Monday, October 3, 2016

Mutton Curry (InstantPot)


It has been some time since we cooked mutton (goat meat) curry at home. The halal store being a bit away from home is the main reason. However, Lil Miss A has started taking Kathak lessons and the halal store is 5 minutes away from where her classes are conducted. Well, thats how we got mutton after a long time and we could not wait to savor the curry.
I always wanted to use the instant pot to cook goat meat and I got my wish too.
Of Course Mr. A wanted to have ladi-pav with the curry - so, made that along with some khachumbar (Indian Salad). It was an amazing meal.


Ingredients

2 pounds mutton (I ask the butcher to cut it into pieces for curry)
2 TBS yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
4 cloves
4 green cardamom
1 inch cinnamon
1 piece mace
2 bay leaves
1 black cardamom
3 medium onions (sliced)
3 medium tomatoes (quartered)
1/2 cup grated coconut
10 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 inch ginger piece (cut into pieces)
2 tsp chilli powder (more or less as per spice preference)
4 TBS ghee (you can use oil too - but, ghee gives it an amazing aroma)
salt to taste


Method

Clean the mutton pieces in water untill the water is clear. Add the yogurt and the turmeric and let it marinate for atleast an hour (overnight is best)
Put the Instant Pot in saute mode. When it gets hot, dry roast the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon, mace. Be careful not to burn the spices - this should take just 1 to 2 minutes. Remove carefully onto a plate. Now add the ghee and to this add the garlic and sliced onions. Fry till the onions turn golden brown. Now add the garlic, tomatoes and chilli powder and mix well. Saute till the tomatoes become mushy and oil leaves the sides. Now add the coconut and mix well. Switch off the pot. Let this mixture cool a bit. Once its cool, grind it to a smooth paste along with the dry roasted masalas.
Add the marinated mutton and the ground mixture into the instant pot and mix well. Cover and cook manual for 35 minutes with vent sealed and natural release. Mutton should be cooked to fall off bone consistency. Cooking time will vary depending on the meat. If at 35 minutes its not cooked the way you want it - then cook for another 5 minutes with vent sealed and natural release.
Open the lid, and add salt to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with pav, chappati, naan or steamed rice.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry (In the Instantpot)


Ingredients

2 pounds chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs)
2 TBS Yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 medium onions
4 green chilis (you can add more or less as per spice level desired)
10 to 12 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger piece
3 TBS coconut oil (you can use ghee or any other oil too)
salt to taste

For Masala Powder

1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
2 cloves (lavang)
2 green cardamoms (elaichi)
1 tsp black peppercorns (kali mirch)
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
2 tsps coriander seeds (dhania beej)
1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)


Method


Ingredients

2 pounds chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs)
2 TBS Yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 medium onions
4 green chilis (you can add more or less as per spice level desired)
10 to 12 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger piece
3 TBS coconut oil (you can use ghee or any other oil too)
salt to taste

For Masala Powder

1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
2 cloves (lavang)
2 green cardamoms (elaichi)
1 tsp black peppercorns (kali mirch)
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
2 tsps coriander seeds (dhania beej)
1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)


Method

Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces. Marinate in yogurt, 1/2 tsp salt, turmeric and chilli powder for about 1 hour. You can do this overnight too.
Make a powder of the ingredients mentioned in the 'for masala powder' tab and keep aside. I use a coffee grinder for this. I have had this coffee grinder doing my spice grinding for a few years now.
Make a paste of the onions, garlic, ginger and green chilis and keep aside.
In the same grinder make a puree of the tomatoes and keep aside.
In the Instantpot on saute mode, add the oil. When it gets hot, add the onion paste along with half the dry ground masala. Saute till it becomes a nice golden brown color, and keep stirring a few times in the middle. When the onions turn a golden brown, add the tomato puree and mix well. Saute till the oil leaves the gravy on the sides. Add the remaining half of the ground masala and the chicken pieces and mix well. Add 1 cup water. Cover the lid with vent sealed. Manual for 12 minutes and then a quick release. Open the lid, add more if you need a thin gravy. Add salt to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander and serve with hot phulkas or steamed rice. We liked this with some sandwich bread too.

