Sunday, September 30, 2007

Coconut & Lime Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes because Quirky Cupcake was hosting the Cupcake Hero event with the key ingredient being lime, which had to be used in the cake or frosting. I generally love really simple cupcakes but this ingredient inspired me to the more exotic and unusual. Since I'm always trying to expand my horizons I decided to make something out of the ordinary. The recipe comes from The Artful Cupcake. The cupcake was not too sweet and went well with the sweet-tart frosting. The frosting contained the lime and I thought it was great. Tart but not so tart that you cringe. It helped cut down the sweetness of the frosting.

A big plus of this recipe is that it does not waste any thing. While the cupcakes required egg whites, the yolks could then be used for the frosting! Next time I might soak the coconut for longer but it definitely added texture to the cupcake. The picture is so-so and doesn't do justice to the cupcake at all.

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients -- Coconut Cupcakes
-3/4 cup wide strips unsweetened coconut
-1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
-1 egg
-3 egg whites
-2 3/4 cup cake flour
-1 T baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-8 oz unsalted butter, room temp.
-1 1/2 cups sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350%. Prepare muffin pans with nonstick spray. If you want cupcakes to have smooth sides, don't use baking cups.

2. Soak the coconut strips in 1/4 cup of the coconut milk. Set aside.

3. Combine the remaining cup of coconut milk with the egg and egg whites.

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

5. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the soaked coconut flakes.

6. Add egg mixture to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the flour mixture in 2 parts. Between additions, mix thoroughly and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

7. Pour the batter in those prepared pans, filling approximately halfway. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until the tops are starting to color.

8. Let the cupcakes rest a few minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before icing.

Ingredients -- Lime Curd
-1 tsp water
-1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
-1/2 cup sugar
-Juice of 3 limes
-Green food coloring
-Zest of 1 lime
-2 ounces unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

1. Put the water in a small mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it to soften.

2. In heavy saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar to blend thoroughly. Whisk in the lime juice.

3. Place the saucepan on medium heat. Stirring constantly (but not vigorously) with a wooden spoon, cook the mixture until begins to steam and then thickens. When you can draw a line with your finger across the curd on the back of the stirring spoon and the line stays without dripping, take it off the heat.

4. Strain the curd into the mixing bowl with the gelatin, and whisk to incorporate.

5. Put a drop of green food coloring in a small dish, and use a tooth pick transfer just a smidgen to the mixture (a full drop might make the mixture too dark). Stir to see the effect. Continue until you reach the desired pale green.

6. Add the zest and butter, and whisk until the butter is melted and everything is an even color.

7. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until the lime curd has thickened to a spreadable consistency.

I'm ready for some much needed sleep!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mushroom Galette

Ursula and I before we dug in.

This galette was just amazing, as is every item I've made from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Deborah Madison did some serious testing of her recipes because they are all excellent. I don't have the words to describe the sensation that came over me when I ate this galette. It was wonderful. I was speechless.

If you love mushrooms than this recipe is a must try. It's savory, fragrant, tasty, and good to look at. It is rather labor intensive and quite the production so share with friends who can appreciate the effort. On a whim I invited two friends over at the last minute and I was fortunate that they were able to come over since there was no way I could eat this all by myself.


-Galette Dough (see June 2007 recipes)
-2 Cups Quick Mushroom Stock (Deborah makes her own stock; I used store bought vegetable broth)
-2 to 3 tsp Dijon mustard to taste
-Aged red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar (made this so long ago couldn't tell you how much I used; a few T)
-1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
-2 tsp minced rosemary or 1 tsp dried
-salt and freshly milled pepper
-2 pinches red pepper flakes
-1/2 pound portobello or shiitake mushrooms
-1 lb large white mushrooms
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-3 T tomato paste
-1 T butter
-2 T chopped parsley
-2 T melted butter or beaten egg for glaze

Make the dough.

Season the stock with a few tsp mustard and just enough vinegar to sharpen the flavors. Set aside.

Heat 1 T of the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and rosemary and cook over medium heat until the onion is lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Season 1/2 tsp salt , a little pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Remove to a bowl.

