Thursday, December 31, 2009

Onion, Tomato & Feta cheese Tart

While I'm writing this post another year is slipping through our hands and the year 2010 has already put it's footprints in many places of the world. Many people have already celebrated the arrival of the year 2010 in other part of the world & slowly it's coming our way & the moment it'll be here..... I know what's gonna be the statement....OMG! it's already 2010 I don't believe, happens every year, when the year is at the end, how we feel that year passed so quickly but when we are going thru some time it feels that it's never gonna end. No resolutions for me, as I have never done that kind of thing in my life, but like always.....'ll try to make better of whatever life brings. On that note I wish everyone in the blog sphere "A Very Happy New Year - Twenty Ten". I've already started calling this year Twenty Ten I kinda like that term.

Now coming on to the recipe, I thought of putting some cupcake/muffins made yesterday but then I thought let's put little bit more fancy stuff & that would also clear one entry from the draft before this year ends. This recipe is inspired from Barefoot Contessa(food network) show, I made it I guess in the beg. of this year, long before I discovered the world of blogging. But it came out so good that I took the picture, yes the pic is from that time only. I did changed the original recipe according to our taste and spices I had on hand. Here's how I made this :

Ingredients :
  • 1 sheet ready to bake puff pastry sheet, thawed as per package directions.
  • 8 tomato slices
  • around half a cup feta cheese
  • handful of grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tblsp. of chopped cilantro
  • 2 medium size red onion, thinly sliced
  • spice mix (salt + black pepper +red chilli flakes in equal portions)
  • evoo

Method :

  1. Using little evoo saute the onions till they become caramelized(brownish in color). Let them cool.
  2. Cut the pastry sheet into 4 squares. Now using a sharp paring knife score around 1 inch border on the sides of each square. Only score the border, don't cut through it, you don't want to separate it.
  3. Now using a fork pierce the inside square at few places may be 6-7 times, that will restrict the puffing of inside square. Do not peirce the outside square(border).
  4. On the inside square spread some caramelized onions, sprinkle spice mix. Sprinkle some feta cheese another sprinkle of spices. Time for 2 slices of tomatoes on each tart followed by some chopped cilantro, spices mix & finally parmesan cheese on top.
  5. Bake around 20-22 minutes at 425 degree F oven, until pastry is golden brown( Check your package directions for baking the pastry).

Let it cool little bit before you dig into it. Perfect for snack, weekend breakfast or anytime of the day. Before I say bye to this year I wanted to say thanks to Malar and Ashkuku for passing me an award, I'm really sorry that I'm not able to display it(some problem with picture upload). Hoping to post it with my next post, thanks once again. This is my last post of the year 2009, wish you all safe and happy New Year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sally the Snow Girl

Wish you all a Very Merry Christmas & Seasons Greetings.
Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Healthy after Dinner Sweet for Winter Weather & perfect for New Moms

By looking at the picture some of you must have guessed it, for those who are still thinking what it is, so let me tell you, it's called "Badam(almonds) wala Gur(jaggery)" in simple words. As it has jaggery & almonds as main ingredients. Though you can use any other nuts but I mainly use almonds & walnuts, but today I didn't had any walnuts on hand so result is "Badam wala Gur" or in English I think I would simply call it "Sweet & Spicy Nuts", oh, does have some spices also in it. This is my Mom's recipe I make it every winter, it's perfect for that little bite of sweet we crave after dinner. One of the fellow blogger was looking for recipe with jaggery for post partum diet, so I thought of putting this on my blog. As for the benefits of this sweet, let me write a little bit about it's ingredient :

1) Gur(jaggery) : also known as medicinal sugar, it's unrefined wholesome sugar full of minerals & vitamins. It's a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium & also contains moderate amount of calcium, phosphorus & zinc, it also helps in the purification of blood. As per Ayurvedic diet it helps in throat & lung infections. Because of it's health benefits in India it's very common to use lots of gur in post partum diet, it's healthy & helps clean the body from inside after delivery. Also when babies start on solid foods it's good to use gur in baby food instead of using refined sugars.

