Crispy Spinach, Mushroom and Onion Quesadillas

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Didn’t I say we love festivals? As if Indian festivals that come almost every other week aren’t enough for us, we are always looking for a new holiday to celebrate and to make something special. Like yesterday, May 4th, after a long school-day and a crazy work-day, the boys  and I spent couple of hours right before dinner time, decorating star wars cookies!! May the fourth be with you! It was so much fun decorating and eating those scrumptious cookies. Please don’t ask what we had for dinner 🙂

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Beet Salad -A celebration recipe

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For my birthday this year, a good friend of mine gave me an amazing book – ‘Share’ : A cookbook that celebrates our common humanity by Women for Women International (WFWI). The underlying message of Share is simple: for all our apparent diversity―as individuals, societies and nations―our actions, however small, can have an exponential, positive influence both on the world and the lives of others. Nothing more beautifully conveys our interdependence than the food we eat. The recipes featured in this uplifting book―provided by contributors who are all actively engaged in humanitarian issues, as well women from the eight countries in which Women for Women International (WfWI) work.

I am in love with the illustrations in this book. The night I received this book, I was up past midnight going through it. One recipe that caught my eye right away, was a beet salad recipe by Zainab Salbi, founder of women for women international. I love beets and it had many ingredients that I use everyday. Last weekend I finally decided to make this recipe.  As I was making it, I wasn’t sure how it would come together. However, when I tasted it, the flavors were out of this world! The flavors of sesame seeds, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh ginger along with all the chopped veggies were heavenly. This probably is one of my most favorite salads and I am going to make this again and again.

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I made some changes to the original recipe. Instead of using raw beets, I used roasted beets. I also replaced carrots with fresh orange bell pepper that is now in season and I added some grape tomatoes. I followed the rest of the recipe and it indeed was a celebration of colors and taste on my plate and my mouth!

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Banana Avocado Chaat

Today’s inspiration comes from a delicious Indian restaurant, Rasika, that we dined at during a recent family trip to Washington DC. I can’t thank my cousin Darshan enough for his recommendation. The food, the atmosphere and the Chef’s humble and friendly attitude were inspirational. The drinks and appetizers were so unique compared the Indian dishes we’re use to while dining out. One dish that resonated with all of us was the banana chat which was an incredible blend of sweet, tangy and spicy. We would have never tried it if it was not recommended. While we all love to experiment with food we generally don’t like bananas in any form mixed into our meals. When the appetizer arrived we were surprised to see the bananas grilled and perfectly stacked on the sides. With hesitation we took one bite and we were hooked. My husband and I couldn’t stop digging into the amazing flavors! With a few bites remaining, I took a snap so I could recreate it as soon as we got back.

Recipe:

Prep time: 2 mins  Cooking time:2-3 mins    Total time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

1 Ripe Avocado
1 Ripe but Firm Banana
2 tbsp of tamarind chutney
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
cilantro to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel the banana and cut it half lengthwise and then cut the 2 halves in the middle to make 4 pieces. Put grilling pan on medium high  heat, brush the bananas with olive oil and grill the banana’s until they turn golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on it.
  2. Peel and cut the avocado into bite size pieces. Add tamarind chutney, salt and cumin powder to it and mix well.
  3. Dish the avocados in the middle of a plate. Put the grilled bananas on the sides. Sprinkle with some red chili powder. Garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!