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Monday, December 16, 2013

Gur Wale Chawal - Rice Cooked in Brown Sugar

This post is seriously late!
 
The awesome picture you see below is what my dear sweet Mami made when I visited Lahore over a year ago. She is used to cooking for much larger crowds so it was very amusing to hear ingredients going into the pot by kilos :-)
 
I am sharing her recipe below... which I downsized to about a cup of rice.
It's really quite simple to put together.. the only set back is that I can't find good quality Gur (a type of brown sugar) anywhere here :-( 
 
 
Several months ago I made a batch.... quite honestly it lacked the wonderful gold color that you see in pictures and the rich flavor... primarily because I ended up using Jaggery that you can commonly find in Indian grocery stores here.
 
I am not entirely sure about this.... but I think that even though they all start as cane juice Gur, Jaggery and Shakar are three very different products. Try and find Gur from Pakistan - which usually looks like large lumps rather than cubes - when you make this. And then send some my way :-)
 
I loved watching this video that shows Gur making in Sargodha. Very relaxing music and the imagery makes me home sick! I am sometimes very ambitious when it comes to cooking stuff the authentic way..... maybe one of these days I'll get a few jugs of freshly squeezed cane juice from Chaat 'n Roll and make some Gur at home :-)
 


Ingredients

You can definitely add lots of dried fruit, nuts and coconut into this. I like it naked with a hint of cardamom.

1 cup Long grain basmati rice (no other rice will work)
2 1/2 cups Water for boiling

3/4 cups Shredded Gur
1/3 tsp Freshly ground cardamom
1/3 cup Ghee (or melted butter)
1/4 cup Persian green raisins (or dried Persian apricots) *optional
1/4 cup Mixed nuts (like pine nuts, pistachios or almonds) *optional
2-3 Tbs Dried unsweetened coconut slivers *optional
1/2 cup Water

Start by boiling 2 1/2 cups of water in a large pot.
Add 1 cup of rice to it and boil until the rice is cooked almost al dente. To check simply rub and smash an individual grain of rice between your thumb and forefinger. The outer surface of the rice should be soft and tender but the middle will feel like it has at least 2 hard dots.

While the rice is boiling... take a separate cooking pot and heat up 1/2 cup of water. Add shredded Gur into the pot.... cook on medium low heat and stir often to prevent burning. When all is melted and combined add cardamom powder and ghee to it. Have this syrup ready and warm.... you will add the drained rice immediately into this.

Drain the rice... shake off the extra water and then add it to the pot that contains the sugar butter syrup.
Mix gently.. turn the heat on low.
Cover the pot airtight with a lid that has been wrapped in a moist kitchen towel... no steam should escape.
Steam for 15 minutes or until the rice is completely tender.
Mix in the coconut, raisins and nuts.
Done :-)
Its best when eaten slightly warm with some un-sweetened un-whipped 40% fat heavy cream on top!

 
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Rustic Strawberry Cake

 

A smallish strawberry cake I made cuz I was bored and had nothing to do :-)

Ingredients

I pretty much followed this recipe here and cut the amounts in half except for the vanilla bean and lemon zest. And for the frosting and filling I used stabilized whipped cream with 1/4 cup sugar macerated strawberries.
This is not my recipe but I am posting the amounts I used for convenience... I highly recommend you visit the link above to read great stories and details.

1 cup All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/6 cup Buttermilk (I didn't have any so I used 2 Tbs of Greek yogurt diluted with water)
1 Large egg (Room temperature)
1/4 cup Oil (I used melted unsalted butter)
1/4 tsp Almond extract (I skipped this)
1/2 Vanilla bean (I used Rodelle vanilla beans and kept the original amount)
1 tsp Lemon zest
1/2 cup Fresh pureed strawberries

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

I used a 6" dia and 3" high Wilton springform pan to bake this. Prepare your pan by rubbing some oil or melted buter on the sides and then dust lightly with flour. Place a parchment cut to the size of your pan at the bottom.

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl. Split and scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean. Rub the seeds into the sugar.

