Special lunch for Special people on July 4th!

Special lunch for Special people on July 4th!

We have almost no family here in the US, meaning my parents, cousins, relatives, in laws live back in India. But I must say this: what we do have are friends whom we have made along these years, some of whom have turned into family and are very special to us!

So I invited a special couple who are like family to us for lunch on July 4th. I decided to make something different that they would enjoy too! The last time we had them I made this traditional Indian flat bread with Indian Cottage Cheese Curry and Lentil Soup and so forth. This time, I put a lot of thought into the menu.

We started with a chilled Lemonade drink topped with some cumin and “chaat” mix! My husband decided to take this up since he is very good at it:)

For starters, we planned on making a pesto which is made of basil and pistachios. I came across some fresh corn at my Farmers Market and decided to pick some a few days back. So why not use the corn to go with the pesto!!!!!

I grilled some fresh corn in the grill till I saw beautiful char marks on them and then sprinkled some salt, pepper, cayenne and a squeeze of lemon for acidity!

Then, I take a knife and cut off the corn into a bowl and mix my pesto thats filling up the room with its fragrance:)

My husband had also gotten this Crostini bread from the store so we cut slices and serve my “Corn Pesto on top of my Crostini”

Now for the main course! For a very long time, I have been looking to find whats called as King Mushrooms. I have a blog friend Tim and we exchange comments and feedback on our posts and he had mentioned to me that “King Mushrooms” were very flavorful. I had finally picked some from the Farmers Market and was contemplating on making a dish with these gorgeous looking King Shrooms!

So I decided to roast some garlic with these mushrooms in a pan and to place them on what I call a “Beet Carrot Puree”. I love the color that you get when you puree some beets and carrots!!! Its phenomenal and tasty too. The key here is to counter balance the sweetness by the beetroot- and this I accomplished by roasting some garlic (and I mean a good amount of garlic cloves)with some cayenne, salt, cumin, coriander and lemon pepper. Then I blend this roasted garlic infused with my spices along with the carrots and the beets. The cayenne and the spices in the garlic render some heat which knocks out the sweetness of the beets and the carrots and balance them in such a beautiful way!

“Our family” who was visiting us yesterday also wanted to taste my Baked Cauliflower dish. Every single time I make this dish, I always try to make it different, change up ingredients a little bit to see how it turns out! So this time, I made “Baked Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions, Pistachios in a Yogurt Cilantro Basil Sauce”

I baked the cauliflower with my special blend of Indian spices in then oven along with the pistachios. I caramelized some onions and garlic and plated it along with my baked cauliflower!

We also prepared some “Quinoa with Onions, Tomatoes, Jalapeno’s, Slivered Almonds and topped with Pomegranates” that went really well with both my dishes and my guests were introduced to something new that they have promised to learn and cook once they go back.

They simply loved everything and my day was fulfilled and efforts paid off by the smiles that lit up their faces topped with some absolutely wonderful conversation around the table!!!

I hope that you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed making them for special people close to heart!

With much love as always………

Baked Potato Fingers with baked pockets of garlic!

Baked Potato Fingers with baked pockets of garlic!

All of us crave Potatoes fries at some point in our lives lol! I simply crave them the whole time so it was important that I come up with a guilt free recipe that would let me enjoy my craving every single time!

This is such a simple, quick dish and can even be served fancy if you have guests over:) I used Yukon Gold potatoes but you can use any kind- Russet maybe!

I simply peel the skin and chop them into these thin finger lengths and place in a bowl filled with cold water. Wipe them clean with a paper towel whenever ready and arrange them in a baking pan. Sprinkle some salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon pepper, curry powder(of course!!!!) and drizzle some olive oil and mix them evenly.

In goes these puppies for about 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees in the oven. Leave it in for 10-15 minutes and then make sure to take them out and flip the finger potatoes and place them back in the oven so that both sides get cooked and crisp up(yum!)

Now time for my SECRET!!! Take 4-5 cloves of garlic with skin on it. Throw in some love with salt and pepper on the garlic pods and generous amount of EVOO. Wrap ’em in foil and place this in the oven for 20 min’s. You can do this the same time you place the potatoes in that way you save some time and both will be ready around the same time you take ’em out!

After you take out the potato fingers out of the oven, you will see them a little crisp, a little brown and little golden!!!!! I love all these three shades in my potatoes:)

Now take out your pocket of love- the garlic!!!!! Be careful while opening the pouch- You will know immediately with the burst of flavors once you start unraveling the foil:) The skin easily sticks out or can be removed. Now crush this garlic that’s smothered with oil infused with salt and pepper! and mix it with your baked finger potatoes.

Nutrition facts: The potato contains vitamins and minerals, as well as an assortment of phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and natural phenols. Although they are known for their carbohydrate content, they are rich in fiber, they are very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol . It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese.

Potatoes are good for you as long as you prepare them in a healthy manner. Boiled and baked potatoes are good for you, French fries and potato chips are not.

My kids absolutely love them! Serve it fancy or simple- totally up to you! Enjoy!!!!!

With much love, small cravings………..