Thursday, November 18, 2010

Swiss meringue buttercream

3 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place egg whites and sugar in a (steel bowl that fits the mixer)double boiler over simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff fluffy peaks, beat until cooled( it will take about 8 mins). When completely cooled, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well on medium speed after each addition till all the butter is in. Add extract, mix on high till all the ingredients are well incorporated and smooth.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups - enough to frost a dozen cupcakes or a 6" cake.

Chocolate frosting

1 stick butter, unsalted
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups comfectioner's sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter, stir in cocoa. Alternately add sugar and milk, beating for 5 mins to smooth consistency. This comsistency is good for icing the cakes. For roses, add more sugar to a small batch of frosting. Additional milk can be added to use this icing to pipe the cakes or for making leaves.
Makes about 2 cups frosting.

G's note: For my 8x3" cake, I used 3 batches since I had 3 layers + roses to frost out of.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Doodh peda

The need to make this came from a  dear friend  Deepa Pai who inspires me with her ideas & we've  been wanting to make this for a couple weeks now. I have been hearing about this at every phone conversation for the past week, so we decided to pic a day &  make this at our next meet. The Tuesday where D's dreams of doodh peda was about to come true was finally here.
The peda making started in full josh and the microwaving part was done. The excitement died just as fast when it came to dinner time (that's where I screwed up, big time!) We let the mixture cool down completely (not deliberately, of course)  as we were busy yapping off  & leisurely relished our dinner. The ending result was the crumbled up balls( flattening them made it look worse) of peda. The flavor was the only thing unaltered, thanks to condensed milk in it.
The peda making dream stuck with me since I was on a quest to make the kind with kesar & dried nuts as a garnish to beautify it. Making such a easy sweet dish did not do justice if I didn't put extra little effort in it. Hence, the birth of these sweeties.

Milk Powder – 2 cups
Condensed Milk – 1 can (14 OZ)
butter- 1 stick
Saffron – few strands

Take a wide microwave safe bowl and heat the butter just until it melts.
Now add both, the condensed milk and milk powder and microwave for 5 mins stirring (use the sturdiest sspoon you have)after every minute.
Here's where I tweaked, I added 1 heaped spoon of malt (badam doodh) powder + 2 tbsp kesari milk masala (Everest brand), elaichi + kesar for garnish.Mix the above to dough, knead to smooth texture. Cool the mixture for a few mins for you to handle the warm dough. Now roll the pedhas into a ball, flatten it then press saffron strands to the center.
Share these sweeties( along with the recipe) at your next girls meet & talk about the ease(that went into making) of this sweet.

G's note: Recipe used was from "show me the curry" at my friends place.
Second attempt by me was using the same recipe with a couple tweaks. I'm impressed myself! All thanks to D for the push. Can't wait for us to try something new again!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pepper chicken

Chicken 2 lbs (cut in to small pieces)
Onion 2 sliced
Green chillies 8 chopped
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Coriander powder -2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper Powder 3 tsp
Ginger garlic paste 2 tsp
Cashews 8-10, roasted
Oil - 4 tbsp


In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and fry green chillies,curry leaves and onion till the onion browns the edges. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell vanishes. Add turmeric, coriander powder and half of the black pepper powder. Saute for a few mins, add the chicken pieces and fry on high heat for a about 5 mins. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the rest of the pepper, roasted cashews and serve hot.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

kele koddel

This koddel/ curry can also be made with a legume/pulse and raw plantains. Pulses can be Avro, alsande or any dried peas.

Raw plantains- 1 no
Coconut 1/2 cup
red chillies 6-8
tamarind paste 1/2 tsp

for the seasoning
oil 2 tbsp
garlic about 4 cloves, crushed
red chillies, 2 broken in bits.

Peel the plantains, quarter them and cut it in cubes.
Cook it with just enough water to immerse the plantains. Cook till almost done.

