Monday, April 26, 2010

Now that the strawberries are gone


I used my last batch of frozen strawberries to make a strawberry cheesecake icecream. As we are doing this without an icecream maker, first step is to thaw a cup of strawberries completely. You don't want any icicles in your icecream.

Next step is to make a cheesecake base. Just like when I made my strawberry cheesecake, I mixed 80 grams cream cheese with 30 grams caster sugar, 2 tbsp heavy cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and whisked everything until well blended and smooth. The strawberries were mushy by now so mashed them with a fork and dropped them in the cheesecake mix, then blended everything together.

This went into the freezer for an hour. Then I brought it out and beat it well to break the ice particles. Back in the freezer and back to the beating routine two more times; after which you can let your icecream chill out in the freezer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Missing Link in my Burrito Bowl


I liked the Burrito Bowl I made the other day so much I did it again for dinner. And this time, I added the one element I'd missed out the last time - a roasted corn salsa. Like the previous Chipotle-like recipes, credit for this lovely salad goes to ChipotleFan.

Corn Salsa's as easy to put together as it is delicious. You roast a couple of ears of corn - I did it on an open stove flame, but find a grill if that makes you feel better. Let them cool, then cut the corn off the cob. Mix the corn with a chopped onion, a couple of chopped jalepenos, a handful of cilantro, salt, pepper and juice of a lime.

While this surely goes very well with the rest of the elements in the burrito bowl, I had leftovers that I then mixed with some steamed wild rice. An equally pleasant combination.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A hot summer weekend


What's a girl to do when's it way too hot to venture outside all weekend. This girl set to make some pina coladas. Not the real McCoy with rum, mind you! This one is a nice girl version.

I chilled 100 ml of coconut milk and 200 ml of sweetened pineapple juice in the freezer for half an hour, then blended them together until frothy. Some recipes say to add a scoop of vanilla icecream and I guess it would make your drink creamier and colder, but freezing did the trick well enough for me.

Pina Colada is my first entry for Srivalli's Thanda Mela. With sun blazing the next two months, you got plenty more coming.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sago Pops for the Indian Cooking Challenge


You don't need to remind me that Srivalli had chosen Murukus as the challenge recipe this month. That was my intention too when I soaked sago in buttermilk this morning. Srivalli said to soak it for 3 hours; I figured I would leave it in the fridge and deal with it when I come back in the evening. Bad decision! The sago never got too soft; a condition our host had warned us against. She said sago will splutter and it wont be a pretty sight.

Now I had kept this to the last minute and today being the deadline, I went ahead anyway. Ground the bhuna chana dal to a powder, mixed it with rice flour, besan, salt and chilli powder. Poured over some oil, then added the sago and buttermilk. The sago wasn't soft enough; I should have stopped then. But I plodded on.

I don't have a muruku maker so I tried pushing the dough through my pastry bag. It was too stiff to agree with my ideas, so I decided to hand roll the dough into sticks. See, I can be pretty crafty sometime. Then I dropped a handful of these sticks into hot oil. Nothing happened for a minute, then the sago started to burst and there was hot oil flying all over the kitchen. When the popping stopped, I stepped out of my hiding place and took the sago sticks out. They were sooooo delicious!

So popping or not, I was going ahead with this. By the third batch, I had it down to a fine art. Drop the sticks in enough oil to drown them so there's no need to turn anything, then run for dear life. Once the dreary popping sounds stop, go collect your heavenly sago pops.

The only flip side is; my kitchen looks like a battlefield and I think I will never get the oil off the stove. But that's something for my maid to deal with tomorrow!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

No pictures today because, well, how on earth do you make mashed potatoes look pretty. Even if they happen to be the best mashed potatoes on earth.

