Showing posts from May, 2013

Planning a weekend getaway at a cabin

In my last post, I talked about our relaxing getaway at a cabin surrounded by mountains in Maggie Valley. To make the actual vacation more relaxing, I knew I had to plan ahead. I planned the entire menu for the weekend and selected dishes that will require minimum effort but deliver maximum taste. I also prepared thepla and cake beforehand to take along because it is always good to have food on hand.
In this post, I wanted to write down the lists I made for grocery shopping, the food-related stuff I packed from home and the menu in detail. This would be a handy reference the next time we go on a similar trip.

Grocery shopping list
This list contains the perishable items that I did not want to bring from home. It had to include ingredients that can work in multiple dishes so that I do not have to buy a lot of stuff.
gallon jug of milk2 bell peppersdozen eggs1 bunch spinachbread10 tortillasfrozen pizza dough1 lemona bag of shredded cheese2 jalapenos1 can of black beans3 ears of corn2 oni…

weekend trip to the cabin in the woods

Well, not literally....but we did go to a beautiful cabin in maggie valley. It was just the vacation we needed. 2 days of total calm and relaxation, away from everything.
It all started with a search for cabins on where each cabin is more beautiful than the other. We were totally confused which one to select. We were finally able to pick one!
We planned to start on Saturday morning with the only goal of relaxing over the weekend. So no waking up early and all that stress. We started at around 11 in the morning. We reached Asheville right around lunch time at 1:15.

Asheville is the foodie heaven and a hippie town in the mountains. There is a restaurant at every corner there. We wanted to avoid downtown Asheville with the parking problems and the walk to a restaurant. So I found this hidden gem of a small restaurant , Cecilia’s Kitchen, away from downtown with its own parking lot. It is a small restaurant with a small parking lot but its a beautiful location with woods behind …

Pinto beans and nachos

Continuing the mexican themed party post, let me get to the beans and nachos. This is the first time I bought pinto beans. I always substituted kidney beans for pinto beans. Although the substitution works, the pinto beans have a slightly distinct, more mexican taste.

Mexican style pinto beans

I made a huge pot of these beans. And I had very little leftover. I did not expect the beans to be so popular at the party but everyone liked them a lot. I am writing the scaled down recipe.

Ingredients:1 cupdry pinto beans1bay leaf1 smallonion1 tspgarlic paste1deseeded jalapeno1 heaped tsptomato paste *see notes1/4 tspchilli powder1 tspcumin powder1/4 tspsmoked paprika *optional1/8 tspitalian seasoning *see notes1 tspcoriander powder1.5 tspsalt1/4 tspchana masala *see notesSoak the pinto beans for 5-6 hrs. Pressure cook the pinto beans with the bay leaf for 15 mins.Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the onions, garlic paste and chopped jalapeno. Saute for a couple of minutes.Add the tomat…

4 Bean Picnic Salad with carrots, cucumbers, peppers and mango

Last week, there was a picnic at my daughter's preschool. Everyone brought a dish to school and all the parents and children sat outside on blankets and had lunch. My daughter loved playing in the playground and eating popsicles and ice cream. She was not ready to leave. We had to carry her outside.
I wanted to make a side dish for the picnic which could be made ahead of time as I had also volunteered to help set up the picnic lunch. And as I have said before, I am not a morning person, specially when it comes to cooking. I wanted the dish to have some indian flavor as well.
This bean salad idea just came to me. I jotted down the idea because I knew I would forget it when the time comes to cook it a week later. 

Bean salad

This salad has 4 types of beans, lots of veggies and some fruit and a nice sweet and tangy dressing. It tastes better once it sits for a while in the refrigerator. So it is the perfect make-ahead dish. It also goes nicely with a light Indian meal. I made a huge…

Basic Mexican dips - salsa, pico de gallo with corn, guacamole

Continuing on the previous post where I promised the mexican party recipes. The most basic, very fresh and flavorful recipes for any mexican party are : salsa, pico de gallo and guacamole. I just love these dips and they are totally addictive with corn/tortilla chips.


Lets start with the simplest of the recipes. I have added some yogurt to the recipe to make it creamier and lighter at the same time. I also think it might have helped with keeping the guacamole bright green even the next day. i also left one avocado pit in the guacamole which is also said to help retain the color. I did not add garlic to guacamole to let the avocado and lemon taste take the mainstage.

Ingredients:4 mediumavocados *see notes1/2onion2jalapenos, seeded few sprigscilantro1 tspsalt1/2 tspcumin powder2-3 tsplemon juice2 tspthick yogurtPut the finely chopped cilantro, onions and jalapenos in a bowl.Add cubed avocado flesh to the bowl and mash everything up with a fork.Add the salt, cumin powder, lemon…

cinco de mayo party - nacho and brownie bar

Cinco de mayo literally means the 5th of May in Spanish. And I think it is just an excuse to have a Mexican themed party. I read that it is more popular in the US than in Mexico where it is celebrated in only one part to commemorate a small Mexican army defeating a larger French army.
I also needed an excuse to call friends over and make some nachos. So this was totally a last minute party. I was watching "The Chew" on Thursday where they were showing cinco de mayo themed recipes and I thought this is a great chance to make nachos. We called up our friends on Friday evening and I had less than 24 hours to put together a nacho bar and a brownie bar. Although I had done some of the shopping in the morning, it is not the ideal situation. But it was just a casual "friends over for snacks" type of party and I love challenging myself (but only in food-related situations)

So here's what I managed to make :
cooked salsaroasted corn pico de galloguacamolecheese saucepin…