Monthly Archives: March 2016

Beets-oats tikki pattice

Standard

It was a lazy Friday evening. Although it was gorgeous outside, all of us were super lazy. After a long day of work, that swing was calling out to me, it said come and relax with me with a nice book, may be a glass of wine. 

Recently I have been obsessed with Spanish music. I am trying to learn Spanish and listening to the famous Spanish songs helps. My favorite these days, ‘Quizas, quizas, quizas‘by Andrea Bocelli & Jlo, it oozes with romance and feelings of love & longing. The song was playing in the background, which made me want to just close my eyes and relive some very happy moments of the past couple of days. 

But it also made me long even more for those moments. 

I was willing to give into the temptation, that is when my stomach growled. It said, don’t you want something nice to go with that glass of wine and the book. 

I opened the fridge and there was pretty much nothing. I was ready to give up. I said today I am going to be bad and just eat popcorn or cereal or bread and jam for dinner. Just then I heard these beats call out to me, ” hey you got us from the market, remember? You can not ignore us.”  So I decided to make something with beets. Just then I rememberd the left over steel cut oatmeal from this morning. 

Suddenly I knew what I was going to make. 

  

Ingredients

2 beets

1/2 cup of cooked steel cut oats 

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp chaat masala

1tsp amchur powder

1/4 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 tbsp chopped cashews

1 green chili chopped

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Salt to taste 

2 tbsp sooji or cream of wheat

Method 

Grate the beets and squeeze out the excess water. You can add that your smoothie or soups. 

Mix all the ingredients except the sooji and mix thoroughly. All the spice proportions are per our taste, you can change as you like. 

Take a plate and spread the sooji on the plate. 
Make lemon size balls with the beet batter and flatten it out. Make sure you wet your palms so that the dough does not stick. 

Dip the patties in the sooji and shallow fry till golden. Make sure you cook on a medium flame so the beets have a chance to cook.

  
Dips 

I love making these dips. They come together in minutes and are perfect for such appetizers. 

Smoky paprika dip-

Take one chipotle chili( I use the one from the can, that comes in the adobo sauce). Chop it fine and mix with yogurt. Add some roasted cumin powder and salt and the dip is ready. 

Mint- garlic dip-

Take chopped mint and one small crushed clove of garlic and add to a bowl of beaten yogurt. Mix well and add salt to taste. 

I am enjoying these with a glass of wine, my feet up on these pillows. What more can one ask for?

  

Advertisements

Pistachio tart with Rose-orange blossom custard

Standard

We as a family just love food, we are one of those who live to eat. We love trying food at new places,trying different cuisines. We try to find small hole in wall places and prefer those over big chain restaurant. One such favorite of ours is a kabab place,’Isfahan kabob’ not too far from where we live. Last time when we were there, we enjoyed our dinner ( as usual clean plates), but all of us were craving for desserts. Isfahan, does not carry any desserts but there is a small cafe, Haleh bakery ,nearby that has just the best desserts you can think of. It is a persian place which carries great treats with some unique flavors. We can not ever decide which one of those is our favorite, there are just too many amazing ones to chose from. It has a cute little courtyard where you can sit and enjoy fragrant persian tea with these delectable pastries.

At work we celebrate ‘pi-day’ and every year I make traditional pie. This year decided to make something new and that is how this recipe came about.

Today’s recipe takes the inspiration from one of the cookies we ate at Haleh, I don’t remember the name but it is a buttery soft cookie flavored with cardamom, dates and other yummy things.I just love the those flavors come together so I decide to try something today that has those flavors.This is a very easy recipe but needs patience, but I think it is worth it. 

Pistachio Tart with rose & orange blossom custard  

Ingredients

Tart

1 1/2  cup  unsalted pistachios

1 cup  almonds

1 egg white

1/4 cup sugar

1 pinch of salt

1/2 stick melted unsalted butter

1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Custard/filling

1 1/2  milk plus couple of tbsp

7 egg yolks

7 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp orange blossom water

2 tbsp rose jam

Method

Pre heat the oven to 400F

In a food processor pulse pistachios and almonds separately, making sure that it does not turn into a paste. the texture should look something like couscous.


Mix the powdered nuts with the melted butter, sugar, salt and egg white. Mix it till it comes together.
Add the mixture to a 9inch  tart pan and spread it evenly.

    Bake for 12 mins and add a 1-2 min if needed after checking. I baked this shell for 15 mins and I think it turned out a little darker than I would have liked. So watch after 10 minutes of baking.

_MG_2632

Let the shell cool completely.

While the shell is cooling, let us prepare the custard.

Heat the 1 1/2 cup of milk on low heat, make sure you turn it off as soon as you see bubbles. If your milk is too hot, you will have a scramble instead of a custard.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a steel pot. Mix the cornstarch in a couple of tbsp of cold milk to make a slurry. Add that to the egg yolk mixture.

Take the heated milk and add to the egg mixture in a constant stream, whisking continuously. This is super critical since this will ensure that you will have a smooth, velvety texture for your custard.

Cook the custard till it feels like a pudding and not thin.

Strain it in a steel bowl. This step will ensure that if there are any lumps, they are left out.

Now cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic goes all the way to the surface of the custard, this will ensure that there is no crust formed as the custard cools.

img_5083img_5084Cool it in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours.

