Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream Ever

In my spare time, I search for ice cream recipes.  Though I do love vanilla, I usually search for something more exciting.  UNTIL I found a recipe through food and wine - I was intrigued because the recipe didn't use eggs but claimed to be fluffy and yum.  I'm always game for trying something fluffy and yum.

Vanilla Ice Cream, recipe from Food & Wine

Serves Jyoti only and no one else

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt 
In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath.  In a separate smaller bowl, mix 2 tbsp. of the whole milk and the cornstarch.

In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, light corn syrup and vanilla bean and seeds.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes.

Turn off the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Return to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the mixture slightly thickens, about 1-2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture into your whipped cream cheese, whisking to combine until smooth.  Whisk in the salt.  Set the bowl in the ice water bath for about 20 minutes (I left mine for about 30 minutes).  I then put my mixture in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.

Pour the mixture into your chilled ice cream canister and churn for about 45 minutes.

Ending Notes: Um.  BEST VANILLA ICE CREAM EVER!  We've had my egg nog and sweet potato ice cream in our freezer since Thanksgiving, but this vanilla ice cream hardly lasted a few hours!

Sidenote: Apparently I hit my quota limit for photos and now have to upload through photobucket, which seems to really destroy image quality.  I will find a solution to this, so in the meantime I apologize for the crappy looking pictures.

Holiday Dinner

Our version of Christmas is putting up a tree and exchanging gifts, but we did want to make something fancy schmancy for dinner.  I browsed my mom's Gourmet cookbook to see what type of game we could eat that wasn't turkey.  Squab, quail, duck...and of course we had to include foie gras! Yes! My favorite! So we decided to prepare foie gras, risotto, and cornish hen.

For Christmas, my sister gave me a little lump of black truffle, so we wanted to determine a way to incorporate this into our meal.  We decided to make a mushroom risotto dusted with black truffle, and cornish hen marinated in a black truffle sauce.  My sister wanted to make a lavender creme brulee as dessert since my mom recently purchased a lavender plant, so we had a really delectable meal ahead!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Egg Nog Ice Cream

I don't think I've ever even had egg-nog.  But, for the holidays - why not? I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of flavor, but I am pretty sure that any and all ice cream with loads of egg yolks and full fat dairy products will be hommy nom nom.

Egg Nog Ice Cream, recipe borrowed from Ice Cream: 52 Easy Recipes for Year Round Frozen Treats by Sally Sampson

Makes about 1 quart


  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 orange* (I only included a little bit of this - not the whole orange)
  • Vanilla bean, split and scraped (Thanks Mai!)
  • 8 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. of grand mariner
  • 2 tbsp. of bourbon* (The original recipe called for 2 tbsp. each of sambuca, amaretto, and grand mariner.  I did not have all these on hand, so I subbed in the bourbon, and also cut out most of the alcohol as I was worried about the flavor being too strong)
Place the half and half, 1/4 cup of the sugar, nutmeg, lemon and orange zest, and vanilla bean seeds and pod (now empty) in a small pan and cook over low heat.  Whisk the mixture from time to time and heat it till it is warm, about 175 degrees. 

Place the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar and salt into a medium sized metal bowl and whisk until combined. Add 1/4 cup of the warmed half and half mixture to the egg mixture, whisking the entire time.  Continue to add the half and half mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until you have added about 1 1/2 cups total.  Be sure to whisk the entire time. 

Return the mixture back to the original saucepan and continue to cook until it reaches about 185 degrees (be sure it doesn't boil!!).  

Once it has reached 185 degrees, pour the mixture through a strainer into another bowl.  Discard the solids and bring the mixture to room temperature.  Stir in the alcohol, and then refrigerate at least 8 hours, but preferably over night. 

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to directions.  I used about 30 minutes here. 

Ending Notes:  So even though I used less alcohol than the recipe recommended, I still felt the alcohol flavor was too strong.  I'd probably just do 2 tablespoons of whatever alcohol I selected.  Otherwise, the texture and flavor of this ice cream were what I was expecting.  I still need to try a normal egg-nog drink and then see how this one compares.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mulled Wine Sorbet

Another wintery inspiration from the beverage I served at Thanksgiving.  Another drink turned ice cream that is perfect for drinking/eating in front of the fireplace at your chalet in Chamonix (or your digital fireplace DVD).

