In praise of grill pans !

Summer is not playing hide and seek with us here anymore, we are up in the eighties and hopefully will be staying around there for some more time. Sunshine magically lifts everything out of the ordinary, a work day evening feels like a new beginning, happy sounds floating in the air, and if a friend drops in, a party!

kebab cups3

Talking of parties! I will never stop loving my grill pan for helping me with it, this cast iron “contraption” has, over the past couple of years helped us grill practically anything regardless of the season, achieve incredible grill marks on whatever we put on it and then without us even knowing it, might have helped to save a couple of bucks in liquid propane!!!!

kebab cups

Making these mini kebabs is a breeze if you have a stove top grill pan, you will need a grill top vegetable basket if you are firing up your outdoor barbecue grill. I used this recipe for spicing these kebabs, loved it for the prefect blend of subtle yet contrasting flavors. Feel free to use your favorite spices in the marinade, but do try out this mess free way of serving these appetizers, very easy to pass around, in its own cup and loaded with a day’s servings of vegetables ( Oh, not really !!)


I use frozen chicken breasts for making these mini kebabs to make the prep work easier. A single breast piece will give you 10-14 strips. Thaw the piece on kitchen counter for 20 minutes or so, and then cut breadth wise into 5 to 7 strips. Cut each strip lengthwise in to two. This whole process will only take 5 minutes if the meat it still partially frozen. Marinate the pieces with flavors of your choice and thread on to pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Prepare vegetables, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds (if using zucchini, carrots etc) or small bite size pieces, marinate.

Oil the grill pan very well and wipe it off with paper towels. Heat the pan, oil it once more, and wipe the excess off with paper towel. Grill the chicken pieces by arranging many together in the pan at a time. Grill 1 minute each side (ie by the time you are done arranging the last piece on the pan, it is time to turn the first one and so on). Clean up the pan with a moist paper towel, spread the vegetables in the pan and grill for a minute.

Serve 3-4 kebabs over a bed of grilled vegetables in a transparent cup. You can set this up in advance and then serve with a fresh dollop of dip/dressing on top.

Stove top berry cobbler

In Oregon, you are never too far away from a wild blackberry bush. The wetland near our house used to be a wild berry sanctuary before it was redesigned to let a road go across. We miss the happy crowd that used to be there, walkers and joggers making a pit sop, kids with faces speckled with berry juice.

T, came home last evening with tub of plump wild blackberries picked from the banks of Willamette river in downtown Portland, more interestingly during his lunch break from work, and I couldn’t resist making a cobbler .Who wants to heat up a big oven for making a cobbler which could only fit a 6 inch round pan, when you can almost do the same trick stove top? As a perk, you can unmold this cobbler for serving; the caramelized berry syrup left in the pan is so berry delicious that it utterly deserves to have a recipe of its own.

wedge-o-cobbler copy

For one cup of black berries, this recipe works incredibly well, I have never tried scaling up, we almost always seem to have just a cup of berries or less left to cook with, I wonder why!


All purpose flour ½ cup

Baking powder 1 tsp

Heavy cream ¼ cup

Salt a pinch

Sugar ¾ cup

Milk ½ cup (or enough to make a thick batter)

Confectionary sugar, whipped cream – for serving

Berries ( Black, Marion,Boysen or Rasp berry) 1 cup

Add sugar to berries, toss well to coat, and keep 20 minutes. Mix the rest of the ingredients with a whisk till a thick batter forms. Butter a 6 inch round non stick sauce pan. Pour the prepared batter into the pan, spoon the berries on top. Turn on heat, cook at medium heat for 2 minutes. You will see the batter rising , and it will begin to peep through the berry layer. At this point, turn the stove to the lowest heat level, and cover the pan with a lid wrapped in a dish clothe. Cook for 12 minutes. Before you take it off the stove, cook at medium heat for 1 more minute. Turn the heat off and, let the cobbler rest for 10 minutes (if you want to unmold it) or enjoy the scoops from the pan right away. Serve dusted with confectionary sugar with whipped cream on top
When summer comes calling !

When summer comes calling with a profusion of berries to offer who can resist making a dessert as simple as this?

Berry pudding 2

It looks a lot like summer now, a stark difference from the weather we had for the long weekend, when many of us here, went for the 4th of July barbecues sporting winter gear!

We picked blueberries and strawberries this weekend, and bought a good amount of cherries from a U PICK farm at Sauvie Island, will be going back for more raspberries and boysenberries in the coming weekends. You need to do only a little with freshly picked berries, the hard work is done by Mother Nature herself. Simple cobblers, puddings or compotes, everything looks so good with berries in, it is hard not to take a photo and post after mhhhhhh…. many many months.

berry pudding

Fresh berries

Blueberry Pudding

1 cup blue berries

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp farina (rava)

1/2 cup confectionary sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients together with a wire whisk. Add berries and just enough water to make a thick batter. Spoon the batter in to buttered ramekins (3/4th full) or mini cake pans. Bake 325 degree for 20 minutes. Serve at room temperature with chilled Creme Anglaise( recipe here)favored with lemon zest and rosemary (optional).


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