Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sumptuous potato, bean and spinach salad

This is wonderfully satisfying and tasty at the same time.

A bag of tender spinach
Red potatoes just boiled, not over cooked
About 1/2 pound of beans steam cooked and slightly crunchy
One diced red onion
2 cloves garlic mashed or pureed
Fresh ground pepper
1tsp. salt (optional)
2tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, vinegar, dijon mustard and herb of your choice.

Mix dressing with the medley of spinach,potatoes, beans and onions. Serve chilled. Just before serving add the cheese.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Authentic curry powder recipe next week

There's nothing better than home made curry powder that particularly south indians use for their sambaars and rasams. I just saw a video that gave a simple recipe for this and also read other variations done by northern indians which is completely different from the south indian recipes and definitely will not produce the right taste.

For the next recipe of the week, I will be giving you the secret ingredients that go into making the curry powder for the authentice south indian sambaar and rasam tastes.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kale, Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Quinoa Salad

Check out this week's recipe...Kale, Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Quinoa Salad.

Some Unusual Memorial Day Grills

Instead of or in addition to the usual, try these grills.

Fruits such as pineapple, plums, peaches
A quick grills of Romaine lettuce leaves separated as long leaves
Avacado in its skin
French toast
Pizza with any topping

Truthfully, I have tried only 3 of the 5. Have never done a lettuce or an avacado grill. But some innovative cooks have recommended these.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A funny messge on health and exercising


1. If walking/cycling is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
2. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water and is fat.
3. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years.
4. A tortoise doesn't run, does nothing ..yet lives for 450 years.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Where is all that weight coming from?

The less active we are at work, the more pounds we pack on. How can I help myself if my work involves sitting in front of the computer all day for at least 10 hours a day? I exercise my mouth by eating and talking at meetings. But even that is limited.

Now apply this to the rest of the popoulation. It is more or less the same. This is a given trend of the future. Many of the labor intensive jobs are gone or going away mostly to other countries as we all know.

So the new culprit is the American workplace. Less physical activity resulting in more pounds, the other culprits being food, lifestyle and maybe genetics. Employers ought to help here at least to keep medical insurance rates low by offering a gym at the work location or a compulsory break every 3 hours for exercise. It is likely employees will be more productive. I guess I should talk to my employer as well.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blackfish was a dining experience

Being in Conshohocken we didn't have to worry about the expensive parking. It was a perfect evening for celebration.

We got seated around 9:15 pm and by the time we got out it was past 11 pm. Being a seafood restaurant, my choices were indeed basic but the dishes were unique in taste and artistically displayed, something I usually thoroughly enjoy. While others had a five course meal, the chef decided he'll come up with some creative vegetarian courses. So, started off with a shot of carrot soup, a spring green salad with a unique dressing that tasted lemony and the third course was a plate of vegetables with quinoa. It's hard to describe the taste except that it was spectacular. The dessert was a warm chocolate cake with a little dollop of coffee flavored icecream.

The BYOB made it easier on our wallet although the meal in all was an expensive experience.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Celebrating at a restaurant in Conshohocken, PA

I am going out this evening to a 'Seafood' restaurant. Which probably means the choices in the menu are more restricted than usual. But it is a celebration of a graduation. So, I will enjoy the evening regardless.

I will come back tomorrow to post my experience.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A few more restaurant experiences in New York City

I just got back home after spending a few days in the most amazing city, New York. I've been there quite a few times but each time the experience seems new.

I've never traveled so much in subways which I did this time. I also had 3 incredible meals. One at my usual Indian restaurant Saravana Bhavan at 26th and Lexington, lunch on another day at Sura Thai near Columbia University and finally an Italian dinner at Carmine's. I'd give an A+ to all of these for their food. Sura Thai and Carmine also get an A+ for service while only Sura Thai gets an A+ for presentation. Here are some of the dishes from these meals.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Picnic Packing - Somethings fun and somethings sinful

I'm sure there are several of you who are suckers for summer picnics. Here are some tips for making food fun and not necessarily unhealthy.

My basket generally consists of a bottle or two of favorite wines and low fat spreads instead of cheese. For crunchiness- baked vegetable crackers; cut fruits, vegetables with a low-fat dip; whole grain bread with homemade veggie burgers, mango salsa and tortilla chips. I would also pack dark chocolate for dessert.

If you want to add Indian snacks and foods, it's best to go with parathas and raita. Keep it simple and healthy. Possibly one Indian snack. I cannot pick one over the other since each one has its own drawback when it comes to salt or fat.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another experience after 20 years

I visited the first temple built in this country after nearly 20 years in Queens, New York. It was the most beautiful, calming, feel-good experience I've had in a long time.

The bonus that came with it was the food in the cafeteria. I had heard and read about it for so long but experiencing it was even better and at another level. Masala dosai, vadai/ sambar, idli, chutneys, bisibela bath, mango lassi... I had a taste of almost all of these. And, knowing that this is the place that the famous chef/model Padma Lakshmi visits made it even more exciting.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Temptations and dilemmas

I go through this quite often. Especially if I am walking through food aisles in grocery stores. Thoughts that run through my mind are... should I pick up that huge dark chocolate bar with nuts or without nuts, a small pint of icecream or the tub itself, vegetable or potato chips... essentially wondering which one is the lesser of the two evils.

Well, here is some good information if you are like me wondering how to stay at least a little bit healthy. If there was a choice of chocolate or wine for instance, the better of the two is absolutely the dessert. Not wine if you are a woman going for a second glass, because among other things we are asking for trouble as in breast cancer and high blood pressure. For men, wine is a better choice since it actually helps their heart. And, they are allowed two glasses a day. Not fair. I am not a wine drinker, however, I've become a fan of apple martinis. I can handle one for sure, two gets me tipsy.