2) Almonds & Walnuts : Now a days every where one can see the emphasis on heart healthy nuts : almonds & walnuts, so I'm not writing a lot about that. But I would only like to say that new moms need them much more than anybody else, as it will increase DHA & RHA in the breast milk which is very important for babies brain.

3) Ajwain( carom seeds) : It's an excellent cure for indigestion & low-appetite. Very beneficial in cases of cough,cold & asthma. Again new moms are suggested to eat 1-2 spoons full of ajwain during the period they are nursing, not only helps mom but also helps little babies from having gas pains & indigestion. For more home remedies using ajwain for little babies & kids click here.

4) Sund(dry ginger powder) : it's used in Ayurveda from centuries. It's used to treat indigestion, stomachaches, nausea, joint & muscle pains, loss of appetite, cough, colds & flu to name few.

5) Ghee(clarified butter) : it's obtained by gently heating the butter to the point where all the water evaporates & all the milk solids get separated. It's lactose free & also free of hydrogenated oils so good for health-conscious ones. Ghee is not only versatile cooking medium(has very high burning point), but as per Ayurveda it helps balance excess stomach acids and helps maintain & repair the mucus lining of the stomach. Helps lubricate the connective tissues & promote flexibility, used to promote memory. To me it's right kind of fat specially for babies & toddlers & also for new moms.

Now here's the recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 1 Tblsp. of ghee(U can use up to 2 Tblsp. or totally replace it with evoo)
  • 3/4 cup chopped gur(indian jaggery)
  • 1 cup chopped mixed nuts(walnuts+almonds)
  • 1 Tblsp. of ajwain(carom seeds) (use more or less as per your taste)
  • 1 tsp. sund(dry ginger powder)

Note : this time I used pan roasted almonds & I love the taste better than plain ones. Also if preparing for post-partum diet you can double the quantity of ajwain & sund.

Method :

  1. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan on med. gas for few seconds then add gur to it & mix it.
  2. Once the gur is all melted add rest of the ingredients,stir it together. Turn off the heat & be careful it's gonna be really HOT don't try to taste it, it's gonna be tempting but control yourself.
  3. Take a baking tray or thali grease it with ghee & pour the mixture onto it & using backside of spoon spread it as evenly as u can. Once all set & cold to touch cut it into pieces. Let it cool completely before taking them out. Store it in air-tight container. No need to refrigerate it doesn't spoil use dry hands only.

Note : It's very good for new-moms, I use to snack on these after having my second one. But any one can enjoy these they not only taste good but healthy too, only problem with these goodies is to stop eating them.......they are that tasty.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fate could not be escaped and a useful Tip

Fate could not be escaped. What the Gods had in store , was going to happen no matter what.....

I Know all of you must be thinking why do we need to see the picture of boiling milk. I really wanted to share this tip with all of you because it really works.Few months back i read it in some magazine that when you boil the milk put a wooden spoon on top of the pot and when the milk is boiling it won't fall off. So last month, while making pudding I decided to give it a test, and as u can see in the picture it really works and did saved my day, but I never got a chance to post this. I took the picture approximately after 50 seconds of boiling process and I believe any body who has ever boiled milk knows what a mess it is when milk over boils & it's all over the stove top.

I did stir the milk after every minute or two because i didn't wanted to burn the milk. BUT I think it's a good tip to keep in mind so that next time, when you are in the situation where milk is boiling & you turned your back on it just for a second and uh...oh...

Now you must be thinking if this tip saved my day then what's with the title of the post "Fate could not be escaped". So, here how it goes One fine morning, I woke up and as my daily ritual went to the kitchen, got all the stuff out for breakfast & lunch..... started getting food ready.... served my DD her favourite cereal with milk, she happily finished everything & off to school. Next I served breakfast to DH, & the story starts.....

