(At the Coffee Shop)
Manisha: Hey! We are in the month of Valentine – kisses, Chocolates and Flowers! What are your plans on this Valentine’s Day?
Sarita: Ya, I am thinking of arranging something special for my loved ones. We have so many beautiful memories of this day and I want to make every year even more interesting that will stay with us as a fond memory.
Manisha: Sarita, it’s my first Valentine’s Day with my husband. I am really keen to hear from you your favourite Valentine’s Day memory. Did you cook any special food for him? Please, please share with me.
Sarita (Blushing): Every year is special my dear. Love has no limitations. However, this time, I want to make it special for the three of us, Rohan, me with our daughter. Every year, Rohan and I end up dining in a fine dine restaurant over a lavish spread and wine.
This year, I have a special plan for us. I am planning to cook at home some delicious Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto, Baked Vegetable and Chocolate Fudge Cake.
Manisha: Zucchini noodles! Haven’t noticed such a product in the super market.
Sarita: No my dear, it’s not the two minute noodles that we call the time saving supper. That is not a healthy meal, instead we are stuffing ourselves with all the potentially harmful chemicals which is going to seriously impact our health.
The dishes that I am talking about are simple, easy to cook, delicious to taste and also nutritious.
Manisha: Thanks dear. Whosoever said, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, has got it correct. I too am going to treat my hubby to something equally delicious and healthy. A good healthy heart is my gift to my hubby.
Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto (with Cottage Cheese/Shrimp/Lean meat)
1 ripe Avocado
1 cup packed fresh Basil leaves
1/4th cup unsalted shelled Pistachios
2 tablespoon Lemon juice
1/4th teaspoon ground Black Pepper
3 cloves Garlic, minced
¼ cup cold pressed Sesame (Til) oil or Olive Oil
Using a spiral vegetable slicer or a vegetable peeler, cut zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strands or strips. Stop when you reach the seeds in the middle (seeds make the noodles fall apart). Place the zucchini `noodles’ in a colander and toss with ½ teaspoon salt. Let it drain for 15 to 30 minutes, then squeeze to remove any excess water.
Meanwhile, combine avocado, basil, pistachios, lemon juice, pepper and the remaining 1/4th teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add 1/4th cup oil and process until smooth.
Heat one tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add Shrimp (for Non-vegetarians or any lean meat) or Cottage Cheese (for Vegetarians). Cook, stirring occasionally, until ready. Transfer to a large bowl.
250 gm Green Peas
1 small Cauliflower
2 Green Chillies
Small bunch of Coriander leaves
1 1/2 cup grated Cheese
1 cup Cream
1 cup Bread Crumbs
2 teaspoon Lemon juice
2 tablespoon Butter
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
For White Sauce:
3 tablespoon Flour
3 tablespoon Butter
3 cups Milk
1/4th teaspoon White Pepper
Pinch of Salt
To make White sauce:
Melt butter and add the flour and stir. Do not allow to brown. Lower heat and add milk. Stir well without any lumps. Cook on a higher flame until sauce thickens. Add pepper powder and salt. Take off the gas and let it cool.
To make the Baked Vegetable:
Fry chopped onion in butter. Par boil carrots, green peas, fried onions, potatoes, cauliflower florets, green chilies, coriander leaves, lemon juice, pepper and salt with white sauce for 5 minutes. Add cream and one cup of grated cheese to the par boiled vegetables and mix well. Pour into greased baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and the remaining grated cheese and bake at 180 degree Celsius until it turns light brown.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups powdered Sugar
1/4th cup Cocoa Powder
100 gm Chocolate (Dark Compound)
2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Expresso Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Milk
½ cup Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 cup Boiling water
125 gm Butter
½ cup Thick Cream
1 cup Brown Sugar
Pre heat oven to 180 degrees. Prepare the cake tins by greasing them. Mix chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee in the boiling water and let it cool. Also, sieve flour, baking powder and salt together. Add powdered sugar to it. Next, mix together oil, eggs, milk and vanilla essence.
Now, add the flour mix to the oil mix. Add chocolate mix to the above. Pour this mixture into the cake tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes or till the skewer comes out clean. Allow it to cool and unmold.
Beat butter with brown sugar in a mixing bowl for five minutes or until creamy. Add cream slowly, beating well after each addition until the frosting is thick. Spread evenly.