Note - This can be cooked on a stovetop too using a saucepan. Everything remains the same - just add the chicken pieces and cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes on medium flame. Check if chicken is cooked, if not then cook for another 5 minutes. Adjust salt and water and serve.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Laziz Chole - (Chickpea Curry)


Ingredients

For Chole
1 cup dried chickpeas
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon eno (baking soda works too)
2 tablespoons ghee (oil can be used too)
1 onion - chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
10 cloves garlic - chopped
1 inch ginger - chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 teaspoon chaat masala
Chopped cilantro for garnish
slit green chilis for garnish (Optional)

For Masala Powder (Coarse Powder)
5 kashmiri chilis (add more or less as per spice level wanted)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
2 cardamoms
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 inch cinnamon

Method

Soak the dried chickpeas in 5 cups water for 8 to 10 hours. Drain the water and let it sit aside.
Dry roast the ingredients listed in the masala powder section and grind them to a coarse powder.
I used my instantpot to cook these chole. So, on saute mode, add the ghee. Once it gets hot, add the cumin and the nigella seeds. Now add the chopped onions and fry till they turn a golden color. Add the tomatoes and the ginger and garlic. Mix well, till the raw smell goes away, about 5 minutes. To this add turmeric powder and the coarse masala and mix well. Add the soaked chickpeas and 2 cups water. Add salt to taste and the eno salt. Mix well. Close the lid and go to manual setting, high pressure with vent sealed and time it to 20 minutes with a natural release of the pressure. Open the lid. Add more water if you want a little thin gravy. Add chaat masala and give it a good stir.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and slit green chilis and serve with kulcha, naan, chappati, bread or steamed rice.

Note - This can be cooked in a pressure cooker too. Everything is the same. Cook it for 3 whistles and you have chole ready.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Flour Tortillas

Tortillas are important if you are making tacos. So, when we started the tradition of #TacoTuesdy at home, it was only natural that I wanted to try and make the tortillas at home too. I have made the roti with corn called 'Makke ki Roti' which is very close to the corn tortilla. Now it was the turn of the flour tortilla.


Ingredients

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method

In a mixing bowl add the flour, baking soda, salt and mix it together. Add the oil and the water and knead into a dough. Cover and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Heat a non-stick pan or a cast iron griddle. Make a gold size ball of the dough - I got about 12 of them, Dab it with some flour and then make a circular disc about 1/8th inch thick using a rolling pin. Place it on the griddle and cook over medium high heat. Cook on one side till you see some brown specs on the surface. Turn and cook the same way on the other side. Remove on a plate and cover and keep till all tortillas are made, Use it to make tacos or enchiladas. For a Burrito, you might want to make it with a tennis ball size dough.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Amritsari Fish Fry

This crispy battered fried fish is a North Indian delicacy. Its fish and its fried and its crispy - whats not to love???
It is made with simple ingredients - but, the combination of all the things makes it a treat. Ofcorse the fiery red color adds to the 'eating with the eyes' bit. Its the addition of carom seeds (ajwain) which gives the fish  unique taste.
you can use any firm fish to make these - I have used tilapia here. But, cod and salmon can be used to. Boneless fillets of king fish (surmai) can also be used.