He : this milk has a smell.
She : really ????? I opened the milk jug just two days back only.
He : r u sure?
She : yes.....DD just had it...didn't complained.
He : no words spoken...trying to finish his breakfast.
She : I guess they(milk producers) must have changed the cow's diet....hence the smell...

Situation : everything went O.k. he's off to forward to 1 the milk jug out, pour it in my cup, got a thought in mind let me smell it....oh, boy it does have a little smell.....checked the milk jug for expired 4 days I get it, he was right after all. What happened was that this milk jug was lost somewhere at the back of the cooler box after we used half of it last week. So, mystery is solved now, crossed my fingers & did little prayer to the God, DD & DH don't get upset stomach because of the spoiled milk (through out the day every phone call scared me). Finally when DD came back home, checked how was your day and answer was was a relief....

Back to the I'm thinking what to do with this milk.....should I make a curd(home made yogurt), NO that's not a good idea......O.k decided paneer(Indian cheese) is the right option. Put the milk to boil, and went on with other things....kept checking it in between, milk is almost done may be another 3-4 minutes, turned the stove to low put the wooden spoon on top.......went outside the kitchen for a minute to see little, little one saw mommy & wants, mommy picks the little one and forgets all about the milk and spends good 20 min. or so to help little one sleep.......came back to the living room & wondering why I left the kitchen light on....OMG, it's the milk....ran to the kitchen & saw that my wooden spoon has saved my day, thank God. Quickly took the action & tadhaa....paneer(Indian cheese) is ready, I strained it directly in my steel strainer & left it on top of the pot to get all the water strained out........and thinking, wow, I saved the money going down the drain(get it, instead of throwing the spoiled milk i turned it into cheese...isn't it great).

Fast forward 2 hours, time to fix the lunch......saw that cheese, looks like still have some water in it as I didn't put any weight on it. Took that same wooden spoon, you all know that they have round handles and not flat kind, using my thumb on the handle try to squeeze some water out of the cheese and uh....oh....Fate could not be escaped. Thumb slipped, lost control of my hands & cheese is all over the kitchen. Little one came running to the kitchen, saw the mess & gave me a big smile as if saying Thanks mommy for setting up a big mess & eating from the kitchen floor game......let's start playing now.........and yes, did I said, I still saved some cheese around quarter of a cup.

Photo courtesy : Food Blogging.
As now a days whenever possible I take click if food is involved in any way.

This incidence happened few days back and same day I got message from Dear Malar that she's hosting Kitchen Mishaps event, so I guess this is my perfect mishap for her event, with the hope that I don't have to send you more entries, here it goes to you Malar.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eggless Banana Marble Cake with no fat

An over-ripe banana, leftover coffee from the morning, complaint from husband : you don't make coffee cake anymore.......,hot oven ready to bake anything(after my home made Pav's), something(that's my DD's voice) telling me all the time, make chocolate cake......... that's how this cake is born. Well it's on the line of marble cake so basically half of the batter is chocolate & half is regular, I'm not calling it white or vanilla as because of banana & coffee the color of regular one was also toward light brown. Very easy to make, no fat used, hardly took me 6-7 minutes to put it together, here's how it goes :

