Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fresh Flowers from my yard

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Caprese Sandwich

Caprese Sandiwch is a traditional italian sandiwch served on a crusty bread topped with fresh tomato, basil and mozzerala cheese.

The first time I tasted a Caprese sandwich was at the Specialty Bakery and Café here in Bellevue, Wa. I loved it. They serve this sandwich on Focaccia bread. Roasted red pepper pesto is spread on the bread. Then they top it up with organic baby spinach, Italian basil, fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, olive oil and salt and pepper.

It is a very easy to make this sandwich at home, provided you can find Focaccia bread from a bakery. I couldn’t find the bread, so I used rustic Italian bread instead. The bread is crusty from outside and soft from inside; perfect for Caprese sandwich. I made my own roasted red pepper pesto at home so that I can alter the taste per my preference.

Note: I didn’t have Pine nuts at home, so I used roasted almonds instead.

Here are the ingredients for the Pesto
1 Red Bell Pepper
2 Teaspoon Pine Nuts
Salt to Taste
1/8th Cup Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
Crushed Red Pepper to taste
2 Teaspoon Chopped Parsley

For the Bread (If using Any kind of Plane bread):
1 Loaf Rustic Italian Bread, Cut into 1/4inch thick slices
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon chopped Rosemary
Salt and Crushed Black Pepper to taste

For the Sandwich:
3 Firm Roma Tomatoes Cut into Thick Slices
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Cut into Thick Slices
8-10 Basil Leaves
½ Cup Baby Spinach

For the Pesto: Prick the pepper at 2-3 different location, so that the steam comes out while cooking. Put the pepper and garlic (with skin) on an oven safe dish lined with aluminum foil. Broil it on high for (rotating once or twice) 6-7 minutes, or until the skin turns dark brown. Make sure not to burn the pepper. Remove if from the oven and wrap it completely with the aluminum foil to capture the steam. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Remove the skin from the garlic and the pepper. Cut the pepper in big pieces if you are using food processor. Combine all ingredients required for making the pesto and pulse them using the food processor while adding the olive oil, until the desired consistency is achieved. Some people prefer thick paste like consistency; I like rather chunky pesto, so that I can taste each ingredient separately.

If you do not have a food processor, then finely chop the roasted pepper and garlic and keep them aside. In a grinder grind the rest of the ingredients required for making pesto while adding olive oil slowly. Now combine the pepper and garlic with the paste and mix well. The pesto is ready.

For the bread: While the pepper and garlic are getting cooked, combine the oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Coat both sides of the bread slices with the oil mixture. If you have big slices, then the quantity mentioned here will work for 4-5 slices. Arrange these slices on an oven safe tray. Once you take out the pepper and turn off the oven, put the bread in the oven. The remaining heat in the oven will toast the bread slices well. Take out after 7-10 minutes.

Assembling the sandwich:

Spread the pesto on a side of a bread slice. Arrange the spinach leaves to cover the entire slice then arrange the Basil leaves. Now put the tomato slices on the basil leaves. Drizzle some of the remaining basil oil over the tomatoes. You can sprinkle some salt and pepper if you like. Then put the cheese slices. Spread the pesto on a side of another slice, and cover the sandwich with it. Cut it in half and serve with your favorite soup or salad.


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Friday, May 14, 2010

Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi is the perfect cooler on a hot day.

1/2 Cup Sliced Ripe Mango or Mango Pulp
1 1/2 cups yogurt
1/2 cup milk
Ice cubes (optional, I tried it both ways and preferred it without the ice cubes)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Note: Most of the prepared mango pulps come with added sweetener, but if you are using fresh ripe mangoes, then you may want to add some sugar per your taste preference.

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