Ingredients

6 boneless skinless fillets of tilapia (this roughly about a pound and half)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (dhania)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
1 teaspoon black or white peppercorns
2 teaspoons chilli powder - you can add more if you want heat
1 teaspoon kasuri methi
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
3 drops of red food coloring - optional
3 tablespoons yogurt
4 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
2 tablespoons rice flour
salt to taste
oil for frying
chopped cilantro for garnish
2 teaspoons chaat masala


Method

Cut the fish fillets into 1 inch pieces. I used a mortar and pestle to grind the spices as I wanted a small bite in the fish - but, you can use a spice grinder for that purpose. Make a coarse powder of the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds and the pepper. In a mixing bowl add the coarse powders along with ginger and garlic paste. To this add the chilli powder, salt, chickpea flour and rice flour. Mix them well. Add the yogurt and the red food color (if using) and make a thick well mixed paste. To this add the fish pieces and coat each piece with the paste. Let it sit and marinade for atleast an hour.
In a karahi or wok or fryer add oil and let it heat up. You know the oil id hot when you add a drop of the paste and it comes up sizzling. Turn the temperature to a medium. Add not more then 5 fish pieces at a time. Fry for about 7 to 8 minutes (Tilapia fillets are thin - but, if you are using salmon or a thick fillet like cod - the cooking time may vary and will be in the range of 10 to 12 minutes). Remove on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. When it looks a bit dry - remove onto serving plate and sprinkle with some chaat masala. Repeat the process till all the pieces are fried. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro/coriander and serve.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Simple Chicken Taco - #TacoTuesday #1

Lil Miss A came home one day from school and asked me why we did not do #TacoTuesday like her friends in class did. I never thought this day would come so soon - but it did. She said she wanted to start having Taco Tuesday Dinners every tuesday. Well, here at 'merakitchen' - it cannot be the same taco every tuesday. So, I started to make different tacos with new combinations and we have been loving this new tradition at home ever since. It has been about 10 weeks of Tacos on Tuesdays and Lil Miss A and Mr. A both look forward to Tuesday dinners - so do I as it gives me a chance to come up with new combinations and new ideas. i thought of sharing this over here. So, you will be having a taco influx on this blog for some time. Afterall, I need to catch up on writing 10 weeks worth of tacos.
The first Taco we made was a simple chicken one with the additon of shredded lettuce and guacamole and sour cream on a flour and corn tortilla. I got these amazing tortillas from Trader Joes and loved the combination of the two flours. Well, here is the recipe for Taco #1


Ingredients

8 small tortillas (6 inch ones) - I used the flour and corn torillas here, you could use flour only or corn only too.
4 chicken thighs or breasts - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (you can add some more if you want it to have some heat)
1 teaspoon coriander & cumin powder
salt to taste
1 head of romaine lettuce - shredded
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
sour cream
guacamole (I used this quick version that I make)
2 tablespoons oil to cook chicken

Method

Mix together the garlic paste, red chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder and mix well. To this add the chicken pieces and coat each piece well with the marinade. Let it sit for atleast an hour. In a wok, add the oil and then cook the chicken pieces untill they are well done. It would take about 10 to 15 minutes.
I just warm the tortillas a bit. You can do this on a griddle or in a microwave too.
To assemble the tacos - take a tortilla, smear a teaspoon guacamole, then a teaspoon sour cream, put about 4 to 5 pieces of chicken (you can add more too - its just easier to eat with 4 to 5), top with shredded lettuce and sprinkle some chopped cilantro.
Simple chicken tacos are ready
My family prefers soft tacos - but, you can make these with hard taco shells too.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Chocolate Marble Cake (Hot Milk Cake Method)

Mr. A turned a year older and wiser this Tuesday. As always - his birthday cake is always a new trial. Thankfully it has always been a hit and never a miss. Imagine your birthday cake going bad with no backup. This year Lil Miss A insisted on a chocolate cake - she only wants everything in chocolate flavor. Well, our birthdays are just another day for her to get excited and so we obliged. I had told her that it will not be a full chocolate cake, but will have some vanilla (white) cake too She was excited as long as I promised the frosting was going to be chocolate. Well, this girl sure knows what she wants.
So the search for something new started. I always wanted to bake this old method of baking cake. It was a cake during the depression era - it uses the most basic ingredients - and as described, it is so sweet and soft on its own, that it feels like a rich dessert. I stumbled upon this recipe on pinterest with only a picture of the written recipe (no source) - but, this is such an old recipe that the origin is not known and its simple and common. You will find so many blogs and sites with the same recipe. 
There is something about old recipes that has an old world charm and they are simple and you feel like a part of history. Also, a great tasting dish makes them all the more special.
The cake is a vanilla cake - but, since Lil Miss A wanted it to be a chocolate cake - that is what she got with the addition of the chocolate syrup in half the batter.


