Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yogurt cake

I already have a favorite orange cake but that recipe calls for sour cream and I ran out of it this afternoon. I did have two tubs of yogurt languishing in the refrigerator so I decided to look for a recipe that incorporates it, instead. I found this French yogurt cake recipe on Epicurious so I adapted it by subbing orange zest for lemon 'cause I didn't have on hand. I must say, I've never baked a cake with yogurt in it before and this thing is a revelation. So moist and delicious and oh-so-easy.

Ingredients:

nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon orange extract



Method:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a standard loaf pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Using your fingers, rub 1 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist.
Add 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; whisk to blend.
Fold in dry ingredients with a spatula.
Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Peanut butter pie

I am not a huge fan of peanut butter but my husband is and we had friends over for dinner last week and I decided on this dessert. Big hit said the boys.

Ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, thawed
1 store bought Oreos pie crust
Reese's Pieces for decoration



Method:
Using a hand-held mixer, beat the peanut butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in the thawed whipped topping and gently incorporate it with a spatula until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. 

Pour the filling into the crust, evening out the top with a knife or spatula. Chill for at least an hour before serving. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Red Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

We love enchiladas in all forms. Especially stacked casseroles. This is the best one I've made so far. Best kind of comfort food - super easy and super cheesy.

Ingredients:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can of red enchilada sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped hatch green chiles
  • Caramelized onions
  • Grated sharp/mild cheddar cheese
  • Cilantro/spring onions (for garish)


Method:

Finely dice onions. Heat pan and add a generous portion of butter and olive oil. Fry onions. Add salt, sugar, black pepper and cook till they're caramelized and a delicious golden brown. (You can always just use raw onions as well in the casserole but trust me, the caramelized onions just take it to the next level, you know, so it's totally worth it).

In a bowl, mix one can of red enchilada sauce with a couple of tablespoons of sour cream and the chopped green chiles. Season and adjust according to how mild/spicy you want it.

In a large casserole pan, stack corn tortillas. Cover with the sauce. Top with chicken. Cheese. Onions. Add on another layer of corn tortillas. Spoon sauce. Chicken, onions. And finish with cheese.... You know the drill.

(I like to keep my casseroles in the refrigerator for a couple of hours - or even a whole day - before I put them in the oven. It lets everything settle and soak up the sauce).

Stick it under the broiler for a 15-20 minutes till everything is nice and bubbly. Garnish with chopped spring onions or cilantro. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Semolina Pudding / Sooji Halwa

This is a dish from the Sunday breakfasts of my childhood. I bought a half pound bag of semolina from the Indian store awhile ago and I'll rustle this dish up on rainy evenings when I'm craving a taste of home.

Ingredients:

4 heaped tablespoons of semolina (suji/rava).
1 tablespoon of clarified butter (ghee)
2 cups of milk
4 tablespoons of sugar
A large pinch of cardamon powder
Raisins, cashew, pistachio, almonds for garnishing

Method:

In a wok, heat the ghee on medium heat. Add a bay leaf and the dry fruits/nuts and toss for a minute or two.
In another heated pan, add the dry semolina and toast for several minutes. Keep stirring till the semolina is brown and cooked all the way through. You don't want it tasting too raw. Be careful not to let it stick to the pan or burn. Add the toasted semolina to the wok.
Pour in the milk. Add sugar and let it boil, stir every two to three minutes to ensure that the semolina doesn’t get stick to the bottom of the wok.
Add a pinch of cardamom powder to it and cook till it reaches a level of consistency you like. (I like mine pretty soupy.)
Serve hot or cold. (I like mine hot)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Chocolate Mousse

My mango mousse got rave reviews at last night's party but I had a ton of gelatin and heavy whipping cream left over so I wanted to try another mousse. I picked Alton Brown's chocolate mousse recipe and tweaked it a wee bit.

Ingredients:

1 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon dark rum (heavy-handed splash)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flavorless, granulated gelatin


Method:

In top of a double boiler, combine chocolate chips, coffee, rum and butter. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. (Or you can just microwave in 30 second installments till you get a smooth, creamy mixture.) Let cool for a bit. Seriously, LET. IT. COOL.

Sprinkle gelatin into 1/4 cup cold water. Dissolve for 1 minute before heating it for 30 seconds in the microwave. Mix well and stir mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.

In a chilled mixing bowl, beat cream to medium peaks. Make sure your whipping cream is chilled. Mine wasn't and it took a while for to form and even then it separated. Mix whipped cream into the chocolate mixture in two doses. It's important that your chocolate is cooled otherwise your cream will just melt. Mine did. Do not over work the mousse. (I did)

Spoon into bowls or martini glasses and chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish with fruit or chocolate shavings and serve.

It's super rich and heavy and despite my fuck-ups, tasted delicious and dense, so it's a pretty forgiving recipe. I'm going to definitely try this again, maybe even subbing the heavy whipping cream with Cool Whip to see if I can get a lighter, airier mousse.

Monday, May 29, 2017

MANGO MOUSSE

I love mangoes and I love mousses. This is the best and easiest recipe I've ever tried. I have made it four times and every time, it is a huge hit. I made it for a work potluck last week and tonight for a Memorial Day bbq at a friend's place. It's light and airy - the perfect dessert for summer.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups fresh mango purée / pulp
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream




METHOD:

In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water, let it soften for 1 minute, and heat the mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until the gelatin is fully dissolved.

In a large bowl (this makes a LOT of mango mousse - feel free to half the ingredients if you're only making a small batch) whisk together the mango purée, yogurt and the sugar. Add the gelatin mixture, and blend well.

In a chilled bowl, beat the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold it into the mango mixture gently but thoroughly with a large rubber spatula. Chill the mousse for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Garnish the mousses with the mango slices, crushed pistachios or even a thin layer of mango puree.



(Note: I use Kesar's brand tinned mango pulp found at desi/international stores. I might even try this with mango Jell-O next time.)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

White chocolate chip and cranberry cookies

These cookies are amazing and cake-like (makes sense since it's from a box) and always a hit at holiday parties. And they're easy as all get out. 
Ingredients:
  • 1 box Betty Crocker white cake mix 
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1¼ cups dried cranberries
  • 1¼ cups white chocolate chips


Instructions:
  1. Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in large mixing bowl, and beat well.
  2. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips, and stir well with a spoon.
  3. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour and drop onto cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until done.