In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter and vanilla sugar for a few minutes. Add the egg and continue to whisk for another minute and then pour in the yogurt mixture.

Gently add the dry ingredients in 2 batches into the mixture and mix slowly. Fold in the pureed strawberries and zest.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake until done. Mine took close to 50 minutes to fully bake because the baking dish was quite deep. The baked cake had crispy sides and a dense texture as a result of longer baking. I have baked this cake before following the instructions exactly and in a larger pan.... that cake was moist and soft. I like both textures :-)

Cool on a wire rack. Use a knife to cut the cake in two. Use half the amount of the whipped strawberry cream as filling and the other half smeared on top.

Whipped Strawberry Cream

Macerated strawberries:
5-6 Medium sized strawberries diced into small pieces
1 Tbs Sugar

Stabilized whipped cream:
1 cup Heavy cream
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp Unflavored gelatin
1 Tbs Warm water
1 Tbs Room temperature heavy cream

In a small bowl combine the cut strawberries and a Tbs of sugar. Let this sit on the counter top for about 30-45 minutes until the mixture becomes watery. Remember to drain the water out before folding the macerated strawberries into the whipped cream.

Please read the info here to make stabilized whipped cream... you'll have to scroll down a bit :-)






 
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Malabar Paratha


I was in Pakistan for bari Eid last year and was quite surprised to learn that Maha (my super awesome, super cute and super talented cousin) solely (seriously!) survives on a diet consisting of chai, paratha and sometimes shoestring french fries with a sprinkling of chaat masala along with that oh so good chili garlic sauce!

Not that there is any lack of healthier, tastier alternatives, oh no.... she chooses to do this out of free will :-)

So I showed her how to make the best paratha imaginable!
......Drumroll......
The Malabar Paratha!

A great job she did :-) It was flawless, perfect.... and it was her first time making it :-)
Below is a picture of the one she made and then of her making it :-)





Ingredients

The amounts below will make two 5" parathas. This recipe can be easily be doubled or tripled... the ratio of flour and whole wheat I use is 3:1. You can change that ratio or use just whole wheat or just flour if you want.

Whole wheat 1/4 cup
All purpose flour 3/4 cup
Salt 3/4 tsp
Sugar 3/4 tsp
Room temperature water for kneading 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs (amount could vary)
Ghee 1/4 cup (you can also use melted butter or oil)

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl... mix well... and then add half the amount of water.
Begin kneading the dough and continue to add water as needed. After all the water has been added knead for about 4-5 minutes or until the dough is elastic and lump free. It should not be sticky.... add more flour if it is. Let this rest for about 30 minutes. Divide the dough in 2 parts and roll them in flour to make 2 balls.

Place a dough ball on a clean and lightly oiled surface. Flatten with your fingers or the back of your palm. Then use a rolling pin to roll it as thin as you possibly can in a rough shape. You can also grab the ends of the dough and stretch to make it even thinner. Paint the surface with some ghee. A lot of people do an accordion fold.... I think its quicker and results in more layers to roll up the flattened bread firmly like a jelly roll. Once its all rolled up and looks like a rope... make it even longer by pulling from the sides. Spread some more butter on it and coil it up, tuck the end in and make it into a ball again.

video

Once again on a floured surface flatten the ball and then roll out to about 5" diameter. Don't use too much pressure or you would lose the layers. Heat up a griddle.. drop about a teaspoon of ghee on it and cook the bread. It should take about 2 minutes on each side to cook fully on medium high. Add some more ghee when you flip sides.

video

While the cooked bread is still hot place it on a kitchen towel and crush the bread towards the center with your hands.. this will release the layers. Enjoy with your favorite curry!

  video





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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Carrot Cake

I had a wonderful time making a carrot cake (as requested) for Amrita :-)

Mine, hers and her husband's birthdays are on consecutive days each a month apart and she being the head baker thought it would be a great tradition to bake each other cakes :-)

 
The six layers had a tangy lemon cream cheese frosting between them. The outside was covered in barely sweetened vanilla flavor whipped cream dots and decorated with dark chocolate curls on the top.
 
