Perfect Pasta with Mushrooms

Some time ago when I had posted the Jamie Oliver Cheat’s Fresh Pasta recipe a friend of mine had asked about the pasta with mushrooms that I had made when she was visiting. While I was meandering through the grocery store (which is what happens when I leave my list at home) I saw a box of mixed mushrooms and figured why not.

And I am so glad that I did. I had forgotten just how incredible this simple dish can be. I usually make this with the meatier Portobello mushrooms, but today I picked up a mix of shiitakes, chanterelles and baby portobellos and it was perfect for a spring day. Flavorful,  but not too over the top, satisfying yet I could still move from point A to point B after. This recipe is a modified version of a Jamie Oliver recipe that I tried several years ago and have made countless times since. The original recipe is at the food network site here – yes, I am a gigantic wimp and scaled down the red chilli. Those dried red chillies are really spicy okay! Do I get points for increasing the garlic? Well, given what it does for this dish, I certainly think I should 🙂

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Zucchini and Corn Pancakes

You know how when the sun shines fiercely down and you feel a mild burning sensation from its rays – I love it. I revel in it, I embrace it, and let’s be honest it is the only reason that I am not deathly pale for a few months of the year. And those days are here – woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a warm weather baby, born in the desert, raised in a hot city by the sea. I was not designed for winters. And rain? Rain in my mind was a stupendous deluge that is heavy and oddly warm and lasts for a few days, just enough to flood the streets, knock out the power, and inspire my mother to go on a ‘pakora’ frying frenzy.

Point is welcome back Mr. Sun, you have been sorely missed! Warm days are here again and for Zara and I that means playing outside every day and after hours of being outside a curry does not always cut it. These Zucchini and Corn Pancakes – they really do. The original recipe is from King Arthur Flour, but I came across it on the lovely Girl Versus Dough blog here. Check out her amazing collection of recipes and drool worthy photos!

I have been making Zucchini Latkes for a long time, but the secret to a good latke is draining the moisture out of the zucchini which means it does take some time. These zucchini pancakes were a breeze though, took me 15 minutes to throw together, and made for a lovely dinner with some salsa and sour cream. They are also part of my continued efforts to get Zara to try something new – I wish I could say she wolfed a stack down, but she ate one without complaining and for my tot that is practically a miracle.

When I made some for myself I snipped very small pieces of green chillies on top and loved that touch of spice. If I was not making them for Zara as well I may have felt the urge to add a liberal dose of hot sauce. Feel free to add those in or omit, whatever floats your boat.

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Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Guys, I don’t know if you have noticed, but I have been a little off baking recently. Turns out everything that was on my ‘to bake’ list had copious amounts of chocolate in it and I am still recovering from the luxurious flourless chocolate cake here.

Anyway, it was only natural that I turn to my second favorite baked goods flavor – lemon. It was only a matter of time that I decided upon this recipe here  and tweaked it only a little to produce a delicately flavored lemon cookie that went oh so well with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Now I don’t usually even drink tea in the afternoons, but with a cookie like this it seemed very much in order. Even my tot who several times during the baking process announced that she did not like lemon cookies and wanted to make ‘chap-e-chip’ (chocolate chip) cookies fell in love with these. A little too much so as I found out when I turned around and discovered that where there once were 4-5 cookies stacked on a plate there was now nothing, but crumbs.

This is not a puckeringly sour lemon cookie, but a more gently flavored one that seems to get better as it sits out for a little bit. I had almond extract handy so I used half that and half vanilla extract because I find that in ‘lemony’ things it adds an extra note of brightness.

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Tomato Cut – a perfectly tangy side dish

I think I really like tomatoes. As in really. Yesterday I slow roasted a pint of cherry tomatoes with salt, pepper and thyme at 330 for about 40 minutes and then ate them like candy. The intent was to make a ‘tart’ with puff pastry, goat cheese and oven roasted tomatoes, but then my love for tomatoes clearly got in the way. There is a lesson to be learnt here folks – next time, I will roast two pints of cherry tomatoes.

One of my husband’s close friends is currently in town and when Ali asked him what he would like to eat all he asked for was Pakistani food because he has not had any since he was here back in November. With a free rein and my tomato obsession in mind I decided to make a simple pea pilaf ( cumin seeds, whole red chillies sautéed in minimal oil, equal amounts of peas and rice, half a chicken stock cube for every cup of rice) and with it my favourite Pakistani tomato dish, the oddly named Tomato Cut. This is my mother’s recipe and although I have tried several variations on it, I love it best as is. By which I mean I have made only minor changes. Sometimes that Mama Jafri is not so accurate in how she writes recipes down. Additionally, for the blog I try and keep the recipes in measuring spoon measurements and when my mother says a teaspoon she means the kind you would stir sugar into your tea with. Very different you see.

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Tomato Cut is a Hyderabadi dish and since I am pretty sure neither my mother nor her mother are from Hyderabad I cannot make any claims as to the authenticity of the dish. All I can say is this: it is tangily satisfying, equally good warm or cold (great do-ahead), and one of those dishes which somehow never makes it way to the realm of leftovers.

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