Salad w/Goat Cheese and an Award

It is quite hectic at my end which is why the delay in everything from posting new posts to not being able to browse all the lovely blogs!Well, I am hoping it will get better by the middle of next week but then you never know what's in store!Do you?I will be brief this time although I would have loved to ..Tweet Tweet:D

Goat cheese, also known as Chevre in French, is a milk product derived from Goat’s milk. Although it can be made in different forms, both hard and soft, the soft goat cheese is more common. It can melt very easily when exposed to heat. This is a staple in the Mediterranean region and also common in Africa and Middle east.Goat cheese is closer to human milk in that it is lower in fat and a lot thinner when compared to Cow Cheese.Those who are lactose intolerant or have milk allergies can eat Goat cheese.

The recipe for goat cheese rounds is adapted from Food Network’s Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa

Salad Ingredients

A bag of Mixed salad greens
Red Onion thinly sliced
8 cherry tomatoes vertically cut into halves
2 carrots, finely grated
½ cup Cranberries, optional
I have used light Italian dressing but feel free to use the dressing of your choice.Make sure it is not too tarty like Rasberry Vinaigrette

For the cheese

1 (11-ounce) log plain or herbed Montrachet
2 extra-large egg whites, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Fresh whole grain bread crumbs(You could use white bread)

Toss all the ingredients and the salad dressing.

Slice the cheese with a dental floss or a knife into a 1/2 inch thick slices.It is easy to do it with the floss.Dip each of the slices in the egg whites.Coat the slices with the bread crumbs.Refrigerate for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Melt a tbsp of butter and a tbsp of olive oil and heat it until it is just under smoking. Fry the cheese both sides until golden brown.Serve the salad with the warm cheese!

This is off to Weekend Wokking hosted by Yasmeen of Health nut,created by Wandering Chop sticks.

I am elated to receive my first award!The very talented EC of Simple Indian food and Srilakshmi of Sri Annapurna passed on this Kreativ Blogger award to me.Thanks gals!It is truly exciting:)

This comes with certain rules!

1.You must mention the person who has given you the award.

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.

5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.

6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

7. Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

-I hate to use any techy stuff (e-pics, e-books....).I still use a pen & a paper to write, still take the photo hardcopies and read paperbacks.

-I wish I learnt skiing when I was young. I was a disaster when I tried to learn at 23.

-I would love to go on a cruise, but I have pretty bad sea sickness. So I guess that will remain a dream.

-I am obsessed about cleaning the house esp bathrooms. I am almost close to having the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder!!

-I never drank coffee till date! I don’t like the taste of coffee but like the smell of it

-I believe in fate/destiny.

-I am very scared of roller coasters..not even the Kiddie rides..My 2 year old daughter is way better than me!(Hey, that's just between You and Me:))

I am passing the award to these amazing bloggers.I have more favorites but they carry the award already!

Yasmeen of Healthnut

Siri of Siri’s Corner

Bergamot of Cooking Escapades

Suparna of Food Fascination

Soma of ecurry

I wanted to pass onto Srilakshmi when I first received it from EC...But I guess I was a bit late in passing the award!!

Enjoy guys and have a great weekend!

Carrot Cake with Cream cheese Frosting

This is my first bake for the Sweet and Simple Bakes.Carrot Cake with the cream cheese icing is one of my favorite cakes and I was delighted to see that it is carrot cake this month! I love sitting in Barnes and Noble or Borders reading a good thriller and enjoying a luscious slice of spiced carrot cake. I have baked several cakes, mostly chocolate, but never a carrot cake. It is very rich with carrots and nuts and at every bite you get to taste ‘em!
My daughter is 2 today! And this cake goes to the cutie on her Birthday. Well, honestly, her first year was painfully slow but I have enjoyed every bit of her growing up in the 2nd year. Being a first time mom, it felt like a huge responsibility initially but I guess I am slowly growing into it myself! Having said that, I am not quite sure of her 3rd year-the terrible 2’s as they call it! Nevertheless, it is definitely a pleasure raising kids!

On to the recipe!
Changes I made: Raisins that you find in Indian grocery stores instead of Sultanas & ¼ tsp of All Spice instead of ½ tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice.

