Cook's Hideout: May 2009

May 31, 2009

Last Minute Post for Events in May

I was out on vacation just for one week, but it feels like I've been gone for months both at home and at work. Projects and things have been piling up and it'll probably take another week to sort everything through. But first things first I wanted to post the entries for Tried & Tasted: Fat Free Vegan being hosted by lovely Vaishali (@ Holy Cow) and for Monthly Blog Patrol: Mango Masti being hosted by Neha (@ Easy n Tasty Recipes).

Strawberry Snack Cake: I’m a frequent visitor to Susan’s fat free vegan blog. Her recipes are simple-no fuss, no mess type; great for me as I’m always looking for recipes that are quick & easy to make on a weeknight. So when Vaishali T & T: Fat free vegan, I was a happy camper. I have made a lot of Susan's recipes before but never took pictures and for the event I had time to make only one recipe, Strawberry Snack cake.

I wanted to use up the strawberries I had on hand and this recipe sounded quick and easy. I didn’t have Cake flour on hand and so substituted it with regular all-purpose flour and corn starch and it worked just fine. (FYI—recipe called for 1¾ cups of Cake flour; I used 1½ cups AP flour & 3½ tbsp of corn starch.) It tasted awesome and I refrigerated the leftovers and enjoyed them for an afternoon snack. T&T is the brain child of Zlamushka @ Burnt mouth.

Sticky Rice with Mangoes: I followed SJ's(@ Masala Vade) recipe to the T and it turned out delicious. My husband is always yapping about how delicious this dish is and how well they make it in Thailand, so I figured its time for me to try it. I absolutely loved it and so did my husband. We’ll be making it often now. Thanks SJ. Coffee @ Spice Café is the brain behind MBP.


May 30, 2009

Annoncing Cooking For Kids-Leafy Greens

Its time to announce June edition of Cooking for Kids (CFK), a monthly event started by Sharmi @ Neivedyam. Sharmi passed on the baton to guest hosts so she could take sometime to settle down in her new home. So I will be your guest host for this month and the theme is....... drum roll please... LEAFY GREENS.
There are many kids that gag to eat their greens, but as parents we want them to enjoy what they eat. So this month lets make some dishes that the kids love and want to eat.
We all know that green leafy vegetables are nutitional powerhouses and they offer a bumper crop health benefits ranging from mental sharpness to weight management. Enlisting all the health benefits would probably be take more than one post here, so for more information, visit here, here and here.
For the event you can make a dish were the greens feature as the main ingredient like in this spinach smoothie (sounds a little weird.. but I'm sure is healthy & tasty.. will the kids like it is the BIG question) or can be sneaked into a dish like in these scumptious brownies.

So put on your thinking caps and come up with delicious recipes with leafy greens that are healthy and nutritious, yet yummy and kid-friendly. Here are some rules:
  • Make a vegetarian dish with leafy greens (find a list of greens here) during the month of June and send the link the link my way by June 30. Eggs & Cheese are allowed.
  • Greens can be the main ingredient or can be sneaked into other dishes. I'm especially looking forward to delicious smoothies & desserts with green goodness.
  • Old posts are welcome, but please re-post them for the event in June.
  • Please link back to this post and to Sharmi's original CKF announcement.
  • Use of the logo is optional.
  • Multiple entries are always welcome.
  • Send in your entries to before June 30th, before midnight EST. Round up will be posted by the following weekend, July 4th or 5th.
  • Don't have a blog, then just email me your entries, I'll post them here at Cook's Hideout and include them in the round up.
  • I will respond to your emails asap, but if I don't reply in 2 days please send me a reminder email or leave a comment. (just so I can check my SPAM folder)..

May 22, 2009

Roasted Potatoes with Amma’s Curry Powder

I always have a stock of all kinds of homemade masalas made by my mom. I ran out of curry powder that we use in fried and sautéed dishes and I had to make it myself. Guess what it has only 3 ingredients and there is no roasting involved.
Roasted Potatoes with Amma’s Curry Powder

May 19, 2009

Vegan Mashed Potato & Sunchokes

After reading DK’s post (@ Culinary Bazaar) on Jerusalem artichokes aka sunchokes, I’ve been on the look out for them in my regular grocery store. So when I saw them in Whole foods, I grabbed a handful to try and made this vegan mashed potatoes and sunchokes. I bought a seasonal variety bag of purple, red and yellow baby potatoes and I used them in this dish.

