Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 - A Flashback!!

I had been wanting to do this "Best Of" post for every milestone in my blog. But somehow could not get into doing it. Srivalli's post on Best of 2012 event motivated me to look back at 2012 - the year that was. Completing two years of blogging this month I thought this is the best time to do it.

Favorite Post
Nothing was more sweeter and beautiful than my dear blog buddies' lovely gesture for welcoming our bundle of joy Kavin. Little Kavin turned 6 months now and is keeping his mom super busy. 

Favorite Recipe
My favorite recipe this year is Kollu Podi / Horse Gram Spice Powder. This is a aromatic and flavorful podi for idli/dosa with all the yummy goodness which you don't feel guilty at all. Thanks to MIL for the recipe.

Favorite Recipe tried from other blogs
This Orange Olive Oil Eggless cake which I tried from Priya's space received rave reviews. Spongy, Citrus-y and soooo goood..

Top recipes in 2012
This year's popular recipe post is Chana Masala with Home made Chana Masala Powder which is also the all time popular post in my blog.

The second most popular is Vegetable Kurma.

The third one is Pressure Cooker Vegetable Briyani.

Recipes Close to my Heart
Urad dhal Sweet Bonda is a traditional sweet made at our home during festivals and marriages.

Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter. I was in cloud nine when I tasted these beauties I made.

Resolutions for 2013
This new year's resolution for me is to blog at-least twice a month. Silly, I know, but spending time on my computer is a luxury nowadays!! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Baked Tofu - Asian Style

Tofu has been our favorite ingredient when it comes to quick snack. There are certain foods which DH is not very fond of. One of them is Tofu. At least I thought so until he actually liked something with tofu. It was when we went to a Thai place near our house before sometime. He did enjoy the vegetables with tofu served with rice. Then I "discovered" why he liked them. It was because it was crispy. And there started my quest for making tofu appealing to him. Fry or bake. Mission accomplished. This time I made a simple marinade and baked the tofu. It tasted almost close to the Organic Tofu which we tasted in Noodles and Company. Also check out my Tofu Golden triangles.

Extra firm tofu - 1 block
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
Low sodium Soy sauce - 1/4 cup
Garlic - chopped fine - 3 tbsp
Ginger - chopped fine - 2 tbsp
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - chopped fine - 2 tbsp
Crushed Red pepper flakes OR Finely chopped dry red chillies - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp (based on your spice level)
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Salt - a tad bit
Press the tofu and remove excess water. Cut into little cubes or fingers. Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a ziploc bag. Add the tofu and mix well. Place it in the refrigerator for 4 hours to 24 hours turning over every couple of hours. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the tofu cubes in a foil lined cookie sheet which is sprayed with oil. Bake for 40-50 mins until crispy on the outside. Brush the remaining marinade over the tofu pieces midway through the baking. Crispy sweet and spicy tofu is done! 
Serve over fried rice, noodles, stir fries or just dig in with a fork like I did.
Linking these up to..
Know your Sweetness - Brown Sugar
Quick and Easy Recipes
Bake Fest #14
SYF & HWS - Ginger event by Anu
Spotlight - Healthy Baking

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter

For all the Harry Potter fans out there... This is for you. Well, not a big fan of Potter? no problem you would love this too. I and DH are big fans of Harry Potter. If it is a boring weekend, not a great weather and nothing good on TV we will make it a "Harry Potter Weekend". We will watch all the eight HP movies back to back. A great way to spend the weekend isn't it? 
Pumpkin pasties are sold in the trolley run by Honeydukes express on the Hogwarts express. In the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry first meets Cho Chang in the train when she buys pumpkin pasties. I have never thought on how it would taste like back then. It was recently when the foodie in me made me to try this lovely delicacy. I did some research and arrived at this recipe. So happy that it turned out awesome in the first attempt. This is a totally egg-less fare (when milk is used to brush the top) and super easy to make. If using home-made pumpkin puree, press out to remove extra water. Hooray, then you would get pumpkin juice, another Hogwarts specialty.
Makes 8-10 pasties
For the Never Fail Pie Crust:
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine
All purpose flour  - 1 & 1/3 cups
Butter - 8 tbsp (cold, cut into cubes)
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Ice Cold water - 3 to 4 tbsps
For the filling:
Pumpkin puree - 1 cup (canned or home-made)
Light Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
Ground Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Ground Ginger - 1/4 tsp
Ground Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
For Brushing:
Egg - 1 slightly beaten and mixed with a tbsp of water or milk as required

