January 24, 2008


A "Forever Friends" Hope award was waiting for me from a dear friend Happy cook!:)

Thank you Happy cook from "Kitchen Treasures" for this beautiful award. You have been a great friend to me. I am honored to receive this from you!:)
I would like to pass this award to Latha N and Lakshmi of "The YUM blog". You both are much more than friends to me, thank you for that girls! Enjoy!:)
Let me also thank some of my blogger friends who emailed me last 2 weeks and also who commented here as well. You know who you are and I appreciate your words of encouragement,support and understanding. You do make me feel good to know that you are my true well wishers. Thank you very much!:)

Here are two traditional Italian dishes, Risotto and Calzone I made last week. Both are delicious dishes, adaptable to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices and meat Calzones are my kids' favorite! Who doesn't like hand held Pizza on the go?!:D

Garlic-Mushroom Risotto:
Risotto, a traditional Italian dish which is made with Arborio or any short grained Risotto rice, similar to our own Bisibele Bhath in texture except not cooked with lentils. Rice combined with different vegetables and meat, Risotto is an easy dish to make. Although it takes a little time to stir to get that perfect Risotto dish, it's well worth the effort. When done, Risotto should be creamy in texture. By the time I took this photo, it had absorbed most of the stock which made it look a bit dry. I had to add little more stock to it and reheat later, it's a delicious dish!:)

Sunita from "Sunita's World" blog has chosen "Garlic" as her choice this month for her "Think spice..Think.." event. Garlic flavored Mushroom Risotto is my contribution to this event. Thanks Sunita!:)

You need:
1 1/2 cup Arborio or any short grained Risotto rice,
1 cups chopped Portabella or Baby Bella or Porcini Mushrooms,or any combination of Mushrooms you like ,dry and fresh,
4 or more cups of chicken or Vegetable stock (or water),
3 tbsp Butter,
1 onion, finely chopped,
3 Garlic, minced or 1 tsp Garlic powder,
3-4 slices of Dried Tomato slices, chopped,
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated,
few gratings of Nutmeg,
salt and pepper,
2 tbsp fresh Parsley, a sprig to garnish.
To make it:
1. If you are using dried mushroom, soak it for an hr in hot water, squeeze dry (you can save the drained water to add to make up the stock if you like) and chop. Chop the fresh Mushrooms and keep aside. Heat the vegetable stock to simmer.
2. In a heavy bottomed pan, melt butter.Add onion, saute until soft but not brown.Add garlic, stir for a mins. Add all the mushrooms,chopped Tomato slices fry for 2 mins. Pour in rice,mix well to coat with butter. Add salt,pepper to taste.
3. Now add a ladleful of stock at a time to the pan, stir and let it absorb the liqui. Keep adding the stock in this way until rice is cooked and not very dry. When done it should have a creamy texture, add more stock than given here to get that texture. Add nutmeg, parsley and half of the Parmesan cheese, mix and garnish with a sprig of fresh Parsley and rest of the Parmesan gratings on top to serve.

Onion-Broccoli-Feta Calzone and Ham-cheese Calzone:
Calzone, which means "Pant legs or trouser" in Italian, is another "fold over" Pizza which I am sure most kids and adults love. You can make Pizza dough at home or use store bought dough,roll out and stuff with either vegetables or meat with cheese inside to bake them. They do make a hearty meal. Enjoy!:)

JFI aka "Jihva for Ingredients" is started by Indira of Mahanandi blog and it's Radhi from "Radhi's Kitchen" who is hosting this month and she has chosen the quintessential "Onion". We can literally cook anything under the Sun with those onions, can't we? I chose to make delicious sweet Videlia onion, Broccoli and Feta cheese Calzone and Ham and Provolone cheese Calzone. Enjoy Radhi!:)

To make it:

