Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My version of Date-Nut Blondies

I got this recipe from "Mom's Big Book Of Baking", just customized it a little bit, due to the available ingredients. I used my toaster oven for baking at 325 degrees. The recipe calls for walnut or pecans, but I had salted pistachios and used those.

Ingredients: it is better to have all ingredients at a similar temperature while baking, so I usually take out all my refrigerator ingredients in advance.

All purpose flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Brown sugar - 1 cup, packed
Egg - 1
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Salted pistachios - 1/2 cup
chopped dates - 1/2 cup
Ground Cinnamon - 1/8 tsp
Ground nutmeg - a pinch

If baking in a regular oven preheat to 350 degrees. I used a toaster oven, so I did not have to preheat till I was almost done mixing the ingredients. I baked at 325 degrees.

Line a loaf pan with aluminium foil, making sure that it is well tucked into the corners, and leave some overhang. In a small mixing bowl place the butter and microwave for 30-40 seconds. Take it out, add the brown sugar and mix till the sugar dissolves thoroughly. Add vanilla essence, whole egg and beat for a minute or two.

Rub the salted nuts lightly in a paper towel to remove some saltiness. Add them into a clean coffee grinder and pulse for a minute. The nuts should be still coarse, and in bits( We are not looking for a powder). Sift together, the flour and baking powder. Mix the pistachios, cinnamon and nutmeg powder in. Add the butter-brown sugar mix, and combine. Add the dates just to incorporate. Immediately pour into the prepared loaf, and place the loaf in the preheated oven.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven size and settings. It is done, when you insert a knife in the center of the loaf, and it comes out clean. Turn the oven off, and let the loaf pan stay in for a few minutes.

Take the pan out, and using the foil overhang, pull out the blondies on to a plate and cut in to squares. If any are left, store them in the fridge in an air-tight container.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Veggie Sandwich, baked fries and mango milkshake

This is my take on the combination of burger+fries+ milkshake.The recipe is for two. The fries take about 40-45 minutes to bake, so it would be good to get that started and then work on the sandwich and milkshake.

Fries: (I got the basic recipe from http://sarahscucinabella.com/2008/01/22/oven-baked-sweet-potato-fries/.)

Russet potatoes: 2 big
Canola oil: 1-2 tbsp

To toss and coat the hot fries:
Garlic: 1 big clove
Grated Parmesan cheese: 1 tbsp
Black pepper: a couple of pinches
salt: a pinch
dried oregano (optional) : a pinch
parsley (optional) : 1 tsp, chopped

Preheat a toaster oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil, pour half teaspoonful oil and spread fully. Wash and peel potatoes. Cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch or thicker slices lengthwise, cut each slice again lengthwise into thick slices. They will resemble the fries in the store in shape. Add these to cold water, and drain into a paper towel. Pat them dry, and drop on to the baking sheet. Add the rest of the oil and toss all slices to coat with oil evenly. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, turning them once after 20 minutes. The fries should be golden brown in color, crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, when they are done.

Mince the garlic clove as finely as possible. In a bowl, combine the Parmesan, pepper, salt, oregano, parsley and minced garlic, and mix together. As soon as the fries are done, remove from the oven, sprinkle the cheese-garlic mixture on top and toss to coat quickly.

multi-grain bread: 4 slices
ripe avocado, pitted and sliced: 1
red tomato, sliced: 1
roasted red bell pepper, roughly chopped - 4-6 slices
romaine lettuce leaves: 2-4
alfalfa sprouts: handful (optional)
balsamic breeze salad spritzer
cheese spread of your choice
Ground black pepper

Lay down all the veggies, except the sprouts, and spritz with the salad spritzer. Layer the veggies on the one slice of bread. Top with sprouts. Spread the other slice of bread lightly with cheese spread and sprinkle with ground black pepper. Make a sandwich and press down firmly. Toast till the bread turns golden. Cut into two triangles and serve with dill slices. Repeat with other two slices of bread.

Mango milkshake:
Milk - 1.5 cups
Mango puree - 1 cup (store bought)
Ice cubes - a few

Run the ingredients in a blender till it turns frothy, pour immediately into two tall glasses and serve, with mint leaves (optional), for a refreshing drink with the sandwich and fries.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani

KM and Vishal love Biryani, and KM is the one usually making it. Tonight I wanted to make the Biryani all by myself, without 'any' help from him. I was told that it turned out pretty good. I wouldn't know, because I don't eat meat! Here goes...

Mutton: 3/4 kg (1.5 lbs), marinated well in advance if possible
For marinade:
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tsp
Chilli powder: 1 tsp
turmeric: 1/2 tsp
lemon juice: 2 tbsp

Mix all the marinade ingredients into the cleaned meat, and mix well so that the marinade covers all the mutton pieces well. Transfer into a freezer bag and use as needed. This can be stored in the freezer up to six months.

Other items for Biryani:

basmati rice: 4 cups (each cup measures about 200 grams)
Bay leaves: 4-5
Onions: 2
Green Chilli: 4
ginger-garlic paste: 1 heaped tsp
tomatillos: 2 small
tomato: 1
mint leaves: handful or dried mint: 1 full tsp
papaya: cubed pieces, 1/2 cup

To be ground together:
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Cashews or Pistachios: palm full

Ground Masala:
Cloves: 4
Cardamom: 3
Black cardamom: 1
Cinnamon: 1" stick
Saunf (fennel seeds): 1/2 tsp
Jeera (cumin seeds): 1/4 tsp
Dhaniya (coriander seeds): 1 tsp
Methi (fenugreek seeds): 1/4 tsp
Black peppercorns: 1 tsp
Anise: 2 petals (taken from one star anise)

Ghee: 2.5 tbsp
Milk: 3/4 cup
Saffron strands: a couple of pinches

Method of prep:

Heat milk in microwave for 30 seconds. Add saffron strands and set aside.

Chop onions, slit green chillies. Grind the chill powder and cashews(or pistachios). Add 1 tbsp of ghee, 2 tbsp of oil to a heated pressure pan. Add bay leaves, and then the chilli powder mix and fry for a minute. Add onions and green chillies and fry till onions turn translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste, and fry till the raw smell evaporates. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp of mint powder or a few fresh mint leaves, chopped. Add the marinated meat, well chopped tomatillos and tomatoes, finely chopped papaya, Ground masala (reserving 1/2 tsp for rice) and fry for 5-8 minutes. Add a cup of water, cover the pan and pressure cook for up to 8 whistles.

While the meat is cooking, wash and add rice to a thick bottomed pan with lid, add 6 cups of water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp of the ground masala. Cover and cook till rice is dry (it might be a little undercooked, but that is fine). Turn the heat off. After 5 minutes or so, remove the rice into a plate.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put in an oven tray and fill with hot water till half the tray's height. Smear 1/2 tbsp all around the same pan in which rice was cooked. Add a layer of rice, and top it with a layer of the cooked mutton with sauce. Add another layer of rice, sprinkle 1/2 of saffron milk. Add a couple of more layers of rice and meat, topping off with rice. Sprinkle the rest of the milk, 1 tbsp of ghee, a few mint leaves. Put the lid on. Cover the lid with aluminium foil and securely all around the lid. Place the pan in the oven tray with water and let bake for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy with Cucumber raita, onion raita or mirchi ka salan!