Garden Fresh Balsamic Bruschetta

The sun is finally coming out, we are able to see friends and family after a long time, and I am ready to share apps around the table as I catch up with my loved ones.  Nothing says fun in the sun with loved ones like bruschetta.  Fresh tomatoes mixed with garlic, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and parmigiano reggiano served on garlic rubbed Italian bread.  Yep.  Count me in!

Growing up, I would order bruschetta every time we ate out at an Italian restaurant.  It still is one of my favorite appetizers.  I can name so many members of my family that also love it just as much as I do.  There was even a time when bruschetta was a given at any family gathering.  And rightly so.

Just a few ingredients that makes this recipe absolutely divine.

  • Tomatoes – crisp, juicy, sweet, red tomatoes are a must.  Try to avoid mushy and soft tomatoes as you’ll end up with more liquid and the chopped tomatoes won’t hold their shape.
  • Garlic – chopped in the bruschetta mix but I also use whole cloves to rub toasted bread to give it that extra zing in flavor
  • Basil – this sweet peppery herb adds the perfect burst of earthiness
  • Parmigiano reggiano – The earthy, sharp, nutty flavor is the perfect flavor to bring all of the different ingredients together
  • Balsamic Vinegar – this is my surprise ingredient that takes this bruschetta up a notch.  Each bite there’s just a hint of the tart, fruity liquid that makes you want to keep eating it.
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Italian Bread – toast these up a little then rub a fresh clove of garlic over it as they come out of the oven.


So, what are you waiting for?!  This is the perfect appetizer for a wine and cheese night (my favorite), for a gathering, or if you want to create a beautiful Italian dinner!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Microgreens Salad Yum

About a month back, we finally had a weekend free to take the girls to the Farmer’s Market which we’ve desperately missed during the winter months.  The girls love tasting all the fruit samples and of course stopping at the kettle corn stand, while I love to check out all the new produce and imagine different recipes I can create. Continue reading “Microgreens Salad Yum

Instant Pot Kali Dal Yum

Kali dal is a very popular Punjabi dish and one of those comfort food meals that my husband has grown up with.  It has also become one of Sanaya’s favorite comfort foods too so of course I had to find a way to perfect this recipe for both of them.  I would say this recipe rotates in our house at least ever 2 weeks.
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I love it for its nutritional content, loaded with protein, fiber and low in carbs and calories.  With all the rainy days we’ve had recently, this is one recipe I can’t pass up.  An easy, one-pot meal, this goes great with naan or rice.
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Yep, I put a ton of jalapeños as a garnish.  Traditionally, it’s cilantro. But, it actually tasted good with the extra jalapeños on top!
A while back, we had a potluck and playdate with my friend Janani and her family.  I don’t remember what I made, but I do remember that both my husband and I fought for the last bite of her dal.  It was A-MA-ZING!  It had a burst of flavor to it that we were both impressed and he actually said it was one of the best dals he has had in his life…. that’s huge coming from a Punjabi!
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Most recipes of this specific dal have a basic of three spices, and I’ve found pretty simple in flavor.  Works great for many but Janani’s recipe just had this burst of flavor, you didn’t want to stop eating it.
I begged her for her recipe, tried making it and failed.  I tried a few more times to the point my hubby was actually sick of seeing dal…….oops.  So I went to Janani’s house, had her tell me exactly what to do while I made it with her watching over me.  I’ve been using her recipe ever since, however, I did make a few changes to it.  I know, I know, why?  I changed a little of the technique on which ingredients she cooks in what order, and changed the ratio on some of the basic spices but they are all there.  The changed version is what I have listed below but if you’re interested in her original version, message me and I will send it to you.
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When I talked to Janani about her recipe, that’s when I figured out it’s the spices and the amount of tomatoes that she uses which give the dal its integrity in flavor.  You really need to try out this recipe.  It’s so delicious!
If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the same instructions for a slow cooker and set slow cooker time for 8 hours.

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
1 c black gram lentils (sabut urad dal)
¼ c dry kidney beans
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp grated ginger or ginger paste
1 ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
½ tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
½ tsp dry mango powder (aamchur)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Avocado Oil or EVOO
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ghee (use oil to make this vegan)
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
Mix the lentils and kidney beans together, wash them 2-3 times then leave water in to soak while you prepare the gravy.
Set instant pot to sauté mode.  Add oil and let heat up.  Add hing and let it bloom for 30 seconds.  Add in the onions and sauté 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Add in 1 Tbsp each of ginger and garlic.  Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the tomatoes, coriander powder, dry mango powder, cayenne pepper and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well and cook for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes have mostly melted and the spices have cooked through.
Drain the water from the lentils/beans.  Add them to the gravy along with remaining ½ Tbsp of ginger and garlic, and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Add 3 cups water and cover the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position.  Turn off the instant pot and change setting to pressure cook or manual setting.  Set time for 40 minutes.  When the time is done, release the pressure, open the lid and mix the dal.
On med heat, in a small pan, heat ghee.  When it’s melted and heated, add in cumin seeds and garam masala.  Let them splutter and bloom for 30 seconds then add to the dal.  Mix everything and change setting on instant pot to sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or naan.  Enjoy!

Lal Murgh (Red Chicken)

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I haven’t cooked Indian food in a while because it needs some good time and attention to come out perfect and those are two things I don’t have in abundance these days.  So I decided that needed to change and I needed to create something easy but vibrant and delicious, with lots of flavor.  The spices in this red chicken pack a great punch with an array of flavors and the meat is nice and tender from being marinated even for just a short time.  The best part, the spice mix I used is the Butter Chicken spice mix you get at any Indian grocery store – so easy and time saving!
One of my favorite ways to prep meat is to marinate them.  Did you know that marinating meats helps slow down the growth of bacteria?  Also, based on the ingredient you’re marinating you’re meat with, it affects in a different way.  For example, I’ve used citrus which is known to tenderize the meat and lock in the moisture when you’re cooking it.  Hope your chicken turns out juicy like mine did!

Chop up a boneless, skinless, chicken breast into cubes.  Set them in a container and add in a little spice mix, a splash of lemon juice, and some water.  Mix the chicken well, cover it, and let it marinate for at least 1 hour.  Doesn’t that just look gorgeous?!
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When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat a little oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add some red onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
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Add in some grated ginger and minced garlic.  Oh, the smell of that garlic!
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Sauté all of the above for a couple of minutes, then add in the tomatoes.
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Mix well, and cook everything for 5-10 minutes. You’ll notice the tomatoes softening and the oil separating.  They should look something like this:
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Finally, add in the marinated chicken and mix well.  Cook it for about 7 minutes or until done.
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For the chicken marinade:
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped into 1 inch cubes
2Tbsp lemon juice
1Tbsp spice mix
1/3c water

To cook the chicken:
1Tbsp EVOO
1/3c finely chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2tsp grated ginger
2 tomatoes, chopped finely

In a bowl, mix together the chicken, lemon juice, butter chicken spice mix, and water.  Toss well to coat all the chicken pieces evenly.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To cook the chicken, heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of minutes.  Finally, add in the tomatoes and mix well.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until the oil separates from the tomatoes.  Add in the marinated chicken with all the juices and cook for another 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with Roti, Naan or Rice.  Enjoy!