Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Peasant Style Italian Cabbage Soup

This is a simple Italian (or Tuscan to pe precise) soup made with mostly cabbages and cannellini beans.Now Tuscany is supposed to have many variety of greens and this soup is supposed to be made from cavalo (Italian for Cabbage) and even cavalo nero(black cabbage /black kale) or a combo.I have used normal cabbage here and made this dish based on Mario Batali's version here,obviously with changes.


Cannellini Beans /White Beans(I used): 1/4 cup
Cabbage: 1 cup chopped /1 small head of cabbage

Carrot:1 small
Celery: 1 small stick
Onion:1 small
Garlic: 1 clove

Tomato Paste: 1 tbsp
Fresh Thyme : 2 sprigs (Dried also works) OR as per taste
Bayleaf(I used Dried): 1 small

Olive Oil:1-2 tsp

Bruschetta/Toasted Bread
Parmesan Cheese


Pre -soak and cook the white beans in the pressure cooker adding little more water than necessary.Chop the cabbage thinly as possible.Chop the carrot and celery into bite sized pieces.Chop onions thinly and crush/mince the garlic.

Heat Olive oil in a thick bottomed pan/soup pot and add the chopped onion,carrot,celery and garlic and saute until fragrant.This is a soup made with cabbage and beans and the rest of the veggies have lesser role here.In some version I have referenced,there are no veggies at all,but little veg broth is added.I have added little of the veggies and avoided the broth, as this make the soup look more colourful and healthy.Broth also adds flavour,but if added should be minimised as cabbage is the hero here.

Once the onion and carrot and celery start to become tender,add chopped cabbage,little salt and pepper and saute until cabbage starts to cook.This will take aroun 5 minutes.Add thyme(dried/fresh) and bayleaf and tomato paste and stir well so that the tomato paste blends with the soup.Add the beans along with the cooked water and more water if needed and cook for 10-15 minutes till the veggies are completely cooked and the liquid reduces to 3/4th or even 1/2.

Serve with bruschetta/toasted bread/choice of accompaniments ,sprinkling little parmesan cheese on top.

The soup looks very light,but is very filling as it has bean and veggies,but if you like a thick cremy texture,mash half of the beans before adding to the veggie mixture.Thyme sprigs can be added as such or remove the thyme leaves/needles and then add to the soup.If whole thyme or bayleaf is used it is better to remove these before serving.I added thyme needles and whole bayleaf.I served it as such without any accompaniments or Cheese.

This nourishing soup is going to Kim,the Nourishing Gourmet for the Nourishing Soup and Stew Carnival A warm bowl of cabbage soup is travelling to Simona where she is celebrating the Fresh Produce of the Month:Cabbage a event started by Martha,a lovely Italian in US. Since the soup has a lovely legume,white beans it is a warm bowl is also going to Srivalli for the Legume Love Affair-7th Helping, an event started by Susan,the Well Seasoned Cook .

Update:Hearty Thanks to Cham for reminding me.The completely vegan soup (I did not sprinkle cheese) also goes to Vaishali's Its a Vegan World where the current theme is Italian.

Apple Oats Bars

These are fat free,and gluten free bars or rather soft bars made using oats and apples.Oats are completely heart healthy are are known for their cholestrol lowering properties and are nutritious.This dish is similar to baked oatmeal and has apples and dryfruits like dates,craisins and apricots to make it more healthy.I found this dish here but made it with changes.The dish is completely fat free,and gluten free.

Uncooked oldfashioned oats: 2 cups
Dates: 1/2 cup
Other Dryfruits: 1/2 cup
Cinnamon: 2 pinches
Apples: 2 grated
Low Fat Milk/Soy milk: 1 cup+


Pit and chop dates into small pieces.Also if using other dry fruits chop them into smaller pieces. You can use any choice of dry fruits or a combo.I used craisins,apricots and dates.Peel,core and grate apples.I also cooked them in the microwave for about 1 minute (to obtain applesauce) just to make sure that they acted as binders.This is completely optional as they will be cooked while baking.

Mix together half of dryfruits+dates and 1 cup of oats with the grated (and cooked)apples.Combine well and then spread in an 8" baking dish as a single layer.Pour milk into this mix such that the oats-date layer is completely soaked .Start with 1/2 cup milk and make sure that the oats layer is not floating in milk.It took 1 cup for me.Top this soaked layer with rest of oats and dates and dryfruits.You can add milk in this layer as well.But then it will be completely soaked and the bar will come out gooey.I did not add any milk.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 25-30 minutes.Slice into squares and serve.The top layer looks as if oats is sprinkled on top.Actually it is cooked soft oat whereas the bottom layer looks ooeey gooey.

This is actually similar to baked oatmeal.We are making it more healthy with additions.The wonderful thing is it does not contain any type of flour and added sugar.The sweetness is provided by the apple and dryfruits.This dish can be served as a filling breakfast dish or after dinner dessert.It can be refrigerated and is even better the next day when the flavours blend.Since it contains milk,it is better to refrigerate and if possible cut into slices and store in a single layer.

