Monday, August 30, 2010

Leftover-part 2

"Leftovers make you feel good twice. First, when you put it away, you feel thrifty and intelligent: ‘I’m saving food!’ Then a month later when blue hair is growing out of the ham, and you throw it away, you feel really intelligent: ‘I’m saving my life!’"- George Carlin

  
When life gives you leftovers...make a crumb pie! This crumbs for this pie come from my previous DB challenge, as usual, the first attempt at the challenge was a failure. The failure was the sponge sheet cake which I tried to do vegan (the recipe for that vegan cake was adapted from a vegan cupcake recipe found in this book, a tiny book packed with tongue tickling, mouth watering vegan cupcake recipes!).
Anyway the crumbs were divided- one went into the refrigerator and the other is (still) lying in my freezer. The inspiration for this recipe comes from here.

Ingredients

2 cups cake crumbs (mine were chocolate)
5-6 tbsp vanilla custard powder (I buy this from Indian grocery store, you could also buy Bird's custard powder and follow package instructions)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered vanilla sugar
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
a pinch of salt

Method

Set the crumbs in a 9-inch pie plate, I set it in the refrigerator (did not even bother to turn the oven off for this one!)

For the custard filling
In a small bowl, mix the custard powder, cocoa and salt
Dissolve the custard-cocoa powder mixture in cold milk and set aside
Heat about 2 cups of milk and dissolve the sugar in it.
Add the powder mixture to warm milk and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly and avoiding lumps. 
Whip the cooled custard mixture with the cream cheese.
Add the completely cooled mixture to the crumb pie shell and put it in back in the refrigerator. (The only thing here is the custard should not be runny, if it is you can freeze the pie but that, too me, was not great tasting)
Enjoy it with some homemade whipped topping and berries!

Judgement
This pie was heaven and it took me like 10 minutes to prepare everything.  Have scraps, try this pie- the flavor combination is unlimited and am sure you creative daring cooks and bakers would come with some seriously wicked crumb pies!
I am sending this recipe to Scrumptious Delights From Leftovers hosted by Padmajha of Seduce your tastebuds.

PS The book can be found here, I have tried a few recipes and they were all good-Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule!

Friday, August 27, 2010

This month's Daring Baker

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

This month we were allowed quite a bit of variations- to begin with we could either do a Baked Alaska or Petit Fours. I do not really care much for meringues and so I chose petit fours. I also chose to half the recipe for the pound cake since it is just the two of us. For the ice cream I made Apricot-fig custard ice cream, adapted from Tarla Dalal's recipe here.

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Apricot- fig custard ice cream

2 1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp vanilla flavored custard powder
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 1/2 cups dried apricots and dried figs, soaked in warm water for about 4 hours

Method 
Deseed the apricots and figs. Puree them and set aside, add a little bit of milk to thin it out.
Dissolve the custard powder in ½ cup cold milk and keep aside. 
In a non-stick pan, combine the milk and sugar and bring it to a boil. 
Add the custard powder mixture and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes till the custard is thick. Strain the mixture if it appears lumpy. 
Cool completely, add the apricot-fig puree and mix well. 
Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze. Every 45 min or so break up the ice crystals. You need to do that about 4-5 times.


Chocolate Glaze (For the Ice Cream Petit Fours)



9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

Assembly Instructions – Ice Cream Petit Fours
1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.
2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.
3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.
4. Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)
5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm)
6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.
7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.

My Story:

Well in a perfect world, I would have had a perfect "Petit Four" instead I had to trifle it. I am not sure what happened but my cake did not rise well at all (may be because I halved the recipe and used a slightly larger pan!) and it did not help that I tried to cut it into two (boo hoo..)- it tasted damn good though (totally make the brown butter cake again- thanks Elissa!). So what do you do when life gives you cake scraps and ice cream- you trifle it!