 
 Took me a while.. but I think I did good :-)
 



(serves: 10-12 ppl)
(assembly time: Took me several hours but I am a newbie)

Cake

3 cups hand shredded carrots (you could use already shredded carrots from a grocery store.. I find those to be stiff and dry)
2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
2 cups Cane sugar
2 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Baking soda
3/4  Tbs Cinnamon powder (I used Saigon cinnamon from McCormick)
1/4 tsp Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp Sea salt
4 Large eggs (room temperature)
1 1/4 cup Canola oil (vegetable oil would work as well)
1 1/2 Tbs. Pure vanilla extract (I used vanilla extract from Spice Island)
1 cup Black California raisins *optional (Go for it... I just didn't have any)

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg) in a large bowl. Mix with a fork to make sure that all the ingredients are dispersed equally.

In a separate bowl whisk vanilla, oil and sugar for a few minutes and then start adding the eggs one at a time.

Now slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in 3 or 4 batches and mix together slowly until the batter is well incorporated.

Fold in the carrots and raisins.

I wanted to make a multi layer tall cake. You could divide the batter into several bake pans. I didn't have that many pans nor the patience to bake 6 layers separately.

What I had was a 17" x 11" baking sheet so I used that. I divided the batter into two equals parts by weight.... poured one part into a prepared (sides oiled and dusted with flour. Bottom of the sheet pan lined with parchment paper) baking sheet and put it in the oven for 30 mins. The other part of the batter sat happily in the fridge until it was it's turn to bake. I just stirred it before baking it in a similar manner as above.

I cut the thin baked cake into three equal rectangles each approximately 5.5" x 10". So after two baking sessions I had 6 layers of cake... which was good enough for me :-)

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz Cream cheese at room temp (I used 2 8oz Philadelphia cream cheese blocks)
8 oz unsalted butter at room temp (I used Lurpak butter)
2 cups Powdered sugar
2 Tbs Fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs Fresh lemon rind

Combined all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix using an electric whisk until the mixture looks well blended and creamy. This frosting is very soft at room temperature and therefore easier to use in between layers and to cover the cake. Placing it in the fridge hardens it significantly.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 

*Read last paragraph for vegetarians.

Stabilized whipped cream will hold its shape in desserts when piped on. This is excellent to use as a very light frosting on cakes.

1 cup heavy cream (I used cream from Golden Glen Creamery)
1 1/2 Tbs regular sugar
1 Tbs Pure vanilla (I used vanilla extract from Spice Island)

For stabilizing
1 rounded tsp Knox unflavored gelatin
2 Tbs warm water
3 Tbs room temp heavy cream

Pour some warm water in a small cup or bowl and mix in one rounded tsp of gelatin. Then microwave it for 20 secs and allow to set in the fridge this could take up to 15 mins.

After the gelatin in the fridge is set you can begin to whip the heavy cream. In a much larger bowl whisk together heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until medium peaks are formed.

Now you can add the gelatin to stabilize the whipped cream. To do so you will first have to microwave the set gelatin for 5 seconds until it's melted again and add some room temp cream to it. Add immediately to the whipped cream before the gelatin sets again. Continue to whisk the heavy cream until stiff peaks are formed.

A fabulous YouTube video explains this process. I basically followed her method but made only a small batch of the gelatin. I haven't tried this but an alternative kosher would be to use piping gel as explained in this video. An interesting read for vegetarians on how to use agar agar powder for this.

Assembly

Prepare the cake
Save at least a cup of cream cheese frosting to go outside the cake. The rest will be used as filling.

Place the first layer of cake on top of a cake base. I made mine by cutting out a 11" x 6" rectangle from foam core and covering it with aluminum foil. You can find foam core easily from a dollar store or an office supply or craft store.

Spread some cream cheese frosting on it and then place the next layer of cake on top of that. Kinda like making a multilayer sandwich. Repeat until your cake is built. The top most layer should be cake.

