Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a very blessed and happy new year on my last post in 2007! This year has been a great one and I'm now looking forward to 2008, excited about the opportunities andchallenges that will lie ahead. Be safe!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sugar Cookies with Pistachio and Dried Cranberries

So I've been meaning to make this recipe for a couple weeks now. It seemed soo easy that I was skeptical that it wouldn't taste good (you know what I mean!!). Anyways, the original recipe called for dried cherries and I was too lazy to get in my car and drive to Trader Joes to pick up some so I subbed the dried cranberries. It worked like a charm! Ooh and I also didn't have a sugar cookie log (the refrigerated kind) so I subbed the mix instead! Damn still worked like a charm!!! Two 'n Two!!! SCORE!!!! And yes, I'm still using the trusty blackberry camera (don't even get me started as to why my camera battery charger isn't here yet!! Grrrrrr!)
Sugar Cookies with Pistachio and Dried Cranberries
adapted from Robin Miller

1 (17.5oz) sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 cup pistachios, lightly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I finely chopped mine just cuz I like it better that way)
1 (11-ounce) bag white chocolate chips or 1/2 block Vanilla Almond Bark

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour the contents of the sugar cookie mix in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and egg. Mix well until incorporated. Add pistachios and cranberries, press into dough and then shape into a log. Slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. DO NOT CUT THEM THICKER THAN 1/4-inch unless you want HUGE cookies--if so cut 1/2-inch). Transfer cookies to a baking sheet.
Bake 8 to 11 minutes, until golden around the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

While cookies are baking, melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler or bowl over simmering water.

When cookies are cool, dip bottom half of cookies into melted white chocolate and place on waxed or parchment paper to cool.

World Peace Cookies

All I can say is O-M-G! These are sooo good. I had to control myself and only eat 3!! Smitten Kitchen was right when she said they are freakin addictive!!! Dorie Greespan you ROCK!

World Peace/Korova Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous ¾ cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Makes about 36 cookies

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Mix in the flour and pulse the mixer just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Working with a sharp knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Store packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days (yeah right, as if they will last that long!!); they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Indian Cuisine - Veggie Style

I think for the next couple of weeks while I get the hang of this (and I'm getting the hang of it quick--its sooo cool!! Who knew blogging could be so addictive?!), I'll be posting like a mad woman! That, or until work starts (on Jan 2)...whichever comes first I guess!!!

My parents raised me and my brother vegetarian but when I went off to boarding school, I became a (picky) meat eater. My parents have remained vegetarian. It started out a new months ago when I was 'buttering up' the 'grandparents' to dog-sit for Macy while I was away on my 10-day business trip which has now turned into a little tradition of coming over for dinner once a week (usually on the weekend). So of course that means that I fix a vegetarian meal at least once a week. They love it...less cooking for them and they get to take home the left-overs (which there is always plenty!)

This week to bring in the new year, my parents will once again be 'visiting' for dinner so I decided that I'm going to make an indian cuisine meal. They love this meal and ask for it all the time but I tell them to 'space it out' and 'try other things' (sound familiar...talking to a kid or what?!!!)

Now for those of you who don't know me, I L-O-V-E indian food and tell everyone I could eat it everyday. All these recipes are super easy and super flavorful. I must admit that I cheat and buy the vegetable samoas & Naan (or sometimes they even have Chapatis! YUM!) from Trader Joes but I do make my own cilantro chutney. ENJOY

Cilantro Chutney
1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine, stem & all
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor or blender till almost pureed, but still somehwat chunky.

NOTE: make sure you chop the cilantro stems very finely or they will leave strings in your chutney.

Stir-fried Cauliflower (Gobhi Ki Subzi)
adapted from Cooking Smart Magazine
You can substitute potatoes, green beans or carrots for cauliflower in this recipe.

