Cake, Sweet

Cardamom Almond Cake

00000IMG_00000_BURST20200524182900351_COVER

Cardamom is one of my favorite spices.  So when I saw this recipe, I had to make.  What makes it even more special is that I used duck eggs in this recipe, to yield a richer, more moist cake.  The original recipe was written for a 9-inch cake, but I wanted to make a smaller portion–after all, it is just the two of us in this lockdown. The cake came out delicious and the duck eggs give it a wonderfully rich texture and a beautiful golden yellow color.  The cardamom taste is floral and prominent but softened by the nuttiness of the almond flour  You can, of course, make this with regular eggs, I have recommendations below:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 duck eggs (2 extra-large chicken eggs or three regular-sized eggs)

1 tsp of almond extract

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp of cardamom

2 and 1/4 cups of almond flour

2 Tbsp of apricot jam (optional for glazing the cake)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour on 6-inch cake pan.

Mix almond flour, sugar, and cardamom in a bowl.

00000IMG_00000_BURST20200524140949568_COVER

In a separate bowl (or measuring cup) which together with the almond extract, oil, and eggs.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200524141153315_COVER

Mix wet and dry ingredients, folding them together to create a smooth batter.

00000IMG_00000_BURST20200524141434092_COVER

IMG_20200524_142053

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 mins (depending on your oven temperature) till a tooth-pick comes out clean.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200524145617848_COVER

Cool the cake on a wire rack and during the cooling process, spread the apricot jam (warmed–so that it spreads easily) on top of the cake to create a lovely glaze.

Serve at room temperature, we had it with fresh berries, but it is wonderful just as it is.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200524182952809_COVER00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200524183037626_COVER

Breakfast, Sweet

Oatmeal Breakfast Loaf with blueberries

00100dportrait_00100_burst20200509145928804_cover

As you all know by now, I always try to come up with new ways to “package” my oatmeal in the morning.  You can also tell that blueberries are really popular in my house (refer to Blueberry-Almond Oatmeal MuffinsGluten-free Blueberry Corn Muffins).  Here is my latest experiment–it consists of oatmeal and cornmeal and it low in sugar and it gluten-free.

Ingredients:

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup stone-ground, yellow cornmeal

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/8 cup of sugar + 1 Tbsp for sprinkling

2 eggs

1 cup almond milk

8 oz plain greek yogurt

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 cup blueberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix yogurt, eggs, almond milk in a large measuring cup (or bowl)

In a separate bowl, mix oats, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest, and sugar.

img_20200509_134010

Slowly fold in the wet and the dry ingredients.  Add the lemon juice and mix in thoroughly.  I like to mix the lemon juice at the end because I don’t want the milk or yogurt to curdle when I mix all the wet ingredients together.

The last step is to fold in the blueberries.

In the greased loaf pan, pour in the batter and spread it evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining 1Tbsp of sugar over the top.  This will create a golden, sugary top which is really nice for an otherwise “not-so-sweet” quick bread.

img_20200509_134924

Bake for 25 mins.  After that, you can turn on the broiler to High for 2-3 minutes to encourage the sugar to brown and the blueberries to burst!

img_20200509_141854

Let the loaf cool before using a serrated knife to slice the loaf.

Serve warm!

00000img_00000_burst20200509150201832_cover

 

 

Breakfast, Lifestyle

Breakfast Du Jour

 

I eat oatmeal everyday and if you read my blog, you will see that I am constantly trying to come up with creative ways of eating oatmeal for breakfast.  Usually I bake my oatmeal with fruits and nuts;  sometimes in a large baking dish like my Baked Oatmeal with Walnuts and Figs recipe, or in muffin tins/ mini bundt pans like Marmalade Muffins, Blueberry-almond oatmeal muffins or Lemon, rosemary and olive-oil cakes.  It is all about fooling the mind and making it appear as if I were eating dessert for breakfast.  However, when I don’t have time to “bake” my oatmeal ahead of time, I will eat it in its traditional porridge form.  Even then, I try to jazz it up, just to cheer myself and start the day off right.  After all,  Mom was right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Featured here is my Cherry Almond Oatmeal.  Cook the oatmeal as directed and thin it out with almond milk and honey.  Add sliced almonds and chopped cherries, and enjoy ! Make your Monday morning a little more exciting!