6½ oz self-raising (self-rising) flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp All spice
2 eggs
5 fl oz vegetable oil
7 oz light brown sugar
11 oz grated carrots
4 oz Raisins
3 oz walnuts, chopped

Cream Cheese Icing
3 oz cream cheese
3 oz softened butter
4½ oz icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

For Decoration
Walnuts Chopped and grated carrots

Preheat the oven to 300F.
Grease a 5in X 9in loaf pan and line with a parchment paper.
Sift the dry ingredients-flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, All spice
Beat the eggs.
Add oil , brown sugar, carrots, raisins and walnuts
Now, mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and combine the mixture such the ingredients are all well blended

Pour it into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
Bake it in the preheated oven for 1 – 1 ¼ hour or until a fork/skewer comes out clean.
Let it cool in the tin for 10 min and flip it onto a wire rack carefully and let it cool down completely.

Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter until combined well. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and mix well. Spread the frosting on the cake after it is cooled down completely. Sprinkle carrots and walnuts!

This goes to Sweet and Simple Bakes, hosted by Maria and Rosie.

Peanut Toffee

A few months back, after eating one of those store bought chikkis /peanut brittle, I wanted more and decided to make it in the house. So I go to B&N and skim through some barks and brittle books and grab this super simple and super chewy toffee. Don’t ask where I got this recipe from! No clue whatsoever.I guess noting down the source info started only after I started blogging!

Makes about 2 pounds

1 1 /4 cups unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 1/3 cups fine sugar
¾ cup water
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ tsp salt
1 cup toasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped
½ cup dried coconut
2 tsp Vanilla extract

Grease a pan (approx measurements: 10X15).
Place butter, sugar, water, corn syrup and salt in a pan and cook over medium heat.
Let butter melt and allow the sugar to dissolve.
Increase the heat and cook until the liquid is golden brown in color and measures 300F. (on a candy thermometer).
Turn off the heat and carefully mix the peanuts, coconut and vanilla extract.
Pour into the greased sheet.
Let it sit for at least an hour to cool and harden.

Note:If you use salted peanuts, skip the salt.

This goes to JFI:Peanuts hosted by Pavani of Cook's Hideout, event started by Indira of Mahanandi.


Neer Dosa

‘Neer’ means water in Kannada and Tulu. Interestingly, water is Neer in Tamil and Neeru /neellu in Telugu. The consistency of the dosa batter is very watery, which is why the name- Neer Dosa! This does not require fermentation and it is very soft although very delicate! There are a couple of deviations from the traditional recipe and the procedure.
-I have used yogurt to get some sour taste.
-Due to its watery consistency, I thought making on Appam pam would be much easier.

2 cups rice
½ cup grated coconut
¼ cup sour Buttermilk/Yogurt
Salt to taste

Soak the rice in water for 4-5 hours.
Grind the rice and coconut with Water and Buttermilk such that the consistency is almost like water.
Add salt to taste. Set it aside for 2 hours.
Heat a Tawa or Appam pan.
Pour a ladleful of batter onto the tawa. Once the batter is on the tawa, it is hard to spread it around.
If using an appam pan, pour the batter and rotate the pan such the batter spreads evenly along the circumference of the pan.
Lightly oil the edges of the dosa and let it cook for 2 minutes or until you can see the edges peeling away from the pan.

Serve it with spicy tomato chutney

This is my entry to RCI:Udupi/Mangalore hosted by Sia of MonsoonSpice, created by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine

RCI-Udupi & Mangalore


Chana Chaat

Call it Chaat or a snack, this Chana dish is simple and easy to make! We call them ‘Shenagalu’ in Telugu. I have eaten this snack in Hyd where the street vendor tosses boiled chana, onions, tomatoes, coriander and lime juice in masala powder and wraps up in an old newspaper! Those of you from Hyderabad will know when I say street food @ Eat Street & Tankbund. Chana is also served as Prasadam in temples where they temper with mustard seeds and fresh grated coconut.You could make it either way..I was just in the mood for chaat!!

1 cup black chana soaked overnight for 8-12 hours
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tbsps of fresh grated coconut
1 tsp Chaat masala
Lime juice
Cilantro, garnish

Soak the chana (I have used the black type) for 8- 12 hours.
Pressure cook the chana for 2-3 whistles.
Let the cooker cool down before draining the water.
Set aside the drained chana in a mesh strainer for 15-30 min

Combine chana with onion, tomato, chaat masala and grated coconut.

