Monday, July 23, 2012

Toss out the hot cocolate packet

I've been drinking hot chocolate from packets at work occasionally, and every time I read the ingredient list, it makes me cringe. So here's a better version. It's really not that much work...

2 cups nonfat carnation dry milk (doesn't have to be non-fat) + 1 cup sugar + 1 cup ghirardeli double chocolate mix (yes, it's not pure coco, but does have a much shorter and innocent ingredient list). Mix and keep in a container. Take about a quarter cup in a mug + hot water = afternoon survival.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brownies and Cookies : Thursday Tea at the Lab

I signed up for the Thursday tea at the lab, and people loved the spread. I hardly put in any effort, and wasn't particularly impressed myself...but it worked out well. Here are some recipes I used:

Cheesecake Brownies :

I didn't use the chocolate chips, and used Ghirardeli semisweet chocolate.

David Lebovitz's Cheesecake brownies (copied from his blog...copy right belongs to him.)
Cheesecake Brownies
One 9-inch (23cm) or 8-inch (20cm) square pan

Adapted from Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed)

For those of you who like higher brownies, use an 8-inch pan.

6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (70g) flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (80g) chocolate chips

8 ounces (200g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9-inch (23cm) or 8-inch (20cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).

3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.

4. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

5. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

6. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.

7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set.

Let cool, then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares.

Storage: These will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well, too.


I also made some cookies using whatever in the house (Inspired by Martha Stewart). People absolutely loved it.

1 stick of room temp butter + 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup brown sugar. Cream together. Add one egg, mix. 1/2 tsp vanilla + 1 1/4 flour + 1/4 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp baking powder. Mix everything till just mixed (do not overmix). Add 1 4 oz. bar of Ghirardeli white chocolate chopped into small pieces + almost 1 cup of chopped walnuts. Scoop out on a sheet, bake at 350 for about 15-17 mins (till done). Cool on wire rack etc. etc.


Other things I served at the Tea- All came from Trader Joes:

- Pita chips (round ones)
- Red Pepper Eggplant dip
- Brie
- Multigrain Crackers
- Cheddar twisties (like cheese straws)
- Strawberries
- Butter Almond cookies
- Milk chocolate macademia lace cookies


People loved the spread!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Granola

I don't remember the proportion...but usually get it right... Old fashioned rolled oats + vegetable oil + honey + salt + brown sugar + cinnamon + chopped almonds + vanilla. Mix everything, spread in a tray and bake in a 300 degree oven and bake till brown on the edges. (mix a few times in between). Cool. Should become crunchy.

Quinoa Salad

I made this the day mom was leaving for India. She was feeling a little uneasy and didn't feel like eating. One taste of this, and she asked for more. That must mean something... 1/3 cup white quinoa. Rinse it well. Add 2/3 cup water, add salt and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 mins or so, cover and let simmer till cooked (about 10 mins). You will see small sprout like stuff coming out from the seeds. Let cool. Chop asparagus (or any other veggies) into big bite sized pieces and saute in some olive oil with salt and pepper. When it's almost done, add some sliced almonds, so they get toasted a bit too. Finally add some dried cranberries to the mixture and add it all to the quinoa (many variations possible here). Now add fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, a big squeeze of honey, and a tiny bit of olive oil and mix. Add chunks of goat cheese and serve at room temperature or cold.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spanakopita

Filling: Two bags of spinach, cleaned, blanched, finely chopped. Heat olive oil, add chopped red onion (half medium is enough), 1 clove of garlic, a big pinch of dry thyme, a palm full of dried oregano, some red chilli flakes, salt, pepper. Let cool. Add about a cup of ricotta, about a cup of feta, mix well and set aside. Thaw filo in the fridge overnight. Melt butter and mix some olive oil with it. now brush the bottom of the pan, add one layer, brush with butter, keep adding layers (around 8-10 layers). Spread the filling. Repeat 8-10 layers again. Brush with butter, score the top with a knife (to make slicing later easier) and bake in a 375 over for about 45-50 mins. Serve warm.

Methi-Makai Kabab

I think I read a similar recipe in NYTimes. Here's what I did. Grind corn (I used one big fresh one and a big handful of frozen one) into fairly fine paste. Heat oil, add some cumin seeds + a big pinch of Hing. Add the corn paste, ground ginger + green chilli paste, salt and keep stirring till a thick paste is formed. Add some sugar (this is optional). Add a handful of finely chopped fresh baby methi, a little chopped cilantro, and keep stirring some more till methi cooks (doesn't take too long). Add fresh bread crumbs (I used crumbs of one side bread slice). Stir a little more and then let it cool. Form into patties and fry with tiny bit of oil. Serve with chutneys.