I made this for the AIF NYYP holiday party at Rahul's place. It accompanied Meghna's cookies as dessert. 

Mulled Wine Sorbet, recipe adapted from here and here

Makes about 1 quart

  • 1/2 of a bottle of red wine - I used Purple Moon Merlot from Trader Joe's.  At $4 bucks a pop, can't go wrong!
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice from 1 fresh squeezed orange
  • Juice from 1 fresh squeezed lemon
  • Lemon zest from that same lemon
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Combine the sugar, water, wine lemon zest and spices into a medium saucepan and let it simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Let it cool to room temperature and stir in the orange and lemon juices.  Strain the mixture, cover the mixture and let it chill in the fridge from 4 hours to overnight. 

Churn in your ice cream maker per directions - I churned it for about 20 minutes. 

Ending Notes:  The ice cream was of course very flavorful, and received rave reviews by all taste testers.  I think most testers appreciated the fact that this sorbet wasn't laced with heavy cream and whole milk and just some wine and freshly squeezed citrus fruits.  Try this one before New Years!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Apple-Scented Fondue

I'm telling you.  Fondue is the ice cream of winter.  I think I've made it like 4 times in the past month alone.  I was watching Rachel Ray randomly while waiting for Alton Brown to start and she made this yum looking fondue (well...let's be honest...ALL fondue looks yum).  Asmi was coming over for dinner for some fondue so I figured this would be the best time to try it out!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Candy Cane Ice Cream, Parte Une

Ah, holiday times!  I had put my ice cream maker away for the season, but after our holiday cookie party, where Marya had picked up some Molly Moons, I was inspired to create some holiday ice cream flavors.  Egg-nog (check), gingerbread, spiced cider sorbet, cranberry sorbet and candy cane were all on my list.  And I needed taste testers.  Becca generously volunteered all of SlamFam (her and her roomates).  So I decided to start experimenting.

Candy Cane Ice Cream Parte Deux

So I wasn't totally enamored with the first batch of candy cane ice cream I made.  I liked it...but I didn't love it.  It wasn't candy-caney enough to remind me of my toddler days when I would take the candy cane ornaments off of our fake tree and eat them "secretly" (let's be mom knew what I was doing).  

The next step was to use actual peppermint extract as this I figured this would add the best flavor.  First I started with the basic Philadelphia Style Ice Cream.  I know you have all seen this one mentioned tons of times.  If there were an awards ceremony for my blog, this one would receive honorable mention since I have in fact used it to the start of many of my bases.  In any case, I've included the recipe below if you guys forgot.  

Candy Cane Philadelphia Style Goodness!

Makes about 1 quart

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • Red food coloring (a few drops)
  • Red edible glitter
Pour 1 cup of the heavy cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and the salt.  Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining cream, milk and the peppermint extract.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge.  When ready to churn, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker per directions.  In the last 5 minutes, drop in a few drops off the red food coloring and use a pastry brush to tap in the red edible glitter.  I churned it total for about 30 minutes.  

Taste testers voted more in favor of this one when compared to version parte une.  I think it was because the flavor was pronounced, and, let's face it, who doesn't love red glitter? 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Okay I lied. I brought my ice cream maker back out of hibernation.  For the Holiday Cookie Party, I wanted to make festive themed ice creams.  Cinnamon is the stand-out spice in all holiday treats and drinks, I think I used it in everything from the bruleed sweet potatoes to the mulled wine we drank.  I found a great recipe that let the cinnamon infuse in the custard so the flavor was subtle and went well with all our holiday cookies!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dumac and Cheese

Over Thanksgiving break, I made my sister a Gossip Girl gift bag that I put together myself.  It included a head band from Bendel's (channeling Blair), white truffle oil (channeling Serena), macarons (and Blair again) and...The New Brooklyn Cookbook (channeling the Humphrey clan + Vanessa).  And apparently since then, this cook book is the cook book to have.  See here and here.

