Thursday, June 11, 2009

Do Try this at Home ...

I cooked the other day, and it turned out exquisite, homely and extremely delicious.
And so easy to make. I’m proud of this meal.
Special thanks to Suveer, he really knows his ingredients.

This may seem like a lazy Blog post. It is.

I stepped out of my home by 12:30 pm and went shopping. The day looked unusually bright even from behind my dark glasses. I groaned my way to the market which is quite near my humble abode, but nevertheless tiresome to walk to on a sunny afternoon. As I walked up the slope past the bagel shop, I deflected, and considered lazing on the café sofa and gorging on a bacon or smoked salmon bagel. The patrons looked attractive enough. But I was resolute to cook a meal.
I lengthened my stride up the hilly hill, dodging the speeding cars up and down the narrow path. The flamboyant red blooming Gulmohar tree lifted my spirits, and the bright Cassia fistula made me all gay. I stopped and looked up at the colours around me, they were only a few trees, yet they seemed to cloud the gloom around.
I walked down the slope now towards the quaint Pali market.
The quaint Pali market isn’t old world at all, it may look like a small village market, but it sells everything. No wonder super markets don’t last very long in this area.
From a feisty vegetable vendor who amazed me with her collection of exotic food items –Avocados, Zucchini, exotic herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, varieties of mushrooms, sprouts and so much more, I did not understand,
I purchased some humble and familiar vegetables.
1. Three packets of button mushrooms.
2. Ice berg lettuce –green and the red leaves.
3. Rocket leaves.
4. Two big round lemons (nimbu).
5. Broccoli.
6. A Packet a Baby Corn.

The mom and pop stores impressed me further by their collection of imported food items -- exotic chocolates, syrups, cereals, juices, jams, pasta, desserts, collection of cheese and so much more.
I purchased the following:
1. A small bottle of Figaro Olive oil
2. Mozzarella cheese (50 gms).
3. Slab of Parmesan cheese.
4. A packet of Salami and sausages.
5. Organic wheat pasta.

I was being indulgent and naïve, the salesman conned me. The simple
Semolina pasta, which costs so much less, can also be bought.
6. Oregano seasoning and chilly flakes.
Back home within an hour, my friend and me got to work. I wanted a minimum effort, minimum cost meal. Well the cost factor is a variable. On different days I feel differently about it.

Cheesy Baked mushrooms.
Ingredients: A packet of mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, salt and oregano.
1. Wash the mushrooms properly; make sure you rid it of all dirt.
2. Pre heat the oven to about 190 degrees Celsius.
3. While the oven is pre heating, carefully remove the stumps of the mushrooms from the cavity. Don’t throw the stumps.
4. Grate a portion of mozzarella cheese; add salt to taste and a teaspoon of oregano.
5. Take a small quantity of olive oil in a bowl, and with fingers dipped in olive oil, stuff the mushroom cavities with the cheese-salt-oregano mixture.
6. Lace the tray with olive oil, and bake the mushrooms for about 20 minutes.

Ingredients: Mushrooms, Ice berg lettuce (red and green), rocket leaves, oliveoil,
Balsamic vinegar.

1. Wash all the leaves properly. It is important you wash them at least 3-4 times.
2. Take a large deep salad bowl (or a patila); place all the leaves in it, you can add cherry or cut tomatoes, if you like tomatoes. I don’t.
3. Sautee a packet of mushrooms in olive oil (or shrimps) and put it in to the bowl.
4. Pour a generous quantity of olive oil into the bowl
5. Add a dash ok dash or three of balsamic vinegar and salt to taste, squeeze a whole lemon and little bit pepper.
6. Great a generous quantity of parmesan cheese into the salad bowl. Quantity depends on you. But more cheese, the better. Mix all the ingredients gently.
7. You can also add Kiri cheese cubes.

Balsamic vinegar happened to be in my fridge and I used it and it really enhanced the taste of the salad. Having a friend who knows ingredients really helps.

I prepared a simple Alio Olio pasta, this is my desi version and it tastes alright.
Pasta sauce:
1. Heat some oil in a pan, and cook 3-4 tablespoon of garlic paste. I bought the garlic paste from market. So much easier.
2. Cook the broccoli, mushrooms and baby corn, add chilly flakes, oregano, salt to taste and add some more finely chopped garlic cloves,4-5 cloves would do good (I love garlic flavour).
3. Let it cook for a while. I really don’t know how long, I just sweat it out in the kitchen, and keep tasting to see if it tastes alright.
Some people find Alio Olio extremely bland, you can add a little quantity of tomato puree to zing it.
4. You can add salami, cut up sausages or even boiled and fried chicken.
5. The pasta is easy to cook. Boil some pasta in water for 8 minutes. Add salt before boiling.
6. Drain the water completely, take another container, heat some butter, slightly burn the butter, toss the pasta in it and then the sauce. Pasta is ready.
Well a meal is ready.
Baked mushrooms, Salad (it tastes like gorgonzola salad) and Pasta.
Have the baked mushrooms and salad as starters along with toasted bread with butter. The combination is extremely delicious.

If pasta feels too staid or passé, here is an alternative:
Baked Lemony Fish:
Ingredients: Fish (I generally use Rawas or Salmon) , juicy lemon, salt, pepper and paprika.
1. In a bowl, squeeze lemon to get a decent quantity of lemon juice.
2. To it add, salt and pepper, and small quantity of paprika (optional).
3. Poke the fish with a fork and marinate the fish ( Rawas or salmon taste wonderful) for at least 3-4 hours.
4. Bake it.
You can do the same with chicken.

Bon appetite!!