Breakfast, Brunch, Classics, Comfort food, Sweet

Blueberry Waffles, gluten-free

00000img_00000_burst20200419141601057_cover

I have this foggy memory of Saturday mornings from childhood.  My father sitting at the breakfast table, reading the newspaper and eating Eggo waffles–toasted with strawberry jam.  I think I get my love of waffles from him and I eat them like he does too.  Toasted, no butter or syrup.  If I am feeling indulgent,  I will slather on some nut butter or fruit preserve.  Waffles are now a Sunday staple, made even better because I eat my waffles while I Skype with my parents back in India.  It takes a while to make a large batch of waffles, so when I have time (which I do now, thanks to the pandemic) I make them and freeze them.  This past Sunday, I experimented with this recipe.  It is gluten-free and has dried blueberries instead of fresh.  I will be honest, the rice flour does give it a grittier texture, but when toasted, it actually lends a lovely crunch.  It suits my palate and I hope that somebody, somewhere, out there will enjoy these.  I know my Dad would!

00100dportrait_00100_burst20200419141621373_cover

Ingredients:

1 cup of rice flour

1 cup almond flour

2 tsp of baking powder

2Tbsp of sugar

2 eggs

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste (you can use extract too)

6 Tbsp of dried blueberries

Method:

In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.

In a large measuring cup (I love measuring and mixing in the same vessel–less dishes) measure and mix almond milk, oil and eggs till smooth.

img_20200419_132839

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and fold in the vanilla and blueberries.

 

 

Turn on your waffle maker and let it come to temperature.  I like to cook mine on the highest setting to get nice golden and crispy waffles.

00100dportrait_00100_burst20200419133919923_cover

Once the waffle iron is hot, spray the surface with some non-stick spray and pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the iron.  Working quickly and using the back of the measuring cup (or ice-cream scoop like I did) gently nudge the batter to spread it evenly.  Close the iron and cook the waffles–I am sure your waffle maker will have an indicator to let you know that your waffles are ready.

 

 

Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.  If you are like me, I cool them down completely on a wire rack and freeze them individually.  When I want to eat them, I simply pop them in the toaster and they are ready to go!

img_20200419_14181300000img_00000_burst20200419141524979_cover00000img_00000_burst20200419141607335_cover

 

Breakfast, Sweet

Marmalade Muffins

00000img_00000_burst20200419140353816_cover

I love orange marmalade.  It is my favorite thing to slather on crunchy toast or a warm scone.  Two years ago, when we visited London, I brought back several jars of marmalade.  Now with the last jar, I thought I would try something different.  So, I decided to use it as a sweetener in my morning oatmeal muffins.   If you enjoy the sweet, bitter taste of orange marmalade, you will most certainly enjoy these.  Oh, did I mention that these are gluten-free too?!

Ingredients:

2 cups of quick-cooking oats

1 cup of almond flour

2 tsp of baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup orange marmalade for the batter, another 1/4 cup for the top of the muffins

1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

00100dportrait_00100_burst20200419140325404_cover

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

In a small bowl, heat the marmalade till it is runny, about 30-45seconds.  You will 1/2 cup fo the marmalade in the batter and reserve the rest to spoon on top of the muffin

img_20200419_124259

In another larger bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.

img_20200419_125014

In a large measuring cup, mix in yogurt, milk, vanilla, marmalade and 2 eggs.  Whisk together till everything is fully incorporated.

Mix in the wet and dry ingredients, fold to incorporate.

img_20200419_125702

Divide the batter into a lined muffin tin, you will have enough batter to make 12 muffins.  I use a 2-inch ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly.

img_20200419_130435

Use the remaining 1/4 cup “runny” marmalade (warm in the microwave if it has cooled down) and spoon (about a 1tsp) on to each muffin.

Bake for 20 minutes.

00100dportrait_00100_burst20200419132949760_cover

Cool and store in an air-tight container, in the fridge, for up to a week.  Warm in the microwave before eating.  Enjoy your morning!

00100dportrait_00100_burst20200419140427977_cover00100dportrait_00100_burst20200419140325404_cover00100dportrait_00100_burst20200419140412871_cover

 

Dinner, Mexican, Poultry, Savory

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 

00000img_00000_burst20200417172959541_coverThis is a fun, nutrient-dense dinner that I wish I had thought to make before.  It looks like you are eating pub-food, but in reality, it is a hearty dinner.  Like any “stuffed” recipe, this can be tailored to your taste or dietary restrictions.  I made it with chicken because you always need to come up with creative ways of cooking chicken breast; you can most certainly make it with ground beef or add no animal protein at all.   This particular version has Mexican flavors.  Personally, I think the spiciness to chilies pair really well with the sweetness of the potatoes.  It is also an easy recipe as it uses ingredients that probably already have in your pantry/fridge.  Here is what you will need:

00000IMG_00000_BURST20200417163814051_COVER

Ingredients:

2, medium-sized sweet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned

4, thin chicken breast slices or 1 big chicken breast.

