Monthly Film Recommendations: June 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011
Stacia's list at She Blogged By Night reminded me that I need to do my movie recommendations for June!



All times are CST; all films are on Turner Classic Movies:

  • The Half-Naked Truth (W 6/1 6:00 a.m.) mildly amusing pre-code film starring Lee Tracy, Lupe Velez and Eugene Pallette.  Tracy is a promoter who tries to get bellydancer Velez on Broadway.
  • Night Train to Munich (W 6/1 8:45 p.m.)
  • Scarlet Street (Sa 6/4 8:00 a.m.) bad girl Joan Bennett lures meek Edward G. Robinson (definitely playing against type); directed by Fritz Lang
  • Dodsworth (Sa 6/4 7:00 p.m.) automobile company president Walter Huston's marriage is tested when he decides to retire--wife Ruth Chatterton isn't ready to give up her youth; very well done
  • Witness to Murder (Su 6/5 7:30 a.m.)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace (Su 6/5 12:45 p.m.) Cary Grant has to deal with homicidal maiden aunts and a brother who believes he's Teddy Roosevelt in this Frank Capra comedy
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (Su 6/5 7:00 p.m.)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (M 6/6 3:45 a.m.) devastating portrayal of the horrors of World War I; I won't be re-watching it, but if you haven't seen it, you probably should
  • My Favorite Wife (M 6/6 6:00 a.m.)
  • His Girl Friday (M 6/6 7:30 a.m.) Cary Grant, Rosiland Russell, rapid-fire banter; highly-rated comedy, not my particular favorite, but it is amusing
  • North by Northwest (M 6/6 4:30 p.m.) classic Hitchcock mistaken-identity thriller starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason; famous for train, crop duster and Mount Rushmore sequences; very stylish
  • Bells are Ringing (Tu 6/7 7:30 a.m.) film version of the Broadway hit starring Judy Holliday and Dean Martin; great fun
  • Ocean's Eleven (Tu 6/7 12:15 p.m.) the Rat Pack movie--dated, misogynist, stylish and fun all at the same time
  • San Antonio (W 6/8 8:00 a.m.) another entertaining Errol Flynn western, just don't expect too much and you'll be pleasantly surprised
  • Safe in Hell (Th 6/9 7:30 a.m.) Dorothy Mackaill is a New Orleans prostitute who believes she's killed a man, so she flees to Tortuga to avoid extradition and ends up in a seedy hotel with a bunch of criminals; great example of pre-code cinema
  • The Taming of the Shrew (Su 6/12 9:00 a.m.) Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Shakespeare; this one holds a special place in my heart--I was Kate in a school production
  • A Tale of Two Cities (M 6/13 9:00 a.m.) Ronald Colman is wonderful as Sydney Carton; bring a hankie
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (M 6/13 12:30 p.m.)
  • The Woman in Green (M 6/13 1:45 p.m.)
  • Terror by Night (M 6/13 3:00 p.m.) 
  • Dressed to Kill (M 6/13 4:15 p.m.) four of Basil Rathbone's outings as Sherlock Holmes, great for lazy weekends spent drinking cups of tea, eating cake and lying about in a dressing gown wile smoking a pipe--at our house, Paul does the pipe smoking and I do the tea drinking