Now we need to do a crumb coat and try to make the edges straight with the frosting that you saved earlier. I used a butter knife to on the sides to fill in gaps and holes and then used a pastry scrapper to level the top, smooth out the edges and get somewhat sharp corners.

This doesn't have to perfect because it will get covered with whipped cream and chocolate curls. However if you are a perfectionist watch this demo.

Place the cake in the fridge for 30 mins so that the cream cheese frosting will harden.

Chocolate curls
3oz or more of your favorite dark chocolate bar melted (I used a Moonstruck 68% dark chocolate bar)

I spread a thin layer of melted chocolate on the back side of my baking sheet with a rubber spatula an offset spatula would be a better choice. Then I placed the sheet in the fridge for about 5 mins and used a pastry scrapper to make curls.

Here is an awesome video that demos the process. I love YouTube :-)

Whipped cream dots
I used a round Wilton tip #12 to make simple little polka dots around the cake.

You will need the following equipment to use the tip.
1- A coupler to hold the tip in place. Mine was from Wilton and the link explains how to use one.
2- Pastry or decorating bags. I got the 12 pack from Wilton.








 
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Friday, October 4, 2013

My Birthday Cake

 
My super hero girl friend (on the left) made this awesome cake for my birthday!
A delicate, light, moist, super duper delish strawberry short cake with macerated strawberries as filling and mascarpone cheese frosting!!!

It was just how I like it... perfect in every way!
Thanks Amrita :-)



 
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Ukadiche Modak

 
Happy festivities everyone :-)
 
I found out about this particular dessert from a friend who is from Maharashtra.
I have come to realize that Ganesha Chaturthi is quite dull without this delicacy..... and since I am crazy about all things dumplings..... and all things festivals.... I decided to roll up my sleeves and make a few!

I tried but can't pronounce the first part of the title :-)
It means "steamed" in Marathi I think.


 
When bad things happen to good modaks!

Steamed a bunch of them last night.... and even though I made very sure that the steamer was extremely well greased..... the modaks got horribly stuck to the container and we were left with yummy but bottom-less modaks.

I was able to avoid that in the second batch I made by lining the steamer with wax paper rubbed with butter. The modaks peeled off quite easily :-)


(makes 6 jumbo modaks or 10 mini modaks)
(prep time is about 15 mins)
(pleating and wrapping depends on skill level, it took me over 30 mins.)
(cook time 15 mins)
Ingredients

Since I had never made this or even knew about it...  I started by watching a bunch of recipes on youtube for inspiration and learning. They were all pretty much similar. I liked Nisha Madhulika's version. I highly recommend watching her video for more info.
Credit for the following recipe goes to her :-)
 
Very Imp:
Saran wrap and vinyl gloves will be your best friends!
And line the bottom of your steamer with some well greased wax paper otherwise the modaks might stick to the container.
 
Shell:
3/4 cup fine rice flour
3/4 cup water
A few drops of oil or melted butter
A nice big pinch of salt

Filling:
Gurh or Jaggery (a type of brown sugar that can be easily found in Indian grocery stores)
Dried shredded coconut - unsweetened
Cardamom 3 pods
A good pinch of fennel seeds
Almonds
Blue poppy seeds
You will also need 1 Tbs of butter which you will add towards the end

I pretty much eye-balled the amounts.
Here is a visual of how much I used for the filling.

 
 
Method
 
Filling:
The filling is basically dried nuts, spices, and coconut mixed in with melted sugar and some butter.
Fairly simple to do.
Add the lump sugar in a non-stick pot. I cut mine in quarters first, however this step is not necessary unless you have really old hardened up sugar.
Turn the heat up to medium low and slowly start to melt the sugar.
The almonds need to be in small pieces. I achieved this by placing the almonds in a Ziploc bag and gently smashed each kernel with a hammer. Then I used my knife to chop them further.
Grind the spices into a powder.
Once the sugar is soft and beginning to melt add coconut and poppy seed and mix well.
After a few more minutes combine almonds, spices, butter - mix well - and then turn off the heat.
Take this out in a bowl and keep aside for later use.
 