You need: Pizza Dough, vegetables or/and meat of your choice, 1/4 cup of Tomato sauce or Pizza sauce (optional), salt, pepper, red chilli flakes and your choice of cheese and herbs.Egg wash or milk to brush.
To make dough:
1. Dissolve 1 tbsp Yeast in 1 cup warm water(110F), 1 tsp sugar. Let it foam.
2. When foamy, add to 3 cups of plain flour or white or whole wheat bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp olive oil, and mix and knead to make a soft dough. Add more water if you need it. Easy to make if you use KitchenAid dough hook. If you want herbed dough, add 1 tsp Italian herb mix before kneading. Cover the bowl with damp towel and let it double in a warm place for 1-2 hrs.
To make the vegetarian stuffing:
1. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a pan, add 1 onion sliced thin, 1 garlic sliced, saute until soft. Add 1 10oz bag of thawed and microwaved until cooked Broccoli,salt, few chilli flakes and pepper.
2. Saute until dry and let it cool. Add 1/2 cup Feta cheese(I like Feta with Broccoli although Feta is not a traditional Italian cheese) or any cheese, 1/2 tsp Italian herb mix you like. Mix gently.
For meat stuffing: Roughly chop Ham, Pepperoni or any Sausage you have, mix with salt, pepper, Provolone and cheddar or Jack cheese and 1/2 tsp Oregano. Set aside.
To make Calzone:
1. Punch down the dough, divide into 4 pieces,knead. Take each Pizza dough balls, roll out into 6" circles, place some stuffing of your choice in the center, drizzle 1 tbsp of Tomato sauce(like Ragu)if you like and fold over to make a half circle and pinch the edges to seal each of the Calzone. Make few tiny holes on top of the dough for the steam to escape while baking.
2. You can use Egg wash on top or brush some milk or olive oil to make it look good and shiny but not necessary. I like the rustic look of the Calzones without the egg wash!:)
4. When all of them are ready, put them on a non-stick baking sheet. Cover until the oven heats up.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
5. Put the baking sheet inside and bake for 18 to 25 mins, until crust is golden outside.Don't over bake.

Serve with a salad for a delicious and hearty meal!:)

Now, few pics of "Half Snow day" in NC!:D
Usually, it doesn't snow every year in NC or where I live in NC. We had about 2" snow last Saturday in the afternoon and it was fun lighting the logs in the fireplace, be warm, watch movies and of course eat snacks.Kids and our little Bichon parked themselves in front of the fireplace and had a great time. Now the Sun is back, all the snow has melted and we are back to normal already!!

Books I have read so far:
1. "Pomegranate Soup" by Marsha Mehran,
2. "Memoirs of a lost Egypt" by Colette Rossant,
3. "Mango Season" by Amulya Malladi.

All these books come with authors' memoirs of their home countries (Iran, Egypt and Hyderabad) along with few recipes too. Yes, I will be cooking some of those recipes in my future posts! I will list more as I read them.
I also watched few old black and White and color English movies which are sitting in my shelf for a long time now. Alfred Hitchcock's movies like "Birds" "Psycho", musicals with Fred and Ginger like "Swing Time" and (French) foreign language film "Indo Chine" are my favorites!
Lastly, I published my last post on the 14th here and 10 days later I am publishing this post today. I am proud of myself that I am able to keep my new year resolutions I made so far and am balancing everything now! YAY for me!:D

Have a great time Y'all and enjoy the weekend!:)


lakshmi said...

thank you thank you :) - we shall display that promptly and keep it ;). i adore calzone.

i am finally migrating to an online rss reader - giving up thunderbird has been difficult :(

ChrisB said...

Congratulations that is a lovely award.
I have just ordered some Arborio from my food coop which I get on Monday. So I will try your risotto recipe then.
BTW I also love the slide show :)
Have a good week.

amna said...

the calzones look so yummy!! and that also reminded me i have to make something with onions.. hmmmm..

congrats on the award :)

TBC said...

The veg calzone sounds good.
You read 3 books already! Great going, Asha. Glad to see that you are now enjoying blogging and balancing everything well. :)

Priya said...