  • David Copperfield (M 6/13 7:00 p.m.) excellent, albeit abridged, adaptation of Dickens novel; fabulous cast includes Lionel Barrymore, Basil Rathbone, Roland Young, W.C. Fields; Edna Mae Oliver steals the show as Aunty Betsey; a must-see
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (W 6/15 1:15 p.m.) cute romantic comedy with Myrna Loy, Cary Grant, Shirley Temple and Rudy Vallee
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (W 6/15 5:00 p.m.)
  • A Face in the Crowd (W 6/15 11:15 p.m.) You MUST see this film.  It is one of the most amazing movies I've ever seen. Andy Griffith plays against type to perfection and Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau are magnificent; Elia Kazan was a genius.
  • A Touch of Evil (Th 6/16 1:30 a.m.) Director's cut of Orson Welles's noir masterpiece
  • Bringing Up Baby (Sa 6/18 7:00 p.m.)
  • Twentieth Century (Sa 6/18 9:00 p.m.) producer John Barrymore spends a train trip trying to convince actress Carole Lombard to return to the stage
  • Nothing Sacred (Sa 6/18 11:00 p.m.) reporter Fredric March makes "dying" Carole Lombard famous
  • Theodora Goes Wild (Su 6/19 2:15 a.m.) Irene Dunne plays a small-town spinster who, unbeknownst to friends and family, is the author of a very popular torrid romance; Melvyn Douglas co-stars
  • The Awful Truth (Su 6/19 4:00 a.m.) Cary Grant and Irene Dunne divorce but can't stay away from each other
  • Life with Father (Su 6/19 4:45 p.m.) One of the most enjoyable films ever made; William Powell and Irene Dunne raise a family in turn-of-the-century New York; get the family together, pop some popcorn and be prepared to thoroughly enjoy this movie
  • Stagecoach (Su 6/19 7:00 p.m.) One of the greatest westerns ever made; John Ford and John Wayne at their best
  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (M 6/20 3:00 p.m.)
  • Grand Hotel (M 6/20 9:15 p.m.)
  • The Las Vegas Story (Tu 6/21 6:45 a.m.) 
  • His Kind of Woman (Tu 6/21 11:15 a.m.)
  • Ball of Fire (W 6/22 11:15 a.m.) a houseful of professors take in nightclub singer Barbara Stanwyck
  • The Major and the Minor (W 6/22 1:15 p.m.) Hijinks ensue when Ginger Rogers disguises herself as a pre-adolescent to buy a junior fare train ticket
  • It Happened One Night (F 6/24 7:00 a.m.) One of my favorite films--sparks fly when reporter Clark Gable meets runaway heiress Claudette Colbert
  • Singin' in the Rain (Su 6/26 7:00 p.m.)  Does it need an introduction?  It's one of the best movie musicals ever made.
  • Dial M for Murder (M 6/27 11:00 p.m.) Hitchcock. Grace Kelly. Classic.
  • Strangers on a Train (T 6/28 3:00 a.m.) Super-creepy Robert Walker traps Farley Granger in a murder plot.  Not to be missed.
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tu 6/28 1:00 p.m.) Fairly faithful adaptation of novel; Lana Turner smolders
  • I Know Where I'm Going (W 6/29 7:00 p.m.)
  • Brigadoon (W 6/29 9:00 p.m.) Yeah, it's pretty dumb, but I love it.  "Scotland" is so darn cute.

P.S. If you'd like to be prepared for the next George Sanders film fest, here's a few I'll be recording that I haven't seen yet:

  • Five Golden Hours (M 6/6 11:15 p.m.)
  • Lloyd's of London (M 6/13 9:15 p.m.)
  • Moonfleet (Th 6/23 3:30 a.m.)

Dinner and a Movie: Vincentennial

Saturday, May 28, 2011
Photos from A Treasury of Great Recipes

Inspired by Cinema St. Louis's "Vincentennial," I've decided to celebrate Vincent Price's 100th birthday by watching a lot of Vincent Price movies. I've also (naturally) added food to the mix by cooking out of A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price, or what we call "The Vincent Price Cookbook" at our house.  Sorry, Mary!  If you find a copy at a used bookstore or an estate sale, grab it.  It's a real cookbook (and a great one, at that), not just your average celebrity cookbook.  I've had mine for years, but I need to blog about it more!



The Food

Manicotti alla passetto



Quite possibly one of the most delicious things one could ever do with leftover roast chicken, Manicotti alla passetto is a favorite at our house.  We were even lucky enough to eat al fresco last night!  The salad dressing is from the back of the La Tourangelle walnut oil bottle: 4T walnut oil, 1T balsamic vinegar, 1t whole-grain Dijon mustard, salt to taste.  I usually just make half a recipe.

I also make a half recipe of the manicotti.  Our largest Le Creuset au gratin is large enough to hold all six manicotti.