 
Shell:
Use a non-stick pan.
Add salt, a few drops of oil to some water and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat off and add the rice flour to the hot water.
Mix well with a stiff spatula.
Cover and let this sit for 5 minutes.
Take the dough out on an oiled surface and knead while still hot with your hands or a flat spatula until dough is soft, smooth, shiny and very moldable.
 
The dough is very fun to work with as long as you are wearing gloves!
Beware... the scary, detestable yet strangely appealing.... carb monster... called "C"!!
 
 
Pleating
 
I really thought I could free hand it.
I was humbled.
 
I figured two ways worked best for me.
First:
Take a small a amount of dough and roll it out between two sheets of saran or plastic wrap to desired thickness. Place some stuffing in the center and then gather the sides of the dough up to form the shape. The mini modaks in the picture above were made this way.
 
 
Second:
This I would say is my preferred method because it was easier for me to form the pleats on the sides.
I had some small dip bowls - a gift from an old friend.
I wrapped saran around it, then I placed a small piece of dough and molded it to the shape of the bowl and extended it beyond the rim... took it out in my hand.... filled it up... pinched the sides of the dough and closed it up. See pictures below.
 
 

 
 
 
Lets cook this
 
Steam this covered for about 15 minutes.
Allow it to cool down to room temperature before eating.
  
Super psyched about the Pankaj Udhas concert tonight!!!
 
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Friday, August 30, 2013

Gobhi Gosht


I love cauliflower... I love it extra when cooked with goat meat.... and when you throw in a couple of Malabari parathay into the equation... its heavenly!


Ingredients

Onions - I used a yellow onion (1 cup chopped)
Roma tomato 1 large (A little less than 1/2 of a cup when cut up in eights)
Thai chilies 4-5 medium sized (About 2 heaped Tbs. when minced - Use more or less if you want)
Garlic 3 large cloves (1 heaped Tbs. minced)
Ginger 1" chunk (3/4 Tbs. minced)
Goat meat 1 1/2 lbs. (Cut up into stew size chunks with bones)
Olive oil 3-4 Tbs.
Cauliflower florets (Roughly 4 cups. This was 1/2 of a large cauliflower head)
Some water for cooking
Some cilantro to sprinkle on top. Roughly chopped about 2-3 Tbs.

Spices

Turmeric 3/4 tsp
Black pepper 1/2 tsp
Whole cloves 2
Cardamom 1 large pod
Whole coriander 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 3/4 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp
Salt

I used a coffee grinder to grind all whole spices into a powder.
You can use powdered spices or use a mortal and pestle.

Method

Rub the spices all over the meat and set aside while you are prepping everything else.
Use a wide pan.
Fry the onions in some oil. Medium low heat, cook until they are quite caramelized... we are looking for a very dark brown color.
Add the minced ginger, garlic and chilies..... cook for another minute or 2 and then the tomatoes go in.
Ten minutes later take everything out and blend into a smooth paste and keep aside.
Pour some more oil in the same pan and crank up the heat.
Sear the goat meat for about 1 minute on one side then flip and sear the other sider for another minute.
Now you can return the onion and tomato paste you just made back into the pan.
Add 3/4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat, cover your pan and let this simmer for a good hour and a half or until the meat is fall off the bones tender.
Using a pressure cooker will reduce this time significantly! I felt too lazy to pull mine out from the back of my cabinet. I just watched a bunch of Ducktales while the meat was cooking :-D
Anyway... after about 1 1/2 hour you will have an awesome goat curry which you can enjoy with naan or over rice.
However since we are making gobhi gosht... now will be time to add the cut up florets into the pan.
I like adding fairly large pieces of cauliflower since they break down quite a bit during cook time.
We want the end result to be kind of a dry curry so if you have a lot of liquid left over in your pan then cook with the lid ajar otherwise cook covered.
I prefer the cauliflower to be firm so I cooked it for 15 minutes..... if you like them to be very tender and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes or so.
And now you are done.
Easy.
:-)

 
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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sheer Khorma



A traditional dessert made specially on Eid in Pakistan and India.
Sort of like a pudding..... very easy to make and best if served cold.