Heat half the remaining oil in the same skillet over high heat. Add half the mushrooms and saute until browned, then season with salt and pepper. Remove to the bowl with the onions. Then repeat with the remaining mushrooms. Return everything to the pan, add the garlic and tomato paste diluted with a few spoonfuls of stock , and a tsp of the vinegar. Add the remaining stock, bring to a boil, then stir in the butter and the parsley. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain, reserving the juices.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the dough for one large galette. Loosely fold the dough over the filling and brush it with melted butter. Bake until the crust is browned, about40 minutes. Heat any reserved juices and spoon them into the mushrooms.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Zucchini Frittata with Marjoram

Frittatas are quick, easy, and versatile. They can be made for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. They can also be served as appetizers. They are sturdy so travel very well for picnics and may be served room temperature or warm.

This particular recipe was so delicious, quick and easy, more so if you have a food processor to grate the zucchini. Of course, this recipe comes fromVegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Every recipe turns out very very well. There is zucchini everywhere now and it requires so very little to make it taste amazing. A little oil and a few herbs and you have a wonderful side.

Any vegetable would work for this recipe though zucchini is the only vegetable that would require the 20 minutes of salt sitting, as it draws out the moisture so the frittata is not watery.

-1 1/4 pounds zucchini, coarsely grated
- Salt and freshly milled pepper
-3 T olive oil
-6 eggs
-1 large garlic clove, crushed or minced
-1 T chopped marjoram (used basil instead)
-1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Toss the zucchini with 1 tsp salt and set it aside in a colander for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse briefly, then squeeze dry.

Warm half the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently until its' dry and flecked with gold in a few places, about 6 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl and wipe out the pan.

Beat the eggs with a few pinches of salt and some pepper, the stir in garlic, zucchini, marjoram, and cheese. Add the remaining oil to the pan over medium, and when it's hot, add the eggs. Lower the heat, cook for a minute until bottom is golden. Place a plate over the skillet, secure both plate and skillet with your hands, and invert the entire thing. Slide eggs back in, and finish cooking, another 2 to 3 minutes, and slide back on to a plate.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Raspberry & Chocolate Scones

These scones were amazing, just amazing. Chocolate and raspberries are two peas in a pod. Good by themselves, even better together. The scones were crispy on the outside soft and moist on the inside. I did learn a trick about getting the outside of scones more crispy which is to sprinkle a little powdered sugar and broil for a few seconds after they've been baked. Do be careful because you could ruin a perfectly fine batch of scones if you're not watching closely. I was hosting a brunch and got distracted by the talking and while the scones looked like they're burned, they're not! They had perfect taste though they were not aesthetically perfect.

I'm not writing out the recipe because it can be found at the Joy of Baking (click on title to take you the recipe).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cinnamon Rolls

Well, I did it! I made cinnamon rolls and they were awesome! I made them in honor of Carey, a friend who I've known for seven years and hadn't seen in five. These were amazing at 10 AM and again at 2 AM when we were up catching up on life! This recipe, minus the glaze, come from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Cinnamon rolls are relatively easy to make but the dough requires a bit of time. Since I wanted to focus on my friend, I made the cinnamon rolls one week in advance and froze them before letting them rise the 2nd time. I defrosted over night in the fridge and let them rise at room temperature for 2 hours before baking them.

Classic Sandwich Bread Recipe
-2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
-1/2 tsp sugar
-1 cup warm milk
-1 T honey
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
-2 cups all purpose flour
-3 to 4 bread flour (used all purpose)

In a small bowl, stir 1/2 cup warm water and the yeast together, add the sugar, and set aside until foam, about 10 minutes. In a larger bowl, combine the milk, 1 cup warm water and salt, then stir in the proofed yeast. Using a wooden , work in the flour a cup at a time until you have a shaggy, heavy dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and gradually kneed in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and resilient, about 5 minutes. Put it in a deep oiled bowl, turning it so that the top is oiled too. Cover with a damp towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, an hour or longer.

If you use this particular dough recipe, cut the recipe in half or make the full amount and use half for bread.

-1 T ground cinnamon
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (didn't have any)
-1/2 cup raisins or currants
-2 T melted butter

While dough is rising, mix the cinnamon, brown sugar, nuts, and raisins in a small bowl.

