Fall Favorite: Delicata and Goat Cheese Pasta

Taste of Fall_Delicata Squash Pasta_A Little Yumminess

Fall is in the air and we are thrilled that our favorite squash is back on the shelves at grocery stores and farmers’ markets.  The delicata is delicious and easy to prepare as it requires no peeling.  I know, I often shy away from other squashes as I fear peeling them (and cutting myself).  This meal comes together in no time and the end product is good enough to serve to guests.  Leftovers are great in school lunches as well.  If you want to take it up a notch (and make it a non-vegetarian dish), the addition of a little pancetta never hurt anyone. 😉

This is seasonal cooking at it’s best and simplest, so give it a try before the delicata squash is gone…..

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Magical Spice Mix: Madras Curry Powder

madras curry powder

For the longest time, I used to buy my curry powder at the Indian grocery store.  Never from a regular grocery store, because who knows how long those spices has been sitting on the shelves. You always want to buy your spices from a spot that churns through them very quickly.  Plus, spices are always less expensive at ethnic stores.  And the spice mixes are often more authentic and tastier (in my opinion) at the ethnic markets.  However, recently, I started making my own Madras Curry Powder and now even the stuff from the Indian grocery store isn’t good enough.

The recipes for Madras curry powder are countless, this is just a version that we love. If you do not fancy any particular spice, you can reduce the amount you add or even leave it out. Looking for a milder curry powder, then omit the cayenne or dried red chilies. We love this curry powder in coconut curries made with vegetables, shrimp or fish. It is also fabulous with roasted chicken drumsticks with carrots for an easy dinner. You can add it to soups, a variety of roasted vegetables (particularly good with cauliflower) or even a make a curried chicken salad with it. Continue reading

Snack Time: Green Goddess Dressing

Greeen Goddess Dressing_A Little Yumminess

Pretty much everything tastes great after a dip in this classic, creamy, delicious Green Goddess Dressing: vegetable crudite, steamed or roasted green beans or asparagus, slices of leftover roasted chicken, even potato or pita chips. Make a big batch of this dressing over the weekend and pack it into small containers for easy weekday snacking.  I am known to to just grab a spoon and eat it by itself from time to time.  In addition, aside from being a “dip”, it is a dressing, and instantly “wake ups” an everyday salad! Continue reading

Picnic Time: A Savory Galette

Savory Galette

Slice a few wedges of a savory galette and pack a few pieces of fruit, and maybe some raw vegetables to munch on – and and you’re all set for your picnic.  It’s certainly more effort than making a simple sandwich, but it’s not difficult at all if you take advantage of store bought pie crust and whatever interesting ingredients or leftovers you might have hanging around in your refrigerator.  We love recipes that use up our leftovers in a creative way, and a galette is the perfect vehicle for that. Continue reading

Picnic Time: Savory Cheddar Muffins

Cheddar-Bacon Muffins

This past summer the San Jose Mercury featured several recipes that we created specially for them, for picnics and pool time adventures.  In the Bay Area, the months of September and October bring us some of our best weather.  It has been so super hot on some days the past weeks few, that some of us have found ourselves (secretly) wishing for fog.  However, while it is warm, and before the rains come (fingers crossed), some of these grab-and-go snacks are great to have lying around.  These cheddar-bacon muffins are a fun cooking project to do with the kiddos on the weekend, before you head out on an adventure. Continue reading

Chocolate Cravings: Dreamy-Creamy Chocolate-Banana Chia Popsicles

Chocolate Chia seed popsicles

I have these popsicles to thank for my kids’ growing interest in chia seeds and their strange jelly-like properties.