Lo and behold from all the Thanksgiving cooking, baking, cookie party and ice cream making, we had a lot of heavy cream and whole milk left over.  So of course mac and cheese was a logical recipe to make with all our left over ingredients.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Brie and Wild Mushroom Fondue

Fondue night with Kim! Since Fondue will be an on-going winter delicacy, I needed to find another recipe that was more, um, sparkly, than your basic emmental and gruyere.  Yes, I have now decided that I am going to describe food as sparkly when it makes me feel the same way a pair of glittery pink high heels would.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Porcini Fondue

Well it was that time of year again.  Time to put the ice cream maker into a deep freeze (ha - but not for long!) and pull out my fondue pot! So I hosted the first annual fondue pot winter inauguration for the Winter 2010 - 2011 season.  Since this was kind of like opening night for my fondue pot, I neede a scene stealer!  Something fancier than traditional gruyere.  Well I love gruyere, but I think my normal fondue recipe needed something extra.  Like MUSHROOMS!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Dinner Party Round 3.0

And...Sunday came around.  I somehow found myself at SlamPalace yet again for yet another dinner party.  Poor me! 

I walked into the apartment to find Becca making this amazing chicken and mushroom risotto dish.  So savory and melt in your mouth.  Alyx soon prepared a simple but delicious tomato, basil and mozzarella salad and some asparagus with shallots. 

Alyx's asparagus

Becca's scrumptious risotto!

Inspired by Nina, I brought the mascarpone/honey/pomegranate concotion I had nearly polished off at Lavina's the night before.  Quick and easy - it took me about 5 minutes to prepare.  I actually forgot to bring some honey, but clever us - Nick had a few greek yogurts with honey and he never really uses the honey part, so he generously offered me some to drizzle over my treat. 

Pomegranate Mascarpone Dessert/Appetizer Thing, recipe adapted from Nina
  • 1/2 of a pomegranate, or, if you are lucky, the pre-seeded kind
  • 1 tub of mascarpone (about 3-4 ounces.  I used that purple brand from Whole Foods that is from upstate NY or something)
  • Drizzling of honey or agave nectar
  • Plain baked pita chips
To cut the pomegranate: Cut in half from the top, and then in quarters.  Get a bowl and scoop out the seeds into the bowl.  This can get VERY messy so make sure you aren't wearing your finest whites.

In a small bowl, mix together the mascarpone and some honey (no more than 1 tbsp - but suited to your tastes).  Spread this into a serving dish.  Top with the pomegranates.  Eat with the pita chips (TRUST me this is DELICIOUS).

Bacon Ice Cream

Val and I went on this scrumptious chocolate tour of the LES in the fall.  We stopped at a few really great places, and I came to find out that Dessert Truck has its own STORE FRONT.  How I did not know this sooner is beyond me, but let's just cut to the point.  Dessert Truck had a yummy bread pudding.  On top of that bread pudding was a BACON CUSTARD.  Yes, Bacon.  At first, it sounds gross.  But when you taste it, it has a familiar, homey, sunday morning with pancakes and maple syrup type taste.  The bacon was sweet and complemented the bread pudding sooo amazingly.

So then the wheels in my head stomache started turning.  Cream Anglaise, or custard, is so similar to the batter I make for ice cream.  I COULD TURN THIS INTO ICE CREAM! OMFG.  So then I started discussing with the tour guide as to how would be the best way to do this.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Dinner Party Round 2.0

My weekend of holiday dinner parties led me to none other than Lavina's apartment for more food and merriment (really, the two go hand in hand in my opinion).  Lavina also invited Nina, Neelam and Manisha and we all contributed something delicious. 

Neelam brought this smooth and savory bean dish topped with sour cream and cheese.  I parked myself right in front of it and shamelessly gobbled it up while Lavina was still cooking. 

Nina brought a suprise dish - surprise because I did not expect some of the flavors to go together at ALL! She made a dish with mascarpone cheese (we all know how much I LOVE this!), drizzled with honey and pomegranate seeds.  Sounds like dessert, right?  WRONG! Well kind of wrong.  Serve it up with some baked plain pita chips (such as Stacey's or Utz) and you have a sweet and savory dish.  So this is actually not only festive, but also a real crowd pleaser because it accomodates everyone's cravings (those who like sweet = me those who like savory = other people). 

Lavina provided the entrees.  First up was the macaroni and cheese which I believe was borrowed from Smitten Kitchen.  Then that was followed by a mouthwateringly spicy red curry with tofu and mock duck.  For those of you who don't know what mock duck is: it is basically faux meat made out of some product I'm not sure of, but is meant to provide protein to vegetarians in whatever dish they make.  Does it taste like real duck?  No.  But I hardly doubt vegetarians would know.  Served with white rice, this dish was better than any of the curries I've had at the various Thai restaurants in New York!  As home-made is generally the case.  Light, non-greasy, and as delicious as it was aromatic.  Nice work, L. 

