Monday, December 22, 2008

Linzer Cookies

It'z X'mas time and time to bake and give back to family and friends! I love the xmas season and all the festivities, the lights, the goodies everywhere, great holiday cookies etc. Its a lot of fun baking and giving goodies to your close ones. I believe that food is the best gift to give :) Its made with love and one can taste it in every bite taken :)

I saw this recipe in a Gourmet or a Bon Appetit magazine, and loved it! I had to try it as part of my gift package. I went to Sur La Table especially to get the Linzer Cookie cutters! They turned out beautiful and very yummy as well:) Ahh the joys of Baking!! :)


2/3 cup almond meal (3 oz)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 mashed banana
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 12-oz jar seedless raspberry jam

Special equipment: a 2- to 2 1/4-inch fluted round cookie cutter and assorted 1/2-inch shaped cookie cutters or aspic cutters


Pulse almond meal and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Beat together butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with paddle) or 6 minutes with a handheld. Add nut mixture and beat until combined well, about 1 minute. Beat in banana and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. With floured hands, form dough into 2 balls and flatten each into a 5-inch disk. Chill disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 2 hours.

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out 1 disk of dough into an 11-inch round (1/8 inch thick) between 2 sheets of wax paper (keep remaining dough chilled). If dough becomes too soft to roll out, rewrap in plastic and chill until firm. Cut out as many cookies as possible from dough with larger cookie cutter and transfer to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging about 1 inch apart. Using smaller cutters, cut out centers from half of the cookies, reserving centers and rerolling along with scraps (reroll only once). Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 10 to 15 minutes total, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely.

Make more cookies from second disk. Spread about 1 teaspoon jam on flat side of 1 solid cookie and sandwich jam with flat side of 1 windowed cookie. Sandwich remaining cookies in same manner.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pumpkin Choco-chip Walnut Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

In keeping with the thanksgiving theme, I made a pumpkin loaf to take it to LA for my in-laws. I made a couple mini loaves, so that we could keep one as well. Adding the cream cheese frosting just added that extra touch, that made every bite so delicious!

Below is the recipe :)


1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Sift first 5 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Beat dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture alternately with milk. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake loaf cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack; cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Wrap in plastic; store at room temperature.)

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Layer the cooled cake with the cream cheese frosting generously, and its ready to dig in! Tastes great with coffee. YUMM!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tomato, Mozarella, Basil pesto Crepes

Tomato, Mozarella, basil pesto crepes, that's for dinner! They are very satisfying and tasty as hell! :)


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tomatoes finely chopped
3/4 cup Mozarella cheese coarsely grated
1/2 cup basil pesto (For Recipe, see the "Chutneys and Spreads" link)


In a bowl, mix the water, milk, egg and melted butter, and beat it till the mixture is blended.

In another bowl, add the buckwheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt and mix it till blended. Now add the egg milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk till it is well blended and smooth. The consistency should be like cream consistency. Let it sit for an hour.

Heat a pan on medium heat. Splash a few drops of water, and if the water sizzles and evaporates immediately, meaning the pan is hot. Now, melt a little butter on the pan to coat the entire pan.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter in the middle of the pan and swirl the pan to coat the entire pan so that the crepe is thin. Let it cook for a couple minutes till you see tiny bubbles popping up. You can lift the side to see the bottom changing color.

Turn the crepe, and reduce the heat a bit. Now using a spatula, spread the basil pesto carefully, just enough to cover the crepe lightly. Then add the Mozarella cheese and the tomatoes on half the crepe. Cover the crepe, and let it cook for 3 minutes. Flip the crepe and press on it and once the cheese has melted, its ready to eat!:)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chocolate and Vanilla-Bean Ganache

Makes about 1 cup

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao), finely chopped
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened


Combine honey, cream, and vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring until honey dissolves. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes.

Place chocolate in a food processor. Return cream mixture to a simmer, then strain through a fine sieve. Discard solids. Pour cream mixture over chocolate, and let stand for 1 minute. Process until smooth. Add butter, and continue to process, scraping down sides occasionally, until butter is incorporated. Let cool slightly, and then use immediately.