This is definitely heart healthy and filling but without any additional calories and is on the way to Heart of the Matter where the theme is Slimmer recipes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pesto Snack Rolls

These are simple Italian style dinner rolls made with cheesy bread dough and stuffed with pesto.I was searching for cheese bread for BBD when I found these.To tell you the truth I actually found two versions of these rolls, one had oats along with flour and other normal with flour.I tried the first version,but thanks to my oven,the rolls were not browned or seemed very heavy.It could be my fault as well,but oven added to my miseries.I had given up baking bread when these reappeared,this time in a complete flour version which made me all the more determined to make them,and I did so with few changes.The oven still played truant by being slow,and I decided to have my way with the dough.

All Purpose flour: 1 1/4 cup +
Wheat Flour: 1 cup
Salt: 1 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Parmesan Cheese: 1/2 cup
Fast Rising Yeast: 1 pkt (1/4 oz)

Spices (optional)
Fennel: 1 tsp
Pepper: 1/2 tsp
Oregano: 1/2 tsp

Water: 3/4 cup
Olive Oil:2tbsp

Pesto:1/4 cup
Cilantro(coriander):1 cup
Parmesan Cheese: 1/4 cup
Garlic: 1 clove
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2-4 tbsp
Pine nuts/ any other nuts: handful

Pesto: Grind together all the ingredients adding extra virgin olive oil as needed.The measurements can be changed as per taste and availability.I did not have basil,so I went for coriander leaves/cilantro to make my pesto.Also the pine nuts can be replaced with your choice of nuts.

Bread Rolls:

In a big bowl,add 1 cup of all purpose flour and wheat flour.Also add grated cheese, salt, sugar,spices if using and yeast.Mix well.

In a small sauce pan,warm water adding olive oil and add to the flour mixture.Stir well by hand and then form a soft dough by adding more flour if needed.

The recipe said that around 2 3/4 cups of flour will be needed or in my case 1 cup wheat flour and 1 cup AP Flour + 3/4 cup more.But I used barely 1/4 cup all purpose more (total = 1 1/4 cup APFlour +1 cup wheat flour) with the said amount of water.Make sure you stop adding the flour,once you obtain a smooth and elastic dough.Knead the dough on lightly floured surface for 5-8 minutes.

Roll out the dough into a large circle.The recipe went for a 9" inch and divided it into 12 wedges.I rolled it out as thin as I could and then divided it into as many as 24+ small wedges.Then take each wedge,spread little pesto and roll it up from the curved edge to the pointed end in a jelly roll fashion,to form a crescent roll.This is similar to the rugelach I did.Place the crescent roll seam side down in a lightly greased baking sheet.Do so with all the wedges.Cover the rolls and allow them to rise in a warm area until they are doubled for about 1-2 hours.

Once doubled bake these at 400F for 10-12 minutes or 350F for 20-22 minutes or until they are browned.The first time when I made these with oats ,I had problems with my oven and the rolls took more than 25 minutes to look light brown.So this time I went for a higher temperature and this risk paid off.I still cannot believe that they turned out well.

These are small and soft that they can be called snack rolls as they can be snacked on anytime.The wheat addition makes it little chewy.Apart from pesto you can go for any other spread you want including chutney or thick tomato spread/marinara topped with mozarella for a pizza crescent.Also avoid spices if you do not like and replace wheat with AP Flour itself as per taste and choice and availability though wheat flour is healthier that APFlour.I did not add salt or pepper to pesto as I have already added more than 1 tsp of salt to my bread dough.Feel free to make changes here as well and use salt and pepper.

These rolls fresh from the oven are on their way to Temperence at HighHog where she is saying 'Cheeeeese ' with BBD#16:Breads with Cheese.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chocolate Truffles

Charlie and Chocolate Factory always reminds me of Chocolate Truffles.Now for this months BookClub,this choice was suggested by yours truly and after taking a round of Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory with Charlie,I thought why not make these.These are very simple yet rich and elegant.

Chocolate Truffles are luxurious chocolate bites made from a creamy mix of chocolate and cream,to which various flavourings are added and then rolled in different toppings.It is basically a ganache mix and the flavourings can be butter,corn syrup and also choice of fruity liqueurs ,citrust zest, etc and rolled traditionally in cocoa powder.Other rolling ideas include powdered/chopped nuts,toasted coconut,powdered sugar,powdered dried fruits like strawberries or anything you like that can hold on to the chocolate and enhance it.For a spicy kick you can also mix in paprika or pepper or chilli powder with cocoa and then roll.But I believe chocolate things need no enhancements.They can be consumed as such without any rolling.The idea behind truffles is to imitate the expensive and supposed to be tasty 'truffle fungus' that grows in France and/or Italy.The rolling indicates the dirt in which the truffles are growing.These truffles are very expensive and are known as 'diamond of the kitchen'.