And of course, yours truly provided dessert.  You know how stores sell dresses, "wear 1 dress 10 ways!"...well I think my ice cream is the LBD of holiday parties.  I took with me the same ice cream I took to Becca's apartment, and all were a hit, especially the sparkly candy cane!  (sidenote: that will now be my go-to recipe any time I feel like Christmas!). 

As if there couldn't possibly be more stuffing my face this weekend...stay tuned for Holiday Dinner Party Round 3.0!  I'm serious.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Dinner Party Round 1.0

Becca jets to glamourous places such as Indiana and Dallas for work during the week.  So when she is home during the weekend, we like to cook together.  Since it was the holidays and we like cooking for people and eating, she invited Rachael, Michelle, Alyx and Nick.  Well Alyx Nick and Becca live together, so they aren't really guests.  The roomates also got a Christmas tree which we all helped trim in one way or the other (for example, I helped by eating the broken candy canes that could no longer serve as ornaments.  old habits die hard.)

We happily chomped away on our holiday feast while sipping various red, white and sparkling wines (yes all three, just not at the same time).  And if we couldn't get anymore holiday cheer-ier into our systems, we also watched Love Actually after dinner, which, if this isn't a feel good holiday movie, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Toasted Truffled Cheese Baguette

Last night, I went out for a few drinks with some of my wonderful former colleagues (so much fun!).  Marisa and I also got our Christmas tree, so between both things I didn't really have time to eat dinner.  After a few vodka sodas at the Copper Door and a warm, holiday cheer-inspiring spiked cider at Bua, I wanted to eat a midnight snack and watch some DVR'ed tv before going to bed.  Usually when I come home in this fashion, I make a pita pizza, taking whole wheat pita bread, topping it with mozzarella and maybe some pepperoni. 

But I had a BETTER idea! Earlier in the week, I had picked up some truffley cheese.  I also had some proscuitto lying around and I had some left over black truffle oil from when Kim came over for fondue (to be posted shortly).  My normal MO is to eat cheese and crackers as my dinner while watching Good Eats or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (don't judge me).  However, tonight, I decided to make a truffled grilled cheese sandwich.  Well, some version of it. 

Toasted Truffled Cheese Baguette serves 1

  • Baguette of choice
  • A few teaspoons of black truffle oil* (I freehanded this to lightly coat the bread)
  • A few slices of Pecorino Tartufello or something similar - you want it to be soft/semi-soft and meltable
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a small section of aluminum foil. 

Slice the baguette in half (like a hot dog bun).  Using a pastry brush, brush the truffle oil onto both slices of bread.  Line the bread with your cheese slices.

Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until you get your desired melti-ness of cheese and the bread is just slightly toasted (ha, no pun intended). 

Ending Notes:  This was probably the most ingenius midnight snack I have EVER made.  Of course you all know how amaz-o truffles are.  And in cheese? Even better! Melted pecornio tartufello + toasted bread = ultimate "grilled" cheese.  I also ate a few slices of proscuitto and then proceeded to watch Millionaire Matchmaker until I scarfed down every last bit of of my gourmet sandwich.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Cookie Party

Marya and I hosted a holiday cookie party the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We made all kinds of cookies, and oh my goodness they were all a hit! My sister's cookies especially (of course).  Even Cooper wanted in on the baked goodies!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Hom nom nom nom nom nom.  That's all I have to say.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mulled Wine

Mulled wine...because who doesn't want something warm to sip while gorging on turkey and stuffing?

The great thing about this recipe is that it is very simple and really hands off.  And, it tastes great!  Thanks Ina!

Mulled Wine, borrowed from Ina

Serves 8

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 bottle of red (we used cab sauv)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange zested and juiced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Strain and discard the solids. Pour the drink into mugs or wine glasses and serve warm. 