I prefer subtle flavors so I just used cardamom, almonds and dates.

But if you feel adventurous go ahead and flavor the milk with a few strands of saffron instead of cardamom. You can also add different nuts and dried fruits like pistachios, almonds, raisins, sultanas, dates, dried apricots and dried coconut to name a few.

Eid Mubarak to all :-)

(Total time 15 mins)
(Makes approx. 12 1/2 cup servings)
Ingredients

Whole milk 4 cups
Medjool dates 4-5 large ones
Sugar 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs (Total of 6 Tbs.)
Cardamom 3-4 pods ground into a powder
Coarse ground almonds 1/4 cup
Roasted vermicelli (very thin strands) roughly 2.65 oz. or 75 grams.
Basically I got Shan roasted vermicelli from an Indian grocery store and used half of the packet.

There are several different types of vermicelli that you can find. Unfortunately Shan foods does not have the vermicelli listed on their website or maybe they do and I just couldn't find it so here is a picture of what I used. You can also use a similar product made by National Foods.

Method

First of all you will need to break the vermicelli into smaller strands... it's best to use your hands for this. Just grab the whole bunch from one end and twist your hand to break them. There will be flyaways and lots of them! But if you are careful and do this slowly you won't make a mess hopefully :-)

Now take the stones out of the dates.
I like to blend the dates into the milk.... I like the flavor and love the creamy color that it creates.
But if you prefer you can just cut them up into quarters or eighths. Just remember that if you decide to use date chunks you may need to use more sugar.

Place the broken vermicelli pieces into a large pot.
Add milk blended with the dates (or date chunks), cardamom powder, sugar and bring this slowly to a gentle boil.
Simmer for 5 mins and take it off the heat.
Add the ground almonds and mix well.
Allow to come to room temperature and then refrigerate for 4-6 hours at least to make sure its very cold.




 
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Khushk Seviyan (Dry Vermicelli)


Here is another way to make vermicelli for Eid this year :-)
I used to teach this in my class and all my students loved it!
Good idea to eat this warm... it's sort of like a Halva with some crunchiness.
I highly recommend to use your fingers for eating this instead of a plain 'ol spoon :-)

(prep time 15 mins)
(serves 6-8 ppl)
Ingredients

Eggs 2 large
Melted butter 1/2 cup
Sugar 1/2 cup
Cardamom 3-4 pods ground into a powder
Coarse ground almonds 1/4 cup
Desiccated dried coconut (unsweetened) 1/4 cup
Roasted vermicelli (very thin strands) roughly 2.65 oz. or 75 grams.
Basically I got Shan roasted vermicelli from an Indian grocery store and used half of the packet.

There are several different types of vermicelli that you can find. Unfortunately Shan foods does not have the vermicelli listed on their website or maybe they do and I just couldn't find it so here is a picture of what I used. You can also use a similar product made by National Foods.

Method

First of all you will need to break the vermicelli into smaller strands... it's best to use your hands for this. Just grab the whole bunch from one end and twist your hand to break them. There will be flyaways and lots of them! But if you are careful and do this slowly you won't make a mess hopefully :-)

Combine melted butter, eggs, sugar and cardamom powder in a bowl and use a fork to mix well.
Place the broken vermicelli inside a wide non stick pan.
Turn the heat to medium low and pour the mixture into the pan.
Make sure the temperature is not too high otherwise the eggs will scramble!
You will need stir this often.
The vermicelli will go through the following stages. The lighting is bad but I thought pictures might help.
  1. First very soggy
  2. After 2-3 minutes a little less soggy, somewhat held together but super oily. At this point you can raise the temperature up to medium high and continue to stir often.
  3. A couple of minutes later it will become kinda feathery.... you are almost there.
  4. Finally after a few more minutes it should be very feathery, dry looking with some soft lumps.




