Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The last couple of weeks have been a little hectic and due to some reasons I will not be able to post for a few weeks. I'm really sorry about this and this is not because of my disinterest or a lack of enthusiasm, it's just that with the current circumstances it would be difficult to manage my blog. Thanks so much for everyone's love and encouragement to keep my blogging going!! Sorry once again and I will keep you up to date when I finally do get to publish a post!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Everyone in our house knows that Amma loves breadsticks. I think I've mentioned this before, but trust me, I could say it over and over again but it would not properly quantify her love for breadsticks! Sometimes I often feel that she orders pizzas from Dominos just to eat the breadsticks. Once Amma was craving breadsticks so much I could see it in her eyes. So, when I went out with my best friend Sabina I decided to surprise Amma by buying her a box of breadsticks on my way back home. Usually you just call Dominos and "POOF!", they bring it over, hot and fresh. But, when I went there and ordered it myself I actually got to partake in the process of how they actually create the oh so tempting breadsticks. In the Indiranagar branch of Dominos, you can watch what happens in the kitchen from where you order. I thought that they would just plop a piece of dough on a tray and bake it. But instead they have one of those squirt bottles that they use for mustard, but at Dominos they fill it with butter (well, not butter really, it's dalda and I hate dalda!). The guy then began to meticulously squirt the pan with a gallon of dalda. After which he plopped this heavy dough into the pan; at this point the dalda is going crazy and is all over the place including the hands of the person making it and then you'd at least think he would gently slip the pan into the oven, but NO! He shoved it with a hard push! And, the dalda once again spilled all over the place. It was almost like they were emphasizing on how much dalda they used. Once it came out, the man crudely brushed the breadsticks with more dalda and threw on some seasoning, cut it up, and put it in a box. I asked the man through the window why he seemed to be using so much dalda; he simply answered my question in two words, "more flavour." Since I had already paid for the breadsticks I picked up the box in disgust and left without arguing. When I went home I told my Amma about my painful experience but since there was no where else to get breadsticks from and since she loved them so much, it was hard for her not to eat them. She did cringe, and she did get a little upset by my story, but at the end of the day she knew that breadsticks were her weakness and a little bit of indulgence would not hurt anybody. Also, everyone knows when you order anything from a fast food restaurant you are not going to get the healthiest of foods. You order them anyway because they are just so delicious! If I made this when I was back at home, my Amma would've stopped ordering breadsticks and would've preferred this version of it better. Well, this recipe is just for my Amma, and for those like her who absolutely love breadsticks. Trust me, these are the softest, chewiest, yummiest breadsticks ever! Sorry, pardon my enthusiasm and lack of modesty, it's just that when I made them, I was honestly surprised that home-made breadsticks could taste that good. These were really melt in the mouth and they are definitely a must try! Once you try it I'm sure you'll get hooked. The recipe is very simple and it doesn't take time to rise the dough. By the time you cook your pasta your breadsticks should be ready. Imagine having a party and actually being able to say that you made the breadsticks; that's just amazing! OK, now I'm going overboard, so here's the recipe:
Preparation time: 40 minutes
- 1 cup of warm water
- 3 cups of flour
- 2 and 1/2 tsps of yeast
- 3 tbsps of brown sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 3 tbsps of olive oil
- 5 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 3-4 tsps of chopped basil
- 1-2 tsps of fresh or dry oregano
- Mix all the ingredients for the bread together. Knead well till you get a smooth dough (this might take about 5 minutes)
- Roll the dough out into a rectangle of 10 inches by 12 inches
- Cut the rectangle into strips.
- Take each strip of dough, twist it gently a couple times and then place onto a well greased baking sheet.
- Let the breadsticks rise for about 20 minutes.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius for at least 10-15 minutes till the breadsticks have browned very slightly on the top.
- While the breadsticks are baking you can prepare the seasoning, which is fairly simple.
- Just heat the olive oil and add the the basil, garlic and oregano and let the flavours melt into the oil. Do not heat for too long as the seasoning might burn.
- Once the breadsticks are done, brush generous amounts of the seasoning over the breadsticks. You can also sprinkle some Parmesan cheese if you wish.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Sorry for not putting up a post earlier.Brandon was in town and we spent the whole weekend watching movies lazing on the couch and going to Carowinds (an amusement park). We had the best time ever. This is the first time I was going to an amusement park here in America, and I went absolutely crazy, because, well, there are not so many rides back in Bangalore. I missed my Etta (brother) because he would've loved all the roller coasters and I missed my Acha because whenever I did go to an amusement park in the past I always had his arm to hold on to when I was scared. Well anyway, I just had a very fun weekend!
