It is getting very close to the Memorial Day weekend and that means the summer is just around the corner. Even though it is an unofficial start, the temperature here in Texas is giving us a feel of what is in store for the next 4 months or so. With the winter being mild, the experts are predicting hotter than usual summer, so let us see how that is going to be. The temperatures now have climbed to the upper 90’s (F) and it is hot and sultry both inside and outside.
Anyway on the brighter side, the days are getting longer and the sun does not set until after 8:00 PM. So that means that it is still bright after coming back from work. It is such a positive feeling to come back home to bright light to open the blinds, open the back yard and let the natural light in.
The other good thing is the availability of fresh bounty of fruits especially the berries in the grocery stores. We usually buy a bulk of it either to snack, add it on salads and in lemonade, some berry drinks.One recipe that you cannot go wrong with is Berry smoothie. This fruity beverage laden with milk and yogurt is quick fix and delicious too. It is guilt free, fills you up and healthy too. Since smoothies use whole fruit and not just the juice, you get the benefits of fibre, minerals and the vitamins.
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 cup berries (fresh/frozen) ( such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries or combination)
- 1 cup milk ( I used 2% milk)
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt ( I used fat free)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup/ sugar/honey
- 5-10 ice cubes
- Put the berries in the blender and give it a quick zip, so that the berries are pureed.
- Put the remaining ingredients including maple syrup/honey to this and blend.
- Blend on high until it mixes and is smooth.
- Add more milk if the smoothie is too thick.
- Serve immediately.
Wonton wrappers are not just for dumplings but they can be used for so much more. These easy to bake, low-fat wonton cups make a cute base for numerous appetizers. I love this finger food as there is no need for plate, fork or spoon. The filling that goes inside is the one that defines the dish.
You are limited by your imagination when it comes to filling. You could use fruit pudding, spinach cheese, tomato cheese olives, coleslaw, plain salsa, mango salsa, salad or just fruits etc. However for this dish I chose the basic filling of black beans, corn and salsa.
If you prefer the Indian way then you could use these cups as substitute for the puri (that is used in chaat) and make low-fat pani puris/ Golgappas (similar to the one that I have posted here). You can add dry potato sabji and make a savory appetizer. You can add coconut jaggery filling and turn this into a neat dessert.
- 15-20 wonton wrappers ( I used this)
- 2/3 cup chunky salsa
- 1-2 jalapenos (diced)
- 1 small cup whole kernel corn
- 1 small cup black beans ( drained, rinsed)
- 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
- 1 medium tomato (diced)
- 1 small onion (chopped)
- Handful of chopped cilantro
- 1-2 Tbsp Oil for brushing/ cooking oil spray
Preparing the wonton cups:
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Keep the wonton wrappers ready. Grease a muffin pan and in each grove gently fit one wrapper, lightly pressing so that it confirms to the shape.
- Using the cooking spray, spray some oil on the inside. Continue this process with the rest of the wrappers. (If you do not have cooking spray use oil to brush the insides).
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Preparing the filling and stuffing:
- In a bowl, mix together the beans, tomato, onion, corn, salsa, jalapenos, corn and cilantro.
- Just before serving, spoon the bean mixture into each of the wonton cups.
- Top each with 1/2 teaspoon sour cream. Serve immediately.
Even though I am not a Gujarati, I been exposed to some limited Gujrati dishes growing up and I have had a soft corner for it. But over the years that I have been here in the US, I have taken immense liking to the cuisine. Thanks to Gujarati friends here, who indulge us with their finger licking dishes when we meet for potlucks and picnics.
And also there is a huge selection readymade, top quality Gujju food in the Indian groceries. This makes it a breeze to try out and get familiar with new type of dishes. The khandvis, dhoklas, theplas, muthiyas, undhiyu, handvo are to die for.
Theplas are the traditional breads of Gujarat and can be served for breakfast, lunch/dinner or as a snack. I have read different versions of Mooli Thepla on the web. Some of them cook the grated radish/ mooli first and then add it to the wheat flour to make the dough while others do not cook the radish. I have followed the later version and adapted this from the recipe by Tarla Dalal.
Based on my experience Theplas tastes good when you use plenty of mooli and less of turmeric. Since this uses yogurt and water while making the dough, the theplas remain soft for a long time. So this is a very good item to pack for lunches for both kids and adults alike.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour ( atta)
- 1 cup grated white radish/mooli
- 1/2 cup yogurt/curds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp ajwain seeds
- ½ tsp cumin +coriander powder
- 1/4 cup coriander leaves chopped (any other greens is fine too)
- 2 Tbsp oil
- salt to taste
- Making the dough: Take a big plate and first add the wheat flour. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, ajwain seeds, coriander powder, salt and the oil and mix well.
- Next add the grated radish, coriander leaves and mix well. Add yogurt in spoonful and knead to make thick dough.
- Keep aside covered in a damp muslin cloth for about 30 minutes.
- Heat a flat pan/tava on medium to high flame.
- Take golf sized balls out of the dough and shape them into balls.
- Roll them into thin rounds with a rolling pin dusting little flour in between, to prevent it from sticking.
- Place this on the heated pan and after about 30 secs, the circle/paratha begins to cook on the bottom and begins to puff at different places. Spread around little oil.
- Turn it over and let the other side cook. Spread around little oil and cook. Keep a close eye on the pan, else the thepla will brown and harden.
- Take out from the pan and place them in box and cover it with a lid.
- Follow the steps for the remaining dough and make the theplas.
- Serve with any subji, pickle of choice and or with some spiced yogurt/ Dahi.