Monday, 23 January 2017

Quinoa Puliyogare/Quinoa Pulihora/Tamarind Quinoa

You can dish out many ultimate dishes with Quinoa, this grain is very versatile and you can replace this grain very well where we use rice. You have so many ways to add this quinoa in our daily diet. Easy to cook, quinoa can be prepared very much well in our Indian cuisine with our spices. And my today's post proves it well. Last sunday, i was not in mood to prepare something special,actually i

Savory Corn Fritters {Vegan}

Paring down the cookbook shelves has its advantages. As much as it pains me to let go of books, cookbooks or otherwise, so often the experience is one of renewal and discovery. I looked through books that I hadn't opened for a while, salvaged some recipes from those marked for the donation pile, and managed to make room for the ones that I truly cherish. My brain was buzzing with inspiration. I was discovering recipes I had nearly forgotten about, others just waiting to be enjoyed again, and new ideas to try. These savoury pancakes I rediscovered in one of the first vegetarian cookbooks that ever occupied a space on my shelf. I have adapted the recipe over the years to make it my own, but as corn appears only occasionally on the menu,...

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Papas (Patatas) Bravas

I'm a little embarrassed by the degree to which this seems to be developing into the winter of the root vegetable but, hey, themes happen.

These are not exactly low-cal but close your eyes and pretend you are at a tapas bar in Spain, the original home of this spicy potato dish and a much nicer place than slushy Ontario at the moment. I have to say I never had them in Spain but my Spanish bar experience usually consisted of staggering into the nearest one I could find open at 10:00 am and ordering a tortilla bocadito for second breakfast. (First Spanish breakfast leaves much to be desired, especially to someone who expects to walk 25 kilometres that day.)

The spicy sauce is not dissimilar to the one that usually accompanies sweet potato fries in North America, and I would totally make it to go with sweet potatoes roasted in the same way as the these potatoes. Either way, a very simple but tasty dish.

4 servings
1 hour - 30 minutes prep time

Spanish Potatoes with a Spicy Sauce

Roast the Potatoes:
500 grams (1 generous pound) potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
a sprinkling of salt

Wash and trim the potatoes (peel them if you like) and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Put them in a pot of water to cover, bring them to a boil, and boil them for 10 minutes. Drain well.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Toss the potatoes with the oil in a roasting pan that will hold them in a single layer - I used my 8" x 10" lasagne pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes until nicely browned; stir them once or twice during that time.

Make the Sauce:
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
2 large shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon smoked sweet or hot Spanish paprika
a little cayenne to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)

Start the sauce about 15 or 20 minutes before the potatoes are done. 

Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and mince the shallots. Heat the oil in a medium sized skillet and heat over medium-high heat; add the shallots and cook them gently for about 5 minutes until softened and reduced, and perhaps very slightly browned.

Mix the paprikas, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Add the garlic to the pan of shallots and sprinkle the seasoning over it. Mix well and cook gently for another minute or two. Add the tomato sauce and vinegar, and continue to cook gently for a few more minutes until the sauce is well amalgamated and slightly thickened. Remove it from the heat and allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes until just warm.

Mix in the mayonnaise and transfer the sauce to a serving bowl or drizzle it over the roasted potatoes.

Last year at this time I made Rutabaga with Bacon, Mushrooms, & Onions.

Nada - Brunch

While we were in Cincinnati recently, we decided to eat brunch at Nada before heading out of town. Mostly because it was right across the street from the hotel. I have only eaten at the Nada in Indy once and had a kind of mixed experience, but was intrigued to try their brunch menu. And you can get reservations. (And the menu for brunch in Indy appears to be the same).

We started with the queso gringo ($7), which was very good. I assume this is on the regular dinner menu too, and I would get it again in a heartbeat. It had a layer of refried black beans on the bottom of the bowl ad the cheese (smoked gouda) is mixed with habanero peppers and pico di gallo. All of these things together made for a tasty, chunky, delicious take on queso dip. Much more interesting than many I have had. I also really like their freshly fried chips which are light, but flaky if you know what I mean—they sort of peel apart in layers. Really good. 