Congrats on your Award Asha. Are the comments section open now??

Miri said...

The risotto looks delicious - I made one too and was quite happy that the long process was well worth the effort...

bee said...

this risotto looks fantastic. ash, i tried to leave a comment at aroma!, but somehow i can't.


Finla said...

Well you really deserve it Asha.
Love calzone.
I can just imagine the smell and the cheese oozing out when you cut open it.

FH said...

Priya, they are now!

Bee, comments are open at Aroma too, but will check the settings once more!:)

Pooja said...

Ahhh, so at alst we are allowed to express our thoughts here :) .I never tried Garlic-Mushroom Risotto, but it looks sos tempting that i feel like trying it now.
Congratulations for award, you deserve all possible awards in this blog world. dear.
I also loved reading , though didn't read any book since past 4 months. thanks for sharing your ideas , I like to know more about you :) . somehow i feel that you ane me are same ,evne whiile reading your memes,I feel so that ewven in the weird thoughts we r the same :)) .

Richa said...

pant legs/trousers ...lol...quite apt.
calzone looks yum, the stuffing is so good.

sunita said...

Asha, thanks for your wonderful entry...I to made a risotto a few days ago...love your recipe.

Seema said...

The veg Calzone sounds yum yum!! Congrats on a great award.. you deserve more than an award.. give your self a nice pat on the back.
Glad your back to doing blogging, reading & catching up with all your favourite things!

Anonymous said...

Hi Asha,
beautiful pictures of the snow.
just dropped in to say hello.


Deepa said...

Congrats Ashaji ...Excellent one as usual . I think you really deserve the award .You rock . That risotto is awesome ....I am so happy that i am able to comment back on your blog ....

Sagari said...

Me always unsuccessfull in making pizza dough this time I will follow your directions and try ,RISOTTO looks delecioussssss ashaji

Mishmash ! said...

Feels great to finally use this space to drop few lines :) Did miss you a lot and the small chit chats........Good that you could find time to read and do stuff that has been pending.....i guess you should continue this trend...but pls pls keep the comment section open..:)


Namratha said...

Congrats on the award Asha, calzones look gr8!:)

Mythreyee said...

Another wonderful array of dishes. I love it. Very good entry for JFI and Think spice.

indosungod said...

Asha, pat on your back for keeping your New Years resolution and for the lovely award. Garlic Mushroom Risotto looks lovely, I have some rice so I am well on my way.

KonkaniBlogger said...

Congrats on a very well deserved award Asha!!! Loved both the dishes here and i am goin to try both of them. I think me too will skip the egg-wash for the calzones, like it better without it. Loved the frontyard snow pic. Am glad to be a warmer place now, but your pics made me nostalgic about NY. Good to know you are pursuing and catching up on things you had left to do...

FH said...

Girls, my thanks to all of you for visiting me today!:)

shn, I do miss the chit chat too, but I got to be STRONG and resist! HeHe!!
I promise to keep both blogs open at all times. If I ever slip, take me off of your blog roll!:D

vimmi said...

Wow Ashaji,
U try out and posts such a variety of recipes every week, I wonder how u get the time. I have ust strated experimenting with non indian dishes, so hopefully will try these. Calzone first, I think. The pics of ur kids, dog, and the black and white photos of the snow are wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the award Asha you have such a wonderful comprehensive site you deserve each award
And you cook wonderful Italian Keep up your resolution and keep up with those books. Try My Life in France Julia Child excellent
Cheers Gilli

Suganya said...

So right about risotto getting dry. Switch off the flame and serve is what I have learnt. Snow looks beautiful, if you don't have shovel :D. This is much needed to relieve you from drought.

Sig said...

Congrats Asha, for sticking to the resolutions... Hope you won't get back on the wagon now, or is it fall off the wagon? Seinfeld confused me... :)

The risotto looks great!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

Hi asha ,firstly congrats on keeping up with your new year resolution. It doesn't come easy! your risotto and calzone , both look yum!
watching snow now and then and a family get together by the fire place is sure fun... enjoy! i am drowned in snow here:))

Margie said...

