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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Garlicky Sauteed Buttered Asparagus

















Asparagus is low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber. It is high in protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, Rutin, niacin, Folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cell.
Being an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant, asparagus is an excellent nutritional choice for a side dish. It comes in three colors: white, green or purple, although the green variety is the most common. Fresh American-grown asparagus appears in stores in late February but it is at its best—and is usually cheapest—in April and May. While there’s frozen and canned asparagus, which can be enjoyed year round, nothing beats the delicate flavor of fresh asparagus.

Earlier I had posted recipe for Asparagus soup. Following is most easiest, quickest and popular way of serving Asparagus as a side dish in western culture. Once lightly sauteed, to preserve all the nutrients I cook it to desired tenderness in microwave.


This recipe yields about 6 servings.


Ingredients:


2.5 lbs Asparagus

1/3 cup garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tables spoon butter

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 cup water




Method:



* Mince garlic.

* Wash/rinse asparagus spears, break off and discard the distal tough ends.

* Heat olive oil in a pan.

* Add butter.

* When butter in melted in oil, add finely minced garlic and saute until light brown.

* Add asparagus spears and salt.

* Saute for 1 min.

* Transfer in microwavable pan.

* Rinse the pan that you sauteed the asparagus in with 1/4 cup of water and add this water to asparagus.

* Microwave asparagus uncovered for 5 min or to desired tenderness.

* Serve as a side dish with your favorite meal.


Asparagus Description Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Creamy Taro Root Potato Leek Soup with smoked Gouda






























I bought Taro root (Arbi) to make Curried Taro roots (Arbi ki Sabji) from local Indian grocer. However decided to make soup with few of these with potato and leek. My sons and I love smoked Gouda cheese, so added this to the soup to give it a light smoky flavor.

It came out pretty good. I thought it would be good post for my blog, but first I must share some information about Taro root that I gathered from wikibooks.

The taro root, as with other tubers, is recognized by other names. This tuber is also known as the dasheen, eddo and kalo in many areas of the world including West Africa, Asia, Central America, South America and the Caribbean and Polynesian islands. This root is most well-known as the ingredient of the Hawaiian dish poi, which is mashed taro root.

The hairy outer coating on a taro root is similar to a coconut. The hairy outer layer is always removed with caution since skin irritation can arise caused by the juices secreted by the taro root. Skin irritations arising from Taro juices can be cured by applying a a mixture of table vinegar and water(1:2) on the sore part. It is recommended to use protective rubber gloves when handling this tuber. Raw taro root is toxic, so always cook it before eating.

The roots are starchy and generally treated like potato. These tubers take on a nut-like flavor when cooked. Frying, baking, roasting, boiling, or steaming them as an accompaniment to meat dishes are all common uses. Soups and stews are other dishes that taro root suits well. Taro may be pounded into a thick grey paste and used to thicken other dishes in Asian cooking. Taro roots provide a good source of fiber and supply approximately 110 Calories per adult serving.

Select tubers that are firm and hairy, with no wrinkling. Store the roots for up to one week in a cool and dry location, making sure that the roots do not dry out.

The leaves and flowers are also sometimes eaten. Taro leaves can be treated like spinach and boiled or steamed.


Here is how I made this soup:



Ingredients:



* 2 Taro roots

* 1 potato

* 3 leeks

* 1/2" piece of ginger

* 1 yellow onion

* 1/2 red onion or one shallot

* 1 tablespoon butter

* 1/4 cup all purpose flour

* 2 cups half and half or milk

* 2 tablespoon olive oil

* Pinch teaspoon white pepper

* Salt to taste

* 8 oz of smoked Gouda shredded

* Fresh ground Black pepper




Method:



* Wash, peel and chop taro roots and potato in 1" chunks.

* Wash and chop leek.

* Place all of these chopped items in a microwave safe bowl.

* Add water to this cook these three ingredients in Microwave.

* Cook them for 20 min or until taro roots and potatoes are tender.

* Take them out of microwave and set aside.

* Chop onions and ginger and set aside.

* Heat Olive oil in a deep pan.

* Add chopped onions and ginger and saute until light brown.

* Add cooked Taro roots, potato and leeks with the water that these were cooked in.

* Simmer on slow heat while you prepare white sauce as follows.

* Heat butter in a pan.

* Add flour to melted butter and add half and half or milk.

* Stir and cook on low heat until it thickens slightly.

* Add this to simmering veggies.

