Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Parmesan Puff Pastry

After my last post of Napoleon, did I realize that I haven't yet posted my favorite go to appetizer; the one I go for when  I am having a party and am short on time.This is such a simple and easy recipe that even Aishwarya or Jai could make it(and often ends up making thus giving me more time to concentrate on other courses.)This sure would be crowd pleaser.
Recipe Source:Paula Deen
1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup butter, melted/Olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.On a lightly floured surface, unfold pastry sheets. Cut each sheet into 13 strips, about 3/4 by 10-inches apiece.In a shallow dish, combine cheese, basil, and garlic. Brush pastry sticks with melted butter. Roll pastry in cheese mixture, lightly coating each side. Gently twist pastry sticks, and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mille-Feuille /Napoleon

Mille-Feuille or Napolean is a multi layered pastry of French origin. Typically these are made up of multiple layers of puff pastry with cream or jam between layers.
This is a very convenient dessert if you are planning a party at home, as you can make this in advance and keep it refrigerated. The usual method of making this is to put a cling wrap inside of the pan so that you can pull it out and cut to pieces before serving. But since I made it to take to a potluck (I made it around the Christmas time), I thought this would be a better way to carry and serve.
Wishing all of you a nice  Memorial Day weekend!
Recipe adapted from Not So Humble Pie
320 ml whole milk
75 grams granulated sugar
28 grams unsalted butter
28 grams cornstarch
2 large eggs
5 ml pure vanilla extract

480 ml heavy cream
7 grams granulated gelatin
60 ml water

1 pack Puff pastry sheets
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Unfold the pastry on a lightly floured surface.Prick it all over with a fork. Cut the pastry into 3 strips along the fold marks. Cut each strip into 6 rectangles, making 18 rectangles in all. Place the pastries 1 inch apart on 2 baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until they're golden brown.(If you don’t want your puff to rise put a piece of parchment on top and weight it down with a couple of cookie sheets). Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and cool them on wire racks.
Combine 1 cup of the milk and 2 1/2tbs of the sugar into a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the butter and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, mix cornstarch with the remaining milk and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until completely smooth.
When the milk comes to a boil remove from heat immediately and pour a third of the hot milk into the bowl with the eggs and cornstarch while mixing with the whisk. Return this mixture to pan with the remaining hot milk and set over medium heat stirring constantly with the whisk.
Cook the mixture until it comes to a boil, has thickened and the whisk leaves a trail in the mixture.
Pour the mixture into a stainless steel bowl set into an ice bath and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle the gelatin over a small bowl containing 60ml of cool water and allow to bloom for 5 minutes.
Mix the gelatin into the pastry cream (it should still be warm, that's okay. It should be warm for this step). Strain through a fine mesh sieve into another non-reactive metal bowl and return it to the ice bath.
Once the cream hits roughly 75°F (room temperature) beat the heavy cream to soft peaks and then gently mix one third of the whipped cream into the pastry cream. Fold the remaining cream in until no streaks remain.

(Use immediately, the cream cannot be made in advance)
Line a loaf pan, or same biscuit box with plastic wrap (as I  said in before I skipped this step)
Lay the pastry sheets covering the bottom of the pan .Slather a thick, even layer of the cream onto the sheet of pastry. Top with a second layer of pastry  sheets and add another layer of the cream. Top with the third layer of pastry and then wrap this with cling wrap/plastic wrap. Chill in the refregerator overnight.
Before serving, flip the loaf over serving plate and remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top using a siever. Cut and serve.As I had more than enough of cream or pudding  I used it for the final finishing and topped it with some chocolate powder.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ripe Mangoes in Sweet and Spicy Curry (Mampazhappulisserri)

Summertime is the mango season in Kerala. One of the traditional Kerala curries that used to be common in any household is the Mampazhappulisserri. during this season. This used to be one of my childhood favorites too. During the mango season, making mampazhappulisseri is a must for me, at least one time. Otherwise, I feel like I am not doing justice to myself and my roots.
For the classical recipe of this, the particular variety of mango used is the Chandrakaran, which is a local grown small mango. But these days, I substitute them with whatever variety of sweet mangoes that are available.
This is combination of different tastes - sweet, sour and savory - creates a unique experience and goes well with rice.

