Archive for Chef Recommends

Not Your Grand Mother’s Matzo Ball Soup

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Make it exactly I say and you will have a perfect matzo ball soup. Pay special attention to making of matzo balls. Serves 2, twice. Or serves 5 people.

Ingredients: 

For soup: 

  • 2 chicken quarters with skin and bone, dark meat only (this is lots of chicken, feel free to use less)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic crushed
  • Salt as per taste, somewhere between 1 tsp to 2 tsp or more

Optional Spices: these will give the additional oomph to your soup.

  • 1 ” cinnamon
  • 3 pods of cardamom (whole cardamom)
  • 5 – 10 black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1″ ginger crushed
  • muslin cloth

For Matza Balls: I made them instant Manischewitz Matzo Ball Mix however not as per their recipe but my recipe.

  • 1 packet of Manischewitz Matzo Ball Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil

Method:

Tie all the spices except turmeric in a muslin cloth. In a large stock pot boil water and all soup ingredients including spices in a muslin cloth and turmeric but salt. Let everything boil for a 5 minutes then let the chicken cook on medium heat. Once the chicken is cooked (when chicken is cooked it starts to separate from the bone of the drumstick.)

While soup is getting ready start with matzo balls. In a bowl combine 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of oil and beat it for a minute or till transparent strands in the egg disappear. Add a single packet or matzo meal and mix it with a fork, till there is no dry meal left. Don’t over work it. Cover it and set it aside, no need to refrigerate it.

By now if the chicken is cooked, carefully take it out on a paper towel. Debone the chicken and put the bones back in the broth. Add 1 tsp of salt to the broth and taste it, add a little more if you need more, make it little less seasoned that you need. The salt from matzo ball is going to mix with the broth too.

Discard the spices and bones from the broth.

Now divide matzo ball in 5 parts (not 8-10 as the packet says) and lightly, extremely lightly shape it somewhat like balls. If you try for a perfect ball, you will be working the dough too much and the balls won’t fluff. This is the most important part in a great matzo ball soup. Drop the balls one by one in the simmering broth. Cover the pot and let it cook for a good 10 minutes.

If making for more than 2 people take matzo balls that are ready out and add another batch of matzo balls to the broth.

Alternatively you can use the broth next day and add another batch of matzo balls then. Don’t make a huge quantity of matzo ball and save it. The balls taste good only when they are freshly made.

To serve: 

In a bowl place some chicken (the one you deboned earlier) pour some broth and 2 matzo balls. check for salt. Add a pinch or two if you need some more.

 

Kale Walnut Pesto Zoodles

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Kale walnut pesto noodles with shrimp and oyster mushrooms, how much more gourmet can it get?  A recipe that inspired me to write a blog post after such a long time. Recently bought a Spiralizer, if you still don’t have it and wish to eat more fibre, this is something you must add to your tools. It’s my recent obsession, I spiral all possible veggies, even tried it with an onion. In case you are interested in knowing, it doesn’t work.

After an attempt to steal a pesto pasta from a friends lunch at office, I had to go home and make something with pesto.

Spiralizer, craving for pesto and need to eat healthy is what made this recipe happen.

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Ingredients: 

For Zoodle Pasta:

Zucchini 2

For Pesto: 

Fresh Basil leaves 1 cup

Kale 1 cup

Garlic 4 cloves

Oil 2 tbsp

Thai chile 1 (absolutely optional)

Parmesan cheese 3 tbsp (2 for pesto, 1 for decor. Optional again!)

Tasted chopped walnuts 3 tbsp (2 for pesto, 1 for decore)

Salt 1/2 tsp

Some additions if you want: 

Chopped oyster mushrooms 1 cup

Shelled, cleaned, deveined shrimps 1 cup

Halved cherry tomatoes 1 cup

Method: 

  1. Spriralize the zoodles. make zoodles
  2. Put all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and chop roughly. Don’t forget to save some walnuts and cheese for the decor.
  3. In a pan saute oyster mushrooms and shrimps, season them with salt and pepper
  4. Mix everything together and it’s ready! The best and healthiest pesto pasta ever.
  5. Next day you can throw the left overs on a tortilla and have a great shrimp pesto taco for breakfast. Like this one!  IMG_3753

 

 

Almond and Herb Crusted Chicken: Paleo

Almond and Herb Crusted Chicken: Paleo

Love making versions of fried chicken. Especially the Paleo ones. This one is yummier than you can imagine and fragrance of herbs will remind you of thanksgiving meal.