Chocolate Thumbprints

I made these cookies last night to try them out, from the Martha Stewart Living magazine, and they came out amazing! They were so cakie, and delicious, full of chocolate goodness!! Worth trying for sure. The rolling in coconut was my touch ;)

Makes 90

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons coarse salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup ground coconut flakes
Chocolate and Vanilla-Bean Ganache


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, and add yolks, cream, and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Roll balls using 2 teaspoons dough for each, and roll each in the coconut flakes. Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. With the handle of a wooden spoon, press gently in the center of each to create an indentation. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are just set, about 10 minutes. (If indentations lose definition, press centers again.) Let cool slightly on baking sheets. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool.

Spoon warm ganache into center of each cookie. Let stand until firm, about 15 minutes. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cucumber Raita

Easiest raita recipe and very delicious! Loved by one and all :)


1 cucumber peeled and grated
2 cups yogurt
1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilli
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar


Mix all ingredients in a bowl well and let it sit for 10 minutes. Its ready to eat!

Vegetable Makhanwala

I tried this recipe when I had some friends over and it came out awesome! Few of my friends wanted the recipe so here it is.


1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 large potato peeled and chopped(small pieces)
1/2 cup peas
2 carrots peeled and diced small
1 cup paneer, sauted in oil and browned
1 cup green beans, with ends chopped and cut into small pieces

For the dry masala:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 cloves
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds(sauf)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
2 whole dried red chillies
2 tablespoons broken cashew nuts
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon red chilli powder
salt to taste

1 yellow onion finely chopped
2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic and ginger
2 tomatoes finely chopped
3 tablespoon tomato paste

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons ghee
1/2 cup half and half

1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
1 tablespoon chopped cashewnuts


Use the dry masala ingredients and toast them in a shallow pan for 5 min. Toasting dry spices brings out the flavor to the fullest. Grind them into a fine paste.

In a large deep pot, put the ghee, and the butter, on medium heat. Saute the dry masala paste for about 4 minutes till its golden brown. Put in the onions and the ginger garlic paste, and saute till the onions are golden brown for about 6 minutes. Put in the chopped tomatoes, and the paste. Saute for 6-7 minutes again. Put in the chopped veggies, and saute for 10 minutes. Add in th salt and red chilli powder. Add in the half and half, and 1/2 cup water, and cover it, and let it cook for 30 minutes on low to medium heat. Add the paneer and garnish with finely chopped coriander and chopped cashewnuts.

Eat it with rotis!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ragda Pattice

I had a couple of friends over on Sunday, so I decided to make ragda pattice and dahi wadas. The ragda pattice turned out really good. It is pretty straight forward. I had soaked about 2 cups of the white vatana(white peas) overnight. Here is the recipe:


For the pattice
2 large potatoes
4 small green chillies finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon amchur powder(mango powder)
3 slices soaked bread(without the outer rim - soak the bread slices in water for 30 seconds and squeeze the water out)
salt to taste
Oil for shall frying

For the ragda
Soaked white vatana
6-7 curry leaves(kadi patta)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons date tamarind chutney
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt to taste

cilantro chutney
date tamarind chutney
finely chopped onions
finely chopped cilantro


For the pattice
1) Boil the potatoes, cool them and peel the skin off. Mash the potatoes.

2) In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the pattice together, and mix it thoroughly with your bare hands. Make round balls, and flatten them out about 1/2 inch thick with oil brushed on both sides so that they dont stick.

3) Shallow fry the pattice, 4 minutes on each side, until a dark goldenish brown in color and it shows that its crisp enough! Place them on paper towels to soak the excess oil.

For the ragda
1) Pressure cook the vatana for 5 whistles. Dont do more, else it will overcook.

2) In a large vessel, at medium heat, put in the oil, wait for a couple minutes for the oil to heat up. Put in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and wait for a minutes for it to splatter.

2) Add the cooked ragda, and all the remaining spices, chutney, cilantro and salt. Add about one cup of water and let it boil for about 10 minutes and then switch off the heat. It is ready!

Final Preparation:
On a plate, place 2 pattice. Add about 2-3 servings of the ragda on top of it. Add a couple teaspoons of cilantro chutney and date tamarind chutney on each pattice. Top with onions and cilantro and its ready to chow down :P Have fun!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Almond milk

This Saturday, we went to really nice restaurant in the city of San Francisco, with mediterranean cuisine. The food was really good, and for dessert we ordered doughnut holes with chocolate sauce, and almond milk. The almond milk was the best part of the dessert! Served in a shot glass with a straw and almond pieces on the top, it was simply delicious! I decided to replicate the almond milk coz we both loved it so much! I made the almond milk as below and it turned out to be as delicious as the one in the restaurant.


