Friday, April 27, 2012

Cream Cheese & Coffee Wheels




One of the easiest rolls to fix and heart it. It is highly addictive and cannot just stop with one :) Spring has sprung. Have a beautiful weekend!


Ingredients:

Graham cracker crumbs-2 1/2 cups
Cream cheese-1 cup
Room temperature butter-2 tbs
Instant coffee granules-4 tsp
Confectionery sugar-1 1/2 cups
Warm water-3/4 cup
Vanilla extract-1/2 tsp


Method:

Using an electric hand mixer whisk the cream cheese, butter and the sugar together in a large bowl until it's smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract, set it aside. Mix the coffee powder in warm water. In an another bowl throw in the crumbs, stir in the coffee powder and knead it to form a soft dough. Knead it for almost 5 minutes. Divide the dough into two portions. Roll out one portion on a wax paper using a rolling pin. You can also use marie biscuits in replacement of graham cracker crumbs. I used marie biscuits for my chocolate pin wheels post earlier. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly on it. Now roll it and cover with plastic food wrap and refrigerate it for at least  two hours. Repeat with the other portion. Cut the log into quarter inch thickness using a sharp knife and there you go.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mysore Bonda/Mysore Bajjis With Coconut Chutney



When it rains the next minute we tend to think about having something hot for the evening. Mysore bondas popped up in such a way that the ideal combo for that is coconut chutney and sambar. The addition of coconut makes a huge difference between the normal urad dal vadas and the mysore bondas. These are such cute little savory munchkins to enjoy. Limit yourselves while eating these little monsters because these are way too tempting to avoid. Peppercorns gives a magical kick to these bondas, don't worry too much about the shapes trust me you will get there very soon :) All that matters is the deliciousness after all.


Ingredients:

Split urad dal/white gram-1 cup
Finely chopped coconut bits-5 tbs

Grated ginger(optional)-1 tsp

Black peppercorns-1 tbs
Salt-As required
Water-As required Oil-As required

 
Method: 

Wash the urad dal and marinate it in water for almost 2 to 3 hours. Now grind the urad dal with required salt and ginger in a mixer to a  thick batter, add some water to fix the consistency. Crush the peppercorns coarsely. Add  them to the batter followed by the coconut. Heat oil in a pan, scoop a spoonful of batter and drop it into the oil one by one. Let it fry until the bondas turn golden brown. Drain them on paper towels. Serve it hot with any chutneys of your choice or even sambar tastes scrumptious too. I made coconut chutney, i would say that its always the most incredible combo ever.

Coconut Chutney

  
Ingredients:

Grated coconut/chopped coconuts-3/4 cup 
Green chillies/Serrano peppers-1 no 
Channa daria/Roasted gram-1/2 cup 
Salt-As required Mustard seed-1 tsp
Water-As required
Split urad dal/white gram-1 tsp
Curry leaves-few
Oil-1 tbs 

  
Method: 

Grind the coconut, channa daria, green chillies, salt and few tbs of water in a mixer and blend it for few minutes. The consistency of the chutney should be slightly thick for the bondas. Heat oil in a small skillet, throw in  the mustard seeds and urad dal, fry it until it splutters and then add the curry leaves. Once the tempering is over, stir that into the chutney. Mix it well. Coconut chutney pairs well with dosas, idlis, upmas, any appetizers for that matter especially vadas or bajjis.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan



Eggplant parmesan is an italian dish, originally named as eggplant parmegiana. It is a dish made with tomato sauce and layers of cheese. I did not get to make tomato sauce at home, instead i used the spaghetti sauce because i was running out of time. So it's your choice to incorporate home made tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce. It is definitely a vegetarian's delight.



Ingredients:

Peeled eggplant/brinjal/aubergine slices-20 nos  
Eggs-2 nos
Spaghetti sauce-2 1/2 cups
Cooking  spray
Shredded/sliced mozzarella cheese-1 1/2 cups
Panko breadcrumbs/plain bread crumbs-1 cup
Salt-As required
Pepper-As required
Garlic powder-1 1/2 tsp
Grated Parmesan cheese-3/4 cup
Dried basil-1 tsp
Dried parsley(optional)-1 tsp



Method:

Place the sliced eggplants in a colander, season with some salt. Set it aside for 30 minutes so that the salt absorbs the moisture in the eggplant. Using a cloth or kitchen paper towels try to remove the moisture out of the eggplant. Then place them on a baking sheet, season with some pepper and garlic powder. Spray some cooking spray on it.  Bake it in the preheated oven at 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C for about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven after 10 minutes. 

Now reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C. Dip each eggplant slice in beaten egg, and then dredge with breadcrumbs. In an another greased square or any baking dish spread the spaghetti sauce evenly. Place the eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Repeat with another layer ending with the cheese. Sprinkle basil and parsley on top and bake it in the oven for almost 30 minutes or until the top layer turns brown.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vermicelli Payasam/ Vermicelli Kheer-Tamil New Year Wishes!

