Sunday, December 18, 2011

Homemade French Bread

This is my first loaf of fresh homemade bread.  I've been anxious to start using my brand new Red Kitchenaid (Artisan KSM 150PSER Food Processor 325W)!!! that we got as a gift from my sister Nameeta and brother in law Ajay for our wedding!
Makes 2 loafs

4 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups warm water

1) Add warm water to the glass bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Let it rest for 10 minutes.  It will look fermented. Now fix the dough hook to food processor and add flour, salt and olive oil. Stir until it becomes a lump of dough (around 4 to 5 minutes).
2) Set dough into a bowl, cover with lid and leave for 2 hours for it to rise

3) It should be twice its size, soft and silky

4) Knead by rolling several times. See video on youtube titled 'how to make french bread in ten minutes'

5) Cut into 2. Knead again. Spread and roll using Julia Childs technique (in video and on youtube)
Make 3 slits using a very sharp knife. 

6) Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. When you put the loaf in, splash a cup of water on the botom of oven to generate steam. This can be very hot steam so be careful and dont have your face too close to the oven door.

7) Loaf should be crisp on the outside and soft inside. Enjoy with butter!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Paneer mutter (Indian Paneer & Peas)

Paneer 1 package 14 oz (from any Indian store)
Peas 1 cup (frozen peas work really well)
Tomato paste (half a can)
Onion garlic and ginger paste (Puree with 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic and 2 inch ginger)
Turmeric powder 3/4 teaspoon
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1.5 teaspoons
Red Chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon
Bayleaf 1
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp

1) Cut paneer into bite size cubes and lightly fry in canola oil. They will get a nice brown color very quickly. Set aside
2) Puree onion, ginger and garlic in a small food processor
3) In a nonstick and using 3 tablespoons of oil sautee bay leaf, and onion paste until light brown
4) Add all the spices, salt and sugar.  Sautee until they cook together and so the flavors blend. Very soon, add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water. Stir gently to loosen up the sauce and create a nice tomato sauce mixed well with the spices
6) Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the oil seeps out of the sauce. Add water if it get dry.
7) Add peas and paneer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and season as needed.
8) Serve with steamed rice or naan

Tomato Bisque with Grilled Cheese

Inspired by the Grant Park Farmers Market & Chef Todd Ginsberg of Bocado
This is the perfect fall soup - so yummy, colorful and perfect for a chilly winter evening.  We made this at Cindy's on Sunday night and had it with the perfect grilled cheese (also included).

1 can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoon tomato paste
2 ripe fresh medium tomatoes
Bunch of fresh Basil (important)
1 and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (don't compromise here...the cream makes this dish)
1/2 cup red wine
Garlic - 2 cloves
Onion - 1 medium diced
Butter - 1 tablespoon
Water - 2 cups
Salt, Sugar and Pepper (fresh ground)

Sautee onion and garlic in butter until you smell it and you see a light golden color. Add tomato paste and caramelize. Deglaze bottom of pan if it sticks using little water. Add red wine and reduce to a think syrupy texture. Add all the types of tomates (canned and fresh), water, basil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream and simmer for 10 more minutes. Blend in mixer.

Grilled Cheese
Any type of gourmet cheese that is good for slicing. Even better, try a combination of two cheeses.
Chiabatta bread 2 (makes 4 halves)

1) Cut Chiabatta half way and then again down center to create top and bottom halves.
2) Brush both sides with butter (one small square should do, not too much needed here and olive oil is optional)
3) Place cheese in between
4) Heat a pan. Place sandwiches. Press down using bottom of another heavy pan.
5) Cook on each side till slightly charred. Enjoy with the soup! 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Simple Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Glaze

Sometimes its a day for simple, delicious, light and fluffy chocolate cake that can be served with....lets see.....vanilla ice cream, mangoes, raspberries, a glass of dessert wine, whipped cream or coffee. I have a major weakness for dark chocolate  and raspberries so that's what I picked. 

Best Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe:
Yields 2 9" layers that are pretty thick

Dry ingredients:
Flour  1 3/4 cups
Sugar 2 cups
Baking Powder  1 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Cocoa (baking) 3/4 cup

Liquid ingredients:
Milk 2% 1 cup
Oil vegetable 1/2 cup
Eggs 2 large
Vanilla extract 1 tablespoon
Water boiling 1 cup

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2) Prepare 2 9 inch pans (I like the medium weight pans for even baking and light crust). Take a small piece of butter and rub it on the inside of the pans making sure to be generous and covering all spots. Put some flour in the pans and shake around until flour is evenly spread but is a very thin, non-clumpy layer. Toss any extra flour out
3) Mix all the dry ingredients in a large deep mixing bowl. Use exact measurements (see below on baking measurement tips)
4) Add milk, oil, vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Make sure to get the bottom and sides
5) Add eggs one at a time on medium speed and scrape the sides with spatula as you go
6) Make sure all ingredients are fully combined and then remove beaters from the bowl
7) Pour boiling water into the batter and stir quickly to mix well
8) Immediately pour batter into prepared pans and bake
9) Bake for 30 minutes (some ovens could take 40 minutes). Insert toothpick into middle and it should come out clean
10) Cool in pans.  Remove by using a plate to overturn
11) Serve with the tangy & sweet glaze. So yummy, not too rich and so tasty!

