Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chicken Empanadas

Olive Oil
One small onion, chopped
One jalapenos, chopped
One teaspoon chopped garlic
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 chicken breasts shredded (cooked in water with onion, celery, cilantro, peppercorn, salt)
Mexican blend cheese (I used Kraft)
4 oz. cream cheese
Salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 egg, beaten
Flour, for dusting
1 package pie crust

Chilli Lime dipping sauce (recipe follows)
3 tablespoon Greek yogurt
Half of lemon juice

Empanadas method:

  1. Saute onion, jalapeno and garlic with olive oil for 5-8 minutes
  2. In a bowl, mix shredded chicken, cheese, cream cheese, onion mixture, green onion, salt and black pepper, hot sauce and mix it well
  3. Roll pie crust on a kitchen countertop with some flour and roll it about 13” wide
  4. Take wide bowl (about 8” wide) and put face down on a crust and run a knife around the bowl to cut a round shape. Make as many small rounds you can with crust
  5. Fill chicken mixture in the center of each round and brush egg around the edges
  6. Seal the edges, lightly press on the middle to remove any air, then press with a fork
  7. Arrange each empanadas on a non-stick tray and put it in oven for 25 minutes under 375 degrees

Chilli lime dipping sauce method:
Mix greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest and hot sauce in a small bowl. Serve with empanadas.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Basil coulis

Basil coulis

So versatile, can be used to top anything... like your bruchetta, spread in a sandwich, vegetable dip, cheese dip... its your spread on- dip-in...thing :)  (Try it with some tomato soup so yum)

When anyone asks "Whats the green stuff?"  You'll sound so fancy saying, "Oh just a basil coulis"  

Basil coulis
- bunch basil
- 3 green chilies (jalepinos work well, remove seeds)
- garlic
- cumin
- salt
- black pepper
- oil
- lemon

All in a blender until smooth.  
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HEARTy Tomato soup

the all-season favorite, tomato soup.  When i was growing up, I still remember, this was one of my favorite meals my mom made for us.  She made this while raising us in India for a few years.  All three of us, 2 girls + 1 boy, were born in India (aka #fob).  What is that you ask? Its the term often referred by foreign born Asian kids lol; stands for fresh-off-the boat.  I suppose it applies to anyone born outside of their current resident country.  In fact, I'd say it applies to non-Asians the most, since many of "those" generations did travel via boats.  {PS Sterotyping and air quotes are fun, lol I digress.}  Most of us Asians actually traveled via airplanes in the 80s & 90s...soo we would be FOAs?  I do wish they'd serve simple soups on airplanes... like the very simple tomato soup.  Good transitions, huh? :)  Here's my mom's recipe with a twist of Americano

Here are the ingredients and method:

- 5-6 tomatoes on the vine (some recipes call for canned tomatoes, and thats fine too)
- 5 TBS of grated garlic
- 1 small onion, rough chopped
- cumin
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 2 slides of sour dough bread
- bunch cilantro (If cilantro is not your thing, sub it with basil)
- oil (any vegetable oil)
- salt
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper
- 3 cups water (or vegetable or chicken broth)

1) cut tomatoes in halves, core out the guts and put aside. Coat tomatoes in 1-2 TBS of oil and 1 TBS of grated garlic in a roasting pan... roast for ~10 mins in 400degrees
2) roughly chop or break sour dough bread and cilantro (need about 3 TBS of chopped cilantro)
3) Grab a sauce pan, melt butter over low it melts, add cumin, 3 TBS garlic, chopped cilantro, , onions, broken sour dough bread, and the tomato guts.. coat and stir.. let it all marinate over low low heat
4) As the base is cooking in the sauce pan... grab your high power blender... make your basil coulis drizzle
5) Tomatos should be done from the oven... add them to the sauce pan with 3 cups of water...
6) Stir it all together... Ready to work out your biceps? Grab your hand blender and blend away, until you've reached desired consistency. {You can also use your blender jug}
7) Let it cook some more, add salt, crushed black pepper to your taste

Serve warm with a piece of toast + basil coulee drizzle
Freeze the left overs.  Refrigerate left over basil coulee and use it top your bruchetta!
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Peach Bellini

Celebrate something special with an elegant peach Bellini. Juicy yellow peaches are pureed and then served with chilled champagne


I cup sugar
One 1-pound bag frozen or canned peaches
Zest of 1 lemon
Champagne or sparkling wine, for serving


Make a simple syrup by adding the sugar and 1/2 cup water to a saucepan and heating over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to another container and allow to cool completely in the fridge.

In a blender, add the peaches, lemon zest and cold simple syrup until smooth.
Refrigerate the mixture until time to serve.