Manicotti alla passetto



"In seventeenth-century England, George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham*, cut quite a figure as a courtier and playwright.  Perhaps he served these eggs at his after-theater parties--I like to think so.  In any event they bear his name and they are a perfect late snack for a midnight supper." 
-A Treasury of Great Recipes

Buckingham Eggs
Buckingham Eggs

This recipe is also available on food.com.

The Films

I thought I'd narrow things down to the films that will air next month on Turner Classic Movies.  Several of Price's movies are available on Netflix Watch Instantly, as well (including one of my personal favorites, The Comedy of Terrors, costarring Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone).

DVD cover from Wikipedia
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Monday, June 20th, at 3:00 p.m. CST) is one of the very few films with an Elizabethan setting I can stand to watch, despite its ahistorical elements.  I was the teaching assistant for OU's Tudor England course, which basically means that I can't enjoy either of the Elizabeth films or The Tudors.  Several semesters before I was a teaching assistant for Tudor England, I was a student.  Our professor mentioned this film in class and one of the students asked, "Bette Davis?  Like that song?"  There's one person in desperate need of a classic film intervention.  Bette Davis really is great as Elizabeth, but I don't watch this one very often because it makes me cry.

Vincent Price has a small role in this film (only his second feature film) as Sir Walter Raleigh.  The rest of the supporting cast is outstanding, as well, and includes Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp, Alan Hale, Henry Stephenson and Leo G. Carroll.
Poster from Wikipedia

The Las Vegas Story (Tuesday, June 21st, at 6:45 a.m. CST) stars Jane Russell as a former Las Vegas singer who is married to Vincent Price's character (a compulsive gambler) and Victor Mature as her ex-lover and current Las Vegas sheriff's deputy.  Hoagy Carmichael co-stars.  Murder, intrigue and a helicopter chase (featuring one of producer Howard Hughes's helicopters, of course) ensue.  Not the best movie ever (did you figure it would be?), but worth the watch.  Entertaining.

Poster from Wikipedia

His Kind of Woman (Tuesday, June 21st, at 11:15 a.m. CST) gives Vincent Price his best role of the three films.  Stick with this one; the last third of the film is worth the wait.  Price is a hunting-obsessed action-movie star Jane Russell is trying to land while on vacation in Mexico.  Robert Mitchum, paid by a mafioso to head south of the border, ends up at the same resort.  The first part of the film is pretty standard noir stuff, but everything changes when gangsters and the feds arrive and Price's character takes over all the action.  Great stuff.  Lots of Shakespeare-quoting.  Take a chance on this one--you'll be glad you did.


.....

*
Portrait of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (from Wikipedia)

I wrote a paper for my Stuart England class about Roger Palmer, the husband of Buckingham's cousin Barbara.  Mrs. Palmer was the mistress of Charles II and remembered by Paul for having bit the penis off a corpse.  I had totally forgotten about it until Paul reminded me when I told him we were having a dinner named after George Villiers and I couldn't possibly tell you which biography the information came from (so many random facts pop up when doing historical research), but Paul said there's no way he could forget something that crazy.  She was one interesting broad.  

Sir Peter Lely's portrait of Barbara after she had become Duchess of Cleveland (from Wikipedia)

Tornado Watch Gin and French

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Gin and French

I've spent my entire life in Tornado Alley, so tornado warnings are familiar territory.  Wichita isn't the biggest city ever, so when the sirens go off, it's for the entire county, so we have to watch the TV to see if we need to get in the basement.  We've lived here three years so far and haven't had to take shelter yet (knock on wood).  Growing up in Oklahoma City, my mother would refuse to get in the cellar of our 1909 home.  The creepy-crawlies were more terrifying than a tornado!

I don't usually bother with cooking dinner when we're under a tornado watch, because the power could go out or we could have to get down in the basement in the middle of cooking!  Nevertheless, tornado watches prompt an extended cocktail hour before heating up leftovers or (horrors!) heating up a heat-em dinner.

