Monday, October 18, 2021

Cod with Cannellini Beans

The flavor of buttery cod, lightly spiced and roasted, is delicious. If it is simmered in a garlicky bean and tomato sauce, it takes on heavenly qualities. These are simple tastes, melded together with ease. I take a recipe Geets made for me, play around a little and love the finished product.

The sauce comprises of garlic cloves, cannellini beans, tomatoes and chicken stock. The white wine goes in at this point. Cod pieces are lightly spiced with paprika, garlic and onion powders, then roasted with lemon slices in olive oil. Finish the dish by simmering the cod for a short bit in the sauce. Thanks Geets!


Serves 4

1 pound fresh or frozen Cod filets

1 teaspoon Paprika

1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder

1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Onion

4 Garlic cloves

2-3 Tomatoes or 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes

1/4 cup Chicken Stock

1/2 cup White Wine (optional)

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Ground Black Pepper

1 cup cooked Cannellini Beans 

1 Lemon , thinly sliced

If you are using frozen cod, defrost in a sieve in the sink. Pat dry.

Fresh cod can rinsed and patted dry.  

Cut cod into 2" pieces and place in a lightly oiled baking dish.

Heat oven to 375F/200C.

Dust cod with paprika, garlic and onion powders as well as the salt. Rub spices into the cod. 

Arrange lemon slices around cod. 

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. 

Uncover and keep aside. 

Slice onion and garlic. 

Heat olive oil, add onion and saute till translucent.

Drop garlic slices into oil and saute for 2 minutes.

Add chicken stock, white wine, tomatoes, salt and black pepper. Simmer sauce for 10 minutes over a medium low flame till the tomatoes break down.

If you are using canned beans, rinse them well before you add them to the sauce.

Gently add the cooked cod to the sauce and simmer for 4-5 minutes before you serve the fish. 

Once again I have to thank Geets for this lovely gem. Cod is my favorite and this version is love at first bite. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ground Beef with Korean Rice Cakes

The technique of browning flattened ground beef in a hot pan has changed my spin on Asian cooking. Marion Grasby's easy method of searing adds an enhanced crustiness and char to meat. This recipe uses ground beef, Asian sauces, a few vegetables and a load of seasonings. And an unusual ingredient, Korean rice cakes. With no access to fresh ones, frozen rice cakes are more than adequate. I give them a quick boil before adding to the meat, which makes them soft and chewy.

Brown garlic and chiles in hot oil. Pat the ground meat in a thin layer. Let it crisp up undisturbed for a few minutes till the underside is dark brown and crusty. Flip it over and brown again. Add onions, tomatoes, seasonings, fresh basil and cilantro. Boil some frozen Korean rice cakes and add them to the meat. They take on much of the meaty flavor and eliminate the need for rice or noodles. An easy stir fry with exotic flavor!


Serves 2

1/2 pound ground Beef

1 tablespoon Canola Oil

5 Garlic cloves

2 red or green Chiles

1 large Onion

1 large Tomato

2 tablespoons light Soy Sauce

2 tablespoons Fish Sauce

1/2 teaspoon Sugar

1 Lime, juiced

2 tablespoons Basil Pesto

1 cup frozen or fresh Korean Rice Cakes

1/2 cup Thai Basil or Italian Basil

Cilantro leaves

Heat 3 cups of water in a deep saucepan. When it boils, add  frozen rice cakes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain rice cakes in a sieve, rinse with cold water and keep aside.

Peel and slice garlic.

Mince chiles. 

Heat oil in a large saucepan. A nonstick pan makes browning a snap.

Scatter garlic and chiles in oil. Let garlic brown slightly. 

Pat the ground beef over the oil in a thin layer. This allows a lot of the meat to brown evenly. 

Once the underside has crusted deep brown, flip it carefully so the other side browns as well. It doesn't matter if the meat breaks up. Try to keep large chunks together for best browning.

Once the meat had turned brown and crusty, break it up, adding onions and tomatoes as you saute. 

Add soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and pesto to the pan. Saute for a few minutes. 

Drop rice cakes into meat and stir well so cakes are coated with seasonings. Saute on a low flame for 5 minutes so rice cakes absorb some of the meaty flavor.

Stir basil leaves into meat. 

Pile the meat onto a serving platter and scatter cilantro leaves over it. Enjoy it piping hot.

Yum yum yum! Licking my chopsticks!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Ananas Sambhare

Ganesh puja unleashes a slew of memories. Going with my grandfather to pick up the idol for the puja. Drawing elaborate rangolis. Setting up the altar with flowers and lamps. Playing with cousins and irritating the adults with our rambunctious behavior. Celebrations in my grandmother's house resounded with love, laughter and as ever, an extensive vegetarian meal for the ages! The God of good beginnings blessed us all with a great appetite for sure!

