Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Che Chuoi

Che Chuoi or Banana Coconut Tapioca Pudding Dessert is a popular Vietnamese dessert . Last month I tried making this but used a different recipe than the one listed below.It used only coconut milk and coconut cream. Even for a person from the land of coconuts the recipe was an overdose of coconut! So this time  when I tried this I made some changes to suit me and I loved the result .But if you're someone who loves coconuts like crazy you can substitute the evaporated milk with coconut milk!
Coconut cream-2 tbs
Tapioca pearls(small size)-1/4 cup
Tapioca pearls(big size)-1/4 cup
Evaporated milk-2 cups
Food color-Few drops
Salt -a pinch
Honey roasted peanuts-1/4 cup
Sesame seeds-1tbs
Boil 2 cups of water. Add the tapioca pearls to it.Boil it for a minute then switch off the heat source and leave it covered for 10 minutes. If you want this colorful, you can add 2 drops of food color to this.After 10 minutes bring the pearl mix to a boil again and cook for 2 more minutes and switch off the heat. Leave the vessel closed till it becomes completely translucent ;which typically will be in another 10 minutes.( I used two different sized tapioca  pearls and colored them differently and also cooked them separately. Meanwhile,  mix the coconut cream and evaporated milk and bring it to a boil. Add cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of water to it and add it to the milk mix and keep stirring till it thickens. Add sugar and a pinch of salt to this. Add sliced bananas,Vanilla essence and tapioca pearls (which are drained and washed in cold water).Cook for another 3 minutes on low. Serve warm or cold garnished with peanuts and sesame seeds.

Sending this over to  AWED-Vietnam hosted by Priya, event by DK.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yule Log

Merry Christmas to all my readers!
Today being the Christmas day, I thought of posting something Christmassey!
What better that a Yule Log -  traditionally a large wooden log which was burned in the hearth as part of the Christmas celebrations in European cultures - "Yule" meaning Christmas. Yule log has also came to be referred to log-shaped Christmas cakes - also known as chocolate logs or Buche de Noel.
Basically it is a sponge cake filled with cream and covered with chocolate frosting. I got this recipe for the sponge cake from one of my earlier collections - I don't remember which one. If any of you recognize the source, please let me know so that I can credit accordingly.
3 eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cocoa
1 c.Whipping cream
1/4 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup baking cocoa
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line jelly roll pan 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch with waxed paper or foil. Grease generously. Beat eggs in small bowl on high speed until thick, about 5 minutes. Pour into larger bowl. Add sugar gradually. Beat in water and vanilla on low. Add flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder gradually. Beat just until smooth. Pour into pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.
Immediately remove cake, invert onto towel that was sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove foil. Trim stiff edges if needed. Roll cake up with towel. Cool on cake rack, 30 minutes or more.Meanwhile beat the mocha cream filling till you get soft peaks. Unroll cake and spread with filling.In a mixing bowl, beat frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost cake. Decorate it with merigue mushrooms.
Sending this over to Bake off hosted by Champa


Eggnogs used to be an enigma till I came to US but once I got the recipe I realized that this is something I grew up drinking. My mum used to feed us a version of this when we were babies and had just started on other foods apart from milk.There are  lots of eggnog recipes that use raw eggs but this one uses cooked eggs and you can use alcohol or not depending upon your taste. Hence kids need not miss out on this.
Source : Allrecipes.com
2 cups milk
2-1/2 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Mix together milk, cloves, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat at the lowest setting for 5 minutes till the mixture comes to a boil.
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until fluffy. Whisk in hot milk mixture slowly into this. Pour  this mixture into saucepan. Cook  for about 3 minutes at medium heat, stirring continuous until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain out the cloves, and let it cool for about an hour.
Mix in  cream, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla, and powdered nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
Serving suggestions : Stir in 1-1/4 cups light rum and serve with whipped cream or stir in 1-1/4 Kahlua and serve with whipped cream or serve as it is with whipped cream. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Candy Cane Biscotti