Ingredients

For the cake

4 eggs at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup chocolate syrup (I used Hershey's syrup)

For the frosting (ganache)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil/butter


Method

For the cake

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and keep aside. In a saucepan, warm the milk and the butter till the butter melts and there are bubbles formed on the side of the milk.
In a big mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and the eggs until they become nice and fluffy. This should take about 10 minutes. It should look like its doubled in size. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Add the milk and butter mixture and mix well till all is incorporated. Add the flour mixture 1/3 at a time and fold it in. Do not over mix but fold in to get a smooth batter. This batter will be a little more thin than other cake batters.
Grease a bundt pan and add half of the vanilla batter into it. In the other half, add the chocolate syrup and mix well till all is incorporated. Pour this mixture over the vanilla mixture.
Bake it in the preheated oven for 50 minutes to an hour. After 50 minutes check to see if a toothpick inserted comes out clean - if yes, the cake is done - else let it bake for another 5 minutes before checking.
Once done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the mold onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting (ganache)

In a bowl add the semi sweet chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons milk and microwave for 30 seconds - stir it well and microwave for another 30 seconds. Add 2/3rd part of the coconut oil and mix well till smooth. Let it cool a bit. In the same manner get the white chocolate ganache made.
Added them both to two ziploc bags and sealed it shut by removing all air. Make a small opening in the tip. Spread the ganache - one at a time on the completely cooled cake. Cut the cake and serve with coffee or tea or just like that.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Thai Red Curry - with Shrimps and Veggies (curry paste made from scratch)



We love cuisines from around the world at our home. Indian food is always a favorite and then come the other Asian flavors. Thai food is very much loved and when you think of Thai food its always the yummy curry with the sticky jasmine rice and chicken satay. We made the Thai Red Curry at home ........ yes, the paste and all too. It was a wonderful experience and I loved the fragrance on my fingers - especially from the lemon grass and the thai basil and the kaffir lime.
The shrimps and the veggies and the kale gave it a wonderful color and when it was served with sticky jasmine rice - it was a party in the mouth. Its super easy to make and you feel proud and accomplished. Yes, the ingredients list can look intimidating - but, trust me......... this is super easy and super yummy.


Ingredients

For the Red Curry paste

2 dried kashmiri chilis
2 dried byadgi chilis
1 birds eye thai chili (I removed the seeds)
1 lemon grass stalk (used only the bottom fleshy part)
1/2 teaspoon kaffir lime leaves (I used a bottled one) - if you get fresh, use 2 of them
1/2 teaspoon thai basil (I used bottled one)  if you get fresh, use them 2 to 4 of them
1/2 inch galangal (this can be substituted with ginger - but, it wont taste the same)
1 shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil (I used olive oil)

For the Red Curry

1 teaspoon oil (I used olive oil)
1 can coconut milk
5 baby corn - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 green bell pepper - sliced
1/2 red bell pepper - sliced
1/2 cup water chestnuts (used frozen)
1 onion - sliced
2 cups chopped fresh kale
15 to 18 medium shrimp (uncooked frozen used)
red curry paste
salt to taste


Method

For the Red Curry Paste

Pour about 1/4 cup of hot water over the dried kashmiri and byadgi chillis and let them sit for 15 to 20 minutes to rehydrate them. Once done, remove the chillis and discard the water.
Take all the ingredients in the section and blend it in a mixer till you get a nice dough like paste. It will not be very smooth - but will still look like a paste. Here is the red curry paste - all ready.

