Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Grilled Corn On Cob With Chipotle Lime Butter

It was a chilly evening, we were cold enough to bundle ourselves in hand woven sweaters and scarf.  Walking along the side of the Carnival field we noticed a small crowd.  They were gathered around in circle.  A skinny old man sitting with a fire pit and heap of un-husked farm fresh corn was the center of attention.  He was religiously husking the corn and grilling it on the fire pit.  As a pro he seasoned it with some spices, slathered some hot ghee and fresh lime juice over it.  There were other stalls on the carnival field, but nothing got any ones attention as this man did.  People were enjoying the freshly made warm corn with the luxury of the outdoor fire pit. The aroma of grilled corn was irresistible.  My dad bought the piping hot grilled corn for us.  The aroma of the hot spicy and tangy dressing over the grilled corn was like a perfect tranquilizer to tame the gusto in us.  We headed to the rides while enjoying the corn. On the way back home from the carnival, we noticed few people meandering around the fire pit. With observant care few were watching how the man was trying to wrap up his act.  A little girl was helping him to collect the corn husks.    The smoky fire ashes from the fire pit were still lingering in the air and the clamor of the crowd was getting feeble.  With sleepy heads and contented hearts we headed back to our scooter to get back to home. That must have been an assiduous grilling in the late night for the old man!!!

These plum red hot Thai peppers are from my vegetable garden.

Hot Cherry/Capperino pepper from my garden. 

I was craving for the spicy grilled corn from the beginning of summer.  Finally I made these Chipotle Style grilled corn with lime butter and it was really lip smacking.  I insist that you try this recipe before the corn season ends.  Lets grill some spicy corn!!!

4 ears - Corn on the cob with husk on

Chipotle Lime butter
1 tsp - chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce chopped
1 tsp - small Thai hot peppers chopped (seeds removed)
1/4 tsp - chipotle grill mate/paprika powder
2 tbsp. - softened butter
1 tsp - chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. - lime juice
Sea salt to sprinkle


  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  • Arrange the corn with the husk on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  Let it cool.
  • Mean while mix all the ingredients under Chipotle lime butter using a spoon.
  • Pull the husk towards the stem of the corn and tie it using a yarn or thread.
  • Brush the Chipotle Lime butter on the corn and place directly above the grill.
  • Rotate and grill corn for 5 to 6 minutes or till small brown spots appear on the kernels .
  • Apply some more Chipotle Lime butter and sprinkle sea salt and enjoy.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Super Easy 4 Ingredients Mango Cream Cheese Popsicles

Am I posting too many dessert recipes these days?  Do you think so?  I didn't forget my resolution I took beginning of this year to post more savory items.  But you know things happen.  Not to mention that the busy schedules on summer makes it nearly impossible to cook an elaborate dish and spend time for the photo shoot.  But I assure that I will be posting an interesting savory dish next time  :).

Recipes with lesser number of ingredients and minimal steps always draw attention.  A longer list of ingredients may deter some readers even though the steps may not be intricate.  So here is a simple yet delicious recipe that uses only 4 ingredients and can be prepared with 3 simple steps.  Go ahead and try this summer treat while the Mango season lasts.  If you are a Mango fan, you are going to love it!!!

1 1/2 cup - Mango puree without pulp
1 1/2 cup - low fat milk
1  (8 oz) package - plain cream cheese
1/2 cup - sugar

  • Blend all the ingredients in a blender.
  • Pour into Popsicle molds and freeze overnight.
  • Enjoy the creamy Mango Popsicles on a Sunny day!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Creamy Dark Chocolate IceCream

Once you own an ice cream maker, you are constantly in the hunt for new recipes and you will experiment with all the possibilities that could whip up.  I have to warn you that its pretty addictive.  At least that is true in my case.  I love making ice cream for my kids rather than buying them.  My kids are at the point where they say No to the store bought tub ice cream.

People who know me always inquires, 'But it seems suspicious that you make these and don't gain any weight?'.  Well, the truth is that I don't have a big appetite for sweet treats, I enjoy them moderately.  The guilt of indulging too much sugar and the fear of increase in waist line always haunts me, so as soon as the inner conscience starts to bicker, I evade from the sweets :)  That doesn't stop me from making them and enjoying them moderately.  Baking and preparing desserts are therapeutic to me.

Here is the recipe of Creamy Dark Chocolate Ice Cream I made couple of weeks ago.  I also made some Popsicle with layering vanilla (before adding chocolate) and chocolate ice cream out of this recipe.  But I never got the chance to take pictures as they were dissipated into thin air when I decided to serve them to the group of kids in my family who were exhausted after a fun filled volley ball match in our backyard.

4 cups - half and half
5 - egg yolks
1 cup - sugar
1/2 tsp. - salt
1 tsp. - vanilla extract
1 cup - semi sweet dark chocolate chunks/chips

  • Whisk the egg yolks together in a bowl and keep it aside.
  • In a heavy bottom sauce pan, mix  half & half, sugar and salt and bring to simmer.
  • Take 1 cup of the warm half & half mixture and pour into the egg yolk mixture by whisking continuously.  The egg mixture is warm enough now.  Pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan.
  • Cook the mixture for 15 - 20 minutes by stirring continuously on medium heat till the mixture reaches custard consistency and coats on the back of the spoon.  Turn off the burner.
  • Take the bowl with 1 cup of chocolate chips/chunks.  Pour the hot custard through a fine mesh sieve (to remove any coagulated egg) into the bowl with chocolate chips.  Use a spoon to stir continuously so that the chocolate melts and mixes well.
  • Add vanilla extract and stir well.
  • Cover the custard and refrigerate over night.
  • Make the ice cream according to the ice cream maker's instructions.
  • Enjoy them fresh or store them in air tight container in the freezer.
  • If you don't have ice cream maker, pour them into Popsicle molds and freeze.  Either way you can enjoy this silky smooth and luscious treat on a sunny day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mango Almond Ricotta Cheese Bars / Mango Badam Burfi

I had mentioned in one of my previous posts my love for Indian sweets.  Burfi is my favorite among all and I only make them occasionally though.  But whenever my brother visits us, I make sure to prepare this sweet as he likes them too.

