Saturday, January 5, 2013

Spinach Pesto Sandwich and Mushroom Salad

The first time I had this was at one of my aunt's home, and have been hooked on it ever since..but just a few days back i decided to try my hand at it...it is super easy to make, and can be eaten in many different ways..you may make a sandwich, or toss some pasta or tortellini in it.
It is a very good way to make your kids eat spinach if they are fussy eaters....it is healthy ( the recipe for pesto contains spinach, walnuts and olive oil) and with the mushroom salad which goes very well with the pesto it becomes a super healthy dinner. This is the first time i ever ate raw mushrooms and i loved it, so those of you who have never had mushroom salad should try this one..
this is a very good dinner option for working women, me and my sis got a soup, sandwich and salad dinner ready in 15 min at 10 45 pm after an extremely long day...
i guess now i should stop beating round the bush and get going with actual recipe

Spinach Pesto sauce
Ingredients:
  1. 8 ounce spinach (1 bunch)
  2. 3-4 basil leaves
  3. 1 cup walnut
  4. 1/4- 1/2 cup olive oil
  5. 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  6. 3 cloves of garlic 
  7. salt to taste
Method:
in a food processor/ chopper, put in basil leaves garlic walnuts and some spinach and crush it. take half quantity of spinach initially and add in the rest in small quantities. the oil to keep adding it in small quantities as  needed...mix in cheese last

if you are using a blender,you need to add some water too for the blender to work...you may get a chutney like consistency, but the taste is unaffected.

I didnt have parmesan, so used feta cheese....you can use any cheese that you like

Mushroom salad
Ingredients:
  1. one packet 8 ounce fresh mushroom (button or bella)
  2. 3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  4. finely chopped parsley (optional)
  5. salt to taste
  6. pepper to taste
Method:
chop mushrooms lengthwise, so you have slices of mushroom.
in a cup mix rest of ingredients
toss the mushrooms and dressing together.

for pesto sandwich
apply pesto sauce over slices of toasted sourdough breads, place tomatoes and fresh mozzarella slices between the breads.

soup, sandwich and salad, this is so filling, tasty and healthy, its gonna be a regular on your dinner menu once you try it. you can freeze the extra pesto sauce and use it sometime later. or you may want to take this sandwich in your lunch too!!

mushroom curry

for all mushroom lovers, this recipe is sure to be instant hit.....the first time i made it, i followed my friend's recipe which is on her blog "roz ka khana- shahi mushroom curry", however now that i make it quite regularly, i have altered it as per availability of ingredients and to make it healthy i use less oil.

As i have mentioned, i alter it as per availability, so can you, some of ingredients are optional so do not fret if you have one or two missing, try to think of available substitute in your home or one that is easily available in grocery store near you

Ingredients:
  1. one packet (8 ounce) fresh mushrooms of your choice (i use white button or bella mushrooms)
  2. 2 medium onions finely chopped
  3. 3 medium tomatoes pureed
  4. 3 cloves garlic finely chopped/paste
  5. 1 green chilly finely chopped/paste
  6. 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
  7. 1/2 cup cashew paste
  8. 1 tsp red chilly powder
  9. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  10. 2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
  11. 1/2 tsp garam masala
  12. 1 bay leaf
  13. 2 cloves
  14. 2-3 cardmom (elaichi)
  15. 1/2 cup cream/ half and half
  16. salt to taste
  17. 2 tbsp cooking oil
Method:

  • soak 3/4 cup cashews for 10-15 min and make a paste, if in hurry, its ok not to soak, take cashews in a chopper add some water and grind it to a paste. remember you need 1/2 cup paste so you need to take more cashews than 1/2 cup
  • in a pan, pour 2 tbsp oil, add to it the bay leaf, elaichi, cloves, as the oil heats up add garlic, chilly and ginger paste, once you see they are turning golden add onion and sprinkle some salt. once onions get tender add the  dry spices (red chilly powder, turmeric and cumin- coriander powder) decrease the flame of gas some and let it all roast nicely together, in a minute or so you will get a nice aroma of all the spices, add the cashew paste now and if the mixture looks too dry add some water so you get a nice thick bubbly sauce, add some more salt as necessary and add tomato puree when you see the oil separating from the mixture (it means everything has cooked adequately), do not worry if you don't understand this and add tomatoes little prematurely, as long as you dont burn the sauce the curry will taste good
  • on other side, in a non stick pan, saute mushroom in little oil, sprinkle little salt on it as you saute it when they turn golden brown add them to the sauce.
  • let the curry cook on low flame for 5-7 min, cover it with a lid, you make keep the lid slightly open so that excess steam escapes, its important to cook curry on low flame as the spices mix with each other and get absorbed by mushrooms, if you feel its getting too dry you can keep adding little bit of water.
  • lastly add cream and garam masala cook for couple of minutes before turning off the flame.
your yummy mushroom curry is ready to eat with chapati/ roti or tortilla :)
my mouth is watering already even though i ate some just yesterday!

some tips:
its fine if you do not use bay leaves, cardmom or cloves, they give extra flavour so its good to use them when you have guests coming over, also sometimes i just use regular curry leaves if i do not have bay leaf at home, i love their flavour too, and sometimes I use them along with bay leaves.

its perfectly fine to cancel cream/ half and half if you wish to put it fewer calories or are a vegan, if you are calorie conscious you may use fat free milk too..

the first time i used cream in this recipe was when tomatoes were too sour and they made the curry sour, so if you are a vegan you may want to use ripe tomatoes so your curry doesnt get sour, also avoid using tomato paste (it makes curry sour too)

 if your curry does get sour add 1/2- 1 tbsp sugar to negate the sour taste.

you can add or eliminate green chilly as per your spice tolerance

if you like potatoes you can add them too, you can add them raw to curry before you add mushrooms or you may saute them and add them before you add mushrooms, when you add mushrooms to the curry the potatoes must be cooked else your mushrooms will get over cooked.

so as I have said before too, go with your mood, there is no one perfect way to cook...go with what suits your taste buds :)
happy experimenting!!!