For that last minute gift giving here is a simple but festive biscotti that will steal your hearts as well as that of the recipiants.If you're a pepper mint lover you should surely try this.
Source: Land O' Lakes
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 Eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4tsp peppermint extract
1 (14-ounce) package (almond bark) vanilla candy coating
2 drops red or pink food color(optional)
1/4 tsp peppermint extract, (optional)
2/3 cup crushed peppermint candy canes, (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.Mix butter and sugar in large bowl, until creamy. Add eggs; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour and baking powder; continue beating until well mixed.Add the peppermint extract and mix well.
Divide dough into fourths on lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands. Shape each into 9x1 1/2-inch logs. Place logs 3 inches apart onto lightly greased large cookie sheet.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are cracked and ends just start to turn light brown. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Cool logs 10 minutes on cookie sheet.
 Cut into 1/2-inch slices with sharp serrated knife. Arrange pieces on same cookie sheet, cut-side down. Continue baking for 12 to 14 minutes, turning once, at about 6 minutes remove the cookies when they are lightly browned and crisp on both sides. Remove to wire cooling rack; cool completely.
Place candy coating in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted (5 to 7 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in food color and peppermint extract, if desired.
Dip each biscotti half way into warm coating; shake off excess. Place onto waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes, if desired. Let set at room temperature until coating is hardened (about 1 hour).
Sending this over to Bake off hosted by Champa

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sugar Cookies

My daughter was after me to make a ginger bread house for some time. I didn't have the patience for that and didn't wan't to waste food also as since my daughter would wan't to keep it till new year and by then it won't be fit to be eaten any more. So to humor her we baked these sugar cookies and frosted them. She was happy and I was too.These Sugar cookies tasted better than the store brought ones.
Source:Cookies from Annie's Eats
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ tsp almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. And for my favorite royal icing go to bake at 350.
Sending this to Bake Off

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nutty Cassava Delight

Last time I had been to the Asian grocery store I bought some Cassava or tapioca powder.Back from the shop I was wondering what to make with it as I bought it without any idea of what to use it for.Then when I was going through many of the food blogs that I usually visit for my cooking inspirations I saw Halwas in many forms from different cultures so I tweaked my maida(all purpose flour) halwa recipe and came up with this.This is an easy and tasty nutty version of Halwa. I already made this twice, that too in one week .If you guys can't find the cassava powder, you just can substitute it with maida or corn starch.
Cassava or Tapioca powder-1/4 cup
Sugar-1 cup
Ghee-3 tbs
Cardamom-1/4 tsp
Cashewnut -1/4 cup
Almond-1/4 cup
Make a sugar syrup of one string consistency.To this add 1 tbs of ghee. Make a thin batter with cassava powder and 1/2 cup water.Add this to the sugar syrup and mix well till you get a uniform mix.I like to blend the sugar syrup and cassava batter in a blender.Tranfer this to a heavy bottom non stick pan kept at medium heat and stir well till cassava gets cooked and leaves the sides of the pan and reaches a halwa consistency.Now add the remaining ghee ,cardamom and sliced nuts.Keep stirring till it absorbs all the ghee.Transfer the halwa to individual greased ramkins or dessert bowls.Garnish with more nuts and serve.
Note:This is a transparent glass like halwa,but if you like to have color then you can add a drop of cooking color of your choice when you are mixing cassava powder to the water to make a batter.This halwa tastes good, hot or cold.
Sending this to Manjula's Kitchen December contest and Veggie Huts Winter Warmers

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mushroom Caps

Holidays are here and so are the parties.Here is an easy appetizer recipe you can whip up in no time and tastes good hot or cold.And is finger-licking good! Beware, you may need to make a large batch as you are sure to run out of it fast!
Mushroom -10
Spring onion/green onion-3
Mozzarella cheese-1(I use string cheese for ease of use)cut into coins
Bread crumbs-1 cup(As required)
Soy sauce-1/2tsp
Vegetable base-1/2tsp(optional)
Pepper and Salt-As required
Remove the stalk of the mushroom and slice the stalk into fine pieces.Cut the spring onion/green onion and garlic also into fine pieces.Heat a pan and add 1tsp oil.Add garlic and the spring onion. Saute for 20 seconds. Now add the cut mushroom stalk and saute till done.Add soy sauce,vegetable base,pepper and salt.Saute for another 2 minutes till it is dry. Now take the mushroom tops and stuff it with the filling already made.Top it or cover it with the cheese.Dip the filled mushrooms in beaten egg and roll it in bread crumbs.Place them on a greased tray and lightly coat them with oil(I use cooking oil spray).Bake them at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or till the bread crumbs turn golden brown.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chocolate N' Almond Biscotti

Biscotti are twice baked cakes that are of Italian origin.This is so much like rusk or milk toast (which are twice baked bread), which are popular in India. I love having it as it is, whereas my daughter loves to dip it in her milk. It is said that biscotti will last for centuries if stored well,but in our house it lasts only a week as it is a hot favorite.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
Sieve flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa and set aside.Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and almond extract to it.Slowly mix in the dry  mixture.Don't worry if the dough is stiff. Stir in the almonds. Divide dough in half make two rectangles and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, and then slice into 1/2-inch slices.Lay slices, cut side down, on cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees, turning once during baking time.Once cooled you can drizzle some chocolate if you wish.
Sending these Biscottis as my entry for the Monthly Mingle- Chocolate Extravaganza hosted by Ria and to Bake-Off hosted by Champa