Roast red chillies in a little oil and grind it along with coconut, tamarind and salt to a smooth paste. Add this paste to cooked plantains and boil.

Season with garlic and crushed red chillies. The garlic is usually fried till it is crispy and dark brown in color. Yum!

Mozzarella Sticks

1 package of low moisture mozzarella sticks (9oz)
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic salt
2 eggs

Mix dry ingredients in a wide bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs with a pinch of salt.
Dip each stick into the egg then the bread crumbs then into the egg and then the crumbs again. Doing so twice will give a thick coating ( just the way we normally get at the restaurants), Arrange the double coated mozzarella sticks in a single layer on a tray or plate. Chill for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a skillet. Shallow fry to deep brown.

Broccoli Rabe stir-fry

A power house of nutrients + super easy 'pressed for time' dish. This is definitely not for ppl who make a face at new food & for strongly opinionated. It takes a couple tries for you to actually like it. The stalks/stems aren't as crunchy and delicious as you would expect ( compared to broccoli) and the leaves are slightly on the bitter side. People either love it or they don't. V wasn't too happy but I absolutely loved it!

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 bunches broccoli rabe, chopped

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until the garlic begins to soften. Wash the broccoli rabe, chop to an inch length with the flower, stem & all (nothing goes to waste, YAY!). Add it to the saucepan with the water still clinging to it.

Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the broccoli rabe is tender. Add salt to taste.

G's note: The green can be easily substituted with broccoli, spinach or beet greens.

Palak paratha with paneer stuffing

Paratha tastes best with garlic pickle

Inspiration source: Deepa Pai

For the paratha:
A paste made of palak, garlic, ginger, salt. Added to atta, oil, salt, water. Made into a pliable dough. In my case, pre-made by Deeps. See, how lucky I am! All ingredients are vaguely measured

For the stuffing:
Chopped paneer, cilantro, onion, green chillies ( finely chopped), dhaniya powder, turmeric, chilli powder & 1 mozzarella stick (M's addition) roughly chopped.

The rest is pretty predictive. Roll out the paratha, fill the stuffing like a hot pocket, roll out to flatten, cook on a griddle. Serve with garlic pickle . Savour.

7 layer dip

An A+ graded dip needs no intro. Wish I had pic to show the layers of color that is everybody's favourite. Everybody who ate this absolutely loved it so much that I didn't have the heart to ask them to freeze for a minute so I could have a pic taken. I guess I just have to make one someday for the pic sake. I added a few extra things to spice it up! My additionis highlighted in red.

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can re-fried beans
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup salsa
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 small head iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and re-fried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter.
Layer in the order : sour cream , salsa,  avocado, tomato, lettuce ( finely chopped cilantro & jalapenos) , olives . Garnish  with Cheddar cheese.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

black bean salad

I got this recipe from one of the borrowed magazines from the library ( cooking light, summer edition). The pic looked very vibrant and beautiful that I wasn't going to wait till summer to make it. It's pretty tasty and perfect for summer BBQ's! This is going to be an addition to my starters/dips to few of the upcoming parties, served with pita wedges, tortilla chips or baguette crisps.

3 Cans Black beans, rinsed & drained
2 cups corn ( I used frozen here)
1 cup cooked white Rice
3 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
1 Red Onion, chopped
1/4 Cup Green Onion, chopped
2-4 chopped Green Chilies
1/4 ell pepper, diced
10 stems Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. Salt
couple squeezes of Lemon or Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients, chill and serve cold.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gosale ghire chutney

peel of 2 ridge gourd ( gosale)
1 cup coconut
4-6 green chillies
1/2 tsp jeera
2 tsp ghee

In a skillet, heat ghee and roast the gourd peel with jeera and green chillies till the peels brown on the edges and wilts. Grind the roasted ingredients with coconut, tamarind, salt and very little water to a coarse paste. This is one of the chutney usually an accompaniment to rice as opposed to breakfast eats.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Atta/Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Powdered Sugar- 1 1/2 cups
Ghee - 3/4 cups
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp

Heat ghee in a pan. Fry the flour on a medium heat till it is aromatic and is slight brown in colour. This may take around 10 min. Mix in sugar and the cardamom powder.Cool for a few mins. Grease palms with ghee and form laddo's packed tightly, placing a raisin in the center.

