Thursday, May 29, 2014

Aromatic Yellow Rice (Peelay Chaaval)

Aromatic Yellow Rice (Peelay Chaaval)
Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking

2 c basmati rice
2 2/3 c water
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp turmeric
3-4 whole cloves
1" stick cinnamon
3 bay leaves
3 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Put rice in bowl and wash in several changes of water. Drain. Pour 5 c water over rice and let soak 30 minutes. Drain.

Combine drained rice, water, salt, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat very low, and cook 25 minutes.

Let pot rest, covered and undisturbed, for 10 minutes. Add small pats of butter to the rice and mix gently with fork. Remove whole spices before serving.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Orange Cheesecake Brownies

This recipe is a re-post from an earlier entry, where I shared two variants on brownies -- this orange cheesecake, and, a turtle brownie. I realize now that, combining those two recipes into one entry makes it hard for users to find the recipe again later. So, am re-posting now to help make it easier to find.

This brownie is still delicious!

Orange Cheesecake Brownies
Gourmet Magazine, December 1996

Cheesecake Batter:
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
3/4 tsp orange zest, finely grated
1 egg
1 T flour

Chocolate Batter:
6 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 c flour
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9" square baking pan, knocking out excess flour.

Make cheesecake batter: in a bowl, stir together cream cheese, sugar and zest with a wooden spoon until smooth. Beat in egg with a fork until blended and stir in flour.

Make chocolate batter: in a heavy 1 1/2 quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Remove pan from heat. Cool mixture 10 minutes and stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon until mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in flour and salt until just combined.

Spread chocolate batter evenly in pan. Drop cheesecake batter by lage spoonfuls onto chocolate batter and run a knife through batters to make decorative swirls.

Bake brownies in middle of oven 50 minutes, or until cheesecake mixture is pale golden and tester comes out clean.

Cool completely in pan on a rack before cutting into squares.

Brownies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container and chilled, 5 days.

Chole Palak

I know many people are afraid of cooking Indian food at home -- largely because they think it involves too many ingredients and will be too time consuming. If this sounds like you, consider trying this recipe. Relatively foolproof, not too involved, and quite, quite delicious. It also doesn't require any seasoning that you wouldn't regularly stock in a Western kitchen.

Chole Palak
Manjula's Kitchen

1 15-oz can chickpeas
3 c spinach, chopped
2 tomatoes
1/2" piece ginger
1 jalapeno
3 T oil
1/4 tsp asafetida (optional)
1 tsp cumin seed
1 T coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam masala

Drain the liquid out of the chickpeas and rinse well.

Blend tomatoes, chiles and ginger to make a puree.

Heat oil in a suacepan. Add asafetida and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to pop, add tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook for 4 minutes on medium heat.

Tomato mixture will start leaving the oil and will reduce to about half in quantity.

Add spinach, salt and 1/2 c of water. Let it cook covered for 4-5 minutes on medium heat, covered.

Add chickpeas and mash lightly with a spatula so they soften. Add more water as needed to get the gravy to your liking. Let cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes.

Add garam masala and let cook for another minute.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cherry Pistachio Wedding Cookies

I may be one of the rare fools who loves wedding cookies. This is a nice variation - moist and filled with flavors beyond just powdered sugar.

Cherry-Pistachio Wedding Cookies
Cooking Light

1 1/2 c cake flour
2/3 c flour
1 1/4 c powdered sugar, divided
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
3 tsp ice water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c tart cherries, dried
1/4 c pistachio, roasted, salted, finely chopped

Combine flours, 3/4 c powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in a food processor pulse to combine. with food processor on, add butter through chute a few pieces at a time process 1 minute or until mixture is texture of sand.

Combine 3 tsp ice water and vanilla in a small bowl. With processor on, slowly add ice water mixture through chute. Process 1 minute or until very well combined. Mixture will remaing crumbly. Add cherries and pistachios pulse 10 times or unitl combined. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Mixture will be crumbly.

Gently press mixture into a level T. Pack lightly with the heel of your hand. Turn out onto a baking sheet coated with Pam. Repeat with remaining dough to form 32 cookies.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or just until bottoms are golden. Remove from oven. Cool 10 minutes on cooking sheet.

Place remaining 1/2 c powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add cooled cookies toss gently to coat with powdered sugar. Transfer cookies to waxed paper to cool completely.