Perfect Menu for a Perfect Valentines Day Dinner…

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Everybody has their version of a “perfect meal” for Valentines Day. Our idea of a perfect Valentines Day dinner would be something that is delicious, easy to prepare, and most importantly lets you enjoy the special night with your partner.

The key is to cook something simple that can be prepped in advance so all you have to do is pop it in the oven or heat it before serving. You do not want to be cooking a meal in the middle of your romantic date that you have planned for your partner and most importantly you want to enjoy this special day with your partner.

Quick Tips that can help you plan your special meal:

  • Choose a theme and plan your menu around it
  • Think of dishes that can be made in advance
  • Food only tastes as good as it looks so think about how you’d like to present it
  • Create a little bit of an ambiance by bring out your best China, those fancy wine glass and some scented candles
  • Keep it simple – you rather have 1 perfect dish than 3 Okay dishes

This year we are thinking of going Mediterranean with our menu. Here are few ideas and some delish recipes that you can use to prepare for your Valentines Day meal:

Start off with some Wine and a Cheese Platter

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Building a cheese platter is super simple and is a perfect way to start your evening. Mix and match your favorite cheeses along with some fresh fruits, nuts and crackers on a cute wooden board and Voila! Here are some tips, incase you need some help building a perfect cheese platter for your special someone.

For the next course, skip soup and go with a salad. It will cut the richness of the cheese from your previous course and will act as a refresher before your main course. A simple leafy salad can be easily prepared in advance and it will pair well with wine. Here is a simple recipe for Pear, rocket, walnut and Parmesan salad

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For the main course, going with the theme of this menu, we’d go with a Pasta. You can make any kind pasta that is your partner’s favorite. Its simple, easy to prepare and delicious. We are obsessed with filled pasta so here is a recipe of Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells.

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There is no such thing as too much cheese. So for dessert we were thinking of the classic yet delicious Cheesecake. Here is a recipe of Chocolate & Lime Cheesecake

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If you or your partner are chocolate fans then one of our favorite dessert for Valentines Day is a Chocolate Fondue. Super easy to put together and it is very romantic.

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We hope this helps you plan your perfect Valentines Day meal.

Information & Images: Credit to Source Website

5 Ways to Eat your Tea

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Are you obsessed with tea like we are? Here are 5 ways you can include Tea in your meals besides that regular cuppas that we all enjoy everyday:

Replace stock for tea in your soups

Sometimes the desire for soup comes on strong, but the pantry or freezer is short on stock. Have no fear; get busy steeping! Dragon Well green tea and Lapsang Souchong black tea are the two types of tea to keep on hand for brewing your own substitute stock. The green tea works well with vegetables, fish, and poultry, lending its savory, more mellow notes. The black tea offers a smoky flavor that pairs well with beef, mushrooms, and more hearty flavorful ingredients. Rooibos is a caffeine-free infusion that would lend its earthy, honey-toned notes to soup too.

Try making butternut squash soup with rooibos, and chicken soup with Dragon Well green tea. It will add savory, herbaceous flavor that would match up well with the chicken and could even be the base for a white chili.

Mix into your spice mix

Think of tea bags as convenient, pre-portioned spice packets. When ripped open, the finely cut leaves resemble oregano or basil and can be sprinkled into recipes just like those herbs. Stir a teaspoon or two of tea from bags of Moroccan mint green tea into Greek yogurt with other spices to make a dip, or add the leaves to a veggie-filled quiche custard.

Add to poaching liquids

Brewed tea works wonders when it comes to poached dishes. It imparts subtle nuances that infuse into both aromatics and protein while cooking. Try poaching Portobello mushrooms in smoky Lapsang Souchong black tea, or some fish in a broth of jasmine green tea with fresh ginger and onions.

Cook your beans and grains with it

Swap out water for brewed tea when cooking your next pot of beans or rice! Lapsang Souchong black tea imparts a hint of smokiness to beans, while Matcha green tea gives rice a grassy green color and flavor.

Infuse into your dessert

Whole-fat dairy and tea marry well together. Infuse puddings or custards with the subtle flavors of tea by steeping tea in warmed milk. The tea-infused milk dresses up desserts with a bit of intrigue — try infusing Earl Grey tea into chocolate custards, or some chai spice in a batch of pudding pops.

