Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tiramisu, most certainly...


Have you ever said "NO" to tiramisu, come on if you have there is something wrong with and that I am certain of. It is one of the loveliest desserts and I simply cannot stop indulging when there is tiramisu around. Usually the tiramisus I encounter are from Trader Joe'e and sometimes at good Italian restaurants. The thought of making tiramisu from scratch never would have occurred because of the combination of delicate and gorgeous flavours. But then came along the gorgeous ladies, Aparna and Deeba to challenge us all with the TIRAMISU. One look at the recipe, I was aghast- "how do I it?", "it seems so complicated" and "mine will never taste like one" were my immediate reactions. I must say- I was worried unnecessarily.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.


I will not elaborate on the steps here, you can check "the daring kitchen", I will however talk about the changes I made to the various layers and some problems I ran into.

Mascarpone cheese: yay!! My first homemade cheese and it turned out okay, I think. Just okay because I did not understand when the recipe it said "it will not get clumpy, it will only coat the back of the spoon"- well I was not sure about anything I did, so towards the end I added about 1/4 tsp tartaric acid and it did seem to clump up a bit with that. Then I realized that I should have just let it cool once it was done heating. Also I used ultra pasteurized cream (am not sure if that would have made the difference). 
I ended up with a slightly runnier version of the cheese, but we ate it and we are still ALIVE!


Ladyfinger biscuits: they turned out just fine (I did not modify anything here), in fact it was hard not to eat them, by themselves, right away! I soaked my biscuits in brewed strong coffee with about 1 tsp of almond extract


Pastry cream: I used an eggless recipe from Aparna's My diverse Kitchen. Turned out to be heavenly, I could not stop liking the spoon. 


Eggless custard: I used the same recipe as I did before in my last post- the inspiration of that recipe comes from the lovely blog here.


The actual preparation needs to be done in advance as the cream layers need to be chilled but the assembly process does not take any time. Assemble the tiramisu and unlike me, be patient and let it set before you take a picture!


Judgement: YUMMY!!
Will definitely make it again and hopefully this time I will stick to the traditional layers of zabaglione and pastry cream.



Monday, February 15, 2010

On the menu,

Bhutanese Ema Datshi with Rumali roti and an eggless custard. Yes once again back with my series of International vegetarian recipes (boy, it has been hard to find out vegetarian recipes from a lot of the countries, I mean I can always adapt them, but still..). My series has been going really slowly because of my really odd working hours. Preparing to try out new recipes has been hard especially if it involves things I usually do not have on hand.

Here is really tasty recipe from Bhutan, even though it is originally a vegetarian dish, I altered it to my taste and the consistency I wanted.


Ema Datshi, modified from here

Ingredients

6 large anaheim peppers, roasted
3/4 cups water
6oz. Feta cheese
2 tsp. vegetable oil
11/2 cups diced tomatoes (I used half of a 32oz can)
2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
a pinch of hing
1/2 tsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


Method
Roast anaheim peppers (I broiled them for about 15 minutes, let them sit in a zip lock bag for another 15- removed their skin and chopped them into chunks).
Heat oil in pan, add cumin, fennel seeds, and hing and cook for a few seconds (do not let them burn).
Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, turmeric powder and cook down on medium heat. Turn the heat off, grind half of this mixture in a blend. Add it back to the pan and cook for a minute or two.
Add the peppers and water. Let it cook for about 10 minutes.
Just before turning the heat off, Mix in the feta cheese and cilantro. Serve hot


An authentic touch would have been to serve it Bhutanese red rice but instead I served it with rumali roti. The rumali rotis were not exactly the way they should have been. I adapted the recipe for the rotis from here. I followed the video link for the procedure, well I did not follow this quickie recipe properly, missed a few steps- may be that is why my rotis were not rumali!


For my rotis, I had
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup barley flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
salt to taste
Milk to knead


What in the world should this dessert be named as?








Ingredients for the custard-  2 servings
1 tbsp ghee

2 cups milk

2 Tbsp chickpea flour
2 Tbsp sugar or jaggery
handful of chopped pistachios


Method


Roast the chopped pistachios in ghee, set aside.
Roast the chickpea flour in the same ghee until it is toasted – it becomes slightly darker and emits a lovely roasted aroma. Add the milk and mix well, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add the sugar and boil gently for 5 minutes or until it thickens to a custard consistency. Add the pistachios. Let is set (takes about 5 to 10 minutes)
For the dessert, I did alternate layers of eggless custard, crumbled pistachio macarons (well these are my first attempt at making macarons-it was disastrous!) and eggless mocha pastry cream (followed this recipe to the T). 

Judgement: I must say this was a satisfying meal. Loved the saltiness of feta cheese in Ema Datshi, loved the dish overall (BIG THUMBS UP!). Rotis did not turn out so great (Tarla Dalal says this is hard one to make- so it is not me afterall, or so I would like to think). The dessert was amazing with just the right amount of sweetness. I must confess to being  literally full to the top- could not even get up after this meal.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A quick fix

after a bout of the illness most commonly known as "Common cold"- that is right, I did  (well still do, only mildly though) have cold only it got worsened by my tonsilitis (remember, those little things by your throat that the doctor removed when you were probably 2!). Well I never gave in (neither did my parents) to the "oh the day we remove the tonsils, we will feed you ice cream little one, don't you want yummy ice cream"- ooh....who does not want yummy ice cream, you moron- I just do not want a knife down my throat!



Photo source: Desi comments

Anyway that is not the point of this post, is it- I am here to tell, I am much better and I even cooked something that I call "Doodle a noodle". I call it that because I did doodle a lot with the recipe as I was concocting it. It all began with the thought of finally using the lonely spaghetti squash that has been in the fridge, oh, for just sometime (will not disclose the time period on that!) and ended up with me using half of the cooked squash and some Japanese somen noodles that was in my pantry (again, do not ask me for how long...because I do not remember, yikes!!!)

Ingredients

1/2 of cooked spaghetti squash
1 1/2 bundles of somen noodles, cooked according to the package instructions
1 bunch scallion, chopped
1/2 block of firm tofu, chopped into 1 inch pieces and dry roasted
1/2 bag of shredded carrots
1 small broccoli head, separated into florets
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter, melted in the microwave
2 tsp chilli-garlic paste (adjust according to the heat required)
1/2 inch piece ginger, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Method

To cook the squash, pierce with a knife multiple times and place in the microwave for 4 minutes. It will soft after that- cut in half and scoop the seeds out. Place the cut side down on a microwave safe plate and cook for another 10 minutes. Scoop out the pulp with a fork (it will come out as strings and be careful it will be hot!). You can make the noodles with just that but I was not too pleased with the smell of cooked squash so I decided to use it as a vegetable in my noodle dish.

Dry roasting tofu is easy, you can read all about it here.

Heat about a table spoon of oil in a pan, add all the veggies including ginger and the squash to do a stir fry. Add the tofu and soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter,  chilli-garlic paste. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper addition is best in layers (keep adding them as you need them). Add the noodles, mix well and serve.

Judgement: The noodles tasted good but it was slightly on the dry side. No pictures though as I had to gobble those noodles and get back to work (in the mean time I had to watch the new House episode!).