Friday, October 26, 2012

Chicken Piccata

Tonight's Menu
Chicken Piccata
Spaghetti with butter and cheese
Steamed Broccoli 
Wine Pairing: Citrusy light white such as Pinot Grigio, Chablis

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata is a classic Italian dish served with a tangy lemony sauce. Slice the chicken breast and then flatten them between two sheets of plastic wrap to even out the thickness of the meat. This ensures even cooking all across.
This can be served with rice or pasta as a side dish accompanied by a steamed vegetable. It tastes great with veggie rice and simple spaghetti tossed in butted and cheese.

Chicken Piccata
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Salt, paprika and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 tbsp butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
splash of white wine
1 tsp capers
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Season the chicken with with salt, pepper and paprika. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess. 
  2. In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter with olive oil. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes per side till chicken browns and is just shy of fully done. Remove chicken and keep warm. 
  3. In the same pan, add capers, lemon juice and stock and wine. Bring to a boil scraping all the brown bits from the pan. Return the fried chicken to the pan and simmer for 3-5 minutes. 
  4. Serve drizzled with the lemon sauce and sprinkled with parsley.

Lemon chicken piccata with spaghetti tossed in butter and steamed broccoli

Spaghetti with butter and cheese
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

Spaghetti pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes
2-3 cloves garlic
  1. Boil pasta in salt water according to package directions. Drain 
  2. In a skillet melt butter and add grated garlic, red pepper flakes and boiled pasta. Remove from heat 
  3. Gently coat the pasta with the butter mixture. Sprinkle black pepper and grated Parmesan and serve immediately.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Navratri (Food for fasting) -- Jeera Aloo and Fruit Chaat

Fasting is a spiritual practise observed in many religions. In Hinduism fasting stands for denial of the physical needs of the body for the sake of spiritual gains. By this act of self discipline devotees starve their senses (since food means gratification of senses), strengthening their mind  as well as hardening their body for hardships. It helps establish a harmonious relationship between body and soul.

During the Navratri festival a lot of Hindus observe eight days of fasting. Fasting can be of several types. Complete abstinence is called upavaas, avoiding any cereal and only eating fruits and root vegetables is called phalahaar. For navratri its mostly phalahaar. People eat only once in the evening and consume no cereal even in that meal.

Potato is a popular choice for such meals and is prepared in several ways. Another favourite is fruit chaat, which is a blend of chopped fruit flavoured with salt and lemon juice. For those of you who are fasting, here are some recipes.

On the eighth day devotees break their fast and worship little girls (between the ages of 2-12) as the goddess herself by offering poori with halwa and chane along with some little gifts and/or money.

Jeera Aloo

Jeera Aloo
Ingredients: (serves 1)
2 baking potatoes, peeled and sliced (I have used small white potatoes with skin on)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp butter or ghee (or vegetable oil)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.
  • Let them splatter for 30 seconds, then add potatoes. Coat then evenly with oil and cumin.
  • Add coriander, salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Mix well.
  • Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring 2-3 times to allow even cooking. Cook till tender crisp. Garnish with fresh coriander.
Jeera Aloo

Fruit Chaat (fruit salad)
Banana, apple, pear, grapes, oranges, pineapple, any fruits you might want to add. Some versions also add boiled sweet potato and cucumber to the fruit salad.
Kala namak (black rock salt)
Black pepper
Cumin powder
Lime juice
  • Cut fruits into bite size pieces and combine in a large bowl.
  • Flavour with lime juice, kala namak , freshly ground black pepper and dry roasted cumin powder. Mix well and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Salsa meatloaf with garlic mash and lemon green beans

Tonight's Menu
Salsa meatloaf
Garlic mashed potatoes
Lemon green beans
Wine Pairing: Robust red - a Zinfandel

Salsa Meatloaf
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
2 lb ground chicken
1 1/2 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
2 egg lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp oregano
2 cup salsa 
1 red onion chopped  
2 cloves garlic chopped 
3 tomatoes chopped 
  • Prepare salsa - lightly sauté garlic and onion in a tsp olive oil till pink. Add chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool. Divide it into 2 portions.
  • Combine all the ingredients for meatloaf with 1 cup salsa and place the mixture in a greased loaf pan.
  • Bake at 375 for 55 minutes, Spread the remaining salsa over loaf and bake for a further 5-7 minutes.
  • Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Yields about 12 slices.

Garlic mashed potatoes
Ingredients: (serves 4)

4 large russet potatoes
2 tsp roasted garlic
Salt to taste
Cracked black pepper
1½ tbsp of butter
¼ cup of milk
  • Boil the potatoes till tender.
  • Drain and peel the potatoes and place them along with garlic in a large bowl. 
  • Mash well till potatoes are creamy and lump free.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • I like to pop this under the broiler for 5-7 minutes to give a slight texture and colour on top.

Lemon green beans
Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 lbs green beans
1-2 tsp Olive oil
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic grated
rind and juice of one lemon

  • Wash and dry the beans. Trim the ends.
  • Mix all the ingredients together and lay them on to a greased cookie sheet.
  • Grill them on the top rack on high for 10-15 minutes. They should brown just a bit and cook but still retain some of their crispness.
  • Serve hot.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Oven fried Tilapia with coleslaw and quinoa salad

Tonight's Menu
Oven fried fish
Crunchy coleslaw
Quinoa salad
Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio 

Oven fried Tilapia with coleslaw and quinoa salad
Oven fried Tilapia 
Oven fried Tilapia
Ingredients: (serves 4)
4 tilapia fillets
2 tsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp lime juice
Crunchy coating
1/2 cup crushed cornflake or rice crispies cereal
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp each garlic powder, paprika and black pepper
  • Season fish on both sides with salt.
  • Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and lime juice. Brush evenly over fish.
  • Combine all ingredients for the crunchy coating and dredge the mayonnaise coated fish in this mixture.
  • place fillets sprayed with oil in a broiler pan and bake at 450F for 12 to 15 minutes till fish flakes easily.
Quinoa salad
Quinoa salad
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 cup quinoa 
2 cups water
salt to taste (optional)
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
handful cranberries 
fresh coriander or parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp orange juice concentrate
2 tbsp lemon juice
rind of 1 orange
2 tbsp liquid honey
2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Bring 2 cups water with salt to boil.
  • Wash dry quinoa in a sieve till water runs clear. Drain and add to boiling water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes till all liquid is absorbed and quinoa tender. Let cool.
  • Finely chop pepper, onion and herbs. Stir in quinoa.
  • Whisk all ingredients of the dressing together and pour over quinoa mixture. Toss to coat.
Crunchy coleslaw 
Ingredients: (serves4)
1/4 head green and purple cabbage each shredded
2 carrots grated
1/2 red onion sliced
1 apple grated
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste (optional)
freshly grated black pepper
2-3 tbsp water to adjust consistency
  • Combine all the ingredients for dressing and stir well with a whisk.
  • Combine all the veggies in a large bowl. Pour dressing mixture over it and toss gently to combine. Chill.