Recently, we dropped in at our local Olive Garden, for lunch. The food was anything but good.The calamari was over salted and rubbery.The stuffed mushrooms, did not have any seasoning. The Pasta was superbly mediocre. That really prompted us both in saying, that as a couple, we make much better Italian food. Case in point: The Father's Day Dinner. So despite a fussy baby, I knew it was time to pen down the long delayed post. So I sip my caramel machiato, at the local coffee shop and type away, to tell the tale of another evening, which began right here. Cheers !

Being First-Time Parents, every milestone with our baby, is a celebration for us. Some cake, some good food, some pictures for sure, and a great memories, to last a lifetime. Needless to say, we were majorly excited for our First Mother's Day and Father's Day this year.

While the Mother's Day Celebrations did not take place as planned for some undesirable elements, I made sure that at least D-Boy got his First Father's Day, as memorable, as possible.

So a few clicks, and lil bit of time in the kitchen, and it was all set. Co-ordinating Tshirts for both father and daughter, and the evening started off, at our local coffee shop.

Click , click went Mommy, as Daddy and Baby exchanged smiles and smiles and sometimes no smiles at all.

Going to the Farmer's Market, by the Missouri River is  something I look forward to always. This time around, it was extra special. I was going there, a day before, to pick up supplies for an all out Italian meal at home, for the First Time  Father. Fresh produce makes cooking so much easier.

The stars of the day were surely Fresh Mozzarella and some good sun dried tomatoes. So i had to spin my dinner around them. The answer was quite simple.

As I had also picked some sweet Italian Basil. Did I mention, some juicy heirloom tomatoes. Yes, the first course was undoubtedly Caprese Salad. It made for some decadent platter, and honestly, I did not even need a second course. But hey, I was planning it for the man,not myself. Each bite was a juicy one. The velvety mozzarella, the firm yet soft tomatoes, and some good EVOO.How can you go wrong with something as classic as this.  I could have added a dash of Balsamic, but then, I always forget things on my grocery list, don't I !

Some fresh pesto, some al dente thin spaghetti, sinful sun dried tomatoes,some sharp Parmesan cheese, and  handful of meatballs. Easy Peasy Pesto Pasta. What better way to make sure that the sweet basil does not get freezer burn ! Hard core Pesto fans, would not be comfortable with the idea of julienned sun dried tomatoes, but I must say, its a great combination of flavors. Not to forget, it also makes a colorful plate. As they say, a great looking plate, satisfies half the hunger. No, I didn't make the meatballs myself on that very day. I just used some frozen, store bought all beef meatballs, with a touch of fennel. Feel free to add in a protein of your choice. Bacon, chicken or even prawns would do well. But please, no Tofu !

It was one big hearty Italian Plate, which was washed down with some crisp Moscato. Baby entertained us with her Cooing, and it surely made for one memorable celebration. A lil secret for  all my readers: if your day is spoiled, make sure at least, some one else's day is a good one. It does give you a warm fuzzy feeling, to see someone else smile.


Fresh Mozzarella balls: 1
Heirloom tomatoes, or large ripe Roma Tomatoes: 2
Sweet Basil leaves: 5 to 6
EVOO(Extra Virgin Olive Oil) : A dash
Freshly crushed Black Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar: A dash (I had run out of it)


Cut thick rounds of the mozzarella and the tomatoes. Arrange the tomatoes slice son a large plate. Top that with the slices of fresh mozzarella. Place a couple of sweet basil leaves on every slice. season with salt and pepper, and drizzle EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar. Voila ! First course is ready.


Thin Spaghetti: 8 oz
Broccoli Florets: 1/2 cup
Chopped Mini Portabella Mushrooms: 1/2 cup
Frozen Meatballs: 1 cup
Pesto Sauce: 1/4 cup
Sun dried Tomatoes: 1/4 cup
Parmesan Cheese

If you're using store bought Pesto sauce, then you can skip this step. In a small blender, throw in a bunch of sweet basil, some Parmesan cheese,a few gloves of fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and EVOO and churn, till its a smooth green, thick sauce.

Boil the pasta according to package instructions. It should have a bite(al dente). Strain and keep aside. Make sure that the pasta water is well salted. reserve a cup of the pasta water.

Cook the frozen meatballs according to package instructions. I like baking mine in the oven, rather than cooking over the stove top. Keep aside.

In a large non stick pan, add in some EVOO. Throw in the veggies and toss them around for a couple of minutes.Throw in the sun dried tomatoes,and the pesto sauce.Season with salt. Cook the pesto sauce for a few minutes, then toss in the noodles and meatballs. If you feel that the sauce is too dry, then add in some pasta water,to incorporate things better.

Bon Appetit !!



You are all set to host a party and you have jotted down an impressive menu. The only problem is that, the dessert might just take a beating, as the preps and cooking for the rest of the courses is taking the better of your time. Fear not. Just whip up some Mishti Doi. No, I am not asking you to pick it from the neighborhood sweet shop. Only the lucky few in Kolkata can afford to do that. For the rest of us, its equally simple. A dessert which has minimum preps,and minimum effort. A dessert which can be prepared a day in advance, and stays quite good in the refrigerator for  a few days. 

Have doubts about how good an idea that will be? Ask anyone, just back from visiting Kolkata for the first time, what did they like the most. The answer, cutting across all diversities, will most commonly be MISHTI DOI. Needless to say, its one of the most popular desserts of Kolkata, next only in line to Roshogolla. Mishti Doi screams decadence.An absolute favorite at Bengali Weddings. Its always been a favorite of mine, so I had to get my fix at home.

My Mashi came to the rescue. Ever since, I made Kansas City, my home, I have not missed much of home cooking, as my maternal aunt, makes sure, we are a regular at her place, for so many weekends. Amongst all the feasts,she prepares for us, Mishti Doi strikes the loudest chord. So I had to ask her to share her secret with me, so in turn, I could pass it on to all those of us, who miss Mishti Doi. 

Its basically a sweetened yogurt, which has an unmistakable caramelly/reddish tinge to it. Milk is boiled, till its reduced to a creamy consistency, and then sweetened and fermented in earthen pots. Its said, that the pores of the earthen ware, help in making the yogurt creamier, by helping in losing moisture. 

But fear not, if you do not have a steady supply of earthen ware like the proprietors of sweet shops have. None of us do. So we tweak the cooking process and make it  much much easier. I can assure you, the taste does not take a beating at all. Rather than boiling the milk for hours to reduce it, and get that caramelly tint, we simply open a can of Evaporated Milk. Voila !

So whip up some Mishti Doi and dig into some rich, creamy, velvety goodness.


Evaporated Milk: 14 oz
Sweetened Condensed Milk: 14 oz
Plain Yogurt: 14 oz( 1 cup is equal to 8 oz)

This measurement yields 18 individual servings in cup cake liners in a muffin pan.

For a serving the size shown in the pic, just double the ingredients.


Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Crank open the cans.

In a large mixing bowl, mix in the evaporated milk, condensed milk and plain yogurt.

Whisk away with a wire whisk, till there are no lumps.

Select any baking dish of your choice, and pour away the mixture.

Bake at 350F for exactly 15 minutes and then turn off the oven.

Let the baking dish stay in the oven for at least 6 to 7 hours. I usually bake it just before going to bed, and turn off the oven, and let it cool down and ferment overnight.

Remove the set yogurt form the oven in the morning and put it inside the refrigerator.

Serve cold.

If you want individual servings, then use cup cake liners, in a muffin pan, and pour equal amounts of the mixture and bake. I had done it recently and it was a big hit at a potluck. But forgot to take pictures. 

Bon Appetit !!