Sunchokes – 4 medium sized, well washed and scrubbed
Potatoes – 6 small, well washed and scrubbed (I used a couple each of purple, red & white)
Vegan cream cheese like Tofutti – 2tbsp
Soy milk – ¼ cup (or as required)
Vegan margarine like Earth balance – 1tsp


  • Place the potatoes & sunchokes in a medium sized saucepan, add water about 1” above the potatoes. Bring to a boil; turn the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes well and place them back in the same hot pot to evaporate any leftover water.
  • Mash with a potato masher; add soy milk as you mash for easy handling. Mix in the cream cheese and butter; season with salt and pepper.


May 15, 2009

Rigatoni with Vegan Sausages & Peppers

Thank you all for your kind words on my Blog Anniversary.

I have never tasted a real sausage, but I love love love vegan sausages. If the real sausage tastes anything like their vegan counterpart, I’m sure I’ll love them too. But come to think of it, I guess I like the texture of seitan more than the taste, so I don’t know if I would like the real sausage. Well we’ll never know and I prefer to keep it that way.
I made this dish with Julie Hasson’s Italian sausages that I froze and store-bought pasta sauce for a quick weeknight dinner, the result was amazing that even my son was slurping down the sauce.

Ingredients: (Makes 6 servings)
Rigatoni – 16 oz.
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Vegan sausages – 2, sliced into half moons
Banana peppers – 2 large, sliced
Pasta sauce – 1 16oz. bottle (I used Bertolli’s Vidalia Onion pasta sauce)
Salt & pepper – to taste
Pecorino cheese – ¼ cup
Dried or fresh basil

  • Cook pasta as per package directions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce; heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, add onions and garlic, sauté till translucent; add peppers, cover and cook till they turn tender.
  • Add seitan and sauté for couple of minutes.
  • Now add the pasta sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add pasta water to thin it out. Season with salt & pepper.
  • To serve I like to add little sauce to pasta along with couple of teaspoons of cheese and then add more sauce in individual plates with some more cheese on top. Enjoy warm.
We are off on a 1 week vacation to Sweden and I'll be back for Memorial Day. I've few posts from my drafts scheduled to post while I'm gone, so I don't get too too old. I'll be back with pics and new posts end of this month. Oh and also my entries to all the events that I've cooked for so far.

May 12, 2009

Cook's Hideout Turns 3

Wednesday Night around 6:30PM:
Husband: You look really tired. Do you want to order pizza or have some Chinese take-out?
Wife: Oh.. no. today I’ve to make that Aloo baingan for Cook with me: Potato event. It’s already past due, but sweet Jane agreed to accept my entry.

Saturday Night around 8:00PM
, husband and wife coming back from shopping.
Husband: Its dinner time already, why don’t we stop by Olive Garden or Chili’s and have dinner?
Wife: Oh.. no.. I have soaked rajma to make these double decker parathas from Tarla dalal’s website for Show your Roti event. It’s due tonight, so we better hurry, I still have to take pics, upload and do my post.

These are typical conversations we have at home. It has been more than 6 months that we went to a restaurant or even had take-out which is the direct result of food blogging and submitting entries to events and I love it. In this present economy we are saving those 50-100$ that were otherwise spent eating out. And to top it off, with half the money saved we have been enjoying different foods from all over the world. It’s awesome. (also to be honest, a girl needs those extra bucks for shoes and bags—don’t you agree??)
Cook’s Hideout turns THREE today and it has been a great journey so far. I’ve tried and tasted new recipes from fellow bloggers, cooked & baked from cook books and shared some of my own recipes. I’ve made a number of blogger buddies and miss them when they don’t post for more than a week.
I almost forgot to mention the three very interesting events that I’ll be hosting this year.
June: Cooking For Kids
August: Jihva for Ingredients and
September: A Worldly Epicurean’s Delight.

I’m very excited about what is in store for my blog in the coming year. Wish me luck with everything guys.


May 09, 2009

Eggplant Relish

I worked part time in a deli/ caterer during my masters for almost a year. Those days were crazy busy with juggling classes, assignments, on-campus job and part-timing at the deli; but it was so much fun to bounce around the campus, care-free and jolly.
So now you ask, what has all this to do with the eggplant spread? Ok.. Ok.. I’m getting to it; Arlene, the lovely owner used to make this delicious eggplant spread quite often for sandwiches and wraps. This spread was savory-sweet-tangy and works wonderfully as a spread or a dip. Being a sucker for anything with eggplant, I kick myself for not asking Arlene for the recipe, but this is my guesstimated recipe that I came up with, I think its pretty close to the original.