1 cup half and half
1 scoop vanilla bean icecream
1/3 cup blanched almonds


Make a fine paste of the blanched almonds. Blend the paste, with the icecream and the half and half together in a blender. Strain the almond milk through a sieve, and the chilled almond milk is ready for dessert! Yummo!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eggplant Parmesan

I tried making eggplant parmesan last week on Friday, and it was pretty simple, just a bit tedious. It turned out great and was delicious, comparable to what you get outside! Hubby made chicken parmesan the same way, and he loved it as well. Cant wait to make it again! :)

TIP: Put less salt for drenching the eggplant. It may become too salty.


1 medium eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3/4 cup panko* (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), thinly sliced
basil leaves finely chopped for garnish
3 cups of marinara sauce(previous recipe)


Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, then stir together panko and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a third shallow bowl.

Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in panko until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.

Heat the olive oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant 4 slices at a time, turning over once, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.

Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Garnish with chopped basil.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Marinara Sauce

I plan to make chicken parmesan for hubby and eggplant parmesan for myself, on this coming Friday, using the below marinara sauce recipe. This is the first time I am going to try making the eggplant parmesan, and the key is to make a good marinara sauce! This is Mario Batali's recipe, and it CANNOT go wrong ;) I made the marinara sauce yesterday and it has turned out pretty good !! Very Happy with the result ! :) Look out for the eggplant parmesan recipe next!


1 28 ounce can of whole and peeled tomatoes
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 cup chopped onions
11/2 carrots peeled and coarsely grated
11/2 tablepoons of thyme leaves chopped
3 tablespoons chopped basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


In a deep saucepan, at medium heat, add in the oil. After a minute, add in the garlic and the onions and saute till its translucent, about 7 minutes. Add in the thyme and the grated carrots and saute for about 5 minutes till the carrots are soft.

Now add in the whole can of tomatoes, and break the tomatoes with a fork or a masher till coarse. Add in the chopped basil, salt and pepper. Now let the mixture boil once, and then at low heat let it simmer for about 40 minutes till it reduces. Now with a hand blender, blend the sauce until it is coarse but not really smooth.

Let it cool on the side, and then you can store it in a container for about 2-3 days. OR freeze it upto a month.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bateta nu Shaak(potato veggie)

This is the first vegetable that I learnt to make as a kid when I was 9 years old from my mom:) I had my winter vacation from school, and I had the cooking kicks, and decided to make something new every day of the 2 week vacation! First recipe that I tried was bateta nu shaak. Didn't turn out good, ofcourse ;) But it does NOW :P Its every Gujarati's comfort vegetable, and it goes great with theplas. We used to have methi theplas with this vegetable, and Raj loves it too! How can one NOT like this vegetable, with the thepla combination!? YUM!!


4 medium potatoes peeled and diced into cubes
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cumin
5-6 curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 green chilly finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tomato finely chopped
salt to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
cilantro to garnish


In a deep pan, at medium heat, put in the vegetable oil, wait for a minute for it to heat up, and then add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves. Let the seeds splatter, and then add in the garlic, and green chilly. Add in the potatoes and saute it for a minute. Then add in the water, and all the masalas like chilly powder, turmeric powder, coridander powder, garam masala, and salt and tomato, and let it cook until the water reduces to the level of the potatoes. The water helps the potatoes to cook and soften, and get the flavor from the masalas.

Insert a fork through a potato piece and it should be really soft and break easily, that is the consistency you are looking for.

Garnish this dish with chopped cilantro. And its ready to eat with rotis or theplas! :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mag nu Shaak(moong daal vegetable)

This was my family's favorite vegetable/daal( as we Gujaratis call it! ) with meetha dhebra( sweet rotis made with jaggery(gur) ) and some fried papad! Yum! It is very hearty and so comforting and filling. My kinda favorite comfort food. My mom used to make it the best(ofcourse!) and I still need to work on getting the meetha dhebra right, similar to my mom. Once I do get it right, I will upload the recipe! :)


3/4 cup small moong daal
2 cups water + 1 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons vegetable oil OR ghee(clarified butter)
pinch of asafoetida
6-7 curry leaves
1 tomato finely chopped
2 big cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 green chilly, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chilly powder(depending on how spicy you like it)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste


Soak the small moong daal in about 2 cups water and let it sit for about an hour. The daal should increase in size. Pressure cook the soaked moong, along with the remaining water from soaking + an additional cup of water. Give it about 6 whistles.

