Our times at Phoenix, AZ will always remain close to our hearts…It was one city, where we had outdoor activities all year old… well, except for maybe a couple of months in January and February. Vegetables and fruits in all colours and of all seasons are perennially available all year old. We also had our favourite restaurants specializing in Mexican cuisine. One such restaurant that we were always game to visit, was Macayo`s. . They served authentic Mexican , suited to our palates, extremely refreshing food, filled with tradition and taste. My husband had a special liking for their Guacamole and would always end up asking for seconds. When I read up about Avocados, I was filled with wonder at the information about this fruit.
The avocado is colloquially known as the Alligator Pear, reflecting its shape and the leather-like appearance of its skin. Avocado is derived from the Aztec word “ahuacatl.” The ripe, ready to eat avocado is slightly soft but should have no dark sunken spots or cracks. If the avocado has a slight neck, rather than being rounded on top, it was probably tree ripened and will have better flavor.
A firm avocado will ripen in a paper bag or in a fruit basket at room temperature within a few days. As the fruit ripens, the skin will turn darker. Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. If you are refrigerating a whole avocado, it is best to keep it whole and not slice it in order to avoid browning that occurs when the flesh is exposed to air. Browning can be avoided by squeezing a few drops of lemon juice on the open portion.
Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may help to lower cholesterol.
Avocados are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can help to guard against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke.
Avocados help greatly to increase the body’s ability to absorb the health-promoting carotenoids that vegetables provide.
One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don’t. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for the heart.
Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health.
Courtesy – WH Foods.
In my opinion, scooped out Avocado has no taste at all, so it would assume the taste of the ingredients that go with it. Incorporating this fruit in to our everyday cuisine was not so difficult. Avocado parathas turned out soft and flavourful, combining good health and great taste!!!
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour.
1 Ripe Avocado.
8-10 Garlic Pods.
1/4 Red Onion.
4 Green Chillies.
1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice.
Pinch of finely chopped cilantro.
Water as required.
Scoop out 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Add salt as required. Set aside.
Cut a ripe avocado in half lengthwise. Gently twist the two halves in opposite direction if you find the flesh clinging to the pit. Remove the pit with the tip of a spoon .If the avocados are ripe, and the flesh is too soft to be sliced, just slide a spoon along the inside of the skin and scoop it out placing it in a mixing bowl.
With a zester, grate 6 garlic pods and add to the scooped avocado.
With the same zester grate onions and green chillies.
Add lemon juice, chopped cilantro, pinch of salt.
Using a fork, mash the avocados and the other ingredients until they are well incorporated.
Mashing the grated onions, chillies, cilantro and garlic helps in the flavours mixing well with each other.
Add this mixture to the flour, and mix well before adding water.
Avocado has inherent moisture and oil content which itself helps the dough to mould well.
Now add water little by little and knead the dough well.
Mix it to a homogenous ball and set aside for 20 minutes under a covered vessel.
Later, divide the dough in to equal balls, dust with wheat flour and make rotis/ parathas.
Grate a pinch of garlic with the zester on the rotis again.
Here I was in my favourite grocer`s buying fresh farm produce and my eyes suddenly lingered for a moment on the baking aisle. It had been quite some time since I had baked as I had a very difficult time eating whatI had cooked through my pregnancy. I ventured in to the aisle, even as I heard my husband`s voice letting me know that It was time for us to leave. As I was walking unhurriedly, my eyes fell on a pack of Sweetened Coconut Flakes. Bingo…I knew I was looking for something exciting, and different….never realised that it could be from sweetened coconut flakes. Coconuts are a blessing for me as I love them in all forms – Fresh grated coconut for easy palakkad cuisine cooking, tender coconut water to be had as and when one felt thirsty, dessicated coconuts for baking, sweets and of course BAKING!!! I had seen Bobby Flay create a southern coconut cake with 7 layers and I was wondering on the taste. Another of my favourite chocolates – Almond Joy with sweet coconut filling!!! I had also recently chanced on Ria`s Peanut Cookies, so I wanted to replace the peanuts with Almonds and throw in a handful of coconut flakes…Here goes this easy breezy recipe…
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour.