For the Red Curry

In a saucepan add the oil. When it gets hot, add the onions and saute till it becomes transparent. Lower the heat and add the coconut milk and stir continuously. Add 1 cup water to the mixture. Increase the heat to a medium and cover the saucepan. Let this mixture come to a boil. When it starts to boil - lower the heat to a simmer. Now add the prepared paste and mix well and then add the vegetables. Add some salt to taste. Check the consistency of the curry - if it is too thick add another half cup water. Cover and let it cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes. Then add the shrimps. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes for the shrimps to fully cook (When they turn pink and they curl - its cooked).
Turn the heat off and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Orange Blossom and Cardamom flavored Madeleines


These french cookies have been on my to-do list for a couple of years. I wonder why I never got to making them. About a year ago, I even went and purchased the madeleine mold from a store - and it was lying there in my basement along with all my other baking accessories. 
They are so easy to make - they look so cute - and they are delicious to taste. It is a cookie but has the texture of a cake. These are just amazing.
I had just got this bottle of orange blossom water and wanted to use it. Orange Blossom water is used a lot in Lebanese/Arabic cooking. Mind you - it does not have a citrus aroma, it is more flowery. Just as the name says, it is orange blossom water. But, the smell is divine. Ofcorse, the best thing to combine with it was crushed cardamom and that how this flavor came up.

The Madeleine Mold
Ingredients

2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter (melted and cooled)
3 large eggs  at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
1 teaspoon crushed cardamom
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
powdered sugar, for garnish.

Method

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Sieve/Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl and keep aside.
In a mixing bowl, add the sugar and eggs and mix well with an electric mixer till its nice and thick like a sauce. Add the orange blossom water, salt and cardamom powder and mix well. Now add the cooled melted butter and flour and baking powder mixture and fold it gently into the wet mixture until fully incorporated.
Grease and dust a madeleine pan. Add the batter to the prepared pan - 1 tablespoon into one well (I used a standard madeleine mold). Bake 12-14 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. 
Remove from oven and cool in the mold for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and dust some powdered sugar for garnish.
I got almost 30 madeleines from this batter - since I have a mold that makes 12 madeleines at a time - I had to use it 3 times.


Orange Bundt Cake




I had these 3 huge Oranges staring at me through my fridge drawer. My child only eats clementines and I like them too as they are the closest thing to the oranges we get back home. What do I do with these oranges was the question. And then I saw the tub of sour cream in my fridge too. I do not use sour cream much - I had this tub from the day we had made tacos. It was used as a garnish - so, the tub was still too full.
A fresh and citrusy orange pound cake is what came to mind. So, the zesting of the oranges started with the juicing of the same. Then came the big bowl to mix along with the electric mixer and the eggs and the other few things.
Lil Miss A was super excited to be helping mommy bake a cake. Her contribution or rather critique........... why is the cake batter not orange if its an orange cake? So, thats the only artificial thing that I added. But, the cake turned out just like any pound cake - moist and citrusy and very fresh. Added the sugar glaze to please Lil Miss A.


Ingredients

For Cake

1/2 cup butter (room temperature) or oil
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons orange zest
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups All Purpose Flour (APF)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For Glaze

2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest

Method

For Cake

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sieve the flour and baking powder through a mesh into a bowl and keep aside.
Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat it to get a nice soft creamy mixture. I use and electric mixer - but, a good old whisk and your hands can do the trick too. To this add the eggs and beat till you get a nice frothy mixture. Now add the sour cream, orange zest and salt and mix till it is a well incorporated mixture.
To this mixture add the flour in three batches and fold it in with a spatula - in intervals. Do not overmix. Just fold the flour into the wet mixture and get a nice flowing batter.
Grease and dust a bundt pan and add the prepared batter to it. Tap it on the kitchen counter 3 to 4 times to let any air bubbles to escape.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before getting it out of the mold and cooling on a wire rack.

