Friday, December 5, 2014

Almond Joy To The World!

Its my favorite time of the year once again! Normally, just seeing red and green is enough to make me giddy but with all the lights and decorations around nowadays I cant help but grin constantly! :) Christmastime and the entire holiday season is just so very special! I love that no matter what religion or culture, we all are able to look back and be grateful for the countless blessings over the past year.

Not surprisingly, another one of my favorite things about Christmastime is all of the wonderful sweets, cookies, cakes, candies and confections. Gah!! I definitely have had to exercise my will power muscle even more as of late but hey whats the holidays without a few special sweet treats?

For the past few years, we've made something sweet and yummy to share with my husbands coworkers and staff. As soon as November hits I keep a look out for great recipes to try. This year I came across this recipe from Ina Garten who has been sharing her favorite christmas cookie recipes on her facebook page. It seemed so unbelievably easy that I had to try it and of course add a little bit of a twist to make it my own! I decided to add toasted coconut flakes and roasted almonds because it reminded me of one of my father's favorite candy bars, Almond Joy! They were not only addictingly delicious but with only 4 ingredients super simple as well!

p.s.They remain wonderful even without the added nuts.

Almond Joy Crisps

Cant you just hear the satisfying crunch as you take that first bite?
Then the chocolate melting and oozing.....
Also love that they look like snow dusted pinecones :)

11.5 oz bag of Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips
3 cups of cornflakes
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted (reserve a tablespoon for garnish)
1/2 cup of sliced honey roasted almonds (reserve a tablespoon for garnish)

1. measure out cornflakes and place in a large mixing bowl
2. add coconut flakes and almonds
3. Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler and mix constantly until smooth
4. pour melted chocolate over cornflake mixture
5. quickly and thoroughly mix all the ingredients
6. spoon heaps onto a parchment lined baking sheet or onto a silpat
7. sprinkle more toasted coconut flakes and sliced almonds on top
8. allow to harden for 15 minutes in the fridge
9. carefully pull off the parchment paper and... 
10. Devour. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. Thank you for encouraging and supporting Our Eyes Eat First with your visits! Wishing you peace, love happiness and joy during this wonderful season and always! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Yes Indians love our food spicy. But, wait! Its not just the heat we crave. We also love the satisfaction of biting into something that has the perfect balance of heat, flavor and texture. Isn't that why we patiently mix together the perfect ratio of daal, rice and yogurt or dosa, sambar and chutney before taking a bite? And isn't that why we dip buttery naan into the rich gravy of butter chicken and then take a bite of crisp raw onion or green chili?  Having a mouth full of spicy, tangy, salty, buttery, crunchy and even a bit of sweet all at once is just. pure. bliss.

How can one get that delectably perfect bite every time? Of course you start with the big players; that steaming plate of rice or naan, spicy chicken curry, crunchy fried fish, buttery daals and deliciously seasoned vegetables but then what? Look closer. See those ever present pickles, relishes and chutneys that dot the dinner table? These are the secrets to creating that perfect bite! They give each morsel that extra uumppff! that make our meals that much tastier.

Along with my own mom and mother-in-law, every aunty and friend's mom that I know has a special pickle, relish or chutney recipe that they are known for. Meals become special just by their very presence! My mom makes several different pickles and chutneys some with coconut or green mangoes and others with onions and chilies and some even with dried fish!

I will be sharing one of my favorites, her recipe for Spicy Pickled Red Onions with you today. This simple condiment has a wonderful brightness from fresh lemon juice and vinegar. The acidity blends together the deep flavors of the red onions with the spicy green chilies and fresh herbs wonderfully. It is the perfect compliment to not only indian dishes but I happen to know it works really well in chicken tacos too ;) You can leave out the chilies if you prefer a milder relish. Also, it will stay for 1-2 weeks in the fridge only getting better with time.

Spicy Pickled Red Onions

1 red onion, thinly sliced 
1 lemon (1/2 juiced and other 1/2 thinly sliced)
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black 
2-3 green chilies sliced (more or less according to your taste)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint 
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine all ingredients in a mason jar or any lidded container and shake really well
2. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Can be served immediately or refrigerated for 24 hours+  prior to serving
3. Seriously, thats it. Enjoy!