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Last week all of us in our house was down with cold and flu and this soup was the only thing that tasted good to our sick taste buds.You should try this soup as this has all the flavors that you would love to have on a day you have a cold or on a cold day.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 red bell peppers
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon white sugar
6 cups vegetable/chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 dash hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

Roast peppers(rub oil on peppers and put them under the broiler until blackened, turn to get all sides). Put into paper bag and seal. Let rest for 15 minutes, then peel will come right off and core and seeds will fall out. Chop peppers. Reserve one chopped pepper; set aside.Take the remaining peppers and the remaining ingredients except butter and heavy cream and blend well in a blender.Transfer the contents to a sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes.Now remove the pan from the heat source and add the remaining peppers,butter and heavy cream.
Enjoy your delicious soup.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Raspberry, Chocolate and Almond Crumble

This month's SweetPunch Challenge was to make a Pear, Chocolate and Almond Crumble. As pears are not a favorite at our household, I substituted it with raspberries. It was as appealing to the eye as it was tasty - with the bright red sauce oozing out from the crumble when out from the oven. It was a nice dessert to have on cold winter night. It was a dream dessert with the warmth of the raspberry sauce, the crunchiness of the crumble with almonds and the cold vanilla ice-cream to top.

Recipe Source - http://www.lochfyne.com/Recipes/Desserts/Pear-Crumble-with-Chocolate-Chunks-and-Hazelnuts


1kg (4-5) ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm pieces (Instead I used raspberries)
50g light brown soft sugar [ Can substitute with regular sugar]
Grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon (I didn't use this as raspberries are already juicy and is tart enough)
100g Swiss milk chocolate, roughly chopped
(As I used raspberries, I added 3 tbsp corn flour to thicken the raspberry sauce)
For the crumble:
100g plain flour [ You could substitute this with Whole wheat flour too]
50g butter, chilled and diced
50g light brown soft sugar
50g blanched almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease 6 ovenproof teacups or ramekins or a pie-dish.
In a medium bowl, mix together the raspberries (pears) , brown sugar, (lemon zest and juice), corn flour (if using raspberries) and half the chocolate. Divide the mixture between the teacups or ramekins, spooning over any juice.
To make the crumble, place the flour and butter in a medium bowl and, with your fingertips, rub together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, almonds and remaining chocolate.
Spoon the crumble over the pears and press down lightly. Place the crumbles on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with a scoop of good vanilla ice-cream.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Baked Sweet Potatoes

In our house I do a lot of baking during the winter months; the reason behind this is that I don't like using the heater.The heater always gives me a headache so I try to use it minimally.So on cold days I bake something that gets the temperature up.This method works for me because we are in California,were the temperature doesn't go so low.This is one dish that I made on  a cold rainy day to keep us warm and full.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large sweet potatoes
2 pinches of dried oregano
2 pinches of salt
2 pinches of ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat the bottom of a glass or non-stick baking dish with olive oil, just enough to coat.
Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into medium size pieces. Place the cut sweet potatoes in the baking dish and turn them so that they are coated with the olive oil. Sprinkle moderately with oregano, and salt and pepper (to taste).
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 60 minutes or until soft.
Source courtesy: allrecipes.com

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mexican Rice & Almond drink

This as the name suggests is a Mexican  drink made of rice, almonds, cinnamon, cloves and sugar.Even though the drink has a milky appearance it is completely dairy-free.I had tried instant Mexican drinks that you just have to mix in water but the real one tasted so much more better and refreshing.
6 tablespoons rice
6 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) blanched almonds
1 inch cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1 cup white granulated sugar

Combine the rice with the almonds, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in 2 1/4 cups hot water then cover and let the mixture stand overnight (minimally 6 hours).

Place the mixture in the blender jar and blend for at least 3 - 5 minutes until the mixture is smooth . Add 2 cups of water and blend again for just a few seconds.  Place a large sieve over a mixing bowl.  Line the sieve with 3 layers of damp cheesecloth.  Pour in the rice mixture, a little at a time and keep stirring to help the mixture go through the sieve.  Once all the liquid has passed gather the cloth together at the top, give it a twist and squeeze out any additional liquid.

Now add 2 more cups of water and stir in as much sugar as you'd like, to taste. If the mixture is too thick, add some additional water
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