1 1/2 lbs cauliflower
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, julienned
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp salt
Water, as needed

1. Break the cauliflower into small florets. Set aside
2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil on high heat. Add the ginger and saute for about ten seconds. Add the cauliflower florets and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the coriander, red chili, and curry powder. Saute for 1 minute.
3. Reduce the heat to low. Add salt and 2 to 3 Tbsps of water. Cover and until the cauliflower is done, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Spinach Beef Curry (Saag Gosht)
adapted from Cooking Smart Magazine
Substitute 16oz garbanzo beans for the beef to make this recipe vegetarian.

8oz frozen chopped spinach
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
4 black peppercorns
2 black cardamom pods
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1lb boneless lean beef, chunks
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, whipped
1/2 cup water

1. Cook the spinach in boiling water until just wilted. Drain. Puree in a food processor. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the bay leaves, cinnaomon stick, cloves, black peppercorns and cardamom pods. When the spices begin to sizzle, add the onoions. Fry, stirring, until the onions are gloden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minutes.
3. Add the beef and fry for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and fry, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes or until the oil starts to leave the sides of the mixture.
4. Add the curry powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Add the yogurt and cook for about 4 minutes.
5. Add the water and brign to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the beef is cooked through.
6. Add the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Stir-fried Paneer with Mushrooms & Peas
adapted from India's 500 Best Recipes

6 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
8oz paneer, cubed (I used 8oz of extra-firm tofu fried with curry spice in a little oil)
a few fresh minute leaves, chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro
3 fresh green chillies, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1-inch fresh gingerroot, sliced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cili powder ((optional)
1 tsp garam masala
3 cups tiny button (white) mushrooms, washed
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1tsp constarch

1. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan and fry the paneer cubes until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
2. Grind the onion, mint, cilantro, chilies, garlic and ginger in a food processor to a fairly smooth paste. Remove and mix in the turmeric, chili powder, if using, and garam masala, with salt to taste.
3. Remove the excess ghee or oil from the pan, leaving about 1 Tbsp. heat and fry the paste over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or unil the raw onion smell disappears and the oil separates. Add the mushrooms, peas and paneer and mix well. Cool the mixture slightly and fold in the yogurt. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavours are well mixed. Garnish with fresh mint and serve.

Cashew Rice with Golden Raisins
Adapted from Sandra Lee

4 cups chicken stock
2 cups rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cashew halves and pieces
3/4 cup golden raisins

Add all ingredients in rice cooker except cashews and raisins. Follow rice-cooker cooking time. Fluff rice with a fork and stir in cashews and raisins. Serve hot.

Sour Cream-Hazelnut Bundt Cake

Here is my first posting. I feels weird posting and not just reading other bloggers postings. I must admit that while I love to cook/bake, I tend try other people's recipes rather than making up my own concoctions. So just so you know, most of the time you will be seeing me credit others or link to their site but rest assure that my postings have been tested in my own kitchen before delivering! ENJOY!

Photo courtesy of Cooking Light

I did add about half of a small jar of Nutella instead of the 2 tablespoons suggested! I mean really....what can 2 tablespoons of Nutella do anyways?!

Sour Cream-Hazelnut Bundt Cake
adapted from Cooking Light (via Sugar Rush)

1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free sour cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with breadcrumbs.Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream; beat until well blended.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring just until combined.

Spoon half of batter into prepared Bundt pan; sprinkle evenly with hazelnuts. Drop small spoonfuls of chocolate spread over nuts. Spoon remaining batter over chocolate spread; swirl batter using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; remove cake from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle cake with powdered sugar.

Yield: 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bear With Me!

Ok so here it first blog. Up until lately I've had no urge to start one of these. But the more and more I read my favorite food blogs the more and more I get inspired. The only problem is now that I'm inspired to jump in head first, I find out that I've left my camera charger in the hotel on my last trip and of course when you call the hotel's lost and found, they claim not to have anything of the sort (go figure..). So for right now, I can only post recipes with no pictures. (my charger is being shipped...) I've tried taking it with my blackberry but that camera is not for food me on this one!! So enjoy the journey with me as I cook in an apron one recipe at a time!!


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