Most Maharashtrians have their favorite food associations with Ganpati. Luscious coconut filled modaks, shrikhand poori, saffron inflected sooji halva, masala milk. I haven't scratched the surface with all things savory! We sat on the floor and ate off banana leaves. Each item on the menu had pride of place, starting with a verdant green chutney. Savory subjis, crisp fried bhajias, humble varan bhaat toop and always a sambhare or coconut curry. Made with cauliflower, pumpkin and even pineapple, the sambhare is a faithful standby of Pathare Prabhu cuisine. My sister makes one taught to her by our Mum, so I follow both of them.


Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cup Pineapple cubes

a large pinch of Asefoetida

2-3 Green Chiles

A pinch of Turmeric

1/4 teaspoon Chile Powder

3/4 teaspoon Sambhar Masala ( Pathare Prabhu not South Indian)

1/2 cup Cashewnuts (Optional)

1 heaped teaspoon Besan or Chick Pea Flour

1 14oz can Coconut Milk

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 teaspoons Sugar


Chop pineapple into small shreds.

Mince chiles finely. 

Place pineapple, chiles, asefoetida, turmeric, chile powder, sambhar and cashewnuts in a saucepan. 

Add 3/4 cups water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 10-15 minutes till pineapple is soft.

Whisk besan with 2-3 teaspoons of water till you have a smooth paste. 

Uncover the curry and slowly add besan paste, whisking all the time. Lower the flame and let the besan cook a little, 3-5 minutes. 

Add coconut milk, salt and sugar. 

Let the sambhare simmer for 10-15 minutes over low heat. 

Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or pooris. 

My family favors this meal. The traditional thali, whose existence goes back over a hundred years, lives in our home, slightly reformed, gently altered, the core remaining the same. Good beginnings always start with beloved family at the table.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Chocolate Fig Cake

After making three batches of fig jam, I am compelled to try something else besides that. Bon Appetit has a drool-worthy cake in the September issue. The dog-eared page is my reminder for today's fig enterprise. 

Sifting and whipping, slicing and scraping, I bake an artistic looking cake to take to friends. The proof is in their hands.


Adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 8

1/2 cup Butter, melted and cooled

Room temperature Butter for greasing the pan

3/4 cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/4 cup Sugar

3 Eggs at room temperature

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

8-10 Figs

Confectioners Sugar

Grease an 8" round cake pan. 

Line the bottom of the pan with 2 strips of parchment that is about 15" long.  Place them in the cake pan in the shape of a cross or X. This will allow you to lift out the cake easily.  (I did not read the recipe correctly and regretted it! I had to use 2 spatulas to lift the cake out so please follow the recipe if you plan to lift the cake out of the pan)

Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment round. Butter the parchment well.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Whisk cooled butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. I used a stand mixer.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Spoon in vanilla.

Increase speed to medium high and whisk batter till fluffy and light colored, about 3-4 minutes.

Fold the sifted ingredients with a spatula, taking care not to overmix.

Heat oven to 350F/180C.

Cut figs into 3-4 slices each. 

Scrape the batter into prepared cake pan. 

Starting from the center, make concentric circles with the fig slices going all the way to the edge of the pan. It doesn't matter if the figs overlap slightly.

Bake cake for 36-38 minutes. 

Cool cake on wire rack for 10 minutes. 

Using the parchment extensions, lift the cake out gently on to a plate. 

Dust with confectioners sugar. 

Cut a slice and enjoy!

I have no idea what this cake will taste like....will post when I get a response!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Fig Jam

When life gives you figs, you feast on figs night and day. You make fig cake. Some fig puree to freeze for the winter months. Pass them along to family, neighbors and friends. Or try a new recipe for fig jam. Our bountiful trees have produced a bonanza of fruit. Over five hundred Brown Turkeys. We have been harvesting fifty to seventy five figs a day for the last ten days. And that is in spite of the pecked fruit we leave for the birds!

The kitchen table is completely over run with receptacles laden with fruit. Jam seems to be the best option. I try a technique I read in the New York Times. Ripe figs are cooked with water and then sugar, simmering the jam over low heat for a long while. Fruit becomes caramelized and jammy. The result is an intense burst of sun-ripened fruit I can enjoy when the summer heat disappears.


Loosely adapted from The New York Times

Makes 2 cups 

6 cups of figs, trimmed and halved

1 1/2 cups Water

Scant 2 cups Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Put the figs in a Dutch oven and place over a medium flame.

Add water and bring  to a low boil. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drop sugar over the figs. Stir well and continue cooking for another 45 minutes. Stir often. 

The syrup should have thickened. The figs should be soft but not completely dissolved. 

Season with salt. 

Spoon into clean bottles or jars.

Store bottles in the fridge. 