Raspberry Glaze:
Raspberries (frozen or fresh)
Add sugar and microwave for a few minutes
Add a drop of lemon juice

How to measure for baking:
For dry ingredients use a measuring spoon and do not pack down the ingredient. Using the back of a knife, level off the top. Any extra bit of flour or sugar can ruin the cake).
For liquid ingredients, use a liquid measuring cup (glass or plastic) with a pouring spout. The liquid should be measured ay eye level and should not be above or below the line but right on the line.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Singapore Chilli Crab Claws

I saw a deal on Crab Claws at the local grocery store and decided to buy them. After researching several recipes and watching some videos in youtube, I decided to make my own version of Singapore Chilli Crab. I read some articles on the internet about how Singapore is home for chilli crab and since I haven't been there, I thought why not try it and bring some of the flavors home to Atlanta!
Omg, I was so surprised by how delicious and simple this dish was!! If you are craving some spicy tangy crab claws, this will satisfy your craving

2 lb bag of cooked stone or rock crab claws
1 can of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons (or half a small can of tomato paste)
6-7 dried whole red chilli
small chunk ginger
6 cloves garlic
Sugar, Salt, Lite Soy Sauce, Oyster sauce
1 red onion chopped into quarters for food processor
2 shallots (if available but not necessary; they give a sweetish flavor)

In a small food processor grind the red onion, shallots, garlic and ginger to make a paste almost like a puree.  In a deep wok, add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil. Fry the onion paste for 6-7 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce.  While doing this make a puree of the canned tomatoes in the processor, add the 3 tablespoons of tomato paste to the processor with the canned tomatoes. Tomatoes are a big  part of this dish -- they give it its color and its taste. Add the puree to the onion paste once it is cooked.  Add salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar Add some light soy and a splash of lime juice. Fish sauce (instead of the oyster sauce) and tamarind paste (instead of the lime juice) are options Let it cook for 6-8 minutes on low heat.  Add the crab claws. Toss to coat with the sauce. Add a bit of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust ingredients to balance sweet (sugar) and sour (lime) flavors so that you get the ultimate flavor that you like and prefer.
Enjoy with soft bread (for dipping) or with steamed rice.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lamb meatballs in spicy tomato sauce

This dish is perfect over rice and served with cucumber summer salad. The earthiness of the lamb is complemented with perfect flavors from the tangy tomatoes and the spices. Also delicious with bread (for dipping into the delicious sauce). This recipe serves 12 meatballs; consider doubling the recipe if you want leftovers

Meatball ingredients:
Mix all the following with fingers and keep aside:
Ground lamb (New Zealand lamb 1 lb from Whole Foods 85% lean)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (stems and leaves)
1 seranno green pepper
Garlic (3 finely chopped cloves)
Ginger (1 tsp finely chopped)
3 tablespoon red onion chopped (1 small red)

Sauce Ingredients:
Canola oil (3 tblsp canola)
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon sticks
Onions (the rest -- i.e.medium chopped (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
1 can tomatoes diced (unspiced)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped ginger
3 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli
1 tsp garam masala
1 to 1.5 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
2 cups water

Cucumber Salad: 1 chopped tomato, 1 chopped cucumber, 1 tsp chopped cilantro, drop of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and salt

In a wide non-stick, add canola oil, bayleaves, cinnamon sticks and sautee until fragrant.  Add onjons and sautee until golden brown. Add ginger, garlic and spices and very soon after add the tomatoes.  Stir and add 1/2 cup water. Simmer for 7 minutes. At this time start shaping the meatballs by spooning out 1 tablespoon chunks onto a plate and rolling with hands/fingers to form balls. 
Add another cup of water, stir, simmer for 5 minutes. The oil should start coming out of the water.  Lay the meatballs gently into the pan. Don't stir since the meatballs could break but instead cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Shake the pan, add cilantro for garnish and serve with hot rice or bread (naan, flour tortillas, sourdough). Enjoy with the chilled cucumber salad.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Spicy Shrimp Curry with Fenugreek

This is a delicious tangy authentic and flavorful curry for a sunday evening dinner. It is very satisfying with some hot basmati rice. I think it is even better after it stays in the refrigerator overnight for heating the next day -- this allows all the spices to mix. 

