Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kiwis and Limes

Two months back, I was in India. My trip extended by ten days because of flight delays due to Icelandic volcano eruption. On my way to the airport, I was telling mom what all (of course food items) I wanted to take with me to US, but couldn't take for some reasons, and how she must get them when she visits me later this year.

With all those heavy-hearted goodbyes and the most annoying immigration procedures, I was finally at the gate, waiting for boarding to start. And suddenly comes the news that my flight has been canceled. Ughh... At first I was really very tell me who wouldn't. Mom was very happy that she got ten bonus days to spend with me, and so was I :p

In those ten days I bought all those food items that I had forgotten about...adjusting the weight of my bags, taking off items that I thought were okay not to carry etc etc. One of these days my cousin K and I were in a grocery store to buy stuff in my new list. As we were checking out, I noticed a Panha (which is a raw mango drink) concentrate. I so wanted to buy it, but it was available only in one kilogram cans, and no way I could have fit it in my luggage. I will make it this summer if I get good raw mangoes. I really miss having all these awesome concentrates which are used to make Sarbats; especially now that the temperatures are soaring up.

When I was visiting my brother in Mumbai, my SIL made us a Karvanda Sarbat from the concentrate they had just bought from their Konkan trip. It was extremely refreshing and tasty...beautiful pale pink color ,a little sweet and a little sour. A & I adore lemonade made from fresh limes and have lot of it every summer. With my busy schedule these days, I was planning to make some concentrate so that we can have lemonade instantly. Suddenly I remembered the Karvanda sarbat and thought what if I make a kiwi lemonade instead. I thought probably kiwis would give a similar taste as they too are sweet and sour.

Kiwi Lemonade
(Kiwi Lemonade Concentrate - Makes about 15 cups of Lemonade)

I was looking for Kiwi Lemonade recipes and found a lot of identical recipes, but they were not close to what I was looking for. I wanted to make a lemonade that tastes more like Sarbat. Mom gave me a recipe once for Lime sarbat concentrate, and I decided to make some modifications to incorporate kiwis into it. Here is how to make this concentrate.

1. In a pot mix 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water to make simple syrup. Once the sugar dissolves completely, let it boil for a minute, and then turn the heat off.

2. Peel 5 Kiwi fruits, cut them into big chunks and puree them. This will be about a cup.

3. Strain and mix kiwi pulp with half a cup of fresh lime juice, and add this to sugar syrup.

4. Let cool and store in an airtight jar in the fridge. This can be used in the next 5-6 days.

5. To make lemonade mix 2 tablespoons of concentrate with a cup of water. Add a pinch or two of salt and stir well. Serve very cold.

I used a colander to strain kiwis and that is why the seeds are also in the concentrate. If you don't want the seeds in your lemonade, strain in a regular strainer. The lemonade gets a nice pale green color because of kiwis and is very refreshing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Green Tomato Chuteny

I have been looking for green tomatoes all these years. Ours being a small town, the Farmer's market here is a tiny one. I was never able to get green tomatoes here.

Two months back I bought a membership to a farm co-operative located in some town nearby, which recently opened their store here. With one membership, you can buy a total of 120 pounds of organic veggies without paying a single penny over what you have paid for membership. Isn't that amazing? And yes the membership is dirt cheap. I am so happy this summer as I am getting fresh and luscious veggies. I go there every Saturday morning and get my week's stock of vegetables.

On my yesterday's trip I was very happy to see green tomatoes at the store and got a few of them. To my disbelief, some of them already started changing color by the time I was home. I was out for a long time and it was the crazy heat that was responsible for it. Thankfully it did spare a couple for my chutney. Huh...

I was planning to make this green tomato chutney for a while now. I always loved chutneys, especially the tangy ones. Mom used to make this chutney quite often and of course I follow her recipe.

Green Tomato Chutney

1. Cut 4 green tomatoes in big chunks and saute on a teaspoon of oil for a minute. I used 4 small tomatoes.
2. Lightly toast a teaspoon of sesame seeds, grind them to a coarse powder and set aside.
3. Grind together 4-5 green chillies, 1/2 tsp grated ginger and tomatoes into a paste.
4. Add a teaspoon of sugar, ground sesame seeds and salt, and pulse it a couple times.
5. Make tempering of 1 tsp oil, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp asafetida and a pinch of turmeric. Pour this tempering on the ground mixture and mix well.

