Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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Ratatouille and Garlic-Lemon Spaghetti

To kick-start the long weekend, I recreated one of my most favorite recipes from the blog, Ratatouille. This time, I served it with wonderful lemon-garlic spaghetti and French bread-sticks.  Dinner was done at 6pm. Do I need a bigger validation?!
ratatouille2
The spaghetti recipe has been adapted from Giada’s Lemon Spaghetti and edited some. Here is the recipe:

Lemon-Garlic Spaghetti

Ingredients:
Half lb spaghetti or any long pasta

One third cup olive oil

Quarter cup lemon juice

A hand-full Italian blend cheese

Two pods garlic, finely grated

A pinch chili flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Quarter cup basil, finely torn

Recipe:
Cook the spaghetti according to the package. Save half a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cheese, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Return the spaghetti to the pan, add the sauce. If the pasta is too thick, add the pasta water gradually until it reaches the desired consistency. Mix in the basil and serve warm with ratatouille and bread-sticks.
ratatouille
It probably took me longer to click pics than eat. I would call it a job pretty well done, won’t you? Happy Labor day, stay safe!


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Off the Pizza Pan

My quest for making good quality pizza started the minute I watched Bobby Flay toss that pie on his barbecue grill one sleepy winter day. It was an old episode of Boy Meets Grill and Bobby was grilling away with the finesse only a well-seasoned chef is acquainted with. This time, instead of watching the pizza (topped with everything meat, signature Flay) sizzle, I realized that I must try baking a pie. Its been ten months since I watched the episode and I am proud to say that I am five Pizza Pies old.

Anyway, Monday was a cold day, huge surprise! My pizza base dough (courtesy Giada De Laurentiis) had been basking in the refrigerator for two days. Hence, it was only natural for me to bring it out and bake that pie. I had some home-made Paneer (cottage cheese) in the pantry which I marinated, in homage to the Paneer Tikka pizza we used to order back home from Pizzaurant, Chennai: the best Pizza place in the city.

So I started by marinating the Paneer in curd, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon Garam Masala, a teaspoon Chili Powder (cayenne pepper will work) and a teaspoon turmeric powder for two hours. Next, I chopped one small onion, half a bell pepper, half a Jalapeño and grated two large bulbs of garlic.

I then rolled out the base on a well-oiled and flour dusted pizza pan. After this, I added some mozzarella cheese to the pan, arranged the marinated Paneer, onion, bell pepper and garlic. I topped this with some more cheese (it may seem like I used a lot of cheese but in reality, it took less than half a cup to make this pizza delicious) and finished by sprinkling some salt, red pepper flakes, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil. The pie went into a 450 F (230 C) pre-heated oven for 15 minutes and came out bubbly, crispy and completely beautiful.

 


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For the Love of Baking

I admit it. I am a compulsive baker. I love my ancient yet awesome oven and all the scintillating smells it can create when I am in the mood for it. When I first moved here, new to the country and my home, I took an oath: I will venture anywhere in this new land but I will never dare to open my oven to cook food. A few of my friends use it as a storage space of sorts and I actually thought it was a novel idea. Thank god I changed my mind!

Hours of watching Food Network and Cooking Channel actually made me curious about the forbidden territory that lay behind the dark door under my stove. For some reason, I hadn’t found the heart to stack my pots there so it lay hollow, like an empty cave. During one of our grocery escapades a month after the relocation, I found a packet of Betty Crocker’s SuperMoist cake mix on sale and decided to grab it.

Since then, it has been a journey for me. I read up some oven tactics on the internet and the Food Network website has always been a guide to me. My culinary gurus, Ina Garten and Giada De Laurentiis have never given up on mentoring me (of course, they would be surprised to know that!) For a haphazard cook like me,  I have had it pretty easy so far. First of all, I took Ina’s advice seriously.  Quantity is really the key to baking. Hence, I decided to move up a step by abandoning my faithful little coffee cup measuring device (I know Rachael Ray did). Lucky for me, I found an inexpensive plastic set at a local store. I didn’t want to give up baking but I was not very keen on taking giant steps either.

Oh, I remember the day so well! To celebrate my black cups, I made biscuits. Apart from a charred stray that set off the fire alarm, the rest of it was crisp, delicate and wonderful. So I have moved a few phases. Right now, I have a well stocked baking pantry and a couple of basic baking pans. I have a whisk that I use to mix pretty much everything. So in case, if you are planning to start baking after this “inspirational” blog, here is a small list of things you need in your kitchen:

Oven mits (keep those hands safe!)

Measuring cups (very very VERY important!)

Couple of basic baking sheets

Aluminum foil sheets

Tongs

Whisk (for desserts in which you use dry and wet ingredients)

Baking soda

Baking powder

Vanilla essence

All-purpose flour (Maida)

Sugar

Butter

Eggs

Of course, I am still a beginner and making scones or croissants is a pretty far away dream to me. But I am hoping to get there. There are so many awesome bakers in this country so I am hoping that being in their radius will rub some of their goodness on me. Anyway, I’ll post a couple of my favorite recipes the next time. They are easy and delicious. Until then, look for a packet of Betty Crocker, Pillsbury or Cadbury cake mix in your local store and have fun. May the baking begin!

Ps: People in India can use the perfectly beautiful alternative for the oven there: the OTG. I bought one for my mother from Vivek’s (this is not the exact one but the closest one I could find) and it is amazing!