Ingredients :
  • 1 cup all purpose flour(i use maida)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1 med. size over-ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar(i'm using little less than usual)
  • 1 tblsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tblsp. instant coffee powder
  • 1/3 cup prepared coffee(no milk) *
  • 1/2 cup home made dahi/buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk
* Note : As I had some leftover coffee so i used it, instead of that increase the quantity of instant coffee powder according to your taste, how strong you want. And also increase the quantity of milk(liquid).
Method :
  1. Sift first 5 ingredients together.
  2. In a mixing bowl mash the banana using back side of the fork. Mix sugar to it. Add all the liquids one at a time(any order) & mix them together so that banana is well incorporated into the liquids.
  3. Now add dry mix to it little bit at a time(for some reasons I always add it in three parts).
  4. Divide the batter into two equal parts.
  5. Add cocoa powder to one part mix it & if needed add a spoon or two of milk/water to bring it to cake batter consistency.
  6. Pour any one batter into the greased & floured cake tin. Once settled now add other batter in the centre & using your finger/small spoon swirl the mixture little bit.
  7. Bake at 350 degree F pre-heated oven for around 20-22 minutes. Cake tin I use is around 8 inches, the measurements are for small cake. If you increase or decrease the quantity oven timings will also change.
Enjoy it with some fresh whip cream on top. Sorry no pics from inside, once the cake was done, we were so busy eating it, that didn't get a chance to take more pics. I'm sending this cake to Sara for her blog anniversary event Cakes n Cookies and also to Radhika & sudeshna's Food for 7 stages of life : In love with Detectable desserts, pastries & Ice-cream event.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Italian Bread Try-2

Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.
- James Beard, AmericanChef
My bread(the one I baked) has air holes in it......and I thought I could never do that well I mean sort of......... In the month of November I have baked 3 breads, out of which 2 were Italian breads(didn't posted any of them). But I guess it's more easy to bake them than to document them. But I have to write a post for each of them, for my record, so later on if I need to, I can refer to my notes here.

This time I decided to choose another recipe . After my first trial of Italian bread I did little research & decided that it's time to use biga. Now, what's biga? Biga is a type of pre-ferment used in Italian baking. Many popular Italian breads, including ciabatta, are made using a biga. Using a biga adds complexity to the bread's flavor and is often used in breads which need a light, open texture with holes. Apart from adding to flavor and texture, a biga also helps to preserve bread by making it less perishable. Biga techniques were developed after the advent of baker's yeast as bakers in Italy moved away from the use of sourdough and needed to recover some of the flavor which was given up in this move. Bigas are usually dry and thick compared to the French Poolish or a sourdough starter (source : Wiki).

Here's the recipe, as usual I divided into half to make one loaf.

Ingredients :

For Biga

  • 1 cups bread flour
  • 1/8 tsp. Instant dry yeast
  • 4oz. water @ room temperature

For Dough

  • 1 & 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp. instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 & 1/2 Tblsp. water @ room temperature
  • Salt 1&1/4 tsp.


  • cooking spray (I used olive oil )
  • cornmeal
  • large baking sheet

Method : Before I start to write the procedure, I would like to say that making biga may sound complicated but it's really as easy as mixing flour & water. The only difficult part over here is that you have to start it a day before, it's a time consuming process as most of the time is spent on dough to rise & ferment.

Making Biga : Just mix the ingredients for biga & knead it for 3-4 minutes. The dough or as it's called biga will be kind of very soft. Grease the inside of bowl with few drops of oil(or use cooking spray). Cover with plastic wrap & keep it at some warm place for at least 3 hrs. after that move it to the fridge.Next day after fermentation, biga will be bubbly & almost double. Make sure you take it out of the fridge at least half an hour before you decide to work on it(I took it out an hour before).

Making Dough :

