Monday, August 29, 2011

Char baked vegetables

I have signed up for CSA (community supported agriculture) program from a local farm here in Washington. As a part of the program, I received a food basket ever week. The basket contains whatever is currently growing in the farm. I don’t get to know what is in the basket just the day before I pick it up. Even then, there are chances that my basket will differ from what the email said (depending on the crop). The farm also sends you recipes ideas for the food in the basket.

This week I received several greens, fruits and veggies. One of them was eight ball squash. It’s a round shaped summer squash, very tender from inside. When I cut it, it looked very similar to a cucumber from the inside. There were 3-4 different recipes for cooking squash. The one that I liked the most was char baked vegetables. The recipe called out for squash, eggplant, onion and tomatoes, but I guess you can use any vegetable you like.

I didn’t have eggplant at home, but I had small brinjals(small Indian Eggplant), so I used them as a replacement for eggplant.

Here is the recipe for making char baked vegetables.

3 Eight ball squash, cut in slices (or any other type of squash)
5 brinjals cut in silices,
1 Onion, cut in slices
4-5 tomatoes, cut in slices
3 Tbsp Thyme,
5 Cloves of garlic, cut in thin slices
1 Tsp Cilantro, Chopped
Salt per Taste
Pepper per Taste
¼ Cup Olive Oil

Method: Pre-heat the oven at 400 degrees F. Pour half the oil in a deep baking dish and spread it on the bottom. Arrange some of squash slices in single layer to cover the bottom of the pan. Generously season with salt and pepper. Now arrange the eggplant slices. Top them up with Onion slices. Season again with salt and pepper. Spread some garlic slices and thyme on the top layer. Cover with tomatoes. Repeat the same process for the remaining veggies, making sure to season with salt and pepper in between the layers. Top with tomatoes as the last layer. Spread the chopped cilantro on top of the tomato. Pour the rest of the olive oil evenly on the top layer. Press the veggies once with the help of a flat spoon or a dish.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, take out of the oven and lightly press down on the veggies. The height of the veggie layer should be about half of what you started with. Put it back in the oven and cook for another 45 minutes, or until you see that the top layer has charred a bit.
Take out of the oven, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve warm.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chocolate Almond Honey Tart

Srishti, my daughter, turned 6 months old on Aug 4th, so I wanted to celebrate her half year birthday by making some dessert that I had never made before.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an episode of Giada’s cooking show.  She had made chocolate-almond –honey tart, without adding eggs or gelatin to it, and I thought, what a perfect timing. The tart looked very delicious, so I decided to make it for Srishti’s 6 months birthday.
I looked up for the recipe on Food Network’s website. Most of the reviewers said that it was too sweet, so I reduced the amount of honey when I made it at home.  Also, I bought the crust from a store to save some time. Once you have the readymade crust, it will take you less than 10 minutes to assemble the dish. You put it in fridge overnight (or for 5 hours minimum) and a yummy, chocolaty, and moist and delicious tart will be ready for you the next day.
I also decorated the tart with some chocolate shavings and coco powder, which was not a part of the recipe.

Here is what you need to make this tart
1 pack (13 oz or 340gms) of semi-sweet chocolate chips,
¾ cup heavy cream
1/5th cup honey (the original recipe calls for 1/4th cup)
¼ cup slivered or chopped almonds, optional (the original recipe doesn’t call for this, but I added it or crunch)
1 tsp chocolate shavings
¼ tsp unsweetened coco powder
1 store bought chocolate flavored pie crust
Combine honey and cream in a container and cook on low flame until the honey is completely dissolved in the cream (about 2-3 minutes).  Turn the flame to medium settings and bring the mixture to boil. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, switch off the gas, and add the chocolate chips to the mixture.  Stir slowly until all the chocolate chips are dissolved and the mixture looks like thick, but runny chocolate sauce.  Add the chopped/slivered almonds to the chocolate mixture and stir once to combine well. Pour this mixture into the prepared tart shell (pie crust), and let it cool down for about 10 minutes.  
Now sprinkle the chocolate shavings on top. Put the chocolate powder in a mesh strainer, and lightly dust the powder on top of the shavings.  Loosely cover the tart with lid or paper towel and transfer refrigerate overnight. Loosen the shell from the mold, and transfer the tart to a serving plate. Cut it into wedges and serve.

Thank you for visiting Food Garden and Fun. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate your time to leave feedback and help me improve this blog.