In a pan, at medium heat, put in the vegetable oil, put in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, garlic and green chilly. Let the seeds splatter. Now add in all the spices, including chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder. Now add in the pressure cooked moong, tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, salt to taste and let it cook for about 10 minutes till it boils.

You could eat it this with rice and yogurt, or with rotis. For eating with rotis, let the consistency be a little thick. You dont want too much water remaining in the daal. Enjoy!! :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mango Salsa

Dinner today was veggie fajitas! Recipe follows, but I made mango salsa to go with it, and that was delish!!! :) I ate the remaining salsa all by itself, was so refreshing! :)


1 mango diced small
1/2 cup finely diced cucumber
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 jalapeno finely chopped(unseeded else it is too hot)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 lime
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Mango salsa is ready to eat!

Basil Pesto

I made basil pesto for the first time on Sunday. I really felt like having savory crepes for lunch, so I made a savory crepe as in the savory crepe recipe on my blog, spread some basil pesto, added chopped tomatoes, grated mozarella cheese, and wrapped it up like a present;) The result was delicious!! Raj had 2 of those crepes!

Here goes the recipe for Basil Pesto:


1 1/2 cups basil
1/4 cup roasted pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Put all the ingredients into a food processor, and blend it well and you have good basil pesto, for crepes, sandwiches, paninis !! :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Watermelon Lemonade

So I tried making another kinda lemonade this past Sunday! Since watermelons are pretty cheap now a days, and in season, and they are so sweet, watermelon lemonade was a refreshing idea. And sure enough, it WAS really refreshing and very tasty!

1/2 small watermelon
1/2 cup simple syrup
3 cups water
Juice of 3 big lemons
Tray of ice.

Simple Syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water


To make the simple syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small pot, and heat it at medium heat, till sugar has dissolved. Let cool.

Blend the watermelon pieces in a blender, and strain the juice through a wide strainer into a big pot. Add in the simple syrup, ice, water and lemon juice.

Watermelon lemonade is READY!! :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Herb Coated Goat Chese Crostini

I made this as an appetizer as well for the party, and it turned out really good!! A great tip though would be to make the goat cheese spread a couple days in advance and let the flavors of the different ingredients blend in well together. The taste is even more defined, and is great by the time of the party!


36 slices (1/2-inch thick) baguette bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
Salt and coarsely ground multi-colored or black peppercorns
1/2 cup pitted Sicilian green olives or kalamata olives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Arrange the bread slices on 2 heavy large baking sheets. Brush olive oil over the bread slices. Bake until the crostini are pale golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Blend the goat cheese and cream cheese in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the parsley, thyme, and lemon peel. Using the on/off button, pulse just to blend. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread the cheese mixture over the crostini. Sprinkle with the olives, chives, and more pepper. Arrange the toasts on a platter and serve.

As I mentioned before, the cheese mixture can be made a couple of days ahead. Cover and refrigerate the cheese mixture. Let the cheese mixture stand at room temperature for 1 hour to soften slightly before spreading over the crostini.

Avocado and Corn Tostaditas

The avocado sour cream works as a dip, and so does the black bean and corn salsa. I uesd them as dips for a party that I had recently, but this is the actual recipe, where you put both the dips on a tortilla chip and this tastes heavenly! Excellent appetizer for parties ! :)


1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and halved
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves, plus leaves for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cups store-bought fresh salsa
1/2 cup canned black beans rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted, rinsed and drained
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
Dash hot sauce, or more to taste
20 round tortilla chips


Place the avocado in a bowl. Mash with a fork and add the sour cream, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and mix to form a cream. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, combine the salsa, black beans, corn, scallions, and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Take 1 of the tortilla chips and add a small dollop of the avocado cream. Top with the corn mixture. Garnish with a cilantro leaf.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Spinach Corn and Potato Soup

I was in a mood to have a light dinner on a Sunday night, I just wanted something warm to soothe my throat, and I thought of spinach, corn and potato soup. It turned out really good, and infact Raj does not like soup, but he had a whole bowlful of soup as well! :)This soup barely look about 15-20 minutes to make. I was happy with the outcome so hear is the recipe.


