Friday, October 7, 2011

Tilapia in Basil & fennel

 Today my morning yoga  routine was a let down.The abductor muscle is acting up again and the groin hurts every time I try to get into the asanas without keeping my knees soft. I am still struggling with bhujapidasana and it is funny because the harder I try the harder I fall on my BUT I keep falling and keep trying.Guruji says:" practice & it will come to you" I am already looking forward to tomorrow's practice , everyday the body tells you how it feels and it is wonderful to listen to it and pay heed to what are its limitations and then gradually with time and practice free the body of its limitations.

Okay so we have some good weather here on the east coast for this weekend after the short onset of cold temperatures,  we are looking forward to a warmer weekend starting today.The leaves have started to fall  off on this tree which is on my deck and  I was reading  trees can be tricked into  loosing leaves by extreme environmental conditions it is sad because I see fallen leaves everywhere and no change in the color so far,I was told  the fall colors this year will be delayed,I only hope they are still as pretty as they always have been in the past and all the storms and adverse weather conditions have hopefully not destroyed that phenomena.

So to celebrate the warm temperatures today and to get in the weekend mood let us all enjoy this fish .This is the very first time I have cooked with fennel.It has a nice licorice y taste and this sweetness when combined with garlic, tomatoes,celery and basil gives a very nice sweet and herby taste with a garlicky punch. I salted the fish with some kosher salt and sprinkled some dried basil and parsley and left it for 20 minutes while I prepared the sauce.You can also get out on the deck and fire your grills today and grill this fish or bake it .Do what your heart says.....

Here goes the recipe and the ingredients you will need:

Tilapia Fish: 2 pounds
Black pepper: crushed a pinch
Salt: to your taste
Dried basil:1/4 tsp
Olive oil: 1 tbsp to rub all over the fish along with the salt and dried basil

Note: You can mix oil ,salt ,pepper and basil in a small bowl and use your hands to rub this on the fish.

Celery: 2 stems/stalks or ribs diced 
Tomato: 2 no's diced into small pieces
Garlic: 3 cloves chopped fine
Basil fresh: chopped 1 tbsp
Parsely: dried 1/4 tsp
fennel Bulb: 1 about 10-12 ounces ( discard the rough outer leaves)
halved bulb thinly sliced
Olive oil: 1 tbsp


1. take the fish and rub salt,oil and black pepper all over on both sides and then sprinkle dried basil.
2. leave it for 20 minutes or more if time permits
3: heat the oven at 350 d Fahrenheit and bake on the lowest rack in a baking tray (you can line the baking tray with the aluminium foil)
4. If grilling/broiling heat the oven at 400 d Fahrenheit (gas oven) and grill for roughly 12-15 minutes or till the fish is flaky and turned completely white on the inside.

Sauce method:
1. Take a pan and heat 1tbsp oil
2. add the chopped garlic and wait till it turns brown on the edges( roughly 1 minute)
3. Now add the diced tomatoes along with salt
4. Cook the tomatoes for 4-5 minutes and mash them with the back of the spoon
5. Add chopped or diced celery and thinly sliced fennel.
6. add the chopped basil now and also add the dried parsley at this stage.
7. If you like your veggies with a little crunch cook this for further 3-4 minutes without covering the pan. If you want the celery and fennel to be soft ,cover the pan .


Take the serving plate and dish out two spoonfuls of the sauce on the plate and neatly arrange the grilled fish on the plate with some spring leaves.Bon appetit !!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Tribute To Steve Jobs

Today, I wonder what Steve Jobs will be in his next avatar.

 I say that because like all Hindus I believe in reincarnation. The body dies but the soul lives on and finds a new body. There is also  something called as an elevated consciousness within  a person who has been very driven and passionate about something all his life, Such a person when breathing his last moments is still aware  of that force which drives him. A person   such as this ,will carry the imprint of that force on every single cell in his body so much so that he will be capable of choosing what he wants to be in his next birth. So elevated souls who have accumulated good karma in  this life by their deeds and who have become one with their souls and understand SELF either by means of higher intellect or hard work are people who are empowered by awareness when they breathe their last .

Steve Jobs was a ,"yogi" not in the conventional sense but if yoga stands for mental, physical and spiritual discipline than he certainly was someone who despite all odds lived his life by all these standards. So I consider him a true Yogi. He was working hard, not for money but because there was this futuristic vision which was driving him to come up with magical inventions even before people thought they would need something like that. He was a dynamic visionary & a wonderful human being.

Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he was a Buddhist

God creates very few men like him and takes them away for a reason.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Penne Pasta cooked in fresh ingredients

After eating this pasta prepared with minimal seasoning I have come to the conclusion that we sometimes tend to kill the natural and authentic flavors of the dish,by over seasoning it . When we use very little seasoning or a single spice for seasoning we allow the flavors from other ingredients to stay bold and distinct.This pasta preparation allows you to savor each and every ingredient in every single bite.The seasoning used in this is kosher salt and crushed black pepper along with some fresh herbs.I tossed the pasta in Kate's Butter (a product from Maine) and some mahjoub organic olive oil. Give this preparation a try and you will understand the power of less is sometimes more :)!

