Cheesy Island Floats

Cheesy Island Floats

This one was long overdue. One of the most exciting moments for me was when a couple of years ago, my kiddo decided that he wanted to make some treat by his own for his visiting friends. Believe me, this little treat when offered by him to me was the tastiest morsel that I could ever have had. The magical ingredient ( aka LOVE ) was oozing from this. His creativity went beyond the dish or the recipe, it went as far as naming his dish too. He named it the Cheesy Island Floats since they certainly looked so. Read on, be inspired and enjoy !!!

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : Amongst a bunch of hungry kids, No Limits 🙂
  • Preparation time : 10 minutes

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Mozzarella cheese, 1 tablespoon : Soft and creamy, mozzarella is a hit with the kids. It is high in calcium hence great for the bones of kids.
  • Sweet corn kernels, 2 tablespoon : Rich with iron, folic acid, vitamin b12 etc. sweet corn kernels are great for women and kids and generally beneficial in diabetes, energy and vision. Monsoons are a great time to make your kids have a lot of kernels in any form. I grow baby corns which start giving cobs just before monsoons and till late falls. 
  • Tomato pulp, 2 tablespoon : Wonderful anti oxidant and full of beta carotene, tomatoes are amazing and tangy and the favorites of kids. These too come from my garden 🙂 , so easy peasy to use.
  • Coriander sprigs, with soft stems, 8 – 10 : Rich with iron, manganese, magnesium and fiber, coriander has a sweet orangey zest. Kids love this garnishing too.
  • Monaco salted biscuits, 6 to 8 : A very popular salty biscuit which is omni present at our place 🙂

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Mash and mix tomato pulp, sweet corn kernels and the cheese. Heat mildly and cook if you want for 2 mins on medium flame.
  • Allow it to cool then spread generously over the single biscuits in a row.
  • Top these with another biscuit to form crispy small sandwiches.
  • Punch the coriander sprigs within the upright biscuit sandwiches to make them appear like small round islands with a groove of trees over it.
  • Do not wait. Serve quickly and enjoy !!

Storage : No way Jose 🙂

Missing Something ? : Change your cheese, add some pepper. This is an Original MCMH Treat 😀  !!

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Basil Pesto Sauce / Dip

Basil Pesto Sauce

Pesto is probably the most popular organic dip besides mustard and the good old ketchup. Though we have immensely popular Indian chutney’s of various types of amazing flavors and benefits. Hope you recall the Cherry Tomato Ketchup recipe and the Carom Leaves Chutney that I shared sometime back. While, to many of us pesto would not raise eyebrows or turn heads, believe me, I have known people who have not known what to do with big basil shrubs and have pruned and thrown away a healthy lot of it. Interestingly it is these set of folks who enjoy pesto in my treats loudly and ask me for its recipe. So for those folks and for all to enjoy, here’s how I do this simple yet wholesome sauce !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : This much would last at least 10 fritter treats 🙂
  • Preparation time : 10 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 tablespoon works well with 1 bowl of fritters

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Basil leaves, 2 cups, fresh would be great : In this I used sweet or Genovese basil leaves which I pluck-wash at my garden. Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. I grow 4 to 5 types of basil in my garden and am always looking for new things to do with it.
  • Garlic, 3 – 4 cloves : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Walnuts, 1/3rd cup : Walnuts have a good amount of good fats called polyunsaturated fats or PUFA. They have Omega 3 and decent amount of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and Vitamins like E & B loaded in them. In taste they add a distinct earthiness and nutty essence.
  • Cheese cube, 1, 200 grams : With all the calcium and protein benefits, cheese here is added for it’s creamy texture and nutty essence.
  • Olive oil, 1/2 cup : Keep the oil light so as not to interfere with the flavor of your dish either in odor or in taste. Besides, olive oil is a great antioxidant, anti inflammatory, is good for heart and weight management.
  • Salt, 1 tablespoon : I prefer coarse Himalayan pink salt here since it is extremely healthy. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash well and break the basil. Breaking works better than chopping the basil. Chopping is said to be detrimental to the flavor.
  • Wash and dry the walnuts since they are quite dusty when fresh.
  • Grate the cheese and mix with olive oil loosely.
  • Now add all ingredients in a kitchen grinder and make a paste of it. I would prefer not to add water to loosen it to your requirement, instead ad 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Storage : 1 month refrigeration is a “can do”. You’ll also love doing things with the sauce besides using it as a dip. Remember, when I made the Tricolor Tiffin last month. They rocked 🙂

