Monday, March 31, 2008

F I G and H O N E Y G E L A T O AND Lemongrass Ginger Ale

One of the fruits that I miss dearly from back home is fresh, juicy, luscious fig! The others being guava, custard apple and chikoo! My standard for these fruits is exceptionally high, only because we had these trees at home and nothing can beat the joy of eating a fruit right off the plant ;) Of course, as a kid I never envisioned that these golden moments would become just a distant memory!
Anyway, back to the fig....
The beautiful conglomeration of colors,
the sweet, smooth and plump flesh,
the delicate velvety peel,
the crunch of seeds within.....
what's not to like?
So, what do you do if you like something and can't lay your hands on it? Go to the next best alternative is what I did, got the dried ones :) I like the black figs for their gorgeous taste and absolutely breath taking color! Fig Shake makes a regular appearance at my place, could ice cream and gelato be far behind ;)

F I G and H O N E Y G E L A T O
a must for fig lovers..........
1 heaped cup dry figs chopped fine
1/2 C milk
2-3 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sugar, this is on the lower side (but tastes perfect to me), please adjust as per taste
a pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp orange zest
1. To plump up the dry figs, layer finely chopped figs with about 2tbsp water and the sugar that you will be using and let soak 4hrs or overnite. It can be done without soaking too, just takes longer to cook.

2. In a sauce pan heat figs sugar mixture till thick and the figs melt and the mix is bubbly.

3. Remove from heat and stir in milk, honey, orange zest, mascarpone and salt. Chill about 30 mins in the refrigerator and then freeze till set. I just froze it in a steel container with a fitted lid. You can use your ice cream maker if you have one. It froze within an hour on the quick freeze shelf of my refrigerator. If the mix is too coarse, you may blend it as per your liking.

4. For the gelato, the consistency is a little on the smooth side as compared to ice cream. The difference between ice cream and gelato is that cream is not added to the gelato.

5. Enjoy Fig and Honey Gelato, it is quick to make and tastes out of this world ;) So if you are a fig lover, a mascarpone admirer or, what the heck(!) just like to indulge in good food, get to your kitchen and start cooking. If you are at err... work, take a print out and get to it as soon as you reach home, yes it is THAT good :) I would like to submit this to the Tasty Tools event, microplane being the selected tool. Recipe adapted from here.

I'm glad I'm just about to make it for Sig's MBP-Mixed Drinks event with Lemongrass Ginger Ale! Lately I've not been able to get to the events ;)
Lemongrass tea is absolutely my favorite kind of tea :) Back home lemongrass used to grow wild in our backyard, now I've to pay dearly to get about 4 stalks of this herb! When I saw this Lemongrass Ginger Ale at Jaden's I knew I had to try it, though it was peak winter!! Try, I did and it was beautiful, just as I had expected. I might have gone a little overboard on the ginger, 'coz that took over the flavor. You can adjust the sugar as per your taste.

Enjoy, summer is not too far away........

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Paneer Broccoli Do Pyaza AND Mix Veg Kootu for Arusuvai

First off, I'm absolutely overwhelmed by your love and response to my Blogiversary post HERE! I'm so very thankful to all of you who left such sweet and wonderful messages for my blog :) I truly appreciate it and loved reading each and everyone of them a few times over ;)
Also, a big thanks to my readers who tried my Khasta Kachori and wrote to me how they enjoyed it, was a pleasure hearing from you.

Feel free to click on the image for a close up view :).......
Now, as a part of the Arusuvai chain I received some lovely gifts from my dear friends and this post is in continuation of that chain. My dear friend Musy sent me a package, I call it 'jadoo ka pitara' aka magic box with endless gifts flowing out...... :) I got some great tasting home made garam masala with an enticing aroma that filled my kitchen and my home! I also got long peppers and a speciality rice & lentils, will discuss them in greater detail in my next post. I did not want to delay this post any longer than I already have, will try to post the next in the series soon. I also got freshly ground kuttu podi from dear Deepa, she ground it the day she sent it to me, can't get any fresh than that :) Accompanying that was a cute card and a choc bar! Thank You ladies for the goodies, had fun preparing these dishes! Sorry, had to say no to a few other friends :(
I wanted to prepare something different with the garam masala, so I paired it with my favorite paneer and then added some broccoli for added
The flavor combination is very different from my daily cooking, I let go of my obsession with garlic for this one and used ginger in a juice form, try it, it sure turned out very good!

Paneer Broccoli Do Pyaza
1 cup cubed paneer (I used homemade)
1 big onion finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1 tsp grated ginger, to be juiced later
1.5 tbsp ghee/oil
1/2 tsp ajwain/oregano
1/4 tsp garam masala ( if using store bought, you may need to increase it to 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp haldi/turmeric
1/4 tsp red chili pwd, as per taste
salt, as per taste
1. Steam broccoli fork tender, reserve.
2. Heat ghee/oil.
3. Add ajwain, let splutter a bit.
4. Add onion and saute on medium till soft and pinkish on the edges.
5. Add all spice powders, except garam masala and mix well.
6. Add Paneer and steamed broccoli, mix well. Add juice squeezed from the grated ginger & garam masala, saute a minute, cover and switch off the gas. Allow a few minutes for flavors to mingle.
Enjoy Paneer Broccoli Do Pyaza with roti/paratha and a bowl of chilled yogurt...YUM!
I decided to use the kuttu podi to make a mix veg kootu. I followed Shilpa's recipe for kootu and it turned out amazing, the medley of flavors was wonderful, a coconut lover's delight :)
Mixed Vegetable Kootu

1/2 cup toor dal
1 tsp kootu podi
2tbsp coconut
1 cup veg (I used carrot, potato, beans, onion & tomato)
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard
curry leaves
a pinch hing/asafoetida
a pinch turmeric/haldi
1/4 tsp tamarind extract
1. Boil toor dal and vegetables separately.
2. Grind coconut, tamarind and kootu podi. I added cinnamon & clove as Deepa mentioned that it did not contain these.
3. Add paste to dal and veg, cook 7/8 minutes.
4. Heat oil, add mustard, curry leaves, hing and add to the kootu.
Enjoy delicious Kootu with rice!
It was fun using the ingredients, I would now like to extend this friendship chain to Pravs, who cooks up some wonderful dishes over at her blog! Thank You for being a part of this chain, Pravs!