  1. Like biga, dough is also easy to make, combine flour, yeast & water & knead it for 3-4 minutes. Coat the inner side of a big bowl & let the dough rest in it for 20 min. covered with plastic wrap.
  2. After resting period sprinkle the salt & add biga to the dough and mix everything together & knead for few minutes( I did it for 5 minutes), making sure that everything get mixed while kneading, Oil your hands to avoid stickiness. Note : It take little time to incorporate the salt into the dough this way, I'm not sure what difference it would make if salt is added in the beginning which would be easy, but I followed the recipe for that part. But I did added all the salt at this point, where as actual recipe is adding it in two parts. Actual recipe has a link for the video on how to knead which is really helpful for beginners like me.
  3. Cover the bowl with the dough tightly with plastic wrap & let it sit at room temperature for at least one hour.
  4. Uncover after an hour, fold the dough, one side to the other and top to the bottom & flip it over in the bowl(don't forget to use cooking spray/oil). Remember NO PUNCHING gently folding only. Again cover it with the plastic wrap & let it rest for another hour.
  5. Repeat step 4 after an hour. So in total the dough rest & rise for 3 hours.
  6. Now on a floured surface roll the dough to roughly 8" x 10". Then starting from either of the short side fold both the corners towards inside(roughly 2-3"). Now start rolling that pointed side, make a log. Put the seam side down & tuck the ends underneath(I lightly wet my finger with water & used it to pinch the sides & seam at the end of the log/roll).
  7. Transfer the loaf onto the baking sheet(sprinkled with corn meal). Cover loosely with plastic wrap & let it rise for another hour.
  8. Recipe suggests to pre-heat the oven to 500 degree F for 45 minutes, yes 45 minutes to the mark, that means it needs to be really hot, I did it for only 30 minutes(I guess it was hot enough).
  9. Once oven is ready, cut a 1/2" slit lengthwise in the loaf, leaving 2" margin on both sides. You really need a sharp knife for this, In my last trial after baking the slits were hardly visible, so this time I used kitchen knife & it worked perfectly.
  10. Bake for 10 min. at 500 degree F. Rotate baking sheet one half turn reduce temperature to 400 degree F & continue baking for another 30 minutes until loaf is golden brown(oven temperatures may vary, so I normally set my timer to little less time then it's asked for.....mine was done in total of 33-34 minutes). Note : when tapped on its bottom, a perfectly baked loaf shoul sound hollow.

Here's the picture of final result.....

Look : It looked like a perfect artisan bread.

Crust & Inside : It was really crusty from outside, given a choice I would really like to have little softer crust than what it had. It was more on the harder side I would say, I have to do little more work on that, if any body has any suggestion please drop a line. Now for inside, it was perfect, it had that taste & aroma of fresh bread and that chewiness and most important of all it had air holes, what more I could wish for.

Serving Suggestion : We liked fresh warm bread with little butter & leftovers were eaten little toasted with butter.

Storing : Actual recipe says you can freeze it also, but I kept few leftover slices wrapped in the foil in air tight box on the kitchen counter & used it next day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Heart Healthy - Wild Salmon Curry

Salmon well known for it's health benefits is an incredible fish, different from most of the other fish you might know of. Most of the world's fish either live in fresh or salt water, but salmon fish during the course of their life, live in both, salt & fresh water habitats.They spawn in fresh water where the eggs hatch, live in the streams for 1-3 years then start their journey to open oceans, travels thousands of miles throughout their life cycle and finally return to the very location where they were born to spawn & die, isn't it amazing.

Salmon is low in calories and saturated fats, yet high in protein and considered very nutritional as it contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And omega-3's are also called essential fatty acids as they are essential for human health but because they can not be made by the human body so they must be obtained from the various foods.Salmon is considered heart healthy fish not only because of the presence of omega-3's in it but mainly because of it's great ratio of omega-3's to omega-6's. To get more information about balancing omega-3 & omega-6 essential fatty acids click here.

There are many species of salmon, fresh wild caught salmon is usually in season from early summer to late fall though farm raised is available through out the year or you can also find frozen salmon in the grocery stores. You can also refer here to get some more information about how to choose fresh fish.

The main difference between farm raised & wild caught is in terms of contamination and because of that it's recommended that adults should eat no more than 1 meal per month if it is farm raised(more info). Another difference between farm raised & wild caught is in terms of what food do these salmon eat, because that results in the amount of omega-3's in them. Wild salmon eats varied diet from the sea(salmon are carnivores : they eat no plants at all) hence rich in omega-3's & they travel a lot which makes it lean protein. Where as farm raised fish is fattier because of it's diet based up on wheat & soybean(not a good source of omega-3's), which results in less omega-3 fatty acids in farm raised salmon. So, try to choose wild caught whenever you can.