All done.
Turn off the heat.
Mix in the ground almonds and coconut.
Serve warm with maybe a big dollop of un-sweetened whipped cream!!!
:-)

 
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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Chocolate Chip and Coconut Cookies


Last year I came up with a lighter version of the chocolate chip cookie :-)

I used half the amount of butter that would normally go into a cookie recipe. I also wanted to use less flour so I added some unsweetened shredded coconut. The flavor of the coconut was very subtle and went very well with the chocolate.

VERY pleased with how they came out. :-)
I think it's the best cookie I have ever had :-)
They look and taste amazing! They had a wonderful moist texture that stayed soft and fresh for a week in an air tight jar on my countertop.



(makes 8 cookies)
(prep time 10 mins + 2 hours in the fridge)
(bake time 15 mins)
Ingredients

White sugar 1/8 cup
Light brown sugar 1/8 cup
Dark moscavado sugar 1/4 cup
Vanilla 1 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Butter 1/4 cup (melted and at room temp)
Egg 1 large (cold from the fridge)
Baking soda 1/4 tsp
All purpose flour 1 cup
Dessicated coconut 1/2 cup (unsweetened)
Dark chocolate chips 1 cup (I perfer the hand cut look so I chopped up a bar of dark chocolate into roughly 1/4" squares)


 Method

Combine all the sugars, baking soda, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.
Pour in the melted butter and whisk together for a minute on high.
Break in the egg.
Use a mixer and whisk for 1-2 mins on medium high speed.
Fold in the flour and the coconut flakes.
Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Form a log about 8 inches long and wrap with some saran.
Refrigerate for a few hours.
Cut into 8 equal discs.
Arrange them on a lightly greased sheet of wax paper atop a baking tray.
Bake for 15-17 mins in a preheated 375 degrees oven.
They should feel slightly soft in the center when you take them out.
Peel them off the wax paper and allow to cool for 20-30 mins before digging in.
:-)
 
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Ice-cream Cake

 
Made this a few days back.
I think it's looks pretty, and tasted good too.
It's hard for an ice-cream cake to taste bad :-)
 
Makes one 3" high 6" diameter cake.
I'd say enough for 6-8 people.
 
Method
 
Very easy to put together.
I baked half of a chocolate cake from a boxed mix. I wanted it to be flat and thin so I baked it in a baking sheet.
 
I used a 6" dia and 3" high Wilton springform pan to build the ice cream cake in. And once the chocolate cake was baked and cooled I used the pan like a cookie cutter and cut out 2 circular layers - one for the base and one for the lid (the rest of the cake was chopped up and used for another dessert but you can cut out more circular layers for a taller cake).
 
I had Baskin Robbins make me a 6" waffle disc (65 cents only) - I wanted to use that a crunchy center. Sadly it didn't stay crunchy :-) In retrospect I think I should have dipped it in tempered chocolate and let it harden before using it sandwiched between ice-cream.
 
I used a quart of OREO Cookies 'n Cream ice cream from Baskin Robbins (use what ever you love!)
I let it sit on the counter for a few minutes until it became soft.
 
Now lets build the cake!
Place the bottom layer of the chocolate cake in the pan.
Scoop out half the ice-cream and spread it over the cake.
Now place the waffle in position and spread the rest of the ice-cream over it.
Seal the deal with the chocolate cake disc.
Freeze for about 30 mins.
 
After 30 min I un-molded the cake and decorated it with some un-sweetened whipped cream on the sides. Then I poured come chocolate ganache on top and decorated it further with chocolate shards made from tempered chocolate.
 
Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
9 oz. of dark chocolate bits.
 
Gently warm up the heavy cream in a double boiler and add the chocolate bits into it. Stir until chocolate dissolves completely. Let this cool to room temp before pouring it on the cake. Freeze the cake for another 20 min at least or until ready to serve.
 
Tada!
Some more pictures.
 


 

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

No Butter Peanut Butter Cookie


Must try..... so wonderful and super easy to make!
This is the same recipe as my Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies but without the butter and chocolate chips. You could add the chocolate chips to this if you wanted to.

