Thursday, 30 October 2014

Garlic Spinach with Tomatoes

Garlic, good! Spinach, good! Tomatoes, good! Throw them together in a pan, even better.

Hi all. With today's post I am beginning a series of posts we'll be calling "Three Ingredient Thursdays". These posts will use only three major ingredients and will be easy to prepare. These will be great for quick fix, flavorful meals.

Today's recipe is Garlic Spinach with Tomatoes. The name says it all and it is as easy as that. This recipe can be prepared in just minutes and serves as a great side dish or a full meal if you are on the lookout for healthier meal options. It is very light and fresh and smells great.

Spinach season has just begun and I had a whole kilo of incredibly fresh baby spinach with me. I couldn't resist going for this recipe for my lunch today. Well, that and because I didn't really want to have what was cooked for lunch today. I am not a picky eater, but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants, or doesn't, in this case. So as lunch was being served, I washed some of the baby spinach, chopped some garlic and tomatoes and was on the table with my dish even before everyone started eating.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Salted Makhana

Before we get to the recipe, hear my Salted Makhana story.

Scene 1.
Me to mom: "Mom, do we have makhanas at home? I want to post a Salted Makhana Recipe on the blog."

Mom to me: "Yes, we do have makhanas at home and you only want to roast them for yourself, not for a blog post." 

Me: "What? No! I want to post it as a DIY snack idea, just like I did for Salted Cashews."

Mom: "We'll see. I know what happened to those cashews. You barely saved any to take pictures for the post."

Me: "Yes, yes. We'll see."

Scene 2.
I roast the makhanas, and pop a few in my mouth as soon as they are off the pan. My mom gives me the "I told you so" look. I ignore her and go about clicking some pictures, sneaking a few more, now away from her watch. I bring the bowl back and keep it on the kitchen counter, turn to leave and mom says to me, "You took a bowl full to click the pictures and are returning it only half full. What happened to the rest? Did a crow eat them?" I say, "Yes, mom. That's exactly what happened." And quickly leave. 

Scene 3.
It's evening. I am lurking in the kitchen. Mom is making tea for dad and herself. I ask her, "Should I bring some makhanas? Dad hasn't had them yet." She says, "Sure. Bring some. By the way, did you post the recipe?" "No, not yet." I say between mouthfuls. She smiles and leaves with her tea. I think to myself, "Oh! Damn it Apurva! Control yourself."

Scene 4.
I enter the kitchen quietly. On tip toes. I don't flip on the light and use my cell phone's backlight to find the jar that contains what I want. I open the cupboard, careful not to make any noise. I can't find it. Where is it? Why is it not here? Did I finish it all already? No. I am sure I didn't. Oh! If only I could switch on the light. No. I can't. It's 3 a.m. What if mom wakes up for water or something and sees me here! No. I can't take that chance. I move about the kitchen searching for my precious makhanas. Suddenly something ran across my feet. I let out a high pitched scream and jump with fear. Dad and mom come to the kitchen and switch on the light to find me wide eyed and a small mouse scurrying around. Dad asks me, "Are you all right? What happened?" Mom answers him, "She will be all right when she finishes all the makhanas. Let's go."

Yes. That's how much I love these. Why, you ask? Well, they are freaking awesome!
You guys read how to make them and let me see if I can find more in the kitchen.

Homemade Salted Cashews

Few things compare to salted cashews, fewer compare to the salted cashews made at home. It is festival time in India and there is no way to celebrate it right without munching on rich dry fruits.

Oh, don't get me wrong! Sweets are great during festivals but it can get a little too much for many, like me. Any friends you meet, any relatives you visit during festivals are offering and expecting you to stuff on the sweets they acquired specially for the occasion from the best shop in the city or made at home with love. But honestly, people like me who hit their sweet limit on day 1, sincerely look for a way to not offend their hosts by saying no to the sweets and be able to relish anything else that is served to please them. So keeping this in mind, I like to add something salty like these cashews and makhanas on my serving tray. It also adds variety and richness to the festive snacks. There is another reason why I include these on my Diwali menu, they are so damn tasty! *wink*

Salted cashews are very easy to make at home and in my opinion taste much better than those bought from the market. They can be served on their own or can be used to prepare different snack mixes. And the best part is that you don't have to wait until festivals to make these. These are perfect as a quick travel snack, movie time munchings or tea time bites. Bottom line, it is good to keep these handy at home.