Eggplant – 1 medium, chopped
Red Pepper – 1 medium, chopped
Red onion – 1 medium, chopped
Tomato puree – ¼ cup
Garlic – 4 cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
Dried Oregano – 1tsp
Honey – 1-2tbsp
Salt & pepper – to taste

  • Heat 2tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan; add onions and sauté until they start turning translucent, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
  • Add chopped eggplant, red pepper, salt and red pepper flakes; cover and cook on medium flame until the eggplants are completely cooked, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree, honey & oregano at this stage; cover and cook again for 5 minutes.
  • Adjust the seasonings; uncover and cook to make the mixture thicker and to make all that extra water evaporate.

I used the spread to make a Panini. All you need is crusty bread, some sliced cheese (I used provolone cheese) and 2-3 tbsps of eggplant spread. Half the bread and remove the inside from one of the half (snack on the crumbs as you make the sandwich :-D). Spoon in the spread in the cavity that you created; put the cheese slices on the other half. Lightly spray a grill pan with cooking spray, put the sandwich and place a brick or a heavy cast-iron skillet on top. Cook till grill marks form, about 5 minutes; flip and repeat.

May 06, 2009

Creamy Avocado-Cilantro Dressing

I love avocados, they are so creamy and delicious. I usually buy a 4 pack from BJs, I make sure that I pick slightly firm ones. I let them ripe on the counter for 2-3 days, use as required or refrigerate in plastic bag for future use, but make sure to use them up within 7-10days. I add them to salads, use them to make rotis (thanks to Indira for her awesome avocado roti recipe), make guacamole or make this dressing.
This makes a thickish dressing that’s great on a salad or as a dip. Inspired from Rachael Ray’s avocado dressing.

Avocado – 2 ripe
Cilantro – 1 cup, roughly chopped
Red Onion – 1 small, chopped (or 2 medium shallots)
Juice of 2 lemons (more or less depending on the tanginess of the lemon)
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Jalapeno – 1, chopped
Olive oil – 2-3 tbsp
Salt & pepper – to taste

  • Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
I served it over salad greens with grape tomatoes and chopped scallions. This is my entry to JFI-Cilantro being hosted by Cilantro. Thanks to Cilantro for extending the date for sending in the entries. Indira @ Mahanandi is the brain behind JFI.

May 05, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Feast

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "Fifth of May") is a regional holiday in some parts of Mexico. The holiday celebrates the victory of Mexican army over the French forces in the Battle of Peubla on May 5th, 1862.
I made a mexican dinner to celebrate it at home. Here's my plate with Sweet Corn & Pepper quesadillas, Rice & beans, Guaca-salsa & a dollop of sour cream.


May 02, 2009

Cold Udon Noodles in Peanut sauce

This recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance and I’ve been planning to make it for sometime now. It is packed with peanutty flavor and packed with veggies and my favorite seitan. This goes to Lavanya @ Home Cook recipes for A.W.E.D-Japan. DK @ Culinary Bazaar is the brain behind A.W.E.D.

Recipe adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowicz
Udon noodles – 10 oz.
Seedless Cucumber – 1 medium, chopped into matchsticks
Red pepper – 1 medium, thinly sliced
Bean Sprouts – 2 cups
Scallions – 1 bunch, chopped

For the peanut Sauce:
Peanut Oil – 2 tsp
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Ginger – 1” piece, minced
Water – 1 cup
Soy sauce – 2tbsp
Ground coriander – 1tsp
Creamy peanut butter – 2/3cup
Maple Syrup – 2tbsp
Rice Vinegar – 3tbsp
Sriracha hot Sauce – 2tsp

For the Seitan:
Seitan – 1 lb./ 2 cups, sliced
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
Soy sauce – 2tsp


  • Prepare the peanut sauce: In a small saucepan, sauté the garlic and ginger over medium-low heat. Add water, soy sauce and coriander pd and bring to a boil. Add peanut butter and turn the heat to low. Whisk until peanut butter and oil are combined. Mix in the maple syrup, rice vinegar and hot sauce. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

  • In the meantime, cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain in a colander and let cool.

  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a small saute pan, add seitan and saute for 5 minutes or until lightly browned; flip and cook till browned. Add garlic and soy sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  • To serve noodles have to be cold, peanut sauce should be at room temperature & Seitan should be hot. Before serving, rinse the noodles under cold water; drain and place them in the serving bowl. Pour the peanut sauce; scatter the peppers, cucumber & bean sprouts followed by scallions. Arrange seitan on the top & lemon wedges around the plate. Enjoy right away.


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