Hi Asha
What a nice award!
You aree well deserving of it though.
I love your calzone recipe, and will make them!

I of-course love all your recipes here...thanks Asha!

Oh, the slide show is lovely.
The trees look so beautiful covered in snow!

Have a wonderful weekend, dear Asha!


Altoid said...

Hey Asha :)

Just dropped to ask how you were doing, obviously well and cooking :-). Did you get to finish Kite Runner? Do post your progress on the reading front. I remember I read Mango chutney a year or so ago,I think.

Take care. Matte sigona.


starry said...

Congratulations on receiving the awrd.How are you doing.love all the recipes and I loved the slide show.and the pics of the children.

AnuSriram said...

Congrats! u deserve this award asha. These recipes are new to me.

Laavanya said...

Somehow I've always been disappointed with risotto.. the few times I've tasted it. Maybe I shd try making it at home. Yours looks very tempting.
Calzones look great Asha and it looks like you guys enjoyed the snow too.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Looks great. I particularly like the risotto!

Meera said...

Congrats on your award! You are a wonderful friend.
Risotto and calzones look fantastic.
I am so glad that you are having fun.

Pravs said...

congrats on the award !! good you are taking time to read books. It's happening to me too...getting so involved in blogging and forgetting other things.love Risotto.. looks yum.

Cynthia said...

Hey Sweetie! Sending lots of warm hugs :)

Pooja V said...

Congrats on the award. And calzones look delicious. Btw i recently read "Serving crazy with curry " by amulya Malladi. Its okie dokie for a timepass read.

Kalai said...

Ashaka, congrats on the award and thanks for re-opening the comments section. I adore calzones and yours look phenomenal. Great idea for the game weekend!

EC said...

Congrats on the award...lovely pictures of food and the snow fall

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

LOved the onion-broccoli calzone!! and btw, I heard from my friends in Salisbury too that it snowed in NC!!! they were all so excited to see snow... :D

Keshi said...

Asha I love Mushrooms. But mum dun like em much. Im th eonly one who eats stuff like that ard my house. LOL!

thats ur backyard? WOW so pretty! Like a Winter wonderland!

Im glad u cud keep ur NY resolutions...well-done girl!

btw check out my latest post and plz do add to it ok LOL!

Hv a good one hun MWAH!


Lisa Johnson said...

Hi Asha! I'm glad that you're feeling rested and can enjoy your blog comments again. I loooove calzones!! I have to make some! And the pictures are wonderful. The snow is so pretty, especially if it's not too much. And there is nothing nicer than a warm cozy fire when it's cold outside. Enjoy and have a great weekend! : D

Admin said...

Mmmmmm, Risotto is awesome. Ur dog is so fluffy and cuuute!!

Srivalli said...

ehmm...lovely dishes...congrats on the award and the resolution part!..thats a nice slide show with kids..they look so cute and adorable...of course they may not like being said as cute...:D..but those are nice shots!

bird's eye view said...

Hey asha,

Glad to see comments are back! The Calzone looks superb, absolutely. I have never quite enjoyed risotto but will give it a try with your recipe.

And PS - I love Alfred Hitchcock and have most of his movies. and if you like old movies - have you seen Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn?

Rachel said...

Congrats on the award!!

The constsnt stirring was what made me stay away from making risotto..Your plate of risotto is tempting me to make some!!

The calzone is something the the entire family adores..lovely filling..

Great to know you have caught up on reading!! Awaiting the recipes from the books...and a lovely snowfilled slideshow :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Asha,
Congrats not only for the well deserved award but also for sticking to the resolutions.Lovely pics of snow.Enjoy reading.

Amna said...

Love the calzone recipe,have to give it a try!!:)

Bharathy said...

Fantastic risotto and calzone!I have not tried these but would love to :)

TheCooker said...

The risotto looks wonderful!
Enjoying sticking to your resolutions?

