Easy-peasy key lime pie

Since I was cheating on my diet anyway, I decided to make a key lime pie as well. This is a real easy recipe that can be made quickly. It’s especially easy when you have guests over 🙂

Ingredients:

4 egg yolks

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup key lime juice

3/4 cup cold heavy cream

9 inch prepared graham cracker crust

Method:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the crust in the oven until it preheats, about 5-10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, beat the egg yolks in a bowl with the condensed milk, and cream. Whisk in the lime juice a little at a time to thicken the custard. Pour the custard into the pie crust and return to the oven.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes to help the custard begin to set. Cool to room temperature before covering loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight.

Our trip to Springfield butcher

A few months ago I was on a “buy groupon” roll! While high on this roll I bought a groupon to the Springfield butcher. It was a $13 groupon valued for goods worth $26. We went to redeem it today and while the items seemed a little pricey, I think it definitely beats the frozen meats available in the regular grocery store! Clive and I had no particular plans for lunch, so we thought we’d buy something that we could cook for lunch and also a few other things that we could freeze. We ended up buying venison kabobs, lamb cutlets and cajun sausages! I froze the sausages, but we had half a cutlet and the kabobs for lunch. You could definitely taste the FRESH meat. I miss eating fresh meat and am totally fed up with frozen stuff. Overall, Yum!! I’m definitely going back again 🙂 I might be waiting for the next groupon to come by though….

Tiramisu

I made tiramisu this past week in time for my birthday 🙂 I’d never made it before so I thought I’d try it out. I try not to make desserts on a regular basis simply because it’s so high in calories, but I thought it was OK to cheat on the diet for my birthday 🙂 After all it just comes once a year, right? Since I had no trusted recipe, I decided to go out on a limb and try one posted on Allrecipes. I omitted the liquer, but kept everything else – the mascarpone cheese and the ladyfingers are a must. It actually turned out pretty well. To top it, it isn’t very complicated either. No more buying tiramisu from the store now 🙂

One VERY important caveat to keep in mind is that the tiramisu needs to be kept in the fridge for at least 24 hours so that the flavors can marinate and seep in. If you eat it the same day, it doesn’t taste good. In fact, it doesn’t taste good at all. And the effort and money spent to make it seems like a waste. It’s best to make it a day or two before you have to eat it.

Ingredients:

3 egg yolks

2/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

2 cups strong brewed coffee, room temperature

24 soft ladyfinger cookies

1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils.

Turn the heat to medium-low. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

While the custard is chilling, keep a medium bowl and the beaters in the freezer. Remove the utensils from the freezer after an hour.

Beat the cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. Keep it aside.

Whisk the mascarpone cheese into the custard mixture until smooth.

Put the coffee in a tall coffee cup. The next step is to soak the ladyfingers in coffee. I’ve heard that there are two kinds of ladyfingers available in the market. I found the soft ones and so used those. If you find the hard cookies, you might want to figure out how to soak the cookies. They should not get too soggy, that’s the tricky part. What I did was to quickly dunk the cookies in lengthwise and then turn them over upside down so that the coffee completely covered the cookie. If at all I felt it was too soggy, I carefully squeezed the coffee out. Be very careful in this step. I also found that it was easy to lay the cookies in the dish you want to use and then brush coffee over the cookies. It’s actually much, much easier and I will be using this strategy the next time I make tiramisu (which will not be any time before Christmas 🙂

Arrange half of soaked ladyfingers in bottom of a 7×4 inch dish. Make sure you use a dish with higher edges. Mine was about 1.5 inches high and it was quite a task to try and put in two layers. Spread half of the mascarpone custard mixture over the ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours, until set.

I had a little more left after filling up the rectangular dish. I actually arranged  whatever was left in another little 3-4 inch bowl. While doing this I mixed the mascarpone mixture with the whipped cream and continued to layer it with the coffee-soaked ladyfinger cookies. While there were just two layers in this bowl, it was much easier, faster and in my opinion, tastier!