Since Brandon was coming home I got really excited to have a guest stay over at our place the whole weekend; This was a first. So, I spent Friday evening cooking and preparing for Brandon's arrival. Brandon is one of our closest friends and since he lives with his roommates and doesn't have anyone to cook for him, I felt it was my duty to make him feel as much at home as possible. On Friday I made pesto chicken with barbecue sauce (I know, it sounds like a weird combination, but they both enjoyed it a lot) and I also made butternut squash pasta with goat cheese. These are two very simple recipes which I'm sure y'all will enjoy! The butternut squash pasta with goat cheese was actually inspired by a recipe I saw on tv. I followed it through pretty much the same way, but I realized you had to add something more to it otherwise the taste is bland and flat.
On Saturday everyone woke up late and I just ended up making a heavy brunch, which consisted of italian sausages, bacon, bagels, waffles and the side condiments and preserves. On Sunday we spent the whole day outside at Carowinds, so I really did not have to cook that day. Then today I decided to make some home-made bagels, which are fairly simple to make and taste really really good. We don't get nice bagels back in India and I'd always ask people coming from the States, to get me a bag of bagels every time they visited Bangalore; they are just so good! And, did you know that bagels were boiled before they're baked? Well, it was really simple; more simple than I expected, and I hope you try to make them too! So, here are the recipes:
Pesto Barbecue Chicken:
- 1 hour for marination
- 30-40 minutes for cooking
- 1/2 cup of chopped basil leaves
- 1 tbsp of garlic
- 2 tbsps of cream
- 3 tbsps of walnuts
- 4 tbsps of olive oil
- 2 tsps of all spice
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce
- 3 pieces of chicken breast
- 4-5 tbsps of chopped olives
- 4-5 tbsps of chopped roasted bell peppers
- chopped nuts for garnish
- Grind the ingredients for the marinade together and pour it over the chicken breasts, ensuring that it's covered well (if the pesto is dry, add a few tablespoons of water to wet it a little bit)
- Marinade for at least 1 hour.
- Bake the chicken breasts in an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius and bake for 20-30 minutes till the meat is well cooked (I added Parmesan cheese on top of the chicken, to just give it an extra flavour.
- In the meantime mix the barbecue sauce with the olives and bell peppers and heat it over a medium flame for a few minutes.
- Once the chicken is cooked pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
- I used a whole bag of pasta; I'm not sure how much exactly that is, but it made a lot of pasta. I think it was about 3 cups of pasta.
- 1 pound of butternut squash (chopped into large chunks)
- 4 medium sized onions (chopped into large chunks)
- 1/4 cup of chopped chives
- 5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 4 tbsps of butter
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of goat cheese
- Parmesan cheese and walnuts to garnish
- Toss the chives, onions and butternut squash into a baking pan and pour in the olive oil.
- Spread them around till all the pieces are well coated in olive oil.
- Place in the oven and set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius for at least 20 minutes till the butternut squash is soft and mushy.
- In the meantime cook the pasta.
- While the pasta is still hot, in a separate bowl squash the goat cheese with the back of a fork, and add the hot pasta into the bowl. Make sure the pasta is not completely dry as the starch water left behind when you cook pasta is important in order to make a nice sauce.
- Mix the pasta till it's well coated with the goat cheese sauce.
- Add the butternut squash and onions to the mixture.
- Heat the butter and add the garlic; Cook for a few seconds and pour over the pasta.
- Toss all the ingredients together and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Preparation Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- 4 cups of flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups of water
- 4-5 tbsps of dried cranberries/raisins/berries/or all of the above
- 2-3 tsps of ground cinnamon
- 2 tsps of active dry yeast
- 1 and 1/2 tsps of salt
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- Mix all the above ingredients together.
- Once all ingredients come together, place the dough on a clean work surface and knead for 7-8 minutes till the dough is smooth.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.
- Let these parts rise for 20 minutes.
- Once the dough has risen, take each piece and roll it long. The length should be the distance between both your little fingers if your hands are placed side by side (This might sound confusing, but I hope the pictures help)
- Roll it out and then bring the two ends together and squeeze them so as to seal it and create a ring.
- Let them rise for about 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Once the 20 minutes are up, slide the bagels into the boiling water; I did it 4 at a time, but it really depends on the size of the pot you use.
- Cook the bagel for a minute on each side.
- Put it on a cooling rack and let it dry for a minute.
- Place on a well greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side.
- Serve with cream cheese.