Tag: dessert

June Recipe Swap: A recipe full of failures!

After taking a break for the month of May, Recipe Swap is back for the month of June.

When Christianna had sent out the mail with the swap recipe of a mint pie, I knew instantly what I wanted to make. My friend has this super simple dessert recipe. She takes store bought shortbread crust and puts it in a pie dish and fills it with black cherry yogurt and freezes it till set. And that’s it. Another friend tried this recipe and got rave reviews. So I really wanted to try it. And I guess it fit well with the swap theme.

Since June is supposed to be the “watch what I eat” month- I decided I will make the shortbread crust at home rather than use a store bought one, having full control on what goes in the food I eat. I found a whole wheat shortbread crust recipe here.

But things did not go as planned.

For one I did not find black cherry yogurt in the store, which was not a big deal. I just decided to use some other flavor of yogurt.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Gulab Jamun from scratch!

If you have been doing the rounds in the food blogosphere, I am sure you have come across Sinfully Spicy. And if you have come across Tanvi’s site, then I am sure you have stuck around and visited her blog again and again.

It was her Gulab Jamun picture on Foodgawker that had caught my attention the first time. And that’s what I will be sharing with you today on GMT.

In the past whenever I have made Gulab Jamuns, its been from a packet mix. Had I known they would be so easy to make from scratch, I would have never bought a packet.

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Red Wine Granita

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An Apple a Day: The Heritage Cook’s Apple Crisp for September SRC

With fall just around the corner and the apple picking season on in orchards in Arizona, V and I thought of showing my parents to the Apple Annie’s orchard in Willcox this Sunday.

Sunday being lazy days, made us doubt our decision to go (it was a two hour drive to the orchard and we are lazy people). But our experience last year to the orchard and the near-by vineyard was so much fun that we decided we must show them the place before my dad leaves on Wednesday for India.

To kick start the apple-y mood, and to make space for the freshly picked apples we would bring back from the orchard, I decided to make apple crisp from the store bought ones in my refrigerator.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Atte ka Halwa

Yesterday was Janmashtami, a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, an avatar of the god Vishnu.

Sri Krishna taught us Karma Yoga. He strongly dictated in Gita that a man is bound to get the fruits of his actions. If he has done good actions/deeds throughout his life, he will get good results. Karma yoga is action (karma) performed without expectations or thought of reward. This selfless service of karma yoga is the path by which the mind is most quickly purified and its limits transcended.

Growing up as a Sikh, Janmashtami was just another holiday for me. But for V, a Hindu, its always been an important festival. His parents keep a fast the whole day on Janamasthami, only breaking it after offering prayers to Lord Krishna around midnight.

Though I did not keep a fast, I did not eat anything till I took a bath and first offered some food to the idol of Lord Krishna (I know that’s no feat but I thought I’ll mention it nonetheless 🙂 ). Sweets and desserts are the most preferred dishes for Janamashtami offerings, because Lord Krishna was known for his sweet tooth and generally some kind of kheer or Halwa is offered to him.

So, I took upon myself to make Halwa (pronounced hull-wa).

Halwa is a popular Indian dessert made from various kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains and lentils. If using fruits in Halwa, they are grated finely and fried in ghee and sugar. Nuts and milk may also be added. Halwas have the consistency of a very thick pudding.

My trials with halwa making haven’t been too great. In the past I have tried making Sooji Halwa (made from semolina), one of V’s favorite desserts. The first time was a disaster and the timing of it couldn’t have been more perfect (read about that disaster here). Of course now I have a failproof recipe for Sooji ka halwa.

This time I thought I would make halwa from whole wheat flour- atte ka halwa (atta/atte is the hindi word for whole wheat flour). Personally, I prefer the whole wheat one to the semolina one, probably because that was generally what my mom made and carries with it a lot of memories.

After my 10th standard exams, my dad got posted to Delhi. Now 10th and 12th are crucial years for Indian students- the Board exam years. So when my dad got posted to Jaisalmer, (Rajasthan) during my 12th standard, in the middle of the school year, my mom decided to stay back with me in Delhi, and join him after I was done with my exams.

Now, like me, my mom used to get lazy to cook elaborate meals with my dad not there. Plus, I was fine with eating easier to cook one dish meals like parantha, and rajma chawal. And for dessert, almost everyday, both she and I would have atte ka halwa. She would just make enough for the two of us, with each serving consisting of 5-6 bites. But she would make sure it was made properly, with no skimping on the amount of ghee. It was a thing my mom and I shared and I will always treasure those afternoons for the fun we used to have eating and enjoying the halwa she made.

