Spinach & corn casserole covered with mashed potato

I’ve been missing a lot on blogging and really feeling  guilty…. I feel bad because I’m not being an active participant in contributing and sharing my food thoughts and feel disconnected in the food blog world. Do you feel the same sometimes? I know  there is no excuse for not blogging but needless to say I’ve been experimenting a lot with food 😉

In past few weeks I’ve tried and tested/tasted some of the recipes that have been a success at the Farmer’s Market, I will share them all soon with you :). For now I would like to introduce to your table –  casserole with a mashed potato topping….

Bangalore Club has  always been serving  spinach and corn bake in most of  their buffets and I would really help myself with large helpings :)….They usually make it more creamier by using white sauce and I thought of making one at home which omits white sauce and is gluten-free (apart from the cheese topping).

2cups chopped spinach
1cup sweet corn kernels
2cups mashed potato
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2tsp crushed garlic
1tsp pepper
1tbs olive oil
1tbs butter
1/2 cup milk
mozzarella cheese or any other (optional)
salt to taste

 Heat oil in a skillet and add chopped onions and crushed garlic. Let the onions soften and add chopped spinach, corn, pepper, salt and cook until done. Take it off the stove.

Take the mashed potatoes and add milk, butter, salt and mix them really well, like the way you would make mashed potatoes.

Take a baking dish or a bowl and pour the prepared spinach and corn mixture topped with mashed potato and grated cheese.

I microwaved in grill option for 15 minutes or you can bake. You will see a nice brown crust on top and you know it’s ready to be served hot. Serves 2-4.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by  Briciole  and Cook Almost Anything.

Arusuvai Chain Season 2: Sauteed Mushroom

Arusuvai is a beautiful friendship chain  to bring together blogger and non blogger. A secret ingredient is mailed and all you have to do is create a dish from it. This was originally started by Bharathy of Spicy Chilly, Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons and Lathamma of The Yum Blog. Now the second season is organised by Sayantani of A Homemaker’s Diary.

I received my first secret ingredient from Divya Kudua of Easy Cooking. Along with the ingredient; I also received a hand-written letter and a book – Dessert Puddings by Nita Mehta.Frankly, I’ve never used this ingredient nor did I know the name of it.I had a hunch that it was used in preparation of rice items like biryani or pilaf but I wasn’t sure. I googled first for garam massala and tried to match the image with the ingredient  and finally I found that it’s called ‘Star Anise’.

Star anise is the almost ripe, dried, star-shaped multiple fruit of the star anise tree (Illicium verum), which is a member of the magnolia family (Magnoliaceae). The small, red-brown, star-shaped fruits contain 6 – 8 unevenly sized, boat-shaped individual fruits 12 – 17 mm in length, each containing a glossy brown, egg-shaped seed. It has a more powerful, pungent and strong flavour when compared to other spices.Whole stars can be used as such or they can be grounded as well. A note to keep in mind, because of its powerful flavour, only small amounts are used.This spice is widely used in Chinese cuisine, and to a lesser degree in South Asia and Indonesia.
This is my first experience with the spice and I wanted to use it in a completely different manner. Star anise is commonly used in Indian rice or curry and it can also be used in baking or in flavouring fruit salads.

250gms of button mushroom, cleaned and cut into cubes
2 nos star anise
2tsp olive oil
2tsp minced garlic
1stp ground pepper
1/2tsp chilli flakes
salt to taste
Fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a pan and add star anise. Allow it to change it’s colour to blackish brown and add garlic. Let the garlic turn a little brownish and crisp, I like garlic nice and crispy; if you don’t like yours brown or crispy then let it cook only for 30seconds. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Cook on medium flame until the water has evaporated and the mushrooms are cooked.Switch off the stove and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot as a side with anything you like! Serves 2.

My tastebuds: I found the flavouring too strong and different from the usual.

The chain of friendship continues and I will be sending secret ingredients to Veena of Kitchen Celebrations and Vidya of The Black Ladle.