Ricotta Cheese Ice Cream With Roasted Strawberries (Eggless)

Serves 6-8 
 

IngredientsFor Roasted Strawberries:-

  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1-2 tbsp granulated sugar

For Ice Cream :-

  • 7 graham cracker sheets (or any digestive biscuits/oreo cookies)
  • 20 oz whole milk ricotta (about 2.5 cups), pasteurized
  • 1.5 cup heavy cream, pasteurized
  • 1 cup whole milk, pasteurized
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tbsp of vodka (optional, this reduces ice crystal formation while ice cream freezes)
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, cleaned & chopped into bits

Method

Roasting the Strawberries

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Position the oven rack to the middle. I use glass or ceramic baking dish but if using any other kind, line with parchment paper.

Thoroughly wash the strawberries under running stream of water.Dry them between folds of kitchen towel to completely remove any moisture. Cut each berry in half for larger berries or cut into quarters for smaller ones. Layer the cut berries in a single layer in the baking dish. Squirt fresh lemon juice & zest over the berries. Sprinkle the sugar. Roast the berries inside the oven for 25 -40 minutes or until the juices thicken, they become syrupy, but the edges of the berries do not burn. The time will depends on the size of the berries and whether they are at the edge of the pan (faster) or in the middle (slower).Keep an eye.

Remove roasted strawberries and juices & let cool to room temperature. Using a fork gently mash the berries. Save about 1/2  cup of these roasted berries to serve later with the ice cream (if you desire, else use the whole). If you want to make ice cream later, these roasted berries can sit in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Making the Ice Cream

Put the graham cracker sheets in a ziplock bag & pound using a rolling pin crush into fine bits. Set aside.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk together ricotta cheese and heavy cream until smooth. Add the milk, sugar, salt & vodka (if using). Stir to combine. Fold in the roasted berries (prepared above) along with crushed graham crackers. Pour the ricotta mixture into an ice cream maker and churn/freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add the chopped strawberries  8-10 minutes before the end of freezing.

Alternatively you can pour the mixture into a glass/metal dish, stir in the chopped berries and freeze. You will need to stir the mix every 2 hours to slow for a creamy ice cream. Let freeze overnight or for at least 6 hours.

To serve

Using an ice cream scoop, places scoops of ice cream in the serving bowls, top up with fresh grated lemon zest, nuts,or reserved roasted berries.Serve immediately.

Notes/Variations :-

  1. Summer strawberries are quite sweet, so I added sugar accordingly. This recipe makes a faintly sweet ice cream. If your berries are tart or you prefer sweeter ice creams, increase the sugar quantity.
  2. This recipe can be used for any kind of berries or stone fruits.
  3. You can add few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar or maple sugar while roasting the strawberries for added flavors.

Aloo Keema – Minced Meat With Potatoes

Whenever I cook minced lamb, goat or chicken,we look forward to the leftovers more than ever. Having leftovers of such dishes is utterly comforting for the next couple of days, simply because the ways to eat them are plenty – garnish with lots of fresh herbs and tuck them inside rotis (flatbreads) or tortillas with pickled onions, stuff between buns or simply turn them into quesadillas.

This may well be the kind of dish which shouts home to me.The scent of spices and mince meat cooking together comes close to nothing. It is the kind of food which compels me to spend long hours in the kitchen, till I smell the exact aroma which I remember from my mom’s kitchen.Hearty, satisfying and with delicate flavors – at the end of cooking, it is so rewarding (especially with the leftovers).Anything with minced meat is so welcoming in itself, potatoes just make it better. The central pleasure for me here are those-earthy, creamy & dense – purely alleviating the entire experience.

Keema’ translates to any kind of minced meat in hindi. Aloo is potatoes.Hence the name. You can make its dryish or   soupy curry – slow cooked with all the spices. Tari vala keema is soupy keema curry which my kids love with pan(dinner rolls)

The list of spices is long but these are your everyday ones.It may look like a long method but the actual work isn’t much. Ofcourse, the oily keema is an indulgence reserved for once in a while. I make this recipe quite a lot during winter months.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb minced lamb/beef/chicken (I used 80-20 lamb)
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 7 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with canola/vegetable, reduce the quantity to 1/4 cup if you wish)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 little piece of nutmeg
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 2 ” cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2″ fresh ginger shoot, finely chopped
  • 1cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tsp kashmiri chili powder (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1-2 cups water (depending on how you like the consistency)
  • salt to taste
  • To garnish – chopped cilantro

Coarsely grind together:-

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (adjust to tolerance)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds

Method

  • In a cooking pot with lid,on high, heat up the oil till you see ripples on the surface and it smokes slightly.
  • Reduce the heat to medium.Temper the oil with bay leaf ,cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods nutmeg and dried chillies. Saute whole spices for 10-15 seconds. Add the onions next.Cook the onions till they turn light brown.About 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic & ginger next and saute for about 1 minute till you smell the aroma.
  • Next, add the coarsely ground spices to the pot.Toast the spices for another minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes next along with turmeric, kashmiri red chilli powder and chilli flakes.Cook for 3-5 minutes or till you see oil separating on sides of the pan.Add the minced meat next, break down with mixing spoon and mix together with spices. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot.Let cook covered for 10-15 minutes till you see that the water of the mince has nicely separated. 
  • Open the lid and turn heat to high and saute with a spoon for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat. The color of the meat will start to deepen and we want to bhuno it (to give it a smoky flavor).Do not worry, everything is going as per plan.
  • Once 90 percent of the water has evaporated, reduce the heat to lowest, wait for 1-2 minutes and add yogurt and salt to the pot. Keep mixing continuously else the yogurt will curdle. The meat will again get watery but keep sautéing  for another 10-12 minutes until you see fat from the yogurt separating.
  • Once most of the water has evaporated again, add 1.5 – 2 cups water along with potatoes and check and adjust the salt. Turn the heat to the medium low cover the pot with lid and let simmer for about 18-20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Note : The cooking time will vary if you are using beef or chicken. Also, do not add too much water at the beginning because ground meats leave moisture as they cook.Add water at intervals as per the consistency you want.At the end of about 20 minutes of cooking you will see that oil separating from and change in color of the ground meat. Check that the potatoes are cooked through at this point. 

  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm with flatbreads, rice, pav etc & salad.

Mung Dal & Edamame Salad

Hope all of you had a lovely 4th of July. We took a little vacation to LA and Malibu.It was our first road trip ever & could not have been more fun.We spent a lot of time on beaches, sun bathing, chatting and eating fresh seafood. A visit to botanical gardens and theme park rounded off  the trip. All in all, LA was definitely a respite from the over the top hot weather in Vegas right now. Its 113 F/45 C as I type this 🙁

Breaking loose from almost a perfect vacation, our car refused to behave a couple of times in the middle of Mojave desert while driving back. Being 4th of July and with everything closed, we almost reached a point when we decided to stay over in nearby town for the night. However, thanks to few God sent personnel at gas stations,we managed way back home.

I normally don’t binge during vacations,still all the outside food makes me want to eat simple, clean meals for the days that follow. I came home wanting just that. This salad is my go to recipe for those days.

Yellow Mung lentils (dal) are de skinned whole mung bean and have a very mild taste. I have grown eating them in this dryish preparation either as a side with flat breads or mixed with ghee & rice as well as salad. Since yellow mung lentils are quick to cook, this salad can be fixed in no time.Once you cook the lentils, it’s just a matter of chopping the veggies and tossing everything together with lots of lemon juice. I added a handful of ready to eat edamame beans & there it was – a hearty, protein packed salad which is so light & summery. And yup..so healthy!

Did I tell you..this is my 150th post…kinda feels good 🙂

Lentils form a big part of indian cuisine – meals are far from complete without them – soups, fritters, flat breads, stews, patties…you will find them used in all ways imaginable. India being a vegetarian country, we get our daily protein dose from them. I cook lentils daily in some way or the other. P is more of a lentil soup person, I enjoy them either way.

I was introduced to edamame after I came to USA. I did not care for them much initially but knowing how good they are, now I try to include them in our diet as much as possible.I am still away from eating them all on their own but have found a perfect way to eat them this way – overshadowed by earthy taste of lentils & crunch of fresh vegetables – hardly making their presence felt.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1/2 cup yellow mung dal, split
  • 2 cups water (for soaking)
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with any oil of choice)
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin)
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3- 4 tbsp water (for cooking)

For the salad

  • 1/4 cup each chopped red onion,cucumber, tomatoes (use any veggies of choice in any quantity you like)
  • 1/4 cup edamame (I used ready to eat, if using raw, see note in method)
  • 4-5 fresh mint/cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 green chillies, finely chopped
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Olive Oil (to drizzle)
  • salt to adjust

Method

Cooking Lentils – Thoroughly wash the mung lentils 2-3 times under stream of water. Soak the lentils in 2 cups of water for atleast 2.5 -3 hours. Once soaked, drain out the soaking liquid. Set aside.

In a medium pot with lid, heat the oil on medium. Once you see ripples on the surface of the oil, reduce the heat to low. Temper the oil with jeera & hing. Wait for 10-15 seconds till the jeera crackles & you smell the aroma of hing. Add the minced ginger & turmeric powder next & saute for another 10 seconds.

Next, add the soaked lentils and salt to taste. Stir well to coat the lentils in the tempering. Add 3 tbsp of water to the pot and cover. Let cook on low heat for 8-12 minutes till the lentils are thoroughly cooked but retain their shape. You need to check 1-2 times in between to see that the lentils are not sticking to the pot bottom, if so, add a tbsp of water. Dont peek too much while the lentils cook, the idea is so steam them slowly on low heat.

Note :- If using fresh edamame beans, add them to the pot towards the last 3-4 minutes of cooking, so that they steam with the lentils.This will ensure that they remain green & crunchy. 

Once cooked, put the stove off and let the lentils & edamame sit covered for another 5-8 minutes till they cool down a bit. Fluff gently using a fork and let them cool off completely. At this point, if you want to make the salad later, you can refrigerate the lentils in air tight containers for 1-2 days. 

Assembling the Salad – In a medium bowl, toss the cooled lentils & edamame with the chopped vegetables, mint, cilantro & green chillies. Squirt lemon juice, add red pepper flakes, olive oil (if using) and salt to taste. Combine well and serve at room temperature.