I was torn by what to order for my main dish, but was intrigued by the eggs goettadicto ($12). I thought this dish might only be available in Cincy, where goetta is from, but as it turns out, looks like it’s in Indy too. Which is good news for you guys because it was delicious. It was English muffins topped with crispy fried goetta, perfectly poached eggs, lots of avocado, and an extremely lemony Sriracha hollandaise. So goetta, if you don’t know, is a product from the Cincinnati region made up of sausage, oats, and spices and its all mixed together, sliced and cooked like a sausage patty. I really like it because while it has the flavor of sausage, it has the crunchy texture that you can imagine from the oatmeal. I absolutely loved how much acid was in the hollandaise though. A great lemon flavor to go with the eggs and goetta. And a little pico di gallo to pull it all together. A great dish. One I would (and will) happily eat again.

Hubby and one friend both got the huevos rancheros ($9) and they also did a very nice job with this dish as well. At first I was torn about which I liked better, but in the end, the goetta and that hollandaise convinced me mine was best. The huevos rancheros had a flavorful bean mix on the bottom, some crisped tortillas and two fried eggs. There was a nice diablo sauce as well. I liked the way the tortillas were crispy, making it slightly different from many versions, which use soft tortillas. By crisping them up, it made them taste a bit like chilaquiles, which are one of my favorite things.

All in all, I really enjoyed this brunch and was pleased to find such a tasty option that we also have in Indy. We also had a breakfast cocktail, and my blood orange mimosa was quite good, so if you like a cocktail with your brunch, this might be a place you should try.

11 West Maryland
Indy 46204

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Chef JD's Comfort Cuisine: Mafaldine with Chicken and Pecorino Romano Basil Crème

Chef JD's Comfort Cuisine: Mafaldine with Chicken and Pecorino Romano Basil Crème:

Basic Roast Chicken

I don't think there is  dish on earth that exemplifies home sweet home any better than a delicious roasted chicken.   We love it in this house and we don't have it near often enough.  Not only is it delicious, but its also economical as you are sure, with careful planning, to get at least three meals for your family from any good sized chicken.

This week I wanted to begin the week by showing you a simple recipe for a really delicious roast chicken and then some tasty ideas for using the leftovers on two consecutive days.  I have been trying to teach my daughter about economy and making the food dollar stretch and this is a part of that.

Chicken is a very affordable meat these days.  Much more so than when I was growing up.  We didn't often have a chicken at all, and when we did it was a real treat!  I remember reading a book when I was about fourteen years old, called "Chicken Every Sunday," by Rosemary Taylor.  It was about a girls reminiscences of her mother's boarding house. I can remember thinking how nice it would be to have a Roast Chicken dinner every Sunday!  I was ever the gourmet!

A roast chicken has to be one of the most simple things going and to be honest it is all about temperature and timing.  You don't have to do very much to it really, just bang it into a roasting tin, and roast it, with regular basting and you are guaranteed to have a tasty bird.   If you can afford a free range corn fed bird then you are in for a real treat, but even if you can't, you are still in for a tasty meal.

It is nice however if you can add a few other flavours to the mix.  Thyme, garlic and lemon have to be the essence of a really flavourful roast chicken.  And a bit of butter.  I like to put a bit under the skin of the breast prior to roasting and another tasty bit inside.  It makes for a really delicious bird.

With that and some lemon, sliced and placed beneath the bird with another halved, squeezed over top and the spent lemons throw inside, along with some sprigs of time and some garlic, salt and black pepper you are guaranteed a really delicious bird indeed.  And tis just so simple.

*Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken*
Serves 4


Nothing is more comforting than a delicious dinner of Roast Chicken and vegetables. Crisp skin on the outside, and succulent, flavourful, tender and juicy meat on the inside. This is my way of achieving just that. Lemon and Garlic bring out the best in chicken. The three just go together like peas and carrots!

1 medium sized roasting chicken, about 2 kg in weight
(2 kg is about 5 pounds)
2 unwaxed lemons
3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 TBS butter
3 sprigs of thyme
Sea Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
A drizzle of olive oil 

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Take one of the lemons and slice very thinly. Place half of the slices in the bottom of a heavy roasting pan. Set aside while you prepare the chicken.

Wash the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Season it well inside with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin over the chicken breasts with your fingers, being very careful not to tear it. Push a  1 TBS of butter and a sprig of thyme under the skin on each half. Cut the other lemon in half.  Squeeze the juice over the chicken and then place the halves into the chicken cavity, along with the last TBS of butter and a sprig of thyme and the garlic. Place the whole chicken on top of the sliced lemon in the roasting pan. Dust the whole thing with some salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Place in the heated oven.


 Roast, uncovered for approximately 45 minutes per kg (2 1/2 pounds), or until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Baste the chicken every fifteen minutes after the first half hour has passed with the pan juices.

