Friday, November 18, 2011

On a break

Taking a vacation in India, will try to post something soon :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Floral Arrangement

Can you guess what I used for this flower arrangement. After I picked Gongura(sorrel) leaves from the stems for chutney, I didn't feel like throwing them away. They were so pretty and had such a bright color. I just placed them in vase with other flowers. Doesn't it look beautiful!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gongura(Sorrel Leaves) Mint Chutney

There is no introduction needed about Gongura chutney or pachadi to Andhrites :). But to all others it's the famous sorrel leaves chutney from AP, India. This is my Mom's recipe and I grew up eating it. Rather than using only Gongura, my Mom mixes it up with mint. The combination of tangy Gongura leaves and fresh mint works really well. With the Gongura I picked up from Indian store and mint from my backyard I whipped up this delicious, mouth-watering chutney today to go with plain rice and ghee. Not only taste but from nutrition perspective too Gongura scores high, the leaves are rich in iron and anti-oxidants. 

- Pick Gongura and Mint leaves from the stems (can be done a day before to save time)

What you need:
(serves 4 people)
3 cups of tightly packed Gongura leaves
1 cup tightly packed Mint leaves
4-5 garlic cloves
4-5 dry red chilies (change depending on how much heat you can take it)
1 tbsp oil
8-10 peanuts
1/3 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
Salt to taste

Steps to follow:
  1. Wash Gongura and Mint leaves together in a colander and drain the water.
  2. Heat a skillet and add oil.
  3. When oil is hot, add cumin seeds, chilies, garlic, peanuts and turmeric. Roast them for less than a minute.
  4. Add washed leaves to the skillet and keep the stove on medium heat.
  5. Keep stirring as leaves starts to wilt.
  6. Cook this mixture for 2-3 minutes until the leaves are completely wilted. Add salt.
  7. Switch off the heat and let the mixture cool down.
  8. Using a blender make this into a coarse paste.
  9. I also add some fresh chopped onions to this chutney just before serving.
  10. Tastes great with hot rice and ghee.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mendocino County

Private beach of  the B&B we stayed in
Mendocino - The name itself sounds very magical, isn't it J . Mendocino county in California is such a beautiful and romantic place. Stunning Pacific coast Highway 1 runs pretty much all through the county. Gorgeous coastal villages, gigantic redwoods, wineries, scenic drives all sum up to Mendocino. 
We visited there in mid of June and the weather was perfect. We stayed in a cute, little Bed and Breakfast which has a private beach. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a glass of wine and cookies. What more can you ask !!! Most of these B&Bs do not have TVs or internet and area has no cell phone coverage. So, it's a true getaway from your everyday life J. The view from our room was spectacular and we could hear waves crashing on the beach. We didn't take much pictures as we were busy relaxing. 
Bottom line, if you are in Northern California, Mendocino is an easy access to a perfect soothing weekend for couples. When you get a chance do give it a try. It's a mild climatic region but check out the weather before you plan.

Waterfall by the beach (low tide)

Scary looking stairway to beach, but it works fine :)

View from the room

Breakfast in bed