Ending Notes:  VERY aromatic and reminds me of a ski lodge in Aspen.  The flavors meshed together really well and I would make this again on a snowy winter night!  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Port Cranberry Sauce

I haven't eaten cranberry "sauce" out of a can since like, 2004, when I discovered how amazing homemade cranberry sauce was.  I usually try a new one every year but they all follow the same general theme.  Some are classics, some have some pizzaz.  And, honestly, it is so easy to make, it's practically as easy as cracking open a canned version, but tastes a WHOLE lot better. So next Thanksgiving, or even for Christmas, I'd say try one yourself!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts*

I love winter squash.  Especially butternut squash.  I think the first time I had butternut squash was when I was visiting home during my sophomore year of college and went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum with my mom one weekday.  We stopped at a cafe for lunch and I had the butternut squash soup and I was hooked.  Fall is my favorite season, and the first thing I associate fall with guessed it...butternut squash. So when I went home in October, I found the perfect recipe to try.  Yeah, yeah, the post is really late.  But I think you can still get butternut squash in some places! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Carmelized Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta

Normally I just steam brussels sprouts and eat them leaf by leaf.  So I figured my recipe needed to be, um, real fancy (huh), for Thanksgiving.  Of course anything with pancetta is immediately salivating, and when you throw in some shallots on top of that, well...hom nom nom!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adventures in Doughnut Making

Doughnuts are a LOT harder to make at home than you think.  Or, than Lara Ferroni makes you think.  Yeast, proofing, waiting for the dough to rise.  You'd be lucky to have one by 3pm if you start at 11am. Okay...maybe that is an exaggeration, because my sis and I are doughnut novices.  But that didn't get us down!

Pumpkin Pie!

Pumpkin pie is synonymous with Thanksgiving.  I mean, who doesn't like pumpkin pie? sister doesn't think she likes pumpkin pie, but really, she does.  She hasn't had a good one yet, I think. 

I was shopping in SoHo and stopped in the Vesuvio bakery for a latte.  I saw a GINORMOUS pumpkin pie and immediately knew this was the recipe I had to try for our Thanksgiving dinner.  The spectacular thing about this pie is that its crust was HUGE.  I'm talking like more than 2" tall, not small like the kind you find at your local Safeway or Whole Foods, or even your basic pumpkin pie recipe.  I asked the barista where the pumpkin pie came from, and she told me it was baked fresh at City Bakery.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Diwali Party!

While baking up a storm for dessert fest, we discussed doing an Indian food night.  Well, it started with "can you bring Indian food tomorrow before the party?", no, but, I'd be happy to do a post-dessert party wrap up feast!  And...Diwali was soon approaching!  So the DESSERT FEST 2010! chefs decided that an Indian dinner night was in order!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Deep Dish Pissha (Pizza)

I was flipping through Marisa’s old cooking light magazines one evening while watching Monsters Inside of Me and The Cooking Channel and I was really craving pizza. Lo and behold – a deep dish pepperoni pizza recipe appeared before me!

When I was attending training for my old job, we were based in Chicago for 2 weeks. Here my main goal was to eat as many deep dish pizzas as I could possibly fit in my stomach. One day I got so excited about the thought of eating my first authentic Chicago style deep dish pizza, I referred to it as “deep dish pissha”.

On that note, with the glossy magazine photos of melted cheese in a golden crust in front of me, I had two options: 1) go to south street seaport and have one at Uno’s or 2) save the recipe to make when I went home for a week. I decided it would be well worth the wait to have some home-made pizza, so I opted for #2.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Champagne Jello Shots and Jigglers

Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday.  More so than Thanksgiving (yes, shocking, considering it is food-centric and all you do is eat and spend time with family).  I don't know why I love Halloween so much.  Maybe because I still love dressing up.  Sanjay, Shrenik and I brainstorm costumes 364 days in advance (well, this year, even 366 days in advance as we were already planning for next year this Halloween).  Maybe because I love candy.  Probably the main reason.  For those of you who watch Modern Family - yes I will be Claire in 20 years.  In fact, in 20 years, if anyone says to me "are you trying to get candy or a Japanese business man" I might die of joy.  YOU DON'T MESS WITH TRADITION. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Welcome Home Becca!  So good to have you back from Belgium!  Since RV is her favorite, and also since she missed the dessert party, I figured I'd make some RVC for Becca.  There are so many yum recipes out that I wasn't sure where to begin.  I was a bit disappointed by my Martha cupcake recipe from Dessert Fest 2010! so I decided to look elsewhere. So naturally I turned to Smitten Kitchen to see if she had anything up her sleeve (and she did).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

As former cupcake princess, I felt it was necessary to make some cupcakes for DESSERT FEST 2010!  So I pulled out my trusty cupcake encylopedias (cupcakes galore and martha stewart cupcakes) and scoured for a yummy recipe.  I saw a Halloween themed cupcake, and, naturally, felt this would be a good fit for DESSERT FEST 2010!, which was falling the week right before Halloween.


