Saturday, October 29, 2011

Asparagus soup with cheese tortellini

It is almost trick or treat time with scary jack o lanterns outside people’s homes and fall leaves still hanging on the trees showing vibrant colors, but the weather outside is nothing like fall. It is snowing in October with rain, sleet and snow the only thing I could think of was a nice warm cup of soup. Here is what I made today.
Fresh asparagus soup with cheese tortellini.


About a pound of asparagus
1 medium sized potato chopped
1 onion chopped
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. pepper powder
2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
¼ cup chopped sundried tomatoes
2-3 tbsp. ricotta cheese
1 tbsp. cream cheese (I used vegetable cream cheese)
2 cups cheese tortellini
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil

Boil water and cook the tortellini according to package direction (about 5-7 minutes). Drain the water and keep the tortellini in a bowl. Add some olive oil and salt to it.

In a separate pot heat the olive oil and cook onions until the edges start caramelizing. Add the chopped potatoes, cover and cook for a few minutes. Trim the hard ends of the asparagus and then chop the rest and add it to the pot, along with salt and curry powder. Add water or stock enough to cover all the asparagus and cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the stove, let it cool a bit, and then blend the soup adding the ricotta and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.

To serve, pour the soup in a bowl add a few tortellini in it. Garnish with chopped sun-dried tomato, crushed red pepper flakes and a little sour cream if desired.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Marbled mango pie

Every year I eagerly look forward to the fall season  for the beautiful weather and the changing colors of the leaves. Growing up in India there were just two seasons, summer and monsoon. I remember waiting for June/July when it would start raining and brought the temperature down. It was a break from the unbearable summer heat. I loved the beautiful scent of earth that accompanied it. The trees would look bright green and clean.

Food can't be too far behind when I am thinking about weather.  Rain meant eating bhutta (roasted corn)  samosas and pakoras with a hot cup of tea! I do miss all that. Here we don't really have a season for just rains whenever it wants to  in summer, spring, fall or winter. It doesn't bring out the lovely smell of earth, but I still like rain as long as it is not accompanied by a hurricane or a tornado. 

Fall lasts for a short time and before we know it is winter. But I like to feel and experience this short season as much as I can. I made this pie to celebrate the lovely weather outside. It is something I have been making now for several years. It is not my original recipe and I don't remember from where I acquired it. I made a few changes to the original and I often use the basic recipe to make  pumpkin or banana pie with it.

Ingredients for two pies
2 1/2 packets unflavored gelatin
4 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
11/2 cup sugar
1/2 can mango pulp
1 can condensed milk
2 graham cracker pie shells ( I made my own. Recipe follows)
2 cups water


Boil the water and dissolve the gelatin in it. Stir in the sugar until it is dissolves. Blend mango pulp, cream cheese and sour cream. Mix condensed milk with half-cup gelatin and keep it aside. Pour the rest in with the mango pulp mixture. Stir both the mixtures well. Pour the condensed milk first in the pie shell then pour the mango pulp mix. Top with a drizzle of condensed milk mix.  Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

 For the pie crust
24 Graham crackers or Parle G (I used Parle biscuits)
6 tbsp. ground almond or almond flour
5-6 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
To make the crust grind the crackers and mix in the almond flour, butter and sugar. Spread it in a pie dish and press it well all around the dish to make a crust.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Corn chevda

  I made this a few weeks ago but did not get the time to post it. Summer was still in the air and there was fresh corn in the market. This is made with freshly grated corn. This is how Ma makes it and I love it.
2 cups freshly grated corn
1 corn on the cob roasted and kernels removed
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger and green chilies
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
roasted and crushed peanuts to garnish
chopped cilantro
pomegranate seed (optional)
salt for taste
Oil for cooking

Heat some oil in a non stick pan and drop the mustard seed in it. Once the seeds pop add the ginger, green chilies and curry leaves. Cover the pan with a lid till it stops spluttering. Now add the turmeric powder, grated corn, roasted corn kernels and salt. Mix everything well. Pour the milk in it and let it cook for a few minutes till the corn is cooked. Now add the lemon juice and garnish with roasted peanuts, cilantro and pomegranate seed. I did not have the pomegranate seeds when I made it this time but I love the sweet and tart  taste of pomegranate in this dish. Sometimes I also top it with some grated cheese!