* Add salt and white pepper.

* Cook for 2-3 min.

* With a hand blender puree all the ingredients until soup has smooth consistency.

* Add smoked Gouda cheese.

* Cook until the cheese is melted.

* Serve hot with few sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper.


I served this for lunch with side of butter garlic sauteed Asparagus. (recipe post to follow next)


Hint:

If you don't care for or can't find Taro root, you can make potato leek soup following same recipe by just adding 2 potatoes instead of Taro roots.



Taro root description source: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Taro_Root
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies





This recipes makes about 2 dozen cookies.


Ingredients


• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ cup white sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 cup butter/margarine or Crisco
• 2 eggs
• ¼ cup milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 ripe bananas, mashed
• 2 cups quick cooking oats
• 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
• ½ cup chopped almonds


Method:


* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
* In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until smooth.
* Stir in the eggs. milk and vanilla.
* Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, stir into the creamed mixture.
* Add the mashed bananas and rolled oats alternating it then add chocolate chips, and nuts mix until well blended.
* Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto unprepared cookie sheets. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven to desired consistency (I like them toward soft side and chewy side).
* Remove cookies from pan to cool on wire racks for 5 min.


Recipe Modified by Surekha from a recipe at allrecipes.com
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/banana-oatmeal-cookies-i/Detail.aspx

Photographs by Surekha
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Favorite Fruit Dips











This is my basic recipe of plain sweet dip and then I add different ingredients to make different flavored dips.


For this recipe I use following ingredients:


1 (8 oz) tub of cool whip

1 (8 oz) pkg of cream cheese softened

1 (8 oz) container of sour cream

1 can of condensed milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract



Method:


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk with hand blender until smooth.

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.

This makes 4 cups of dip.

This is my basic sweet dip for fruits. I use this basic recipe to do many variation to make different flavored dips as follows:



Lime dip:


To the basic recipe I add following and whisk until smooth:

Juice of 1 fresh lime
1 teaspoon grated lime peels
one 7 oz jar of marshmello cream

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Maple dip:

To the basic recipe I add following and whisk

1/4 cup of packed brown sugar and cut down the quantity of condensed milk to taste
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Pistachio pudding dip:

To the basic recipe I add following and whisk them together:

1 more 8 oz pack of softened cream cheese
1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 small pkg. instant pistachio pudding
1/2 cup milk or evaporated milk

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Butterscotch dip:

To the basic recipe I add following and whisk together until smooth:

1/4 cup butterscotch ice cream topping
1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of milk or evaporated milk

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Mocha-Kahlua Sweet dip

To the basic recipe I add following and whisk until smooth:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Kahlua
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
1/4 cup of milk or evaporated milk

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Cheesecake dip:

To the basic recipe I add following and blend them all the ingredients in blender until smooth

1/2 cup frozen strawberries
Juice from fresh lime
1 teaspoon Grated lime peels
1 (7 oz) jar of Marshmallow cream

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Chocolate cream dip:

To the basic recipe I add following and whisk them together until smooth

1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 (7 ounce) jar Marshmallow cream

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Mandarin orange dip:

To the basic recipe I add following and blend them in blender until smooth

1 can of mandarine oranges drained
1 tablespoon of orange liquer
1 tablespoon of orange marmalade
1 (7 ounce) jar Marshmallow cream

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Cinnamon dip:

To the basic recipe I add following and whisk until smooth:

1 additiona 8 oz pack of softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 (7 oz) jar or marshmellow cream

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.


Creamy Vanilla pudding dip:

To the basic recipe I add following and whisk until smooth:

1 (8oz) additional pack of cream cheese
1 package (3 1/2 oz. size) instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup milk or evaporated milk

Chill at least 2-3 hours and serve with assorted fruits.



Hints:

* With all of the above recipes you may add desired nuts like almonds or walnuts.
* You may use sugar free pudding mix, fat free sourcream, fat free cream cheese, and fat free milk where it calls for thes ingredients.
* I personally don't care for Amaretto, but if you like it you can use this instead of vanilla if desired.
* These dips can be served with fruits or crackers.
* You may substitute fruit yogurt for sour cream.
* You may use fruit cream cheese instead of plain cream cheese.



Fruit tray photograph by mrdestructicity Dave White
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34042769@N07/5070827118/
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en
Rest of the photographs by Surekha
Recipe modified by Surekha from various recipes by different sources, friends, and family.
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