Well...Dessert Fest 2010 was absolutely amazing.  For those of you who don't know what it is, I was invited by my friend Mai to co-chef DESSERT FEST 2010!  Mai learned how much I loved desserts while we were in Namibia and I would squeal at the sight of a pink cookie at a german bakery, or ooh and ahhh over a passionfruit mousse in the middle of Sossusvlei.  Mai and her friend Josh hosted the party last year and it was a success.  I was very excited to be a part of TEAM DESSERT FEST 2010! this year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saffron Coconut Ice Cream

Wow - I TOTALLY forgot about this one!  So here we are in November, posting about ice cream made in hot humid August.  Bored with the typical ice cream flavors I had recently experimented with, I wanted to continue trying NEW AND EXCITING things!  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Key Lime Cheesecake

My other go-to for recipe ideas and innovations?  Smitten Kitchen, of course.  So when I saw she had made a lovely key lime cheesecake, I quickly added it to my list for DESSERT FEST 2010! because it is one of my favorite desserts (shocking, I know...I'm a huge chocolate girl).  She adapted her recipe to make mini-tarts, but I took the original recipe from Gourmet to make one large cheesecake. 

And good thing.  This light, tangy tart was a huge hit amongst our DESSERT FEST 2010! crowd, right up there with Josh's Red Velvet!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Short story: these were gross.  I don't think they even deserve a full post.  Okay...they weren't GROSS...I've just had a lot better.  And, I try not to downgrade when it comes to sweets (why waste calories?), so, I wouldn't make these again.

I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Oddly enough, she had a similar reaction to the brownies.  I should have saved my time!

If anyone does try this recipe and it comes out moist and delicious (like my sister's ganache brownies), please let me know.  I want to sample and know where I went wrong.

Mississippi Mud Cake

I've heard about Mississippi Mud Cake before, but never tried it.  When I was flipping through my Serendipity cookbook, I came across this chocolately sticky sweet dish.  And, because it was basically diabetes in a cake pan, I had to make it. 

Chocolate Chip Pizza

Remember those cookie cakes from Mrs. Field's cookies?  Okay wait let me back track.  Ohhhh Emmm Geee I love Mrs. Field's cookies.  They were the highlight of any mall visit from age 4-26. With a carton of skim milk.  I loved the chocolate chip ones as a little girl.  Now I love the macademia nut chocolate chip ones.  But THEN...remember the COOKIE CAKES?  With the piped icing on the outside and phrases such as "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations" on them?  I was in LOVE with those cookie cakes.  So when I saw this recipe, I HAD TO TRY IT!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pedas, Round 2

Clearly I loved pedas enough to give them a second go-round when my first recipe didn't go as planned.  This time, I went straight to the source: Vidya Maushi.  I think the first peda I ever had was hers (probably when I was 13).  What better time to try this out then for DESSERT FEST 2010!

S'mores Brownies

Dessert Fest 2010!  WHAT SHOULD I MAKE?  Anything that is over the top sweet, chocolately and decadent, of course.  So where do I turn to for inspiration?  No other than Joy The Baker.  My sister introduced me to this blog because she too loves baking, but, unlike me, she gets all the chemistry stuff that goes on behind it. 

When I was around the age of 4, my mom would bring me those pre-made s'mores cookies that you heat for like 5 seconds in the microwave.  I loved those!  Well, at age 4 I loved anything with high fructose corn syrup and was nutritionally devoid (and...let's be honest here...nothing has really changed).  My favorite after-school snack.

When I'm at my parent's house, I always make s'mores over my mom's stovetop (yeah, yeah...I know...).  With graham crackers and bits of chocolate (whatever I can scrap from the pantry).  I usually do it when my sister is at school or doing her homework (and after I've eaten her halloween candy) so she can't steal my share of sticky melty sugar and chocolate (which is probably dripping down my chin, let's be real here).  And then I usually end up with graham cracker crumbs in my hair.  So I guess I don't do a good job of hiding my secret snack.

