Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter

Wishing all a happy and blessed Easter.
Easter Cake I baked in 2015

Paruppu masa vadai and Susiyam , I made for Easter 2019.

Flowers and cake for Easter vigil celebration.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Spicy pink salad

I always have a 'thing' for pink accessories. Beetroot and purple cabbage became my favorites just because they belong to pink family only. Even though purple cabbage looks prettier than the regular cabbage, in my view, it tastes better as salads or coleslaw or sauerkraut only. (While I use regular cabbage only to make Indian curries and stir-fry).  Here I have used English cucumber , as it is more firmer than the cooking variety. English Cucumber are the varieties that wouldn't be given a wax coating for longer shelf life and instead they are sold in a plastic wrap (see images below). But any cucumber will be good for this salad.
Here is a pink salad / pink coleslaw we love very much.

Time required to prepare - 10 minutes; time to refrigerate - 4 hrs (minimum).
Spicy Pink salad

Shredding the cabbage...sooo cute !

English Cucumber are the varieties that wouldn't be given a wax coating for longer shelf life  and instead they are sold in a plastic wrap.

Purple cabbage, English cucumber and lemon.

A simple version with red cabbage and cucumber. 

Colorful salad is ready!

Red (purple) cabbage - 1 lb
English cucumber - 1/2
red capsicum - 1
lemon - 1
cilantro - few
pink salt- 1/2 tsp
red chili powder - 1/4 tsp
cumin (whole or powder) - 1/2 tsp

Shred the purple cabbage into small pieces (using a knife or food processor).
Halve the cucumber and Slice the cucumber into small pieces.
Cube the capsicum.
Chop the cilantro.
Put them all together in a wide mixing bowl.
Add pink salt, red chili powder, cumin and mix well.
Squeeze lemon.
Mix well and transfer it to a tight lidded container. Keep in refrigerator for 4 hrs - overnight, so that the cabbage gets little tender.
Pink salad is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Serve cool along with any meal or simply as healthy snack.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Glimpse of Spring and Easter !

A few clicks from my neighnorhood shops:

'Stop and Shop' store:

Marshmallow peeps (chicks) and Bunnies.

A painting idea !!!

Just love clicking these paper plates with Easter theme. 

Chocolate bunnies cheers us and gives a glimpse of spring.

Chocolate bunnies and peeps....looks like Easter is coming soon.

Marshmallow peeps and bunnies for Easter. I use these sweets to decorate the cakes I make.
My hubby dear knows exactly what I need . It seems like God's gift  for me. I smiled all through the day. 

Major Nailpolish companies would do a clearance sale before summer. So it is my lucky day :)

Vinyl Tablecloth from Stop n shop $3.99. , Agarbathi Incense sticks (frankincense and Myrrh)  from Walmart $ 1 each.

From Shoprite:

Colorful cauliflowers (Pink, orange, green and regular white cauliflower) in Shoprite.

Cranberry beans / butter beans

Everything looks fresh !

Crocus Vernus in my garden , budding out of the frozen grounds.

Mini Daffodiles too start smiling for spring.  The economical way to garden is to buy all these bulbs by the end of summer and planting them immediately. They will hibernate during winter and will come out during spring.

Orange / yellow and red Tulips from Walmart

Door decors for Easter

Easter decors.

Easter decors , Wall plaque $ 2

Easter decors

Painted this last week . Love elephants ! (ombre technique, tree of life and elephants).

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Simple Indian salad for snack

A simple salad with cucumber, tomato, onion and some chickpeas. I have used a 'Kirby' variety of cucumber as I found it lesser expensive and of smaller size than a 'seedless English cucumber'. Roma tomato are more suitable for salads, as they won't give out much moisture. I have used 'sweet mini peppers' instead of bellpepper, as I had that only at hand. Some people won't add bell pepper and instead there would be finely chopped green chili (for those spice lovers). Foods like this are more filling and easy to prepare. If you have the habit of buying cans of chickpeas, then this will get more easier.

In India salads like this are served as snacks during summer. Before salads got popular in Tamilnadu, we used to make a dish called kosambari (moong dal salad), then came the version of including slices of cucumber in that plantain leaf dinner for a special meal.   I think with the emerging 'mall culture'  (which is a good thing for everyone, as people who are from even the remotest village of Tamilnadu could get to taste the multicultural cuisines) salads got popular everywhere in Tamilnadu.