Missing Something ? : Many iterations are possible in this. You can change the salt to Kosher or even regular table salt. The oil should preferably be virgin olive oil. The cheese can be romano, Reggiano or even simple cheese cubes which can be grated and later pasted. It’s best to use sweet broad basil only. The walnuts can be replaced with pine nuts. Didn’t I mention that there are several iterations 🙂  !!

Mutton Stock in Celary Garlic

Mutton Stock in Celery and Garlic

Monsoons are confusing for the kids. Parents want them to be cozy and covered while they are all sweaty and sultry. They need more showers in the day of humidity while the parents want them to be quick and covered so as to avoid them from catching cold.

This soup really helps in the monsoons. Super tasty and energy giving, it maintains the body temperature and avoids the unwanted shivers in the rainy weather. Takes not much of an effort but we have here a winning concoction. Try it and have a sumptuous and confident evening 🙂

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 for the party
  • Preparation time : 20 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 bowl each

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Celery stalks, 4, chopped : I grow celery for around 5 months in a year and they grow well in tubs, bags and small planters. They have one of the healthiest foliage & excellent antioxidant. It gives good bitter pungency to the stock.
  • Garlic cloves, 3 – 4 : The King Pungent. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Vegetable oil, 3 teaspoon : Sunflower seed or groundnut oil would be good. We are looking for an average greasing here.
  • Mutton Stock, 4 cups : Healthiest broth is prepared with mutton. It builds bones and is abundant in calcium.
  • Soya Sauce, 2 tablespoon :  It is the most popular umami fixture I guess.
  • Lemon grass, chopped, 1 teaspoon : I learnt that lemongrass is a mild astringent and helps controlling fever, cough, digestion, blood pressure etc. besides adding a wonderful citrus zest to the dish. Now I have sufficient lemongrass in my garden throughout the year.
  • Black pepper, 2 pinches : Good proportion of salt and pepper are great anti oxidants too.
  • Table salt, 1/2 teaspoon : Regular table salt would o good
  • Coriander, chopped, for garnish : This comes straight from my garden. Gives a orangy zest, coriander is again a blood regulator.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Preparing the mutton stock is a pre-recipe exercise here. A simple mutton stock that I make is by pressure cooking 3 pieces of mutton with a teaspoon of garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon salt. We can also add a bay leaf , 1 small black cardamom and 1/2 inch of cinnamon to enhance.
  • Now heat oil in a pan. When it steams, add the chopped celery and chopped garlic and stir saute’ for 3 minutes on low medium flame.
  • Add half the stock in it and cook for 5 minutes..
  • To this add the soya sauce, lemongrass, salt and pepper and stir cook for 2 minutes to mix well.
  • Now add the remaining stock and boil cook for 10 minutes on low medium flame.
  • This should reduce the stock to about 1 & 1/2 to 2 cups.
  • Serve in hot bowls garnishing with roughly chopped coriander. Enjoy 🙂

Storage : You can refrigerate for a week, no sweat in the monsoons with that 🙂

Missing Something ? : You may add 1/2 teaspoon of paprika to increase your heat quotient but do not add any spice which overwhelms your basic flavors of celery and garlic !!

Snapper Grilled in Basil and Lemon Zest

Snapper Grilled in Basil and Lemon Zest

Being a seafood lover, it’s always a pleasure experimenting with mild spices and churning out indigenous recipes. When they are appreciated across the table, it is truly an inventor’s pleasure. So it was a Eureka Eureka moment for me when I picked up anything that I could lay my hands upon this weekend morning and converted two leathery snapper fishes (they were red, I recall) and grilled some fruits alongwith to have a delightful feast. If there’s your favorite sport on TV, enjoy the loud cheering since this feast will cheer you up sufficiently enough 🙂

Remember, snappers are have leathery skin and hardy bones. While the bones are easy to get rid off, the texture needs a good soaking followed by a diligent cooking.