I should have taken the pictures before I proceeded to cut it 😦 I know it doesn’t look very pretty, but the taste was heavenly 🙂

Stir fried soba noodles with lemon-ginger dressing

While I have always been fond of cooking, I started following recipe blogs only in the past 3 years. Mainly it was because I left all my recipe books at home in Bombay. But, ever since I discovered these blogs I have rarely felt the need to go look for a recipe in a book. Partly it’s because I know that the recipes in these blogs are made in a regular kitchen just like mine, as opposed to a hoity-toity chef’s kitchen 😛 Secondly, they are tested and tried recipes so I know that there is a lower chance of failing while trying them 😀

In my quest to eat healthy and to be on a low GI diet, I came across soba noodles, or buckwheat noodles. They are always available at Asian stores and are different from the regular noodles. Since they are, for lack of a better word, unique, in taste, I only made them once in a blue moon using ground meat or with beef and broccoli. Then I came across a blog that contains primarily Asian recipes. I rarely have all the ingredients available in my pantry, but when I do, I make it a point to try out recipes from the Steamy Kitchen.

Jaden Hair has done a fabulous job with her blog and I enjoy trying recipes from there. She also dabbles in a lot of fusion food, something that I enjoy doing too. So, here’s how I modified her tofu and soba noodles recipe:

Ingredients:

For the dressing –

Ginger, 1 inch, peeled and grated

1 tbsp. honey

1/2-1 tsp. chilli powder (or cayenne)

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

For the noodles –

Soba noodles – 3 bunches (they are normally packed in separate bunches in one packet)

1 tbsp. cooking oil (either olive or sesame oil)

1-1/2 assorted bell peppers, sliced (I use red, yellow and green, just because the end result looks colorful!)

Mushrooms – 1 small pkt, 6-8 oz.

Browned sesame seeds (optional)

Method:

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients except for the oils in a blender (hand blender is more convenient and easy to clean!) Run the blender for a few seconds, until all ingredients are combined. With the machine running, pour in the oils. Adjust the chilli powder to taste, we have ended up with really spicy noodles a few times 😛

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the soba noodles until just tender, then drain.

While the noodles are cooking, heat a nonstick frying pan over medium high heat and when hot, pour in the cooking oil. Add the sliced bell peppers and sear them for a few minutes. Add the mushroom and stir fry together for another minute or two, until the mushroom looks cooked (make sure it isn’t over cooked). It’s important to have the heat on high while adding the mushroom. Toss gently and turn off the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba with the dressing, vegetables and the sesame seeds. Toss until well combined.

Enjoy 🙂

Falafeleso??

I have come to terms with it, I have. I am a procrastinator. BIG time procrastinator. But, I have learnt my lesson. What happens when you put off posting a recipe online? For one, you end up with too many pictures in your camera SD card and it hogs up your memory. Secondly, and more importantly, if you tried something new, you FORGET the darn recipe!!

So without further ado here’s my falafeleso recipe. What’s with the funky name you ask? Well, the recipe is a combination of falafel with fresh Mexican cheese or queso fresco – thus the name! You can also substitute the queso fresco with feta (in which case they might have to be called falafeta 😉 In case you do use feta cheese, however, make sure to reduce the amount of salt. It tastes awesome as a side dish with any Greek or Middle Eastern meal. I’ve even served it as an appetizer with some Greek yogurt on the side.

Ingredients:

1 medium sized onion, chopped

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

Parsley, a few sprigs

Garlic, 3-4 cloves

Ground cumin – 1 tsp

Ground coriander – 1/2 tsp

Baking soda – 1/4 tsp

All purpose flour – 1 tsp

Queso fresco or feta cheese – 8 oz.

Egg – 1 large

Salt – to taste

Olive oil – 1-2 tsp.

Method:

Place garbanzo beans, onion, parsley, garlic, cumin and coriander powder, baking soda in a food processor. Process until it is coarsely pureed.

Mix in the flour, egg, queso fresco or feta cheese and salt. Be careful while adding salt, add less if you use feta cheese since it’s already salty. Let it stand for a few minutes.

Shape mixture into 1-11/2 inch cutlets.

Oil a nonstick pan while you heat it over medium heat. Place the cutlets in the pan and shallow fry on both sides until golden brown.