When that old chocolate craving hits lately we’ve been diving into these cool dreamy-creamy chocolate-banana popsicles. I’ve always liked the idea of homemade popsicles, but somehow they’re always a bit icy and never quite get that luxurious consistency I’m after. Well we’ve done it! We’ve finally landed on what is, at least for my family, the ultimate popsicle! These get extra bonus points because the flavor reminds us of the frozen chocolate bananas you get at the county fair or at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  Continue reading

Summer Fun: Making Kulfi Pops!

kulfipops

We have already made these kulfi pops a few times this summer and anticipate we will make them a few more times before we are done with summer break.  We used to make my mother’s kulfi recipe, which is fantastic, but takes forever (and a day) to make.  I have been eying the recipe below by Aarti of Food Network fame for ages and finally got round to making it.  Even my mother is converted and is questioning why she spent years of her life boiling down milk, when all she had to do was use canned evaporated and condensed milks.  It’s less ice-y than kulfi usually is, but we are not complaining.  Easier, faster and creamier – all sound pretty good to us.

The chai flavor is ridiculous good – this is basically cool, creamy masala chai made into a pop. (genius!!)  Even the dessert-haters are hankering for this and the little ones are kind of getting addicted to the chai flavor.  Before the summer is over, I am sure we are going to experiment with other flavors.  Mango is next on the list and might be better for the kids than all that caffeine in tea! 🙂 Continue reading

World Bento Tour: Spain

spainbento

In Spain, tapas are appetizers that are eaten at any time of the day. Putting a few tapas together makes a complete meal. It is essentially “finger food” and the recipes and ideas below are a launching pad and you can create your own special menus consisting of your favorite dishes.  We love creating these little bentos with different international cuisines and since we have not done one for a while, we decided to make a Spanish Tapas bento.

This is our favorite type of meal – it’s a combination of store-bought, food-assembly and quick-cooking dishes, but the end result is a delicious and satisfying meal. Plus, everyone loves a dinner that consists of just little appetizers that you enjoy as the dinner conversation flows.

Kids also enjoy little bites of different foods and this is a wonderful way to get them to try new foods and a whole new type of cuisine. After the first “traditional” tapas meal, work with your children to create your own tapas party. You can also try a “tapas party” with foods from different countries and have a new theme each time – the possibilities are endless. Perhaps even host a tapas inspired birthday party for your little ones. Instead of sangria, the children can enjoy some fruit punch. 🙂  And this week we are cooking with kids at our summer camp and the first city we visited was Barcelona!! Continue reading

Kids in the Kitchen: A Birthday Cake for Grandpa

ricotta raspberry cake

As the munchkin gets older, I am increasingly on the lookout for recipes that kids can pretty much cook all by themselves.  It is amazing how time flies and I remember when we first started cooking together, she could not do much at all, except make a big mess. 🙂  These days she can make a simple cake by herself and help me cut vegetables, among many other things.  I cannot wait for the day when she can make an entire meal by herself – and clean up the mess, while I sit around and watch TV or read a book.  How’s that for a role reversal?

This cake from Bon Appetit magazine caught my eye right away when I saw it in the magazine.  We have made it a couple of times already (and we are not a family of bakers), but this last time when we made it for grandpa’s birthday, the little one made it (almost) all by herself.  She gathered all the equipment and ingredients, measured everything and followed all the instructions.  I helped with lining the baking tin and getting the cake in and out of the oven and a little bit of the clean-up.  The rest she managed by herself.  Needless to say, Ria could make the world’s worst cake and grandpa would still love it. 🙂 Fortunately, this moist, light cake was a super hit and “Nanu” was touched.
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Sides We Love: Green Beans with Sesame Dressing

greenbeans with sesame dressing

I am unfortunately surrounded by mayo-haters – starting with my partner in life to my dear friend and partner in business.  Together they are “corrupting” my child into thinking “mayo is gross”. (Evil people 🙂 ) Nonetheless, I am an unapologetic lover of mayo and absolutely love this sesame dressing recipe.  I have been looking for years to replicate this dressing available at many a Japanese restaurant that makes salad amazingly addictive.  And finally, I have found it.  The bottled store-bought stuff be damned, I am making my own sesame-mayo dressing from now on. Continue reading