Sunday, October 23, 2011

Okra and Corn Wontons

Okra and Corn wontons, with cheese? That was my reaction when I read the recipe on Tasting Table. I never put okra together with wontons. But since I love the vegetable I was too curious to not try it out.
This was my contribution to the two Diwali party pot lucks and each time it was an absolute hit. In fact, it was even wiped out at both the parties! 
Although the process is fairly simple, making the wontons is time consuming. I think it is worth it, as it impressed the crowd and you can freeze them uncooked, ready to be popped out and baked whenever you have a last minute guest! 

Makes 60 

  • 1 cup thinly sliced okra
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups corn
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp black pepper, or more if you like it spicy
  • 1 tsp paprika, or more if you like it spicy
  • Salt, to taste
  • 60 wonton wrappers
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • In a large skillet heat the olive oil and cook the okra and red pepper, until the okra has dried up when the sticky strings disappears.
  • Add the corn, cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from fire and let cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix together the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon juice, black pepper and paprika. 
  • Add the okra, pepper and corn mixture to the cheese mixture. Taste and season accordingly.
  • On a large working surface lay the wonton wrappers out in an assembly line. Scoop 1tsp of the filling onto each wrapper. Fold over and seal shut with a little water or egg wash. You can stop at this stage, or fold in the two corners of the wonton to make the diamond shape (refer to the image above). 
  • Spray the top of the wontons generously with cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Serve with hot chili sauce.
If you work with the wontons in an assembly line (refer to image above) it will get done sooner than if you make them individually. 

Pistachio and Saffron Biscotti

Diwali (Hindu festival of lights) is around the corner and we have a series of parties to go to. It's a fabulous time of the year, as for us living in the West, we get to start the Holiday season a few weeks before Thanksgiving and carry on with the rest of the world with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years! 
Diwali, just like Christmas, packs on a few pounds with all the sweets and food there is. After all, what is a festival and holiday without food?
I LOVE all things sweet, but despite my sweet tooth and Indian origin, I really do not love Indian sweets all that much.
Western desserts have always been my weakness, which is why I chose to make Pistachio and Saffron Biscottis instead. Both the flavors work well with Indian food, and it would work fabulously for our tea time pot luck tomorrow.

This is the first time I ever made biscotti, and it was quite easy and makes a large batch. The recipe said 50, but I got closer to 35–40. 

This recipe is by Georgie Socratous, from

6.5 oz pistachios
Good pinch of saffron, soaked in 2tbsp boiling water
4 oz / 1 stick butter
3 eggs
7 oz caster sugar
630g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F
  2. Spread pistachios on a tray and bake for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
  3. In an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. 
  4. With the mixer running add the eggs, sugar and soaked saffron (with water)
  5. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the dough until smooth.
  6. Using a wooden spoon stir in the pistachios.
  7. Line and grease a large tray or 2 smaller ones and roll your biscotti into long logs about 2cm high– not too high, but you can make it wide for larger biscotti or thin for smaller. 
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, let the logs cool and then transfer to a cutting board.
  9. Diagonally slice each log into 2cm–thick pieces. Place back on the tray, cut-sides up and bake for 5 minutes or until golden. Turn them over and bake for another 5 minutes. 
  10. Turn them over and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  11. Let them cool.
  12. In a double-boiler, melt the chocolate chips.
  13. Dip a biscotti, one at a time into the melted chocolate, clean the edges with a small spatula or spreader and lay on a lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for one hour for the chocolate to harden. Serve at room temperature.
Different flavors to try out too! 

  • Swop the saffron for 1 vanilla bean and the pistachio with sliced almonds
  • Swop the saffron for 2 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp chai masala
  • Dip the biscotti in chocolate as above, cool in the fridge and then re-dip in white chocolate to make it double chocolate. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cheese and Olive wontons

While I was making our vegetarian Spanish dinner, I thought of making olive and cheese wontons, a take on Spanish empanadas. I made 10 of these, but it was a quick thing to make, that I'm going to make these for a pot luck that I'm attending next week. 

Makes 20
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted mixed olives 
  • 1/4 cup mozarella
  • 1/4 cup queso manchego
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients except for the wonton wrappers.
  • On a clean and dry working surface lay out as many wonton wrappers as fit on your work surface. Cover the remaining ones with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out. 
  • Put a little bit of the olive and cheese mixture off-center of each wrapper. With damp fingers fold over the wonton wrapper and seal the ends shut with a dab of water.
  • Transfer to a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. 
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp (the photo above shows that I didn't watch them well enough and they are over cooked!)
Serve with a Spanish mojo if you some on hand.

Avocado and Tomatillo Salad

Friday night at home while our baby sleeps away… my husband and I wanted a nice light meal. Mediterranean food hits the spot for him, and more specifically, Spanish. He grew up with it and is very spoilt with good fresh ingredients. I've found that when I say Spanish food or cooking here in New York a lot of people think of it as difficult. Actually, I find it much easier than most other cuisines as it's all about the quality of the ingredient and about simplicity.

Tonight amongst the other tapas, the first one was a salad. This one we had first and then I made the rest. 

Serves 2
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomatillo, sliced
  • 1/4 cup mixed pitted olives
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Thinly shaved Parmesan Regianno cheese
  • Toss together in a large salad bowl the first 6 ingredients
  • In a small bowl add the salt, lemon juice, garlic  and balsamic vinegar. Add the maple syrup and then the oils as your whisk the dressing with a fork. Taste, season accordingly.
  • Dress the salad with the dressing, toss to coat well and garnish with the cheese. Do not overdress your salad. 
You can add some toasted pine nuts to this salad and it'll be great. 
Some orange zest and orange would add a nice touch of citrus.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Hello again amigos! 
It has been a while since I blogged, or rather cooked. My 9-month old son wouldn't sleep through the night, or even half the night, while made me a tired person. Dinner was usually some left over or the other, a Trader Joe's frozen meal or we ordered in. That was great… it got food into our stomach but my husband and I craved a good home cooked meal and I craved spending time cooking, which didn't involve cooking a baby puree!  

Even though pork isn't my favorite, I woke up one morning Sweet and Sour Pork. 
So I went to the butcher in my neighborhood that morning, Simchick Meats and bought pork tenderloin. 
It hit the spot, a yummy and quick meal. The cooking time was literally 10 minutes. Prep didn't take that long either, so this gets rated (by me) as a good recipe to have on hand for that quick week night dinner.

The recipe I found was from the Food Network Kitchens, which I did tweak slightly. 

Serves 4
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into thin slices
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (greens kept aside, for garnish)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  1. Marinade pork: Toss pork in a bowl with 1/2 tbsp vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  2. Make sauce: Mix remaining vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, ketchup, honey, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 tsp salt.
  3. Cook the pork: In a wok heat the oil and add the pork. Slowly stir until it turns mostly opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. 
  4. Cook the aromatics and veggies: In the wok, stir-fry the garlic, add the scallions and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes (add a little water if the garlic begins to stick to the wok). Add the mushrooms, and sauce and stir until it begins to thicken, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the pork and cook for another minute. 
  6. Garnish with the greens of the scallions. Serve with white or brown rice.