It’s Spring Time!

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” ~Doug Larson

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Spring is being a real tease by giving us slight glimpses of it once in a while. The long days, warm glow from the sun, and the chirping of the birds are all hinting that it’s just round the corner somewhere. I simply can’t wait to see the bare trees turn green, frozen lakes come back to life again, the flowers to bloom and for the nature to unveil its myriad colors.

Spring is such a delight that it’s completely worth the wait.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to add some spring flair to my home by playing around with different settings and introducing color to perk up the mood. Without spending anything at all, I compiled together a few things lying around in the house to create a look. Here are a few of them :-

  1. On my recent trip to India, I went to my grandmother’s place and she gave me this cotton sheet which had been with me during my college days. It’s a beautiful handmade block-printed sheet in a lovely blueish green color, which I had completely forgotten about. I decided to bring it back with me to the US.
  2. Two beautiful hand painted gold-rimmed mugs which were a flea market find for an amazing bargain price.
  3. This wooden plank which we recently got from Ikea to make extra storage space in the closet, but haven’t had the time to install it yet.
  4. Coffee mug turned planter in deep blue color which got chipped while moving from California.
  5. Wooden serving tray from TJ MAXX.
  6. Ceramic birds Salt pepper shakers, gifted to me by a friend.

DSC_4907DSC_4979Makes for a cute informal setting if you have guests over for tea.

This weather reminds me of the spring flower festival I attended last year around the same time. Here are some pictures from the same.

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Classic Homemade Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti

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It’s been a while since I last posted but there is so much material I have stocked up that I hope it makes up for my absence.

After coming back from my 2 month long relaxing India trip, I am really pumped up to try new things at home. Both me and my husband are really fond of meatballs. It’s one of our staples that we like to have at least once a week. My husband generally avoids red meat so we mostly go for Aidell’s caramelized chicken meatballs from Costco. I always had the impression that meatballs are very complicated to make at home, but surprisingly they are pretty easy and I got them right on my first try (which is a very rare event..:P).

So here is the process-

Total time: 40-45mins

Makes 25-30 meatballs depending on the size.

Ingredients:-

Meatballs

  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup, optional
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 pound ground dark turkey meat
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to season
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to season
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1.5 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Recipe:-

For the meatballs:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, basil, parsley, milk, ketchup, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic and onions. Mix well using a spatula. Add the ground turkey. Gently mix all the ingredients using your fingers until thoroughly combined.
  2. Form the meat mixture into balls (25-30 meatballs approximately). Place the meatballs on a nonstick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

For the tomato sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the basil, the fennel, oregano and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs are heated through. Thin the sauce with chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time.
  3. Serve with grated Parmesan alongside and some slices of freshly toasted french bread.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/classic-italian-turkey-meatballs-recipe.html

Hot and Spicy Sesame Noodles

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I am a huge fan of sesame noodles and I invariably order it everytime I find it on the menu of a restaurant. It’s such a simple dish with very few ingredients yet packs a flavorful punch. So here is my take on it:-

Total Time – 10mins

Serves – 4

Ingredients:-

  • 1 packet whole wheat spaghetti (cooked and drained as per the instructions on the packet)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves minced or 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 2-3 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted Sesame Seeds (black or white or both)
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Method:-

  1. Mix all the ingredients together except the noodles to make a dressing.
  2. Pour the dressing over the warm noodles and toss to coat.
  3. Finally sprinkle some sesame and cilantro on top. You can even add some freshly chopped scallions while serving.

ENJOY..:)

 

Thai Red Curry

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One of the most popular Thai dishes which is really easy and quick to make. Spicy, healthy and light, it’s very rare that a dish fits in well in all these three categories which is what makes it so popular. So here you go:-

Serves – 4

Ingredients:

  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Red Curry Paste – 2-3 tbsp (you can follow this recipe to make it at home)
  • Coconut Milk – 1 can (14oz/400ml each)
  • Thai Chilies – 2 finely chopped
  • Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Soy Sauce or Fish Sauce – 1 tbsp
  • Baby corn-1/2 cup
  • Red Bell Pepper – 1/4, sliced
  • Green Bell Pepper – 1/2, sliced
  • Mushrooms – 1/4 cup
  • Broccoli –  1/2 cup
  • Tofu or Chicken Breasts- 1/2 cup
  • lemon grass -1 stalk finely chopped
  • Green Onions – 5 stalks finely chopped
  • Garlic Cloves – 3-4 minced
  • Basil Leaves – 1 bunch and some extra for garnishing

Method:

  1. In a pan, heat the oil. Once hot, add garlic and chilies and sauté for a few seconds. Add in the red curry paste and mix well.
  2. Add the coconut milk and mix again. Then add in the sugar, soy sauce or fish sauce.
  3. If you are making a non-vegetarian dish, then add the chicken now, cover and allow chicken to cook partially.
  4. If you are making it a vegetarian dish, skip steps 3 and add the vegetables to the gravy. Add baby corn, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, lemon grass and mushrooms. (Leave broccoli at this stage.)
  5. Let it cook for a minutes and then add tofu.
  6. Add the basil leaves and cook for another 3-5 minutes. And then add broccoli.
  7. Cook till chicken / tofu is cooked.
  8. Garnish with a few more Thai Basil Leaves and serve hot with some steamed rice.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Sausage and Rosemary

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This delicious snack is so quick and easy to make. You can serve it at parties or have it as a family meal.

All you’ll need is:

  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 large mushrooms 
  • 2 links of italian sausage (casing removed) (Replace with paneer for vegetarian version)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 6 scallions (chopped)
  • Some grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Freshly chopped rosemary (keep some sprigs for garnishing)
  • Salt and pepper as per taste

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove the stems from the mushroom and keep aside.
  3. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic. Sauté it for a minute.
  4. Add the sausage and crumble it using a wooden spoon. Cook it till it turns brown and then add the scallions.
  5. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, add the chopped rosemary, mix well and finally turn off the heat.
  6. Fill each mushroom generously with this sausage mixture and sprinkle some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top. 
  7. Season them with some salt and pepper and arrange them in a baking dish. 
  8. Bake them for about 20-30 mins. Garnish with some fresh rosemary sprigs before serving.

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Spicy Masala Chicken Curry (Dhabe wala Chicken)

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Another one of my absolute favorites-Spicy Masala Chicken curry or Dhabe wala Chicken(as I prefer to call it). This amazing Indian Curry dish is spicy, full of flavor, has rich thick gravy and is mouthwateringly aromatic. Even though I’m always in favor of healthier and seemingly less fatty alternatives but there are certain dishes where I just don’t compromise on flavor and stick to its true original recipe and this dish is definitely one of those. So here is the recipe –

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lb chicken thighs or 3 lb chicken legs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon kashmiri lal mirch or red chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4-5 cups water or chicken broth(for more flavorful results)
  • cup canned tomato purée
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 small potatoes-quartered
  • Plain yogurt, torn fresh mint, and naan, flatbread, or cooked rice (for serving)

METHOD

  • Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic, and ginger to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add tomato puree, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, red chili, salt, pepper and cardamom and cook, stirring often, until tomato puree is beginning to darken, about 5-6minutes.
  • Add broth or water and cream to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and add the chicken. Simmer, partially covered, skimming occasionally, until chicken is almost done and liquid is slightly thickened, approximately 1hr.
  • Add potatoes to the pan and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are fork-tender, chicken is fully cooked, and liquid is thick enough to coat a spoon.
  • Top with yogurt and mint, and serve with naan, flatbread, or rice.

(For best result, if you are using leg pieces you should saute the chicken for 7-8 mins in a separate pan before adding to the broth.)