Our new favorite cocktail is the Gin and French, which I discovered by watching Mapp & Lucia.  Georgie (Nigel Hawthorne) orders one at the pub in Tilling.  Naturally, I had to do some research.  There are a few variations (with some people even claiming it's just a martini!).  Here's my version:


12 oz glass
ice (a handful or two)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 jigger gin
1 jigger dry (French) vermouth
5 oz tonic water (typical small bottle is 10 oz, so plan to make two!)
Little cocktail straw (not strictly required, but definitely encouraged)

Put ice in glass, add lemon juice, gin and vermouth.  Top off with tonic water; add straw.  Be prepared for this to hit quick and hard.  It's the F5 of cocktails.

Be sure to save the squeezed-out lemons for candied peel to make fruitcake or Banbury Cakes!

P.S. Here's a link to the official Red Cross spring 2011 storms donation sites.  

Vegetable Dum Biryani

Vegetable Biryani is a versatile rice dish that goes well along with any type of curry. It is great for parties or for an elaborate weekend meal. I always make biryani the easy way as a one pot meal. I just dump the spices, rice and vegetables in the pressure cooker and cook it up. But this time I wanted to make it the regular way. I cooked the rice and the vegetables separately, layered the rice and vegetables and allowed the flavors to blend in the oven. It takes time and effort to make this biryani but truly worth the effort. I adapted the recipe from Anu's place.

You could use vegetables based on availability and preference. 

Ingredients
For the Rice
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium sized
Tomatoes - 2 small ones
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Green chillies - 2 slit lengthwise
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil/Butter - 1 tablespoon

Whole Spices
Bay Leaves - 3 to 4 leaves
Cinnamon sticks - 2
Cloves - 4
Cardamom/Elaichi - 4
Cumin seeds/Jeera - 1 teaspoon
Star Anise - 2

Vegetables
Cauliflower florets - 1/2 cup
Carrots - 2
Green beans - 1/2 cup sliced lengthwise
Potatoes - 2 medium sized ones
Green peas - 1/2 cup

For the marinade
Curd/Yogurt - 1.5 to 2 cups
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin/Jeera powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Kasoori methi leaves - 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Salt to taste


Directions
Soak basmati rice for 30 minutes in water.
First, prepare the vegetables and marinade. Chop all the vegetables in equal sizes. To the yogurt, add all the spice powders and whisk well together.
Add a little water if required. Add the marinade to the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate. Allow the veggies to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the rice. In a wide saucepan, add the oil or butter and add all the whole spices. Once the spices start giving out their aroma, add the soaked rice and give it a stir. Also add salt, chilli and turmeric powder, the required amount of water (water:rice ratio - 2:1), cover and cook until the water gets completely absorbed. Fluff the rice with the fork once it gets done.

To prepare the vegetables, in a saucepan, add a little oil. Add the onions and saute until they turn translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes and saute them for a minute. Then add the marinated vegetables along with the yogurt. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. take care to cook on low heat since the yogurt might curdle more and result in a sour mixture. Once the veggies get well cooked, switch off the heat.
 Now comes the assembling part. In a baking dish, add a layer of rice, almost half the rice followed by a layer of vegetables. Top off with the remaining rice and garnish with some cilantro.
Cover tightly with an aluminum foil and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes at 300F. Fluff the veggies and rice with a fork together before serving.
Serve warm with a simple raita, boiled eggs and chips. Makes a great weekend lunch!

Sending this to Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Priya.

Life this Week: May 23, 1938

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Errol Flynn is on the cover of Life this week (well, this week in 1938).  The contents page describes him as "a Glamor Boy, as truly as any of the Glamor Boys on pages 4-7*, not by virtue of a synthetic Hollywood build-up but because of his long career as adventurer, sailor, boxer, gold prospector and author."

*Those other "Glamor Boys", who follow in the footsteps of the "original Glamor Boy" Duke of Windsor, include Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, Jules Glaenzer (vice president of Cartier's), William Rhinelander Stewart ("Dean of Glamor Boys") and a lot of brokers.    

