Sunday, May 25, 2014

Grilled Italian Roll

This summer we moved to a bigger place and finally we could check off two items on our wishlist: A Patio Swing and An Outdoor Grill. We ordered them online as soon as we moved and fortunately got them delivered super quick to make the best use for this summer. 

We have owned electric grill for quite some time but hardly have hands on experience with gas grill. So after successfully trying simple recipe like burger, I was all set to cook REAL food. And what better way to kick start Memorial Day Weekend?

These rolls are combination of pizza and sandwich. They are stuffed with grilled veggies, marinara sauce, pesto sauce and cheese. Crunchy from outside and moist and juicy from inside, these rolls are perfect supper for summer night.

Makes 8 Rolls
Preparation Time: 45 Minute (including sauce)
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

1 medium Italian eggplant
1 large zucchini
8 pc mixed sweet peppers
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup marinara sauce
4 tbsp basil pesto
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
4 pc tomato basil tortilla
Basil leaves
Salt and pepper

1. Cut eggplant and zucchini into 1/4 inch thick slices
2. In a large bowl, generously coat eggplant, zucchini and peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
3. Grill them on medium flame as desired

4. Peel off the skin of peppers and cut all veggies in medium size chunks
5. Now take a roll, spread pesto, pile grilled veggies and spinach, add sauce and cheese

6. Grill the roll till golden marks appear
7. Garnish with sauce, cheese and fresh basil leaves

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Long time ago, when my husband had an averse palette for salad as a full meal, I started using croutons as a tempting factor. Eventually, he fell in love with salad and I reduced the use of croutons. Why to increase calorie count when you eat salad for health reasons? Although salads are fine, but we still prefer to have croutons in soups. Normally, I buy ready packet from store but I hate to use them for once and remaining of them getting stale. 

So I thought why not to try at home from leftover bread. I buy fresh loaf quite often. How much I love the freshness of it, it hurts to see half of it going to trash after just one use. Since we have a rule that we would eat processed food made out of plain flour only once a week and we mostly stick to it; I cannot use it again in meal. So this time I made croutons out of leftover loaf. Not only they are cheap but also way more fresh and tasty than those from the packet. You can make them in almost no time and store them in air tight container for about a month. And more importantly, this turned out to be my little one's favorite snack :).

Preparation Time: 5 Minute
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

Leftover bread
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Garlic powder
Salt and Pepper

1. Cut bread in cubes. Cut off the crusts if using regular sandwich bread
2. In a large bowl, mix olive oil, spices and herbs
3. Toss in bread cubes and coat them well

4. Arrange cubes in a baking sheet in single layer and toast at 300 F for 10-15 minute or until they become light brown and crispy
5. Store in air tight container once cool down

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


This was my long time due project and finally I could attempt it last weekend. We prefer variety food over the weekend that's filling (and no leftovers please!) so usually I end up making North Indian/Punjabi style curries. This itself is a bit lengthy process as compared to normal vegetables. And I am always running behind schedule during weekend so we finish the meal with store bought frozen Naan/Paratha. No matter how convenient they are, they cannot be compared against fresh ones. This last weekend we were forced to stay home due to extreme cold weather. Hence I had ample of time to finally check off this item from my to-do list.

Usually Naan is cooked in tandoor (clay oven) which is kind of impossible to do at home. So either conventional oven or gas stove is used. The beauty of it is that you just change spices/herbs and you have completely new variety. Usually only plain flour is used to make Naan. But I combined both plain and whole wheat flours. Not only it's healthy but also it prevents Naan from becoming hard and chewy after it gets cold.

Makes 8 pcs
Preparation Time: 10 Minute + 4 hours of fermentation time
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup plain flour
1/4 oz packet of dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kalonji
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1. Mix yeast, salt and sugar in  lukewarm water and keep it aside for 10 minute till it becomes frothy
2. Combine and sieve both flours
3. Add kalonji and red pepper flakes
4. Knead a soft dough and cover it with plastic wrap

5. After 2 hours, it would be almost double in size. Knead it with little oil and keep it covered.
6. Wait for 2 more hours and dough doubles in size; now it's ready

7. Divide it into 8 equal parts and roll it in thin sheet. Use dusting flour as if needed
8. Cook it on both sides on griddle (and not directly on flame like chapatti/roti)

9. Apply butter and serve hot. You can make them couple of hours in advance, but do not put butter. When ready to serve, warm up in toaster/conventional oven and then apply butter

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pizza Crostini

The winter being so brutal this year; it feels good to just step out for grocery after few days of confinement at home. The other day we were enjoying such 'Family Outing' at nearby supermarket and I was browsing their bakery section. And I could not stop myself from buying fresh loaf of Italian Bread coming right out of the oven. I was not sure then what to make out of it but I knew I would be experimenting with it for Friday dinner.

These little bites are topped with pizza style toppings, pesto sauce and cheese. Though they are perfect as an appetizer, we could use them as meal as well. I use lot of veggies and omitted cheese for healthier version :).

Make 16 slices
Preparation Time: 20 Minute (Provided Pizza Sauce is ready)
Cooking Time: 20 Minute

Loaf of Italian Bread or Baguette
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cup of veggies, finely diced (I used mixed peppers, corn and zucchini)
1/4 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2-3 tbsp pizza sauce
2 tbsp basil pesto
10-12 pc olives
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (Optional)
Salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil and add garlic and onion
2. Once onions turn translucent, add veggies
3. Add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and cook them uncovered on medium-high flame till veggies become charred
4. Turn off the heat and add pizza sauce and olive rings

5. Slice the loaf, apply butter on both sides and cook it on grill

6. Top each slice with pesto, veggie stuffing and cheese

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Peda (Penda)

These Khoya Sweet Balls are apt for any occasion, be it for Prasad or to celebrate birth of a baby or exam result. There are many occasions and even more varieties of Peda. Though Peda were originated in Northern India, Gujarat is considered a hub for this sweet treat. Cities like Rajkot and Bhavnagar offer their own style of Peda for decades. Technically they are simple to made as they use Khoya/Mava as main ingredient; but it is all about patience and quality of Khoya.

Here, we do not have many places offering Peda. So I thought of experimenting at home. I knew that ricotta cheese eventually gets converted into Khoya but it would not offer right degree of consistency. So, I added dry milk/milk powder. After going through trial and error couple of times, now I think I have got the grip :). Of course they are not as good as we get in India, but certainly very close and worth an effort.

Makes 16-18 pc
Preparation Time: 5 minute
Cooking Time: 1 Hr

1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup milk powder (I prefer Nestle)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp pistachio, coarsely chopped
Almonds for garnishing

1. In a thick bottom pan, heat ghee and add cheese
2. Cook it on low flame till moisture evaporates and cheese stops sticking to pan (It took me about 20-25 minute)

3. Now add sugar and milk powder. Cook it for another 20-25 minute, stirring continuously. Try rolling the mixture into a ball. Another sign is to taste it. Raw taste of milk powder should not be there
4. Add pistachio and cardamom powder
5. Once it cools down completely, roll into a ball and flatten in your palm. Garnish with almonds

6. You can refrigerate them and they stay good for at least couple of weeks