Garden Fresh Salsa

Garden Fresh Salsa

When you have a garden that gives you the freshest ingredients to make the finest salsa, I say, heck why not make the most of it! The garden truly is on its way out with the chill of Autumn setting in. Nevertheless that chilies are putting out their last produce for the season as are the tomatoes. The cilantro is still going strong although not for much longer, perhaps and the bell peppers are finally making an appearance. So whatchya waiting for? That’s right! Get that salsa made already, will you?! Chop up some onions and garlic and squeeze some fresh lime juice into the above ingredients and a smidgeon of salt and voila – And what is the secret ingredient? Habanero peppers of course A quarter goes a looooooooong way so be judicious in your use of this dynamite pepper Ingredients 2- 3 medium sized tomaotes 1 small onion 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro 1/2 habanero 1/2 bell pepper 2cloves of fresh garlic1- 2 tsp of lime/lemon juice salt Method Chop all ingredients finely if you do not have a mixer that can make the salsa for youOtherwise, chop roughly and put in your vitamix or magic bullet and let it go until it is blended but retains some textureRefrigerate immediately if you are not using right away NOTE: this tastes best fresh or made half an hour before use – keep refrigerated for best taste. Enjoy...
Simple Spinach Dip

Simple Spinach Dip

For the Avant Garde Cookies this time, my hush-hush ingredient was spinach given to me by my partner Jayanthy. I had some fresh baby spinach handy which i used to put this dip together… Ingredients 2cups of baby spinach leaves 2 red chilies 1.5 cups of thick yogurt (greek would work) 1 tbsp of spices 1 tsp olive oil Method Sautee the spinach with 1 tsp of olive oil and the chilies. Add salt. cook and remove from heatIf the yogurt has some whey, use this to grind the spinach not too smoothAdd the yogurt to the blended spinachTop this with 1 tbsp of spices of your choice – Tzatsiki, or your home blend of thyme, garlic, parsely, oregano etcWhip it in until blended wellRefrigerate until ready to use. We enjoyed ours with steamed sweet potatoes! Goes to Avant Garde Cookies –Check out the other AGC thoughout this week  Anusha, Jayanthi, Kavitha, Radhika, Veena, Priya...
Green Chili Thokku (Preserve)

Green Chili Thokku (Preserve)

My garden was bursting with green chilies and we kept collecting in the hope that we would get some spicy ones – Alas to our disappointment, although they were extremely aromatic and flavorful and raised our expectations no end about its spiciness. Ironically, they lacked the sting which is a quality all of us proper South Indians look for in our green chilies.  We have learnt now that we have to plant the different varieties of chilies at least a 10 feet away from each other because what can happen if you plant spicy ones and sweeter peppers side by side, one takes over the flavor of the other, in our case the sweet dominated the spicy  So a lesson learnt for next year. Joke is I had to use store-bought green chilies and a few red chilies to spice up my chili chutney (lol)  But it smells phenomenally good and and tastes incredible, esp with thachu mammu or yogurt rice; a fab spread on sandwiches and with chappatis and cheese… Presenting to you my Green Chili Thokku/Preserve – also sharing a couple of fun art I made with them. Ingredients 3lbs of Fresh green chilies 4 thai green chilies (not required if you have spicy chilies already) 1/2 cup of urad dal 1tsp of tamarind paste 1/4 tsp of asafetida 1tsp turmeric 5tbsp Gingely/sesame oil salt Tempering with mustard seeds Method de stem the chilies and keep readyIn 2 tbsp of oil roast the urad dal until golden brownIn a wide pan add 2 tbsp of oil and add the green chilies and allow them to cook until...
Chestnut Hummus

Chestnut Hummus

OK – I know that is a grammatically wrong way to start a sentence, but here is my narrative about how this hummus came to be. Enjoying a beautiful pre-fall day with good friends who had brought along some chestnuts to roast in the oven and serve. Dinner was done and we decided it was time to roast these babies – I was really excited since this would be the first time I am tasting chestnuts – We have heard the Christmas song “chestnut roasting on an open fire..” crooned by several greats like Bing Crosby,  Nat King Cole and more recently, Michale Buble. But that was simply a song and in all my 19 years in North America, never once did I think to try it – Two years ago I may not have, but since I started the blog, my mind suddenly opened up like a never-ending avenue or better, promenade and I am enjoying so many new experiences. Right… So here we are sitting on the carpet with a bowl of HOT chestnuts waiting to be cracked open fully (more labor than peeling boiled unshelled peanuts). Popped the first one in my mouth…. I was told my face was expressive enough to convey that I doubted my feelings for this and the best I could come up with was that these were a cultivated taste – I got some grief about that and our friend even jokingly mocked me – “now you will add some chili and other stuff to it and make it into something to submerge the taste of the nut.” Not one bit...
Black Bean Dip

Black Bean Dip

This was a quickie project for my son’s Spanish class. Super easy and super tasty. Ingredients 1 can of black beans (washed and drained)2 green chillies1/2 teaspoon of crushed cumin seeds1/2 red onion1 tomatoa pinch of garlic salt1 teaspoon of lemon juice1 tablespoon of cilantro chopped finely Preparation Mix all the ingredients (except the lemon juice) in a bowl with a whisk  until you’ve somewhat crushed the black beans.Add the lime juice and mix one more timeServe chilled with tortilla...