Sunday, June 16, 2013

Waffle (Make-ahead Waffle Batter) 'N Blueberry Syrup

Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers of the world!
Aishwarya told me that a very good dad like her's deserved a berry good breakfast. So a berry filled breakfast was what we planned; raspberry smoothies by Aishwarya and waffles with blueberry syrup by me. But as you may already know, I am one person who loves to get up late, especially on a weekend. So I wanted it in such a way that the most of the items can be made ahead. My search for a perfect make-ahead waffles ended with this recipe from Betty Crocker's Hostess Cookbook. The blueberry syrup is a standard syrup recipe I uses for whichever berries that are in season and can be made ahead too.
I never expected the waffles to turn out this good - they were crispy on the outside and with a perfect texture inside; and waffles tasted delicious with the syrup and some whipped cream. We had one happy and contented father.
1 pkg or  2 and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 c. warm milk
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/4 c. butter
2 c. flour
The night before: In a mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add remaining ingredients. Mix with an electric mixer. Cover and let rise. Mine was about to overflow from the bowl at about an hour and half . Stir down; cover and refrigerate overnight or until ready to use.Bake the next day in a waffle maker as per the instruction

Ingredients for the Blueberry syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbs lemon juice
Place ingredients in a small saucepan and stir well.Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, and pressing berries against the side of pan to crush slightly, until berries get slightly soft and mixture gets syrupy, 10-12 minutes.
Can serve warm or cool.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cashew Date Balls/Bars

If you are a fan of Larabars, this is a copy-cat of those famous and delicious health bars. This is a very easy one to make and as it uses all natural ingredients is a guilt free snack. What I like best about this is that it is so filling that you won't feel like reaching out to any of the other snacks.
When I had the Larabar the first time, it reminded me so much about the Andi unda (cashew balls) that I love so much. This is a traditional Kerala snack made with cashew, roasted rice, jaggery and coconuts. But when I tasted the Larabars I realized that I could have almost the same taste with lesser number of ingredients and a lot less effort.
If you want to have the exact taste of the Larabars, just avoid adding cardamom and don't dry roast the nuts. I made these changes to make this taste as close to the Andi unda as I can.

8 oz seedless/pitted whole dates
1/2 cup whole raw unsalted cashews (dry roasted)
3 cardamom powdered (optional)
Measure out the dates and cashews and set aside. In the food processor, pulse the cashews until it turns to bite size pieces  Empty cashews into a big bowl.Pulse dates until there are no chunks left. Mix dates  with the cashews  along with  cardamom until all the nuts have been incorporated. The ball should be stiff. Now take a hand full and roll into smooth balls or you can  flatten to about 11/2 inch thickness with a rolling pin and cut it into little bars.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kettle Corn

Aishwarya's favorite movie time snack is popcorns, more so if they are kettle corns. She has inherited my sweet teeth and prefers the caramalized version best.
This is comparable to the ones that you get in the fair grounds. It very easy to and almost as easy to make as the pre semi made ones you can make in a microwave.

Unpopped popcorn kernels-1/2 cup
Sugar-1 /4 cup
Sunflower oil-5 tbs
Salt-1/8th teaspoon
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil  start to sizzle a bit test the temperature by adding  3 kernels. When they pop its ready to stir in the sugar and popcorn. Cover, and shake the pot constantly to keep the sugar from burning. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour into a large bowl, and  sprinkle with salt and allow to cool, after giving it a nice stir .

Ensalada Mixta or Garden Salad

As the summer is nearing, some of the days (and nights) are getting quite hot. I don't typically like cooking when the weather is warm, as it tends to heat up the entire house. On extreme warm days, we would have some take outs - pizza, Chinese take-out and the like. But obsessed I am with having the daily intake of vegetables for the family, I make sure that we start the take out meals with a plateful of salads so that we won't over-indulge on the unhealthy stuff.
This recipe is a simple to make and tasty salad, with the added health benefit of not  having to use any of the store bought dressings.

Recipe Source
1 romaine lettuce, washed and leaves cut or torn into large pieces
2 tomatoes, sliced or quartered
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced or diced
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the dressing whisk the chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together.
Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and avocado in a large bowl.
Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.
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