Well I strongly believe that chocolate truffles are the diamond of my kitchen.I referenced here ,but basically looked into all the recipes available on the net.Also I had a very little amount -4 squares of semi sweet chocolate bar so I reduced the recipe and made my basic cooking in the microwave.


Semi sweet Chocolate: 2 oz or 4 squares
Heavy Cream: 3 tbsp
Unsalted Butter: 1.5tsp(optional)

Chop /grate the chocolate and keep aside in a bowl.In another bowl,microwave at 50% power the cream and butter till it reaches boiling point.This may take from 30 seconds to 1 minute or more depending on microwave.First go for 10 seconds and then add in 10 seconds each.Make sure your microwave is at 50% power only.Also this is done usually in double boiler or in a gas stove with medium heat.My portions were too small so I went for a microwave.For larger quantities,this is not advisable.

Once the boiling point is reached,take it out and pour it into the chocolate bowl.Mix well till a smooth thick consistency is reached.Let it remain for a few minutes to attain room temperature.Then cover with a wrap and refrigerate for few hours until they are firm yet rollable.

Prepare the required toppings in a plate.Scoop out teaspoon sizes of chocolate mix and roll in the toppings and keep in the plate /baking sheet.I used 1 teaspoon size mix .Cover and refrigerate until firm for around 1-2 hours or even overnight.

These can be stored in an airtight container or even refrigerated.I did not have to ,as I gorged on these during making,rolling,checking for firmness and the remainder can be seen in the pics.Now lets see what the other members are coming up with.Simran has already started gorging on Truffles.Lets wait for others as well.

This version uses 1.5 tsp (or half tbsp) of unsalted butter and 3 tbsp of cream.If you want to avoid butter you can reduce the cream to 1 tbsp.Basically for truffles the ratio is two parts chocolates to one part cream.Once you add more flavourings or more cream,the chilling time may be more.

This version gives a soft chocolate texture -not hard rock,but if you have eaten Cadburys chocolate,this is similar to that.(I know mine is not that professional-I mean the firm soft texture,).It looks rock solid,but slowly melts in the mouth.If you do not like rolling in anything,then you can pour the ganache mix into lined cupcake molds or even silicon cookie molds with designs.And then chill it and serve it as gourmet chocolate ;)

There are different versions.Each version works well but with different chilling time.So on the safer side,chill it overnight.If you want a hard thin outershell,you have to roll it in tempered chocolate.This is the easiest though.

Hearty Thanks to Cham for reminding me.Chocolates are perfect for Valentines Day.These chocolate truffles are inching towards Priyanka's AsanKhana where she is celebrating Valentines Day in a full fledged manner.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


A snickerdoodle is a sugar cookie and is made of cream of tartar as a leavening agent and rolled in cinnamon sugar.It is the cinnamon and the cream of tartar that differentiates this cookie from the normal sugar cookie.These days or in modern times the cream of tartar has been replaced with baking powder.The normal dough consists of sugar,flour,butter and eggs.I found a vegan snickerdoodle recipe here and also referenced here and here.


All purpose Flour: 1.5 cups
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt:1/2 tsp
Cornstarch: 1/2 tsp

Unsalted Butter/Margarine: 1 stick (1/2 cup)
White Sugar: 3/4 cup

Soymilk: 2 tbsp
Cornstarch: 1 tbsp
(Whip soymilk and cornstarch.)

Vanilla extract: 1/4 tsp

White Sugar: 2 tbsp
(Can be changed as per taste)


In a bowl,combine dry ingredients of flour,baking powder,cornstarch(1/2 tsp) and salt.If you like you replace the baking powder with equal amounts of cream of tartar and baking soda(1/2tsp baking powder = 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/4 tsp cream of tartar).

In another big bowl,cream together butter and sugar until creamy.Add in vanilla extract and soymilk whipped in cornstarch.Stir in the dry mix and blend until a crumbly soft dough is formed.It will be like a crumbly mass and once the dough starts forming,it is better to work with hands rather than the electric mixer.Gather the crumbly mass to form a smooth dough ball.

Now I found that soy milk can be whipped in a blender with cornstarch and also we can use a fork and mix these together.I tried both ways and found that the blender whipping makes the dough a bit dry and it does not hold together and we may have to use extra soy milk so that the dough atleast holds together.I prefer the fork whipping method here -atleast we can form a dough.Thats my assumption,feel free to follow your choice or even use 1 single egg if ok

Once the dough is formed,if you feel it is too crumbly no matter what whipping method you used, you can refrigerate it for 1-2 hours and then bake.I did this when I used the blender whipping method.Also it is better to keep the dough chilled in between batches.

For baking,normally,you are supposed to pinch out around 3 tablespoons of dough or 1 inch thick circles ,form it into a ball and roll it in cinnamon sugar and place inches apart in a greased baking sheet.Once all balls are ready,gently flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass,so that they are only 1/2 inch thick.I did that and found that the cookies are too big,so I modified it bit .