6 small ripe mangoes (Chandrakaran); or you can substitute with 3 medium sized ones, any sweet variety would do
½ tsp turmeric powder
1tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup curd (yogurt)
1 tbsp sugar(optional, in case the mangoes are not sweet enough)

For seasoning:
2 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2tsp fenugreek seeds
2 sprigs of curry leaves
3 whole dried red chillies

Remove the skin of the mangoes and use the mango as a whole. In case you are using bigger mangoes, you can make it into smaller slices. Add salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder to the mangoes along with a cup of water and cook this in a sauce pan till the mangoes are cooked and the curry looks like a thick sauce. Add coconut milk to this and in case your mangoes are not that sweet enough 1 tbs of sugar. Turn off the heat when this starts to boil and add wisked yogurt and mix it all well.
Heat another pan and add coconut oil. When it is hot enough, add all the ingredients listed under seasoning.  Turn off the heat and when the mustard seeds stops spluttering, add this to the curry.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mosaic Dessert Bars

I was expecting some guests this week-end. Since the weather is turning warm, I thought of serving something "cool" as the dessert. This recipe met my criteria of a cold dessert that is so attractive and eye-catching: "cool" indeed.
Recipe source: Kraft
5-1/2cups boiling water, divided
1pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Lime Flavor Gelatin
1pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Orange Flavor Gelatin
1pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O BlueberryFlavor Gelatin
2env. KNOX Unflavored Gelatine
1/2cup cold water
1can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
Add 1 cup boiling water to each flavor fruit gelatin mix in separate bowls. Stir at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Pour each flavor of gelatin into separate small shallow food storage container sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
Sprinkle unflavored gelatine over cold water; let stand 1 min. Stir in 1-1/2 cups boiling water. Add condensed milk; mix well. Cool slightly.
Cut flavored gelatin into cubes. Randomly place cubes in 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Pour milk mixture over cubes; stir very gently if necessary to evenly distribute gelatin cubes. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm before cutting into bars.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Campanelle with Marinara Sauce

Aishwarya is a big fan of Italian cuisine. I love any recipe that uses more than one veggie in it and is always on the lookout for such recipes. So when I came across this recipe at ABC's The Chew, I adapted it to make a vegetarian version of it. It turned out to be the best Marinara Sauce that I ever tried.
Recipe source: ABC's The Chew
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cups soaked soy granules/1 pack of morning star meal starters
1 Onion (diced)
3 cloves Garlic
2 Carrots (small diced)
2 ribs of Celery (small diced)
1 28-ounce can Whole Plum Tomatoes
1 cup Dry Red Wine/vegetable broth
1 Fresh Bay Leaf
6 sprigs Fresh Oregano
Salt to taste
1 cup Flat Leaf Italian Parsley (torn)
1/2 cup Parmesan (grated)
2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
2 pound Campanelle / pasta of your choice
Heat a large saucepan with olive oil. Brown the soy granules/meal starters with a large pinch of salt.(I love to add a 1/4 tsp garam masala and 1/4 tsp of chilli powder to this). Add garlic to saucepan and cook for 3 minutes.Meanwhile add onion, carrots and celery into a food processor and pulse to finely chop vegetable. Add vegetable mix to pan and cook for another 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with red wine. Add in the tomatoes, breaking them up as you stir them and bring to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and oregano and taste for seasoning. You may want to add a little salt here. Simmer for about 2 hours, skimming off any excess fat that comes to the top.Once the sauce is done, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Drop the pasta in and cook until al dente. Remove from the water with a spider or slotted spoon and add to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of your pasta water.
Remove from the heat and stir in parsley, parmesan, butter and a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Praline'N Butter cream Vanilla Cake

Hope all you moms out there had a wonderful Mother's day.
I dedicate this post to all the mothers in my life and all those friends of mine who are mothers.
This cake used to be one of my child-hood favorites. So whenever I feel a little nostalgic and the child in me wants to go back to those carefree days of the childhood, this is something I feel like making. The cake part of this is a vanilla cake, the one called 1-2-3-4 cake, as it uses 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs. But as I was going to make this into a Praline butter cake, I reduced the sugar. I have used the basic butter cream for the icing.
Everyone who had tasted this cake had appreciated the wonderful combination of pralines, butter cream and  vanilla cake to be a real winner.
Ingredients for Butter cream
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
Whisk together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Ingredients for Praline
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dry toasted almonds or cashew nuts
1 tbsp water
Prepare caramel by heating and melting sugar along with water, specified in the ingredient list, until they turn medium brown. When sugar is completely melted and bubbles start coming up and reaches the color you want, turn off the stove and add the dry toasted nuts to it, and pour them immediately  onto to  a lightly oiled cookie tray and let it set. When completely set, crush the caramel  nut sheet using a rolling pin.