Here is a collection of our favorite recipes using our absolute fav kinds of tea:

Chai Creamsicles: Assam Black Tea 

 Lemon cream pie with earl grey shortbread crust: Earl Grey Tea

Lemon cream pie with earl grey shortbread crust

Chocolate Matcha Butter Cups: Matcha Tea

Chocolate Matcha Butter Cups

Strawberries with Chamomile Cream: Chamomile Tea

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Pictures and Information: Credit to Source Website

Strawberries with Chamomile Cream / Randy Harris

Vegetarian Poke Bowls

Recently I took a trip to the United States and I had the most fantastic time exploring the beautiful country. The best part about visiting United States was all the different kinds of people who have migrated years ago from all over the world and have got with them a little bit of their culture, traditions and food. I got to try so many different kinds of cuisines – Cambodian, Burmese, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Mexican (authentic as well as Tex Mex), Japanese, Spanish and the list goes on. Lets just say that I was in food heaven!!

While I loved every meal that I had, the cuisine that stayed with me was the Hawaiian Poke Bowl that I got to try. They are all the rage in the food world in the US right now. Rightfully so; they are delicious, healthy, filling and super easy to prepare. Therefore, as soon I got back from my trip I looked up some recipes that I could try at home. Traditionally all the Poke bowls have fish in their recipes, but I managed to find some really delicious vegetarian recipes that all of you can try at home

Here are 4 Vegetarian Poke Bowls recipes:

Vegetarian Pineapple Poke Bowl

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Edamame & Tofu Poke Bowl

Vegetarian Poke Bowl by SeasonWithSpice.com

Spicy Tofu Poke Bowl

spicy tofu poke bowl

Beet & Avocado Poke Bowl

Beet & Avocado Poke // shutterbean

According to my research, two ingredients that you must add in a Poke bowl are Scallions and Sesame seeds. Apart from these two, you can try out different flavor combinations and experiment with it as per your palate.

Little bit of ‘gyaan’ on Hawaiian food: Their dishes have a lot of Japanese influence due to the Japanese immigrants that have settled many decades ago. Trust me this match is a match made in heaven. Try them for yourselves and you will know what I am talking about.

Do try these recipes at home and let us know how you liked them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

Images and Information Source: Credit to host websites

 

The Ideal Cheeseboard for your Guests!!

Have you run out of ways to put up something creative appetizing for your guests? We have the perfect solution for you that is really quick to put together, super delish and will be a sure hit with all your guests. What is it you ask? CHEESE PLATTER – because who doesn’t like cheese!!

Here is an ideal cheese board that you can quickly put together on that really expensive wooden board that you have bought and barely used.

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Serve it with a couple of glasses of wine of your choice and be the hostess with the mostest.

Get your cheese fix here: http://www.thegourmetbox.in/Cheese-catid-896516-page-1.html

Info & Picture Source: Credit to Source Website

Sriracha is turning the heat up…

Sriracha, King of all sauces, has officially been launched in India and we are squealing with joy!!! This delish hot sauce has been reigning over all the other sauces since 1980s. Its flavor is unique, addictive, and wildly versatile due to which it has taken the culinary world by a storm. This sauce has been experimented in many ways and is being used in numerous ways – straight, dipping sauce, soups/stews, meats/marinades, eggs/cheese, and believe it or not even in drinks like bloody mary.

We cant wait to try our own recipes with this addictive sauce but in the meantime here are some recipes to start off with.

Peanut Butter–Sriracha Toast

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Maple Sriracha Popcorn

Salted Maple Sriracha Peanut Popcorn

Zoodles with Sriracha Peanut Sauce

Julienned Zucchini Vegan Bowl with Peanut-Sriracha Sauce found on KalynsKitchen.com

Mushroom Sriracha Stir Fry

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Sriracha Fried Rice

Sriracha Fried Rice

Let us know how you like the use of Sriracha in these recipes in the comments section below. If you have your own recipe using this finger-licking sauce we’d love to read about it.

If you havent managed to get your hands on this sauce yet then click here to get one today:

http://thegourmetbox.in/Sauces–Pastes—Syrups/Sriracha-Hot-Chili-Sauce—Huy-Fong-Foods-id-2521507.html

Images and recipe: credit to source website

Millets making a comeback??

We are always on a look out to try new grains in our daily diets. Besides its always good to mix it up a little – isnt it?. Eating your regular grains like your wheat and rice everyday can get pretty boring. With the wide array of choices available to us nowadays why not try something new.