To serve, pour some puree into a champagne flute (approx a quarter - to halfway) and top off with very cold champagne or sparkling wine.

Note: For a virgin drink, replace the alcohol with soda water.

Enjoy this refreshing but very sophisticated drink!

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Monday, March 31, 2014



1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
¼ of a bunch of fresh oregano
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
10 garlic cloves
1 jalapeño or 3 searno pepper or Red pepper flakes to taste
½ cup plus extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp Salt and black pepper (to taste)
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Spinach and Avocado Panini

Ripe avocado – you won’t need the whole if you’re making just one sandwich.
Handful of baby spinach
American cheese
Goat cheese (mine had olives in it)
Rye bread
Panini press

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

24th Meeting: Soups and Sandwich

Soups and sandwich are one of my favorite meals. Besides it being the best day of work week, my coworkers and I get soup on Fridays. We even have coined “Soup Fridays” at work. There is nothing like a nice hearty soup on a cold winter day. And even though it’s officially spring we can still enjoy soups for then next month or so. 

Vaishali hosted the exchange at her brand new house this time. The house is tucked away from the main street and is surrounded by trees. I will have to convince her to have another exchange with soups and sandwiches in the fall, while we sit out on her patio enjoying the outdoor fire place and just taking in the beautiful foliage that is bound to be present.  She served us homemade bellini. Jalpa served us homemade tomato soup with a spin; you’ll read her recipe to see what she did different than traditional tomato soup recipes. Nishal made these delicious Vietnamese sandwiches. I have to say that was the first time I had any sort of Vietnamese food. I’m glad my first experience was a pleasant one.  I made these vegetarian paninis that I have been dying to make – thank you Pinterest!  We ended the evening with Parul’s three different kinds of cookie (from scratch) sandwiches – yum! 

I am so looking forward to our next meeting – Tapas!
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Red Velvet Cake

Valentine's day at our house is not complete without a decadent red velvet cake.  My husband and I celebrate our anniversary and well, every holiday, with this all time favorite dessert.  I am no baker by any means, but I do want to learn.  MJ is 6 months right now, but I can just imagine how much fun it will be to cook and bake together :)

Here's a recipe that I followed

For cakes:
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling the parchment paper
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 4 1/2 tsp. (2 tubes) red food coloring gel
  • 3 cups cake flour, plus more for flouring the cake pans
  • 1 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (approx.), nonstick spray or vegetable oil, for greasing the cake pans
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Who doesn't love some good melted cheese? aka Queso!  At first, I was a little afraid of how to make this one, but it turned out to be soooo easy.

- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 3 TBSP all purpose flour
- equal parts crumbled or shredded (chipotle chedder, queso fresco, reduced-fat creame cheese)
- seeded finely chopped jalepineo
- seeded chopped 1/2 tomato
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How easy is it to just buy tortillas these days?  There is such a variety out there, its so convenient to pick up a pack from your local grocery store.  But if you fancy making these at home, try this very simple recipe.  It actually doesn't take that long.

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- pinch salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbs unsalted butter (or lard)
- 1 tbs oil
- large bowl (my preference) or your dough mixer-maker
- rolling pin

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Eggplant Caponata

2 cups olive oil
2 lbs. eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes (1-2 medium sized eggplant)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 package celery, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 tbsp. tomato paste, thinned with ¼ cup water (substitute ketchup)
1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
6 oz. green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup golden raisins (red is ok too)
¼ cup salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
5 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. finely grated unsweetened chocolate
1  cup finely shredded basil
2 tbsp. pine nuts

Mini crostinis- toasted
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour
Baking Time: 20 minutes

Devil’s Food:
3 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup hot coffee

1 cup heavy cream

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spinach Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette!

A refreshing crisp salad that is good for all seasons...with a chocolate twist!


For vinaigrette

1 tbps cocoa powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar dressing (recommended : Newmans Own)

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Sazon Chicken Pasta

These measurements are estimates. I really love garlic, so i probably added twice what i suggested. It's your meal, season it the way YOU like it versus what the recipe calls for. Enjoy!  

 Bow tie pasta or your preference
1lbs of chicken breast/thigh (boneless)
1 Green and/or Red pepper
1 Onions
½ pack Mushrooms
1 can of Artichoke
1 Green cubanelle
¼ can Banana Peppers
4 Fresh garlic cloves
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Lemon
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

23rd Meeting

We hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s day. We sure did. Jalpa hosted it with her husband and adorable baby girl, MJ.  We celebrated this exchange with our husbands. But to be honest with you it was almost like they weren’t there. They congregated in their little corner (in front of the TV) and we in our little corner (kitchen/dining room). That being said, the husbands had a blast. Parul’s husband even suggested we should do this on a monthly basis with them. Haha. Funny guy. They were impressed with the food, presentation, and selection. It was quiet funny hearing reaction from our husbands later. This is the first time they were all invited to an official exchange and their experience was a positive one.