Happy Tamil New Year Folks! Not just that my wishes to all who celebrates vishu, baisakhi... Sometimes i wonder how could i leave a simple and  less time consuming delicious dessert like the semiya payasam or vermicelli kheer.  A glass or a cup of semiya payasam with vadas is like the most scrumptious combo one could ever taste. It's totally your call to add the condensed milk, whichever you prefer it's going to be an elegant dessert after all.



Ingredients:

Ghee(clarified butter)-2 tbs 
Roasted vermicelli-1 cup
Milk-2 1/2 cups
Granulated sugar-1/4 cup 
Sweetened condensed milk(optional)-1/4 cup 
Cashews-15 to 20 nos 
Raisins-2 tbs
Cardamom powder-1/4 tsp


Method:

Melt the ghee in a saucepan. Add the cashews and raisins to it, the cashews will turn brown and the raisins will swell a little. Remove them from the pan and place it aside. In the same pan stir in the milk let the milk boil, add the sugar to it followed by vermicelli. Let it thicken under low flame, stir in the condensed milk. After a couple of minutes remove the pan from the heat. Add the cardamom powder to it along with the roasted cashews and raisins. This kheer can be served hot or cold. Those who do not have roasted vermicelli roast them in ghee separately for few minutes until it turns brown and then add it to the milk.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Avocado/Butter Fruit Popsicles




Avocados also known as butter fruit and makhanphal in hindi is a healthy and a delicious fruit. I like to incorporate avocados in many forms. Especially if it's in a dessert many of you might think that it could be challenging. That's not true, avocado smoothie or avocado chocolate mousse is so heavenly and can be prepared in minutes. Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, vitamin B and folic acid. They are usually in season from March through September. Avocados  can be consumed in dips, spreads, salads, desserts and sandwiches. Pregnant and nursing moms should include avocados in their diet. Kids will love the texture of the avocados for its creaminess. Avocados are high in folate (folic acid) which helps reduce the risk of serious birth defects. They are sodium, sugar and cholesterol-free and contain mono and polyunsaturated fats.

Some of the other health benefits are
  • Good for the heart and blood circulation.
  • Assist in the relief efforts of PMS.
  • Excellent for the skin.


Ingredients:

Avocado/butter fruit-1 no
Heavy cream/Milk/Half and half-1/2 cup
Lemon juice-1 tbs
Coconut milk-1/2 cup
Salt-a pinch
Granulated sugar-1/4 cup

 
Method:

Cut the avocado into half, peel the skin and discard  the seed. Take the meat out of it  and process it with the above ingredients in a food processor or beat it using an electric hand mixer until it turns creamy. Fill the mixture in the popsicle molds and freeze it for almost 4 to 5 hours. After it's set run the molds under hot water. It will yield four popsicles. Double the recipe if you want more.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bulgur Wheat Pilaf/Upma With Mango & Avocado Salsa





Hope you folks did not doze off while reading the title. It is little lengthy but it's a quick dish to prepare. Bulgur wheat is rich in fiber more than the brown rice. Can you believe that?  It’s a grain that can be served at breakfast, lunch or even dinner. The nutty flavor of it makes it so delectable in  many dishes such as salads, meatloaves, casseroles... It is a quick alternative to rice or pasta dishes, its texture does resemble the couscous and henceforth adapts the same way of cooking too. Try to throw in some veggies or meat for some variations.  


Fortunately i had some mangoes to pick up from the grocery store, i did not wait for the mangoes to ripe :) Mangoes are always delicious, cannot wait to make more dishes with mangoes for the upcoming summer. I have the recipe for mango and avocado salsa today which was divine with the pilaf. Avocado is my ever favorite when asked to do a dessert. You will see another post soon with it.

Ingredients:

Bulgur wheat-1 cup
Water-2 1/2 to 3 cups
Salt-As required
Oil-As required
Chopped onions-1 cup
Lemon juice-1 tsp
Minced galic-1 tsp
Green chillies/Serrano peppers- 2 nos

 
Method:

Bring the water to boil with some salt added into it. Add the bulgur wheat to it, stir it thoroughly and leave it until all the water is absorbed. It may take about 25 to 30 minutes. You can add 1/4 cup water in addition to that if you want the bulgur wheat to be little mushy. Heat oil in an another pan, once it is hot enough add the  garlic, onions and the chopped serrano peppers. Add little salt to it, if you find it not to be quite sufficient. Get the pan off the heat. You can either drain the excess water once the bulgur wheat turns tender. Throw in the onions from the pan. Mix it gently. Sprinkle some lemon juice on it. Since i made mango and avocado salsa this time i happened to incorporate them into the pilaf. 

Mango & Avocado Salsa: A delish side to enjoy

Ingredients:

Diced mangoes-1 cup Diced avocados-1 cup
Chopped red onions-1/4 cup
Lime juice- 1 tsp
Serrano pepper/alapenos-1 no
Chopped cilantro-few
Salt-a pinch




Method:

Chop the serrano pepper. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. How easy it is? Serve it as a side with chips or add them to a salad.