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 for the party today 😀
  • Preparation time : 30 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 fish each and no less would satisfy

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Red Snappers, 2, small to medium size, cleaned well :Red snapper is a very good looking elegant fish. It looks amazingly good lying whole on a platter. It is extremely tasty too but due to high levels of mercury in it, I do not offer them to the kids. Once a month, sinning make no difference 🙂 . 
  • Fruits, cut and peeled : Lovely yummy sides !
  • Basil, handful broken : In this I used lime basil leaves which I pluck-wash at my garden. Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. Besides the regular peppery flavor, the lime basil has sweet and citrus essence too. Since I wanted to enhance the tanginess, I used this basil.
  • Vinegar, 1 tablespoon : Vinegar preserves the flavors in my dishes very well, so I don’t mind frequenting it. Prime reason for it’s preservative qualities are the amounts of acetic acid and anti bacterial present in it. And yes of course, the sour essence is brought out very well with vinegar. It is an amazing preservative.
  • Lemon juice, 2 tablespoon : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Black Pepper, 1/4th teaspoon : Hot and mildly pungent, black pepper is good for digestion, skin, respiration and is a good antioxidant too. On tables across the world salt n pepper are partners in relation.
  • Garlic cloves, chopped, 4 : The king pungent as I call it, garlic provides the base flavor of this dish. Garlic is highly nutritious. It combats sickness, heals sore throat and regulates blood pressure as well.
  • Paprika, 1/2 teaspoon : Light and bitter with good amount of vitamin e and a strong antioxidant.
  • Coriander, 2 teaspoon, chopped : Again, this comes straight from my garden. Gives a orangy zest, coriander is again a blood regulator.
  • Parsley, 1 teaspoon, chopped : I grow moss green, long leafed, Italian varieties of parsley till late April. It is mildly bitter but an amazing garnish. It cures bad breath, diabetes and boosts our immunity. One can much the sweeter varieties fresh & raw from a harvest.
  • Oil to cook : Use something with a low heating point. A good one would be coconut oil due to it’s odorless, tasteless quality.
  • Salt to taste : As always, I would suggest coarse sea salt with seafood to enhance the authenticity.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash the fish well and make deep slits in a criss cross pattern on each side. This is very important for the proper and flavorful cooking of the leathery fish.
  • Using a mortar and pestle grind together black pepper, paprika, coriander, garlic, basil, lemon juice, vinegar and salt.
  • Apply this coarse paste all over the fish using your fingers to insert the marinate well inside the fish. Now cover it and set it inside a refrigerator for two hours.
  • Meanwhile, with just 20 minutes from the completion of 2 hours of marinade, you may grill your peeled fruits and yummy sides. The best fruits would be bananas, papaya and apples. Sprinkle them with sea salt. Grilling of fruits would take not more than 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Now set your fish in the grill and set the timer for 15 minutes. Turn the fish a few times during it’s grilling process. You may increase your time if the fish is not flaky enough but do not give your fish a funeral 😀
  • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve hot with grilled fruits as sides. Party on !

Storage : This fish has an already firm texture. Refrigerating may not be the smartest thing. Cook as much as you want to eat.

Missing Something ? : This was my adventure. You can do all your fun at the kitchen table too !!

Mahi Mahi in Basil Butter

Mahi Mahi in Basil Butter

It’s been a while since I have been online. Missed all the action dearly but was thinking of all friends honestly 🙂 !

Didn’t quit cooking though 😀 . Delicacies were dished out every time I managed. This one is the amazing mahi mahi which is a native of Hawaiian pacific. Absolutely cherish this whenever I can. Since the fish is delicate, we use less number of strong spices here and blend in the perfect texture and flavor. Super easy to make, go ahead, read on and enjoy !!