Shrimp: 15 - 20 count
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 can of diced (un-spiced) tomatoes
3/4 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp red chilli
1/2 tsp garam masala
handful of cilantro leaves chopped 
lemon squeeze (optional)
Grind the following in a small food processor
9 cloves of garlic
2 thumb size pieces of ginger peeled
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 table spoon coriander powder
Few tablespoons of water

Heat 3 tablespoons canola oil in a nonstick pan. Fry the fenugreek for 10 seconds. Add the masala which should be pasty. Cook 8 minutes or until the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add a drop of the tomatoes to make pasty. Then add the turmeric, red chilli, garam masala and tomatoes. Stir and add the cilantro. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes -- allow spices to cook here. 
Add the shrimp and leave for 3 minutes. Add 1 and 1/2 cup of water and bring to boil. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 minutes.  Serve with steamed rice. 

Fenugreek and it's great properties:
You can buy it at any Indian grocery store and probably at an international farmers market

Fenugreek seeds are used as a medicinal in Traditional Chinese Medicine under the name Hu Lu Ba.  Fenugreek is frequently used in the production of flavoring for artificial maple syrupsFenugreek seed is widely used as a galactagogue (milk producing agent) by nursing mothers to increase inadequate breast milk supply. Studies have shown that fenugreek is a potent stimulator of breast milk production and its use was associated with increases in milk production of as much as 900%.[11] It can be found in capsule form in many health food stores.[12] Several human intervention trials demonstrated that the antidiabetic effects of fenugreek seeds ameliorate most metabolic symptoms associated with type-1 and type-2 diabetes in both humans and relevant animal models by reducing serum glucose and improving glucose tolerance.[13] Fenugreek contains high dietary fiber, so a few seeds taken with warm water before going to sleep helps avoiding constipation.[citation needed]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chilli for Football Sunday & Wintery Weather

So if you know me, you pretty much know that I love football and I also like making soups and chillis and stews in snowy weather. So I think that Chilli and Sports and Snow are the perfect combination. So here is one that I made during the "icestorm of 2010" these past few days. The great thing about being snowbound for me was that I got to experiment in the kitchen!! Try it and let me know what you think.
2 lbs Ground Sirloin or Turkey or Chicken (your preference)
1 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 medium red onion chopped fine
1 red bell pepper chopped fine
1 green bell peppers chopped fine
2 large jalape├▒o chiles chopped with seeds
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (available in mexican section) for smokey taste
1 large 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes with added puree
1 15-ounce cans red kidney beans
1 bottle of dark beer (such as stout) - I used Abita
3 chopped green onions
Garnish: Cilantro or chopped green onion, sour cream and/or coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Sautee beef or turkey in a dutch oven or heavy pot. Break up and cook until done (8 mins).  In a different saucepan heat oil (2 tblsp), onions, cumin, coriander, and jalapenos, chilli powder. Add the 2 peppers. Combined or add this to the meat. Add chipotle chillis, crushed tomatoes, red kidney beans and beer,
Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook for a good 30 minutes and upto an hour on low. Season with salt, brown sugar, juice of one fresh lemon or a little bit of vinegar.
Taste and adjust with sugar or salt/lemon or toasted spices (cumin or coriander powder) to achieve a balance of flavors. Garnish with cheese or sour cream or green onions. Enjoy!!

Stuffed Mini Spicy Eggplant (Bharli Vangi)

So the inspiration for this dish was definitely the city that I gew up in -- Mumbai. This is a very traditional dish made in this region of India and I actually learnt it from my cook during my last visit to India this past November. The key is to make sure that the baby eggplants are in season and fresh.  I also love the color and size of this of vegetable -- so pretty and so delicious!

Small Eggplants (Vangi) - 6-8

Stuffing (Grind the below in a food processor):
Grated coconut (I used the frozen kind found in asian grocery stores) - 3 tablespoon
Roasted peanuts - 1/2 cup
Red onion - 1/2 of a large
Chopped coriander - 1 tablespoon
Red chili powder - 2 teasppon
Cilantro (handful)
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 2 tsp

Spices For Oil:
Cumin seed 1/2 tsp
Mustard seed 1/2 tsp
Asafetida (optional)
Tamarind or Lemon juice (optional)
Sugar and Salt

1) Make 2 vertical slits in the eggplant and preserving the core and stem
2) Fill egplants with stuffing and place them back in the skillet
3) In a skillet add some oil
Add a few cumin seeds, mustard seeds
Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and Asafetida (optional)
Add a bit of coconut, cilantro chopped to give texture
Add egplants to skillet. Add a bit of water. Close and cook for 10 minutes.
4) Add tamarind paste or lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add salt to taste
5) Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes

This dish is easily one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant especially if you like that combination of earthy peanuts mixed with coconut, spices and tamarind -- how can you go wrong!