Jaya M said...

lovely spread of Italian dishes,i bet you feed ur children first then would have taken snaps ....Hehe...
Rissoto is sure one thing in my mind now ,will try it soon...
I am really happy that so far u are going strong on ur new year resolution ...
pls read Kite runner and let us know all about it ,how about a book review this time ..
I like the award also specially the message in it ..
hugs and smiles

Smita said...

Hi Asha,
Lovely recipes. Glad that you mentioned the veggie option too. I have read Mango Season and it is fun.

Manju said...

good for you for keeping up the resolutions!! :) congratulations on the award!! and the calzones look sooo yumm!!

Rajesh &Shankari said...

calzones r one of my fav dishes...and I am now craving for it.All your fault Asha!

musical said...

Congratulations on the award, Ashakka! The calzone recipe looks really yummy!

And am so glad that you got time to enjoy books. The winter pictures look really great! Have a wonderful weekend.


Pearl said...

Good to hear your year's in balance.

Snow looks daily here for another week or so.

With all you do and those calzones too you sure look like an endless energy Super Chef.

Daily Meals said...

Congratulations on getting the award Asha! The calzone look yummy and crispy. I enjoyed the pictures of the snow.

Reeta Skeeter said...

Wow the Onion-Broccoli-Feta Calzone looks so inviting!
Congrats for the award and also for the fact taht you've been able to balance everything nicely :)
There is a new restro in Delhi called Indo Chine. Heee. Haven't been there so far. :)
Happy Blogging!

Rajitha said...

YAY for you indeed..it dows feel good to keep with resolutions :)..and those clazones look amazing! i love them..but everywhere there is the meat filling..should make it at home:)..and congrats on the award asha...

Seena said...

Hi Asha,
Haven't tasted both dishes..:)
Looks yummy, Really enjoyed your snowing pictures, thanks for posting them..We see the snow in the "ski Dubai" only..:D

Beccy said...

I love the sound of that risotto, it helps that mushrooms are a favourite of mine.

I love the way you were showing your photos.

Grihini said...

hi Asha...nice to be writing a comment on ur blog. Congrats for the award..and enjoy the cold season ahead.

Susan said...

Those calzones! Way to go, Asha!
I'm an old film buff, myself. Nothing better than being tucked in w/ a vat of popcorn while the snow is coming down. We're overdue for some serious weather here; I have a feeling that we're going to be dumped on!

Anonymous said...

Oh you've turned comments back on! Yay!
I understand the need to unplug for awhile and can fully respect that.
Glad to see you here again!

USHA said...

Hi Ashaji,

Wonderful recieps..miss alot...doing better..Will mail u detaily sometime later.bye

Shionge said...

Glad to be able to 'shout' my greetings to you Asha :) I knew you have diabled the comment earlier on.

I know the amount of time you spent on leaving comments on others blog but it is ok ya...take care and take your time.

Enjoyed your yummy blog as usual :D

Raaga said...

I am vacationing at my parents' place Ashakka... just finished a yummy meal... I've been meaning to make calzones for an awfully long time now and I am sure I will make this before I leave for Gurgaon. Thanks :-)

Kalpana said...

Congratz for the award. Happy that you had great time. :). I love any recipe that includes garlic. I am not able to c the pics. Might be, it's taking loads of time to open up. Will try again.......

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Love calzones, veg. versions.
Congratulations, especially on being able to find time for your reading.

Menu Today said...

Hi Asha,

Both the dishes look nice.
Nice to see your post..
Beautiful pictures of snow.
Congrats!!!! You deserve this award.
Thanks and take care.

Maheswari said...

Hi Asha, First of all, a big CONGRATS on the well deserved award.Happy to see your post after a long break..i have loads of dishes to catch up.From what i have read so far, i learned that u took a little break and are back.A break now n then is needed just to relax a bit.Me, now juggling with 2 kids.Both r doing great.will try to post every now n then.

I liked the risotto..yummo...
Will try the calzone without broccoli...:)

Padmaja said...