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 appreciative connoisseur
  • Preparation time : 20 minutes
  • Serving size : Couple of forkfulls should excite the soul 🙂

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Mahi Mahi Fillet, 1 : This fish has a nice mild pinkish sweet and firm meat. I always go for fillets in Mahi Mahi since the fish has such a thick skin. The thick skin actually helps it endure the harsh west pacific waters. Mahi Mahi is also a source of all amino acids that our body needs.
  • Table Butter, 2 tablespoons : The cheesy butter absorbs the basil’s herb flavor very well. Regular table butter is a good source of fats soluble vitamins and saturated fats. They are better in taste and health than margarine. 
  • Salt, coarse sea salt : Best and most authentic for this dish.
  • Ginger Garlic paste (coarse), 1 tablespoon : An amazing herb mix to cure all sickness, pains etc. and providing the pungency and earthiness to the dish.
  •  Basil broke, 1 bowl fresh : Anti aging, anti cancer, anti bacterial herb is a great garnish due to it’s sweet and mixed spice aroma. Here a harvested a handful of sweet basil from my garden. As always, break their leaves and avoid chopping them. This retains their essence best.
  • Parsley, 1 tablespoon : Parsley grows great in my tubs. They fight diseases, cancer, inflammation and most of all bad breath 😉 since they are a great breath freshener.
  • Some sauteed veggies, 1 tablespoon : I used some chopped carrots and a couple of beans resting in my fridge for long.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash and slit the fillet softly. Mahi Mahi is a soft and sweet fish. Let’s keep it that way.
  • Using a  mortar & pestle crush the ginger garlic with a pinch of salt to make a coarse ginger garlic paste. It will be fresher and stronger then the pre made one.
  • In the same mortar and pestle, mildly crush the basil leaves. Too much force here will lead to loss in flavor, use light hands here.
  • Now heat a pan on medium heat. Melt the butter on it.
  • When the butter melts add required amount of salt and add basil now. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Soon the basil will discolor and the flavor will transfer in the butter.
  • To this, add the ginger garlic paste and mix well. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes more. Do not get tempted to add water.
  • Now place the fish fillet in the pan. Cook well on medium heat for 10 minutes turning twice. By now the butter would have thickened considerably.
  • Serve your delicacy hot after garnishing with chopped parsley and some steaming veggies for the works.

Storage : No way jose’ !

Missing Something ? : Keep It Simple Sir 🙂

 

Mutton Curry Sunshine AC

Mutton Curry Sunshine

Mutton curry in Indian meals call for long and heavy lunches or dinners and an additional delight if on weekends. There are so many variations of mutton curry and each require a good amount of spice mixes. I must confess, despite my best tries, I have not been able make mutton with less than 5 spices despite my best research. The eat is just so hard and red that the flavors required need to match up strongly enough. Needless to say, it’s not just time-consuming, it’s amazingly rewarding too. 

Legacy of mutton curry hence is a nostalgic Sunday morning with hours of preparation for the lunch feast and sumptuous left overs for dinner. A wholesome family feast for sure. This I named sunshine not just because it came out so bright 🙂  but also because it reminds me of afternoon luncheons of my childhood. After seafood, my palate surrenders to mutton unquestionably. Read on and enjoy cooking the same for a great family treat for yourself too !!

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 4 famished gobbling souls 😀
  • Preparation time : 90 minutes
  • Serving size : Bowls full for each

