Thursday, May 21, 2015

More Spring Flowers - Guess! - Revealed

Flower 1 - Thyme
Flower 2 - Sage

Some more Spring Flowers for your viewing pleasure. You are welcome to take a guess as to what plant the flowers belong to.

Beautiful aren't they? These pretty tiny light purple flowers? Flower 1:

How about these? Flower 2:

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Guilty Pleasures - Quick Milk Burfi (Milk Fudge)

During the winter months I figure most people would prefer going in to work! That list certainly includes me. It is cold and dark outside mostly and who wants to be stuck in the house alone? But spring is another matter altogether. When spring come around after we push past the rainy and sometimes cold few weeks we get blessed with some nice pleasant weather where the humidity hasn't hit the roof and it is actually pleasant. Unfortunately this year we seemed to have jumped straight into summer having skipped spring altogether it seems. On days when the temperature is in the low 70s with barely a hint of humidity I feel like I am dragging myself to work envying everyone who is walking their dog, taking a jog, running or just plain hanging around.

Those are the kind of days I pick a reason, any reason to leave work early saying I will continue to work at home. Really people I do put in the required hours of work when I reach home alright :) This happens to my guilty pleasure. My song of freedom away from the cubicle to enjoy a few uninterrupted time in the gorgeous weather all by myself before everyone else gets home. Not surprisingly I hate doing this during the winter when I can't wait for everyone to get home. So what is your guilty pleasure?

Where food is considered my guilty pleasure comes in the form of small packages - burfis of any kind make my heart race a little faster. That is my guilty pleasure where food is concerned. For somebody like that a recipe like this is a nice thing to have on hand. It is versatile in its own way. Add some
cocoa powder or a few drops of chocolate syrup to make it a chocolate burfi or some coarsely chopped roasted nuts for a nut burfi.

The recipe is very simple, no slaving over the stove for hours together. This won't come close to the taste of milk cooked down but this has its own plus points. It is quick and easy. Condensed milk and milk powder are the only 2 ingredients.

If you want a more richer grainy texture try this recipe - Quick Palkova.

Quick Milk Burfi
Cooking Time:15 - 20minutes
  1. 14 oz can of condensed milk
  2. 3.2 oz of milk powder
  3. 4 tsp ghee
  4. coarsely powdered roasted pistachio (optional)
  5. 2 tsp of cocoa powder (optional)
  1. In a thick bottom pan add the condensed milk and let it get hot.
  2. Add in the milk powder (and cocoa if using) and with the whisk mix in the milk powder into the condensed milk.
  3. Once the mixture is dissolved (add the nuts if using at this stage) keep cooking in low medium heat till the mixture come together without sticking to the sides.
  4. Add ghee on the sides to avoid sticking. Keep a greased tray ready to transfer the contents.
  5. In about 15 - 20 minutes from start to finish the mixture should be a thick fudge.
  6. Transfer the contents to the greased tray and smooth with a spatula. Let cool and cut into pieces.
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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mashed Kale with Moong - Fresh and Tasty - Keerai paruppu kuzhambu

Readers of this blog who are mothers, hope your offspring made you feel special on Mother's Day This is how the conversation went in our house, morning of Mother's Day.
Me: What day is today?
DD: It is Sunday.
Me: Think harder, I wouldn't be asking you otherwise.
DD: Amma, I have to study for my exams.
Me: *giving up* It is Mother's Day!
DD: (*mumbling* I did not forget) Happy Mother' Day! Amma!

DH and DD2 did much better. Got wishes from both of them and I even got a hand made craft from DD. Anyway for all the ribbing I gave DD I forgot to call my mom. Amma if you are reading this, I was thinking of you but forgot to call you. Did I hear "like mother, like daughter" by that I mean DD and myself.

Anyway we have been having some unexpected pleasure in the form of fresh Kale and Collard leaves. The Kale and Collard survived the winter the snow and were the first to sprout and bloom. One another advantage is that the bugs have not hatched yet and the leaves are blemish free. Kale is a pleasure to eat absolutely and my most favorite way to eat them is a stir fry and coconut elevates that to another level. The other recipes I normally make are
Kale Stir Fry with Coconut
Kale with pigeon peas (toor dal)
Kale with white beans - Soup

I always cook mashed spinach and then sometimes add cooked/mashed dal to the mashed spinach and they taste delicious both ways. The mashed greens by themselves can be a dish by itself but adding mashed dal give it another layer of taste which is different then adding greens to dal. Cooked with the minimal of spices but let the taste of the greens shine through.

Saute the onions and green chilies with the kale leaves. Once cooked blend to a smooth puree using a hand blender.
Add the cooked moong dal to the kale leaves puree. Prepare the seasonings and add to the kale and moong dal.

Mashed Kale and Moong - Keerai paruppu kuzhambu
Cooking Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
  1. 1/2 cup moong dal roasted
  2. 4 cups of packed chopped kale leaves washed and chopped roughly
  3. 4 green chilies slit (shake out the seeds)
  4. 1/2 cup onions chopped
  5. 2 cloves garlic chopped
  6. 2 tsp cumin/pepper powdered
  7. salt to taste
  8. 1 tsp oil
  9. seasonings: cumin seeds, mustard seeds
  10. 2 tsp turmeric powder

  1. Cook the moong dal with plenty of water with a pinch of turmeric powder and a tiny bit of oil.
  2. While the moong is cooking, heat oil in a pan add oil and add the powdered powdered cumin and pepper powder.
  3. Add the slit green chilies and chopped onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  4. Add the kale leaves and let it cook till the leaves become soft. No need to sprinkle any water because the greens will leave water as it cooks.
  5. Add salt and turn off the heat after about 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Using a hand blender blend the greens to a smooth puree.
  7. Now turn on the heat and add the roughly mashed dal to it.
  8. In a small pan heat 1/2 tsp of oil and season with cumin and mustard seeds.
  9. Transfer to the dal and greens mixture and turn off the heat.
Can be used as a side for idli/dosai or with rice.

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