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Oreo & Peanut Butter layered “Cakelets”

Barring a few little frustrating events that happened, yesterday was a good day. It started with the wonderful news that my parents’ Canadian visa got through just a day before their flight. Had it not, they would have been with me this weekend, but at a cost of losing a few hundred dollars in flight cancellation, re-booking, etc. My mom’s parents and her brother stay in Canada and my parents’ plan was to first visit them and then come visit me. They have a ten year US visa but they needed a Canadian Visa. Never thinking that their Canadian Visa would pose any problem, they had booked their tickets some time back. But the Visa did cause a lot of last minute panic, and only a day before their flight to Canada did their passport arrive with the Canadian Visa stamped.

Happy with the news and excited that my parents will be visiting me two weeks from now, I left for the baby shower we were throwing for the mommy-to-bes. It was a triple baby shower and all three of the ladies are having boys, that too only a week apart from each other!

It was a fun filled baby shower with great food. We, bunch of ladies, could open a great restaurant with all the talented cooks we have. On the menu was  chicken enchilada, olive  mozarella salad, linguine pasta, homemade bread (which was really good), olive, pickle n ham on a stick, (taking a break to breath and wipe off the drool) BLT sandwiches, pakodas, jello snicker rice krispies, chinese noodles, lettuce and french dressed avocado and my contribution lentil samosas and mini oreo sandwich “cake”.

After a great time catching up and seeing the three mommy-to-bes tear up after opening their presents, I was back home to Target greeting me as soon as I opened our gate.

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Celebrating First Blogiversary with tartlets & a Giveaway!

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Cherry Clafoutis

So today V and I got locked out of our house. I hate these automatic locks. You have to be so careful when you step out of the house for even a second. And, when you are not careful, then you are stuck outside, hoping and praying that accidentally some window has been left open. Now our bathroom window was open- yay! or wait no yay!. The window was way up and we tried getting in through that, but couldn’t. We checked for any other window that was unlocked and luckily our bedroom window was open (now yay!). V was able to get in through that and once he was in, he let me in. Never thought I would be breaking in my own house. Like I said, I hate these automatic locks.

Now, for the last two weeks Foodgawker and TasteSpotting have been full of people posting about cherry clafoutis: a classic french country dessert. I have never eaten clafoutis before, but after seeing so many pictures and people raving about it, I wanted to give it a try. I also wanted to get rid off the cherries in the fridge. So for Office Thursdays I decided to make it.

The verdict: Its quite an easy dessert to make, if you already have pitted cherries. I did not, so the pitting took a little effort, though traditionally, the french leave the pits in, saying that they impart an almond flavor when baked within the custard, something no authentic clafoutis should be deprived of. But, I did not want people at V’s office accidentally breaking a tooth biting into the pits, so I pitted the cherries. As for the baked dessert- I did not care too much for it. I should have known that I would not like it even before making it because everyone said it tastes like custard and well, I am not a big fan of custard- in fact I do not like custard at all.

For an unbiased opinion I turned to V and asked what he thought of it and he liked it since he likes custard as well. But then his opinion isn’t completely unbiased. He never says he doesn’t like anything I make, which makes it really difficult to know what tastes good and what doesn’t. Anyway, it was polished off by his colleagues in office, so I am assuming it wasn’t that bad after all. But, as for making it again- I do not think I will be baking this until I try the real thing to know how it actually tastes and how close I was to the original thing.


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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Kavita Massi’s Mango Kulfi

Its getting hot- quite hot here in our small town. Back in India, its getting even hotter. Thus, its only apt that I post this for today’s GMT- a sweet treat to beat the escalating summer heatKulfi. And since ’tis the season for mangoes, I thought of taking it up a notch and made Mango Kulfi :)!

In India, kulfi – a frozen milk-based dessert- is a street-vendor food. Sellers keep the frozen treat cold in a special ice and salt filled big pot called a matka. Although the usual way to serve it is with a simple garnish of nuts, some vendors also serve sweetened vermicelli rice noodles with Kulfi. Some serve it in small earthernware pots called matkas– and this kind is called Matka Kulfi. For me the name Kulfi always reminds me of this vendor who used to sell kulfi outside Moet’s in Defence Colony, Delhi. I loved his Kulfis. I am not a falooda fan, so would just have the stick of Kulfi. Kulfi is also quite a popular menu item at Indian weddings, especially summer weddings.

Unlike western ice cream, Kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert that takes a long time to melt– hence the perfect treat during a hot summer day- you have no worries of it melting it on your shirt or ruining that new summer dress you bought!

It is believed that the first Kulfi was made by freezing Rabri (reduced milk and sugar) in ice. During the Mughal empire reign in India, the ice was brought in from Hindu Kush to Delhi. For a long time the privileges of having Kulfi were limited to royalty and upper levels of aristocracy in India until modern day refrigeration technology reached South Asia.

