January 24, 2014

Testing a tip in our kitchen for baked tilapia with sautéed mushrooms

One probably comes across several tips for doing chores that will reduce time doing the boring tasks. Peeling garlic is probably one of those tasks for me. Especially during a weeknight, when there is little time after coming back from work to get dinner ready. Recently, we saw an intriguing video  from Saveur that talks about peeling garlic in 10 seconds.

Once we saw it, we knew we had to try it at home. And so dear readers, we present to you our first video testing out the tip. With kids mumbling in the background and our kitchen in disarray, you get an inside look into our lives :)

Once you have all the cloves, keep them in a ziploc bag and use it through the week.

Now, coming back to the recipe, the baked tilapia has become quite a regular in our home, since it is a favorite of Lil A. We make it atleast once a week. After experimenting with different vegetables, I have concluded that I like it with mushrooms the best.

The onions, garlic and cilantro on top of the fish adds a nice flavor for the cold, wintry days.

It is easy to make, and makes a great weeknight dinner with some couscous on the side.

(serves 4)
2 fillets - tilapia
6-7 mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic - chopped
1/4 onions - chopped
handful cilantro - chopped
3 tbspoon oil
1/4 tspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tspoon cumin powder
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tbspoon soy sauce
salt to taste

Heat the oven to 350 deg F.

Mix the chopped onions, garlic and cilantro in a bowl. Set aside.

Take the 2 fillets and smother them liberally with salt, pepper and turmeric powder on both sides. Now pour the soy sauce over them and add the onion, garlic and cilantro mix over them. Let it marinate for 15-30 minutes.

In a pan take a tbspoon on oil and saute the sliced mushrooms with cumin powder and some salt for 2-3 minutes.

Baked Tilapia
Take a baking pan with aluminum foil (cleaning is mush easier with this) and rub 1 tbspoon oil on it. Add the mushrooms as a bed and then put the tilapia fillets on top. Pour the remaining sauce and spice from the marination on top of the fillets and add the remaining tbspoon on top of the fillets.

Baked Tilapia
Bake for 13 minutes, then set the oven to broil and broil the fillets for 5 minutes.

Israeli couscous with caramelized onions & veggies
It's ready to serve.

January 16, 2014

Orangey Apple turnovers in puff pastry and new year resolutions

Apple pastry

It's been two weeks into the new year and we have already survived a huge amount of snow and the polar vortex that came our way.

Before the storm and the cold engulfed us, Lil A had a great time making a snow man and sticking a carrot for his nose and took one of Tiny M's cap for the snowman.

Have you made any resolutions for the new year? I didn't make any for last year, but for this year I did make one. Of making small changes for healthy, nutritious meals and being more conscious of fresh flavors. Here is an example: so I would buy cumin and coriander powder from the Indian store. I no longer do that. Instead I grind a small amount and use it for a week or two and then grind some more.

Freezing dalIn addition, I am prepping some during the weekend so we are eating home cooked meals at the end of the day. One of the easiest thing to do is to boil some dal/lentils, and beans and keeping them in small packs. It's easy to thaw and make a hot bowl and some fresh rice to go with it.

This year I received a copy of Great British Bake Off cookbook and it has so many interesting recipes. I recently tweaked their apple turnovers and made it for brunch with friends. The apples tasted great with the orangey maple flavor. I didn't have puff pastry and tried it in phyllo dough, but I do want to try it with puff pastry. I will certainly post pictures here when I do.

(adapted from Great British Bake Off, makes about 12)
2 small apples - peeled and cubed
1/2 orange juice and zest
1 1/2 tbspoon maple syrup
1/2 tspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 roll of puff pastry or phyllo pastry (I used store bought sheet, thawed and cut in half)

Apple pastry
Heat a pan and add the apples with maple syrup, sugar and water. Once the water is boiling bring is to low medium heat, add the orange juice and zest and let it cook till the apples are soft and the water has disappeared. Set aside and let it cool.

Heat the over to 400deg F and take out the phyllo pastry sheet. Make small rectangles/squares.

Add about a small tspoon of apples in the middle. Take some cold water in a bowl and dip a finger in water and line is around the edges of the pastry. Close it tightly.

Apple pastry
Set the pastry on a tray and let it cool for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Take out and cook at 400 deg for 10-12 minutes.

Apple pastry
In the meantime, heat a t-spoon of maple syrup and sugar in a bowl till it is a thick syrup. Brush the turnovers with it and serve warm.

January 01, 2014

Israeli couscous with caramelized onions and tales from our travels

Atlanta travelsHappy New Year friends! Another year has flown by, countless meals, and travels and adventures have been completed and we are ready to embark on new journeys, new menus are being planned and games are being designed.

We took a road trip and went to Atlanta for our winter vacation this year. We almost didn't make the trip with both kids being sick. But then we did and we are so glad we did. The kids recovered quickly and had a lot of fun exploring the new city, and aquariums, science museum and more. The kids even got to play in playground, a luxury for Michiganians. We met with friends and Aswin's old advisor in Athens, GA.

Atlanta travels

We ate out during the day but it was wonderful to come to the vacation rental and make a home cooked meal for all of us in the evening.

Visiting NupurAnother highlight was meeting Nupur from One Hot Stove. We went for an afternoon chai to her house and it was wonderful to meet her family. The kids ate all the treats and then played together while we chatted. We went home with beautiful hats for kids and snacks and chocolate for us. Thank you Nupur!

Here is a new recipe for the new year. Israeli couscous with caramelized onions and veggies and has it with baked tilapia fish. I have been experimenting with different grains for Tiny M as he is not longer interested in mushy food. He took a few bites and seemed to like the texture

Here is a how I made the couscous.

1 cup Israeli couscous
1/2 onion - finely chopped
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
1 green chilli
2 curry leaves
1/4 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 carrot finely chopped
1/2 green pepper - finely chopped
handful of peas
2 tbspoon oil
salt to taste
1/4 tspoon black pepper freshly ground
1/4 tspoon coriander powder
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1/4 cucumber - finely chopped
handful cilantro

Israeli couscous with caramelized onions & veggies
Heat oil in a pan and temper it with cumin seeds, green chilli and curry leaves. After a minute add the onions and garlic. Let it saute for a couple of minutes till the onions caramelize.

Israeli couscous with caramelized onions & veggies
Add the carrots, peppers, and peas and let it cook for another minute. Then add the salt, coriander powder, and black pepper and cook it on closed lid for 3-4 minutes till the veggies start to turn soft.

Israeli couscous with caramelized onions & veggies
In another pan, bring the vegetable broth to boil and then add the couscous and let it cook for 8-10 minutes till it soaks all the broth and is soft.

Add the couscous to the veggies and let it cook for another minute till it all mixes well.

Take it off the heat and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the fresh cucumber and cilantro and mix it and serve hot.

We had ours with baked tilapia. I will post the recipe in the next post.
Israeli couscous with caramelized onions & veggies

Have a wonderful year ahead with good food, good friends and good cheer. Happy New Year!


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