We started the day with two appetizers: a spinach salad and eggplant caponata made by Vaishali and Parul. We then moved on to pasta with chicken dish (still remains to be named) made by yours truly. And lastly we ended our meals with a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache by Nishal and a red velvet cake made by Jalpa. 

The two little babies, MJ and Ayu, finally met. They had last “met” when they were in their mommies’ bellies.  And speaking of little one, we’ll have one more to add to the bunch – Vaishali’s baby número two. It’s exciting to see our little exchange family grow. When we started this we had one little baby and by the end of this coming summer we will have 5!

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Churros con Chocolaté

Churro Dough:
1 cup water
6 tbsp unsalted room temp. butter
2 tsp instant espresso powder
Pinch salt
1 cup flour
2 eggs at room temp.
Pastry bag
Large start piping tip
Canola oil

Cinnamon- Sugar Coating:
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ cup sugar

Chocolate Dipping Sauce:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
½ cup heave cream
1 tbsp room temp. butter

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mushroom Salsa

A delicious addition to your "chips & salsa" appetizer. If you are a mushroom lover then you will enjoy this thoroughly and to all you non-mushroom fans (including myself) you will be pleasantly surprised!


Portabello mushrooms
Salt and pepper

1) Dice up the mushrooms very finely into tiny cubes
2) Dice up onion, tomato, jalapeno and coriander finely
3) Mix well with the mushrooms and add a splash of oil to combine all ingredients.
4) Squeeze a quarter of a lemon and mix
5) Add salt and pepper (I eyeball it)
6) Taste for salt/lemon/spice levels.
7) Serve at room temp or slightly chilled.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Fish Tacos

A great alternative to the regular tacos we make for Mexican night. Clean, fresh flavors that will please anyone's palate!


Red Cabbage
Tartar Sauce
Jalapeno (optional)


1 cup All purpose flour
1 Egg
Soda Water
Pinch Salt
Pinch corn starch


1) Cut Tilapia fish into small pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper
2) Make the batter with the above ingredients
3) Place all pieces of fish into the batter and fry until golden brown
4) For the taco filling, chop red cabbage, onion, jalapeno and coriander
5) Enjoy the fish tacos with your favorite tortilla and tartar sauce

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Friday, January 31, 2014


Who doesn't like a great Guac recipe? This recipe will be a super hit among your family and friends..tastes just like table-side guac that we get in restaurants! Try it to believe it!


Ripe Hass Avocados
Salt and pepper


1) Peel all 3 avocados and chop very roughly
2) Dice tomato, onion, jalapeno, coriander and mix in the avocado
3) Squeeze a splash lemon juice with a pinch of salt and pepper
4) Keep mixture chunky for great texture (If you like a smooth Guac then mash the avocado more thoroughly)
4) Taste and serve with the mushroom salsa and your favorite tomato salsa :)
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Smaller and spicier than bell-peppers, poblanos are good for stuffing. Halve them lengthwise, and use a paring knife to cut out the ribs and seeds. This recipe can be used as a main entree or an appetizer. I make this dish when I get tired of making the usual Mexican dishes such as tacos and enchiladas. 


1 can whole tomatoes in puree
1 jalapeno chile, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves
salt and ground pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise, seeds removed

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chicken lettuce wraps

1lbs ground chicken
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce – you will only need 1 pepper
2 tbsp of Chili and Lime seasoning – if you do not have use ½ tbsp of lime juice, and ½ tbsp of chili powder or to taste
1 medium onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter lettuce

Sauté chopped onions until translucent
Add in ground chicken, chipotle pepper, chili and lime seasonings, and salt
Cook the chicken and break it up as cooking with a flat spoon
Make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked and sever on butter lettuce
You can use a variety of different topics such as sour crème, guacamole, and salsa

*Picture shows an home made tortilla wrapped around the lettuce wrap. 
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Friday, January 17, 2014

Clean drink


1 cup water
1 cup coconut water
1 tbsp chia seeds (soak for 15 min in water)
Handful of blueberries
Juice of 2 limes
Once the chia seeds are soaked, add water, coconut water, blueberries, and lime juice

Rim your glasses with coconut to be fancy.

Serve cold 

We wanted to start this new year clean, so we made a virgin drink. By the end of January you bet i'll be adding Vodka to this drink. If adding Vodka, add about 2oz.

For extra reading: What are Chia Seeds? 
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