Traditionally, Kulfi is prepared by evaporating the heck out of milk by slow cooking it and stirring it continuously so that the milk does not stick to the bottom of the vessel and burn. This is done until the volume of the milk is reduced by more than half and you get an extremely thick milk. This takes hours. After the milk is reduced, sugar is added while still hot. Nuts like pistachio or almond and flavorings like saffron, rose water, kewra are added. The mix is then frozen in tight sealed molds that are then submerged in ice mixed with salt to speed up the freezing process. The ice/salt mix, along with its submerged kulfi molds, is placed in earthen pots or matkas that provide insulation from the external heat and slow down the melting of ice. Kulfi prepared in this manner is hence called ‘Matka Kulfi’. Kulfi, thus prepared by slow freezing, also renders a unique smooth mouth feel that is devoid of water crystallization.

I also read that aging the mixture overnight (about 12 hours) in the refrigerator prior to start freezing, gives a better Kulfi.

Now, now, I would not dream to suggest you all to be in the kitchen for hours at a stretch especially in this heat. Of course you could do all that I mentioned above, but one of Vikram’s relatives whom I fondly call, Kavita Massi, gave me a “cheat’s version” for making Kulfi. And it’s pretty easy with fabulous results!

The best part of the recipe is that it can be assembled in minutes. You don’t have to slave for hours to make this dessert. And the beauty of any Kulfi recipe is that it’s flexible to any addition. If you do not have mango on hand you can omit it (of course, you will need to add a few tbsp of sugar but do not go overboard with the sugar as it affects the creaminess of the kulfi). You can also omit the pistachio, instead you can choose to add rose water, cardamom or go a little on the wild side and add avocado, strawberry or orange! No matter what flavors you choose, you will have a wonderful treat to bite into!

I had made these treats when we had a few of our friends over and had quite a few left over as the recipe yields quite a lot. V was quite happy because he loved the kulfi. As I have already mentioned before, on occasions more than once, V is not much of a sweet fan. More often than not I have to ask him whether he wants something sweet, and after a lot of contemplating, he says a very disheartened “ok”. But, not with this dessert. (I think I have stumbled on something great here.) V actually asks for this Kulfi (and let me also mention here, he hardly used to eat Kulfi back in India. So he must really like it!) Even if I am full and assume that he is too and as such don’t serve any sweet, he actually suggests that we should have a Kulfi each! That should be evidence enough to convince you to try this recipe. This is the biggest testimonial that the dessert is good if V asks for it. (He had it twice yesterday- and both times I did not even have to remind him that there is Kulfi in the refrigerator).

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Zucchini & Coconut Bread with Coconut Rum Lime glaze

The very talented Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin started The Secret Recipe Club (or TSRC, here on) a while back. I know! Doesn’t it sound so cool and fun! Well, it is! The idea behind TSRC is simple. Each participating blogger is assigned one of the other participating blogs (much like a Secret Santa). No one reveals whose blog they have, they just visit, pick a recipe, and make it! My assigned blog this month was Suz’s Thru The Bugs on My Windshield.

Now, the moment I clicked on Suz’s blog, I knew what I wanted to make. Because the first recipe itself caught my eye! Now, I have to tell you, recently I have this craving for everything coconut. The list includes coconut chocolates, Indian dishes with coconut like the Kerala cauliflower dish I recently made and Pina Colada (yes, alcohol can never be left behind, can it!). So when I saw Suz’s recipe for coconut banana bread which was topped with coconut lime sauce (coconut lime sauce- who can resist that!) , I was sold.

Coincidentally, Suz tried this recipe for her last month’s TSRC blog hop. Well, Suz and I get attracted to the same sweet things, I guess! Besides this recipe, Suz who lives with her Mountain Man, has a lot of other good recipes that I am tempted to try and have bookmarked, including her Chicken Asparagus Penne Pasta salad, her never-fail Pie crust and Amanda’s Cantaloupe Quick Bread. Do check her blog out, guys (she makes her own homemade vanilla extract- yup, she is that good!) I did a slight variation to the recipe. Though I would have loved to try the recipe with bananas, my stomach just can’t digest it anymore. It’s sad, really, it is, especially at times like these! I used to love banana bread and to have coconut in it, ah! How good would that have been! Sigh! Well, some things you just can’t help, can you. So, instead of banana, I thought of using zucchini. The substitution worked really well, more than what I expected. The only problem, I feel, some might have is that since I took out the banana, some of the sweetness also went away with it. V found the sweetness perfect, and with the glaze you don’t miss the sugar, but if you like your stuff sweet, you should up the sugar amount. Another reason why the sweetness might have been off the mark was that I did not realise that my stock of sugar was low, and found out only when I started mixing everything up.

Now, not that I need a reason to make Pina Coladas, but this was a perfect time to make some! So, there I was, sipping my Pina Colada and biting into my take on Suz & Krista’s coconut banana bread, with this song playing on my mind.

Yes I like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food
I am into champagne
I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon
And cut through all this red-tape
At a bar called O’Malley’s
Where we’ll plan our escape.


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