For Glaze

Mix all the ingredients together from the 'For Glaze' section when the cake is baking. When the cake is completely cooled - pour it over the top of the cake very evenly. Let it set for about half and hour and then slice the cake.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pesto filled yeast rolls

Lil Miss A learnt about 'Taco Tuesday' at school and then came the turn of 'Friday Pizza Night' - so, these are 2 traditions that we have at home. Well, the same taco or the same pizza is not allowed for atleast a month, that is another house rule. We are foodies and we truly believe in the saying "variety is the spice of life". 

Last Friday - we had our first 'Friday Pizza Night'. Lil Miss A had her pepperoni pizza (turkey pepperoni) and we had our spicy italian sausage topped pizza. We had some leftover dough, and these yummy spiral babies came from that. They pulled apart like monkey bread and the pesto filling made it colorful and tasty.

The pesto used was a basil pesto - the most simple one. Topped it with some cheddar and mozarella shredded cheese. 

I have cut the recipe to make a round pull-apart spiral roll in a 9 inch round cake pan.


Ingredients

For Pesto

1 cup packed  basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 green chilli
salt to tastee
pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

For Bread Rolls

3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups bread flour OR All Purpose Flour (APF)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
5 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese

Method

For Pesto

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor - except the oil. Pulse it a few times to get everything together. Now start the processor and pour olive oil through its inlet. I like my pesto to be creamy, so the processor ran for about a minute. If you like it a bit chunky, process accordingly. Pour it into a glass jar and refrigerate. You can use this in pastas, or as a spread on sandwiches or as a dip or for the yeasty rolls we made here.

For Bread Rolls

you can knead this by your hands too - but, I prefer using my kitchenaid bowl mixer. In the bowl add the warm water and sugar and yeast. Let this sit for about 10 minutes. You will see bubbles coming up and a sweet beer like smell - it just shows that the yeast is active and you can go ahead with the other ingredients. Now add the flour, salt, italian seasoning, garlic powder and oil. First use the stir function and then mix it using the dough attachment. I generally knead the dough for a good 7 to 10 minutes to get the gluten going. When a nice smooth dough is formed - cover it with some oil and put a clean kitchen towel over the bowl and let the dough rest for 1 and 1/2 hours. In this time the dough will rise and become double. This time can vary between 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on how warm and humid it is.
Once its doubled in size - punch the dough and knead it for another 2 minutes. Now take some flour on a flat surface and put the dough on it and roll it into a rectangle shape about 10 inches long and 6 inche wide. Now put the pesto in the middle and spread it all over the rolled dough. I used about 4 tablespoons of pesto. sprinkle some shredded cheese, about 3 tablespoons. Now roll into a round shape like you would for cinnamon rolls - you will roll on the 10 inch side to get a 10 inch long roll. Cut it into equal portions - I got 17 portions. You could do less or more. Grease the 9 inch round cake pan and line these portions equally around keeping some space between each of them to allow them to rise. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. In the last 15 minutes preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.Once the rolls have doubled in size - put them into the preheated oven. After 10 minutes remove the pan and added the remainder of the shredded cheese. Put it back into the oven for about 5 minutes.
Serve hot with pesto on the side or tomato ketchup or just savor them as is.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Zucchini Bread with warm spices


Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (I used 3 zucchini)
3 cups All Purpose Flour 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt


Method

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a bowl add the oil and sugar and mix till well blended. You can use and electric mixer or a whist to do this. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs one by one and mix well. Add the grated zucchini and stir it in to combine together with the mixture.
Now get the dry ingredients together - sift together  flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Now add the dry ingredients in 3 batches to the wet mixture of eggs, oil, sugar and zucchini
Grease two "9X5" loaf pans and spoon the mixture into the pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes to an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
If you want - you could frost with cream cheese frosting.
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