Ambassador-to-Britain Joe Kennedy "pierced the bosoms of ambitious American dowagers and debutantes" by restricting Court presentation to the "womenfolk" of American officials and Americans living in Britain for "business reasons."  His own daughters, Kathleen and Rosemary, were two of only seven American girls presented to the King and Queen on May 11, 1938.

"Mrs. Claude Bennington, authoress and sportswoman, finds that a shooting stick rests the tedium of opening night" at Covent Garden.

In case you forgot, I'll remind you that this week is National Arrow Week.  Remember, you can't be "the top" without an Arrow collar:



I'm ridiculously excited about the Movie of the Week:
Movie poster from Wikipedia
The Adventures of Robin Hood is one of my absolute favorites.  On a (thankfully) rare sick day, I'll usually get out my two-disc special edition, make myself a cup of tea and get back in bed.  Errol Flynn movies were even my drug-of-choice during graduate school.  I've watched many many more Errol Flynn movies since 2007 and I have to say that I always enjoy the ones with Olivia DeHavilland the most.  She's just awesome.  (Check out this post from TJB's blog about Miss DeHavilland's love affair with Dior.  Check out her fabulous zebra cape!  I want to look that great when I'm 93.)

We'll have to revisit Robin Hood (no hardship there) in the autumn.  I discovered a treat called Nottingham Pudding that appears to be a sweet, spiced Yorkshire pudding/apple dumpling combination, but it will have to wait until apples are in season.  Mark your calendars!

While we're waiting for October to roll around, the editors of Life have provided us with an Errol Flynn pictorial.  Remember this simple equation:

aviators + cigarette holder + shorts = perfect boating outfit

You must also remember that wearing a shirt inhibits day-to-day activities such as diving, fencing and bow-hunting sting rays.

All right, so I inclined rather toward the frivolous this week (I'm getting really tired of all those Fascists). What were your favorite articles?

Dinner(s) and a Movie: This is the Night

Friday, May 20, 2011
Lobby card from Wikipedia
In This is the Night, wealthy playboy Roland Young wants to take girlfriend Thelma Todd to Venice, but her javelin-throwing husband (Cary Grant) returns unexpectedly.  Hungry, out-of-work actress Lili Damita (billed as "Lily") agrees to accompany Roland Young to Venice, posing as his wife, with Charlie Ruggles tagging along.  This is the Night is an entertaining film and it has some unique musical-like sequences without being a musical (you'll have to watch it to see what I mean).  Plus, it's pre-code, so the morals are more relaxed than they would have been a couple years later.

This movie is interesting not only because it's Cary Grant's feature film debut, but also because there are relatively few Lili Damita movies out there.  She retired from movies in 1937 and is mostly only known today for her tempestuous marriage to Errol Flynn.

I quite enjoyed this film, though I will admit to liking Roland Young and Charlie Ruggles in almost anything.   This was my first time to see Lili Damita in anything besides an old magazine and I liked her in this role.  I'll be sure to check TCM for her other films.

This is the Night isn't available on DVD, but it's scheduled to show again on TCM Sunday, August 21st, at 5:00 a.m. CST.

*****

Since you're not likely (sorry to break it to you) to accompany a wealthy playboy to Venice, you'll have to find another way to feed yourself. Eggs are an inexpensive way to feed everyone's inner desperate working girl.


We're on our second CSA year and I am attached to the eggs. It's not just that they're pretty; they have gorgeous orange yolks, they come from happy chickens (we got to see them last year on a farm visit) and they're only $3 per dozen.

Eggs have become a large part of our diet since we found our CSA and have been very helpful in our efforts to reduce our food budget but not skimp on quality.  I've been working my way through the Eggs section in my 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook.  Here are three fabulous supper dishes:

Shirred egg with buttered green beans and a drop biscuit
For a shirred egg, preheat the oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit, butter a ramekin, break in an egg, top with 1 teaspoon butter, salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon cream.  Bake approximately 15 minutes until white is completely set and yolk is mostly set.  Usually I make two for dinner, but just one for lunch.