Place all the ingredients for the crust in a blender or food processor except the ice water. Pulse for a couple of times until the butter almost disappears. Now add the ice water 1 tbsp at a time and pulse until the dough comes together. Remove the dough and pat to form a solid mass. Wrap in a cling-wrap and pop it into the refrigerator for about 2 to 4 hours.
Mix the ingredients for the filling in a pan in low heat until the sugar melts, just a couple of minutes. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Thaw the crust in room temperature for 30 minutes. Flour a board and place the dough on it. Roll into about a 1/8 inch thick. Cut into little rounds with a cookie cutter or any bowl with sharp edge. Roll the cut out dough still more thinner. Place about a tablespoon (or more) of the filling on one half of the rolled dough. Fold over the other half and crimp the edges with your finger or fork. Transfer carefully to the cookie sheet. Make the other pasties similarly. The dough leftover from the cut dough can be made into a ball and rolled over again to be cut. Brush the top of the pasties with egg or milk and bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown on the outside.
Serve warm.
1. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to crumble the butter if you are not using the food processor.
2. The amount of water needed for the dough depends on the humidity in your area. More the humidity, lesser the water. I used about 3.5 tbsps.
3. The sweetness in the filling is just right. You could make it more sweet per your taste buds.
4. Play around with the spices and make the filling spicy if you wish. There are no set rules.
5. This can be made totally egg-free by brushing with milk for browning.
Sending these baked beauties to the following events..
Know your Sweetness - Brown Sugar event by Jags
Serve It - Original Recipes from home event my me and Denny
Kid's Delight - Story Book Special
Merry Christmas Celebrations
Favorite Recipes - Christmas event
Lets Cook - Edible Gifts

Saturday, December 8, 2012

PB & J Cookies / Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies | Cookie Recipes

I had planned to bake some cookies for one of DH's friends. I promised him to make something nice when he left for work in the morning. I hadn't really thought about what I was gonna make until even after I took the eggs and butter out to come to room temperature. I was just browsing over my bookmarks and found these beautiful Peanut Butter Thumbprint cookies which Denny had made a couple months ago. Her pictures were the most important reason which made me try these beauties. It is a very simple process which is not in par with the appreciations I got after the taste test.
Yields - 2 dozen cookies
All purpose flour/Maida - 1-3/4 cups
Salt - 1/4 
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Butter - 1/2 cup (unsalted, room temperature)
Light Brown Sugar - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup + more for coating
Egg - 1 (room temperature)
Creamy Peanut Butter - 1/2 cup
Pure Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Jam (Your desired flavor) - for filling
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda together with a whisk. In another bowl cream the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and sugar with a electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix again. Add the flour mixture in 4 batches and slowly incorporate into the wet mixture. The whole mixture will come together as a dough. Make lime sized balls out of the dough and roll in the granulated sugar and arrange in the cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Basically 1 dozen cookies in a medium tray. Use 1/2 tsp measure (rounded) or your thumb to make an indentation in the top of the cookie and press down slowly. Fill with jam (well to your heart's content). Bake for 9-12 mins until it is done. The cookies will still be soft when warm and hardens as it cools. Enjoy!
Now sending this yummy goodness to a long list of events.
Know your Sweetness - Brown Sugar;
Merry Christmas Celebrations;
Bake Fest #14;
Favorite Recipes - Christmas recipes;
Let's Cook - Edible Gifts;
Bon Vivant #10 - Festive Feasts;
Cookies and Cakes for X-mas;