Health benefits of wild salmon :
  • good source of omega-3's
  • reduce inflammation in bodies
  • good source of vitamin D, B6 & B12
  • lower triglycerides
  • help prevent & control high blood pressure
  • protection against heart attack & other heart diseases
  • special cardiovascular protection for postmenopausal women with diabetes
Now to the recipe, it's very simple & can be prepared within 15-20 minutes.

Ingredients :
  • 10 0z. cleaned salmon(I use frozen wild caught Keta salmon from pacific waters)
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 2 spoon plain yogurt or home made dahi
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 tsp. coriander(dhania) powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric(haldi)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. garam masala( indian hot spice mix)
  • fresh cilantro(coriander) for garnish
  • little oil(preferably evoo)
Method :
  1. Wash & cut salmon into 4 pieces. Apply very little oil, salt & 2-3 pinches of turmeric. keep aside.
  2. Chop ginger, garlic, onion, tomatoes and chillies. Heat little oil in a heavy bottom pan add mustard seeds when splutter add garlic, cook it a little bit. Now add onion, cook them for around 5 minutes or so then add ginger followed by all the dry spices.
  3. Mix them & add yogurt. When mixture starts to get dry & kind of leave oil on the sides(that is when the yogurt is cooked & absorbed into the masala mix/curry) add green chillies & tomatoes. Cooking gravy should not take more than 10-12 minutes.
  4. In the meantime heat non-stick pan, using very little oil saute the salmon pieces for 2-3 min. on each side(cook only half way).
  5. Once the masala/curry is cooked, grind it & put it back in the pan. Add no more than one cup of water, also add half cooked fish to it. Let it boil & then reduce the gas and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Check for the fish using a fork, if it's flaky it's done.
  6. Garnish it with freshly chopped cilantro before serving. Can be served with roti/naan or rice.
Note : Cooking time of fish totally depends upon the thickness of the fish.
Sending this over to Yasmeen's Health Nut Challenge 3 : Healing foods.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Veggie Paneer Macaroni

There's no recipe for this pasta. In fact many times I quick fix this kind of lunch with whatever is available or whatever need to be used, today I had very little time to fix lunch for myself & the little one, so decided to cook some pasta. Here's how it goes :

Keep water for boiling and at the same time add around 1/2 cup of frozen mixed vegetables. When water comes to boil add some salt & pasta, preferably small type(I used macaroni). When pasta is cooked drain water add some home made fresh paneer( Indian cheese), black pepper, red chilli flakes & herbs(parsley, oregano) of your choice. Mix everything together, let it cook for a minute. Turn of the gas & enjoy your Veggie Paneer Macaroni.

I'm sending this quick & easy, one pot dish to Radhika & Sudeshna's Food for 7 stages of life : Kids event. This post is quite small so I guess I can share some clicks I had in the Thanksgiving weekend.
Something man made :
but no one can beat Nature......

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Machi Tawa Fry-Pan Fry Fish

Having awareness about what you eat from the ocean is as important as knowing how your food was grown on land. Now-a-days there is lot of emphasis on omega-3’s-Healthy Fatty Acids, and I believe everyone knows that seafood is the best source for it, though there are other sources also, like flax seed, walnut etc. But today I wanted to write something about fish. Choosing a fish was never easy when I first started to cook fish. Firstly the fish here in U.S.A are different then the one we were use to of eating in India. Secondly so much of info about mercury and all, it was tough. But slowly with the time, now, I’m comfortable with different kind of fish, knows which one is best & why, one thing I always followed from the beginning “Eat a variety of Fish” & “Buy in Season” and one thing I learned in the past years always ask your Fish Monger or person at the fish counter if you have any doubts, and never buy a fish if it smells like fish, if it’s fresh it should not smell. Decide the recipe for the dinner only after you get the fish, like yesterday I changed my plans from fish curry to pan-fry fish, because found very fresh Rainbow Trout.
Shopping for Fish always raise one question : Farmed or wild ? And if you are eco-conscious : How it was raised & caught ? Most of the fish now-a-days available in the market are farm raised though the wild fish is always your best bet but they are costly too and not available everywhere. While reading SUNSET(Issue-Sep’09) magazine I came across a very informative article about Buyer’s Guide to Fresh Fish, I want to share some information from the magazine about the Eco-Factor of different Fish, it’ll be good general knowledge & also it may help you when next time you go for fish shopping.
1)Pacific Sardines : Caught with little impact on its habitat. Rich in omega-3's, phosphorus and iron. No pollutants.
2)California Squid(Calamari) : Despite being heavily fished, squids are usually plentiful. Fishing methods don’t harm habitat.