Take it out and mix the orange blossom water. Depending on the brand and your taste, you can add more or less.

Spread the rose petal jam ( Gulkand) at the bottom. Fill the cooled shell with the custard. I buy Gulkand from the Indian store. Not only does it taste great but also has cooling properties to it, which is why in summer in India and in Persia, people eat desserts flavored with Gulkand.

 Let it set in the fridge for sometime.

You can serve it like this but I decided to top it with some apple roses. I have seen these apple roses popping up on the instagram, pinterest and I have been wanting to try and make them.

If you plan to top them with the apple roses, make sure the custard is thick enough for the apple roses to stay upright.

Apple roses

I feel that knives are super essential in a kitchen and can not only make the job easier but also makes the food look pretty. I have a set of ‘Saber knives’ that I bought from Costco a while ago. I got a cute little knife sharpener as a gift and with that I have been able to maintain the edge.

For making these roses you can either use a mandolin or take a sharp knife and slice the apples paper thin. I did half and half. I started with the knife but ran out of patience and switched to mandolin. Mandolin is another great tool to have. It not only makes the cuts looks pretty but they are also uniform, which makes them cook even too. I love my mandolin especially when I make things like scalloped potatoes.

As soon as you slice them, add them to a bowl of warm water with some lemon juice. The warm water will make them pliable and the lemon will keep them from turning brown.
Roll one slice to form a center and then continue wrapping each slice like a petal to form a flower. I grated some beets and used the juice to color some of the flowers, you can also use red food coloring if you would like.

Some people heat up the apple slices in the microwave to make them soft, which can make them easily pliable, but I feel it also makes them lose the taste and possibly discolor.

I will post a video for making the flowers soon.

Now arrange the flowers in the custard as you go along. You can use combination of apples so the different skin colors add a nice variation.

img_5088-1

 

 

 

 

Coffee-Almond biscotti

Standard

snapseed

This year is supposed to be a El Niño year, which means a lot of rain is expected. We have been hoping that it rains a lot and gives a relief from the drought situation in California. It has rained but not too much, so when this weekend it poured, everyone was super happy.

Rain always makes us think of Pakodas( fried lentil fritters), a cup of ginger tea. Rain makes everything look so pretty. Spring is in the air, flowers everywhere. The wisteria in our garden is looking gorgeous, vibrant with purple chandeliers.

img_5027

It was a very relaxing weekend, we had an amazing lunch at our favorite ethiopian place. They make such incredible food, especially their chicken is cooked so well. We ended that meal with a ethiopian coffee, which is always accompanied with a fragrant herb, ‘rue’. You let the herb seep in it’s flavors in the coffee before you drink it.

img_5028

Talking about coffee, recently my family has been obsessed with coffee. My son has been taking very scientific approach to coffee making. Weighing the coffee beans, freshly ground with handheld steel coffee grinder, water temperature measured by thermometer, even the pour has to be perfect. He looks like Alton Brown every time he makes coffee. He made me a macchiato with a little heart a few weekends ago, so perfectly made.

fullsizerender

On my recent trip to Guatemala, I visited this coffee shop which not only serves amazing coffee but also sells beans from the neighbouring areas. I picked a few pounds from there and we also replicated the same set up at home. It made such an amazing cup of coffee.

IMG_4349I love coffee in many forms whether it is coffee ice cream or Tiramisu or even Tiramisu french toast for breakfast, I love it all. So when we were talking about some cookie to go with the coffee, I decided to make this Biscotti. I love making biscotti for many reasons, you can make it ahead of time, you can make so many variations and they are not fragile so they transport well.

Since I love the coffee flavor, I decided to add it to the biscotti as well.

img_5038

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 stick of unsalted butter softened

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs at room temperature

1 pinch of salt

3 tsp instant granulated coffee

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup of almonds roughly chopped

Chocolate dip

5 oz of dark chocolate chips

crushed almonds or sliced almonds

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt together.

Cream the softened butter with sugar.

Add coffee granules and vanilla mix a little more.

Add one egg at a time while the mixer is running.

Scrape down the liquid ingredients.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time. The dough will be sticky at this point. Keep the dough in the fridge so it will firm up and will be easier to handle.

Take the dough out and divide in two parts.

Form two logs of about 2 inch by 8 inch. Remember this will spread as they bake so dont make them wider than 2 inches.

Place the logs on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Bake for 25-30 mins.

Take it out of the oven and cool for 30 mins.

Biscotti means baked twice. So as the name suggests, we will be baking these twice.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut in 1 inch slices.

Arrange these slices cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake again for 15-20 mins. Remember that these will harden as they cool so be careful to not overcook these.

After baking it the second time, let them cook on a rack.

img_5034

Chocolate sauce

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, heating in the 30 sec intervals, stirring in between.

Dip one end of the cooled biscotti in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed almonds. Layer them back on the parchment paper till the chocolate is solid again.

These store very well in a airtight container.

Serve with your favorite cup of coffee.

 

Variation:

You can skip the coffee granules in the batter, and add 1/4 cup of cocoa instead.

You can also make these with no chocolate or cocoa or almonds in the batter, and add 1 tsp of Anise seeds, 1/2 cup of cranberries & 1/2 cup of pistachio instead.