Toss the ingredients with lime juice and garnish with coriander.

This goes to 'Spill the beans' hosted by Priya of Akshayapaatram.


Navy beans & Vegetables in Coconut Gravy

I have special affinity to Coconut right from childhood when my mom used to make “Kobbari louz” (I am sure I would have slaughtered the name and the spelling.).Essentially it is grated coconut in sugar/jaggery syrup, made into round balls. Heavenly! They were meant to be eaten after our meals but there were plenty of times me and my brother ate them as meals. Good olden days! rather golden days. At home, my mom used to make everything out of fresh grated coconut-To make chutneys or use it in curries or sambar. Quite frankly, I never ate anything made out of coconut milk. I was introduced to coconut milk by one of my friends who uses it to make Palappam. I love Appam and every time she makes it I gorge on it. I tried to make it several times and will need another time and place to showcase all my disaster stories! For now, let me stick to this curry!!

This recipe is adapted from Anjum Anand’s Cannelini Curry that was published in 'Cook Vegetarian' Magazine. I have changed the ratios quite a bit and used Navy beans instead of Cannelini beans, just because I happened to have Navy beans in my pantry.

1 can of Navy Beans (You can use any type of beans, Cannelini or Kidney beans or black eyed peas)
1 can of unsweetened light coconut milk
1 small medium onion, sliced thin
1 Tomato chopped
½ cup beans (Chopped and Boiled)
1 medium potato, peeled, cubed and boiled
½ tsp turmeric
1 clove garlic
Some ginger
1 tsp jaggery
¼ cup fresh grated coconut
7-8 curry leaves
2 green chillies, chopped
Pinch of asafoetida
1 tbsp cumin coriander powder
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp Mustard seeds
Salt to taste

Put some oil in a wok and fry some mustard seeds. Add curry leaves, green chilies and asafoetida. Sauté the onions till golden brown.Add turmeric,garlic, ginger and tomatoes and cook till they are tender. Add boiled potatoes and beans.

Put coriander-cumin powder, curry powder, jaggery, fresh coconut and salt .Cook for a couple of minutes. Now, pour the coconut milk and let it simmer for about 10 mts or until the curry begins to thicken and comes together.
Serve with hot rotis or rice!

This is my entry to:

-MLLA 13 conceived by Susan of the "The Well-Seasoned Cook" and currently being hosted by Sunshinemom of "Tongue Ticklers"

-Lets Go Nuts, a brainchild of Aqua of "Served with Love" and guest hosted by Padmajha of "Seduce your Tastebuds"


Classic Mexican Rice

When you think of Mexican food, Tacos, Burritos , Enchiladas...all fancy names come to mind, but here is a rice dish that will equally tickle your taste buds! Simmered in Salsa and Vegetarian broth, this rice dish has a satisfying flavor. You can fill it in a burrito or eat it as it is!This recipe is adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. I have made a few changes like substituting Chicken Stock for Vegetable stock, adding water and using lime juice.

1 ½ tbsp oil
1 ½ cups short grain rice ( I have used Sona Masoori rice)
1 cup Salsa (Medium) You can use Mild or Hot salsa depending on how spicy you like.
1 cup Vegetable stock
½ cup water
½ cup Peas
Salt to taste
Fresh Lime juice and cilantro
Preheat the oven to 350F
Fry the rice in the oil till the rice becomes milky white. To this, add salsa, Vegetable stock, salt and water. (Add less or more water depending on how you like the rice to be.) Bring the contents to a boil. Cover the pan and bake it in the oven for 20 mts. Add peas and cover the pan again and bake it for another 5 minutes

Fluff the rice and mix in the peas. Garnish with coriander and drizzle the lime juice. Serve hot.
This dish is dancing its way to the Monthly Mingle: Mexican Fiesta hosted by Jenny of All things edible and created by Meeta of What’s for lunch, Honey?

Hasta Luego

Mango Semifreddo with Salted Pistachios

Mangoes are my first love!Being an Indian, I have grown up eating Mangoes, more than any other fruit, and the best of the lot in umpteen varieties. My dad and I shared the same passion of eating mangoes- morning, noon and night. And NO!! No Kidding!! I can still manage to pull it off, if only I can manage to get the tastier ones. This is an Italian dessert with an Indian twist. Semifreddo in Italian translates to 'half cold'. Semifreddo tastes very much like ice cream except that you don’t need an ice cream maker to make this.