G's note: Add a couple cashew nuts to the atta while roasting. This gives me  an estimate of when the atta is roasted enough since the atta is brown to begin with.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rainbows & sunshine cake

This fun and festive piece of edible art is just what I was itching to make. I had the perfect occasion, my best friend's son's( R's 4th b'day) party;  the upcoming event to bake for. Thank heavens for such occasions that keeps my dreams alive!
 The little curly haired pumpkin just wanted his friends for a play date on his birthday. Gotta love this kid! Of all the things he could wish for, the day where every parents can get him what his heart desires,he chose friends. Such a cutie!

 My cake making dreams sort of overlapped over each other; making it difficult to chose one kind. What would make him happy? Most kids only care about the outside. I wanted it pretty both in & out. I was
determined with a rainbow  cake & was all set to make a special cake . A cake that would show sunshine in his eyes & a big smile as it was revealed.  Which kid doesnt like bright colors? If he is anything like my kid, he would love all the crayons to make a small design & considering the simalarities of taste between a 4 yr old & 5 yr old. It was easy to decide.
  My friend loved the cake the moment she saw it.and sure enough, little R was excited too. That's what makes this worthwhile..the real sunshine in his smile. Happy birthday, Rishab! Hope you had a terrific party!

The little crowd loved it just as much as I loved making it. the cake had a serious lean..pretty obvious! I didn't know if the cookies were keeping the cake upright or the cakes were keeping the cookies. Either way, I just wanted it to stay tall till the big moment.
The cake was a big sucess & the kids couldn't keep their hands off the buildings, which was a HUGE compliment in itself!
I mapped out a plan, got the supplies and was all set to bake this with my helpers.
here's a peak of the inside of the ginormous cake.

2 boxes, Pillsbury ( white cake, with the pudding in the mix) cake mix + all the ingredients required to make the cake according to instructions ( such as oil, eggs, water). Aluminium tin foil cake pans, 6, 9'x 2', Wilton gel colors.

Divide the batter into 6, color using the gel colors , pour into the greased ( fail proof method: use Pam spray to mist lightly all over the inside, sprinkle 1 tbsp all purpose flour, coat by shaking  the pan so the flour adheres to the grease, tap off the excess) tin foil cake pans & bake for 18-22 mins at 325F. Cool for 15 mins in the pan. Remove & cool on the wire racks till completely cooled.

Pipe a thin ring of icing a quarter inches away from the sides to hold all the icing in. Generously frost the layer of the cake.

Frost a thin layer of soft butter cream, also called as crumb coat( holds all the crumbs in the icing)and chill for about an hour. The cake is now ready to be frosted and decorated away!

For the cookies, I used 1 package of Sugar cookies, 1 batch of Wilton's Royal icing ( recipe follows) & Wilton colors.
Cookie dough was rolled out to 1/2" thickness. Cut as desired and bake till the edges begins to brown. Mine took exact 9 mins.

Cool completely on a wire rack & decorate.
(G's note: This cookie was slightly on the soft side as we normally would want for the sugar cookie to be...but, I would like to add a couple tbsp of all purpose flour to this next time if I'd make tall buildings, so it would hold its shape through the party.)

Royal icing for the cookies:
4 cups confectioners sugar
3 tbsp meringue powder
6-7 tbs warm water
beat all the ingredients together for 7-8 min.
G's note: Double wash all the materials( mixing bowl, beater blades, piping tips, spatula) that may come in contact with royal icing since teeny tiniest traces of grease will break down this icing and once it does that,it cannot be revived.