If you have a conundrum like mine, do write to me about it. We can both educate ourselves and figure out which one we should go with.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring Allergies

Spring allergies can be so debilitating. There are some in my family and people at work who suffer with this season after season. One possible remedy was to have honey produced locally. But recent studies say that it really has no effect on your allergies or its symptoms.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Garlic, the magical aphrodisiac

It is hard to imagine garlic as an aphrodisiac given the strong smell and taste. Aside of enhancing flavors in anything that garlic is added to, it is actually classified an a 'hot' herb. That's why garlic is forbidden during religious days and when people fast as it is supposed to inflame passion. For eg. Tibetan monks are not allowed to enter their monastery if they had eaten garlic; older Indian Brahmin women and even younger women in India, if they have lost their husbands are forbidden from eating garlic. Garlic is a 'No No' on fasting days. So, there must be some truth to it being considered an aphrodisiac!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Charlie Gitto's - Mother's Day Dinner Review

Being Mother's Day, I decided to treat myself at one of the best Italian restaurants in town called Charlie Gitto's. By Midwestern standards it is one of the best but by my Philadelphia standards, it was mediocre.

I was honestly quite surprised at how everything was so diluted and quite un-Italian. It was just another regular restaurant with decent food. My penne pomodoro with carrots and peas tasted quite sweet. I covered the plate with plenty of crushed red pepper and also asked for extra garlic but was still far from authentic.

Our waiter was pretty good though while still not quite like the experience we usually get at the Italian restaurants in Philadelphia. The decor was most disappointing to say the least.

Overall, I am partly to blame because of building my expectations. Next time I'll do better.

This week's recipe - Cornmeal Almondmeal Pancakes

Check out this week's recipe for Mother's Day Breakfast.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Didn't realize this until it was pointed out

The realization was that I love potatoes because it is a fun vegetable. Of course, given you pick the right variety for the right dish. I love french fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or potatoes sparingly used in Indian dishes.

I usually gravitate towards red skin potatoes because they have never turned mushy and they are not excessively starchy. Red is great for Indian dishes southern or northern. I also used the red variety for some baking as in the Southwest Potato dishes. Yukon or Idaho for mashed which I never cook unless it is Thanksgiving. I have made potato roast with those tiny yellow ones. My other favorite is herb-roasted. Oh, I almost forgot potato salad. If done the proper way with the right recipe, they can be quite tasty. Definitely grilled is another favorite which I get in place of the meats during barbecue parties probably once or twice a year.

Try this recipe from Vidya Swamy's Kitchen. Do you have any favorite potato recipes to share with me?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Have you wondered?

When obese people have liposuction on their thighs or tummy, after the surgery/recovery, they look really good. However, I think their food habits don't change. So, where do all the fat cells go? Apparently, they go to their arms and anywhere else on their upper body. I saw some sketches on the pages of NY times related to this topic; they looked quite funny. So, to answer the question if you had ever wondered where all the fat goes, then there is the answer. It doesn't go anywhere outside, it comes back to stay within just distributed at a different area.

For whatever reason, the sketches in the article were before and after sketches of women not men. Does that mean only women have liposuctions? I think so. That's not fair. At every turn men get off easy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Low-salt increases blood pressure

This is one more among the ever-growing conflicting reports on health-related researches. The latest for salt and hypertension or cardio-vascular diseases is that low salt doesn't necessarily lower blood pressure.

The study says..."the less salt people ate, the more likely they were to die of heart disease — 50 people in the lowest third of salt consumption (2.5 grams of sodium per day) died during the study as compared with 24 in the medium group (3.9 grams of sodium per day) and 10 in the highest salt consumption group (6.0 grams of sodium per day). And while those eating the most salt had, on average, a slight increase in systolic blood pressure — a 1.71-millimeter increase in pressure for each 2.5-gram increase in sodium per day — they were no more likely to develop hypertension".

“If the goal is to prevent hypertension” with lower sodium consumption, said the lead author, Dr. Jan A. Staessen, a professor of medicine at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, “this study shows it does not work.”

This makes no sense at all to me. Does it to you?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

With gene pools - only some are lucky!

Dieting on a regular basis is not very easy. It appears acceptable when dieting becomes part of one's lifestyle. However, even after religiously following a disciplined eating habit there are no guarantees that you are going to be healthy, look great and, lose weight. This is where the gene pool element comes in I think.

I know people who eat just about anything, have a balanced weight meaning no Yo-Yo ups and downs in their weight and, are also healthy. No blood pressure, no diabetes, and they don't even need eye glasses. I am certainly not one of those lucky ones.

So, do I just let go, eat anything I wish, not exercise, and completely reverse my habits since what I thought was a healthy lifestyle hasn't paid off? This is so frustrating.

I have decided. I'll just have my cake and eat it too!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fresh mango pickle

Since summer is just around the corner, cooks are beginning to concentrate on mangoes, sweet,sour, pickled, cooked...

There is nothing more delicious among the pickles family than crunchy, raw mango pickles.

Here is a recipe.

1 Raw green mango chopped into 1/2 inch squares
1 Tbsp. red chilie powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp. asafoetida
1 Tbsp. oil (canola, vegetable or mustard)
Salt to taste.

Heat oil in a pan. Throw in the seeds, let it spurt. Lower or turn off heat. Add turmeric powder. Over the chopped mangoes, spread the red chilie powder and asafoetida. Pour the hot oil prepared with mustard seeds over the mangoes. Add salt, blend in well. Crunchiness of mangoes hold for 2 to 3 days. Promptly refrigerate to slow ripening of the mangoes.