Remove from the oven and let it sit to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If you wish you can skim off all the fat from the pan and make a delicious gravy with the juices that are left behind.

To make a gravy: Skim off all the fat from the pan, except for about 2 TBS. Add several TBS of flour to the remaining drippings and any juices from the chicken. Stir until smooth, and cook over medium heat for about a minute. Slowly pour in 2 cups of heated chicken stock, stirring until it is thickened and smooth. Taste for seasoning. Serve.

I like to serve it with some creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side, which depend on what I have in the fridge.  This time it was swede and carrots and I also made some of my stuffing to go along with it.   I just used this recipe and baked it in a dish along side of the chicken for the last half hour of baking.  Bon Appetit!

When in Bataan: Stregato Gelateria

It’s quite frustrating to be in a lovely city yet not know where to eat. I checked a bunch of sites but most of the establishments in the area have zero reviews. I remember though that a close friend of mine recently went to Bataan and took a photo of herself with a charming swing. I quickly checked if it has reviews in looloo; and it has an overall rating of four stars. Since it is just beside our hotel, we decided to drop by. 

Hello, Stregato Gelateria
The quaint dessert shop is located at the ground floor of Galeria Victoria Mall and it was a good thing that I asked The Plaza Hotel’s doorman for directions as we would have missed it and walked 15 minutes away as directed by Google Maps based on the pin in looloo. 

Entering the restaurant could be a bit unpleasant as kids selling garlands would tap and force you to buy. One kid even asked me to treat her a scoop of gelato. Though it is sad to see kids trying to earn money to survive, it could also be annoying to some customers who just want a nice meal, poke-free.
The showcase freezer of gelato is the first thing you’ll see once you set foot inside the charming restaurant. But since R and I were famished, we didn’t bother to check it and looked for the menu instead. After spotting some savory dishes, we headed to the second floor and took the table with a swing couch. After a while, we moved as the table is too small for dinner. 

We decided to go with Mushroom Soup (PHP97), Loaded Potato Skins (PHP145, add PHP10 for additional sour cream dip), Grilled Salmon (PHP185) and Eight-Hour Roast Beef (PHP220). For drinks, we went with Gelato Shake (PHP130) and Frozen Iced Tea (PHP85). I went down again as they have this pay as you order policy.

After placing our orders, I was informed that they were out of roast beef. I then changed it to pork belly but they were out of pork as well. I could sense that R was frustrated as he wanted to eat either beef or pork. Eventually, he settled with Pan Fried Herbed Chicken with Gravy (PHP178). 
Service was fast and our drinks were served after 5 minutes. 
The iced tea tasted like frozen Nestea while the gelato shake (I chose tiramisu) was slightly lighter than its dessert version. I was surprised that it was not as sweet as expected. It was a good thing though as it somehow quenched my thirst.
Mushroom soup was served next and it was the saddest bowl of soup I’ve tasted. It was so watery and quite bland. At least it was served warm. It would have been better if there were mushroom bits and sour cream for texture and taste. 
Our frowns were turned upside down though by the loaded potato skins. R and I loved it a lot!
The baked potato skins topped with crispy bacon bits and cheese were delightful! Each bite was flavorful and adding a dollop of sour cream further enhanced the dish. I loved the contrast in textures and the play of flavors. I wouldn’t mind placing three orders of this if only it won’t make my thighs bigger. 
My grilled salmon was quite good too though a bit too salty. I had to make sure that each spoonful had some sautéed mushrooms and leeks to offset the saltiness of the slab of salmon. Then again, for PHP185, this dish is a steal!
R’s pan fried chicken was also good. The chicken fillet was succulent and well seasoned. Stregato Gelateria was also not stingy with gravy. The chicken fillet was swimming in gravy! An order also comes with a small glass bowl of gravy for the gravy monsters out there. I also loved the slightly bland fried potatoes to offset the saltiness of the chicken. 

We thought of trying its gelato or cakes but we were already too full to have desserts. We just stayed a bit longer to check our mails and catch a Pokemon or two.
Overall, it was a pleasant dinner. Food’s not that remarkable and the place is a bit too dim for its cute interiors. Servers though were quick and nice. Stregato Gelateria is still a restaurant worth visiting when nearby. Also, make sure you get a photo with the cute swings!

Stregato Gelateria is located at Ground Floor, Galeria Victoria Mall, Bonifacio Street, City of Balanga, Bataan.
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