"Eggs in a Frame" with asparagus
I've probably made hundreds of shirred eggs, but I'd never made "Eggs in a Frame."  I had a bit of a problem with these two because my bread maker leaves two holes in the bottom of my English White Bread.  I had to use two cookie cutters to shore up the slices.  Basically all you do is cut a hole in the middle of a relatively thin slice of bread, butter it like there's no tomorrow, then place it in a buttered skillet on medium-low heat and crack an egg into it.  When the egg is set, flip the whole thing over and brown the other side of the bread.  Pepper the egg and salt the egg and toast.

"Eggs à la reine" with green peas

Use the leftover bread rounds for Eggs à la reine.  Preheat oven to 375˚.  Butter and toast them and place them in a baking dish then top with mushrooms that have been sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme. (I used about an eighth pound of mushrooms for four toast rounds.)  A poached egg sits on top of the mushrooms and is covered in Béchamel sauce that has cheddar stirred into it.  Brown in the oven.

Yeah, I don't really have recipes for these dishes, but that's what is great about them--you can adjust them based on what you've got and they'll still turn out just fine.

Mirchi ka Salan

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Even though I have seen several versions of Mirchi ka Salan around in the blog world, I haven't really tasted it myself. I only knew it was really spicy because of the jalapenos or peppers present in the curry. We happened to taste this in an Indian restaurant one weekend and got hooked to its taste. I knew, i had to make it at home and got a bunch of jalapeno peppers just to make this curry. I adapted this recipe according to our tastes and it turned out to be truly delicious. this recipe is a keeper.

This is a specialty of the cuisine of Andhra which is famous for all its spicy stuff starting from biryani to pickles. Whole chillies or pepper are pan fried in oil and then added to a thick gravy made with a mixture of sesame and peanuts which mellows down the spice level of the peppers making it tolerable to eat!I removed the inner seeds of the jalapenos to reduce the heat level. If you want the curry to be really really spicy, go ahead and leave the seeds in there at your own discretion!

Ingredients
Jalapenos/Chillies/Peppers (any variety) - 6
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin/Jeera powder - 1 teaspoon
Tamarind pulp - from a lemon sized ball of tamarind
Oil - 2 spoons

To grind into a smooth paste
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Sesame seeds - 2 tablespoons
Onions - 1/2 chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
Cloves - 3 to 4

For the tadka/tempering
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Jeera/cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Methi/fenugreek seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves - a few


Directions
  • First prepare the jalapenos. Slit the jalapenos from the bottom about half way keeping the stem/stalk intact. Carefully remove the pith present in the center of the peppers along with the seeds. Take care to wash your hands immediately after handling the peppers to avoid hand burns.
  • In a wide skillet, add the oil. Once the oil turns hot, add the prepared peppers. Immediately cover with a lid because the oil starts spluttering outside. After about a minute, open the lid and give the peppers a turn. Cover and cook for two more minutes until the peppers have charred a little bit and the skin turns color. Remove the peppers and keep them aside.
  • Grind the ingredients listed into a smooth paste adding a little water.
  • In a saucepan/kadai, heat the oil for tempering and add the mustard seeds, jeera, methi and curry leaves one by one. Add the charred jalapeno peppers, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and the ground paste. Also add the tamarind pulp. Add about 1 cup or required quantity of water and required amount of salt to taste.
  • Cover and allow the gravy to simmer for around 12 to 15 minutes. The gravy should thicken and soak the jalapeno peppers with all the goodness!

Garnish with cilantro.

Serve along with chapatis, rotis, naan, plain rice or pulaos. Also tastes great with curd rice!!

Ready for some spice in your life?

Show Me Your Soup - Roundup

Sunday, May 15, 2011
Here is the roundup of Show Me Your Soup event. Thanks everyone for your delicious soup entries.