1 large bag of spinach
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 an onion finely chopped
1 can of corn
2 small potatoes peeled and diced small
1 container of vegetable broth(I use Trader Joes broth)
1-2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot, at medium heat, put olive oil and butter and let it melt. Add the onions, garlic and potatoes, and let the potatoes soften for about 7 - 10 minutes. Add the broth, and then the spinach and corn. Let the spinach leaves wilt, and boil for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix the sour cream for a creamy consistency.

Blend this mixture in 2 parts, so that it does not splash on you when blending. Now use a sieve with large pores to get a smooth consistency for the soup. It is ready for you to slurppp on! :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I had a party last weekend at our place, and the desserts were chocolate chip coconut walnut cookies and red velvet cupcakes. I was trying out the red velvet cupcakes for the 1st time, and was a bit skeptical as to how they would turn out. I just went along with "My 1st time recipes always turn out good" vibe and I was surprised by how tasty they were!!! :P Very moist and soft, not heavy at all even after eating an entire cupcake, and with the cream cheese frosting, it was simply delicious!!! I usually had more vanilla extract than the recipe calls for, coz I love the smell and the flavor of good vanilla extract.

Here is the recipe:

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 large egg, at room temperature
6 tablespoons red food coloring
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Fill cupcake tin 2/3 full with batter. Bake in oven until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. (about 30 minutes.).

Cream together cheese and butter until creamy and smooth. Gradually stir in sugar. Amount varies, depending on how sweet you want it to be. Stir in one teaspoon of vanilla.

Spread the yummy cream cheese frosting over the cupcakes AND Eat away!! :)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Strawberry Lemonade

Ahhhh... Summer is here, and its time to cool down with a refreshing strawberry lemonade! Yumm...! Since the past 3 weeks, its become a Sunday ritual to make strawberry lemonade, and we have it almost everyday. Its citrusy, yet sweet and so pretty looking!! :) You could even add mint juice to make a mint strawberry lemonade, sounds good ha! :)


20 strawberries
3 big lemons
Simple syrup(recipe follows)
full tray of ice cubes
8 cups of water

Simple Syrup:
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar


To make the simple syrup, at medium heat in a saucepan, add the sugar and water, and stir it gently till the sugar dissolves. Let cool.

Puree the strawberries along with the lemon juice. Strain the strawberry puree through a sieve(may not be fine). Add the water and simple syrup and stir. Now, strain again into a pouring jar through a very fine sieve to remove all the strawberry seeds, so that clear liquid comes out.

Add the ice cubes, and its ready to sip and take you all through summer! ;)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Greek Orzo Salad

Orzo is a light pasta, and it makes for a good summer salad. I decided to try and make a greek orzo salad with loads of fresh veggies. It turned out really yummy! One could even have this salad on the side with grilled chicken, making it a wholesome meal with protein, carbs and veggies!!


Around 4-5 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups orzo(preferrably Barilla)
2 tomatoes diced into chunks
1 cucumber, peeled and diced into small cubes
1/2 red onion either thinly sliced, OR diced into tiny pieces
1 red roasted bell pepper
About 20 pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup feta cheese with garlic and herbs cut into tiny cubes

For the greek vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Lemon juice from 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon honey
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon or dried oregano


Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside to cool completely.

Toss the orzo with the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, roasted red bellpepper, olives, feta cheese and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Best Cold Coffee!

Raj loves cold coffee, and loves the one that I make. Apparently his frappucino wasn't good yesterday and so he wanted me to make him cold coffee today. He asked me to put the recipe up online, so that he does not have to keep asking me to make it everytime he wants cold coffee. ;) So here it is:


1 cup 2% milk
4-5 cubes of ice
2 tablespoons vanilla icecream
1 1/2 teaspoons nescafe
1 tablespoon good hot chocolate powder
2 splenda OR 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Put all ingredients into a blender and blend it well, pulsing it a few times to make it frothy!

Pour it in a glass and top it off with whipped cream!

You could also substitute the sugar + vanilla extract with Torani vanilla syrup.

Cheese,Scallion, tomato Crepes

So I did make the weekend brunch I had planned...Savory crepes! The filling was tomato, mix blend mexican cheese, scallions and egg. It turned out delicious, comparable to eating them out, and I was happy with the end result. Hubby liked them so much, he wants it for dinner as well! So at night, the filling is gonna be tomatoes, mozarella and basil :) How good does that sound?! ;)


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tomatoes finely chopped
3-4 scallions finely chopped
3 eggs well beaten
3/4 cup mexican cheese blend OR cheddar cheese(or whatever you prefer)


In a bowl, mix the water, milk, egg and melted butter, and beat it till the mixture is blended.

