Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sugar Cookies dipped in Chocolate, squished with Jam

I have been really excited all week to make these! I dream cookies. They come in all shapes and sizes inside my head. Today is Saturday and I finally got my chance. It seems as though for the past few months I have been stocking up on baking products. So, now when I feel like mixing-creating a cooking recipe, I don’t have to make an extra run to the super market. Something delicious can be created with the most basic things and a little imagination. So, I ordered some Linzer cookie cutters this week, in hopes of making some. Linzer cookie! Linzer cookie! I love jam! So finally the the cutters arrive and of course I cant wait to try them out. As I was surfing the internet, I was reading some great tips on what one can do with melted chocolate. In the past few weeks, I have been on a real chocolate kick. I think I am addicted to chocolate. Ok so, the bottom line? I am NOT making the Linzer cookies, instead I am making some good ol’ fashioned sugar cookies dipped in chocolates. I think I will make the linzer cookies next week?hmm… Adapted from my favorite baking website


3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Zest of one orange
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar (substitute 1/2 with brown sugar)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Melted Chocolate
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
Okay so I never heard of tempering chocolate. What is that? plus I am in the habit of making things in a rush. After reading up WHY this is necessary, I realized that this was a step I did not want to miss. So I went the extra mile. . This is the reason why I love the internet! You have a ridiculous amount of information on everything. So why not use it? Before I decide to make something, I research that subject to death. Check out the website it really helped me , and the directions are easy
I did the pot over a sauce-pan method and used chocolate chips instead. I also dipped the pot into room temperature water, to let it cool for just a few minutes. My hand tested tepid to the touch once the chocolate started to cool. It was perfect! I also made the dipping chocolate when the cookies were cooling after being baked. The melted chocolate has to be used right away!

For Sugar Cookies:

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. Grate the orange to get some zest and bits of juice. Set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluff. Add the orange zest and beat till incorporated. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll . Preheat to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch . (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes (depending on size) or until they are brown around the edges. Remove from oven and dip in melted chocolates, dip in nuts or nonpareils.
Posted by Picasa

Tacos Al Carbon

The reason I love Whole Foods is because of the quality of their meat. I almost never know what I am going to make when I buy different cuts of beef. With chicken, I stock up because its the only meant I feel confident in. I can do anything with chicken and it turns out good. For the better part of my life, I was "beef-free." In restaurants, I would order steaks and in diners, burgers. As the years passed, I attempted to cook it myself. Flank steak is my favorite cut of meat. There is just so much you can do with it. It cooks fast, marinates well and if cooked just right, it will absolutely melt in your mouth. However, I almost wish that I had made this on Sunday instead of Monday. This took longer than I thought it would for a week night. I was in the kitchen for an hour and a half. That is a long time, when you get home at 7pm.

Tacos al Carbon adapted from


1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion (about 1 medium)

1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

4 garlic cloves, minced/I used Garlic Press
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons fat-free sour cream


Marinate the steak first. Rub the Steak with salt, pepper & garlic. Pour lime jui
ce in the mix and rub well. Let marinate for 30-40 minutes. With marinating red meat, the longer the better. I was in a hurry, so I let the steak marinate, while I prepared the rest of the veggies.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper to pan, and cook 4 minutes. Add onion to pan, and sauté 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Place pepper mixture in a large bowl; cover and keep warm.
Add beef to pan; cook 7 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Add to pepper mixture. Add chili powder, to bowl; toss to coat.
Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spoon steak mixture evenly over 8 tortillas. Top each taco with about 1 teaspoon cilantro and 2 1/4 teaspoons sour cream.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grilled Chipotle-Cheddar Chicken Sandwich

Sundays are the days that I prefer to cook something grand. It partially stems from my childhood. When we still lived in India, my mother would cook meat on that day. She would especially cook lamb. The whole house would smell of her delicious curry. Of garlic releasing their fresh aroma's, to the sounds of the onions sizzling. Now that I am married, I too like to cook something absolutely delicious on sundays. Being as how I usually cook quick and fast during the weekdays, on sundays I take things a bit leisurely and indulge in my hobby and my obsession. This sandwich was so good that we did not want it to end. Surprisingly I also learned that it is a fantastic recipe to cook during the weekday! Yay! Squeal! No matter how delicious the food in my kitchen is, I miss sundays with my parents.

I first got the inspiration to this recipe from simply recipes. I made it with cheddar cheese (as my husband is lactose intolerant, and he recently learned that aged cheeses do not affect people who suffer from this intolerance. huh.) Also, I toasted the bread along with separately grilling the red onions after they were marinated in red wine vinegar.

My version of the Chiptole-Cheddar Chicken Sandwich

Marinade for Chicken
*1 lb of thin chicken cutlets
*1 whole lime
*1 tablespoon chiptole chile powder (more or less to suit your "spicy" taste)
* Salt & Pepper to taste
*1 table spoon olive oil

Slice the chicken in thin strips of all different sizes. Mix all the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Marinade for Red Onions
*1 medium red onion
*1/3 cup red wine vinegar
*1 teaspoon olive oil
*ground black pepper to taste

Slice the onion in thin rounds. Mix all the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add onions. Marinate for 30 minutes.