1/2 cup melted margarine.
1/2 cup Almonds pulsed to a coarse texture.
1/2 cup sugar.
A handful of sweetened coconut flakes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. The preparation hardly takes any time so you would need sufficient time for heating the oven to bake the cookies.
Start with melting the margarine simply by popping it in the microwave for 20 seconds. If you fall short of the 1/2 cup thats needed simply top it up with canola oil.
Pour this in to a mixing bowl.
Add the sugar, pulsed almonds and the flour.
Lastly add the coconut flakes. This is completely optional.
Use your hands and bring the dough together. The margarine helps in holding the mixture really well.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and keep ready.
Take lime sized balls of the dough and flatten them between your palms. Place them 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet.
Continue until the dough is exhausted and neatly lined on the cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. Do not allow the cookies to get too brown.
Allow to cool for 20 minutes and enjoy crunchy Coconut Almond Biscuits with your favourite cuppa.
A quick snack for guests and for kids alike!!! NO ONE CAN EAT JUST ONE!!!
This time at the library, I found loads of books on sale and I was excited to see magazines like Vegetarian Cooking, Parents,Midwest Living etc om sale. I was browsing through one of them when my eyes fell on the Twirly Whirly Pizza in the Parent Magazine. I had also seen it in Madhuram`s page here.
Today was a lazy Saturday and I wanted to cook a light filling italian dinner for my family. I remembered the Pizza Rolls and the asparagus I had bought at the produce section yesterday. Another all time favourite of mine is zucchini which is a versatile vegetable. I made the following:
The art of Bread Making has been something of a dream for me. I always loved the smell of freshly baked break whenever I entered a bakery. There is something comforting in those aromas…Freshly baked bread, sweet fragrance of fruit cake baking in the oven, the stirring aroma of freshly brewed coffee, lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice, the scent of pouring rain on parched soil, the aroma of christmas pine, and the list goes on and on…
I always wanted to “bake my own bread’…If you dont mind my expression. Personalising the flavours in the bread brings forth a lot of options on the creativity…There are a variety of forms of bread – pretzels, dinner rolls, ciabatta, sourdough,croissants, bagels, buns and so on and so forth. There are delicate differences in each of them in taste, form, texture and usage. Today I was browsing through Aparna`s site at MyDiverseKitchen and came across the Paneer Dill Onion Rolls. I rehashed it to exclude the Dill as many times the flavour of dill tends to overpower over the others. I substituted the recipe with Herbs De Provence and my home was almost fragrant like Pizza Hut!!! There was a lot of basics that I need to learn like what was yeast, how it works and how does it help in the process of bread making. The original recipe had no eggs, which suited me just fine.
The most important ingredient for bread making is yeast. The primary function of yeast is to supply carbon dioxide gas which inflates the dough during proof and the early stages of baking. Yeast works by consuming sugar and excreting carbon dioxide and alcohol as byproducts. In bread making, yeast has three major roles. Most of us are familiar with yeast’s leavening ability. But you may not be aware that fermentation helps to strengthen and develop gluten in dough and also contributes to incredible flavors in bread.
1 cup all purpose flour.
1 tsp clover honey.
1 cup whole wheat flour.
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast.
1/2 cup warm milk.
1 onion chopped in to tiny pieces.
1/2 cup grated or crumbled panneer.
1 tsp of parsley and oregano.
1 tsp old fashioned oats or flax seed powder.
1/2 tsp salt.
Warm the milk in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and dissolve the yeast and honey in the milk. In about 4-5 minutes, it will begin to froth, and this shows that the yeast is still active.
In a mixing bowl, take the flours, and add onions, herbs, crumbled paneer, oats,salt and mix it in to a smooth elastic dough with the warmed milk.
If required add a little more water and make a smooth dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and keep it covered allow to rise till double in oil.
Remove the dough and place on a working surface. Gently deflate the dough and divide in to 6 balls. Roughly shape in to rolls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to rise for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to about 350 F and bake for 30 minutes or until the rolls are brown. Serve with a brushing of melted butter.