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Monday, January 31, 2011

Spicy Meatless Spaghetti Sauce

I found this recipe tucked away in one of my old cook books. This recipe was given to me by our neighbor and good friend Mrs. Kathy O. from the old neighborhood about 20+ years ago. She had made this sauce specially for us (knowing that we were vegetarians) when she had invited us for Thanks giving dinner. Shortly after, they moved away to PA. We kept in touch for few years but then but gradually lost touch with each other. Thank you Mrs. O for your hospitality and for this recipe.

Since then I have modified the recipe to my own spicy version.

Number of Servings: 8


* 1/3 cup olive oil

* 2 bay leaves fresh or dried

* 2 yellow chopped onion chopped

* 1 medium green bell pepper chopped

* 1 medium red bell pepper chopped

* 1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper chopped (optional)

* 5-6 cloves crushed garlic

* 1 Tbs crushed oregano leaves

* 1 teaspoon basil

* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

* 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

* 1 (16 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped

* 3 cans (8 ounces) tomato sauce

* 3 cans of (6 ounces) tomato paste

* 2 cans of tomato soup (10.5 oz each)

* 1 small can (4 oz) mushrooms undrained (optional)

* 3 tbs brown sugar

* 2 tbs granulated sugar

* 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

* 2 teaspoons paprika powder

* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

* 1/2 cup red wine

* 1-2 cups of water

* Cooked wheat spaghetti


* In a large pan heat oil.

* Add bay leaf, and crushed red pepper, stir.

* Immediately add onions, garlic, red and green pepper until cooked to desired consistency.

* Add chopped tomatoes, cook for 2-3 min

* Add remaining ingredients except wine. (add the water one cup at at time until right consistency is achieved).

* Simmer on low heat for at least 30-45 min to allow flavors to blend, stirring occasionally.

* Take out the bay leaves and stir in the red wine, simmer for additional 5-10 min.

* On individual plates, spoon the sauce over cooked spaghetti; top each serving with your choice of cheese, if desired.

Photograph credits:
Photograph of sauce By mrjoro Joey Rozier

Photographs of speghetti with sauce by Pabo 76 Young Yun

Recipe modified by Surekha from a recipe given to her by Kathy O.
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dump Cake (Eggless)

I am always looking for quick, easy but yummy desserts. I acquired this recipe from one of my colleagues at work and I must say it meets all these criteria. You can get kids involved in assisting you bake this fun and yummy dessert. Goes very well with ice cream or you can just serve it with Cool whip.


* 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, un-drained

* 1 can prepared fruit (cherry) pie filling (can use peach or strawberry filling)

* 1 box yellow cake mix (can use chocolate cake mix with cherry or strawberry pie filling)

* 1 stick of butter or margarine, each cut into 12 slices

* 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)


* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for glass baking dish).

* In a 9 x 13-inch baking pan dump undrained pineapple baking dish or pan and spread it out evenly.

* Using a spoon, dump globs of cherry pie filling evenly on top of the pineapple.

* Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the cherry and pineapple layers.

* Cut butter into slices with a butter knife and place slices evenly over cake mix.

* Sprinkle nuts on top.

* Bake for 35-40 min or until golden brown.

* To serve, scoop cake out with a large spoon like a cobbler, and dump in a serving plate.

* A scoop of vanilla ice cream goes very well with dump cake, but as mentioned earlier, you may serve it with Cool whip.

* Serve warm or cold.

Photographs by:

Recipe given to my by my colleague Ms. Jodie B. Thank you Jodie :)
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Mixed Berry Tiramisu (Eggless)

Yields: 10 serving(s)


• 1 12-oz package unsweetened frozen mixed berries

• 12 tablespoon(s) sugar

• 1 10-oz package frozen Raspberries in syrup; thawed

• 1/2 cup(s) raspberry liqueur

• 3 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

• 3 (4.40-oz) packages Biscuits (4″ ladyfingers)

• 3 (8-oz tubs) Mascarpone softened at room temp

• 1 (8 oz) cream cheese softened at room temp

• 1 cup confectioner's sugar

• 2 cups heavy cream

• 6 tablespoons sour cream

• 1 pint strawberries fresh

• 1 pint raspberries fresh

• 1 pint blackberries fresh

• 1/2 pint(s) blueberries fresh


• Cook frozen mixed berries and 6 tablespoons sugar in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until mixture resembles jam and is reduced to 1 cup, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.

