Archive | Snacks RSS feed for this section

Grilled Avocado with Wasabi Ponzu

20 Aug

Grilled Avocado with Wasabi Ponzu

 “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” – William Golding

One of the most exciting aspects of trying new restaurants is stumbling upon an uncomplicated dish that blows your mind away. Every once in a while we encounter a dish that so simple and yet so gratifying. It’s astounding how a combination of a few simple ingredients unite to create a huge wow factor.

I had one of these moments when I ate a Grilled Avocado with housemade ponzu, fresh wasabi and nori salt at Daikaya Izakaya in DC.  A buttery avocado had been transformed into a grilled delight seasoned with earthy Asian flavors.  One taste and I knew a grilled avocado just can’t get better that this.

My recipe variation attempts to further simplify the dish.  I use widely available, store bought wasabi paste and ponzu. I add some green onions for brightness and substitute sea salt for nori salt. This unique recipe idea attests to the fact that the greatest ideas are the simplest. So for when you do try this – bon appétit or rather as the Japanese would say “itadakimasu”.  Continue reading

Tilapia Tacos with Avocado, Mango & Arugula

13 Aug

Tilapia Tacos with Mango and Avocado

Loving to cook and spending hours by a stove-top on a hot summer night do not necessarily go hand in hand.  While I like to limit my time in the kitchen on a really hot night, it never comes at the cost of a wholesome and appetizing meal.  The abundance of fresh seafood and superb summer produce are the perfect inspiration and ingredients for light, uncomplicated and exceptionally flavorful meals.

I recently came across Giada De Laurentiis’s Tilapia Fish Tacos with Arugula recipe and instantly feel in love with it. Giada’s recipe is an uncomplicated appetizer served up in wonton cups with a wasabi scented crème fraîche topping. I adapted her recipe to create a nifty summer night dinner that despite being economical and accessible is sophisticated and wholesome. Flakey Tilapia is flanked with sweet mango, creamy avocado, peppery arugula and a gently spicy Sirarcha kissed sour-cream topping.  Each of these delicious parts come together to create a nutritious taco that’s ideal for a hot summer night.  Continue reading

Grilled Peaches with Burrata & Honey

8 Aug

Grilled Peaches with Burrata and Honey

August is National Peach month and hence it’s only appropriate to pay homage with at least one peach recipe. And why shouldn’t I? Peaches really are a universally loved fruit and just happen to be my favorite stone fruit. There is nothing quite like biting into a sweet, juicy and fleshy peach in the heart of summer. While peaches taste great in their natural form, grilling them turns them into something quite magnificent. It takes a peach from being just a fruit to a versatile ingredient that can be used in an appetizer, a salad, a main course, a side dish and most certainly a dessert.

Last summer I tasted a really scrumptious appetizer of Grilled Peaches with Burrata and Honey at Acqua Al 2 in DC. It was a flavor and Grilled Peach Crostinitexture explosion of warm, sweet grilled peaches complemented by rich, creamy and savory Burrata cheese on a bed of crusty bread, finished with a drizzle of honey.  It was so simple and yet so spectacular. Regardless to say this is now a summer favorite in my kitchen. The recipe below is my rendition of AcquA Al 2’s masterpiece.  It’s an intimate appetizer for date night and yet elegant enough to impress the most discerning foodies. Continue reading

Bacon & Chive Yogurt Dip

1 Aug

Bacon and Chive Yogurt DipI recently ate a scrumptious but rather unhealthy Roasted Garlic and Bacon Dip. The base of this dip was mayonnaise and hence the fat content was off the charts. My father recommended that I test making something similar with hung yogurt.

Yogurt dips are a wonderful light and figure-friendly appetizer for the warmer summer months. Since yogurt is so versatile there’s a multitude of yogurt dip recipes available. Despite yogurt being the common denominator you can always find a way to switch things up by playing around with the additional flavor elements.

This recipe eliminates the mayonnaise to reduce an overabundance of fat. I also use a lower fat cut of bacon. The bacon specks running Bacon & Chive Dipthroughout the dip provide a fantastic smokiness and textural crunch. The chives add an aromatic and visual brightness that’s imperative in any brilliant summer appetizer. I use just a hint of roasted garlic to let the main stars of this yogurt dip – the bacon and the chives shine bright.  Continue reading

Goat Cheese & Scallion Parcels

22 Jun

IMG_3042

After the scorching Mumbai summers everyone impatiently awaits overcast skies and blustery rain showers. And fickle Mother Nature is typically generous with her annual torrential downpours in Mumbai. The cloudy skies cast an enchanting spell on the city drenching the parched ground and uplifting residents’ spirits.

The Mumbai monsoons play a bewitching role on an onset of my hankerings for deep-fried food.  In my mind, crunchy pakoras (various vegetables dipped in a gram-flour batter and deep-fried) and samosas (fried pastry with a savory meat or vegetable filling) along with aromatic cups of steaming ginger tea are part and parcel of a rainy day. A quintessential monsoon day had me dreaming of a cheese samosa and led to the development of these Goat Cheese and Scallion Parcels.

This recipe uses a few straightforward ingredients to create a scrumptious miniature treat of scallion specked creamy goat cheese in a crispy wonton parcel.  The dipping sauce provides the perfect piquant tang to the simple wonton parcels. These little munchies are a perfect rainy day treat for the family and yet graceful enough to serve at your next cocktail party. Continue reading

Lima Bean Hummus with Spiced Pita Chips

5 Jun

Lima Bean Hummus with Spiced Pita Chips“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” – Anonymous

Traveling far and wide is truly an enriching experience. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes along the way help us gain a broader perspective of the rest of the world. I cherish every trip I take and learn so much from my travels. While everything about travelling is exciting it’s probably evident by now that I particularly look forward to tasting the local food on my trips.

We recently spent 10 fabulous days in Athens and the Greek Islands. My favorite island on the trip was Santorini, the southernmost island in the Cyclades archipelago in the Agean Sea. It is renowned for its spectacular beauty, breathtaking views and fantastic Mediterranean cuisine.  The local cuisine is characterized by flavorful, fresh ingredients and bright colors typical of the celebrated Mediterranean diet. Santorini is specifically known for the fava, (vegetable similar to a split pea) and a type of cherry tomato that only grows in Santorini.

Oia, Santorini

Oia, Santorini

Santorini Sunset

Santorini Sunset

We tasted several types of hummus on our trip and specifically loved a fava bean puree hummus.

Fava Bean Hummus in Santorini

Fava Bean Hummus in Santorini

My Lima Bean hummus recreates the textures and flavors that that I loved about that hummus with a few modifications. I use dried Lima beans as they are extremely accessible and brighten up the flavors with Greek Kalamata olives and parsley. I pair my hummus with spiced pita chips that are crunchy bursting with flavor. It’s not always feasible to travel to Santorini but one can certainly taste a small piece of it with this dish. Continue reading

Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tartines

14 May

Wild mushroom and goat cheese tartines

I recently read an interesting perspective that Crostini’s are so 2012! What’s trending in the world of crusty bread based appetizers are Tartines. For me either of these are just different names for petite open faced sandwiches topped with anything you can dream off. And the possibilities really are endless! Mushroom Tartines

My mother has been making mushroom toasts – toasts topped with diced and cooked white button mushrooms with parsley for years. My Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tartine recipe is a more refined (French Tartine worthy) and amplified version of her idea. And I call it a Tartine – because as a writer I need to stay current by embracing whatever is trending! Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: