Cold Lettuce, Sprouts, Peppers salad – Chilled, Fresh , Crunchy and Refreshing!

#30days30salads

Sweltering heat and hitting high 90’s. The folks at home resemble the wilted greens of a supermarket long past their fresh -by days. The stove at large is not very inviting ..Need something , quick, refreshing, filling, bursting with flavors and filling !

This is going to be a super quick assembly line post folks, please bear with me 🙂

A quick peek into the chill box reveal a few assorted ingredients:

Ingredients, Assembly,Serving :

 For the salad : Toss all of these in a wide bowl and refrigerate for half an hour if required.

  • 1 cup of Mixed bag of lettuce shredded ( fairly large bite size)
  • 1 cup of fresh green Moong Sprouts – Blanched or microwaved for 3-5 min
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes – halved pieces
  • 1/2 cup of Carrots – Shredded finely as per your taste
  • 1/2 cup of sweet bell pepper (multicolor) – finely sliced in rings or in julienned

For the dressing: Mix all these and pour out on your bowl of salad just before serving

  • Juice of 1-2 Limes/ lemon : tanginess is as per your taste
  • Black pepper roughly pounded or as a coarse powder : 1 tsp
  • Honey ( organic preferred )  : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 – 1 tsp.

Optional :  Adding a a teaspoon of green chutney in the dressing to drizzle over your with this works too

 Optional : Use  any other dressing of your choice . Italian works very well too.

 The idea is to keep it light and refreshing! Dig in, crunch up and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Cashewnut Burfi or Kaju Burfi – Fudgy, Pudgy Squares Of Ambrosia Joy!

And bang it begins. Amidst all the craziness of kids being kids, Halloween parties and older one’s FLL meetings, I craved for “me” time. Usually it would mean that I would slink away with a book to my room . It has a nice cozy spot overlooking the backyard and I would love watching the birds and the occasional deer that would venture out nearer. Sometimes it would mean trying to look for the “yet – to bloom-leaf” on the apple tree or simply purging stuff from the closet. Any and all of the above is done with music. It is amazing how many cues I can give . MS Subbalakshmi soothes my soul and AR Rahman might perk me up. But Ilayaraja can give me company anytime on my “me” time and punk music accompanies me when I am scrubbing things out. But today was different. It has been a crazy day so far and I yearned to make something which required minimal ingredients, but gave great results. In simple words, I was looking for instant gratification –  amazing results with minimal effort for Diwali preparations:-)

All  of my kids love kaju katlis. But seriously I craved for the melt in the mouth kind of ones. I mean kaju katlis are wonderful, but i just wanted that extra crunch and bite in my mithai this time. So in mash-mash of requirements with simplicity as the theme, here we have Mom’s favorite nut burfi.

Prep time : 10 min

Cook time : 30-40 min

Yield : about 36-40 burfis ( depending on the size). Caution : constant sampling will cause zero yield.

Ingredients:

  1. Raw cashew nuts, coarsely powdered : 2.25 cups
  2. White sugar : 2 cups
  3. Water: 2 cups
  4. flavorless oil or 2 tsp ghee to coat the plate or baking pan in which you would pour out the fudge to settle.

Method:

  • Coarsely powder the raw cashew nuts to yield about 2.25 cups of yield.
  • In a large, thick bottomed pan add in the sugar and water and let it boil to create sugar of single thread consistency. I just maintained the heat in medium flame and this was achieved in about 12-15 minutes.
  • Add in the coarsely powdered cashews and stir in to avoid lumps.
  • The gooey, bubbling mass of goodness will soon thicken and will sort of roll in . I altered the heat setting s between low – medium as I did not want to brown the bottom of the burfi.
  • In about 10-15 minutes or so you would notice the mixture leaving the sides of the pan and sort of come together. If in doubt stir in a bit longer.
  • Now dump out the contents on your greased setting surface, even out the top layer using a greased flat spatula  and using a greased knife, cut in the still hot burfi mass to yield desired shapes. The burfi should set in about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut.
  • Cool it to room temperature and store in an airtight container.

Notes:

  • The cashew nuts powder easily at room temperature.
  • I used a nonstick heavy bottomed pan, therefore no grease was used in the cooking process.
  • Cut in the squares or diamond shapes quickly before the fudge settles in. Obviously you are not going to be successful, if it hardens .
  • Using a square baking tray will give you uniform pieces. But I just wanted mine to have diversity.

Coconut Ladoos – Snowy, pillowy, soft ,gooey balls of goodness

I was running ragged between the kids and their classes !  Yep! During such moments of insanity that creep in albeit briefly is born the desperate sense of recipe development and sense to accomplish a thing or two .. more like a stress buster. You see , I was the kind to clean up my room before the exam fever [pitched is high. I had to de stress and often cleaning organizing and making lists would be on my hit list. Somehow a visual task list with hit list of things to do would  create a sense of order in the chaotic turbulence that prevails within me. And I have been ragged royally on it as well.. my  cousins and sisters in spirit Anu and Kris have perfected the art!

And out of sheer desperation in purging out things from the pantry I noticed that I had one too many cans of condensed milk ( apparently I did shopping without a list, Tsk Tsk ) and a bag of desiccated coconut flakes ( which of course snuck into my pantry cause I could not find decent coconuts once upon a time in NC when I desperately needed one. Sigh! Hence decided a packet or two of desiccated coconut flakes with a rehydration experiment should work . To cut a long story short  and chemistry theories aside I had an extra packet of this). And there was an impending urgency in me to create something that was not assaulting  my kids blood level with tons of sugar. (Really, have you noticed  a 5 year old on a sugar high. Know those bouncy balls? My youngest could put it to shame. And my middle one, she can talk nonstop on it for hours. My oldest though is strangely immune to outburst of these kind, but his  witty , sarcastic one liners reach new high . Go figure!). Notice how DH is not in the picture, cause somehow globetrotting on work seem to throw up an invisible shield around him ( sarcasm folks !). May the force be with him ! Anyway I did manage to save a few for him.

Ingredients:

  1. Fat Free condensed milk – 14 oz
  2. Unsweetened Desiccated coconut flakes – 3-3.5 cups depending on the store brand and quality
  3. Cardamom pods : 6-8 – roughly pounded
  4. Saffron a few strands
  5. Melted butter or ghee – 1 tbsp to coat your hands when you make those ladoos and to grease the baking pan

Procedure:

  1. In a heavy bottomed ban, add in the condensed milk and 3.5 cups of desiccated coconut flakes and mix well. Add in the powdered cardamom pods and saffron.
  2. On medium heat in about 8-10 minutes, you will notice the mixture clumping together.If at this stage you notice that the condensed milk has not bound in the flakes and you still feel it a bit more liquify, add in more coconut flakes. About 1/4 cup or so.
  3. Once the desiccated coconut flakes absorb in the milk and sugar from the condensed milk and is more softer to touch , it will be in very thick fudge consistency.
  4. Scoop it out in a greased 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Flatten the surface using the spatula and parchment paper.
  5. While it is cooling down, slice it up. ( chilled mine in the refrigerator . What can I say, I am impatient !)
  6. You can serve it as fudge slices or soft burfis at this stage.
  7. To make Ladoos, grease your palms well, pick up a sliced buffi piece and roll it into those pillowy soft balls of goodness.
  8. Roll in a cup of desiccated coconut after that to give the effect and texture.

 

Notes:

  1. Don’t have desiccated coconut flakes? Use fresh. It will take a bit longer to get to the fudge consistency in the cooking time, but hey it will be worth it.
  2. Don’t have unsweetened coconut flakes, try the mildly sweeter version. The condensed milk has enough sugar to offset the unsweetened flakes. This version would have a little more sugar in the punch. But, hey then again, each one’s taste – o – meter for sugar tolerance and requirement varies.
  3. Don’t have coconut flakes? try coconut powder instead. But just make sure they rehydrate well.
  4. Want to add in nuts? feel free. Almonds, Pistachios and more…
  5. How about dried fruits? Go on try what comes to your mind, raisins, cranberries , dates…

Yield: About 18 – 24 ladoos.