• Cool jam mixture.

• Strain syrup from thawed raspberries through sieve set over bowl, pressing gently on solids.

• Discard solids.

• Add raspberry liqueur to raspberry syrup in bowl.

• Using sharp knife, trim 1 biscuit to 3-inch length.

• Quickly dip biscuit into syrup, turning to coat lightly.

• Place rounded end up and sugared side against side of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch sides.

• Repeat with as many biscuits as necessary to cover sides of pan.

• Dip more biscuits in syrup and arrange on bottom of pan, covering completely and trimming to fit.

• In bowl, Whisk Heavy cream until fluffy, add sugar, add Mascarpone, cream cheese, sour cream and vanilla to blend until everything is well incorporated.

• Set aside.

• Thinly slice enough strawberries to measure 1/2 cup.

• Gently spread half of jam mixture over biscuits in bottom of pan.

• Spoon half of Mascarpone mixture over; smooth top.

• Sprinkle with sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup fresh raspberries and 1/2 cup blueberries.

• Dip more biscuits into syrop; arrange over fruit in pan, covering completely and trimming to fit.

• Gently spread remaining jam mixture over biscuits.

• Spoon remaining Mascarpone mixture over; smooth top.

• Cover, chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

• Release pan sides.

• Transfer cake to platter.

• Arrange remaining fresh berries decoratively to your choice of pattern atop cake and serve.


* If can not find frozen raspberries with syrup can make your own with frozen raspberries and a simple syrup (sugar & water).

* Instead of using raspberry liqueur you can use 2 shots of Midori and some orange juice to soak the ladyfingers.

* If you like to make this with eggs, you can follow my Tiramisu recipe on this blog and use ingredients for cream spread. Then follow this recipe for addition of berries and soaking the ladyfingers in raspberry liqueur instead of coffee and Kahlua.

* Instead of making it in spring form pan, you can make individual serving of these and serve the individual portions in elegant glassware for a fancy dinner party, or you can just layer all the ingredients in a trifle bowl if don't want to fuss with all the details, it will not change the taste.

* If you like you may sprinkle some cocoa powder on top of cake before arranging berries for decoration. You can also layer shredded or shaved chocolate in between along with layer of berry jam and Marscapone. It is a very versatile recipe indeed, can not go wrong with any variations.

Enjoy :)

Berries Photograph by sockmonkeyrevolt Chloe jones
Berry Tiramisu photographs courstey of mixed_berry_tiramisu_

Recipe slightly modified by Surekha from a recipe in Bonappetit magazine Aug 1993 issue.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Plain Paratha

Paratha (Hindi: पराठा) is an Indian flat-bread that originated in the Indian subcontinent, specifically in the Punjab. Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat (Hindi: परत) and atta (Hindi: आटा) which literally means layers of cooked flour. In Burma, it is known as palata, while it is known as farata in the Maldives.
In Burma, paratha is commonly eaten as a dessert, sprinkled with sugar.

It is one of the most popular unleavened flat-breads in Indian cuisine, Pakistani cuisine and Bengali cuisine and is made by pan frying whole-wheat flour on a tava.
The paratha dough usually contains ghee or cooking oil which is also layered on the freshly prepared paratha. Paratha can be plain or stuffed with vegetables.

The paratha can be round, heptagonal, square or triangular. In the former, the stuffing is mixed with the kneaded flour and the paratha is prepared as roti is, but in the latter two, the peda (ball of kneaded flour) is flattened into a circle, the stuffing is kept in the middle and the flatbread is closed around the stuffing like an envelope. The latter two also vary from the first in that, while the former is like a thick (in terms of width) version of the roti with filling inside, the latter two have discernible soft layers if one "opens" the crispier shell layers.

This recipe makes 12 Parathas. Every Indian family has its own recipe of making Paratha. Here is how my mom taught me.