Mahir was on one of his travels when in my quest to surprise Manasi with something special,I came up with this recipe coupled with the fact that I had shopped for some organic stuff yet again in the pursuit of  feeding our bodies  some pesticide free and naturally grown food. I always try hard to spend less on things that make us look pretty on the outside and consciously & willingly make efforts to spend that extra buck on the food that is grown naturally and in return support the farmers community who strive consistently  to provide us with these healthy options . After-all We are -What we eat

I also went a step ahead and spread the meal on the picnic table on the deck,I know my Aquarian girl loves it when things are done differently:) I cannot forget the smile this dinner brought on her face,also these were some of the last few days of summer left before she would leave for college.So they were anyways special. Here is a picture from that evening :)

I had baked some ciabatta a day before so drizzled some olive oil and and some crushed garlic and toasted it a little in the oven and enjoyed this with the penne pasta and a glass of wine....mmm...mmm the simple pleasures of life... my friends go for 'em


Penne pasta: 1/2 packet (I used Trader Joes Organic whole wheat pasta)
Butter: 1tbsp ( I used kate's 100% pure butter)
Note: This butter tastes incredible,I bought this at Caraluzzi's but later found it in stop& shop too)
EVOO: 1tbsp ( I used Mahjoub organic gifted by a very dear friend)
Grape tomatos: About 20( washed and halved if you like)
Basil: 20 leaves roughly chopped
Rosemary: 1 sprig(separate the stem and roughly chop the leaves)
Sun dried tomatoes: 3 tbsp chopped in tiny bits
Salt: to taste
Black pepper: little more than a pinch
Pine nuts: 2 tbsp pounded lightly
Grated Parmesan cheese: You set the limits

Manasi loves it and sprinkles a ton of it and puts a heap on the side to eat with the bread and olive oil;)


Boil the pasta in hot water with some salt till al dente and strain and keep aside
Take a pan and add the butter and olive oil.
When hot add the chopped basil,rosemary,sun dried tomatoes and the grape tomatoes and saute them for a couple minutes.
Add salt and crush fresh pepper and toss the pasta and give it a good shake. Turn off the flame. 
Transfer this to a serving bowl and sprinkle Parmesan and pine nuts and savor the flavor that every ingredient brings to this pasta preparation. Bon Appetit!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shahi Tandoori Paneer/ Royal Cottage cheese

Time flies...seasons change and so do our food habits with every passing season. Especially this time of the year when there is so much to celebrate: Diwali, Halloween,Thanksgiving Christmas and so on....

I am glad we have Patel's not very far from where I live,which just opened here recently. Up until now I used to shop at a very  nondescript Indian grocery store. The fact that these big stores with large turnovers give the shoppers the opportunity to buy big saver packs which always is the attraction when you shop at store chains. I recently bought a large( about 2 1/2 kg slab )of Nanak Paneer and cut half of it in cube sizes and transferred it to zip-lock bags and saved the rest of the slab as it is for making Bhurji.

Hmmm life is so much easier when you have a well stocked refrigerator:) I had friends over last weekend and it did not take me very long to figure out the menu, there was everything I needed to make this shahi Tandoori paneer : Fresh tomatos, ginger & garlic ,cream,garam masala and paneer,Yes- you read it right,this is all you need to make this super delicious paneer dish.It can be prepared in a jiffy too,and is loved by everyone. The color is so appetizing and rich as is the unbeatable taste. So what are you waiting for-Go ahead and make yourself some and tell me I was right !!!

List of Ingredients You will need:

Paneer: 10 - 15 small cube sized pieces weighing roughly 250 gms
Tomatoes: 2 large deep red tomatoes boiled and then pureed without the skin
Ginger & garlic: 1tsp each paste
Kasoori methi: roasted and crushed 1 tsp
Honey: 1 tbsp
Light fresh cream: 2-3 tbsp (substitute it with skimmed milk if you are watching calories)
Salt: to taste
Deghi Mirch: 1 tsp or more if you want that extra kick
Olive oil: 2tbs
Cardamom: 2-3 crushed
Cinnamon: 1/2 a inch stick
Clove: 2-3
Ground garam masala: little more than a pinch

Take the paneer cubes and sprinkle some salt and red pepper and 1 tsp oil and stick it in the oven and broil/grill for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn it over once so that it is grilled evenly.

Meanwhile take a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai and add the whole garam masala and wait for a minute till the aroma emanates and your kitchen smells great ( if your smell sense is not too good-don't take chances;) )

Now add the ginger & garlic and subsequently add the tomato puree along with salt and red pepper and cook till the sauce becomes a little thick .

Take the grilled paneer and add this to the sauce. Also add the honey and cream/skimmed milk,mix it gently and sprinkle the garam masala and cook for 2-3 minutes. Finish it with the roasted and crushed kasoori methi and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Bon appetite!!!