Fruit platter

BM #116 : Week 5, Day 2
Theme : Fruit platter

My son loves fruits and so does his friends. I usually serve a couple of fruits in bowls when his friends come over – usually grapes, mangoes or watermelons. It gets over fast and that’s where I got the idea of a colorful fruit platter. This could be a great snack tray or appetizers to serve to a crowd.

I made a trip to Farmers market just to buy fruits for this platter and I have used only half of what I bought in this platter. When I started laying it out, I decided to stick with only red color fruits. So the rest of the fruits went right back into the fridge. I have been looking at a lot of Instagram posts for platter ideas and this one here is inspired from one of the platters I saw there.

Fall is here and soon it will be just sweaters and thick pants. We have already had a few days where we had to take the thin jackets out. Before we get into the completely cold weather, I wanted to enjoy a tray full of summer fruits. I wanted to add a couple of fruit dips to the platter, but I forgot it – to be honest. So it’s just fruits here on the plate.

Scroll down for more pictures and to see posts from my fellow BM bloggers for the day.

The platter has

  1. Water melon slices
  2. Red grapes
  3. Pomegranate
  4. Black Plums
  5. Clementines
  6. Raspberries
  7. Blackberries
  8. Apples

Start with the bigger fruits. Arrange it first where you want them. Mine is inspired from an Instagram post. Now keep adding the bigger pieces of fruits and fill the space in between with smaller fruits like grapes and berries.

Oranges or clementines look a lot better when you take off that spider web like layer of white pith.

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Sandwich platter

BM #116 : Week 5, Day 1
Theme : sandwich platter

Theme for today is sandwiches. It’s my son’s one of the most favorite food to eat, so I can tell you that we had a happy happy kid the day I made this.

I use instant pot to make boiled eggs and so I always make a few extra whenever I am doing it. So prepping an egg salad sandwich is an easy thing for me. I had mushrooms I needed to use up and I decided to prepare a white sauce base to keep the sandwich together as the others had cheese in them. I am making veggie Frankie for the first time, I used readymade tortillas as the wraps.

It’s always an issue at my place what to serve the sandwich with. My son wants ketchup (the masala style ketchup from Indian store). My husband likes Trader Joe’s Green Dragon sauce or any other hot sauce and I like the flavor of green chutney. So I decided to serve all our favorites so that we can each choose what we want. The chili vinegar is a favorite with both me and my husband.

I have used cheese slices here for the pesto sandwich since I didn’t have mozzarella with me. It’s kind of a take on Caprese sandwich, but I am never stocked up in fresh basil leaves. I also prepare it with soft cheeses like goat cheese or cream cheese too, it pairs well with the pesto and tomato slices.

Read on for the recipes.

The platter has

  1. Egg salad sandwich
  2. Pesto and cheese sandwich
  3. Mushroom sandwiches
  4. Veggie Frankie
  5. Chili vinegar
  6. Tomato ketchup
  7. Dragon sauce / Chili sauce
  8. Green chutney
  9. Sliced onions

Mushroom sandwich:

  • 4 slices of bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves or herb of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat butter in a pan. Sauté the mushrooms until it releases all the liquid. Add the coriander leaves or spinach or any herb of your choice.
  2. Push the mushrooms to the side of the pan. Add the milk into the center. Now add the flour with salt and pepper per your taste. Mix so that there are no lumps, mix the mushrooms too. Add more milk if it’s too thick. Take off the heat. Add the mushrooms as filling for the bread. Toast the bread in a pan with some butter until it turns brown. Serve with ketchup or chili sauce.

Pesto tomato and cheese sandwich:

  • Bread of your choice
  • 1 slice of cheese of each sandwich or a soft cheese like cream cheese or goat cheese
  • 2 round slices of tomato
  • 1 teaspoon pesto
  • Toast the bread. Spread pesto on one side. Add the tomato slices on top. Spread the soft cheese on the other side or use a slice of cheese. Put the slices together and enjoy your sandwich.

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Mint tomato rice thali

BM #116 : Week 4, Day 6
Theme : Simple everyday thali

It’s been awhile since I made tomato rice at home. So when I saw it in Narmada’s space, it reminded me to prepare it again. We usually serve it with yogurt/raita and/or with potato fry and chips, if we have it at home. At some point, I started adding a handful of mint leaves to tomato rice and I love that combination.

My son likes the curd rice- potato fry combination. He also likes curd rice with pomegranate seeds in it. So I added that too to our lunch menu.

