A Platter of Thoughts · Food!! · Travel

Monsoon Indian Restaurant

I have been on the hunt for a delicious Indian restaurant for the past 2 years.  I hadn’t had much luck, but recently that has changed.  When I was invited to Monsoon in Cherry Hill, NJ it more than met my expectations for fine cuisine.  The restaurant is located on the corner of a cute little shopping center. During the summer months they have outside seating on the patio, and inside the décor is contemporary with a little Indian flare.  They also offer a private room for parties or business meeting dining.

As we sat down and started to browse the menu, the options were endless with delicious choices.  The owner, Ray, was kind enough to chat with us about the different dishes.  I told him I loved spicy food, and he was quick to mention how authentic Indian food is not typically “spicy,” but flavorful with “spices.”  There are plenty of dishes that don’t have any heat at all, but will leave the taste buds wanting more.  Many people hesitate trying different foods because they don’t know this.
We didn’t know what to go for on the menu, so we left the options up to Ray and I’m so glad we did.   My kids also enjoyed the experience and had their very own favorites dishes.  They are 7 and 8 years old, so if they are trying it out and loving it, then you should too.  Below you will find a list of all the dishes we got to try.
Hands down this place has now become my go to place.  We will be returning soon.  If you are new to Indian food or love it, this is the place for you.  It will not disappoint.
Let’s start with the appetizers.
SAMOSA (These have always been a favorite of mine, they also make the dough in house fresh everyday. This is a plus in my book)

Crisp pastry stuffed with spiced peas and potatoes

EGGPLANT CHATT (This was the families absolute favorite dish, so delicious)
Eggplant wafers topped with spiced onions, tomatoes and a perfect blend of sauces.
SALMON RAITA ( I could have had this dish as a main dish, very flavorful)
Salmon with yogurt and mellow spices.
Moving on to the main courses.

LAMB ROGANJOSH (The lamb was seriously melting in my mouth and the spices were on point)

Lamb curry cooked with cardamom

BUTTER CHICKEN ( Ray suggested this dish for the kids and boy was he right the kids loved it)

Tandoori chicken simmered in a creamy tomato gravy

MALAI KOFTA (these marvelous clouds were packed with amazing flavor)

Vegetable dumplings stuffed with fresh basil and herbs

SAAG PANEER (if you love cream of spinach this side dish will take it to the next level. The creaminess and flavor was out of this world)

Cubes of paneer in an herb enriched creamed spinach

We also received some NAAN bread which I’ve only tried plain. But Monsoon kicks it up with different flavors. My daughter could have eaten the whole thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROSEMARY NAAN 

GARLIC NAAN 

ONION NAAN (this was my favorite)

KASHMIRI NAAN stuffed with dried fruits and nuts

And of course we can’t end an amazing meal with dessert. At this

point I was so stuffed, but I knew I wanted to try the desserts.

GULAB JAMUN (full of flavor, cardamom is so under used and I love how they incorporated it into this dessert)

Scrumptious deeper fried milk and flour drops soaked in a warm rose water syrup infused with cardamom seeds

ORANGE KULFI (The kids were

obsessed with this dessert. Perfect for the summer time)

A popular Indian style ice cream made with fresh oranges.

GAZAR HALWA (Carrot pudding but it also reminded me of a deconstructed carrot cake)

Made with milk and carrot sprinkled with nuts and sweet raisins

RASMALAI (This dessert was very delightful. If your not into something so sweet this is perfect)

Delicate sponge cheese patties, smothered in a pistachio, cardamom seeds and saffron cream

KHEER ( I grew up eating rice pudding but the flavors in this pudding were outstanding)

Made with rice and milk, flavored with cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashews, pistachios and almonds
My mouth is actually watering while I finish this post and share this experience with you. I also forgot to mention its a BYOB which is a plus. For more information visit http://monsoonindiancuisine.com/
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Food!!

Christmas Kid Friendly Desserts

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Just wanted to share this fun segment I did on Fox 29 here in Philadelphia. This is perfect for entertaining guests and the little ones. Below you will find recipes for all the desserts.  

http://www.fox29.com/good-day/224873657-video

Santa Hat 

16 mini brownie bites

16 small strawberries (tops cut off)

Homemade frosting or store bought

Next, place the frosting in a zip lock bag and snip off the corner. Then place a swirl of frosting on top of the brownie.

Finally, put the strawberry on top and added a little dot of frosting on top to complete the Santa hat.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best served the same day.

Peppermint candy platter 

STEP 1

To make a 9-inch platter, unwrap about 65 to 70 peppermint candies. (If you want tomake a larger platter, unwrap more candies and use a bigger pan.)

STEP 2

Line the base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Arrange the candies in the pan, placing them in a circle around the edge about ¼ inch apart from one another. Continue until you’ve filled the pan, trying to keep an even amount of space between the candies. 

STEP 3

Transfer the pan to a preheated 350°F oven, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the candies are melted and flat. Cool the pan and the peppermint platter completely before unmolding.

STEP 4

Unmold the platter, then top it with cookies and candy. Pat yourself on the back.

Pretzel rod wreath 

2 packages (10 to 12 ounces each) white baking chips

1 package (10 ounces) pretzel rods, halved

1-1/2 cups green and red sprinkles

Preparation:
In a microwave, melt white baking chips; stir until smooth. Dip pretzels in chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Add sprinkles; place on waxed paper until set. Arrange pretzels in a circle on a decorative serving plate.
Melted snowmen 
Line a cookie tray with either a silicon baking mat or wax paper
Melt chocolate according to the directions on the package
Cut the bottom portion of the peanut butter cups off and put them back together, but slightly off alignment (this gives it the “hat” look)
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Food!!

Chocmeister banana pound cake

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My kids love chocolate, so when I was presented with the opportunity to partner up with one of our favorite brands (Peanut Butter & Co.) we were all over joyed.  Peanut Butter & Co. has created a chocolate hazelnut spread with 25% less sugar and more protein than the leading brands of chocolate hazelnut spreads.
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Developing this recipe was fun. Pound cake is always a favorite in our household. By add the Chocmeister spread and bananas to the batter it made it that much better. The only problem you will have is trying to keep away from the pound cake when it comes out. A great way to enjoy leftovers (if any) is to place slices on the grill and enjoy with a scoop of ice cream. 

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Serving 8 to 12 people 

Prep time: 25 min Cook time: 60 minutes 

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar 
5 eggs, room temp 
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3 bananas, peeled and sliced 
Dash of salt
Preparation: 
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. 
In a large bowl, using a mixer, combine the butter and sugaruntil creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well. Add the flour, milk and Chocmeister mix for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt. 
 
Next grease 2 loaf pans. Place a couple pieces of banana on the bottom of loaf pan then pour batter. Top with extra slices of banana. Repeat for the second loaf pan. 
Place in the oven for 1 hour. Remove let cool, slice and enjoy.