Full Tummy

Come join me in seeing and tasting food the way I do, take a sniff with me and enjoy the flavors like I do.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fall Fresh Fruit shopping

Yesterday, Husband and I went to our neighbourhood european style produce and cheese store: Milk Pail. We always have fun going there, looking at the abundance of fruits and vegetables, and picking out something new each time we go there. Here is all that we got this time...

Granny Smith (green) and Gala apples (red).. The Grannies are going to make a yummy apple cake, with NO oil/butter, sometime this week.. The Galas will go into some fresh apple juice.

Pumpkin... the symbol of fall... this mini one will make some sweet pumkin sabzi, indian style, maybe over the weekend.

Persimmon.. to me, it is yet another symbol of fall.. I totally adore this fruit, not too sweet, not sour, perfect crunchiness... Ahhh!! Half of these have already been devoured since this picture was taken.

Oranges... yet another orange colored purchase for this weekend's groceries... These will serve as dessert on some dinner nights, and may make some yummy juice over the weekend.

Avocadoes... did I ever mention that husband loves them, he eats them raw, right out of their skin!!! These will make some yummy guacamole, or I might try that Mexican soup we had in a restaurant the other day.

Bananas... we have been craving some good oatmeal in the mornings these days, since its so cold outside.. These will top our oatmeal for breakfast!

Thats the arrangement in my kitchen utility cabinet...

Russian Meal: Pelmeny [Tortellini]

Pelmeny is as Russian as food can get. These are soft little dumplings filled with a variety of usually bland possibilities, usually its beef, sometimes pork, rarely chicken or cabbage. I dont really know about the smaller cities, but in Moscow nobody I knew would make it from scratch. We used to buy it frozen. So, I figured it really was not that bad a deal that out here in Palo Alto, California I can still get the frozen Pelmeny. In fact - I could get a much healther version of them - the Chicken variety!

These are the Pelmeny I buy from either the Russian Store Samovar or the european market Milk Pail in Mountain View. These are just plain old Tortellini - little tiny dumplings with a filling inside. so you could easily substitute them with any store bought tortellini - cheese / spinach / meat ... etc.

Popkoff's Pelmeny with Chicken - frozen

Russians eat these Pelmeny totatlly un-glamorized, of course. Boil pelmeny in salted water, drain, pour in a bowl, dollop of sour cream, dill leaves, ready to eat. Yes, it would taste heavenly, but my taste buds now dont find that too appealing, so I make a whole meal out of them in a different way...

Pelmeny (Tortellini) with Zucchini

2 small zucchinis - thinly sliced up in semi-circles
1 onion - thinly sliced up in half of semi circles
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 packet Pelmeny / Tortellini, boiled in water with 1 tspn oil till al dente , drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch of dill, finely chopped

* Heat oil in a pan
* Add onions and stirfry til 3/4th done
* Add zuchhini and stir fry till 3/4th done
* Add soy sauce, salt , pepper to taste, add dill leaves. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
* Add the drained pelmeny/tortellini
* Switch the flame off and cover, stir in between a couple of times. You want to keep them moist, so dont stir fry further.

I vary the veggies lots of times, but the trick is to keep the veggie mix simple, so that the taste of the tortellini / pelmeny shines through. Never forget the dill though, this is a very Russian herb, and gives a lot of the dishes their Russian flavor.

The result is yum-yum-yummy.

Pelmeny/Tortellini with Zucchini / Onion / Dill

Russian Meal: Vegetarian Borscht Soup

Since husband and I have both been recovering from cold and sore throat, we have been having a lot of soups / fluids. Today I decided to make it a russian affair - Borscht soup and Pelmeny (russian tortellini filled with meat usually).

Borscht is characterized by its deep red color. So the main ingredient is of course - Red Beet! It is made in a variety of styles depending on the region you are from. It is usually made with Beef in Moscow, usually made with chicken in Ukraine, and I mostly make it vegetarian to make it in a jiffy.

Here is my vegetarian version of it, followed by the non-vegetarian version for those who are interested.

Vegetarian Borscht

1/2 cabbage - finely sliced
1 raw beet - peeled and grated
1 big russet potato chopped into 1 inch of bigger cubes (dont make the cubes too small)
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion - chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil (Russians would never use anything other than butter, but I am a health-izer)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large cube of beef buillion (optional, can replace with veg stock or omit altogether)
1 tablespoon of lemon pepper salt mix [I get mine from costco]
1 tspn black pepper
1 big bunch of dill - finely chopped

*In a soup pot, heat oilive oil.
* Add garlic cloves, fry till pinkish.
* Add onions, and cook till transparent.
* Add potatoes, saute till edges are transparent.
* Add cabbage and beet, and around 1 cup of hot water, let the volume of cabbage reduce a little.
* Then add more water to cover up the soup.
* Add red wine vinegar, beef buillion (optional), salt, lemon pepper mix, black pepper.
* Let it all simmer for around 10 minutes or so.
* Add the chopped dill and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Russians would serve this with a dollop of sour cream, along with buttered dark rye bread.

Vegetarian Borscht, simmering away in the pot

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ultimate melt-in-your-mouth pancakes

Who said a pancake mix cannot make yummy fluffy pancakes???? Not my box!!! My box makes the yummiest lightest pancakes!!! But, with a little help...

1 cup pancake mix [I use Bisquik Buttermilk pancakes' Complete mix, the one in which you have to add just water]
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tspn sugar
1 tspn baking powder
1 egg

* Blend all the above ingredients using a blender or whisk or hand immersion blender.
* Pour ladlefuls on a hot greased griddle.
* Cook on that side until bubbles form and edges look a little dried up (around 1 min).
* Turn and cook on other side for around half a minute.

Yield: 6-8 regular sized pancakes

Pancakes are ready to turn, when bubbles form and edges look dry-ish

Pancakes, stacked up, waiting for some maple syrup

Back from a blogging break...

Yes, for those of you who noticed, I have been on a blogging break for the last month. Husband quit his startup job at the end of October due to lots of politics at work, that left him mostly at home when he was not in his meetings and interviews. So he did a lot of the cooking at home, while I was at work. A lot of travelling was happening too, went to Denver to my sister, nephew and niece for an elongated Thanksgiving break - which was so much fun!!! :-) And the 11-month old nephew gifted husband and me some of his little little germs which left the two of us sick for a whole week!!!

So here I am now, thanksgiving break is over, we are both recovered, and husband is on the verge of accepting an offer from another fun startup!!! Back to blogging....!!!