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Apptizers from around the world

Sep 012013
Turkey Burger with Hatch chilies

Turkey Burger with Hatch chilies


The onset of fall and the slight nip in the air at night makes you reach out for that soft cashmere stole, wrap it around and take a stroll. Summer isn’t officially over yet. It will be soon! And as much as I want to hold on to the last bit of Summer sun and long and lazy days, I can’t help but wait for Autumn to set in. It is the season of Hatch chilies as my friend Karen, over at Savoury Table, calls it.  Her recipe for Green Chile, Cheese and Onion Dip is a smoky goodness.  I made a batch of it and it was gone in NO time!

So to mark the season I got a big bag of the hatch chilies in their hottest avatar and set to work. The first one was this Turkey burger with hatch chilies mixed in. So I mixed some in some ground turkey for a burger lunch. These burgers do not require a lot of time or work. Some lean ground turkey meat, a few of the hatch chilies for the kick and flavor, a little bit of spice and then you bake them. Hey, I know summer isn’t over yet, but the ease of cooking these in the oven is simply too good to resist.

turkey burger


Topped with some mint and cilantro chutney, paired with a salad of your choice these burgers make a satisfying meal. I did not miss the bread, but if you do want to eat a proper burger– go for your favorite kind of bread or bun and relish the taste of hatch chiles with the turkey.

Turkey burger

Turkey Burger with Hatch chilies


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 hatch chilies chopped
  • 1/4 C chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 C finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 large egg


  1. Mix all the ingredients.
  2. Shape into patties.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400*F for 10 minutes.
  4. Then turn and bake for another 10 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 - 170 is reached.
  5. Enjoy with some chutney or in a burger.


Aug 022013

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

When I said that Ina Garten rekindled my passion for cooking in this first Ina Friday Post  I didn’t mention that a teeny tiny reason was that she showed me recipes that were quick and easy and  yet so delicious.  Take this Tomato and Goat cheese tart for instance.  It’s simple easy and way too delicious. I have made it a number of times. Here is Ina’s recipe  and it is a hit each time I make it for guests.  But for today, my daughter made one that she likes.  She wanted to bake something ( blame it on dog days of summer ) and I asked her if she would like to bake this. So out went the onions and the wine and in came the easier method of cutting rounds with a cookie cutter.  We used fresh herbs from our kitchen garden and this beautiful tart was our picnic snack.

I love being part of this fantastic group of bloggers who love Ina as much I do.  To see what rest of the Ina fans are cooking in August , do visit these great blogs –

More Time at the Table  , Moveable Feasts , My Picadillo,  My Catholic Kitchen , There and Back Again

Bizzy BakesTherockymountainwoman,  Simple Nourished Living , Lady8Home , Just A Girl from aamchi Mumbai, Pantry RevisitedRia’s Collection


Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart – Ina Garten Fridays


  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • olive oil
  • a pinch of garlic salt
  • Salt to taste
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices


  1. Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square.
  2. Using a cookie cutter, cut out circles of pastry dough.
  3. Place the pastry circles on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
  6. Crumble a little goat cheese on top of the Parmesan. Add in a bit of oregano
  7. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt, salt, and pepper.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Apr 052013


Grilled Herb Shrimp

Ina Garten  – The woman who rekindled my passion for cooking.  It was a very boring rainy afternoon in the Keystone  resort.  Boring because it was almost fall but not quite the colorful fall, it was not winter yet and we were at a ski resort doing nothing because it was raining with lightening and thunderstorms.  With the kid being a tiny elementary schooler then, who religiously fell asleep at nap times, I had nothing better to do than flip the TV on and watch something, anything.  This story is from when I first moved to the US and TV as a ritualistic watching had not yet ingrained in my system.

On the screen was this warm personality who was cooking for someone coming over to her house.   And the way she went  about the business of cooking on TV, made me yearn to go back home and be with my mom.  My love for Ina and her books and shows started on that boring, rainy day in Keystone.


Grilled Herb Shrimp

So now you can understand why I am so thrilled about this blog group. It’s all about Ina. The first Friday of every month,  we will  blog one course using an Ina Garten recipe.     Each food blog will feature a recipe on the same day.  So most of the time we won’t know until the last minute if more of us are making the same recipe.  I am thinking one of these days we may all be posting the same recipe ! That would quite interesting! For today’s post I made the Grilled Herb Shirmp.  It’s quick, flavorful and so easy to put together.

Featured below are the wonderful bloggers who are on this journey with me –


Grilled Herb Shrimp – Ina Garten Fridays

Grilled Herb Shrimp – Ina Garten Fridays

Recipe adapted from Food Network


  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion
  • 2 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs fresh basil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • a dash of ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 Lb shrimp peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the onion, garlic, parsley, basil, mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. You don't need a paste, just a whizz or two to make a mince. Alternately mince the onion, garlic and herbs and mix with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Add in the shrimp and leave it at room temperature for at least an hour.
  3. Heat a grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Brush the rack or pan with vegetable oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking.
  5. Skewer 5 to 6 shrimp on a skewer
  6. Grill the shrimp on each side, until opaque and lightly charred, about 1 1/2 minutes.