Enjoy with toast, cheese or yogurt. Or any other way you like. 

The jam captures the essence of summer. Preserving figs takes on a new meaning!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Zucchini and Lima Beans

Two misadventures result in a culinary delight! The first one was no fault of mine. Instead of planting my favorite Blue Lake pole beans, I inadvertently bought three lima bean seedlings, a vegetable I loathe. They then have multiplied into a huge swath of green. The trick is to find those beans, camouflaged so well. Having reaped a considerable harvest I have to find  a suitable option. These were Mum's cherished veggies, though my childhood memories of tough, leathery beans still holds strong. 

The second  misfortune is another overlooked vegetable.....zucchini. If you've ever grown them, then you know how easy it is to find a baseball bat sized  gourd hidden under spiny leaves. This is in spite of searching for them everyday! The big one is still good, no seeds, fleshy and tender. 

Marry the two misfits and what do you get? A mélange of soft flavors, lightly spiced so the stars shine though.


Serves 4

1 large Zucchini

1 cup shelled Lima Beans

2 tablespoons Ghee

1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon Chile Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 cup grated fresh Coconut

1 green Chile, minced fine

1/4 teaspoon Garam masala

1/4 cup chopped Cilantro

Trim and cut zucchini into 1/2 inch chunks.

Heat ghee in a saucepan. 

When it is hot drop cumin seeds in. Let them color a little. 

Add chopped zucchini and lima beans into ghee. Stir. 

Sprinkle turmeric, chile powder and salt over veggies. Stir well. 

Pour about 3/4 cup water into the saucepan. 

Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Put coconut, minced chile, garam masala and cilantro in a bowl.  Mix well.

Uncover the saucepan. Raise the flame and dry up any residual liquid in the pan. 

Add the coconut mixture to veggies. Saute for a minute.

Serve hot. 

The delicate flavor of lima beans banishes those ghastly memories and one of my Mum's favorites graces our table with pleasure.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Matcha Panna Cotta

The Louis family deserves another round of applause for all that they have done for and during my son's wedding. So once again I thank them the way I know cooking them a multi-course meal. 

An asparagus and leek soup paves the way for cevapi, lobster with artichokes and mushrooms, along with peaches, roasted corn, burrata on a bed of arugula. To satisfy that sweet tooth I make a cool panna cotta, liberally flavored with matcha tea powder. It is an intriguing taste. Mossy and refreshing at the same time. Green panna cotta and orange peaches on a white plate, lend themselves to another thankful is August 15,  India's Independence Day. 


Serves 8

2 teaspoons unflavored Gelatin powder

2 tablespoons Water

1 cup Milk

1 cup Cream

6 tablespoons Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 tablespoons Matcha

Peaches and Blackberries

Dissolve the gelatin in water. Let it sit for 5 minutes till soft.

Heat milk and cream till warm. 

Stir in sugar. Keep stirring till sugar melts. Take it off the fire.


Whisk gelatin into warm milk. Keep whisking till gelatin melts. 

Add vanilla to milk. 

Whisk matcha into milk making sure the powder dissolves completely. 

Divide the milk between 8 ramekins. (I made 12 smaller portions)

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-6 hours till set. 

Unmold by dipping the ramekin in hot water. 

Unmold onto a plate. 

Or serve the panna cotta in the ramekins with some fruit on the side. 

Serve fresh fruit along with the panna cotta. 

The meal is enjoyed by all. The unusual dessert is the icing on the cake. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Chicken with Artichokes and Caperberries

I have a portion of boneless chicken thighs which I try to translate into dinner. Some artichokes and caperberries lend much needed flavor along with white wine. The result is a tasty stew, an amalgam of garden fresh tomatoes and  garlic, butter accented  gravy and moist tender chicken.  Crusty bread is all I need.


Serves 2 -4

1 lb boneless skinless Chicken Thighs

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

5 Garlic Cloves

3/4 cup frozen or canned Artichokes

1/4 cup Caperberries

1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes

1/2 cup White Wine

3-4 Thyme Sprigs

1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Fresh Parsley

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. 

Add chicken to oil and let it brown undisturbed for 3-4 minutes. 

Once it has browned, turn the pieces over and brown the other sides.  Once browned , take them out of the saucepan. 

Press all the water out of the artichokes. 

Smash garlic cloves. 

Cut caperberries in half.

Add artichokes and garlic to olive oil and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Add red pepper flakes. 

Halve cherry tomatoes and add  to artichokes along with caperberries and thyme sprigs. Saute for a few minutes. 

Pour the wine into the saucepan. Allow it to come to simmer. 

The add the chicken back to the pan.

Add salt.

Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes. 

Uncover chicken. 

Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread. 

This is a simple meal...chicken and artichokes... so good . Add sour caperberries for that much needed tang......all it needs is some bread to sop up the juices.