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Friday, December 30, 2011

Baked Dish- Macaroni and Vegetables

Just bought a packet of macaroni and have been longing to cook for somebody, which friend to invite? Has to be some-one who enjoys my food and is not too critical, not that I am shy of critiques, but I like to cook at my own pace and if somebody is watching and expecting me to create a competitive dish, I am sure to disappoint. Some of my friends (and family too) know that I cannot cook the same dish twice, even if I followed the recipe to the point, word by word  (but hey, what are friends for,) if they can forgive me for a bad dish and enjoy the dish that I have made especially for them, I am most willing to experiment. After all, the main ingredients that we use in every cooking is always  love and interest, so understand that if I love you and I am really interested in impressing you , I am sure to cook a tasty meal for you..go figure….

Pastas of any kind if mixed with vegetables can make a complete meal, and it’s is used all around the world. There were records of pasta in Italy 500 years before Marco Polo returned from China.

Pasta is science and an art. Everybody had their own style of cooking the pasta to suit their palate. You can call it by different name; it’s just to identify it by its shape. Visit Europe and you discover spaghetti, gnocchi, tagliatellea, ravioli, vincisgrassi, strascinati, fancy names with sexy curves of pasta, each with an identity of its own.  Travel to Asia, and you have noodles of all shapes with an amazing history of its own. Americans not only cook bad pasta but they also use wrong sauce with noodle. Many are confused as to which sauce could match with which type of pasta.

Have you sometimes floundered as to when to add salt? How much to boil? Sometimes it’s too soggy, sometimes too raw and sometimes an embarrassment. Such knowledge cannot be achieved by reading encyclopedia of pastas, all we need is to wear our apron and discover it our self. With experience we learn and with every recipe we discover how to improve it the next time.

Ah well, all I care is that I need to eat the pasta that will suit my palate. So this week I dared to make pasta again and it behaved. I know it did because I saw my guests go for second helping…….

Step 1

Collect all the ingredients:

1 cup macaroni
1 tbsp olive oil
2 pods garlic (grated)
3 green chilies (cut slant wise)
200 grams Mushrooms (chopped)
1 medium carrot (thinly diced)
100 grams corn
1 medium Capsicum (diced)
10-12 leaves Spinach
20 grams baby tomatoes
20grams olives
20 grams white cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped spring onions
1 tbsp white flour
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Step 2

1.     Boil the pasta adding salt and oil,
2.     Add in 1 cup of cold water.
3.      Keep it aside

Step 3

1.     In a pan, stir fry garlic and green chilies in olive oil
2.     Add mushroom and mix,
3.     Add carrots, corn, capsicum
4.     Strain the macaronis  and add to the pan, stir it lightly
5.     And add spinach and salt. Mix it well.
6.     Transfer it to a baking dish.
7.     Garnish with baby tomatoes, olives and white cheese.

Step 4

1.     Stir fry spring onions in butter.
2.     Add white flour and roast a little.
3.     Add milk.
4.     Add cheese.
5.     Stir till white sauce is creamy.
6.     Pour it in the baking dish on the top of pasta and vegetables.

Step 5

Bake it for 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

Serve it with garlic bread and a glass of orange juice.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vegetables Sizzler in Black Pepper Sauce

One thing good about sizzlers is that the food is steaming hot till the last spoon. Second thing is the novelty of the sizzling plate that comes shooshing on your table like a steam engine parking on your space, the smoke from the plate blinding you, the colorful combination of different assorted vegetables and that slurpy sauce make it even more exotic. More-over it’s a complete meal by itself and one plateful should suffice for nutrients required to go all day.

No wonder, sizzler can be made of the combination of your choice and there is no rule as such that it has to be made in a particular way. You can neatly arrange all the ingredients side by side or you can place them piled up one by one, the main taste is in the sauce that you pour over it and there are various types of sauces that you could experiment with to give your dish different flavors each time.

Ingredients that I used

1 cup rice

For sauce

1 tsp olive oil
2 pods garlic (grated)
2 medium spring onions (chopped)
2 green chilies (cut slant-wise)
1 vegetable cube
2-3 basil leaves
1 tbsp chopped celery
1 tbsp pepper sauce
1 tsp corn flour

For stir fry vegetables

1 tbsp olive oil
200 grams mushrooms (diced)
1 medium carrot (diced slant-wise)
1 medium capsicum (diced)
3-4 Paksoi leaves (chopped)
1 tsp crushed black pepper
Salt to taste

During arrangement

5-6 Cabbage leaves
1 tsp vinegar

Now ready to cook:

Step 1

Steam 1 cup of rice adding salt and oil.

 Step 2

Keep the plate for heating for 20 minutes.

 Step 3

Make sauce

1.     Stir fry garlic in I tsp of olive oil,
2.     Add spring onions, green chilies, add 1 cup of water, vegetable cube, basil leaves, celery leaves, black pepper sauce,
3.     Let it cook for ten minutes,
4.     Add 1 tsp corn flour in ½ cup water,
5.     Stir till the sauce gets thick,
6.     Keep it aside

Step 4

Stir fry vegetables

1.     Stir fry garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil,
2.     Add mushrooms and carrot,
3.     Mix and add capsicum, green chilies, Paksoi leave,
4.     Sprinkle crushed black pepper and salt on it.

Step 5

Arranging the sizzling plate

1.     Transfer the hot sizzler plate on a wooden base,(from step 2)
2.     Arrange cabbage leaflets on the plate,
3.     Add the layer of white steam rice,(from step 1)
4.     Add the layer of stir fried vegetables  (from step 4)
5.     Pour the sauce on the top (from step 3)

Step 6

Dissolve 1 tsp of vinegar in 1 tsp of water and pour on it for sizzling effect.

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