I pinched out roughly around 1 tbsp of dough,formed a ball and rolled it in cinnamon sugar and placed in a greased baking sheet.Then using a fork or hand,gently flatten the cookie into a small circle.While shaping the cookies,they may actually look torn or cracked,which is ok.Visually that is how they should look.

Bake the cookies in a pre heated oven at 300F for 12-14 minutes and no more than that.Let them rest in the baking sheet for about 10 minutes after which using a turner gently remove them and cool them in a wire rack.The cookies look softer when taken out,but they firm on cooling and are little soft/chewy inside and crispy outside.If you want for crunchy cookies,bake more,but make sure they do not burn.You can even go for higher temperatures.

Cinnamon is my favourite spice and I have been wanting to make snickerdoodles,but kept postponing it as I thought other family members -my husband and daughter that is- would not enjoy it.So the first batch I went for very big cookies,which were immediately polished off by my family(surprise surprise).Since then,there is demand for them and I experimented different whipping methods also with the second and third times I made these.

Delicious Cinnamony Snickerdoodles are perfect for Cinnamon Celebration at Graces and a fresh warm batch is also on way to Alka of SindhiRasoi for Just for You event.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Creamy Corn and Vegetable Soup

This is a simple soup made with veggies and corn and the interesting thing is it is creamy without using even a drop of cream.It uses pureed corn and milk to obtain a creamy texture.I am always on the lookout of good,yet different soups and this one from Ellie Kreiger is comforting.Since I was also on the lookout of Yellow dishes ;),this was as perfect with a few changes.


Corn kernels: 1 +1 cup
Milk: 1 cup

Onion:1 big
Carrot:1 medium
Bell Pepper:1 medium green/red as per taste
Zucchini: 1 small

Veg Broth:2 cups+



Puree in a blender/processor 1 cup corn and milk to obtain a thick yellow smooth puree.Keep aside.Finely chop onions and chop the rest of the veggies into bite sized pieces.

Heat oil in a large pan/soup pot.Add onions,bell pepper (I used red),carrot, zucchini and little salt and saute till they start to cook.Add remaining 1 cup of corn and broth(homemade or store bought) and bring to boil.Let it simmer till the veggies are completely cooked for 5-10 minutes.Add the pureed corn and milk mixture and let it heat through.Adjust salt and pepper.Serve with your choice of garnish or accompaniments or as such.

I served it as such and it is very filling soup.Only thing is corn though thickens the soup and makes it more creamy,it can also make it a bit sweeter,so always add more pepper or add other spices like chilli powder or oregano or whatever you like.I did add extra pepper in my bowl though and no other spices.The above estimate gives 3 big bowls of soup.A warm bowl is going to FIC:Yellow hosted by SunshineMom.The soup is hearty though picture in these days may not look appealing.I know I am boring you with many soup recipes -2 more in the pipeline,bear with me.Next post will be very interesting for sure.


Milk being a major ingredient in this soup,a warm bowl is on its way to Preety for Cooking for Kids:Milk an event started by Sharmi of Neivedhyam .

On a Joyous Note:

Navita of Zaayeka has presented me with a cool ButterFly Award.Priya of Easy N TastyRecipes and Sunanda of SunandasKitchen has awarded me the Lemonade Award.Hearty Thank for the wonderful awards,each and every award is as precious.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Provencal Vegetable Soup with Pistou

This is a simple vegetable soup from Provencal region of France.It is a simple blend of vegetables -seasonal to be exact- and pasta.Now there are several versions for this some with just vegetables,some with beans etc.This version with pasta is very simple yet luxurious as it uses no spices apart from pepper but has secret ingredient of saffron in it.This soup -any version-is normally served with Pistou -a pesto like blend -and is also known as Soupe au Pistou.

Onion: 1 big
Carrot: 1 big
Potato: 1 big
Leeks: 1 thick
Green Beans: 10-12

Small Soup Paste/Macaroni/Spaghetti : 1/4 cup
Veg Broth:3 cups+

Saffron: 2 pinches or 1 tsp

Chop onion finely.Peel and chop carrot and potato and beans into bite sized cubes.You can leave the peel as such if you like.Chop the white part of leek finely.The leeks have sand even inside them and so wash till clean before and after cutting.Also the green part of the leek is to be discarded and light green can be included.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot or pressure cooker or a thick bottomed pan.Add chopped onions and saute on low-medium heat till transparent.Add the chopped carrots,potatoes and leeks and little salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes till everything mixes well and starts to cook.Add vegetable broth(homemade or storebought) and pinches of saffron and let it simmer till done for about 15-20 minutes partially covered.Add the chopped beans and pasta(I used macaroni) and let it simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until the pasta cooks and the soup thickens.Adjust the salt and pepper.Serve as such topped with parmesan cheese and pistou or add spoonful of pistou in each bowl and also serve pistou as a side.