3)Wild Pacific Salmon : Alaska wild salmon is the top choice*. All salmon are high in omega-3’s.

4) Farmed rainbow trout : Trout farms don’t pollute and are sustainable.

5)Pacific halibut : Healthy fishery, conscientious fisher-men even catch streamers to their fishing lines to scare off birds that might become entangled.

6)Sablefish(black cod) :
Plentiful, especially in Alaska, contains more omega-3 fatty acids than almost any other fish.

7)Pacific albacore tuna : Choose fish labeled “troll-caught” or “pole-caught”; these methods have no bycatch or habitat impact.
The Salmon dilemma : WILD or FARMED ?
Although much of the salmon we eat in the US is farmed – up to 90% by some estimates – The best choice is Wild Alaska Salmon. Farmed salmon may be cheaper($8 vs. $24 per lb. for Alaska Chinook), but can have troubling levels of PCB’s-the Environmental Defense Fund advises adult to limit their intake to one serving a month. Also, some salmon farming practices pollute the environment and endanger wild fish(when farmed fish escape, they may pass along diseases and parasites). Some salmon farms are improving their practices, but for now we think wild is the best choice.(source : Sunset magazine : issue sep'09)
As for me & my family, we try to eat different fish every week, I usually try to rotate between wild Alaskan salmon, rainbow trout, tilapia & pomfret(Indian fish). And occasionally other varieties also.Seafood is a good source of lean protein & good fatty acids like omega 3's. Most of the fish are safe for kids also but due to PCB's & mercury level always check with your doctor first which kind of fish is o.k for little kids. This site has some useful information regarding seafood selection.
Today I'm posting the recipe for Healthy pan fry Rainbow trout. Rainbow trout is high in Heart healthy omega-3s, low in environmental contaminants and is eco-friendly. It mainly lives in cold, flowing fresh waters. It's safe & healthy for kids also, taste wise its mild, sweet & very delicious and if you buy fillets they are boneless. But if serving to kids I suggest to run your fingers on the fillet as some time the large fillets hold some bones. The suggested servings for kids is:
  • Kids age 6-12 should eat no more than 3 meals per month
  • Kids up to age 6 should eat no more than 2 meals per month
Recipe is for 2 fillets which should be enough for 2 adults, change it according to your requirements. I usually serve this with big servings of sauteed vegetables and sweet potato fries. As this is no gravy dish so usually I make some sort of spicy chutney to go with it.

Ingredients :
  • 2 fillet of rainbow trout(it comes with skin on)

  • little oil (preferably evoo)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon/lime
  • 1 Tblsp. of home made spice rub *
* For spice rub :
Take equal portions of Cumin(jeera) powder, Coriander(dhania) powder, Red chilli powder, Garam masala, half portion of Turmeric(haldi), Carom seeds(ajwain), half portion of black pepper, Salt as per taste. Mix everything together & keep it in a dry jar, use it as needed.
Method :
  • Wash & pat dry the fillets.
  • Keep them skin side down, put 1 tsp. of oil & juice of lemon, rub it on the fillets. Now sprinkle spice rub & rub it all over the fish(don't put it on the skin ). You can adjust the quantity of spice rub as per your taste, I find 1/2 Tblsp. per average size fillet works for my family.
  • You can prepare up to this point in advance & keep it covered in the fridge. Take out 15 min. before cooking OR get the fish ready with spice rub & leave it on the counter top for around 10 min. & cook it.
  • Heat non-stick pan on med. heat, put few drops of oil. Put the skin side down(if pan is hot you will hear the sizzle, means good). It usually takes 3-4 minutes per side to cook for an average size fillet(to give u an idea of average size fillet : I normally get 3 fillets weighting around 1 pound).