So I made a really quick Cherry Compote, Emeril's recipe here except I did not use kirsch; also made whipped cream and voila!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Leftovers- part 1


I love Mark Bittman, you know the minimalist and his simplistic attitude towards cooking- I mean even his monstrosity of "How to" series lack the usual colorful photographs that make their way through most cook books (I love his books). I do not know about you but as much as I love thumbing through the pages of such books, I rarely have tried anything from me- may be partly because I feel like my dishes would never look as radiant as the ones in the book. I recently borrowed Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food" from the library and going it through it like it was my way to salvation! 
Here is my version of the two recipes from this book-

Rice Cakes with cheese

Ingredients (My changes in red)

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup grated aged sharp white cheddar
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
butter for frying

Method
Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl until it is mixed well. Whisk rice and cheese. Use a spoon to mix in flour, baking powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Make a batter that is not too thick.
Heat a skillet.  Add a small piece of butter and using a large ladle scoop the batter and put it in the pan. Cook as many as would fit in the pan- and cook both sides, takes less than 10minutes per cake. 
Serve hot- ketchup goes great with it 

Curried spinach with coconut milk

Ingredients

3 tbsp oil
dried red chillies, I used about 6
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound spinach. washed and destemmed
1 tbsp curry powder, or as per your taste
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water/stock

Method

Heat oil in a large pan. When hot add chillies and garlic
Add in the spinach, all the liquid (stock and coconut milk, I had some left over stock from a previous recipe-you could simply do by with just coconut milk)
Cook slowly (took about 20 min) until most liquid has evaporated

Judgement

The rice cakes had a beautiful golden crust and they tasted beautiful too. I served the rice cakes with ketchup and curried spinach. I loved all these flavors together- sweetness of ketchup, curry from spinach and all the cheesy goodness of the cakes! Try it- you can do the same with any other grain!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hail to one pot wonders!


This past week, we had friends over- friends of ours who had moved recently- yeah and they are quite close to us now! The sambar sadam- thayir (yogurt) sadam (rice) combo sounded perfect for a houseful of 7 hungry people. This was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at bisibele bhath. As usual I turned to the trusted world of food blogs and there was I staring at this really simple recipe from Mysoorean

Ingredients
2 cups rice (uncooked)
1.5 cups toor dal (uncooked)
4 cups vegetables (potatoes, peas, beans and carrots)
lemon-sized tamarind, pulp squeezed
11 cups Water

Masala
1 cup grated dried coconut
4 tsp Sambar Powder
4 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
1" Cinnamon
3 Cloves
2 Cardamom
2 tsp Khus Khus
Asafoetida
1 sprig Curry leaves

Tadka
3 Tbsp Oil
6 Red Chillies
3 tsp Mustard Seeds
Turmeric

Method
Fry the masala ingredients in about a tbsp of hot oil, I added the coconut and the sambar powder after I turned the heat off. Grind to a paste with a little water. Keep aside.
In a pressure cooker, do the tadka. Add the veggies and fry for a few seconds. Add rice and dal and fry for a few more seconds. Now put in ground masala, water, tamarind pulp and salt to taste. Cook in the pressure cooker. 
Serve hot with chips/papad/raita/whatever you like!

Judgement
I have never really made bisibele bhath, boy am I glad I made it finally. Now tell me isn't this a one pot wonder! I am sending this off to Nupur's Blog Bites- Potluck event.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lemony light Pasta

No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention- Christopher Morley

  

This month's Vegetarian Times had some truly interesting and simple pasta recipes and this, is the adapted version of one such recipe.No stories, just a simple recipe with VT version in red

Ingredients

8oz spaghetti (I used whole wheat, fettucine)
3/4 cup whipped cream cheese (1/2 cup)
2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for the pasta
juice and zest from one lemon
chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar (omitted)
salt for the sauce
pepper to taste (I added quite a bit)

Method

Cook the spaghetti according to instructions with olive oil and salt

In a pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil, cream cheese and about one tbsp of lemon juice- once the cheese is in a saucy consistency, switch the heat off. Add the pasta (I did add a bit of pasta water), rest of the lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley and cheddar.

Serve hot

Judgement

A beautiful light pasta meal you will enjoy all through the year. Now come on- are you trying to telling me that it can get better than this?!

This light pasta is off to Thyme For Cooking who is hosting the Presto Pasta Night this week.