I have made and eaten Semifreddos for a while now. They make for wonderful desserts. You can make this using Canned Mango Pulp (If using this, I prefer canned version that you find in Indian stores) or you can remove the pulp from 3 mangoes to make a little over a cup. Of course the size of the mangoes will vary the yield of the pulp but the juiciest ones are those that are small to mid sized. For those who are first timers with buying Mangoes/juicing them, I suggest you use the canned version. You can also use the Nectars that you get in the Food Stores but the taste will alter. I add Cardamom Powder and Saffron Threads to bring out the Indian flavors. This is one decadent dessert and its hard to make it sound anything but tempting.
  • Toast the Pistachios in a pan on low to medium heat for 2 minutes by continuously swirling the pan such that the nuts don’t get burnt.
  • Set them aside Separate the eggs from egg white in separate bowls.
  • Beat the egg yolks with Sugar until thick and pale yellow.
  • Mix in the Mango pulp gently In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream on medium speed for about 4 minutes until soft and thick; Don’t over beat the cream
  • Combine the cream mixture with egg yolks' mixture
  • In a dry and a separate bowl,beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form
  • Adding a tablespoon sugar at a time, continue beating on high speed until firm peaks form similar to a meringue
  • Fold in the egg whites into the Egg yolks and Cream mixture very gently
  • Stir in the Cardamom Powder,Saffron threads and Pistachios, if using.
  • Line a loaf pan with Parchment Paper.
  • With an inch and a half overhang, line the loaf pan with a plastic wrap
  • Pour the Mango mixture into the prepared pan
  • Freeze for at least 6 hours
  • To remove the Semifreddo, invert the pan slowly onto a plate
  • If it is difficult to remove it, slowly run warm water on the bottom of the pan.
  • Cut into slices and serve  

Zesty Veggie scramble

If there is an egg bhel puri, this is how it will taste like, I would imagine! Believe it or not, the first time I tried this, I did not expect it would come out as tasty as it did. This is an easy scramble with lot of Indian flavor and the lime juice does have a refreshing taste to it-I think thats what you need early morning.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 potato scraped and cubed
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
¼ cup fresh/frozen spinach
1 green chilli chopped
couple of curry leaves
1 tsp of cumin coriander powder
Dash of lime juice
Coriander to garnish

Heat some oil in the pan. Add the curry leaves, chilli and onion. Sauté the onions until golden brown and add potatoes. Cook till they are soft and add tomatoes and spinach. Add the cumin powder. Cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes. Pour the ggs into the pan and stir constantly,but gently so that the eggs are scrambled. Let it sit for a minute on the stove. Add a dash of lime juice and garnish with coriander.

This is off to Show me your Breakfast hosted by Divya of Dil Se.


Chocolate Fondue

Fondue- A communal dish made with Wine, Cheese and flour is typically eaten with bread. Fondue stems from the French word ‘fondre’ –to melt. This dish originated in Switzerland. It was considered a peasant dish and was a way to melt the hardened cheeses. The cheese and other ingredients are often melted in a fondue pot. You can find these pots in a lot of kitchen appliances’ stores in all fancy shapes and designs. You could also use a regular pot, which is what I used for this recipe. You need to keep melting the cheese/chocolate such that it does not stiffen up. I make this fondue by melting Chocolate instead of Cheese and substituting Almond extract for liqueur;).You could skip this almond extract if you would like.The best part of it is you can use this as a drizzle on any dessert or eat it all by itself as pure chocolate

4 oz Semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream, to make it smooth
1 tsp Almond extract, optional
Bamboo Skewers
Fruits like Strawberries, grapes, pineapple

Heat the chocolate and cream in a pan/thick bottomed vessel. Keep stirring until it is silk smooth. Add the extract and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour it in a bowl, gather around the table and dip ‘em in.
Note: You may need to reheat the chocolate to keep it warm. I substituted a regular pot for a fondue pot.
This delicious Chocolate Fondue goes to A.W.E.D Swiss guest hosted by Sweatha of tastycurryleaf, and created by DK of ChefinYou.

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