Monday, August 31, 2009

Breakfast Biscuits with Blueberry Sauce.

So, I finally convinced my other half to agree on some DIY home projects in the coming months. And the first one I wanted was to paint our eyesore of a sun room. Ever since we moved into this house, the 1950s wood paneled, chocolate brown door sun room irritated me. It was too dark and gloomy despite full- sized windows on each wall. But my husband is a chronic procrastinator, and not at all handy with home repairs. As for me, I am a really good supervisor, and stick to this role with all my heart....So we jiggled the thought back and forth and ended up doing nothing. Until now, that is.

This saturday, we geared up and made a list of supplies and actually bought stuff we needed to begin painting. The plan was to get up early sunday morning and not waste any morning hours. And plans in our household are meant to be taken with a pinch of salt...or sugar, if you prefer! Sunday morning dawned with massive appetites, that wouldn't agree to the staple breakfast of milk and cereal with cookies. And so I bribed all the family into picking up tape and brushes, prime the sun room while I conjure up a "sunday breakfast". Don't be fooled by what I promised. I was in no mood to cook an elaborate breakfast spread for them. I was just going to toss some things together and come up with something edible. The first thing I saw in my fridge was a fistful of blueberries, picked out of the bushes in our backyard. They were smallish, and not very sweet- guess we didn't wait for them to ripen enough before picking them. Not good to eat, but good enough for a sauce! Hmm...and waffles or pancakes..or..voila- I'd try to make some biscuits instead. Pat on my back; good thinking D! And this is what I did.  

Blueberry sauce: Cook the blueberries in water over low flame for 10-15 min. When soft enough, mash the berries or blend in a blender. If you dont like the skin, pass through a strainer (I didn't), and return to the flame. Add some sugar and a dash of lemon juice.

Biscuits: All purpose flour 1 cup Butter 2tbsp Sugar 1/2 tsp Salt 1 pinch Baking soda 2 pinch Milk 1/4 cup Preheat oven to 375. Mix all the dry ingredients together, and crumble in butter. Add milk slowly while stirring to get a thick sticky batter- should be thicker than the pouring consistency. Drop spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten with the back of a spoon and bake 7-8 min, or until golden brown. Sprinkle some powdered sugar when still a bit warm. Turned out that the biscuits were devoured even before i could click a picture!

So next time folks. And for purposes of full disclosure, the biscuits were flaky on the outside, and soft inside. Yummmm! Blueberry sauce will need some tweaking, me thinks- don't know for sure what kind though. So, either try making it at your own risk, or make do with the bottled kind instead!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stuffed Eggplant Roundels

Last evening, I got late at work; really late. To top it off, there were no left overs for dinner. Now, I am not big on eating out. So I had to come up with a plan. Dal - roti is always an option, albeit a boring one. So, I go through the fridge and come up with a single smallish white baingan (eggplant / aubergine). Growing up, I never ate this veggie, purple or white. Not be cause of any prejudices on my part, but just because the Jain community in India shuns it for religious reasons and does't even buy it. I've heard explanations range from it being absolutely nutition-less, to that it is filled with worms inside. My Naani (grandma) was actually convinced that worms grow out of nothing inside this oblong object! But here in US, eggplants herald arrival of summer. And I had actually bought this little guy from an organic produce shop. Now the only problem was, I didn't know what to do with my only fair one! I've learnt how to make baingan-bharta, but for that I had to have the purple kind. I have never eaten a white eggplant before so squishing off its taste in a pureed, over spiced dish like bharta didn't appeal. As I mulled over my dilemma, I sort of remembered a stuffed lauki recipe that I'd read about here . So, the recipe was born. I didnot have the original recipe printed out, so I worked by memory. And I am glad to inform you, that it turned out pretty well!
Stuffed Eggplant Roundels
White eggplant 1 
Smallish Potato 1 medium, boiled and mashed 
 Ginger 1tbsp grated 
Onion 1/4 cup, chopped fine 
Amchoor powder 1/2 tsp 
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp 
  Salt 1/2 tsp/ to taste  
Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp / to taste
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp  

Garnish (Optional)
  Onion 1/4 cup chopped  
Tomato 1 small, chopped 
Cilanthro  

  1. First thing I did was to cut the eggplant into thick round slices (about 1/2 inch thick). Scoop out the flesh, making little bowl like indentations. I used a spoon for this. 
  2. Soak the slices in a cup of water with 1 tbsp salt for about 5 min. 
  3. Now chop up the scooped out eggplant and mix with mashed potatoes.
  4. In a heavy bottomed pan, add 1tsp oil, and cumin seeds to splutter. Then add, your potato, eggplant mixture and all the powdered spices. Saute for 2 minutes or so and allow to cool slightly.  
  5. Drain the eggplant roundels, and pat dry with a kitchen towel. 
  6. Fill the stuffing inside your eggplant roundels. You will get something looking like the pic on your left. 
  7. Now, the next step can either be inside an oven at 375 degrees or the traditional stove top way like I did. I heated 1tbsp oil in a kadai and cooked these roundels on low heat. Insert a tooth pick to check when the eggplant is done. This takes about 15-20 min. You don't need to flip them over. 
  8. Finally, in a separate pan, saute some onions and tomatoes in a dash of oil. Sprinkle this garnish on top of the eggplant roundels for that extra texture. Add a cilantro leaves on top for color. And I was happy. I had an accompaniment to my dal-roti-dahi dinner!
Linked to:
Only Event- Side dishes at Foodelicious

Monday, August 10, 2009

Of Brother, Rakhi, and Paneer Nargisi

This year on Raksha bandhan, when my MIL called to wish us, I was already at work. And unaware till then of having missed that important day. Now, being the kind of person that I am, forgetting a day of festivities really bothers me. In my own defense, I wasn't always like this...in fact, growing up in a posh South Delhi neighborhood, traditions were actually meant to be scoffed upon. But, since then, I've done a lot of growing up. Having established a home away from home, with a family of my own, skies and oceans separating me from my parents and bro, now I feel more and more drawn into the the traditional rituals of my childhood. And as an added incentive, I want to actually give my girls a taste of India as they grow up. So, as I drove home that evening, fuming and generally mad at myself and the the rest of the world, I decided to do something to right the wrong of forgetting. And what better way than to cook up a feast to celebrate?