Asparagus & Mushroom cravings

For several days I had asparagus & Italian mushrooms (whole) waiting in the refrigerator for their turn to shine.

Today was the day, for starters I heated the oven to 425 F

next heated olive oil with fresh chopped garlic in a pan on the stove

I added the mushrooms and left them alone for @ 5-7 min or so, 

(the mushrooms were still firm) in the meantime, I took the asparagus placed

them in oven proof dish and added a little salt, pepper, tarragon, thyme, basil, fennel,

lavender and olive oil since cream makes all things taste delicious, I poured cream (1/4 cups or so)

over the asparagus mixed it all together and topped it with the mushrooms and all the

pan drippings and finally I topped the asparagus and mushrooms with a generous portion of parmesan cheese

baking  the dish about 15-20 min later (note I like my asparagus soft)

the parmesan cheese baked to a crunchy topping and the cream sauce with the flavor of the

spices, delish!  Since asparagus are healthy can I have the entire bunch?

 

I served with roasted chicken thigh and leg, unable to wait for the yams decided I would save them for

tomorrow, the asparagus was the best tasting dish I have had in some time. 

Still trying to upload the photo

Cafe Cerrise

Before I left Bangalore, lunch with a friend revealed two new restaurants for enjoyment, one of which we will review here today. We visited the restaurant, Café Cerrise, a quaint 7-9 table open air patio restaurant. The tables were under an awning type covering and very simple decorations it gave a light and fresh experience.

Café Cerrise is located housed next to a nursery, which you walk through a nursery path to enter the Café, you also pass an older restored home housing Ambara, an organization that sustains original tribal work. Ambara’s Facebook page description is “One of Bangalore’s foremost lifestyle Stores reflecting a passion for excellence while promoting India’s rich heritage in design, textiles, art & craft.”

To continue on with the Café review for lunch, I ordered ice tea (unsweetened, my preference) chicken quesadilla which was served with tomato salsa. All of the food at Café Cerrise is homemade, which is important to me.

The breakdown of lunch is as follows, the ice tea was a touch bitter I find without sugar there is a delicate balance you have to achieve, the quesadilla consisted of what seemed to be grilled vegetables and chopped chicken, very different but great flavors which I enjoyed. However I did not favor the salsa had a tad sweetness to it, so I confess I am not a sauce person, I don’t believe in this case but it mask the flavor of the food, okay I confess I am a sauce snob and typically sauces on the side or I will scrape it off to taste the protein before I will eat the dish as presented.

The best part of lunch for me was dessert, in my world dessert first but usually I refrain, so I was already sold on dessert when I saw the dessert sign since it had been some time since I had last indulged, I could not pass up the opportunity. My favorite, Panna Cotta with Caramel Sauce, I sing a couple of notes even typing the name and as usual I request the sauce on the side and my dessert comes in a little screw top container, ah the caramel sauce well again I taste it alone and its good, I taste with the panna cotta and yes it taste good. But there is nothing like a plain panna cotta the flavor is incredible with a flavor of fresh cream, it smooth and creamy, not overly sweet (thankfully) or excess gelatin.  I enjoy every spoonful until I scrape the side of the glass container. This is probably one of the freshest panna cottas I have experienced, it taste like it was just made with pure ingredients not overly heavy, laden with sugar or gelatin.

I had one complaint to share with the co-owner; because of the opening of the container I could not lick the remains in the container. I shared my complaint with the owner and found she was co-owner with her husband, they cook most of the food themselves as with all the food it is made fresh they do not keep a large stock on hand. They have a unique desert board and they advertise their BBQ box, where you purchase a box with marinated meat and vegetables packaged for you to cook at home.

The co-owner was also my server she provided good, friendly and inviting service. She was open to sharing behind the scene information and the story behind the Café.

I would definitely return to Café Cerrise and recommend a visit to you, if you enjoy panna cotta I highly recommend it. If the panna cotta plaque is taken off of the desert board that means someone beat you to it and they are out of supply. Take some extra cash Café Cerrise is reasonably priced by Ambara is a little pricey but exquisite saris, jewelry and much more. So when you go and work off your lunch with dessert by visiting Ambara, 3 floors of amazing historical crafted work, some of which is dying out with progress.

“Café Cerrise (+91 80 4164 1430) the garden cafe at Ambara serving continental and eclectic fare between 11 am and 7 pm. Closed on Sundays.  They take credit cards, Visa and MasterCard and also have take away. Café Cerrise does not have a website but they are on FB, also you can find a review, photos and a menu online at, http://www.zomato.com/bangalore/cafe-cerrise-ulsoor/menu

Located at Ambara:#22:Annaswamy mudaliar road: Next to Ulsoor lake, Bangalore, India 560042

 

 

Whats New?

It has been sometime since my last post and much has happened during this time.  I traveled to Jaipur, Rajasthan, India (I loved it although time was short, Jaipur is definitely in the Top 3 favorite places in India) returned back to Bangalore and the US, where I am currently.

As I seek the next road on this journey of life, I am excited to renew my blog time I have many recipes and restaurant reviews to share with you. So Bon Appetit!

