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"...so 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 cookinglight.com 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).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Toffee, Coffee Hom Nom

I really loved how my coffee oreo ice cream turned out, so I wanted to try it again but with a different flavor. What to do what to do? I researched and found out that toffee is a great addition to coffee. Ah-ha!

By now, you should know the drill...

Instant coffee

Skor bars! I thought about getting heath bars, but I haven't had Skor in years so I figured I'd use this one instead.

Break up the pieces into chunks so they are ready to whirl in!

The final result was a total crowd pleaser...this might have been everyone's favorite!

Coffee Toffee Hom, Nom!
  • 1 cup whole milk, well chilled
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. espresso powder
  • 2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. chocolate extract
  • 2 Toffee bars, such as Skor, or Heath. I chose Skor for no particular reason
In a medium bowl, mix the milk, sugar and espresso powder with a hand mixer until the sugar and espresso dissolves.

Stir in the heavy cream and the vanilla and chocolate extract.

Pour into a chilled ice cream maker and churn away (about 30 minutes).

In the meantime, break the toffee bar into small pieces. In the last 5 minutes of the chilling process, slowly drop the toffee pieces in.

I let this one sit in the fridge for a while after I churned it, instead of eating it ASAP.

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

My widdle baby sister went to Buenos Aires for the summer and came back with all kinds of goodies, such as boots, macha and DULCE DE LECHE!!

Why didn't I think of buying this when I was there? You can technically make your own, but its not as exciting as getting a sweet treat from South America!

Whisking the milk, heavy cream and dulce de leche...

Quick chilling the mixture

I've gotten to be a pro at this ice cream making stuff!

Absolutely delicious! Thanks sis!!

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream, borrowed from Smitten Kitchen:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 2/3 cups dulce de leche (so, basically that entire jar plus some)
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the dulce de leche until it is dissolved. Whisk in the vanilla and transfer to a metal bowl.

Quick chill by putting the bowl in a larger bowl with water and ice cubes, stirring occasionally until cold (probably 20 minutes-ish). Freeze in your ice cream maker. You might want to let it sit for an hour in the freezer.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache

I was attempting to be creative with my ice cream. I also discovered, shockingly, that I prefer a vanilla base with chocolate accouterments instead of chocolate base with chocolate mix-ins to create a chocolate craziness. Yes, I said it. I discovered this at my beloved Shake Shack, when after multiple tastings, it dawned upon me that I prefer the Shack Attack with vanilla ice cream and not the chocolate.

My sister made me these nom nom brownies for my birthday once that had a layer of ganache on top. I love that ganache. So, my plan was to make a nice vanilla ice cream with ganache swirls.

Vanilla ice cream getting ready to roll (ha)

So much chocolate, so little time

To help the chocolate melt faster, it is best to break it into pieces

Well, this is chocolate ganache...let's make this MORE chocolatey!!

Melt away! (as I say to the roll I've developed from all the ice cream I've been eating...)

Melted away, that was fast!

Ready to eat and totally to die for! Of course it's delicious, it's chocolate!

I can't quite remember where I pulled the ganache recipe, but it was pretty standard:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. chocolate extract
Very simple to make. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the chocolate. Let it melt and stir away. Then add the chocolate extract. Try not to lick straight out of the bowl before adding to your recipe. Note: because this is all heavy cream and fat, if you eat more than 3 tbsp. on a Tuesday morning before work, you will likely feel nauseous.

The ice cream recipe was adapted the Philadelphia style ice cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz:

  • 3 cups heavy cream (or, 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. chocolate extract
So I ran into a problem while mixing. My ideal ice cream was going to be vanilla with ganache swirls. Something happened and it didn't quite make the swirl design I was hoping for. It became vanilla mixed with ganache and then random pieces of ganache. I think maybe the ganache was too liquidy? In any case, as I was layering in the ice cream into the container, I poured ganache in over each layer, so it kind of created a "ribbon". sort of.

Delicious recipe. I would totally do this again!*

*I may or may not have licked the plastic container that I stored this ice cream in clean after I finished eating the ice cream.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Round 1

I was really craving peanut butter ice cream. Weird, because I usually crave chocolate ice cream.