• 3 Cups Whole-grain Wheat flour

• 1 and 1/2 tsp Salt

• 2 tbsp vegetable oil

• 1 and 3/4 cup Water to knead the dough (my mom uses plain yogurt instead of water to make the dough)

• ~ 2 cups of Wheat flour + rice flour + AP flour mixed together for dusting and to roll out dough

• 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or Ghee for brushing, and frying


Making the Dough:

• Mix flour, oil and salt well unit it resembles like crumbs.

• Add water little bit at a time and knead to make dough.

• Knead the dough for about 5 min with hands.

• Brush some oil on the ball of dough and let it sit for 30 min at room temp, you may cover it with damp cloth or saran wrap to avoid drying.

• Divide dough into 12 parts (about a golf size ball)

• Roll each part into a a round ball.

Rolling the Paratha:

• Roll out dough ball into a 6" round disc.

• Spread ~1/2 teaspoon of ghee or vegetable shortening on the disc and fold the circle four times making a triangle.

• Seal the edges of the triangle, so the ghee or vegetable shortening does not escape.

• Roll the triangle in the flour and roll with rolling pin in to thin triangle shape. (You can roll it in a round shape if you prefer)

Cooking the Parathas on Griddle

• Heat the griddle (Tawa) on medium heat.

• When the griddle is hot, place the rolled out Paratha on it.

• Cook the Paratha on the griddle for about 30-40 seconds on medium low heat, when you see the top surface bubbling, flip it over.

• The flipped up side should have a few brown spots.

• Brush the cooked surface with 1 teaspoon of vegetable shortening or ghee.

• Turn it over; cook it another 45 seconds until light brown.

• Spread 1 teaspoon of Ghee or vegetable shortening on other side.

• Turn it over; cook the other side for another 30-40 seconds.

• Press the spatula on Paratha while cooking it, the Paratha should blow up, if you see the air escaping press spatula to trap the air for Paratha to blow up.

• When both sides are cooked to desired crispiness, place and stack the Parathas in insulated container to keep warm and layered with paper towels.

• Serve hot with desired vegetable side dish, Raita, Chutney and or Pickle.

Description of Paratha Source:

Recipe by Surekha's dearest mom Mrs. Kasturben.
Photographs by Surekha
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vegetarian Taco Squares

Superbowl XLV is around the corner and I am sure you will be serving lot of munchies. This is a quick delicious deep dish taco square recipe to replace the traditional pizza. This will go very well with your other appetizers like corn chips, salsa, mexican dips and guacamole. You can easily double the recipe and make it for party of more than 8. The following recipe yields ~6-8 serving.

Go! You Packers! Go !!


* 1 cup corn flour

* 1 cup AP flour or Bisquick

* 2 teaspoons baking soda

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 3/4 cup milk

* 3 tbls butter

* 1 cup sour cream

* 1/2 cup Mayonaise

* 1/2 cup shredded chedder cheese + some extra to sprinkle on top

* 1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese + some extra to sprinkle on top

* 1/2 chopped yellow onions

* 1/2 cup chopped green onions

* 1/2 cup chopped green pepper

* 2 sliced tomatoes

* 1 (8 oz) bottle of taco sauce or enchilada sauce.

* 2 cans refried beans: prepared in following manner: Heat 1 table spoon of vegetable oil in pan, one chopped onion, and 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, saute until onions are translucent. Add 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon taco seasoning, 1 teaspoon of Paprika powder. Add the refried beans from can and mix well until everything is well incorporated. This is your spread for taco squares.


* In a bowl mix sour cream, mayo, cheese and onions, set aside.

* Mix both flours, baking soda and salt with milk and butter, making dough like consistency.

* Pat and spread this dough in bottom of greased baking clear glass baking dish (7 x 11 rectangular).

* Spread prepared refried beans over the dough evenly.

* Layer this with green pepper and sliced tomatoes followed by sourcream, mayo, cheese and onion mix and top with taco or enchilada sauce.

* Sprinkle some more cheese on top.

* Bake this in 350 F preheated oven for 30-35 min or until the bottom dough layer is light golden brown. (if you bake this in a glass bakeware it is easy to see the bottom layer)

* Let it cool slightly so you can neatly cut serving size squares.

