging in recent times, hope she comes back soon :) It sure has been a fun ride.
So, here's to blogging and more fun times at As Dear As Salt !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yesss, that is what I would like to celebrate with, to commemorate one memorable fun filled year of blogging at As Dear As Salt :)
Here I've put together three of my favorite things for ya :) All you incredible cooks don't need a recipe for this one, or do you ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A V O C A D O , PEAS and MINT SOUP........

Avocado - My love for this beauty of a fruit is unmatched!
Ever since I was introduced to it, I've been finding ways to get it to my dining table! On one such quest, I whipped up this soup and everyone seemed to like it, needless to say it now makes it's wonderful presence felt at home on a regular basis :)

Avocado, Peas & Mint Soup for all you avocado lovers out there!!
1 avocado chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped vidalia onion/sweet onion
2 tbsp peas fresh/frozen
2 tbsp regular sour cream (I will keep my views on fat free processed stuff to myself at this time ;) )
1 clove garlic chopped - optional
1 small green chili - optional as per taste
a handful mint/pudina leaves
a handful coriander/dhaniya leaves
1/2 tsp FRESH ROASTED cumin/jeera powder ( REQUIRED )
few sprinkles fresh roasted cumin powder for serving
salt & pepper to taste
water as required to thin out the soup - as much as 1 cup
1. Heat oil.
2. Add onion and saute for two minutes.
3. Add garlic and peas, saute for 5 minutes.
4. Switch off the gas and add mint, coriander, salt, pepper & cumin powder. Let cool a bit.
5. Pour into a blender and blend smooth adding water as required.
6. Add avocado, sour cream and blend once again. Sprinkle fresh cumin powder. I cannot stress enough the importance of freshly roasted cumin powder in this recipe, it is a must!
7. Serve this beautiful green colored soup with bread or crackers of your choice.
If you like your soup spicy hot, add a dash of chipotle peppers while serving.
Add a splash of lime juice for that sour kick.
You can make the soup thick or thin as per your liking.
Play with the ingredient quantities, this is a very forgiving recipe, just don't forget that cumin powder ;).

My contribution to "No Croutons Required".

Just found out thru Sig's link that Avocado is an aphrodisiac, hence this goes to Pooja for Valentine's Day!
Not into greens and all that healthy stufff ????
In that case, how about my Lentil Soup

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A day in the life of Moong - K H A S T A ... K A C H O R I

Whole Moong/Mung beans is not only a powerhouse of nutrients, but is highly revered for it's wholesomeness and makes it's ominous presence felt during holy ceremonies!
It is 'THE' dal of choice offered during pregnancy celebration/baby shower to the expectant mother for Good Luck!
It is 'THE' dal offered during 'Grihapravesh'/House Warming. The variety of preparations made from this amazingly versatile dal is endless. From it's use in salads to sprouts, to it's use in sweets, fried dal snacks and then there is my favorite Khasta Kachori with Moong filling :)
It seems to me, this wonder of a food can do the work of all the coarses in a meal!!
Can you tell, I'm besotted with Moong?
Let us get to the recipe of one of my favotite snacks,
Khasta Kachori

For the covering:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
1/4 tsp ajwain/oregano seeds
salt to taste
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp soda/fruit salt
a pinch hing
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp fennel seeds/saunf
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp besan/chickpeas flour
salt to taste
To Serve:
1 cup boiled Moong
green chutney
tamarind chutney
whisked yogurt
chopped coriander
sev/fried chickpea strings
1. Knead a dough with all the ingredients. It should be a tight dough and keep aside for 1/2 an hour.
Please note that this can be made with either 2 cups whole wheat flour OR 2 cups all purpose flour as well. Usually the vendors use all purpose flour, I've tried with whole wheat flour and they turned well, just have to be careful about kneading it tight, 'coz we want the kachori to remain firm after frying.
2. Dry roast the coriander and fennel seeds. Add besan and roast till it cooks through. Add the remaining masala powders and blend to a coarse powder. Keep aside.
3. Heat oil for deep frying.
4. Roll out a small puri and stuff with 1/2 tsp of the ground mixture. Seal and roll it again to a regular puri size making sure the filling does not ooze out. Deep fry on a medium flame and flip, cook till done. DO NOT fry on high flame or the kachori will not cook well and will not remain firm.
5. Repeat for the remaining dough. The ground masala can be kept in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for months together.
6. For serving, prick the Khasta Kachori, fill some boiled Moong, add green chutney and tamarind chutney. Drizzle whisked yogurt and garnish with chopped corianer and fried sev.
Enjoy a bowl of lip smacking goodness!!!!!
Khasta Kachori with wholesome Moong filling....

Chilled yogurt drizzled on top.........................

Spicy Tangy Sweet chutnies mmmmmmmmmmmm..........

Yess... there is onion and fried sev to top it all.....................
Indulge a little..................

I am sending this over to Susan for her Legume event.
Enjoy a few others in the seriously tempting chaat series: