Yes, I was supposed to post a recipe for Valentines day, but that didn't happen. Not because of the lack of trying, but simply because the truffles that I had planned on making was headed for the dud recipe files even before the filling cooled. The initial plan was to make some scented truffles with a white chocolate center and into a saucepan went 2 bars of good white chocolate (NOT the fake white chocolate morsels that Ghirardelli is being hauled to court for), 1/4 cup heavy cream... melted beautifully, extra aroma added via 2 pods worth of crushed cardamom and one star anise.. mmm (the kitchen was beginning to smell great) until the addition of 2 teaspoons of that classic brand of Indian herbal sharbat - Rooh Afza.
It was as if the world completely did a turn around.. A synthetic aroma of 'natural flavors' suffused the kitchen and .... as Forest Gump would say 'and that was the end of that'. The resulting color , it reminded me of that denture fixing compound that is supposed to match those of your gums. 'Nuff said!
So here I was .. No recipe, no post, and no Valentine either (the other half is in India right now). Perfect opportunity for baking a carb loaded bread for the 'We knead to bake' post that follows this this one.
Aparna Balasubramanian's recipe for croissants was simply perfect, and I just had to share this. Took some of the pastries over to my friends place and stayed over for a casual dinner. She had made a delicious healthy Quinoa pilaf paired with cucumber tsatziki, that simply bowled me over. As she was describing the recipe, all I could retain in my head was quinoa, caramelized onions, and curry powder. (was too engrossed in enjoying every forkful).
The key ingredient in this dish is the Curry powder. As much as many puritan Indian cooks disown this 'mutt' of a spice blend, it can and does come in handy for many a dish. So despite any misgivings, go ahead & buy yourself a small jar.
I also had a bunch of uber fresh green from baby beets that were simply asking to be cooked, so sauteed them separately with a clove of garlic and a handful of walnuts thrown in.
Quinoa Pilaf with curry powder. (recipe credit: Jyoti Ananth)
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water
1 large onion, halved & thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
1 green bell pepper , finely chopped
1 - 1.5 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne chile powder OR paprika (as per taste)
salt to taste
2 -4 tablespoons olive oil (depends upon how crispy & caramelized you want the onions)
Cilantro for garnish.
Lemon wedges for serving.
Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil. In the meantime, rinse the quinoa several times and add it to the water. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes until the water is absorbed and the seeds have sprouted a tail. Cover and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wide pan and add the onions. Saute on low heat and allow the onion to turn a light brown. Add the peppers at this point along with the turmeric, cayenne and curry powder. once the peppers wilt add salt as per your preference (remember, you need to account for the quinoa as well).
Cook down until most of the water from the peppers have evaporated and then add the cooked quinoa. Fold gently to combine the vegetables. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Garnish with cilantro Serve warm with a side of Raita, tsatziki, or plain sour cream. Spritz some lemon juice if you prefer.
Sauteed Green beets: (optional, but it paired very well with the Quinoa)
Fresh greens from 3 beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 handful of broken walnut pieces
salt & cracked pepper to taste
Wash the greens, cut off the stems, and pat it dry. Stack the leaves and roll into a 'cigar'. Using a sharp knife, cut the leaves into a fine chiffonade. Heat oil in a skillet and add the crushed garlic. Once the clove releases its aroma, add the walnuts and allow them to toast lightly . Add the greens ad saute until the leaves have wilted. grind some pepper and salt over the greens and remove the greens from the heat. Serve alongside the quinoa pilaf.