Almond and Herb Crusted Chicken: Paleo

Ingredients: 

  • Chicken tenders: 7-8 (You can also use boneless chicken breast, cut it into strips. Want to make it even better, put it in a ziplock bag and flatten it with a rolling pin.)
  • Almond flour: 1 cup (I used blanched)
  • Dry rosemary: 2 tsp
  • Dry oregano: 1 tsp
  • Dry sage: 1 tsp
  • Dry thyme: 1tsp
  • Freshly crushed black pepper: 1 tsp
  • Lemon/lime: 1/2
  • Egg: 1
  • Oil: 2 tbsp.
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp

 

Method: 

  • Beat an egg and lemon juice in a fowl with a fork. Soak the chicken stripes in the mix of egg and lemon.
  • While it soaks, in a plate mix rest of the ingredients except for oil and salt.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, once the oil is hot turn the heat lot medium.
  • Take one chicken tender out of the lemon+egg mix, and press it in the almond meal mix, on both sides. Then place the tender in the pan. Put them only in one layer, with some distance between two tenders. If needed fry them in two or three batches, depending on size of your pan.
  • Fry till crust turns brown on each side. should take about 7-8 minutes, based on heat settings of your stove.
  • Once all tenders are done, sprinkle with some salt, let them cool for a minute and serve immediately with a side of veggies and a lemon wedge.
  • Let me know how it turns out!

 

 

 

 

Crab Eggplant Bruschetta

Crab Eggplant Bruschetta

This is one of my best creations so far. This one is for you to impress your guests.

Serves: 4, Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

Crab Eggplant Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup crab meat (I get claw meat. for two reasons: one I like it better and I think it’s cheaper)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp caviar (optional, just makes it look nicer)
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp oil

Method: 

  1. Slice eggplants into 1/4″ thick diagonal slices, you should get 8-10 slices. Marinade them with salt in a ziplock bag.
  2. In a bowl mix crab, mayonnaise and spring onion and set it aside.
  3. Drain the excess water from eggplant slices and dry them on paper towels. Empty the ziplock bag completely and wipe it on inside with a paper towel. Add flour and eggplant slices to the same bag and toss the bag from one hand to another so that slices are evenly coated with flour.
  4. Heat a tbsp of oil on a large skillet on medium heat and arrange all the egg plant slices on the skillet. If you don’t have a skillet large enough, you can sear the slices in two batches. Turn the slices over after 5-7 minutes, or when they are brown on one side. Let them brown on the other as well then place them on a paper towel for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the slices on a serving plate, once they are cooled a bit put a spoonful of crab mix on every slice. Decorate with dash of caviar.
  6. Your guests would think of you as a great chef! 🙂

 

 

 

Grey Goose Chicken

Grey Goose Chicken

That’s how I use left over vodka. Yeah in our household we are usually left with leftover alcohol. Then I use it for desserts and marinades, it changes everything!

This chicken has just a hint of spice, perfect for those who cant handle spice. It’s Carlos certified. 🙂

Grey Goose Chicken

Ingredients: 

  • 4 chicken legs with skin on
  • 1/2 cup grey goose
  • 1 tsp red chili powder/ cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil

Method: 

  1. Marinate chicken legs in a ziplock bag with Grey Goose, cayenne pepper powder and salt for 30 minutes to an hour is sufficient. If you are marinating overnight or for more than 2 hours then put it in a fridge.
  2. Preheat an oven at 400deg F.
  3. Take the chicken out of the ziplock bag and lay it over paper towels. Dab it with paper towels on top as well. Dry it carefully so that there are no excess liquids but pepper powder stays.
  4. Place the chicken legs over a rack in an oven trey and let them bake for 50 minutes.
  5. After 50 minutes, take them out and brush some oil. And bake for 30 more minutes.
  6. Take it out and serve with mint chutney or mint jelly.
  7. In case you are planning to serve little later or your guests are late, you can cover it with an aluminum foil, leaving some room to let the steam escape.

 

 

 

 

 

Snowstorm Food Festival

I love blizzards. Sit in my bean bag fort and enjoy the snow and yummy food, the whole day. And this time for days. Yea the blizzard, snow and blocked roads lasted for 2 days. All we did was watch snow, cook, eat, write/read, repeat.

Snow makes me nostalgic. Weird right? Considering I didn’t grow up with snow. Staying at home during heavy snow in Boston is like staying at home during heavy rains in Mumbai. The whole feeling of gazing outside the window for hours and food, more with food of course. So the food that I make for snow day is food from my nostalgic food set. The food that my Mom made for me. Well, I try my best.

