“Doodhi ka Halwa” or White Gourd Pudding

“Doodhi ka Halwa” serves 5 “Doodhi ka Halwa” or White Gourd Pudding is a simple and delectable Indian dessert made using only 3 ingredients. White gourd is first peeled, seeds removed and grated. Then, it is simmered in whole milk and sugar. Finally, green cardamom powder is added for flavor. Garnish with chopped almonds or edible and flavorless silver paper known as “Varq”, (very reasonably priced and easily available at your local Indian grocery store. I love to serve it in silver bowls for a fancy and festive look. “Doodhi” or white gourd is light green vegetable on the outside and is white inside. I often buy it in bulk at my local Indian grocery store. It is known to . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

“Palak Paneer” – Indian Cottage Cheese in Spinach

“Palak Paneer ” is a popular North Indian dish. Cubes of cottage cheese or “paneer” are simmered in creamy blend of spinach, tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and spices to make this flavorful dish. I learned this recipe many years ago from my family chef in India. Brother or “bhaiya” as he is affectionately known, is an exceptional and mostly self-taught cook. I have tried many different recipes of palak panner from cook books and all my friends and family but prefer this one. It is a simple, healthy dish that is perfect for any family! Ingredients: 454 grams of spinach- cleaned and washed 4 big cloves of garlic 1 inch piece of ginger- chopped roughly 1 small onion- chopped finely . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

Quinoa Salad with Arugula

“California Pizza Kitchen” is our favorite restaurant and we visit it at least once a week to enjoy their amazing salads and pizzas. Last weekend, I tried out their new salad, quinoa with arugula, red onions, sun dried tomatoes, asparagus and a sprinkle of feta cheese and was completely blown away by the flavors that I had to recreate it at home as it looked fairly simple. Just cook the quinoa ahead of time, and keep in the refrigerator. This salad tastes best when all the ingredients are cold. I made just a few changes by substituting the asparagus for french beans and made a white wine vinaigrette (using Ina Garten’s vinaigrette recipe). Needless to say, it’s a hot favorite . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

Green mixed vegetables “Sai Bhaji”

I cringed the first time I saw this dish (as a newly wed no less). I remember thinking, “What’s this green slush I have to eat?!” I did not want to make a fuss and quietly sat there and took a bite. OMG! I loved it! I could not believe how flavorful it was! Here’s the list of good stuff you’ll find in this delicious concoction – spinach, dill, tomatoes, egg plant, fenugreek and other vegetables along with lentil for a shot of protein. I could not stop telling my in-laws how much I loved this dish and that I had to make it for my dad and mom. “Sai-Bhaji” is a Sindhi (a community in India that’s taken their . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

Roasted Artichoke Hearts

Roasted Artichoke Hearts -Recipe by Ina Garten. This is the first time I tried my hand at making artichokes at home. What I loved about this easy recipe was that there was no need to deal with fresh artichokes – no headache of cutting those artichokes. February is the month of birthdays at my place and the celebrations seem to go on without end. For me it’s a great time to experiment with different recipes. I served this as a salad to go with a baked shrimp scampi (again one of Ina’s recipe’s), store bought garlic bread and linguine. The salad was enough for 6 people and was a hit! The basil in the vinaigrette gives it so much flavor, . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

Panna Cotta With Balsamic Strawberries

Panna Cotta With Balsamic Strawberries – recipe by Ina Garten Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made with cream, yogurt, gelatin and sugar. The cream and sugar is boiled and gelatin is added allowing it to set like a custard. I had never heard of this dessert and discovered it in my quest to find gluten free and egg free desserts for my daughter who had gluten and egg allergies. I had made coeur a la creme (another gluten and egg free Ina Garten recipe) once too many times and was looking for something new. Panna cotta was perfect. So the first time I made it, we were just bowled over by the flavors. My daughter loved it so much . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

Strawberries dipped in chocolate

Strawberries are in plentiful these days and they’re one of our favorite fruits. This yummy dessert/snack only takes a couple to minutes to prepare. It’s a great last minute dessert to make at home for the unexpected guests and it looks so elegant! Chocolate-dipped strawberries can range from $12 to $19 a pound. At home, however, it’s under $5 (a pound) with extra strawberries to spare. Plus it’s fresh and you can use chocolate of your choice like white, milk or dark. I like to use Lindt white chocolate as we love it’s smooth, creamy and milky texture making it a perfect combination with the tart and sweet strawberries. I use Ina Garten’s method of tempering the chocolate by microwaving . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad- recipe by Ina Garten (serves 4 to 6) This is such a hearty and satisfying salad, made regularly at my place as quick weeknight meal. It’s got chickpeas (canned – making life even easier), cucumbers, tomatoes and lots of fresh herbs, packing it with flavor. I am flexible with the amount of ingredients while making this recipe. Except for the can of chickpeas, I cut the recipe in half . After all, we are only 2 1/2 people eating. I like to serve it with whole wheat pita bread (toasted). Ingredients: 10 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced 1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored, and 1/2 -inch diced 1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise,seeded, and 1/2 . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

Moth bean or Turkish Gram “Matki Usal”

This simple moth bean dish is a stand-out at any event. Its great as a salad or a quick protein-filled snack for anytime during the day. Ingredients: 1 cup Moth bean, washed and soaked overnight in water, remove water the next day and allow to sprout for another day by keeping it in a warm place covered 2 green chillies, cut in half to get 4 pieces 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida 1/2 teaspoon black mustard “rai” 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 2 teaspoons sugar salt to taste 2 tablespoons oil 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish Method: Heat oil in a vessel. Add asafoetida and black mustard. The oil has to be hot enough for the mustard . . . CLICK TO READ MORE

Coeur A La Creme- Eggless

Coeur A La Creme – recipe by Ina Garten ( Barefoot Contessa In Paris) I discovered Coeur A La Creme while watching an episode of “Barefoot Contessa” one afternoon about 2 years ago. I remember feeling thrilled on finally finding a delicious, egg and gluten-free dessert that I could serve my then 3-year old daughter. Until that point, we always had to scramble to find dessert alternatives for her at home, at school and at birthday parties because of her allergies to everyday foods like wheat and eggs. Coeur A La Creme offered all the joys of a stunningly delicious dessert with none of the anxiety! Years later, I am ecstatic that she’s over her allergies and Coeur A La . . . CLICK TO READ MORE