Sameena Pratap - Ladies Finger Soup
Sameena Pratap - Oats Soup


Sweet Artichoke - Spinach Ginger Soup
Krithika - Mixed Vegetable Soup


Hasna - Hot and Sour Soup
Smitha - Tomato Carrot and Bottlegourd Soup


Meghna - Vegetarian Pasta e Fagioli
Urmila - Asparagus Soup


Supriya - Veggie Noodle Soup
Supriya - Roasted Red Pepper Carrot Soup


Chitra and Dibs - Horse Gram Thin Soup
Usha - Spinach Orange Soup


Usha - Bone Soup
Ila Nila - Celery Soup


Sameena Pratap - Sweet Corn Veg Soup


Do check out the current event - Show Me your Summer Cooler! going on now at Dil Se..

Paneer Butter Masala - Version II

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhani is a signature Indian curry made with Paneer or Indian cheese. This tastes best with homemade paneer. I usually make PBM according to this recipe, but this version is richer due to the addition of cashews. You can never go wrong with this recipe. It is so easy to make this and tastes delicious with naan or rotis or chapatis or any kind of rice!

This curry is similar to other paneer gravies, except that, it is more rich due to butter and the gravy is thickened by using onions, tomatoes and cashew paste rather than just cream. I omitted the cream, since I felt the gravy was already rich with the addition of butter and cashews.

Ingredients
Onion - 1 medium sized
Tomato - 2 medium sized
Paneer - about 250 grams
Butter/Ghee - 2 tablespoons
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Green chillies - 2
Green peas - 1/2 cup(optional)
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin/Jeera powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Cashews - around 10 to 12
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Directions
  • In a kadai heat 1 teaspoon of oil and add chopped onions and saute for about two minutes until they start getting brown in color. Then add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute until the raw smell goes away. Then add the diced tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes turn mushy. Switch off the stove and allow the mixture to cool.
  • When the mixture gets to room temperature, add this mixture to the mixie along with the cashews and blend into a smooth paste.
  • In a kadai, add the butter and add the cumin seeds. once they start spluttering, add the blended onion-tomato mixture and saute until the raw smell goes away. Add the turmeric powder, cumin-coriander powder, garam masala and chilli powder and salt. Mix together and saute for about a minute.
  • At this point, add the diced paneer and saute until the mixture coats the paneer. Also add the peas if using. Green peas is usually added only in mutter paneer and not in paneer butter masala. but I like the fact that the peas adds a little more color and sweetness to the dish. Allow to cook for a minute and then add half cup of water. You can substitute the water with heavy cream or a little milk. However keep the heat low so that the milk doesn't curdle. I just added water.
  • Cover with a lid and allow the gravy to simmer on low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes until the paneer absorbs all the spices and the flavor. 

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with your favorite side. I served this delicious curry with green peas pulao!

Almond Meal Cookies

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
It is Sweet Punch time of the month again! We are celebrating our one year anniversary and we were allowed to bake any item of our choice! We have been baking pizzas, wholewheat almond cookies,  fruit crumbles, molten lava cakes and many more interesting bakes! I chose to adapt Martha Stewart recipe this month and bake this delicious almond meal cookies. They were perfect for tea time and they tasted very much like the chinese almond cookies served at restaurants after meals.

 They are so easy to put together and can also be made with fresh almonds instead of almond meal. I just had a pack of almond meal from TJ's waiting to be finished up and hence used it in this recipe.

Ingredients
Almond meal - 1 cup
Unsalted butter (at room temperature) - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Egg - 1
Finely grated orange zest - 1 teaspoon
All purpose flour/maida - 1 cup
Baking soda - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon

Note: If using whole almonds instead of the almond meal, toast 1 cup of almonds in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 5 to 6 minutes. Allow it to cool and pulse in a food processor until finely powdered. Do not over process as it might turn into almond butter.

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer or with a whisk until it turns fluffy. Add the whole egg and the orange zest and continue beating until it turns into a smooth mixture.
  • In another bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together - the flour, almond meal, salt and baking soda.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
  • Grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using 1 level tablespoon per cookie, roll dough into balls. Place on prepared sheets, at least 1 inch apart. Using the floured end of a thick wooden spoon handle (or your thumb), press lightly in the center of each cookie. Place a whole almond or sliced almonds in each indentation.
  • Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly; transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Enjoy with tea or as a dessert!

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