* Serve hot with Taco sauce, chips, Salsa, pickled Jalapenos and sour cream if desired.

Recipe modified by Surekha from a recipe given to her by her good friend Bhadra K.
Photograph of Recipe by Surekha Pending :)
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Aloo Ghobhi Ki Sabji (Potato Cauliflower Side dish)

Aloo gobi (Hindi: आलू गोभी)also spelled as 'alu gobi' or 'aloo gobhi' and 'alu gawbi' is a dry Indian and Pakistani cuisine dish made with potatoes (aloo), cauliflower (gob(h)i) and Indian spices. It is yellowish in color, due to the use of turmeric, and occasionally contains kalonji and curry leaves. Other common ingredients include garlic, ginger, onion, coriander stalks, tomato, peas, and cumin. A number of variations and similar dishes exist, but the name remains the same.


* 1 large cauliflower, leaves removed and cut evenly into florets

* 6 small to medium potatoes, cut in to halves

* 1 large onion

* 1" piece of ginger

* 4 cloves of garlic

* 2-4 Serrano or Jalapeno pepper (numbers based of desired heat)

* 3-4 Roma tomatoes

* 1 cup crushed tomatoes from can

* 1/4 cup vegetable oil

* 2 bay leaves

* 1-2 pods of dry red chili peppers

* 2 teaspoon of cumin seeds

* 1/4 teaspoon of asafetida

* 2 teaspoons turmeric powder

* 2 teaspoons salt (ot to taste)

* 2 teaspoons garam masala

* 1 teaspoon of cumin powder

* 2 teaspoon of dry coriander powder

* Fresh juice for one lime

* 1 teaspoon of Mango powder

* 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder

* 1 teaspoon of paprika powder

* 1 bunch fresh coriander, separated into stalks and leaves and roughly chopped


* Wash and cut potatoes in halves.

* Immerse them in water in microwaveable container and microwave them for 10 min (not fully but half boiled)

* Take them out of microwave, cool, peel and cube them in to 1" pieces, set aside.

* In a food processor grind green chilies, garlic and ginger to fine paste, take it out in small container, set aside.

* In same food processor bowl, chop onions to fine pieces, take it out and set aside.

* In the same food processor bowl grind fresh tomatoes and crushed tomatoes from can together to crushed paste. Set aside.

* Heat vegetable oil in a pan.

* When oil is hot add cumin seeds, when these crackle, add asafetida, bay leaves and dry chili pods.

* Saute for few seconds, add ginger garlic chili paste, mix, stir and saute for about 1 min.

* Add chopped onions and saute on medium heat for about 3-4 min until golden brown.

* Add crushed tomatoes and salt and turmeric powder.

* Cook for about 2 min, add cauliflower florets.

* Add cumin powder, coriander powder, paprika and cayenne pepper powder.

* Cook this mixture for 5 min covered until florets are little tender.

* Gently add half boiled potatoes cubes, toss and mix well until all the florets and potatoes cubes are coated with gravy.

* Cover and allow to simmer for additional 10-15 minutes (or until potatoes are cooked tender, but not mushy and the gravy is thick).

* Add Garam Masala, mango powder and lime juice, toss and mix until everything is well incorporated. (Mix gently, you don't want cauliflower and potato cubes to break in to a mush)

* Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top of the curry.

* Turn off the heat.

* Serve hot with chapati and or rice.


* You may add 1 cup of frozen thawed peas to this (after potatoes and cauliflower florets are cooked) for color and different taste.

* You may cut down on the chili peppers, cayenne pepper powder and dry chili pods, if do not want too much heat.

* If you don't pre half boil the potatoes, you can add the potato cubes and cauliflower florets together in the gravy . However may want to add little water and cook them covered in the gravy for 20-25 min until tender.

* Lime juice and mango powder are used for tartness, if you do not want this to be tart you can omit one or the other. (these ingredients are added in the end, as if added earlier they may slow down the process of cooking of veggies and they will take long time to become tender)

Aloo ghobi description source :
Photograph of Gobi aloo by Rovingl

All other Photographs and Recipe by Surekha.
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