 Posted by on April 5, 2013 at 1:47 PM  Tagged with:
Mar 252013


“Food is humanitarian: sharing it bridges cultures, making friends of strangers pleasantly surprised to learn how much common ground they ultimately share.” ―Anthony Beal

Food is how I met Barb, the creator of the wonderful blog-  Creative Culinary  .  She started The Front Range Food Blogger group for the local bloggers to get together and meet and talk about food, eat food, shoot food and make everything about food the biggest deal.  I met her and many other  talented local food bloggers. The journey to know them, learn from them and with them has been wonderful.

A few days ago, Barb asked me to fill in for her at her blog.  She is dealing with a lot of stuff right now and this is the least I could do to enable her to take a moment to breathe deep.   Along with prayers for her and her family,  hop on over to her beautiful blog to enjoy the story behind why this dish is called the schoolyard shrimp and to get the recipe for this simple, yet delicious shrimp 65 dish.



Barb’s blog is the one stop blog for everything creative.  If cooking is not your thing, you MUST hop on over and read her Friday posts to get your sip on.  Amazing cocktails, breathtaking photos and wonderful content.


 Posted by on March 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM  Tagged with:
Mar 202013


As I sit to write this post, I am feeling nostalgic. Kabargah is a dish that features in all our major celebrations and as we have established by now, all our celebrations begin and end with food as the main focus.  More than a couple of decades ago, when Kashmir was still the peaceful paradise, and I was still a child with a bright future and so much potential ( or so my parents thought), major celebrations in Kashmir were celebrated very traditionally.  I would look forward to these celebrations or ‘saal’ as we call them. Saal means an invitation and it also means a celebration.  The Saal is a sight to behold for the serving of the meal is a ceremony by itself.


Rows of people sit together, a long fabric is spread for the thaal (plates) to be placed on. Imagine it to be a place-mat, only that it is placed on the plush Kashmiri silk/wool carpets and spreads out for a couple of dozen people at one go. A beautiful Tasht – t – Nari  is presented and the guests wash their hands. Are you re- reading this?  Yes the guests are seated when they wash their hands.  You can close that open mouth now! 😉

After the guests have washed their hands, the food is served one dish after the other. The volunteer servers, who are usually close friends and family, bring in food and serve it. One of the dishes served is the Kabargah.

Ribs of young lamb or goat, cooked in milk and spices then fried in ghee (clarified butter). The key is to have them fork tender with the boiling and crispy and juicy with the frying.  It is an art form and here is my recipe.


Kashmiri Kabargah – Fried Lamb Ribs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Kashmiri Kabargah – Fried Lamb Ribs


  • 2 pounds Lamb ribs ( I used a rack of lamb but traditionally only ribs are used)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups milk and 1 Cup water – mixed together
  • 1 tsp garam masala ( Use Zafrani Garam Masala by Shan - it's the closest thing to my blend)
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • Salt
  • 1 star anise ( 1 tsp fennel powder - the traditional way)
  • For yogurt batter :
  • 4 Tbs yogurt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Ghee for frying ( begin with half a cup ghee)
  • Salt.


  1. Bring the 6 cups of water to boil and add in the ribs. Continue to boil until the brownish riffraff floats to the top.
  2. Remove this riffraff with a spoon and throw it away. Continue until you don't see it floating to the top anymore.
  3. Now drain the water and wash the meat under a spray of water.
  4. Bring the milk and water mix to a boil.
  5. Add in the meat , salt, asafoetida, the garam masala and the star anise or the fennel powder and cook on slow heat until the meat is fork tender.
  6. The timing for this will depend on the quality of meat.
  7. The better quality ribs will be done before the milk evaporates and for others you may need to cook almost until the milk evaporates and then some more.
  8. Once the meat is tender, remove from the milk, and let drain on a wire rack.
  9. Mix the yogurt with a little salt, chilli powder and garam masala. dip the boiled ribs in this mix. Keep on a wire rack for a few minutes.
  10. Heat up some ghee in a pan and fry the ribs, a few at a time. Ensuring you don't overcrowd the pan.
  11. When they are nice and golden crisp , you know they are ready.


If you are pressed for time, you may first pressure cook the ribs for a few minutes and then cook them in milk and spice.

If your butcher refuses to hand over just the ribs, go ahead and make this with chops.


Feb 062013

Colorful, zesty and full of flavors, black bean & cucumber salsa is my go to salsa.  A few months ago I cooked a Mexican themed dinner for my friends. I made the  black bean & cucumber salsa to go with chips. While one of my friends gave us all a facial, (Yes, we do that kind of stuff ! ) we sipped wine and ate salsa.



My friend Tina loved this salsa instantly.  She wasn’t a fan of the hotter one I made with mangoes, but this she loved!  She has recreated this in her kitchen a few times since and so have I. It’s quick if you use canned beans, it’s super easy and is very flavorful.  Salsa making should be fun and this sure is!

There is really no recipe for it, just mix in a few things and Voilà! Serve it with grilled fish or chicken for a complete meal or have it by itself for an appetizing salad or make this into a dip for the baked tortilla cups.

Black Bean & Cucumber Salsa

Black Bean & Cucumber Salsa


  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup chopped English cucumber
  • 1/4 C diced tomato
  • 1/4 C finely chopped shallots
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno/ Thai chili
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin


  1. Drain the beans and give them a quick rinse.
  2. Then let drain again.
  3. Take a medium sized bowl, add in all the ingredients. Carefully mix once or twice.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors come together.