Every holiday I learn to cook a little smarter and plan efficiently. I always include appetizers that won’t take much effort without sacrificing the taste. A three or a four-ingredient recipe that looks good, saves time, and also is a crowd pleaser. This is one of those recipes that just looks beautiful on the platter with some cheese and crackers while adding some color and natural sweetness to your bites.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Bocconcini (baby, balls) – 20 (You can also use small mozzarella balls)
  • Olive oil – 2 Tablespoons
  • Rosemary (cocktail sticks, or trimmed, branches)- 20 sprigs ( I cut the springs in three different pieces)
  • Pineapple (fresh or from a tin) – ½ cup
  • Chili flakes (red pepper flakes) – 1/4teaspoon
  • Rosemary (chopped) – 1 Tablespoon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place the olive oil into a frying pan, add the rosemary and place over a low heat. Allow the oil to heat up and as soon it starts to shimmer, remove from the heat and pour the oil into a heatproof bowl.
  2. Drain the bocconcini balls and placing them in a separate bowl with the chili flakes. Shake gently to ensure each ball has a little chili on it, then set aside.
  3. Cut the pineapple into 20 small chunks. (or if using tinned just drain the pineapple)
  4. Place your frying pan back on the heat (no need to wash it) and add the pineapple. Cook over a high heat for 2 minutes then flip and cook on the other side for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and tip the pineapple into the warm rosemary oil. Allow to cool.
  6. Take your cocktail stick (or branch) and push on a baby bocconcini ball. Add a chunk of pineapple and set onto a platter.
  7. Cover and keep chilled until your party. Just remember to remove them from the fridge at least 15 minutes before you want to eat them.

https://www.yummly.com/recipe/Rosemary-Pineapple-Mozzarella-Bites-2658667

 

 

Golap Pitha

I have made these a while ago. The lady that I have learned from is my favorite of all the deshi people on youtube. Here is a shout out to Fouzia aunty. I have tried a lot of her recipes. Her techniques are very easy to follow and understand. I hope that whoever reads this also tries out a few recipes from her vlog on youtube. The taste and the presentation is very authentic and I am sure they will satisfy your deshi cravings. I have linked this recipe down below. For those of you who do not speak Bangla, it may help to watch the video as I have tried my best to explain the process of making the shape of the flower,  but it might have sounded a bit complicated when explained. Happy Cooking!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Flour – 1 cup
  • Milk- 1/2 cup
  • Egg beat -1
  • Olive oil- 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar- 2 Tbsp
  • Food color (optional) – Used to color the flowers

To make the Sugar Syrup:

  • Sugar-2 cup
  • Water- 1 cup

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a saute pan, pour the milk and wait for it to come to a boil. After which you can turn off the stove and pour in the oil and the sugar making sure to whisk it in. Beat the egg and add it to the mixture. Lastly, add the flour and mix vigorously and wait for it to cool down.
  2. After the mixture is cooled, form a dough and roll them out into big thin rounds. Take a cup or a round cookie cutter and cut out three circles (3 circles will make one flower).
  3. Stack the three circles on top of each other. Press down with your pinky finger in the middle of the stacked circles to attach them together.  Make three cuts leaving the middle portion intact. Lift one piece by holding the ends of the piece and press down towards the middle indent bringing together the two ends of the piece to form a cone in the middle which will be the middle of the flower. Lift another piece holding it by the two ends pressing it down alongside the other piece. Keep lifting all the pieces by the two ends of them and pressing down the corners to make it look like flower petals.
  4. After you are done making the shape make sure to press all the corners together well enough so that it doesn’t come undone when frying. Trim out the excess from the corner to give it a much more realistic look.
  5. In a frying pan on low heat cook these flowers until they are golden brown. Do not rush this process, as you want the flowers to cook thoroughly.
  6. To make the sugar syrup – on a separate saucepan bring the sugar and the water to boil. After frying the flowers let it sit on a paper towel to soak up the oil. Place the flowers in the sugar syrup under medium heat for about five minutes. Take them out and serve them warm. The flowers should be slightly soft and crispy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4iX0XACHLw

 

 

Tuna kabab

 