  • Flip the side using a spatula, be little careful as fish start to cook it also start to become flaky, at this point it usually won't break, but still try to use the longest flat spatula u have.
  • Cook for another 4 min. or so, Usually fish fillets are thick from the centre, so using your spatula gently press the thick part, to get the even heat everywhere.
  • Once done gently slide it on the plate(it's a long fillet u don't want to break it by picking it up). If you want to check for the doneness, use a fork in the thickest part of the fillet if it's flaky it's done.
  • Serve it with your choice of veggies & chutney.
Note : This fish is usually available with the skin, when you eat it the meat(flesh) easily comes of the skin with the fork.
Because of it's all health benefits I make sure that this fish is served at least 2-3 times in a month in my house, everybody loves it & very easy to make. Dinner is usually ready, from start to finish with in less than 30 min. (that include cooking veggies & cleaning the pan etc.).

I'm sending this Heart Healthy & Kids favourite recipe to Radhika & Sudeshna's Food for 7 stages of life : Kids event. Also want to send this to Yasmeen's Health Nut Challenge 3 : Healing foods, if it's O.k with Yasmeen. I know Rainbow Trout is not in her list because Salmon has such a good reputation of being healthy fish that most of the time we forget about all other healthy fishes. Salmon is no doubt good but as I explained above which kind of salmon you eat makes the whole difference. As now fresh Wild Salmon is almost disappeared for the season from my grocery store, I'm gonna cook more with other healthy fishes, and once in a while bring home the frozen wild salmon. Post is little big today because of all the information I wanted to share but do try out the recipe it's really easy, healthy & tasty.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eggless Pancake

Not your ordinary Pancakes
These are very fluffy, soft & melt in the mouth pancakes, and these are egg less too. Rather than using whole wheat flour to make these more healthy I'm using few other ingredients and the end result is melt in the mouth pancakes. My DD doesn't complaint that means they are kid approved(looks as well as taste wise), she's not a big fan of almonds, so I don't miss any chance of hiding those goodies.
Ingredients :
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick Heart Smart( 2 Tblsp. substituted with oat flour)
  • 1 Tblsp. wheat germ
  • 2 Tblsp. almond meal( ground almonds in coffee grinder)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch or two of cinnamon powder
  • milk to make the batter

Method :

  1. Mix all dry ingredients & mix them gently with fork or whisk.
  2. Adding little milk at a time make the batter, mix using fork/whisk, do not over mix.
  3. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes, if you have time. When ready to make pancakes if batter feel little too thick use little water/milk to smooth it.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan, put few drops of oil on it & pour a ladle full of batter, using the backside of ladle gently swirl it around in round shape.
  5. Cook on med. heat. When turns little brown on the bottom side flip the side & let it cook on the other side around 30-40 sec. on each side.
  6. Serve it with maple syrup or honey or the way I like it with Honey Syrup. Mix together 1 part honey with 2 part water & boil it, turn the heat to slow & let it reduce little bit(sorry no pics, but believe me it's really tasty). Serve it when it's cool.

And yes put your cookie cutters to one more use, cut your kids favourite shapes out of it and see that smile with the question in their eyes "How did U do that?? Can U make princess also.........???"

I'm sending these kids approved Healthy Pancakes to Radhika & Sudeshna'a Food for 7 stages of life : Kids event.