But before the recipe, and to compensate for the lack of photographic evidence, I thought I'd let you in on this little habit of mine. I am a compulsive recipe collector. I collect them from cookbooks and magazines and aunts who cook. And I collect them from every package I come in contact with. Now don't tell me you never thought of baking the chocolate cake from the Hershey's cocoa jar recipe. And you sometimes get unexpected rewards, like this mashed potatoes recipe on the carton of Philadelphia cream cheese.

They were purely plugging their product, but this one's a winner anyway. What you do is boil two potatoes with 2 cloves of garlic thrown in. Peel, then mash both the potatoes and the garlic. Mix in 2 tbsp of cream cheese, a tbsp of butter and a dash of salt. Indulge!

PS: If you stopped by the Burrito Bowl post earlier, you might want to consider a revisit. I've added all the missing recipes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chipotle's Burrito Bowl...at home


- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Refried Black Beans
- Salsa
- Guacamole
- Sour Cream

It was as much work as it sounds like, most of it done by my cook. Here are the recipes:

For Cilantro Lime Rice, heat a tsp of butter or ghee in a pan. Add 2/3 cup basmati rice and juice of a lime. Stir to mix, then add as much water as your package dictates and 1/2 tsp of salt. Most basmati rice varieties should be okay with double the quantity of water. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer until the water is absorbed. Add 2 tsp of chopped cilantro and mix.

The black beans are what I am most excited about. Soak 1/2 a cup of beans overnight. Next morning, cook them with plenty of water in a pressure cooker until tender. Combine a small capsicum, halved and seeded with a small chopped onion, a clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, a tsp of cumin seeds and little of the cooking water from the beans in a blender. Blend until you get a smooth mixture. Drain the beans but leave around a cup of cooking water in there. Add the blended mixture, salt, a tbsp of white wine, a tsp of vinegar and 1/2 a tbsp of olive oil. Simmer until the beans are thick.

Guacamole is just a ripe avocado mashed with finely chopped jalepeno, chopped onion and cilantro, salt and lime juice. I never measure any of these, just going by what seems right for that day. Salsa is also just a mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, salt and lime juice. I'd usually put in cilantro too, but figured we already had enough of it in the guacamole. And sour cream is well, sour cream.

Once you have everything in place, add whatever you like from the mix to rice.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Can You Keep A Secret

Have you ever had the urge to start blabbering to the person sitting next to you on a plane, knowing you will never meet them again and can say what you want. That's what Emma did, our heroine of Can You Keep A Secret, the book club's pick for the month. Only her blabbering came to haunt her the next day when the possessor of all her secrets turned out to be her big-shot boss.

From this opening, the book quickly goes on to become another romance but is funny enough to keep you reading. Sophie Kinsella is my favorite among the authors of the chic-lit genre that came into being a few years ago. Though not as well written as her Undomestic Goddess or as addictive as her Shopoholic series, Can You Keep A Secret is a great read for a lazy sunday.

Foodwise, this month's book had thin pickings for the members of "This Book Makes Me Cook". But I got my inspiration early on when Emma goes for her "perfect" date with the guy in the plane. And our hero makes champagne magically appear, not knowing that Emma had her heart set on a pink cocktail.






Emma says later on, when she does get to drink her pink cocktail, that it tasted of watermelon. And a watermelon daiquiri or margarita it should have been. But I had my heart set on a pina colada. And so, I made a pink pina colada instead.

All you do is blend 5-6 frozen strawberries with 50 ml coconut milk and 100 ml pineapple juice. Although I didn't, you could throw in 30 ml white rum if you wanted. And some sugar syrup, which I didn't because my juice was sweetened.

Wondering what the rest of the book club came up with.
Aparna made a 5 minute chocolate cake.
Bhagyashri made Shortbread Triangles.
Sweatha made Cheddar Cheese Crisps.
PJ, our new member, made Suralichi Wadi.
Jayasri, another new member this month, made Mango Smoothie.

Next month, we are reading the story of our favorite chef and our favorite blogger. If you would like to read "Julie & Julia" with us, please leave a comment here and I will get back to you with details.