1 bunch of scallions, about 8 stalks– chopped.  Use half for cooking and half for garnish

3 Tbsp of black beans from a 15oz can

3 Tbsp of sweet corn from a 15oz can

1 medium-sized jalapeno, dice half of the pepper for cooking and slice the remaining half for garnish

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

1/4 cup of store-bought salsa (spice level of your choice, I used “hot”)

1/4 cup water

1Tbsp of olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Cheese and avocado slices for garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F

Scrub and wash the sweet potatoes and cut them in half, lengthwise.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

During the last 9 minutes of baking, add in the chicken breasts.  The goal is to get them par-cooked so as to shred the meat.  You might have to adjust the cook-time depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breast.

Let the chicken and the sweet potatoes cool for about 5 minutes or until you are comfortable handling them.  Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the sweet potatoes, leaving a little bit left on the skin.

Using a fork, shred the chicken.  You will end up with approximately, 3/4 to 1 cup of shredded chicken.

IMG_20200417_170007

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add scallions, jalapenos, and all the spices.  Stir everything around in the pan to incorporate and then add the chicken and the sweet potato.  Continue stirring till everything is completely covered in the spice mixture.

Add the corn, beans, salsa, and water, and continue to cook on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

During these five minutes, stick the potato skins back in the 400F oven to crisp up slightly.  If you want the skin to be more crisp, consider increasing the baking temperature and roasting for a little bit longer.

Fill the potato skins with the chicken mixture, I still had some of the mixture leftover.

IMG_20200417_17210900100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200417172309182_COVER

After filling the skin, top with as much cheese as you like and serve piping hot with a garnish of scallions, sliced jalapenos, and sliced avocadoes.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200417172935624_COVER00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200417172926928_COVER00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200417172952181_COVER00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200417172942255_COVER

Dinner, Indian, Meat, Savory

Gosht jalfrezi

00100dportrait_00100_burst20200413171355648_cover

The word Gosht is a Persian word and loosely refers to any kind of read meat cooked till tender.  It can be mutton, lamb or beef.  This particular version of Jalfrezi is made with beef and is another one of my Simmer Sauce Solutions.  The vegetarian version of this recipe, made with paneer, potatoes, peppers, peas, and cauliflower is equally delicious.  Here is how doctored up a store-bought simmer sauce to make dinner in under an hour.

00100dportrait_00100_burst20200413171530118_cover

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs of cubed stew meat (I used beef)

1 medium red onion, red pepper, and green pepper–diced

1 tsp of olive oil

3/4 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of chili powder

1/4 tsp of cayenne powder

1 tsp of ground cumin

1/2 tsp of garam masala

1/2 tsp of sugar

1, 15oz jar of Patak’s Jalfrezi simmer sauce

15oz water

Method

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pot and add the beef.  Make sure the beef is at room temperature and dry–otherwise it will not brown. Fry on high for about 5 minutes

Once the meat starts to turn light brown, add in all the spices except for the sugar and garam masala.

Sautee the beef on medium-high.  Chop the vegetables during this process.

img_20200413_155138

Add the veggies, to the beef and continue to saute on medium-high heat till the vegetables are soft.

Add the who jar of the jalfrezi simmer sauce.  Fill the jar with water, rinse our ever last bit of the sauce and add the liquid to the pot.

Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

After about 20 minutes, check to see if the beef is fork-tender.  At this point add the sugar and garam masala and simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat.

img_20200413_160703

Serve hot with basmati rice!

Brunch, Cake, Quick-breads, Sweet

Lemon, Rosemary, and Olive oil cake

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200405130859555_COVER

The last social thing I did before the lockdown, was to go out to dinner with some close friends at the Blue Heron.  That night, for dessert we had lemon rosemary shortbread cookies.  The cookie was flakey and buttery, but the lemon and rosemary added a lovely lightness and freshness.  I have used lemon and rosemary to roast a chicken, but I have never tried to incorporate it into something sweet.  I have been thinking about this flavor combination for a couple of weeks and finally, I created this recipe.  The best part is that it is low in the sugar content and is gluten-free, which means, I can have cake for breakfast–right?  Please try this recipe and let me know if you liked it or not.

00000PORTRAIT_00000_BURST2020040513032971800100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200405131639200_COVER~2

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of quick-cooking oats

1.5 cups of almond meal or almond flour

4 springs of rosemary

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp of baking powder

2 tsp of baking soda

2 eggs

1 cup of yogurt

2 tbsp of lemon juice (fresh)

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of honey

1 tbsp of sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

In a food processor, add the oatmeal and rosemary leaves and pulse (or grind) till it resembles “flour”.