Tomato Paste: 2tbsp
Basil leaves: around 15
Parmesan Cheese:2 tbsp
Garlic :1 clove
Olive oil: tbsp

Blend all the ingredients together.The ingredients can be adjusted as per taste and you can also checkout the original recipe by Ina Garten here .Mix spoonfuls into the soup and also serve alongside.This is a pesto like preparation or we can say it is 'French Pesto made with tomato and basil'.

I served soup with pistou alongside and also mixed a little in a bowl and also without pistou.All the ways it is delicious.The saffron definitely adds flavour to the soup and enhances it.This provencal vegetable soup with pistou is my entry to No Croutons Required hosted this time by Lisa and the current theme is Vegetable Soup.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are actually buttery shortbread bars with a lemony filling.They are perfect anytime sweet confection.Serve them with tea/coffee or use them with berries or in a trifle. Traditionally/generally they are served coated/dusted with powdered sugar.I found a perfect recipe for these yellow bars in Colleen Patrick Gordeau's The Joy of Vegan Baking.


Shortbread Crust
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Confectioners Sugar: 1/4 cup
Unsalted Butter/Vegan Butter: 1 stick at room temperature

Lemon Filling:
Tofu:1/2 cup ground into a paste with water/soymilk to replace 2 eggs.
Sugar: 1 cup or less depending on your sweet tooth
Lemon Zest: 2 lemons
Fresh Lemon Juice: from 2 big lemons
All Purpose Flour: 2 tbsp
Cornstarch: 1 tbsp

Confectioners Sugar for sprinkling
Fresh Strawberries/any other berries (optional)


Shortbread Crust:
In a bowl,cream together softened butter and confectioners sugar until fluffy and then add in flour and blend until just combined.You will get a crumbly dough.Gather the dough together and press/spread in the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch square bake pan,which has been greased and floured.Bake ina preheated oven at 350F for 20 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.Cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

Blend tofu in a mixer/food processor/blender to obtain a creamy paste.I used soy milk for this.You can use water also.Add all the other ingredients in the blender and blend together to obtain a creamy thick filling.

Pour this filling on the top of the shortbread and bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes until the filling is set.Let it cool outside the oven.Cut into bars and serve.The recipe yields 10+ bars or 16 two inch squares.

Now while baking the crust,my oven gave up and so the crust was not browned,but it was done.So after pouring the filling,I baked for an extra 5-10 minutes so that the filling was almost set,but the crust was still not brown.So I must add that these are not so perfect lemon bars.

I served them with fresh strawberries,as the tartness of berries perfectly balances the sweetness of the bars and also the berries enhance the yellow colour of these bars. Usually they are served with a dusting of confectioners sugar which is done just before serving otherwise it will sink inside the bars.They can be served warm,cold,room temperature.We can also say it is similar to a lemon pie cut into bars.

Well these tangy sweet bars are on their way to FIC:Yellow where SunshineMom is happily gorging on Carrot Halwa after completing 1year of tongue tickling blogging-Excuse Me Sunshine 'Aunty'ji,these are also for you (Sorry,could not help a dig after the TOI review).

Also sorry for the pictures,it is getting dark here and I can barely get the correct pictures.The bars are creamy yellow though they may appear to be in some other colour to you.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Moroccan Style Chickpeas Stew

Moroccan dishes are hearty because its a mix of several cuisines like Arab,Jewish,African etc.The spices used are commonly cumin,coriander,ginger etc and the typical spice blend is known as Ras al Hanout and the popular hot sauce is 'Harissa '.Ras al hanout is a combination of around 70 spices and harissa paste used also as a sauce or in curries or soups is a combo of dried/smoked spices like coriander,caraway and cumin and chili peppers.I found an easier stew recipe from here with chickpeas and potatoes and few spices but it was deliciously hot and spicy.


ChickPeas/Garbanzo beans/White Chana: 1 cup (presoaked & cooked till soft)
Potato: 1 large
Carrot: 1 big
Onion: 1 big
Veg Broth: (1/2 cup +) OR (water+tomato juice/puree/paste )can be used
Garlic : 1 clove
Jalapeno pepper: 1
Cumin Powder: 2 tsp
Chilli Powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes: 2+ OR use tomato paste/juice/puree as per taste OR one can of diced tomatoes along with brine.
Salt: as per taste

Presoak 1/2 cup of dry chickpeas and pressure cook till done.Chop the onions,potatoes and carrots into bite sized or small pieces.Mince/crush the garlic.Slit the jalapeno pepper and if needed de seed it.You can also chop it into small pieces unless you do not mind biting into it.I chopped it as it was okwith me.

Heat olive oil in a large pan and add the onion,carrot,garlic and jalapeno to it.Saute on medium for a few minutes till they start to cook.Add potato,tomatoes diced,broth,chickpeas ,salt and the spice powders .Mix well.Bring to a boil.Then let it simmer till the veggies are cooked for about 10-15 minutes or until the required gravy consistency is reached.Serve with rice/breads/couscous.