This time on day 1, I waited for the snow with tea and pohe. At lunch time it was some flurries floating around and by the time I was working on my scooby snacks with dates and walnut for the lunch. Yea was working day so couldn’t put more effort in the lunch. By this time, snow movers were already at work. Big plans for dinner, very red mutton rassa (goat curry) and bajrichi bhakri. It took me quite a while to make 3 bhakris but was worth it. The most satisfying dinner in a long long time. Now it was all thick white weather, with snow flying around the everywhere, one couldn’t see beyond a few yards. Snow movers were working non stop. Last I saw them was with my cup of Mexican hot chocolate, at 2 in the morning.

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The next day started very late. Decided to keep the breakfast light, so some idlies with shredded cheddar cheese. I dont know anyone else’s who eats that combination, but I love it. Little sourness of idlies and crispy taste of cheddar, yummy. It had been 24 hours since it started snowing, almost stopped, well almost! Couldn’t think of anything better than fish tacos, after walk in the snow and long bath. Crunch crunch crunch. Once again walk in the snow, photoshoot, admiring sunset and back for dinner. Made nice chicken biryani by mixing some of last night’s curry and some raita kind of salad to go with it. Dessert anyone? Tried the 2 ingredients cookies. Cookies with milk, you can never go wrong with that.

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10 Day 3 was Sunday, it was calmer outside. Started the day with hash brown and fried egg. I seem to have forgotten what we ate for lunch, will try to remember later. Z suggested we eat the dinner out, I didn’t think it was a good idea. Everything was closed for 3 days, so there was a good chance of getting stale food. I don’t think anyone got any supplies for last 3 days. So went home and had nice rack of lamb, marinated in italian+indian spices. Sunday evening, time to start prepping for the week ahead.

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22 This was the most relaxing weekend I ever had.

Oatmeal Bars or Cakes or Something like that

I have been making these for last two weeks and every time I make them I learn something new and improve. The most evolved version is dates and walnut, dessert edition. 

These healthy scooby snacks have replaced anytime cookies. Sometimes they become our desserts and sometimes on the run breakfast. 

Just mix up and load them in before dinner and they are ready by the time your finish dinner. That’s how I make them. You may choose to make them on Sunday and eat all through the week. 

I don’t remember where I read the original recipe, I will add the link when I find it again. Till then use my version(s). 

dates and walnut breakfast bars

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbsp flaxseeds (for healthier version)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips/ 2 tbsp brown sugar/ 2 tbsp agave syrup (use any one of these for dessert version, you can use lesser quantity for normal healthy version)
  • 1 cup chopped banana+strawberries/ banana+black berries/ dates/ apricot (select any one)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (go well with dates/apricots/black berries) or pistachios (look pretty with strawberries)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (for dessert version)
  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract

Method: 

  1. Heat the oven at 350 deg F
  2. Mix all dry ingredients, nuts and fruits in a oven trey.
  3. In a bowl beat the egg. Add milk, extract and butter (if using) to it.
  4. Pour the wet mix into dry mix.
  5. Tap the trey gently. So that dry and wet ingredients mix well.
  6. Bake it for 25-30 minutes.
  7. When ready it wont be as hard as granola bars but for because of the way they look, everyone will call them bars!

blackberry banana

 

 

strawberry

Very Red Goat Curry, Slow Cooker Recipe.

I am always been attracted to very good looking goat curry. However making it red has risks of it becoming too spicy. But not anymore! Finally I found them, the kashmiri chili peppers. Bought them at large Indian grocery store called Waltham India Market. Waltham is a mini India near Boston, and that’s why the store has largest collection of groceries and snacks in the region. 

Very Red Slow Cooker Goat Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1lb goat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4″ cinnamon
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups shopped onions
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1″ ginger, crushed
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 4 kashmiri red chili peppers
  • 3 tbsp grated dry coconut
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp honey

Method: 

  1. Start with soaking red chili pepper in a cup of water.
  2. Crush the spices, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, coriander seeds and mustard seeds in a stone mortar. If you don’t have a mortar just put the. in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  3. Heat oil in a shallow sauté’ pan on high heat. Arrange goat pieces in a single layer. Sear for 4 minutes on each side. Then transfer them to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the crushed spices to the oil, when you can smell the spices, follow it with coconut. Then add turmeric, onion, garlic, ginger, chillies and honey. Once onion is translucent add tomatoes. Turn it with a spatula on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it cool for a while. And then grind it a smooth paste in a food processor.
  5. Add this spice paste, salt and 2 cups of water to slow cooker and cook it for 4 to 8 hours on comparable heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish Tacos, Again. Like always Gluten Free.