You truely deserve that lovely award and many many more as well and u know u are a terrific friend.
those recipes look so yum!! never tried calzones until now!!
Keep up with your books and so nice to hear that u read 3 already. I am about to start Kite Runner this weekend.Have u read it?

DK said...

I luv risotto! I make them often. I have been meaning to make calzones for a loooong time now! seeing urs reminded me of that! Luved the pictures :) and Yey! to keeping up with the resolutions! You sure need to be proud :)

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Hi Asha
A big congratulations for winning the lovely award. You know..you deserved it. As i look at the traditional Italian dishes, Risotto and Calzone, that you made, i am in 'awe'. Good to have a blogger friend like you, around the corner.I may be unable to comment everyday but when ever you make a dish, remember my pat.
Cheers !

Prema Sundar said...

Hi Asha
How are u ... surprised that u finished reading three books!!!
love calzones .. wanted to make one for sometime..have noted down ur recipe. thanks.

Jayashree said...

Congratulations on the award, Asha.
I have always wanted to make risotto but somehow have never got around to doing it. yours looks delish.
Looks like you are making progress with those new year resolutions. Good for you!!!

Mandira said...

the risotto looks fantastic Asha. Lovely :)

Meera said...

I have a question. What do I need to do to join desi Momz club? I sent an email few months back but didn't get any reply. Is there any requirement? Thanks.

FH said...

Meera, since Sandeepa is the one who manages DMC mainly, you have to send her an email to her to include you to the club. It seems that she is on a break, so resend your request again, so she can take care of it. It might take time, she will add you as soon as she gets that email!:)

Roopa (KitchenAromas) said...

Yumm...calzones! I think broccoli and feta would go very well together. I am yet to find feta here in Bangalore. I guess I haven't gone on the hunt yet :) Take care!
- Roopa

ps: the pics are wonderful!

Kamini said...

That veggie calzone is just calling to me. I can hear " make it, make it right now". Will tell you how it came out....
Nice pics of the kids BTW...

J said...

Calzones look great....sounds exotic saying "calzones", no? Or maybe I haven't heard that in these parts. :)

ServesYouRight said...

Congratulations for another well-deserved award! Have been following your blog all the time I've been globe-trotting :-) You have so much energy, just stopping by your blogs puts a spring in my step! I also completely understand and respect you point about prioritizing reading. So good to be back. You're a wonderful friend!

Good wishes,

KF said...

Congrats on your Award Ashakka..After a long break I am visiting here.I loved the slide show,Yourr old family photo is in my mind,Now I can update your kids.

Siri said...

Dear Ashaji, Sorry for the late reply reg the comment on my entry to Royal Foodie Joust. The deadline for RFJ is tomorrow, u have still one whole day to send in ur entry.. U just need to add in a trackback link to the RFJ thread thats it.. :D

Both the Risotto and calzones are so inviting..:D

take care n Hugs,

~ Siri

Gattina Cheung said...

Asha, keep warm, it looks so cold in NC. Risotto and calzone are my favorite food, esp in cold days!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Yummy risotto and calzone Asha.

Hope you're feeling detoxed from your blogging addiction my lovely!

I love the snowy pictures too!

Anonymous said...

Calzone... hmm... isn't that Italian for 'pasty' ;) Looks yummy asha, esp that mushroom risotto. I love risotto! Pics of your snow day are lovely -- there is something magical about that little blanket of white :)

FH said...

Thanks to all of you girls. I appreciate your comments and your thoughts!:))

Hi Linda, last comment before the my new post! YAY!!
Calzone is trouser, trouser legs, big shoe, turnover etc according to various sites, it tastes great whatever it is called!:D
Enjoy the Super bowl this Sunday!:))

Kribha said...

Congrats Asha for getting such a lovely award. You deserve many more...
Risotto looks great and so does the calzone. I love the veggie version the most.

FH said...

Thank you Kribha, do try. Broccoli and cheese always a classic combo!:)