Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ju-on 2 & caramel apple bar

Happy Halloween to All! This is my favorite favorite favorite holiday! I love horror and sci-fi movies and the Sci-Fi channel and AMC have been showing horror flicks non-stop for 13 days. Thanks to them this just makes me wanna schedule a sabbatical next October. Am I weird? Go ahead, you can tell me. Well for the past few years, I have moved on to japanese horror which makes american horror seem like you're watching a chick flick.

When I was younger, members of my family emigrated from India to settle here and so intially, they stayed with us. They had never seen horror movies and didn't even know what they were, because over there that genre is still relatively new. Well my dad has a thing for horror flicks, so at night, he would put on Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Day of the Dead... well, you get it. It would scare the living jeebies out of my aunts, uncles and little cousins. And you were not allowed to move until the movie was through. Maybe that's why they're all still a little scared of him!

So, besides re-reading harry potter for the gizillionth time, this Halloween I decided to break the tradition. And trust me, it's like pulling teeth to get me anywhere away from harry.

To celebrate my favorite holiday I am going to be watching Ju-on 2 (again) and creating my own version of a caramel apple bar.

serves 2
prep time: 15 min
cook time: 5 min

The VIP's:
1. 1 granny smith apple, washed & cut into 8 wedges
2. 2 handfuls of caramel candy melted on low heat with 1 tbspn butter and a dash of cream or you can take the easy route and just warm up some bottled caramel sauce.


  • chocolate chips
  • crushed peanuts
  • coconut
  • smashed oreos
  • chopped pecans
  • use what you have on hand

The play:

  1. place your hot caramel in a small bowl on the center of a plate and place the apples around it. note - It's best if you have a fondue pot for the caramel.
  2. put your toppings in small bowls and place together on one tray
  3. dip your apple wedge into your caramel and then whatever toppings you choose

Notes: this recipe is largely open to interpretation depending on number of people and toppings. Again, the caramel is best left in a small crockpot or fondue pot so it will stay warm and not harden up. Also, the apples should be tart for this, you do not want it to be sickly sweet.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

simple crisp okra

It's my baby brother's 28th birthday next week. Well, he's not exactly a baby anymore, but since he is younger, i bestowed that right upon myself. His favorite dish since childhood has always been okra. Ask him anyday what he wants, and he's likely to reply okra. He likes it sliced in thin rounds and sauteed till crispy with minimal spices to let the earthy flavor of the okra come through.
Goes great with some lavaash or naan with some raita on the side. I will stress that after washing the okra, to make sure that the okra is completely dry otherwise you will be privy to the infamous slime.

This is a simple humble dish that is a really quick cook.

Serves 3-4
prep time: 15 min
cook time: 20 min

The VIP's:

  • 1 lb okra washed and dried thoroughly & chopped into small rounds
  • 2-3 tbspn oil
  • 1 tspn mustard seeds
  • 1 tbspn chili pepper powder
  • 1 tbspn cumin powder
  • 1 tbspn coriander powder
  • 1/2 tspn turmeric powder (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • 1 tbspn chopped cilantro

    The play:

    1. heat oil in nonstick pan on medium heat and add mustard seeds
    2. when the mustard seeds finish popping after a minute or two, add the okra & salt to taste
    3. stir the okra to mix and saute for couple of minutes
    4. cover and turn heat to low, stir occasionally for next 15 minutes and keep covered in between
    6. mix in all the spices and cover for another 2-3 minutes
    7. remove lid and turn the heat on high, and let any moisture evaporate. The okra should turn crispy in a couple of minutes.
    8. turn off heat and squeeze half the lemon over the okra and stir in the cilantro.

    The spices are really to taste in this dish so adjust the heat level as desired. We like things really spicy so I usually add another couple tbspns of chili powder.

    You can also throw in some sliced shallots and garlic after the mustard seeds pop for more flavor.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vanilla coffee ice cream cake

Today is A's birthday and since he was enjoying himself in L.A., I wanted to make one of his favorites that is usually supplied by my mom. Mom runs an uppity little ice cream joint in Austin, so I decided to try my hand at an ice cream cake. I wanted to stick to for sure flavors and just to verify the technique, I called my giggly younger cousin Nidhi, who helps out my mom on the weekends. She kindly called me back during her wuss of a 15 minute break from her real job to school me on frozen cakes.

Hoppity-hop to the market to get the ice cream, there I was in front of the cooler. Staring away. Too many choices are no good for an already indecisive personality.

What to make, what to make? I had gone in for vanilla but suddenly that seemed too simple once I saw mango, cherry nut and java chip. What have I got myself into? Maybe this is what our president was referring to as a quagmire.

This was supposed to be a 5 minute trip to the store and back. No can do especially when you put a foodhead* anywhere they sell food. After a good 15 min of deliberation I did what I always do and resorted back to my first choice. I grabbed a pint each of coffee and vanilla. Really, why do I even bother?

Go ahead and try it out, it's a basic method and the combinations are limitless. Though this one turned out fabulous, I think I will experiment next time and make either a pumpkin pie cake with black walnut ice cream or german chocolate cake with cherry ice cream for a black forest feel.

Makes 1 loaf pan
Serves 6-8

The VIP’s:

- chocolate cake** made in a rectangular pan
Basically you will need 2 pieces of cake cut to fit in your loaf pan.
- 2 pints ice cream softened
- frosting optional

The play:

1. line a loaf plan with cling film so it hangs all the way out and over. It should be enough to cover the top as well. Then line with parchment.
2. place a piece of cake on the bottom and layer a pint of softened ice cream
3. cover with parchment & cling film & freeze for 2-3 hours or until firm
4. remove parchment and cling film and layer another piece of cake and then ice cream
5. cover with parchment and cling film again & freeze for at least 4 hours
6. remove cake by lifting the cling film out of the loaf pan and top with frosting or whipped cream if desired

* foodhead = politically correct term as opposed to foodie
** I replaced the water in the cake with Frangelico

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Welcome to the Green Peacock!

Hello and welcome to my blog! This is where I will be sharing my vegetarian recipes along with essays of my adventures, travels and other frivolities.

As this is my very first post, I would like to dedicate this to all the women and men in my family who love to cook and are always conjuring up amazing eats. I am extremely fortunate that both sides of my family come from a lineage of good cooks with discerning tastes. The young members in my family are always encouraged to putter around the kitchen while meals are being prepared in order to learn the art as well as to give the cook company.

As for me, I have been following my mom around in the kitchen for as long as I can remember, and even still, when I'm at my parent's place I am constantly in the kitchen doing something or another. Maybe the draw is that the kitchen is a place where you can't do too much wrong. Where you won't get scolded for staying out too late or wearing your skirt too short. A promised land. Where bellies are filled and satiated until the next meal is served.