Saturday, June 20, 2020

Zucchini Paratha & A Sudden Sweet Tooth

I love the changing seasons -- like now, a crisp and flowery spring is giving way to hot summers, just as the life we know it is inching back to what is likely a new normal for the rest of the year. The usual bearers of the summer events like end of school carnival, trips to local ice-cream parlor and visits to the magnificent California beaches were very much muted this year... but one thing screamed summer loud and clear - and that is lots and lots of zucchini and stone fruits in our CSA boxes!

For last few weeks, our CSA box has been overflowing with zucchinis, peaches, plums, nectarines and juicy California apricots. We have no problems finishing any amount of fruit at our home but finishing loads of zucchini is another matter :) This year, along-with grilled zucchini, zucchini "spaghetti" and zucchini raita, one new thing I introduced in our rotation is this zucchini parathas. 

The recipe is very similar to the methi and chard paratha I have posted before. I used 2 large or 3 small zucchini, grated them fine, salted them and then pressing very hard removed as much water as I can. Instead of discarding the zucchini juices, I used part of it to make the dough. I seasoned the whole wheat flour dough with grated garlic, cumin powder, turmeric powder, salt and chili powder (but skip adding chili powder if cooking for kids). Other than that, it's the same recipe as the chard paratha

These parathas are very tasty, soft and best enjoyed right off the griddle with a dollop of yogurt or any chutney you might have at hand. Enjoy!

Normally, we don't make a lot of sweets at home. We enjoy sweets once in a while, when visiting bakeries or coffee shops or one of the numerous birthday parties we attend every year. This year however, may be it's the lack of bakery visits or the birthday parties, but suddenly we have all developed a strong sweet tooth and craving sweets at home! 

In addition to the usual chocolate cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate bundt cake and fruit tarts, I posted previously, I also dabbed my hands at some Indian sweets - mainly this besan ladoo! Believe it or not, this was my first time making it at our home :) I often shy away from home-made sweets because none of us usually crave it, and if it's home you would eat it whether you crave it or not.. but like I say, this stay at home has changed a lot of our palette and what's made at home!

On healthier side, my mid-afternoon pick-me snack has been this very berry cereal bowl with any two types of berries (strawberries and blueberries are my favorite combo) with cereal of your choice and milk of your choice... yum!

And the bear banana pancake which brought a huge smile to my daughter's face when she found them in her plate our Saturday morning :) 

Hope you are all staying safe and healthy - until next time!

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Spaghetti Pomodoro

One of the things we miss the most in this stay-at-home phase is going out to our favorite local restaurants. Sure, we can always do takeout, but it just doesn't feel the same without the anticipation of the evening out or the ambiance.

So instead we have been cooking at home, a lot - but we also crave a few of our go-to restaurant dishes, like this sauteed kale with garlic from Din Tai Fung or the spaghetti pomodoro from Campo de Bocce. Campo de Bocce is a lovely Italian restaurant chain in Norther California combining scrumptious family style Italian food with the appeal of outdoor bocce courts to play a few games! It's a lot of fun with a large group of family or friends, where you can combine fun of playing a few bocche rounds and nibbling on their amazing appetizers or enjoying a relaxed brunch!

Anyhow, my favorite dish of their menu is the humble spaghetti pomodoro. I have been attempting to re-create it at home for a while now, but my attempts took a new urgency the last few months. I am happy to say this version I think comes super close! 

What I like about this recipe is that it's simple, easy to put together but very tasty with fresh, vibrant flavors which burst right in your mouth! Pair it with a good Chianti or your favorite dry red wine, and it's a meal to remember.

Spaghetti is cooked just al-dente with a bite left to it and the sauce is a simple saute of fresh roma tomatoes, garlic, basil, olives and a really good quality olive oil. I am not a fan of pasta with canned tomato sauces, so I like this fresh vibrant sauce with barely cooked roma tomatoes. Give it a try and I am sure you will love it (and won't miss the meat or fancy additions :) )
Spaghetti Pomodoro
Recipe is simple: 
  1. Cook spaghetti al-dente in a boiling salted water per the package direction (I use 4 servings of spaghetti per the package direction). 
  2. While pasta is cooking, warm few Tbsp good quality olive oil in a large pan. 
  3. Add 4-5 finely chopped garlic cloves and cook stirring until the oil is fragrant but taking care the garlic doesn't burn. 
  4. Follow-up with 5-6 fresh roma tomatoes, chopped fine. It's best if you can find freshly picked tomatoes either from the garden or farmer's market - but if not store bought would be just fine too. 
  5. All salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Cook tomatoes until they are just about to soften and loose their shape - 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat. Do not let them become completely saucy, they should soften but partly retaining their shape.
  7. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, pinch of sugar to balance the acidity and stir well.
  8. Right before serving, add handful of chopped fresh basil and chopped olives. Mix well.
  9. Serve sauce over pasta. Drizzle with a little more olive oil & top with grated Parmesan cheese and chili flakes (if using). Enjoy!
I don't think olive is in the original version but it's an addition I love it in pasta. But feel free to skip too.

This spring our garden is flourishing with lots of flowers, lavender and citrus blossoms! Our pomegranate tree is laden with flowers and a promise of bunch of small fruit buds. There is soft soothing aroma of new lavender in the air! It has been a pleasure to sit in the yard and work the hours away!
Native cactus, lavender and pomegranate blossom
We have also been able to enjoy a few hikes to nearby mountains while social distancing. They have been very relaxing and therapeutic, a time to steal from all the stresses of the work and unease in the world!
Mountain hikes - wildflowers, city views and a laden peach tree!

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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.