I did not use the broth nor tomatoes.Instead I added around 1/2 tbsp of tomato paste and tomato juice and the water in which the chickpeas were cooked.This depends upon you.You can also add extra water if needed.Also adjust the chilli powder with jalapeno.Cumin powder is supposed to be more than chilli powder and I did likewise.It was deliciously perfect for me.I served it with rice and also had it as a hearty winter soup.The estimate yields about 4 bowls.

This hot n spicy stew is going to JFI:Chickpeas,an event started by Indira of Mahanandi and currently hosted by MS of SometimeFoodie.

Another warm bowl is going to grace My Legume Love Affair 7th Helping ,an event started by Susan of WellSeasoned cook and currently hosted by Srivalli of Cooking4allseasons.
Update on 15th Jan,2009: The stew is reddish yellow in colour- reddish because of tomato juice and a tinge of yellow because of turmeric.The light here is very dim and the fotos does not do justice to the colour,but this is one of my first entry to FIC:Yellow,hosted by 'subki aunty aur hamari pyaary,Sunshine Mommyji' (PS: She is celebrating her First BlogVersary Today,DO WISH HER :D ).THANKS H,for accepting

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hasperat Inspired Breakfast Burrito

I am not a viewer of StarTrek,though I used to enjoy Science Fiction-see the stress on used to.These days its only Kitchen &Kid fiction I am looking into.So you can understand I have never seen that movie or even checked it out online,but I stumbled upon Hasperat inspired Burrito on Saffrontrail.Now Hasperat,I found on googling,is a dish resembling a burrito and is prepared from a special brine and is a comfort food to Bajoran humanoid species especially women folks. Now do not get panicky,it is just a burrito and that too made healthy by Nandita of SaffronTrail.I made it similar,though with little adjustments


Tortillas/Rotis :2 atleast
Hummus: 1/4 cup +
Cucumber: 1 small
Carrot: 1 medium grated
Spring Onion: 2 white parts only
Mushrooms: few
Bean sprouts: 1/2 cup+
Soy sauce: little



Peel & Grate the carrots.Slice the cucumber into thin rounds or long strips using a slicer or a mandoline.Prepare the hummus or use store bought.Saute in a little oil,chopped spring onion/scallion(white part only) and mushroom adding little salt.When the mushrooms are almost cooked,add beansprouts and cook till done adding soy sauce in the last minute.If using canned sprouts,drain and rinse them before adding.Keep aside.

Soften the tortilla/rotis on a griddle/oven/microwave for a few seconds on both sides.Whole wheat/grain tortillas are preferred as they are healthier.I had only flour ones which I used.

Take a tortilla/roti.Spread the hummus all over it.You can depending on taste,spread it thick or thin.Top the hummus with the sauteed scallion-mushroom-sprouts mix.Top this layer with sliced cucumber and grated carrots.Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.It looks like...

Wrap up tightly in a jelly roll fashion.Put on an oiled hot skillet/grill and cook for few seconds or around 1 minute on low flame.Cut diagonally into two rolls and serve with your choice of dip or as such.

The whole thing takes under 15 minutes to be done.They turned out tasty & perfect for breakfast.Thanks Nandita,for inspiring me as well.Do check out the original recipe where Nandita specifies the health content in the breakfast.

This breakfast burrito is perfect for MBP:Easy Breezy Breakfast at SimpleIndianfood , an event started by Coffee and also travel to Sindhura's Sandwich Event .

Friday, January 9, 2009

Heavenly Chocolate Rugelach

Rugelach (ru-ga-la) or Rugalach are generally Jewish pastry cookies that are consumed during Hanukkah.There is a tradition to eat cheese cakes during Hanukkah.The addition of cream cheese in the dough makes rugelach perfect for the occasion.Rugelach originated in Austria and are related to kipferl/kipferin and there is even a small lore attached to it on how it became a must on Hanukkah.They mean 'little twists' in Yiddish and are crescent shaped(representing the Turkish Ottoman flag) and filled with anything from sugar,cinnamon,nuts and preserves.The dough is made from cream cheese and butter and there are several versions available on the net.I followed a simple chocolate version from here,but made changes based on tips given to make it flaky and also referenced here.

Cream Cheese: 4 oz cold and little softened and cut into pieces
Unsalted Butter: 1 stick cold and cut into pieces
All Purpose Flour:1 cup
Confectioners Sugar:1/4 cup
Lemon Juice: 1/4 tsp
Vanilla Extract: 1/4 tsp
Salt: a pinch

Ganache Filling:

1/2 cup grated semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp heavy cream



Mix all the chocolate and cream in a microwaveable bowl and microwave at 50% power for few seconds.Take out and whisk together.See that all the chocolate has melted,or else microwave at 50% power for few more seconds.Let it sit at room temperature as this is ideal for filling.Prepare this once the dough is ready to be rolled out.

