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!! :)