In another bowl, add the buckwheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt and mix it till blended. Now add the egg milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk till it is well blended and smooth. The consistency should be like cream consistency. Let it sit for an hour.

Heat a pan on medium heat. Splash a few drops of water, and if the water sizzles and evaporates immediately, meaning the pan is hot. Now, melt a little butter on the pan to coat the entire pan.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter in the middle of the pan and swirl the pan to coat the entire pan so that the crepe is thin. Let it cook for a couple minutes till you see tiny bubbles popping up. You can lift the side to see the bottom changing color.

Turn the crepe, and reduce the heat a bit. Now add about 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg onto the crepe, and spread it and let it cook for a couple minutes. Now add about 1/4 of the chopped tomatoes, and 1 tablespoon of scallions on half the crepe. Add about 1 - 2 tablespoons cheese and fold the crepe, and press on it to make it thin. Let it heat up for a couple minutes and its ready to eat!! :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Banana-Strawberry-Nutella Crepes!

Today, at 9:45pm, I had this sudden urge to eat crepes as dessert! Crazy as I am, I did make them and finally ate at 10:15pm and they were simply awesome! It is the first time that I have made them, and I loved it! It was so satisfying! LOL , makes your mouth water ain't it! :P

I had gone to the grocery store earlier, and bought some nutella, and buckwheat flour to make savory crepes over the weekend. This weekend's brunch is going to be savory crepes to start off with, and end with dessert crepes, and my favorite kind, banana-strawberry-nutella! YUM!

Picture will be up soon!! :)

Here is the recipe:


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup water (you could substitute whole milk + water with 2% milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter
1 banana sliced very thin
3-4 large strawberries sliced very thin
4-6 tablespoons nutella(or more if you like!:) )


Sift flour and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt into another bowl and beat until smooth. Add in the flour mixture, and beat until smooth to a watery consistency.

Heat a lightly greased 6 inch skillet(Grease it with butter). Add about 3 tablespoons batter. Tilt skillet so that batter spreads to almost cover the bottom of skillet. Cook until lightly browned and turn and brown the other side.

Add about 2 tablespoons nutella OR MORE :) and spread it on the crepe completely. Make a thin layer of bananas and strawberries, on half of the crepe, and fold the other half over it and press it to set it.

Repeat process with the remaining batter, grease skillet as needed.

Its ready to EAT!! :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pecan Squares

When I cook/bake something to give, its filled with a lot of patience and love, and when that person enjoys what I make, the joy is simply wonderful. If I can make someone happy with my food, that makes me happy :)

This is Ina Garten's recipe. She has some of the most wonderful recipes, and I have tried and tested quite a few of them. I had made these pecan squares last year for Christmas. I had basically made a package of goodies for my inlaws, and we had given them the package as a holiday gift. What better gift can there be, than some good home baked goodies!!?:) My inlaws loved all the goodies that they got and am glad that they enjoyed it all!!;)

1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

Potato Leek Soup

With my recent visits to UK on business trips, I got to try out potato leek soup, potato being a staple food in the UK! This was the first time I was trying out potato leek soup and I simply loved it! It is so hearty and filling, that when you are in a cold country, and you just want something warm and comforting, this is just perfect!!

I tried my hand at making the soup, and it was a success! Even Raj, who is not fond of soups, really liked it and wants me to make it again ;) I took the leftovers for lunch the following day, and it tasted even better!

Here is the recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 white onion roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 leeks roughly sliced
4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 cup milk(if you want to make it light)
salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot on medium heat, put in the olive oil and butter. Let the butter melt. Then add in the leeks, onions and garlic, with salt and pepper to taste, and stir it until the leeks are tender for about 7 minutes.

Add in the potatoes, and add more salt and pepper and saute it for a couple minutes. Add in the thyme, cream(or milk) and vegetable broth and stir. After adding the potatoes, boil it for about 10 minutes till the potatoes are tender.

Put this mixture into a blender. Do not fill the blender to the top! This mixture is hot and the blender should be half full. Once blended well, pour this mixture into another pot with a sieve. Repeat till all the mixture has been blended. Sieve the blended mixture. The soup will have a nice smooth consistency.