Lamb with Caramel Apple and Butterscotch Sauce

So here is the 3rd recipe I promised and its yummy but sweet, you can use a mold but I would slice the lamb and arrange on a platter with caramel apple garnish.

Lamb with Caramel Apple in Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients: 

Lamb  
Apples  
Butter  
Sugar  
Cream  
Vanilla  
Mold  

Method:

Roast lamb, cool and slice                  

Make caramel with butter and sugar, add apples in the pan

Reduce heat until it thickens and put ¾ into mold

Make butterscotch with remaining ¼ of caramel,

Add cream and touch of vanilla

Arrange on plate

 

Chicken Stir-Fry

This recipe looks long and complicated but it is not really, I prefer to cook my vegetables separately for it enhances the flavor but surely you don’t have to. It does add a little extra time to make it this way but I think it’s worth it, prior to cooking I do have all my ingredients prepped (mise en place) awaiting their time. 

                                                         Recipe name:  Chicken Stir – Fry

Ingredients: 

Chicken 2 breast cubed
Bok choy 4 mini
Chicken broth 1.5 cups
Zucchini 2 thin sliced
Corn 1.5 cups
Scallions 4 chopped
Ginger 1 – 1 inch piece, fine chop
Enoki mushroom 1 pkg
Portabella mushroom 1 large
Oyster mushroom 1 pkg
Oil Little here / there
Apple cider vinegar 1/2 cap
Parsley Sprinkle
Garlic Loads
Sprouts 2.5 cups or so
Oregano Sprinkle
*Sesame Seeds sprinkle
*Sesame oil 2 tbsp
*Mustard 1 tbsp

*if you have Cha-Cha dressing & marinade skip these 3 ingredients.

Method:

As mentioned above, I like to cook each vegetable separate to bring out its flavor before mixing with the other ingredients, measurements are approximate, they were not measured but guestimated prior to creating the recipe.

  • Heat oil
  • cook sliced zucchini slow until soft add S&P with garlic and oregano
  • I added frozen corn (convenient) cook with black peppercorn until cooked , add to zucchini dish
  • cut portabella mushroom into cubes
  • Heat oil and add garlic – cook portabella and oyster mushroom let cook, no stirring for @ 5-7 minutes, then add sprouts and enoki mushrooms
  • Let cook @ 5 min and remove – adding to previously cooked vegetables
  • Add chicken broth in pan until it boils and add bok choy, let cook until done – add a touch of apple cider vinegar – broth should reduce while cooking
  • Combine all cooked ingredients together and let flavors sit together, only allow small amount of broth from bok choy to be included
  • Dice chicken into cubes and cover with pepper, fine chop thin slice of ginger and cut scallions – heat oil and let it get hot, add chicken and let cook on 1 side until done with a little crust forming, add scallions and ginger and turn chicken (Cha-Cha Dressing & Marinade) if not add a little sesame seed, mustard, sesame oil – cooking until done.
  • Add chicken to vegetables and mix – if needed mix a portion of the chicken and vegetables in the same pan without washing to warm up prior to serving.  

I added some ginger wonton chips to garnish just before serving, only because I had them, finally I served the dish with sourdough garlic bread because I am a lover of all things sourdough & garlic.  Enjoy!

Masala Chai

While in India, there was every reason to have Cardamon tea, Ginger tea or my favorite Masala Chai, so here is my recipe which has my special touches and the remaining has been adapted from the blogs, Indiaphile.info.com and culinaryteas.com.

The best tea to use is not Assam or Darjeeling, but just regular Indian tea found at a local Indian Market or use Lipton (yeap) which is very popular in India.

There are a couple of keys to cooking Masala Chai or Indian food in general, don’t rush.  We typically want it out tea instantly but when cooking Indian, patience will definitely pay off in the end, with that being said, lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon tea/coffee
  • 2 cups of whole milk or half & half (full strength, I use almond milk)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 anise pod
  • 3 cardamom pods (I like 4) – crushed
  • 3 black peppercorns crushed
  • 3 cloves (I like 4)
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • a small slice of ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • sugar to taste

Method:

Boil water with all spices except nutmeg for approximately 5-7 min, or when you remember your boiling water

the most important step, reduce the heat slightly add milk, tea, sugar and boil for about 5 minutes or so

strain & garnish with nutmeg

ps. Indian tea can be very strong, word of caution on measurements. If you are like me

the stronger the better or for some bitter, ha.

There it is my favorite recipe for masala chai

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a wonderful time of celebration at Christmas along with bringing in the New Year, typically the evening is a quiet one for me but this year I had the awesome experience of bringing in the New Year with some members of my family.    

Some people make a new bucket list, new diet plans or exercise dreams, regardless of how you approach this New Year, I hope you will achieve and exceed your goals and may your dreams come to fruition in 2014.  As this year passes may you be enriched even as you enrich others around you.   

There are several recipes I would like to share with you to start the New Year off, one is my favorite Masala Chai which was adapted from 2 blogs and a couple extra touches added from my hand.  I will also post Chicken Stir-Fry which I just made last night and the last recipe for this post is one I learned while in Bangalore, working in the hotel kitchen inventing creative dishes to spruce up a typical protein. 

Happy New Year!!