Chunky peanut butter...Yes, the jiffy kind. Not the "only has peanuts" kind that I always buy from TJ or WF. I figured if I'm blending it with whole milk and heavy cream, then I can also throw in some high-fructose corn syrup to boot. Because, why not?

Blending it up

In goes the heavy cream!

Voila! Super chunky peanut buttery ice cream!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream, courtesy of here
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix the peanut butter and sugar until they are both smooth. Add the milk and blend until the sugar is dissolved.

Stir in the heavy cream and the vanilla extract. Pour into your pre-frozen ice cream canister. I'd recommend letting it freeze for a while in the freezer before you eat it.

Now, this wasn't my favorite recipe. I thought it was too crunchy. Wayy too peanut buttery. I think I just don't like crunchy peanut butter. I should have gone with my instincts and tried the smooth jiffy kind that I love (but never eat anymore).

I did try another peanut butter ice cream recipe of which I will share shortly.

Vanilla Oreo Ice Cream Fail

I really liked my coffee oreo ice cream recipe and I wanted to see what it would taste like as vanilla oreo. I also did not have any heavy cream, only whole milk. I didn't feel like going out to buy more heavy cream. "How bad could it be without heavy cream"? I thought to myself.

It was the same old easy recipe that I used for my coffee oreo ice cream. I used vanilla and chocolate extract:

Whole milk only!

The final result:

So, it was good, but a little icy sorbet-ish. Marisa mentioned that it kind of tasted like diet ice cream. Ew, I don't eat diet ice cream. I go big or I go home! Clearly, the vanilla oreo ice cream needed some extra oompf from the heavy cream.

Would I try it again? No. But, it's a good FYI for myself to see what happens when you leave out a key ingredient. Let's just say August has been a month of recipe fails...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Adventures in Birthday Cake

Asmi's birthday was around the corner. And she loves pink. And so do I. So I wanted to make the most OBNOXIOUS PINK SPARKLY GLITTERY GIRLY pink cake I could find. I searched far and wide for anything glittery hot fuchsia magenta sparkly pink. Poor me. The only caveat: Asmi doesn't eat eggs. So I had to find a good recipe that was also good egg-free.

Something like this but only PINKER. Something like this but only HEART SHAPED.

My genius plan was to take the recipe from the family spice blog and adapt to be Asmi (and Lavina) friendly. So I preheated my oven to 350 degrees. I applied non-stick spray to my 9" heart-shaped pan. I used my mixer to mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of butter

I pureed 3/4 cup of frozen strawberries

In another large bowl, I whisked 1 1/2 cup of cake flour, roughly 2 tsp. of baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. of salt

Now came for my ingenious substitution. Since we know from Martha Stewart that you can mix vinegar and baking soda to make an "egg substitution" I decided to follow the pink lady cake recipe but only with baking soda and vinegar. (note that the original recipe calls for 8 egg whites, 2/3 cups milk and red food coloring at this stage).

Well, this is why I'm not a dentist. I forgot basic chemistry of how I should mix dry ingredients first and then move to wet ingredients. So basically something went on chemistry wise and RUINED EVERYTHING (in short, non-descriptive terms).

There are no photos of the end result for various reasons.

So recipe #1 was a fail on Jyoti's end.

Then I had the genius idea to try the same Martha Stewart Recipe I used for Lavina's birthday cupcakes, only omit the dutch processed cocoa and add red food coloring so the cake would be pink.

This time I had fresh strawberries so I used these instead...

And, the final result....
It was very spongey and not very cake tasting...Epic Fail #2.

Then, I decided to stick to the tried and true "gluten free" recipe from Martha Stewart (see the entry about Lavina's b-day cupcakes). In the heart shaped tin. Okay, so the cake was chocolate. Now I had to make up for the extra pinkiness SOMEWHERE!


A whole lot of sugar and butter = yummy goodness. PINK yummy goodness that is!

My make-shift frosting bag...

Me attempting to frost a cake


Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (courtesy of something I found on all recipes):

3 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp. whipping cream
red food coloring (if you are going for the pink look)

A hot pink glittery mess of yum town fun