Now heat this mixture in the pot for a couple minutes and its ready to serve! The best way to have this soup is with crispy sourdough bread, that has been toasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper on the top! ENJOY!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Daal Dhokli

Another gujarati favorite and my favorite too:) Daal dhokli, authentic gujarati comfort food! It is another family favorite, that we(my family) all love!

1 cup toor daal(yellow lentils)
3 cups water
2-3 tablespoons jaggery
1 tablespoon ghee(clarified butter)
4-5 kokum pieces
10 - 15 raw peanuts
5-6 kadi patta
6 small cinnamon pieces
6 cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic
2 green chillies finely ground
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon methi(fenugreek) seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
cilantro for garnish

For the Dhokli:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
2-3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh fenugreek(methi)
water to bind
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil


First combine all the dhokli ingredients minus the water, and mix it with your hand. Use water few drops at a time to bind the flour into a dough like consistency. It should not be sticky but yet NOT hard.

Wash the daal and then pressure cook it with the water, kokum and peanuts for about 7 whistles. Once the pressure cooker opens, use a hand blender to blend the daal into a paste. The kokum might break in the process as well but that is OK. It just adds to the flavors ;) I usually add the jaggery while pressure cooking it. You can jolly well eliminate it!!:)

In a saucepan, on medium heat, put the ghee till it melts. Then add the asafoetida, mustard seeds, methi seeds, kadi patta, cinnamon and cloves and let it crackle. Once that is done, add the ginger, garlic and chilli paste and saute it. Add in the turmeric and salt, and saute it for a minute. Add in the daal and mix it well. Add the garam masala, and keep heating it until it gets a nice consistency, where in it is NOT watery, NOR is it too thick.

Once the daal is heating, start making balls from the dough about an inch in size. Roll out each ball into a flat round chapati, and cut first horizontally twice, to make 3 strips. And then vertically twice to make 9 pieces in all. You should be able to make about 3 chapatis, 27 pieces in all.

Once the daal is boiling, add in the pieces slowly one by one, and let the daal boil for about 10 minutes to make sure all the dhoklis are cooked.

To serve, put some daal dhokli in a soup bowl, and add about 1/2 teaspoon ghee and cilantro for garnish! INDULGE in the COMFORT ... foodd!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Jam Thumb Cookies

So I adapted this recipe from one I saw online and one that my masis(mom's sisters) and my grandmother makes. The original recipe has been a family recipe for decades now and it was time for me to try it:) Well, I changed it slightly and below is my version of the recipe. It turned out so awesome that they simply melt in the mouth and Raj(my husband) did NOT stop until I had to finally snatch it away from him :P

Here is the recipe.

1/4 pound(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until just combined, and then add the vanilla and milk. Separately, sift together the flour baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter, sugar and milk. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Its ready to eat!! YUM!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Holiday Fruit Cake

Fruit cake has been part of my family for generations now, my grandmom, mom and now me! My grandmom makes delicious fruit cakes, eggless, might I add, and it has passed on!:) It's Soo british to have fruit cake with tea!! My granny learnt the recipe from living in British-governed Africa for many years.

I made this delicious fruit cake for Christmas, for my inlaws, and a few friends. I made mini loaves and decorated with pretty packaging to give as gifts! :) I made variations to the original recipe that I found online. I used rum and brandy instead of the liquors mentioned in the recipe and I used different dried fruits. It turned out excellent, appreciated by all those who got to taste it!;) It goes so well with tea in the mornings. Yumm! Its been part of my breakfast since over a week now!:P

3/4 cup brandy
2/3 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup dried cherries
2/3 cup dried mango, finely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds plus
1/3 cup for top of cake (6 ouncecs total)
1 cup sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons sweet orange marmalade or apricot preserves
3 tablespoons rum


Heat brandy in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat until warm, then remove from heat and stir in dried fruit. Cover and let stand for about 2 hours. The dried fruit soak up the liquor.

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. You can put the cake in a springfoam pan or mini loaf pans. I used decorative paper mini loaf pans. Spray them with PAM spray.

Finely grind 3/4 cup almonds with 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor, then whisk together with flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (batter will appear curdled), then add vanilla, zest, and fruit with brandy and beat until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture until incorporated. Spoon batter into the pans, smoothing it, and top with remaining 1/3 cup almonds.

Bake until a long wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool them on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, melt marmalade with liqueur in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring, then strain glaze through a sieve into a small bowl, discarding solids.

Cool cake completely, about 3 hours. Brush glaze over top of cake, and its ready!

The cake flavor improves the next day.