(makes about 20  2"cookies)
(prep time 10 mins)
(bake time 15 mins)
Ingredients

All purpose flour 1 1/2 cups
Baking soda 3/4 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/2 cup
Brown sugar 1/4 cup
Clover honey 1/4 cup
Chunky peanut butter 1/2 cup + 1 Tbs (I used fresh ground peanut butter from Whole Foods)
Large egg 1 (room temp)


Method

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together the sugars, honey, peanut butter and egg in a large bowl.
Add to this the dry ingredients and fold in.
Scoop spoonfuls of the dough onto a baking sheet and bake for 13-15 mins or until light golden brown. They will feel soft when they come out the oven. Let them cool down completely and the centers will become nice and chewy.
Enjoy
:-)

 
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon

 
I roasted a chicken for dinner a while back. Was feeling creative and decided to stuff lemon slices beneath the skin for a great lemony flavor.
 
It turned out quite nice and very pretty. Below is another picture with the skin removed so you can see what it looked like.
 
Not in the photo but I had some cottage cheese on the side as well and also made a quick gravy from the juice left behind in the pan.
 
 
 
Lets start with the easy things first.
 
(cook time 1 1/2 hours)
(serves 4-6)
Roasted Vegetables

Baby carrots 1/2 lbs. bag
Celery 5-6 stalks
Yellow onions 1 medium
Fingerling potatoes 1/2 lbs.

Cut the vegetables in similar size and length.
Sprinkle some fresh ground pepper, dried parsley and dried thyme on top and toss them around in some olive oil, you will need very little maybe 1/2 Tbs.
These will bake along side the chicken for an hour.
Make sure to turn their sides half way through cooking time.
Sprinkle some sea salt after they are fully cooked but still very hot.


How to prep the chicken

Ingredients:
Whole chicken 1
Fresh Lemon 1 large
Fresh ground pepper 1/2 tsp.
Red chili flakes 1/2tsp.
Dried thyme 1 tsp.
Dried parsley 1 tsp.
Olive oil 1 Tbs.
I used no salt

I used a mandolin to get thin slices out of the lemon.
Sprinkle the herbs and spices on the lemon slices.
Below is a picture of what it will look like.


Warning: Consider using gloves because the next step is slightly gross :-)
Hope the picture helps, it was a dark and rainy day here and therefore the dull picture.

Lift up the skin near the breast and move your hand beneath the skin to loosen it... go all the way to the thighs and the bottom side of the chicken.

Do the best you can, no need to be perfect just be careful to not tear the skin.

When the skin is good and loose, slide the lemon slices underneath the skin. Make sure to cover the thighs as well.
 
Rub some oil on the outside and sprinkle fresh ground coarse pepper and salt (I didn't use any) all over the chicken

Now use a kitchen twine to truss the chicken. This means using a thick cotton thread to tie the chicken. I learnt how to do it from this YouTube video.

Doing this holds the chicken together while roasting and makes it easier to turn.

Another dark and gloomy picture on the left.



Now lets bake this.
Pre heat your oven to 400 F.

Place the chicken breast side down on a roasting rack and inside a large baking dish. Most of the lemon juice will drain out and you want to collect it to make a gravy later. Bake for 40 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 375 F turn the chicken breast side up and bake for 30 minutes. At this point you will place the vegetables in the oven as well. After 30 minutes turn the chicken one last time- breast side down again- and bake for another 30 minutes.

Note:
Your bake time might be different so please use a thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is 165 F for white meat and about 180 F for dark meat.

Done.
Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes before cutting into it.
You can use this time to make the gravy.

Gravy

Collect the juice that's in the backing dish. Most of the lemon flavor will be in this.
Skim the extra fat and place the juice in a saucepan.
Turn the heat on medium high and let this simmer for 5-6 minutes to thicken the gravy.
I decided not to but you can use roux or corn flour to thicken it as well.
Add some more fresh lemon juice to this.
Season with salt and pepper and you are done.













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