When I saw this recipe on Joy The Baker, I knew I had to try it out for the dessert party!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pedas, Round 1

I haven't come across many indian sweets I haven't loved.  When I go to family friend's parties, I usually stuff my face with srikand and pedas.  So naturally, now that I've mastered ice cream, I want to move forward into the scary realm of disgustingly sweet yet flavorful indian treats.  And, pedas are my favorite (apart from rasamalai) I went in search of a recipe.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010


My mom's signature dessert is rasamalai.  In fact, there may or may not have been an incident involving my younger sister where we fought, leap frog style, for the last piece of her rasamalai.  I probably won. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shahi Falooda Cupcakes

And today we have a lovely treat from a guest blogger: my friend Asmi.  Asmi made me some lovely cupcakes for my birthday celebration!  And, because they were pink, they of course had to make an appearance here on Hom Nom.

I've never had falooda, that I'm aware of.  Asmi explains what it is below.  We toyed with the idea of making falooda ice cream, but it didn't materialize since I was so busy making 800 other kinds of ice cream.  These are very delicious rose flavored cupcakes with candied almonds and pistachios.  A really fantastic birthday treat!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Moroccan Style Lamb

Nom nom nom...I love lamb!  So when I found this recipe in cookinglight, I added it to my to try list for when I went home.  It includes apricots - which - who doesn't love in cooking?  I think that pairs nicely with lamb.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mom's Quick and Easy Chicken Curry

From my farmer's market adventure, I had quite a bit of cilantro left.  Also, since I had gone on a falafel binge, I hadn't eaten meat in a while.  And, since I was craving some Indian food, I decided to make some chicken curry instead of order from Bricklane.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dulce de Leche Cookies

As you recall, my sister went to Buenos Aires over the summer.  She came back with some dulce de leche. Wait, scratch that.  She came back with this:

Totally unbeknownst to me, of course.  I wanted to bake cookies, and it was her snack day for her volleyball team.  So, I decided that I had to make something with dulce de leche.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quinoa Falafels

Still in my falafel phase...I found this recipe on and thought it could be tasty.  I did have left-over quinoa so this would be a good way to use it up.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cardamom Marinated Lamb Chops

Add caption

Things I love: cilantro. lamb. cardamom.  Well, I did not include any cilantro in this recipe.  But what a win with the other two!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Any time I go to the Union Square farmer's market, my eyes are always bigger than my reusable bags and eyes.  I had been wanting to make some squash blossoms all summer long, but never really acted on it.  So, finally I saw some at the market and got them on the spot.  The first time I had squash blossoms was last summer at Pure Food and Wine.  They were so amazing!  I guess I should see if Pure has a cookbook I can get the recipe from.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gnocchetti all'Amatriciana

Gnocchi is by far my favorite dish at any Italian restaurant.  I love it when it is paired with a meat like proscuitto, or pancetta.  I also love it with truffle oil or pesto.  I most recently had it at Paprika, and it was pillowy soft melt in your mouth amazing.  Other notable places I've had it at Alta (equally melt in your mouth delish) and Araxi in Whistler (with lamb and black truffles. OHHHH EMMMM GEEEE).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Apple Sangria

Marisa's September 2010 Cooking Light magazine had a lot of great fall recipes I really want to try.  I love fall.  It is by far my favorite season for so many reasons.  The air is cool and crisp, so I can blow dry my hair and it won't fro out.  Sweaters, leggings and boots are great outfits.  The subway trains aren't 1,000 degrees and I don't sweat buckets on my way to work (no, I was not in spin class...just waiting for the 6 train).  I love apples and pumpkins and fall squash.  I also love halloween, which is the best fall holiday EVER.  Coincidentally, I also love sangria.  Apples and sangria?  Sold.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vegan Pad Thai

In celebration of my new job, Asmi wanted to do something fun.  We've been wanting to try Dirt Candy, but I was kind of in a noodly mood, so we opted for cooking at home.  Plus, I love new additions to my food blog!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Noodles with Sweet Potato and Almond Butter Sauce

I was on the website and of course came across something food related.  I came across Mark Bittman's Top 12 Make Ahead Dishes page and skimmed it quickly.  I love sweet potatoes!  I also love soba noodles.  And I also love dishes I can make after I come home from an "early" night at work and not worry about ruining my metabolism because I ate less than 2 hours before going to bed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baked Falafel

I was reaaallly craving falafel. I was thinking of Taim's...or Mamoun's...or Maoz...