Add some cilantro if you like. Serve it as a side with rice or chapati, or slather on bread slices to make sandwiches.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Zucchini Flapjacks...Desi style

Weekend is here and fridge looks deserted as it looks every weekend. There is a lone zucchini lying in the crisper and nothing else. It's been in the fridge for a week and I still haven't used it. Huh... A is out for his cricket practice and I am too bored to go out and shop (though it takes just 5 minutes of walking to go to the grocery store). I was thinking of what to cook for dinner with this single zucchini and it just clicked.

(serves 2)
1. In a bowl mix 2 cups grated zucchini, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup each of rice flour and gram flour and about a quarter cup of chopped onion.

2. Add a teaspoon each of red chilli powder, white sesame seeds (lightly toasted), and carom seeds. To toast the sesame seeds, simply microwave them for 30 seconds.

3. Also add 1/8 tsp turmeric powder, a pinch of asafetida, and salt to taste.

4. Mix all the above ingredients well by adding water as needed, to form a soft dough. You need about a quarter cup of water.

5. Coat the bottom of a pan with very little oil and put a small ball of dough in the center. Spread the dough by pressing it with your fingers until it is about quarter inch thick.

6. Put the lid on and let it cook until you hear a sizzle. Now take the lid off and flip it to let the other side cook. Add some oil if needed. Don't put the lid on when the other side cooks.

7. Serve hot with the condiment of your choice.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mixed Fruit Sandwich

I must confess... ever since I read the theme for Blog Bites#4 hosted at One Hot Stove, I have been thinking of using the long waiting ingredients in my kitchen. In fact I loved this concept so much that I now plan on looking for such lurkers once every month.

Here is a list of current lurkers in my kitchen. This is the same list from my previous post. The only difference is that I have striked out the items that I used or that I finally started using as a part of this challenge.
1. APF ( I have this for the longest time since I started using whole wheat flour as much as I could in baking). I still have a little more APF left.
2. Chana dal which I don't use very often and which has not been used in almost 3 months
3. 1 packet of cake mix - Totally forgot about it and it had expired a couple months back, so had to trash it- So what if it cost me just a dollar? Felt very bad for wasting it
4. Baking cocoa
5. In the fridge door- Red chilli sauce, Soy sauce
6. Soyabean flour: I have started using this daily with whole wheat flour for making Chapatis
7. Found in my freezer- half a packet of methi leaves, drumsticks, pineapple chunks, leftover tomatoes from can, paneer ( I didn't even know it was there - just a few small cubes - but without even thinking about it, I trashed it - well if you don't know of something that you have you better not use it... right?) and of course frozen bananas-4 of them 1 left
8. 3 carrots, half a cabbage, spinach packet
9. 6 4 Eggs which expire in a couple days
10. About 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Wow... I am impressed :) that's a way better use of ingredients. I don't think I would have used them so quickly otherwise.

Well there is one more thing that I forgot to add to this list and that is strawberry jam... just about a tablespoon of it way down at the bottom of the bottle. And yes it expires in next 2 days... and I actually mean 2 days. I normally would have thought of having a regular bread butter jam sandwich for breakfast or would have trashed the bottle after realizing that it had expired and probably not felt bad for trashing it thinking it was just a tablespoon of jam after all. But wait...not at present, and that is because presently, I am going through 'Find ways to use lurkers' phase. So I had to use that last tablespoon.

Mixed fruit Sandwich

I was browsing Suma's blog and read this post where she mentions her family's favorite Banana sandwich. After reading it I thought wow... a Banana sandwich! I have never had a fruit sandwich before. Her sandwich (and that leftover jam in the bottle) actually compelled me to try this mixed fruit sandwich. I thought what if I try using different fruits and nuts instead of just Banana, and that is how I came up with this Mixed Fruit Sandwich.

1. Toast and butter bread slices.

2. Spread jam/ preserve of your choice.

3. Add whatever fruits and nuts you like and serve.

I used whole wheat bread; and banana, apple, dates, and coarsely chopped pistachios & cashews. The sandwich tasted really good with the crunchiness of nuts. There are a couple of things that I would like to share. Add bananas at the end so that they don't turn black and sandwich won't get soggy. The drawback of this sandwich is that unfortunately it can't be made ahead of time. You must immediately eat it to really enjoy the taste. I have no experience with kids, but I am positive that kids would love it.

I am sending this to Blog Bites# 4 as my second entry.

I am glad that I was able to use the perishable stuff as planned and did not waste it, which doesn't always happen.