Friday, January 24, 2014

Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)

Kheer, an Indian rice pudding recipe I found on line by Madhur Jaffrey is a simple to make creamy and aromatic dessert.  It basically consists of milk, basmati rice, cardamon pods and starts with a small amount of sugar, sweetness is up to you.  This ones a keeper!


4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons basmati rice
4 whole green cardamon pods, slighty crushed
2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
10 unsalted pistachios, plus more for garnish if you like

Serves 4

1.  Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat gently.  Add cardamon pods and rice.  

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally to prevent rice from sticking.  Stir and simmer until milk has reduced by about half.  Pudding will be very creamy and thickened slightly.  This will take about 40 minutes.

 2.  Remove pudding from the heat.  Pick out and discard the cardamon pods.  Roughly chop the pistachios and add to the pudding along with the sugar, adding more sugar to your taste.  Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. 

3.  To serve, garnish with chopped pistachio nuts if desired.  Enjoy!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Roasted Tomato Soup

I grew up on tomato soup from a can, I'm not ashamed to say, I loved it!  But as a grown up, I've come to know that the salt and preservatives added to the store bought canned variety wasn't doing me any good.  Home made is always healthier, not to mention, tastier!  I make this soup often in the summer, when the tomatoes are ripe but winter tomatoes work well also.  I love this soup paired with a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, the ultimate comfort food in my book!


2 pounds fresh Italian plum tomatoes, quartered
2 medium onions, cut in half then sliced
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes 
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, your choice.  I used rosemary and thyme
salt and pepper to taste
bacon fat croutons, optional 
shaved parmesan cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 425°

1.  To roast the vegetables, in a large bowl, mix together the quartered fresh tomatoes, the sliced onions and the crushed garlic. 

Swirl some olive oil over the vegetables, enough to coat all and toss together.  Add salt and pepper to taste and combine.

Turn out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread evenly. 

Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time, until onions are tender and turning golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

2.  Carefully transfer the roasted veggies to a large pot and add canned tomatoes and chicken broth.  Sprinkle in the minced herbs and stir.

Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  When vegetables are all soft, turn heat off and blend with a hand immersion blender, or blend in batches carefully in a blender, until smooth. 

Reheat to a simmer again, taste for seasoning then shut off the heat and serve garnished with bacon croutons* and shaved parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

* Bacon fat croutons can be made by spreading reserved bacon fat on both sides of a couple slices of good coarse bread, cut into cubes, salt and pepper to taste then bake on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 425° oven for about 12-15 minutes until golden.  Likewise if bacon fat is not available, toss bread cubes with olive oil and salt and pepper and bake as above.