This can be done on stovetop as well.This is a light ganache only meant for filling and does not has butter or oil or cornsyrup which is usually added and this worked out well here.The heavy ganache with extra ingredients will make the cookies more softer and is not advisable.Click here for more about ganache.

You can go for any filling though.If chocoholic ,but lazy to make the ganache,Nutella works excellently :P or simply mix together choco gratings and sugar.

Making dough:
In a big bowl,add all the ingredients for the dough and using a hand blender/food processor mix to form a little sticky soft dough.This takes only a few minutes.Do not overmix the dough.Keep the dough in a bowl and then let it chill in the fridge covered for atleast 2 hours or overnight.Otherwise,divide the dough into 4 discs and refrigerate each disc in a plastic wrap

Some recipes use completely softened butter and cream cheese for making dough which gives a normal cookie texture for rugelach.Cream cheese works better at room temperature.But here if you want a flaky pastry-cold butter is a must as while baking it forms little butter pockets.So cream cheese can be cold as well.Other wise use it softened or for ease of use simply cut both butter and cream cheese into cubes and work to form the dough.The rich dough will be sticky and firms up on chilling and rolling.

Once the dough is chilled well,take out the bowl and then divide the dough into 4 quarters.If you have already divided into 4 avoid this.This is for ease of handling.Refrigerate all but 1 disc.The dough must be cold while working.So work on one disk at a time.

Keep the disc in a lightly floured surface.Roll it out into a big circle of little thickness.I went for a smaller circle of around 6 inches.

(In the above pic you can see the ganache filling in the bowl,the 3 discs ready to be put back in the fridge and a small rolled out disc .)

Spread the filling on the disc.I also added some nuts on top of the filling.

Using a sharp knife/pizza cutter divide the disc into wedges (preferable 8 wedges for a 6inch circle).This is similar to cutting a pizza.

Take a piece,and starting from the curved edge,roll it up in a jelly-roll fashion to the pointed end.Bend the ends in to form a crescent or 'c' shape.This does not work on 6 inch circles though.This is a rugelach cookie ready to be baked.

Place the cookies in a greased or lined baking sheet.Glaze them with milk/melted butter/egg wash.Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 20-25 minutes.Remove the cookies and let them cool in a wire rack.They firm on cooling.

Ready to be baked .....

The recipe mentioned a baking time of 25 minutes.But mine were smaller cookies and they were done in 12 minutes -I forgot the glaze and so the tops were not brown,but the egdes started browning after 12 minutes.Also for the next batch,I rolled into a thinner and larger circle and these larger cookies took around 25 minutes.So always check from 12th minute onwards.

Also I baked without a liner/grease on the baking sheet,as mine was non stick.It is highly advisable that the sheet be lined for easy cleaning.Also the ready to be baked cookies can be frozen in the sheet or a ziploc bag for a longer duration.They do not need thawing.Simply take out and bake adding a few more minutes than the normal baking time.

The first batch of smaller cookies were soft and flaky and not crunchy or crispy.The longer second batch cookies were little bit crispier.Basically,the cookies looked like they were made from puff pastry ,but the exact crispness as not there,but you could see the butter pockets formed or its flakiness-its like duplicate puff pastry.Those who like soft cookies will definitely enjoy this.We can also say the cookies tasted like they were made from pie crust.We are making a dough similar to pie crust here.Hence the assumption.You can imagine enjoying a bite sized twisted chocolate pie cookie .'Just Heavenly'.

These are pretty easy to make,despite my long lecture.Only the chilling time is more.I enjoyed the entire process.Its very easy.I got it wrong only when I forgot the glaze :( . Also some recipes do not use sugar in the basic dough recipe.This is also workable as a sugarless dough can be used for savoury fillings as well.Do check out Dorie Greenspan's blog for tips on rugelach and baking in general.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Potato Peperonata

Peperonata is an Italian dish made of peppers,tomatoes and onion.It can be served warm as a stew or a soup ,used as a pasta sauce and is also an excellent dip or sandwich filling.The basic recipe has various peppers sauted with onion and garlic in a tomato base.I searched for a potato version and found one by Mario Batali.I followed the basic recipe with little adjustments as always and it turned out delicious and comforting.


Potato: 1 medium
Peppers :3(1 green,1 red,1 orange)
Red Onion: 1
Garlic: 2 cloves
Marinara Sauce: 1/4 cup + store bought or homemade
Tomato juice/paste/puree :optional or as per taste
Olive Oil: 2-3 tbsp

Spices as per taste
Red Chilli Flakes
Fresh Thyme Leaves


Chop all the veggies into bite size pieces.Chop onions finely and mince/crush the garlic.Potatoes can be dipped in water to prevent oxidation.

Heat olive oil in a large pan.Add crushed garlic and onion and saute for about 5 minutes till transparent.Add the chopped peppers and potatoes and little salt and saute till they start to cook.Add the spices and tomato sauce and bring to boil.Reduce the heat and let it simmer till the potatoes are cooked and the liquid is reduced to a medium thick or not too thin gravy.