Serve warm with dill spiced Greek yogurt.

 

Mushroom rice

Tonight I was wondering what to make for dinner and I decided to cheat a little on my low GI diet 🙂 I had already made the spicy chilli-garlic chicken, so I thought of making a simple rice dish that went along with it. I had some mini portobello mushrooms lying in the fridge and if I didn’t use them soon I knew they would go bad. So, what did I do? Made mushroom rice of course! Most of the Indian mushroom rice recipes I found contained tomatoes in them and were either made to be flavorful with spices or hot with chilli pepper. I didn’t want to overpower the flavor of the chicken dish, so I decided to rustle up my own mushroom rice dish minus the garam masala and the tomatoes. Why the tomatoes? Because tomatoes and the chicken recipe just wouldn’t go together. Here’s the recipe –

Ingredients –

Rice – 1 cup

Baby portobello mushrooms, sliced – 8 oz.

Green onions, white portion and green stalks separated – 2-3

Cilantro – 3-4 springs.

Bay leaf – 1

Whole pepper corns 1/2 tsp

Cardamom – 3 whole

Cloves – 3-4

Oil – 1 tsp

Method:

Heat the pan with oil on medium heat. After the oil heats up add the bay leaf, peppercorns, cardamom and cloves. Saute them for a few seconds until you get their aroma.

Add in the white portion of the green onions and continue to saute until they are lightly browned.

Next, add the sliced mushrooms and saute until the mushroom is cooked. Be careful not to overcook it, or else the entire dish will be very soggy!

While the mushrooms are cooking, cook rice separately in a rice cooker. Make sure that the rice is not mushy and that each grain can be separated.

Mix the rice and the mushroom mixture.  Add the green onion stalks and cilantro as garnish.

Eat this while it’s still hot. It goes well with the chicken dish. The rice has its own flavor. The whole spices give it flavor, while not making it too spicy. I will be making this rice dish again with some other spicy dish on the side soon 🙂

Chilli-Garlic Chicken…first Indo-Chinese recipe!

So, I went for a whole month without posting a single recipe! It’s not that I haven’t been cooking. Oh, no! I would probably lose my mind if I didn’t cook for a long time. I have had guests over, so I have had to cook. It’s just that I haven’t had time to post those recipes because I’ve been so busy. One recipe I’ve been wanting to post for a long time is an Indo-Chinese chicken stir-fry. I love Indian – Chinese cuisine. It’s neither Indian, nor Chinese, which is what makes it unique and finger licking good!

My mom makes this recipe with beef and pork. I love this so much that I would make her cook this dish every single year for my birthday. It didn’t matter what else accompanied it, but this dish was my absolute favorite! I’ve adapted the recipe to include chicken instead of beef and pork. We are on a diet of sorts from red meat. We love it, but we need to stay away from it for a while! This recipe is very adaptable. Feel free to increase or decrease any of the ingredients according to your taste. Here’s the recipe! Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

Chicken pieces (either boneless or bone in and skin on) – 1.5-2 lbs – I prefer using skin on chicken wings for this recipe. That way I can use less oil.

Soy sauce – 1/2 cup (Tamari sauce is closer to the Indian soy sauce, as opposed to the thinner soy sauce we find in American grocery stores.)

Lemon juice – 1/2 cup

Garlic, chopped – 5-6 cloves (more if you like it garlicky!)

Green chillies, chopped – 2-4

Dried red chillies – 4-5 (depending on which chillies you use)

Whole pepper – 1 tsp

Oil – 1 tsp

Method:

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Lay them in a single layer  in a non-reactive container that can be closed appropriately. Marinate the chicken overnight with the soy sauce and lemon juice.

When you are ready to cook it, heat the oil in a non stick pan with high edges.  When it’s hot put in the whole pepper, followed by the red chillies and fry them until the red chillies swell up ( a few seconds).

Add the garlic and green chillies and saute them until the garlic is slightly brown.

Add the marinated chicken along with the remainder of the marinade. Stir fry the chicken on high heat for about 2-3 mins. Lower the heat and let the chicken cook until it’s done.