 I have some funny story related to Burfi from my childhood which has been told over and over by our parents and laughed about several times.  I don't remember it as I was 5 or 6 years old and my brother being younger than me had no chance to remember the incident.  We were in North India and my parents had a big circle of friends.  During one of the usual visit to one of the family friend's house, my lil brother found this plate full of Burfi on the table, which was of course for the guests.  He went straight to the table and innocently grabbed a piece.  I too joined him and enjoyed the sweets well.  On the way back home, my Dad stopped at the sweet store; bought couple of boxes of Burfi.  He was disappointed at our behavior which we had no clue.  It was the time for learning good manners for both of us; how to behave in other's house; get snacks only when it is offered or just simply say 'no, thanks'; the lessons went so on.  So with the new lesson learned we happened to visit the same family after a month or so.  There again was plateful of snack for us.  This time both of us pretended that we didn't see the snack at all.  The snack was untouched for some time, the mom of the house might had felt something fishy, she came up to us and offered the snack.  As learned from our previous disciplinary session we both said, 'OUR PARENTS SAID WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EAT FROM HEREEEEEEE'.  Even imagining the face of my parents makes me chuckle now.  They might have been ridiculed so much in front of their friends.  From Dad and Mom's stories we found out that my parents intervened and corrected the 'verbiage' we used and tried to make up for what we said.  But that was a good lesson we learned how to behave at other's house.  My Dad being an Air Force Officer, he was strict about table manners and discipline when we were kids, but I guess that helped us to mold our behavior later on.  So now you can guess why we love Burfi so much!!!

1 tub (30 oz) - Ricotta Cheese  or Paneer
½ cup - Sugar
2 tsp - Butter/ghee
2 1/2 cups - Milk Powder
1 cup - raw almond crushed/coarsely grounded
1 1/2 cup - mango puree
¼ tsp - Cardamom powder

  • Melt 1 tsp of butter in a non-stick pan and add the Ricotta cheese to it and cook for 3-4 mins.
  • Add the sugar, milk powder, mango puree and crushed almonds to the Ricotta Cheese.  Use a long wooden spoon to stir occasionally.  Use a low flame to cook it ,otherwise  it will splash and cause burns.  It takes almost 40 minutes for the mix to thicken and separate from the sides of the pan.
  • Add the cardamom powder and stir for another 1 min and turn off the stove.
  • Apply 1/2 tsp of ghee on the rectangular 8' x 8' /20 cm x 20 cm glass/ ceramic pan and transfer the burfi to the container.
  • Apply 1/2 tsp of ghee and flatten the burfi using a spatula or spoon.
  • Garnish it with almonds.
  • Cover it and refrigerate for overnight.  It can be sliced into desired shapes.
  • You can substitute almonds with cashew nuts or skip the nuts.
  • If you are not adding the nuts, make sure you substitute it with milk powder so that the burfi can be set easily.
  • Make sure you use a flame between low and medium so that the cheese will not be burned and the hot mixture doesn't splash. 
  • Use a wide deep bottom pan that have enough space to remove the moisture quickly.
  • I set the timer between every 10 minutes to stir the mixture since I was using low flame.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Strawberry Wine Jam

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia

There are lots of things in our life we take for granted and keep them in dark corner to be never appreciated.  The reality kicks in when it is taken away from us.  Going behind what you don't have will never keep your life satisfied, finding contentment in what you have is rather logical.  The other day I was listening to the radio on my commute to work and heard about these students with cognitive and physical disabilities play music with the help of their music teacher who patiently teaches them to play music using ipad app.  You could hear in the background the kids shouting with joy when they play the notes without a fault.  It was really amazing to hear how talented those kids were and how the people who were around them had transformed their lives.

As berries are abundant in this season, I made a small batch of strawberry with red wine jam couple of weeks ago.  I had made this last year too and I love the taste.  Since it has wine, I always make a small batch just for both of us.  We have not done the berry picking yet this year.  This time I would love to visit a blueberry farm and stock up some. We are looking forward for a farm visit with our friends soon before the season ends. 

6 cups - strawberry hulled and chopped
1/2 cup - dry red wine
1 cup - sugar
1 tbsp - lemon juice

  • Mix the wine, sugar and chopped strawberries in a non-reactive or glass bowl.  Cover and keep it in the refrigerator for 1 day.
  • Strain the juice and cook it in a sauce pan till it gets into 1/3rd the volume and thickens slightly.
  • Now add the strawberries and Cook for 10 minutes, use a potato masher to mash the strawberries and add lemon juice to it.  Cook for another 10 minutes by stirring occasionally.
  • Spoon 1 teaspoon of the jam on a clean cold plate (previously kept in the refrigerator).  Gently tilt the plate to see if the jam got thick and its not runny.  Turn off the burner and ladle the hot jam into sterilized jars.  Secure the jar lids and let them cool.  If you are not using the water bath canning method, refrigerate the jam immediately.
  • If you try to cook the jam with the juice, it will take longer and the color of the jam will not be appealing.  So reduce the amount of juice by cooking it separately as given in the directions.
  • The opened jar of the jam should be kept refrigerated.
  • If you want to keep the jam outside, follow one of the water bath sterilization technique.  There are lots of YouTube videos available that shows the canning.