Ingredients for Vanilla cake(1,2,3,4 cake)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups  granulated white sugar(Real recipe calls for 2 cups sugar)
3 cups  sifted all purpose flour/cake flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) room temperature milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add  vanilla extract too.Add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions),beginning and ending with the flour. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake 27 to 35 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degree F  until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center. Cool completely before frosting.

Assembling the cake:
Place one cake on a cake board or a plate and frost with some buttercream on top of that , sprinkle praline generously on top of the frosting and then place the second cake  Cover the top and side of the cake with a butter cream and  cover the whole cake with powdered praline using your hand applying slight pressure. (in case the cake turns out to be dry, you may sprinkle simple sugar syrup between each layer of the cake before putting the butter cream)

A peek into my mother's day breakfast courtesy my hubby. I was served "no bake Swiss rolls" made by the chef of the day.Thank you dear for this yummy breakfast .I am looking forward for more such beginnings for my day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mysore Masala Dosa

Foodelious has a wonderful collection of recipes but as I am still so busy with Aishwarya I tried this recipe which is not so new to me and altered it to suit me.  This was so much enjoyed by my little girl that she ended up having one full Dosa (She does have a poor appetite now) and I was one happy mom.

Recipe adapted from Foodelicious
Ingredients for the Coconut chutney
To Grind-
1 cup freshly scraped coconut
4-5 green chilies
1/4 inch piece ginger
1/2 cup yougurt
salt to taste
1 sprig curry leaves
For the tempering
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chilies
Grind together all the ingredients . For the tempering, heat the oil, add the mustard followed by red chilli and curry leaves pour it over the chutney.

Ingredients for the Red chutney
2 onions,quartered
3-4 garlic pods(optional)
1 tsp red chili powder or 4-5 red chillies
1/2 tsp tamarind pulp
salt to taste
Saute onion and garlic pods in 1/4 tsp oil .Grind together onion and garlic, 1tsp red chili pwd, salt to taste,1/2 tsp tamarind extract.Add enough salt.

Ingredients for Potato Filling
6-7 boiled potatoes (medium sized)
2-3 onions chopped/sliced
5-6 green chilies finely chopped
1" of ginger finely chopped
chopped coriander
oil to cook
a spoon of mustard seeds
2 tbsp of chana-urad dal mix
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
Method :
Heat oil , add mustard followed by the dals, when the dals are golden brown add green chilies, ginger,onion and curry leaves. Add the salt and turmeric, followed by  roughly mashed peeled potatoes. Pour 1/4 cup of water to make it a little mushy. Garnish with cilantro/coriander.

For The Dosa batter:
3 cups rice
1 cup urad dal
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
Soak the rice, fenugreek and the dal separately for 4-5 hrs.
Grind together the rice and fenugreek to a fine paste. Also grind the dal  to a fine paste adding enough water. Mix the rice and the dal and let it ferment over night.
Before making the Dosa, add water to the batter to bring it to a pouring consistency. Add salt and mix.

Final Preparation:

Heat the Non Stick Pan and take a laddle full of batter and spread it in circles, this has to be done quickly. It is a skill which comes with practice. spread little butter or ghee or oil around the edges. Roast the dosa on medium flame and then reduce the heat.When dosa  turn golden brown in color spread the red chutney on the top and then  fill with several tablespoons of the potato filling  roll up and serve immediately with sambhar and chutney.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baked Crispy Kale Chips

If you are looking for a  low calorie nutritious snack, go no further. If you are like me who cannot stop at eating just one, this is the perfect one for you. These are so crispy and they kind of melt in your mouth. Yet these are so easy to make. Thanks for all your good wishes for Aishwarya; she is doing better and we are hoping to have her up and running in no time .

Recipe Source: Food Network
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Kale should be thoroughly dried or else you will end up with steamed or discoloured kale chips.Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes.
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