But, falafel has been on my "to cook list" I decided to try it out. I first asked my former colleague who is now in Israel if he had a great recipe. He did not. I asked another colleague of mine if she had a good falafel recipe. She said she did not. (He looked up...he did not see her. He looked down....he did not see her...who can identify this book?)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Brown Butter and Peanut Brittle Ice Cream

I've mastered the basic flavors of ice cream: chocolate, vanilla, french vanilla, strawberry. I was ready to try something EXCITING. Actually, I was just looking for something to use up egg yolks because I had made some scrambled egg whites over the weekend and had a lot left over. I guess this is the summer of high cholesterol.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Coconut Curry with Salmon

All I've been doing lately is making ice cream right and left. Basically every other day (oh don't you worry...there are more posts to come with more delish ice cream).

However, with Halloween coming up, I figured maybe...just maybe I should stop eating buffalo chicken pizza and heavy cream and whole milk and maybe throw some spinach into my diet. Though I'm sure Princess Jasmine loves eating rose or mango flavored kulfi from the markets of Agrabah.

If I were Alton Brown, I could probably spit some knowledge out about the kinds of nutrients snow peas have. But I'm not, so I don't know. They are green, and isn't green good for you?

I think shallots are my favorite from the onion family. I once made a delicious fondue in which I smeared the pot with shallot and let the rest just cook in the pot. Ohhh soooo delicious!!

Noodles boiling away....I did try to find whole wheat pad thai noodles, but for some reason, WF didn't have them! WTF! Maybe Trader Joes would...

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the leftover red curry paste...maybe I'll make RED CURRY WITH CHICKEN! or Paneer. Oh yummmmmy paneer!

I totally love the idea from David Lebovitz to mix in palm sugar with more "exotic" meals that include coconut. I made saffron coconut ice cream with this sugar, so I figured i would try it with my coconut curry. I only did one tablespoon and another tablespoon of regular sugar, but next time I think I would do the full two.

Prepping the green onions, sugars and fish sauce

Coriander (AHHH love the smell!) ready to go!

The recipe was originally made with chicken, but I saw CoHo river salmon at Whole Foods and couldn't resist. I love pink fresh salmon. Reminds me of home!

The curry is almost ready! And it smells SO good!

The salmon was perfectly cooked - tender, soft and very flavorful. Best.Substitution.Ever!! Topped with my favorite herb ever (cilantro) this was a very nom nom dinner.

This recipe is loosely adapted from while trying to find a quick recipe that used up all the ingredients in my fridge: cilantro, spinach, garlic and scallions.
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 lb. snow peas, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 package of pad thai noodles
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot
  • 2 tsp. red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder (I used my mom's garam masala mix)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups water (the original recipe called for low-sodium chicken broth...I wasn't sold on this so I decided to use water instead)
  • 1 can light coconut milk (I just got the Everyday 365 brand from Whole Foods)
  • 1 pound salmon, cut into cubes. You might want to ask the fish monger to do it for you as this was a little messy as you have to trim the skin off the salmon
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar (remember her from the saffron coconut ice cream?)
  • 1 tbsp. regular sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • Optional: sliced red chilis. I left this out because my mom's masala is pretty spicy as is
  • 7 lime wedges
In a large pot boil the 4 cups of water. Add the spinach and the peas and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and put in a large bowl. Add the noodles and cook according to directions (most likely boil for 5 minutes).
Drain the noodles and add them to the same large bowl the spinach and peas are in.
In a sauté pan, heat the oil. Once heated, add the shallots, garlic, red curry paste, curry powder (in this case my mom's garam masala), ground coriander and ground turmeric. Cook them for 1-2 minutes.

My sautee pan wasn't big enough to hold the 6 cups of water - so I transfered all ingredients back to my pot. I then added the 6 cups of water (you could sub in chicken broth to this but I'm not sure how salty this would have been so I left it out). Bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat, add the coconut milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the salmon, green onions, sugars, and fish sauce to the pot and cook for about 2 minutes (the salmon should cook pretty fast).

Put the noodles and spinach/peas back into the pot and stir together.

Add cilantro (and the chilies if you want). Serve in a bowl (accompany with both a spoon and chopsticks).