For Sandwich
* 1 small avocado
* 1 medium tomato sliced rounds
* Mayo to taste
* Cheddar Cheese (or any other you wish), sliced
* Sour dough bread

Spray the grill pan with oilve oil spray. Grill the marinated sliced chicken. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or atleast till the chicken starts to get dark lines across its body. Place in a bowl. Take half the sliced and place in the same bowl with the chicken, so that the cheese starts to melt. Let the chicken and cheese start to blend. In the meantime, pour the onions on the grill pan and let heat up. After the onions start to barely get soft, remove (2-3 minutes) and place in the chicken-cheddar mixture. Clean out the grill pan a bit and place the bread on the pan. Toast evenly on both sides. Coat bread with mayo and fill with chicken-cheddar-onion mixture. Eat & Enjoy
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Marble Bundt Cake

End of January makes me retreat into a hibernation of sorts. The entire week is dark. When I wake up in the morning, there is barely any light out. When I leave from work, it feels like its 10pm at night. On the weekends however, though it may be cold- I still like to utilize the light outside to cheer me up. So, nothing works better than baking a warm moist cake during the day. I needed something sweet, comforting and soft to make me cozy on this nice Saturday afternoon. Also, my bundt pan had been out of the scene in my kitchen since my honey cake at Roshashana. I wasn't too happy with the recipes I found, this particular recipe is from La Times and its Buttercake's Bakery Marble Cake Recipe- added honey and maple syrup instead of light corn syrup.

This recipe is absolutely delicious and such great fun to make. I think that my math skills were a little weak on this one though. My sauce ended up being too much, so the bottom of my cake was chocolate and the top was yellow. Next time I will be more cautious.


*2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
*1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
*1/4 cup light corn syrup
*2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
*2 2/3 cups flour
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 cup (2 sticks) butter
*4 eggs
*1 cup milk
*1 cup chocolate chips
*Powdered sugar for dusting

In a small saucepan, whisk together one-half cup of the sugar, the cocoa powder and corn syrup with one-half cup hot water. Bring just to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add a half-teaspoon of vanilla off the heat and set aside. Then heat the oven to 350 degrees while lightly flouring and greasing the bundt pan. In a m edium bowl: combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream butter with remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk one egg at one time until thoroughly mixed. Them whisk in the remaining vanilla. Whisk about a third of the flour mixture into the batter, then a third of the milk. Continue this procedure until everything is added and the batter is light and smooth.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips, then divide the batter into thirds. Pour a third of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Whisk the chocolate syrup with another third of batter, then pour this into the prepared bundt pan. Pour the remaining third of batter over this, lightly swirl the batters with a wooden skewer or knife to give it a "marble" effect and place the pan in the oven. Bake the cake unt il a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. In my case it was about 55 minutes. Wait till the cake is cook, and then invert the cake into a plate. Dust with powdered sugar.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Spicy Meatballs with Rice Pilaf

"Dinner in 45 mins?" That's the question I ask myself everyday right before I am about to leave work. My husband hates grocery shopping. I on the other hand, absolutely love it. Therefore when I do go food shopping (yes I always drag him with me) I tend to buy in bulk and foresee what can I cook in a jiff when I am bored of eating the regular stuff. The regular stuff for after work dinner has been pasta or tuna. Recently, I grew tired of tuna just as fast as I had fallen in love with it. Also, there are a billion different ways of cooking chicken breast, but it didn't seem interesting enough to satisfy my pallet tonight. Believe it or not, meatballs always present a challenge to me. Even Indian kofta's elude me. Regardless, practice makes perfect. I did not cook the rice below, I bought that pilaf pre-made. Though the meatballs are my creation and much to my happiness, freaking delicious!

Serves 4.
* 1 lb ground chicken
* 1 medium onion/diced super fine
* 2 medium garlic cloves/pressed with a garlic press
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
* 1/4 teaspoon italian seasonings
* 1/3rd cup bread crumbs
* 1 egg
*Salt & Pepper to taste
*Olive Oil

**Rice Pilaf/premade
***Equipment: A grill pan. You can make these anyway you feel like, baked, fried, in sauce.

In a medium bowl mix together all ingredients.

Mix real well. Oil your palm with the olive oil.
Seek a handful of mixed spiced ground chicken between the palm of your hands. Roll the ground chicken and press gently with the pal, to flatten it and make it a bit oval.

Grill on the grill pan approximately 5 minutes atleast on each side. Make sure that they are well done. Mine took more than 5 minutes on each side. I even had to tilt them on their skinny sides just to make sure they cooked all around. I supposed if you used to make these in a sauce, or bake them they would cook evenly. Serve with Rice Pilaf that you enjoy.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chocolate Cocoa Brownies

So today is my birthday. Yay! I am always up for a delicious sweet treat, especially on my birthday. I decided that it would be best if I made something sweet with my own hands to enjoy on this special occasion. First, I thought I would make a cherry pie. Unfortunately though, I could not find my rolling pin. Watch out for the Cherry Pie blog next time, this time with a rolling pin in hand. For now, enjoy this Chocolate Cocoa Brownie recipe that I found on, with a few exceptions of almond and honey on my part.

* 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/3 cup honey (I used orange blossom)
* 2 cold large eggs
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 2/3 cup nuts (I used crushed almonds)

* Confectioners Sugar for garnish
* Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares, and garnish with confectioners sugar.
Posted by Picasa