Mix the oatmeal “flour” and rosemary mixture with almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest.

In a glass measuring cup, add eggs, lemons juice, olive oil, and honey.  Whisk till it forms a smooth emulsion, almost like salad dressing.

To the dry ingredients, add in the oil mixture and yogurt and fold gently to combine.

IMG_20200405_115930

Coat your baking pan ( I used a mini bundt pan with 6 cavities) with cooking spray.  Take 1 tbsp of sugar and sprinkle it onto the baking dish–this will create a beautiful caramel-colored top to your cakes, which also means that you will be flipping the over the cake once it comes out of your baking dish.

IMG_20200405_120213IMG_20200405_120531

Divide the batter amongst the 6 cavities of the mini-bundt pan and bake for 20 minutes.  A toothpick should come out clean when you prink the center of the cake, after 20 minutes.

Let the cakes cool completely at room temperature before you invert them out of the pan.

IMG_20200405_122655IMG_20200405_122711

Cakes are ready to be eaten!  They taste good at room temperature, but even better if you warm them up in the microwave for 30 secs.

For a fancier presentation, you can glaze the cakes with a lemon drizzle.  The recipe for lemon drizzle is below, but I skipped that part since I had every intention of eating the cake for breakfast; lemon drizzle might be a little too sweet for first thing in the morning.

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Optional: 1 small drop yellow food coloring

00000IMG_00000_BURST20200405125908171_COVER00000IMG_00000_BURST20200405125826681_COVER

Appetizers, Indian, Poultry, Savory

Murgh Kofta (Chicken Meatballs)

IMG_20200329_114106

This is a “house” recipe.  Traditional kofta has more ingredients and the recipe changes from country to country (India, Pakistan, Turkey etc.).  This version is packed with flavor, has only a few ingredients and can be whipped up in 30 minutes.  It is also a different way to use ground chicken which often goes on sale.  I like to make mini balls and have them with hummus, pita, and a garden salad.  You can certainly make larger patties and make it into a burger!  Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken

1 medium onion, grated directly on to the chicken (you want the juices from the onion)

1 tsp of minced garlic, minced ginger, chili powder, salt, and garam masala.

1 Tbsp of chopped parsley (this time, I did not have any, but I would highly recommend it)

1Tbsp of olive oil

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Don’t over mix–you will get hard koftas!

2. Heat oil in a pan.

3. Use a 0.5-inch ice-cream scoop to form mini chicken balls.  If you wet your palms before rolling, you will get smooth, round koftas!

4. Fry on medium-high heat till deep golden brown and cooked through.

5. Serve piping hot!!

IMG_20200329_114023

 

Comfort food, Poultry, Savory

Saffron Chicken and Rice

IMG_20200118_180934

Over Christmas break, I went back home to India.  It was a glorious three week holiday filled with lots of home-cooked food, family, R&R, and of course shopping.  One thing that I brought back was good saffron from Kashmir–nothing quite like it.  I love the vibrant orange hue and the lovely floral fragrance that saffron lends to any dish.  Spanish saffron is equally delicious and is the appropriate substitute for this recipe, especially since this version is inspired by Spanish-Style Arroz con Pollo

Ingredients: (cooking for two)

5 chicken tenders

1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, and 1 onion–diced

1tsp of minced garlic

1tsp of sweet paprika

2 cups of hot chicken broth

1tsp of crushed paprika

3/4 cup basmati rice

2Tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish

Method:

Heat 1 Tbsp in a deep skillet.  Chop up the chicken tenders, season with salt and pepper, and fry in the hot oil till pale golden.

In the meantime, soak the rice in cold water–it shortens the cooking time and improves the flavor!

IMG_20200118_162700

Remove the chicken and add the rest of the oil in the same pan.  Add the peppers and onions and saute till they are very soft.  Halfway through this process, add garlic and paprika.

While the peppers and onions are softening in the hot oil,  heat 2 cups of chicken broth and add the saffron.  Allow the saffron to bloom–the yellow stock will turn into a dark orange color.

Once the onions and peppers are softened, add the soaked and rinsed rice to the skillet.  Sautee the rice for 2-4 mins till the grains are lightly toasted and fragrant.

Finally, add the hot chicken stock and saffron solution, reduce the heat to medium-high and wait for the rice to cook through.

Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the chicken to the skillet and continue cooking till all the liquid is gone and the rice is cooked through.

Finish with a garnish of fresh chopped parsley.  Serve piping hot!!!

IMG_20200118_180841