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Mutton, cut pieces, 500 grams : Healthiest curry is prepared with mutton. It builds bones and is abundant in calcium.
  • Onions chopped, 1 + 2 : Strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Coriander (chopped or powder), 2 tablespoon : Coriander provides the garnish to the dish and takes off any unwanted smell. Coriander is also a great digestive and also aids in the digestive and blood system of our body. The sweet coriander is one of the most popular garnish across fat cooked dishes. I pluck the whole plant from my garden since roots give the best flavor in the coriander plant.
  • Fennel seeds, 1 & 1/2 teaspoon : Fennel is amazingly sweet perfumed and tastes so much like licorice that it is a widely used breath freshener in India. Fennel has amazing benefits like maintaining bone & skin health and aiding digestion.
  • Ginger, 1 inch piece : Unmistakably earthy, the ginger adds the heat quotient in the dish. The gingerol in ginger is a strong anti nausea and anti inflammatory agent
  • Garlic, 6 cloves : Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Green chilies, 3 to 4 : Great for eyes and skin, green chilies are the healthiest ones to bring in the bitter zing in any dish. I used them here, freshly plucked from my garden to bring in their essence. I deseeded them well to ensure it being kids friendly.
  • Cinnamon, 1 inch stick : Again an amazing sweet taste and flavor enhancer, cinnamon is also an anti oxidant, anti inflammatory and sugar controlling ingredient which I often use in meats.
  • Heeng (asafoetida), 1 pinch : Heeng has a pungent garlicky fragrance and gets breathing and blood sugar in control. 
  • Ghee (saturated fats), 3 tablespoon : Unlike popular belief, ghee actually helps in weight loss. It is also a great soluble of most vegetables and strengthens bones doing so. We use ghee here for cooking for its great buttery essence.
  • Garam Masala, 1 teaspoon : The ever popular Indian concoction of spices helps in weight loss, pain fight, immunity boost etc. True to its name, it’s hot and powerful. Imagine being the blend of around 10 powerful spice essence.
  • Bay leaves, 2 : Bay leaf is great for joints and skin and are packed with Vitamin A & C and many other minerals like iron, potassium and manganese. They are pungent and bitter in taste. I grow bay leaves in my garden so I can tell you that the fresh ones and dried ones are quite different. Use the dried ones only please. Bay leaves can grow into small trees giving lifetime supply 🙂
  • Turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Yogurt (or hung curd) : 2 tablespoon : Digestion, skin, hair, everything benefits from curd. In sizzling summers, it keeps the internals in control. Curd is our basic curry component here.
  • Salt, to taste : You can try Himalayan pink salt. It is full of minerals and amazingly earthy.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Using a  mortar & pestle (using traditional helps enhance the nostalgic highlights of the chapter 🙂 ) grind a coarse paste of 1 onion, coriander, fennel (you may dry roast this for 2 minutes to make fennel grinding easier), ginger garlic, green chilies (chop fine prior to it) and cinnamon .
  • Mix this coarse paste with curd and whip well.
  • Now puncture the meat pieces well using a fork. This would allow for the spices to penetrate well and the meat to cook better.
  • Apply the marinate paste to the meat (rather dip it well) and keep covered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes at least).
  • Take a pressure cooker meanwhile and put it on medium flame. As it heats, add the ghee to it and allow it to melt well.
  • Add a pinch of heeng and mix well.
  • Add the remaining chopped onion to the pressure cooker and saute’ well till they turn golden brown in color. Should take around 3 to 4 minutes.
  • While this happens, add the mutton pieces to this. Keep stirring to mix well and cook for 7 minutes.
  • To this add garam masala and cook further for 5 minutes. With time you will start smelling the fragrance of you dish floating throughout the house 🙂
  • Now put 6 cups of water in the cooker and mix well with the cooking meat.
  • Sprinkle the coriander in it and shut the lid of the cooker. Turn the gas knob to full heat and allow cooking for 10 minutes.
  • Now lower the flame to low and cook further for 40 minutes.
  • Switch the gas flame off now and allow the pressure in the cooker to work magic on your dish further.
  • By now, your house would have invited greedy hearts from the neighborhood as well 🙂
  • Open the cooker and check the texture of the mutton. The meat should be easily separating from the bones. That’s when you know that it is well done !

Storage : This can store for a week in your fridge. This would allow you to relish a long and time-consuming recipe to be enjoyed many times.

Missing Something ? : You may crush some black cardamom and cloves to enhance the flavor a bit more. If you are a bit creative then try to add galangal instead of ginger, just remember to grind it well since it’s harder and more fibrous than ginger.