We spent large part of last holidays in La Jolla, a place which serves one of the best fusion foods and of course great fish tacos! In between the meals, which were just 2-3 hours apart, we went to this tiny little shack called Bahia Don Bravo for fish tacos. Now it’s a become sort of an equation, relaxation equals to fish tacos. I made them for Saturday breakfast and for Sunday breakfast. Improved every time I made them. This is my most improved Sunday version. 

fish tacos

Ingredients: 

Fried fish: (which is not really fried) 

  • 1/2 LB fresh tilapia fish fillet, sliced at an angle in 2″ wide pieces
  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour, I used Bob’s
  • 1 extra spicy green chili pepper, finely chopped. Be very careful when you chop it, best way to chop green chili is to hold it by the stem and chop it with scissors. (or 1 tsp freshly ground, for those who don’t want to risk it with the green chili)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ziplock bag
  • 1 medium size strainer, large enough to hold fish pieces.
  • 1 oven trey
  • oil spray

Sauce: 

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tbsp cocktail sauce

And the rest: 

  • 6-8 corn tacos
  • 1 cup jillian chopped lettuce
Method: 

Fish: 

  1. Preheat oven at 375 deg.
  2. Combine fish pieces and beaten egg in a bowl. Mix it with well with fingers so that fish pieces are completely covered with the egg.
  3. In a ziplock bag combine flour, chili peppers/ black pepper and salt.
  4. Add fish pieces one by one to the ziplock bag.
  5. Toss the bag from one hand to another a few times so that flour covers the fish pieces completely.
  6. Take the pieces out on a strainer and tap the strainer 2-3 times. This will get rid of all excess flour, and fish will need way lesser oil to reach the crunchiness.
  7. Arrange the fish in an oven trey. Spray oil to soak fish with oil. Turn the pieces around and spray on the other side too.
  8. Place the tray in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or till fish is light brown.

Sauce: 

  1. In a bowl combine the mayonnaise, scallions and cocktail sauce.

Assembling the tacos: 

  1. Warm tacos on a pan/ girdle, one by one. Please don’t use microwave for this, they will become chewy.
  2. Spread sauce on the taco. Place 2-3 fish pieces and some lettuce on half of the taco. And fold it.
  3. I like to make towers of tacos, a single tower holds four tacos. I have been trying to add more, will let you know when I succeed. Happy tacos till then!

 

 

 

Lamb Osso Bucco, the best thing you can do with your slow cooker.

After a long long vacation, then recovering from the vacation, catching up with work, kept me away from my cooking and from my beloved blog for longer than I thought. It was a great complement when Z missed my cooking more than me. He was grumpy when I tried to feed him rotisserie chicken and grape leaves, not made at home but bought at Costco. He didn’t eat. For both of our sake I had to start cooking again, properly. Now the challenge was to make something gourmet enough in shortest of time. And that’s when one must use that lovely slow cooker. 

Cooking lamb is still a worry for me, cause the whole cooking time I wonder if it will turn out to be gamy. Although by now I have mastered the art of taking gaminess out of the lamb. 

Making Osso Bucco for the first time, gaminess of lamb, lack of time, need to eat good food, need to write about it. Good thing about it? It turned out just perfect in every sense. Was prettier and tastier than what I expected, didn’t take too much of my time and wasn’t gamy at all. 

Here is what you need for this lamb osso bucco perfection: 

As I was back from vacation I didn’t have a lot of fresh ingredients so I used dried and canned, I am sure fresh will taste even better.

  • 4 lamb osso bucco pieces.
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dry parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots ( I didn’t have any so I made it without carrots)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
Method: 
  1. Soak lamb pieces in water for 5 minutes, this takes the blood of the pieces. Dry them on paper towel and drizzle with salt and pepper.
  2. In a pan heat the oil and arrange the Osso Bucco pieces in one layer on high, let them brown on both the sides.
  3. Add onions, celery, garlic and cook till onion is transparent.
  4. Add wine and let it cook for a minute.
  5. Transfer the mix to slow cooker and add orange zest, parsley and chicken broth, let it cook on high to low for 4 to 12 hours, respectively, based on when you want to eat. Results won’t really vary much.
  6. When ready take the lamb out on serving plates, with the help of a slotted spoon.
  7. Transfer the sauce to a pan and thicken it by adding corn flour dissolved in 2 tbsp of water. It will take 5 minutes of simmering while stirring.
  8. Pour the sauce over the lamb and serve it with polenta!

Note: Osso bucco means bone with a hole, this is cross section of lamb shank. In case cross cut is not available and in case you care only about the taste and not the authenticity of the looks then you very well can use a lamb shank. 

 

 

 

 

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