Cucumber - 1
Tomato - 1
Red onion - 1/2
bell pepper - 1(small) or  sweet mini pepper - 2
lemon - 1/2
boiled Chickpeas - 1 cup
boiled sweet corn - 1 cup
Pink salt - to taste (1/2 tsp)
red chili powder - a pinch
cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
chopped cilantro - handful (to garnish)

Chop the cucumber, tomato, peppers, onion into small cubes. A vidalia chopper would make this job more easy. Put them all together in a mixing bowl, along with everything mentioned above.
Mix well and serve immediately or after cooling it in fridge for an hour. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack or along with any meal as salad.
Serves 4 people.
கோடை நேர சாலட்:
சாலட் என்பது மேற்கத்திய உணவு மட்டுமல்ல. நம் நாட்டிலும் கொசும்பரி என உண்ணப்படும் பச்சை காய்கறி கலவையே சாலட் எனப்படுகிறது.
சாலட்கள் என்பவை ஆரோக்கியமும் ,  குளிர்ச்சியும், தேவையான உப்பு சத்துக்களும் உடலுக்கு தரும் உணவாகும் .

தேவையான பொருட்கள் :
வெள்ளரி - 1, தக்காளி - 1, வெங்காயம் - 1 , குடைமிளகாய் - 1, வேக வைத்த கொண்டைக்கடலை - 1 கப், உதிர்த்த இனிப்பு கார்ன் - 1 கப், மல்லி தழை - சிறிது, எலுமிச்சை - 1/2 , இந்துப்பு (அல்லது வெள்ளை உப்பு) - 1/4 தேக்கரண்டி, சிவப்பு மிளகாய் தூள் - ஒரு சிட்டிகை, சிரக பொடி - 1 சிட்டிகை. 
வெள்ளரி, தக்காளி , வெங்காயம் , குடைமிளகாய் , இவற்றை பொடியாக வெட்டி , ஒரு அகலமான பாத்திரத்தில் போடவும். கொண்டைக்கடலை , சோளம், எலுமிச்சை சாறு  மற்றும் எல்லா பொடியும் சேர்த்து உப்பு போட்டு குலுக்கவும். உடனே பரிமாறலாம். பிரிட்ஜ் இல் 1 மணி நேரம் வைத்து குளிச்சியான சாலட் ஆக பரிமாறலாம். 

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Baked chicken (Indian version)

Do you crave a chicken recipe loaded with vegetables like a one pot meal ? Then this is a treat for you !This is my version of baked chicken. I have cooked it in a cast iron skillet.
Foods cooked in cast iron skillets have a deep flavor color and more healthy too. I bought my Ozark trail cast iron skillet  from walmart some years back. I got it on a clearance sale for just $7 for that set of 3 skillets. Cast iron skillets comes very handy to prepare baked foods, omelet, crispy sandwiches and the list goes on.
In this recipe, I have made a curry infused Indian version of baked chicken along with some vegetables. This dish seems like a full meal for us for dinner as well as for the next day's lunch. So try this if you are looking for a healthy chicken recipe with an Indian touch and let me know how much you like it !

Marinated chicken getting fried a little.

Baking the chicken
Chopped vegetables.
After baking.
Place the chicken in a serveware.
After removing the chicken, saute  the vegetables.
Add sauces.

Cook it to tender crispy.

Pour over the baked chicken.

Baked chicken with vegetables and beetroot raitha

Leftovers can be used in making sandwich. 

Special appliances needed:
Heavy cast iron pan (preferably 10 - 12 inch dia).
Tongs to flip the chicken

Chicken thighs (skinless) - 3 lb
Extra virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup
To marinate:
Sea salt - 2 tsp (to taste)
turmeric powder - 1 tsp
fat free Indian yogurt - 1/2 cup
ginger garlic paste - (ginger 2 inch , garlic - 1 whole)
red chili powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
pepper , cumin powder - 1/2 tsp each
Remove the skin off the chicken pieces. Rinse in water for 2 to 3 times to remove any residue.
Do small slits over chicken pieces. Keep aside.
Grind peeled ginger and garlic together to a fine paste.
Mix everything said for marination together.
Apply over chicken and toss well. Let it sit for an hour or overnight inside fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 deg C.
Heat a heavy cast iron pan (12 inch size).
Spread the oil on the pan.
Place the marinated chicken and cook 5 mins each side.
Then keep the pan  inside the oven and bake for 30 mins. Flip and cook again for 20-30 mins or until crispy and reddish brown in color.
Take the pan out. Check for perfection in salt and cooking.
Place all the chicken pieces on a serveware. Close tightly to keep the chicken moist.
Now we start to prepare vegetable topping.

Vegetable topping: (vegetable salad).
Zucchini - 1
green bell pepper - 1 (small)
red onion - 1
Sweet mini pepper - 4 (optional)
cilantro - handful
lemon juice - 2 tbsp
hot mustard sauce - 2 tbsp
hot sauce - 1 tsp
EV olive oil - 1 tbsp
salt - very little
chili powder - 1/4 tsp
turmeric powder, pepper , cumin powder - 1/2 tsp

Heat the same cast iron pan with oil (without washing) over stove.
Add all the vegetables together and toss for few minutes.
Add the masala powders, salt, lemon juice, hot sauce, mustard sauce, toss well and switch off.
Pour this over baked chicken. Serve hot.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as main course meal with beetroot raitha or any raitha or salad and bread / roti.
Leftovers can be used to prepare sandwich.