Sunday, June 19, 2011

Setting New Trends..Breaking Some Old

Brace yourself for a long 50th post!

Boy, what an exciting week it's been! New creations, new acts of bravery and some new friends - all packed in one fraction of a month.
The week started off with the same old Monday blues with a bit of a drama at work...never hurts to have some spice in life, eh? I thought it would be just an ordinary week, only to find myself going routes I would have either avoided or not expected myself to be.

1. The (not-so) big purchase of a measuring cup: Yes! I now own an actual measuring cup that's not a 'katori' (small bowl) or a ramekin used to eyeball ingredients. It was a big commitment for a person like me who swears by 'a pinchful of this and a palmful of that'. But I was quick to realize what a whole new world of opportunities it has opned for me. All that baking I steered away from, well..not anymore! Of course, I want to stay true to myself and enjoy what I do. Nevertheless, with all the inspiration from my fellow bloggers and a little bit of rethinking, I've realized what I'll love making and eating.

To begin with - Whole Wheat Banana Loaf! I had two bananas too ripe for my taste. I thought of making Kelyachi Puri (Indian Fried Banana Flat Bread) but frying is always at the bottom of my cooking techniques list. Last year I made a whole wheat banana bread/cake/loaf/whatever using barely any oil and no eggs. It turned out yummy but this was a good opportunity to make it the right way. I stumbled upon this recipe through Elise's blog. I followed the recipe exactly except replacing nuts with chopped dates. So rustic and earthy with the whole wheat, dates and honey! This is breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner all in one. Two thumbs up!

The loaf..and a slice with a drizzle of honey that wasn't supposed to get soaked up :D

2. Food Bloggers Round Table 1: I feel so lucky to have met some of the best food bloggers from San Diego through the Bake Sale. Our ever-so-gracious host Marie along with Amanda initiated the San Diego Food Bloggers Round Table meetings starting this weekend. This will be a platform for some veteran bloggers and small time bloggers like me to get together and discuss various blogging related topics. The topic for our first meeting was Social Media - how to leverage the various social networking sites to our advantage. It pushed me to be a little tech savvy, the result of which was my blog's Facebook Page! Yay! Thanks to Kathy and the rest of the group for their valuable input. We met up over a potluck brunch. You can only imagine how delicious the food was!

I wanted to bring a taste of India to the table without serving something completely foreign. And you'll all agree there's nothing more popular than Samosas! To make it extra special, the filling was made of Paneer. It was my random experiment that went right thankfully. Here's the recipe:

Cilantro-Mint chutney
Baked Samosa

Paneer Samosa

1 Cup All purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Ghee/clarified butter
12 Oz. Paneer - grated
1 Medium potato - boiled and mashed
1/2 Cup green peas - coarsely ground
1/2 Small Onion - finely chopped
3 Cloves garlic
1 Inch Ginger
3-4 Mint leaves
1 Small green chili
1/2 Teaspoon cumin seeds
Garam Masala
Chaat Masala
Cumin-coriander powder
Red chili powder - if needed
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

  • Mix a cup of all purpose flour, a pinch of salt and warm ghee and add water little by little to form a firm, thick dough. Cover and keep aside.
  • Grind ginger, garlic, green chili and mint to a paste.
  • Heat about a couple of teaspoons of oil in a saute pan and add cumin seeds to it. Once the seeds roast, add onions and let them sweat just for a couple of minutes. I didn't want to add raw onion hence I added this step. 
  • Take it off the heat, add grated paneer, mashed potato, peas, salt to taste, some garam masala and chaat masala and some red chili powder if needed. I was doing a trial and error with the spices since my Indian taste buds are biased and I wanted it to appeal any palete. This is the stuffing.
  • To make the samosa, take a small ball of the dough (smaller than a golf ball) and roll it out thinly. Cut it in the center forming two half moons. Form a cone from each half, add the stuffing and close the open side with a little bit of water to help the dough stick together.

I fried one batch for the meeting and baked one for us at home (350F ~15-20 minutes turning every 5 minutes). As always, I loved the baked version a lot better - much less oil and the crust was much crispier. The fried one tasted good no doubt - but my vote always goes for baking. I must thank my lovely husband for helping me fry the samosa as I waited to make them at the last minute so they'd be fresh.

To accompany the samosa, I made a quick green chutney with 2 bunches of cilantro, some mint, a couple of small cloves of garlic, green chili and cumin seeds and salt ground finely.

3. Into the ocean: Now for the most exciting, somewhat scary, adrenaline rushing experience of the week - Kayaking!! This may sound like a regular activity to any San Diegan - not to me. I am not scared of water..hell no...I'm TERRIFIED! Ocean especially freaks me out, for that matter any body of water where I can not touch the ground (which ain't too deep) or hold onto something. This was the bravest thing I've done in a long time. Hubby gave me all the support and kept me calm throughout and brought me back to the shore safe. Although every nerve and muscle in my body was cringing with fear, I managed to stay afloat for a little more than an hour and landed back without tipping over. Am I a superwoman or what?! Go ahead - laugh at me. I have no shame though. Floating over big waves in the ocean may not be my idea of fun, but I can finally check this off my list!

On the way to La Jolla Cove

With that and hoping everyone had a very happy father's day...I bid you adieu till the next time.


Deeps said...

Nice! Glad that you are enjoying to bake! Great job on the bread!
Yummy looking samosas! I am gonna try the baked version sometime!

Saee Koranne-Khandekar said...

Congrats on all of those achievements! I can associate with all of them--I just wrote my 100th post recently, and I feel like the smallest fish in the pond of Mumbai Food Bloggers here. AND I'm shit scared of the water, too! But let's brush all those aside, and bask in the glory of our blogs until then, no? :)

Snehal said...

@Deeps: Thanks! I've had baked samosa before and wasn't surprised it came out well :)
@Saee: You made me feel a whole lot better..yes, let's focus on the positive :)

Priyanka said...

Oh such a lovely post! Banana loaf looks awesome! I like your healthy version of recipes. Baked samosa is definitely going to my fav list! n yeyy, you are no more scared of water! Water sports are amazing! Hope to see u indulge in many more!

Sharan said...

looks like you had a blast! I am glad you went kayaking :)Yay!

Jay said...

absolutely amazing recipes..
chanced upon your space while blog your collection of recipes..
Am your happy subscriber now..:)
do stop by mine sometime..

Tasty Appetite

The Cilantropist said...

Snehal it was sooo great to meet you last weekend and I am just thrilled to pieces that you shared your recipe for the cilantro-mint chutney! I was serious when I said it was my favorite thing there! (hope that didn't hurt anyone else's feelings, but purely speaking the truth! :)

So glad you enjoyed the first Roundtable - I had a fantastic time myself and I am looking forward to the next one! See you soon!

Snehal said...

@Priyanka:I would harldy say I'm not scared anymore..but I'm up for giving it a try again :)
@Sharan: Yay
@Jay: Thanks a lot for stopping by!
@Amanda: I'm so flattered =D. This chutney is very versatile - use it as a chicken/veggie marinade for grilling, add it to your sandwich/panini, or just use to add some freshness to any dish!


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