Mini Summer Tarts

My sister and I were going to our cousin’s house for dinner, and wanted to quickly whip up something for dessert. We had leftover pie crust in the fridge, and some ripe peaches, and voilà: mini tarts!
We wanted to use a spice to brighten the flavor, and we thought of cinnamon (as it is a go to in western desserts), but ended up using cardamom instead (the perfect choice, as we would later realize!). Cardamom is used to flavor many summer desserts in India, like aamras (made from mangoes) and kheer. It has cooling properties, making it perfect for hot summers, and is even used in ayurveda as an antidepressant!
These tarts are perfect with a glass of cold milk, and make for a light, fruity summer breakfast.

All you need for these easy mini tarts is:
1. Store bought pie crust
2. Peaches and blueberries
3. Sugar
4. Butter
5. Ground cardamom seeds

First, we cooked the peaches and blueberries in butter in a pan on medium heat and added sugar and cardamom. We cooked these until they were soft and most of the liquid had evaporated (so that the tarts wouldn’t have soggy bottoms!).
We greased a muffin tin with butter, lined it with circles of the dough (which had been rolled out a little more, to about 1/4″ thickness after we took it out from the packet), and put in the peach and blueberry filling.
We used 2 peaches and a fistful of blueberries for 5 tarts.
(Yes, quite an irregular number, but we were working with leftovers!)

 

Sautéed Vegetables with Mustard Seeds

Yesterday morning my sister and I were trying to think of what to take for lunch, something that would be light, green and filling.
So while my sister showered, I quickly satuéed broccoli, eggplant chunks and mushrooms with mustard seeds and garlic (adding the garlic after the mustard seeds have *popped* in the oil, and waiting until the garlic was a very light brown). I then squeezed some lemon on the veggies and packed them with leftover fried rice.
And I can say that it was a hit! 😉

 

My meal! (Navratan Korma with Naan)

I made this with my sister a few days ago… we were craving something spicy and creamy with loads of gravy and vegetables – and this definitely satisfied the craving.
We were in such a rush to eat that we forgot to take down how much of each ingredient we were using, so I won’t put up the recipe yet … but I promise to make it again and share it with all of you!
We ate the sabji (hindi for vegetable dish) with naan and a salad of cucumbers, tomato and onions.

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Baingan Bhaaja (Mustardy Pan-Fried Eggplant)

This is a dish that is very close to my heart, and a childhood and family favorite. This mustardy recipe from Bengal is a healthy, fun and delicious way to eat eggplant. Mustard oil is a must – it’s what gives the eggplant the taste that makes this dish what it is!
These can be served as a side to a meal, or as a yummy snack.

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All you need is:
Turmeric
Salt
Mustard Oil
1 Large Eggplant
Chaat Masala (optional)

Cut the eggplant into about 1/4 inch thick slices. Rub turmeric on both sides of each slice; the amount should be just enough to cover the whole slice in a very thin layer.
Heat mustard oil in a pan. When hot pan fry eggplant slices until brown on one side, then flip and brown other side.
Put the fried slices on a bed of paper towels to absorb the extra oil. Sprinkle both sides of each slice with salt, and chaat masala if you want that extra *zing*.
Serve!

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Comeback!

It’s been almost an year since I last posted something…. and also since I last cooked regularly. The first semester of college was hectic, to say the least, and though I often wanted to cook my own wholesome meals (unlike the food available on campus), I found myself not having the will power, or often the time, to cook in the perpetually dirty shared kitchen on my floor.
But now it’s summer… and I have a glorious amount of time, and most importantly, easy access to my own kitchen. Yay!

So in short, I’m going to be posting again! These might be mostly Indian recipes, because these were sorely missing for my life while I was on campus, but also because I enjoy them the most. There’s nothing more fulfilling than a meal of roti, dal, sabji and rice!

Hummingbird Cake!

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Hello!
A few days ago, I made a southern classic: the hummingbird cake. I used the southern living recipe, and the cake turned out to be absolutely delicious. The recipe is incredibly simple and the cake, though beautiful and delectable, does not take much effort to make at all!
Here’s a link to the recipe (the list of ingredients contains a link to the cream cheese frosting) :
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/hummingbird-cake-0
Note: I added a little extra syrup from the pineapple, so my cake was a bit more sticky. I also reduced the sugar in the frosting (I might have used about 4 or 5 ounces less than the original), but the cake and frosting together were still perfectly sweet. In fact, if I had used the original, I would have over-sweetened.

 

Chocolate Frosting Cookies – Almonds and Orange

Do you have leftover frosting you don’t know what to do with? Bake some delicious cookies! This is a very simple recipe that makes about 18 medium sized cookies.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/4 cup chocolate frosting (melted)
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Method:
Beat the eggs until fluffy. Sift flour and mix with the baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the frosting. Mix well. Now add the almonds and zest and mix again. Roll medium sized balls of the dough, flatten and place on parchment paper covered baking tray. You can place a few almonds as decoration on top of the cookies. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Dust with icing sugar as preferred.

 

 

My Meal

For lunch today I had a steaming hot bowl of khichdi (lentil rice) and aloo mattar tamatar (potatoes with peas in a tomato gravy). This is the ultimate comfort food, and my mom’s recipe is simply the best! I will put up a link to the recipe soon.

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Mexican Wedding Cakes/ Almond Cookies

This amazing recipe comes from Judy Bayer, my mom’s friend. These cookies are seriously addicting, try one and you won’t stop!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (softened)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar + 1 cup for rolling cookies in after the are baked
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped almonds

Method:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together till fluffy. Add the vanilla and flour and mix well. Now add the nuts and mix again.
Use your hands to make small balls of dough, flatten and then make the shapes you want. My sister and I made the traditional crescents that my mom’s friend recommended and also stars, hearts and plain round cookies.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Cool on a cookie rack for 10 minutes and then roll in the confectioner’s sugar. We rolled the cookies in sugar twice or thrice and then tapped them on the side of the bowl to remove extra sugar, but you can change this according to your preference.
Enjoy!

Simple Bruschetta

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This is a simple and delicious breakfast or appetizer dish that you can whip up in seconds!
This recipe makes about 4 pieces
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/3 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 clove of garlic – peeled
Fresh Mozzarella (Bocconcini)
Oregano Seasoning
Salt to taste
4 slices of baguette (cut diagonally)

Keep baguette slices to toast in the oven or put a bit later into the the toaster.
Mix all the other ingredients except for the garlic in a bowl. I haven’t specified the measurement for the mozzarella and oregano as everyone likes different quantities of cheese and seasoning in the mix, so you can add these to taste.
When the bread is toasted, rub the clove of garlic on the slices. Top with the mix and serve!