Serve as a side dish with rice,bread or can be served as a soup as well.It can be used as dip or pasta sauce.Else continue cooking on low heat to make a dry dish to be used as a sandwich filling.

I used store bought marinara sauce along with little tomato juice and tomato paste I had.This is completely optional.You can use 1/2 cup + of sauce as well depending on the thickness of gravy and also add stock/water/canned tomatoes with juice along with marinara.The base is tomato,which is a must.I did not follow the tomato sauce recipe given along in the original as I had store bought marinara,which makes this dish quicker .I used fresh thyme leaves and these are not as pungent as dried thyme.Dried thyme can be used in lesser quantities instead.The measurements yield 3 big bowls.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Moravian Spice Crisps

"We will open the book.

Its pages are blank.

We are going out to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day"

-Author Unknown

So lets start the New Year with something sweet.Not just sweet,but spicy as well.To depict the sweeter beginnings we expect and also various experiences-good & bad that may occur on purpose & accidently and spice up or leave a permanent mark on our life.So what better than Moravian Spice Crisps.

Moravian crisps are papery thin crispy cookies supposed to be from Czechoslovakian states or generally and currently from areas under the infuence of Moravian Church.Moravian Church is a Protestant Group that originated in Bohemia,currently Czech Republic.In US,areas like North Carolina,Pennsylvania,Winston Salem etc. have strong influence and are the largest Moravian Communities.Moravian spice cookies/crisps are traditionally baked during Christmas and are related to German lebkuchen.They blend molasses and spices and are rolled out ultra thin and has the reputation as the "World's Thinnest Cookie".

The traditional method involves a lot of rolling and boiling of molasses and butter,though there are new easier methods(similar to normal cookies)which have been adopted to make these cookies.There are also modern versions with chocolate,sugar,black walnuts etc.I found a perfect basic yet new method recipe here and with little substitutions made these ultra thin cookies.Considering my baking skills,I will not say they came out perfect ,but tastewise they were more than perfect and apt for New Year.

All Purpose Flour: 3/4 cup
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Ground: 1/2 tsp
Powdered Ginger:1/2 tsp
White Pepper: 1/2 tsp (I used black pepper here)
Powdered Cloves: 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Light Brown Sugar: 1/3 cup (roughly 5 and half tbsp)
Unsalted Butter: 3tbsp softened
Mild Molasses: 1/4 cup (I used Dark Corn syrup)


Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine flour,baking powder,baking soda,salt,powdered cinnamon,clove,ginger and white pepper in a bowl.I used black pepper as I did not have white one.Here this works as a substitute as the cookie is brown in colour and it won't show,though it adds to spiciness.Normally in recipes with white/light end products this substitute will not work.Here we are using brown sugar and molasses.So the colour of the cookie is brown and the pepper will not show.Feel free to avoid it entirely as well.But I liked the sweet spicy cookie.

In a big bowl cream the softened butter and brown sugar with a mixer at low speed till blended and creamy for about 3 minutes.Add in molasses/corn syrup and blend at medium speed.Add the flour mix (in batches if needed)and with a spoon blend very well until you get a sticky crumbly dough.Light molasses are must in this cookies.Do not use strong/robust/blackstrap molasses.If you do not have light molasses,use either dark corn syrup(Karo syrup) or generally substitute 1 cup of light molasses with 1/2 cup strong molasses + 1/2 cup honey.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough 4 inches apart on the greased cookie sheet.Shape it into a 2 inch circle.What I did was,I put a teaspoon of dough on the sheet and kept a inch round cookie cutter surroounding it such that the dough was at the centre of the cutter(well, almost centre).Then shaped it within the cookie cutter using fingers though backside of the spoons can also be used.The cookie cutter makes it a bit easier though only thing to make sure is to have an even circle.You can use other methods as well.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until they spread and get evenly browned.Take out and let it warm in the same sheet for about 3 minutes.Then using a square spoon/ladle/pancake turner,remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The above estimate gives about 4 dozen cookies,though the recipe says only 3 dozens.I baked 2 dozens but still had almost half the dough.The dough freezes well wrapped in wax paper and plastic wrap(the dough is sticky and has molasses/corn syrup.So wax paper+ plastic wrap is a must for better care) for upto 2 weeks.Baked cookies can be frozen upto 1 month or stored in an airtight container for about 10 days.I did not have to store that long.Almost 15 were over just after baking(I baked these 2 nights ago ) and rest the next day.

The cookies are spicy and sweet and crispy & crunchy just as they wanted to be.A warm batch ready to be packed are going to spice up Meeta's MonthlyMingle where she is awaiting traditional spice cookies from all around the world.

There is no Sincerer Love than The Love of Food - Bernardshaw.
Lets fill 2009 with Lots of Love

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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