As we are noticing, it is becoming trendy to bring the old back to new. Be it fashion or even food. Everyone has started reinventing what the grandmothers used to wear or cook by giving it a modern twist.

Millets are no exception. These grains were used in olden days by our ancestors but totally forgotten today.

Millets are gluten free, rich in fiber, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Besides being gluten-free, millets have higher nutritional value than wheat, especially phosphorus and iron. Its fiber content also helps prevent constipation and may reduce the risk of developing bowel disorders. Millets are easy to digest, contain a high amount of lecithin and are excellent for strengthening the nervous system.They contain complex carbohydrates which breaks down slowly and hence good for diabetic patients. The good think about millet is that they can be substituted for rice and wheat in your regular everyday staple recipes. These crops grow in poorer soils and are highly resistant to pests and diseases. Hence they are usually grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.So they are mostly organic by default – how awesome is that??

Cooking millets is as easy as cooking rice. They can be cooked in any one of the following  two ways:

Pressure Cooker Method: 

  • Wash the millet. (Use a sieve to drain the water)
  • For 1 measure of millet add 2 measures of water in a pressure cooker.
  • Close the lid and cook in Medium-Large flame.
  • After the first whistle, reduce the flame.
  • After the second whistle, take it off the flame.DO NOT release the steam.
  • Leave it aside for about 10 minutes.  Let the millet cook in its own steam.
  • When the cooker has cooled and the steam is gone, remove the lid.
    • DO NOT mix using ladle/spoon when the millet is hot.  It will make it mushy/lumpy.
    • Transfer the cooked millet rice to a plate and have it hot
    • Transfer the cooked millet rice to a plate and cool it, if you are preparing any other dish.
  • As the cooked millet cools, it will become more firm.  It will become harder as the time passes (more than 2-3 hours).

Open Vessel Cooking: 

  • Repeat the first 3 steps of the pressure cooker method
  • When the water starts to boil, reduce the flame.
  • When water evaporates (about 10 minutes), take it off the flame and firmly close the lid.
  • Leave it aside for 5 mins for it to cool.

Some of the most popular millets are:

Foxtail Millet: Foxtail is very rich in phosphorus and thiamin (Vitamin B1) in addition to all the general millet characteristics (gluten-free, low glycemic index, high fibre, etc). Foxtail Millet is also called Kakum in Hindi

Kodo Millet: Kodo is very rich in dietary fibre and protein in addition to all the general millet characteristics (gluten-free, low glycemic index, high fibre, etc). It has a high antioxidant content and it is highly beneficial for diabetes patients. Kodo Millet is called Kodon in Hindi.

Little Millet: Little Millet is high in healthy fats in addition to all the general millet characteristics (gluten-free, low glycemic index, high fibre, etc). It also has the smallest grains, so cooks faster than the other millets. Little Millet is also called Kutki in Hindi.

Proso Millet: Proso Millet has the largest grain among the millet rices in addition to all the general millet characteristics (gluten-free, low glycemic index, high fibre, etc). It is golden in color, so it’s also called the golden Millet. Proso millet is a part of the staple diet of many cultures. Proso Millet is called as Chena in Hindi.

Choose the millet that suits you and your dietary needs and get cooking with it today. Try this recipe of LEMON PARSLEY MILLET & COUSCOUS SALAD WITH LEMON GINGER BEETS using your choice of millet and let us know how you like em in the comments section below:

Ingredients:

for the beets:

  • 4 golden beets, peeled and cubed
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • several dashes of dried ginger

for the dressing:

  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 date, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ Tbsp wine vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds

for the salad:

  • 1 ¼ cup millet
  • 1/3 cup couscous
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ cups fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

Instructions:

  • Clean the millet and then add the millet and couscous to a bowl.  Soak for about half an hour.
  • Zest 1 lemon and then juice all of your lemons.  You will need the juice of about 3-4 lemons.  Set aside.
  • In a 3 quart pot, heat the ½ tsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the millet, couscous, water, and vegetable broth and mix to combine.  Cover the pot, raise heat and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and recover.  Let simmer for about 10-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until liquid is absorbed.  It will have a sticky, risotto-like texture.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and let cool.  You can refrigerate it to speed up the process.
  • While the millet and couscous is cooking you can prepare your beets.  Preheat the oven to 450.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your cubed beets out on the paper.  Spray generously with olive oil spray.  Top with lemon juice, lemon zest and ginger.  Add salt to taste and toss to combine.  Spread the cubes out evenly and place the baking sheet in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, flip the pieces over, and bake for about 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.
  • While the beets are in the oven, and the millet and couscous is cooking, you can make the dressing.  Add all ingredients, minus the hemp hearts into a food processor or blender and blend until fully combined.  Pour into a cup and add the hemp seeds.  Stir to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Once the millet and couscous is cool, add the rest of the salad ingredients, the beets, and the dressing.  Use a strong wooden spoon to mix it all together.  Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.  It will keep for 2-3 days and the flavors intensifies the longer you wait.  Enjoy!

Get your dose of millets and millet products at our website The Gourmet Box –  http://www.thegourmetbox.in/search#q=millets&page=1

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We’re nuts about Nut Butter!

As we all know by now, that nuts should be an integral part of your daily diet when you are trying to eat clean and healthy. It is one of the most important ingredients for a vegan diet. Rightly so, nuts are loaded with protein and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, making them a nutrient-dense powerhouse.

Today nuts are being used to make all sorts of delish products that you can consume on a daily basis. To name a few – nut milk, nut butters & spreads, nut oils, vegan desserts, etc. Out of all Nut Milk and Nut Butter have quickly gained popularity. They are absolutely delicious to consume, especially the nut butters.

Nut Butters can be made from any but of your choice – like Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, etc. Till now Peanut Butter was widely available and we were most familiar with. However there are number of companies who have started making nut butters with other nuts as well.

You can make some at home as they are fairly easy to make it yourself. Here are some tips on making―and serving―various nut butters:

Cashew Butter: The smooth butter forms after about 2 minutes of processing. It is ideal for sandwiches. Try it with avocado and other vegetables in a pita, or substitute it for tahini when you make hummus.

Almond Butter: Roasted whole almonds have skins that will fleck the butter. When the almonds start to come away from the sides of the food processor, the butter is ready. Slivered, toasted almonds take about 3 1/2 minutes to form a butter, but roasted whole almonds have additional oil and will be ready in just 2 1/2 minutes. This mild, sweet butter is adaptable in sweet and savory dishes. Try almond butter on a sandwich with apples and brie or Gouda cheese.

Macadamia Butter: Because of maca­damias’ high fat content, the nuts grind into a butter too thin for spreading on bread in just 2 minutes. Chill to thicken it. Its buttery flavor is great for desserts.

Hazelnut Butter: This grainy, thick butter with brown specks is fruity and naturally sweet. Processing it takes about 2 1/2 minutes. Bags of chopped nuts have few skins, so don’t worry about removing them. If nuts are whole, toast them in a 400° oven for 5 minutes or until they start to look shiny and the skins begin to loosen. Rub them in a dishtowel to remove skins. Mix a 1 to 1 ratio of chocolate syrup and hazelnut butter for a delicious spread that’s great on toasted honey wheat bread with bananas or on apple wedges.

Pecan Butter: With a rich, hearty flavor that stands up well, pecan butter is great over meats. Pecans process into butter in about a minute. The loose paste spreads easily, but skins give it a slightly bitter aftertaste, so it’s best for recipes.

Peanut Butter: Use plain roasted peanuts, rather than dry-roasted peanuts, which are seasoned with paprika, garlic, and onion powder. This smooth nut butter has distinctive fresh peanut flavor and the nuts take about 2 minutes to process. It is lighter in color than commercial peanut butters and is grainier than commercial hydrogenated brands.

Pistachio Butter: A very dry, crumbly butter, it’s best combined with something else, like softened cream cheese. Cream cheese―pistachio spread is nice on French or egg bread. It takes about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes to grind into butter. It tends to clump during processing.

Walnut Butter: Like pecan butter, this soft, oily butter is ready in about a minute. It, too, has a bitter aftertaste from the skins, making it good for recipes but not on sandwiches.

If you think its too much trouble to make it yourself – do not worry!! You can get your nut butter fix by visiting http://www.thegourmetbox.in. Visit http://www.thegourmetbox.in/Butter-catid-896514-page-1.html and get a bottle of freshly made nut butter of your favorite nut.

Do let us know how you like em in the comments section below.

Image and Info Source: Credit to source websites