This is a simple meal, easy to put together especially if you have some cooked rice ready. Tomato rice can be made in different ways and mine includes sautéing onions and tomatoes with all the masalas and then adding cooked rice to it. Sometimes I use sambar powder in place of all the spice powders. Adding mint leaves add its own taste, one which I like a lot.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Tomato and mint rice
  2. Onion raita
  3. Potato fry
  4. Curd rice with pomegranate seeds
  5. Omelette
  6. Potato Chips

Tomato rice with mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 3 big tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 green chilies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped finely
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onions along with chopped green chilies and ginger. Sauté until onions are done.
  2. Now add the chopped tomatoes along with the spice powders and salt. Cover and cook, stirring in between to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it’s dry, add a little water. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy and soft. Now add the chopped mint leaves. Mix and let it cook for a minute or two. Add the cooked rice and carefully mix to evenly distribute the tomato mix. Turn off the heat and serve with raita.

Omelette:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of herb of your choice, optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped green chilies
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a bowl, add the eggs along with herbs, onions, green chilies, salt and pepper. Beat well to mix evenly.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the egg mixture and let it cook. When the bottom is done, Flip and cook the top as well. Take off the heat and serve as a side to rice.

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Avocado paratha thali

BM #116 : Week 3, Day 5
Theme : Indian Flatbread Thali

Mega blogging marathons need a lot of planning and I usually don’t participate since I have this habit of postponing till the last minute. Even for our regular monthly blogging marathons, I end up cooking only on the day of posting. The time difference between US and India work in my favor because I can cook a meal for lunch and post it by evening as we are 9 plus hours behind IST. But for a mega marathon and that too with a Thali everyday theme, planning was needed. Since I joined with just about 20 days before the marathon stared, I ended up continually cooking thalis last month.

The first thing I did after shopping was to cut all the vegetables (not onions and tomatoes, that needs to be done just before cooking). That helped a lot. Second thing was to cook rice before I went to sleep. That way, the next morning, I already had cut vegetables and cooked rice. That’s a much easier place to start. Third was to make a batch of plain chapati dough and another for thepla.

Whenever I could, I would soak and cook the dry beans also ahead. So when I am planned Chana masala for the poori thali, I soaked and cooked extra Chana. That way, I already had cooked Chana when I made chole for the chaat platter.

Once I had prepared a list of the dishes I wanted to make – the choices of Curries (with the A-Z theme in mind as well), parathas and rice, it was easy. All I had to do was to decide what curry to make that day and pair with what kind of paratha and rice. I also decided not to make sweets from scratch, so a couple of canned gulab jamuns was what I decided to serve as dessert.

It helps that I have to cook only for three people. Also since all the thalis have rice and two Curries, I make only 1 or 2 parathas per person. For today’s post, I made the dough only when I started cooking as it’s better that way with avocados. I served 2 chapatis in my husband’s thali. My son had 3-4 chapatis and he skipped the rice.

So when I start cooking for a thali, for most part, I already have cooked rice (which I keep for 1 minute in Manual mode in Instant pot for reheating), cut vegetables and mostly, dough for the parathas also ready. Any experienced cook would tell you that from this point, it’s easy to make two Curries and a few parathas :-).

Read on for the recipe and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Avocado paratha
  2. Capsicum rice
  3. Green chutney
  4. Cucumber slices
  5. Shahi Paneer
  6. Dry peas (Vatana) curry
  7. Boondi raita

Avocado paratha

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
  • 2 cups wheat flour (atta)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt as needed
  • In a mixing bowl, add mashed avocados. Add the flour and spices. Mix and knead to a soft dough. If needed, you can add a tablespoon or two of water to bring it into a dough. I didn’t need any. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  • Take a small lime sized ball and roll it into a chapati. Cook both sides on a heated tawa with a little ghee if preferred.
  • Repeat with the rest of the dough. Serve with any curry of your choice.

Capsicum rice:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon jeera
  • 1 big capsicum /bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cooked leftover rice
  • 1/4 cup frozen and thawed green peas
  • 2 teaspoons biryani masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat ghee in a pan. Add jeera seeds. Once it crackles, add the diced capsicum. Sauté until it’s softened a little. Add the thawed green peas. Add the biryani masala, chili powder and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook for a minute or two.
  2. Add the cooked rice. Mix carefully without breaking the rice. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Cook for a couple of minutes until the rice is heated through. Turn the heat off and serve hot with curry or raita of your choice.

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