Push the dough down. Roll half the dough into a 12 x 156 inch rectangle. Brush it with the melted butter, sprinkle the sugar mixture over the surface, and tightly roll up lengthwise. Slice into rounds about inch wide and set them in the butter- coated pan, cut side facing up. Don't hesitate to cram them together. Let them rise for 30 minutes.

If you want to freeze, place sliced rounds in the freezer. Don't let them rise the 2nd time.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the roll in the center of the oven until well risen and browned, about 30 minutes. I don't know why but all the recipes said to invert them onto a serving plate --the sugar will have caramelized and coated the rolls.

Click here for the glaze recipe -- it may seem a little thick but if you slab it on after the rolls come out of the oven, it just melts and oozes. Very good!

Having never made cinnamon rolls, I found this video super helpful for rolling and cutting up the rolls.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

Wow! I'm about a week behind in posting. It's enough to cook but to also blog about it can be difficult at times. I don't know how you all do it with work, life, etc. I tip my hat to you.

In any case my friend of 15 years returned to California and to celebrate her return she came down for a weekend visit. I made another Ellie Krieger dish and it was decent. I followed the recipe exactly but we found that the sauce was missing that "umph" again. It was certainly tasty and easy to make but... I'm not sure. We added fresh basil and that helped but still felt that something was missing. Adding grated Parmesan cheese was a nice addition.

The big pluses of this dish are that it is has very few ingredients and comes together so quickly, say the time it takes to get the pasta cooked up. Two pots and a food processor are required, not too bad, especially if you have a dishwasher. Clean up is easy.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Thai-Style Halibut with Coconut-Curry

I saw Ellie Krieger make this dish on the Food Network a few months ago and it looked absolutely enticing. I love fish and I love curry. I also loved how quickly this dish came together on the show. Very little prep and everything in one pot! Below I write about my modifications since the recipe is already available online.

The dish looks better than it tastes. I thought the dish was good but it was kind of missing that "umph" I look for in great food. I'm not sure what was missing, but I just didn't feel that satisfied. I definitely preferred the salmon to the rock fish and would suggest a stronger tasting fish. Or perhaps I should have started eating the milder tasting fish and working my way up rather than the other way around!

My Modifications
-Used salmon and rock fish(bought fresh but then frozen)
-Skipped the scallions because I didn't have any
-Used Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste (which is what Ellie used on the show)
-Used vegetable broth
-Used frozen chopped spinach

I followed the recipe almost exactly as described except that I added an additional 1/2 cup coconut milk after a taste test nearly took my mouth out. It was too spicy! I did not use a low sodium broth so I didn't add salt but it really did need it and I forgot to salt the fish. So add the salt. I also used frozen spinach and rather than cooking it separately and having yet another dish to wash, I just added it to the pot when the fish was nearly finished cooking. You could do this with fresh too, I'm sure! Perhaps using a little less red curry paste would help.

It is quick, easy, and decent.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

June from Thyme for Food tagged me so now I will reveal a few tidbits about myself. Before I begin, here are the rules:
  • Players must list one fact, word or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of their first or middle name.
  • When players are tagged they need to write their own blog-post containing their own first or middle name game facts, word or tidbit.
  • At the end of their blog-post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag.
  • Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
  • If I've tagged YOU, please join in on the fun!
My name is NIRMALA.

ancy Drew mysteries were a childhood favorite. Could read one a day. Today, I don't read as many mysteries but am some times draw to Dateline's murder/court room trial shows and the various Law & Orders.

Ina Garten is one my favorite Food Network personalities. Prior to her career in food, she work worked for the federal government which is somewhat similar to the line of work I do now.

Red is one of my favorite colors. So are orange and magenta. Color makes me feel happy and is an expression of my personality. I try to wear color every day though you wouldn't know it by my recent pictures.

Mango sticky rice is one my favorite desserts. Love the sweetness of mangoes mixed with soft sticky sweet rice. Could eat it every day!

Arrogance is a quality a I greatly dislike in people.

Lilies, particularly tiger lilies are a favorite flower. The beauty of the flower is enhanced by the amazing scent. I also adore gladiolas. Flowers bring me joy.

America's Test Kitchen is one of my favorite shows. They love making recipes perfect -- I can get behind that. Their tips and tricks are great too. I am also fond of the all their equipment tests.

You're it!
Thank you June for tagging me!