Saturday, April 24, 2010

Easy breezy pad thai

I have always had a love-hate relationship with pad thai. I ate pad thai for the very first time at a Thai restaurant in San Diego. An evening dinner out on a student budget used to be a huge treat then! A group of us had once visited a decently good Thai place which was bus-accessible (bus-accessibility was a must for any outing!). As it was our very first Thai experience, we had pretty much asked the waitress to order the menu for us and she had suggested a spicy pad thai followed by some sweet coconut ice-cream! I absolutely loved the flat rice noodles drenched in a tangy, hot and sweet sauce and crunchy peanuts on top.

Over the time though I realized that a good pad thai is not easy to come by. Many times either the sauce is too strong or the whole dish is soggy or oily! After a few unfortunate encounters with pad thai I eventually changed my thai restaurant go-to dish from pad thai to a green curry dish which probabilistically is always decent.

But the cravings for a good pad thai won't stop! Then recently I came across this Mark Bittman's minimalist column urging people to think about pad thai as a make-at-home option and I wondered why I never thought about making pad thai at home. Strange how sometimes in your mind some dishes just get so associated with restaurants that you don't ever think of making them at home! The recipe seemed easy enough, was uber-flexible and luckily I had all the ingredients at hand (thanks to my new work route which is en-route an ever-inviting asian store).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gobi matar masala (Spicy cauliflower with peas)

While I was preparing this gobi matar masala (spicy cauliflowers with peas) last night I wondered why this recipe is not yet on my blog! Some variation of this cauliflower dish is very often made at our place. Come to think about it, very few of my everyday I-am-so-tired-so-let-me-whip-up-something-fast recipes are on this blog. I suppose because they are so simple and common-place that subconsciously I might not have thought of them as blog-worthy (this is one question we have often come to ponder as a family now a days -- is the dish blog-worthy? :)) but thats an unfair disadvantage to the simple everyday go-to recipes of every food blogger, right. So here it is, finally, it sure is simple, it sure is everyday, but by no means any the less tastier!

The recipe is very flexible and this is usually a kitchen sink sabji for me. If I have tomatoes I'll add them instead of red bell peppers; if I have mushrooms I'll add some, if not, I'll skip; if I feel like I'll add garam masala or I'll skip that too; the gist is that the sabji is equally tasty even with just cauliflowers, potatoes, peas along-with the spices and the aromatics.

The dish takes not more than half an hour to make from start to finish making it an ideal weeknight meal. We usually eat it with some whole-wheat pita breads or chapati and a cool yogurt mint raita which my husband prepares in a jiffy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Green split pea soup

I am the sort of person who gets an irrational amount of fun and excitement when I can whip up a healthy and filling dinner with an almost empty fridge. A bit weird, isn't it. It gives me the satisfaction of saving a last-minute restaurant trip and of my pantry keeping efforts. See, all those times when I am buying pantry staples my husband occasionally says, why do we need all this; but a meal entirely out of pantry is exactly the ticket to convince him of all its goodness. 

Yesterday I came back home late after visiting the new gym (so many things change when you change a place, isn't it, like driving to a new gym rather than walking a few steps to the apartment gym). Fridge barely had anything and even my freezer was running low. My long scavenger hunt ended with 3 bread slices, an onion, few last bits of a celery and a very oldish looking carrot. Whenever I see the onion-celery-carrot trio, soups always jump to my mind.. but I did not have limes or lemons.. no, hang on, there was that guy in office who had brought a whole bag of yard grown lemons and was asking everyone to help themselves.. and I did take a couple.. another scavenger-hunt in my office purse (yes, there is _always_ scavenger hunt there!) and I found lemons. Perfect!

I made a new green split pea soup. I mostly opt for lentil soup but as I was out on lentils an old half packet of green split peas hidden at the back of the cupboard came in handy. On the side I whipped a quinoa salad which is quite similar to the quinoa salad I had posted long back and roasted one and half odd yams. (Roasted yams is one of the fastest and delicious dessert that we both enjoy!).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Soba noodles with mushrooms and lime ginger dressing

The weather God has been quite unpredictable recently. It seems it can not quite decide between whether to shower us with bright sunny spring days or to go back into the cold rainy lapse. I do not mind either. Rainy days like this weekend is just another excuse to finish up the ever pilling indoor work -- like say doing taxes!

I spent the whole of yesterday afternoon sitting on the dining table finishing up my taxes (phew, done finally!). The weather was getting cloudier by the hour but once in a while sun would shine through the tiny pockets between the clouds basking the surrounding foggy green hills with a warm glow. It was so easy to just give up the laptop and take a nap for a while or just stare outside mindlessly. I lost count of how many times I refilled my coffee cup after three. Just as I was finishing up the last of the state taxes I thought wouldn't it be nice to have some chinese takeout for dinner today? Telling you, its the weather making you crave all sorts of things. I figured a visit to the asian market to buy some soba noodles after the taxes was enough of a carrot for a foodie like me :)

These soba noodles are a standby in my house next to the spaghetti. Soba are a type of Japanese noodles made out of buckwheat flour and often flavored with dried wild yam. They can be served either cold or hot. They are darker in color and have a wonderful bite to it that I so much like! I can eat cooked soba just with some soy sauce and vinegar dressing.. its that good!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Apple crisp for two!

Am I the only weird one out there who likes to eat just the filling of an apple pie and throws away the crust? I know what you are thinking, that's unheard of indeed.. I mean, who does not like the moist, flaky, buttery crust! Well, me. And precisely for the same reasons.. its flaky, too buttery and way overpowers (in my opinion) the flavors of freshly baked apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of sugar!

Which is why I love this apple crisp so much! Remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine's boss steals her idea of selling just the top of the muffins instead of whole muffins as she reasons people like to eat only the top anyway? Apple crisp is something like that for me.. its my perfect 'top of the muffins for me'! 

Bad analogy, never-mind, coming back to the apple crisp: it is a baked dessert with just the apple pie filling without the crust. Instead of a crust, it has a topping which is mostly made up of rolled oats, sugar and a little butter and since its a topping rather than a crust (topping need not be strong enough to hold the pie) its much more flexible to a lot of new variations and experimentations for people like me who don't prefer the standard heavy crusts.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Suralichi wadi (chickpea flour rolls with coconut stuffing) and a bookclub book review

(I am so happy now that all the packing, moving, unpacking is all done; internet is setup at the new place and I am finally back in the blogging and the cooking world! I know I missed a lot of excellent posts but I am going to try to catch up with everything that has been happening in the next week or two!)

Can you imagine what would happen if suddenly all of your secrets were out in the open? No, not the real big secrets just some small little things that we all would rather keep to ourselves. This is exactly what happened to Emma from 'Can you keep a secret?' book by Sophie Kinsell. This was my first read of Simran's book-club. This month's pick was a chik-flic about Emma who happens to blurt out all of her everyday secrets to a complete stranger on a turbulent air-plane ride only to discover that the stranger is none other than the big boss of the firm she works at! One thing leads to another and suddenly all her secrets are out in the open... are secrets ever 'secrets'? Thats the question we all get to ponder as we trace through Emma's hilarious encounters around her secrets and her boss.
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This page and all of its contents is copyright of Prajakta Gudadhe. All rights reserved.

This is a web catalog of the recipes that I have tried and tasted in my kitchen. While these recipes and instructions have worked well for me, please use all the information and the recipes from Ginger and Garlic at your own risk.