Growing up these kababs were one of the staple dishes made in our house. My mom would always ask me to help her with these as she made them in large batches. She would never let me go close to the stove but always involved me in shaping and handling food like this. There would always be a large batch of them leftover afterwards. These store in the fridge really well, I would suggest storing them in the freezer after you’ve fried them in oil.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Canned Tuna in Water – 4 cans
  • Russet or golden potatoes – 4 to 5 medium-sized
  • Garlic paste – 1 Tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Cayenne powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Ground black pepper – 2 tsp
  • Salt – To taste
  • Egg
  • Green chillies – 1 Tbsp
  • Onions (thinly sliced) – 1 cup
  • Cilantro – 1/4 cup
  • Oil – as needed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Firstly, peel and boil the potatoes cutting them in halves. On a separate bowl cool the potatoes and smash them.
  2. Drain the water out of the canned Tuna and saute it in about 4 tablespoons of oil. Add garlic paste and saute for another minute. Mix in turmeric, cumin, cayenne, coriander, ground black pepper, and cumin powder. Cook it in the oil for 10 minutes.
  3. On a separate bowl pour the mixture and let it cool. Add salt, egg, green chillies, onions, cilantro, and the mashed potatoes. Mix everything well so that it is homogenous.
  4. Make them into a round-shaped patty according to your preference ( i.e. big, small, thickness). In a deep set saucepan, deep fry the patties in medium heat oil, making sure that both sides are cooked equally.
  5. Serve with rice or by themselves as appetizers.

As we slipped into this self-quarantine at the beginning of March. The only meat we had at home was chicken breasts as usual. If anyone has similar ingredients at home, please give this one a try. It is so creamy and easy to prepare. I served it with bread at first but it is just as good with pasta. The recipe says it’s restaurant quality and it really is!

On a side note, I did not have parsley so I threw in some green onions on top with some cilantro. I also used beef stock instead of chicken but you can use water if you don’t have any of these. Feel free to substitute as you see fit.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Chicken Breast (2 large), or chicken tenders – 1 1/4 lbs 
  • Salt or to taste – 1/2 tsp 
  • Black pepper or to taste – 1/4 tsp 
  • All-purpose flour for dredging – 1/4 cup 
  • Olive oil – 2 Tbsp 
  • Unsalted Butter – 1 Tbsp 
  • Brown button mushrooms halved or thickly sliced if very large – 8 oz 
  •  Onion Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic Cloves Minced – 2
  • Dry Marsala Wine (not sweet) – 3/4 cup 
  • Chicken Stock reduced-sodium – 3/4 cup 
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – 1/2 cup 
  • Parsley Finely Chopped – 2 Tbsp 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise to make 4 even cutlets. Place between plastic wrap and pound until 1/3″ thick. Season chicken all over with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, dredge in flour (shaking off the excess), and then set aside.

  2. Add more oil to the pan if needed along with mushrooms and saute until excess liquid from mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms are golden brown (5 min). Stir in 1/2 tsp onion powder and 2 minced garlic cloves and saute another 30 seconds or until fragrant.

  3. Add 3/4 cup marsala wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat and cook until mostly reduced down (4-5 min) then add 3/4 cup chicken stock and while stirring add 1/2 cup heavy cream in a steady stream. Lower the heat to keep at a simmer and continue to simmer and reduce sauce another 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Season sauce with 1/4 tsp salt or season to taste.

  4. Return chicken to pan and sprinkle the tops with 2 Tbsp chopped parsley. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and keep on the heat until heated through and the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency (2 minutes). Keep in mind, the sauce will thicken more as it cools.

https://natashaskitchen.com/chicken-marsala-recipe/

This was my first girls trip ever. I had to live up to my cooking expectations from my girls. The pressure was on, we have been going in circles trying to come up with a simple dish that didn’t involve too many ingredients. All of a sudden I spotted this beautiful big juicy mango and something in my head just seemed to feel right. We picked up the mango and everything else that was needed. Both of my friends enjoyed it so much that I had to put this up on the blog. Here is the recipe for both, Lisa and Shannon 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Baby spinach – 8 cups
  • Couscous – 1 cup
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, divided – 1/2 cup
  • Extra-virgin olive oil 1 Tbs
  • Salt, divided – 3/4 tsp
  • 1 large mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Mushrooms – 1 cup
  • Chopped red onion –  1/4 cup
  • 1/2 jalapeño chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • Fresh lime juice – 1Tbs

DIRECTIONS:

I did not have a grill out there, so I cooked everything on the stove top. If you want to use your grill. Please follow the recipe below.

  1. Place 2 cups spinach and the mushrooms in a pan and cook well.
  2. On a saucepan combine couscous with 1/4 cup water. Cook it following the directions on the packet.
  3. Combine shrimp, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another pan, after that is cooked mix the shrimp with the cooked spinach and simmer them for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Combine remaining 1/4 cup cilantro with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, mango, avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeño and lime juice in a bowl.
  5. Place the couscous on a serving dish, top it off with the mango salsa and the cooked spinach and shrimp on top.

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shrimp-with-avocado-mango-salsa-365851