Potato Skins

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My third recipe for this theme of USA cuisine was supposed to be this awesome s’mores mug cake. The only mistake I did was to wait to make it till the last minute because, mug cake. How difficult can it be? Mix ingredients and microwave for a minute, duh! But then I tried to be smart and made some changes to the ingredients and then it crashed badly, like really badly. Then I figured I would stick to the recipe but found I was out of some ingredients. Yeah, mug cake can actually cause so much grief. Anyway I fell back on potatoes which is the ultimate saviour as also very American. The added benefit is that the daughter loves it and I figured a cool way to sneak in veggies inside all that cheese. So not everything ended badly!

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The original dish is potatoes, bacon and cheese. But I needed a vegetarian version of it and so I replaced the bacon with some vegetables and also some cheese with butter and landed with a super easy evening snack.

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Potatoes 4

Garlic butter 2 tbsp

Onion, small 1/2

Tomato, small 1/2

Mozzarella, grated 4-5 tbsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 220C
  • Cut the potatoes vertically in half and scoop out the flesh as much as you can leaving just the skin and little flesh
  • Melt the garlic butter and apply it on both sides of the halves and scooped potatoes
  • Place it on a baking tray skin side down and bake for 10 minutes
  • Turn the potatoes over and bake for another 10 minutes
  • Finely chop the onion. Deseed and finely chop the tomato
  • Mix the two with salt and pepper or any other seasoning
  • Take out the potatoes and turn them over
  • Fill each half potato with the onion tomato mixture
  • Top it with grated mozzarella cheese
  • Bake for 2-3 minutes or till the cheese melts
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can use plain butter or any other flavoured butter instead of the garlic butter
  2. The filling can be any vegetable of your choice like carrots, peas, corn, mushroom, etc. In that case you have either sauté it before adding it to the potatoes or bake it for 10 minutes with the potatoes but add the cheese in the final 2 minutes.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, Cuisine of USA.

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Fudge Brownies 

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If there is one thing I am scared of baking then it is an eggless recipe. I panic and then mess up even the best of recipes. I have tries multiple recipes from various sources but the eggless version always betray me. My parents have now reached the stage of ‘super annoyed’ because they see the dishes I bake but can’t eat them because of the egg. So it is my endeavor to master the art of eggless baking so that my parents can have a feast of my baked goodies soon.

I have tried multiple eggless brownies but I only manage to get the ‘cakey’ version of it and never the fudgy version. Also most of them do not hold the structure and partially collapse. So for now, I continue to bake brownies with eggs. This is a recipe for keeps. The brownies turned out so fudgy and chewy and simply delicious.

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I have added chopped walnuts to the brownie. It is not mandatory but I will judge you a little bit if you don’t. It has dark chocolate in it though you can replace that for milk chocolate. The key to a delicious brownie is to not over-bake it. The pointers to figure out the brownie is done are – it starts to pull away from the sides, the top is cracked and when you insert a toothpick in it, there are a few crumbs. I halved the recipe and made adjustments because I had only 1 egg and the recipe needed more.

Recipe adapted from here

Serves 3

WHAT WE NEED

Dark chocolate                   170 gms

Unsalted butter                    56 gms

Egg                                          1

Granulated white sugar      100 gms

Vanilla extract                       5-6 drops

All purpose flour                  55 gms

Baking powder                     1/2 tsp

Salt                                          a pinch

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Grease a 6″ baking pan and line it with parchment
  • Melt the chocolate and butter by the double boiler method or for 50 seconds in a microwave oven
  • Mix well and let it cool
  • In another bowl, mix the egg, vanilla and sugar until frothy (4-5 minutes with a whisk)
  • Add the chocolate mixture and mix well
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well
  • Pour into the baking pan and bake for 27-30 minutes till the top of the brownie is cracked and it has started pulling away from the sides slightly.
  • Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 2 hours at room temperature
  • Serve warm with some ice cream
  • Enjoy!

 

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Cuisine of USA’.

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Poppy Seed Waffles

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This is the last day of the week and I am using poppy seeds for my final dish this week. The first three days were for the three popular nuts – cashews, almonds and pistachios and the next three days for the seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds and now poppy seeds.

I bought some poppy seeds quite a while back to make some Karnataka special dishes in my bid to inculcate more local dishes into our daily meals. But like always, I got distracted by the next bread recipe and the poppy seeds made sad faces from the pantry every day. 

Does it ever happen to you that you are stuck with a craving for a particular taste or flavour for days on end for no reason at all? I have been craving some lemon flavours for the past few weeks. No idea why but the lemon in my fridge are done faster than you can say nimbu pani.

So I looked for a lemon flavoured recipe with poppy seeds and landed on to this one. The daughter, who loves my regular waffle recipe loved this one too as did the husband. So I can safely say this one was a success!
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Protein – Poppy seeds

Recipe from here

Makes 14 small waffles

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour                   3/4 cup

Baking powder                       1 tsp

Baking soda                             1/4 tsp

Salt                                             1/4 tsp

Sugar                                         2 tbsp

Lemon zest                              1 1/2 tsp

Oil / melted butter.                3 tbsp

Egg                                            1

Lemon juice                            4 tsp

Milk                                          8-10 tbsp

Poppy seeds                            4 tsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  •  Preheat the oven to 220C
  • Whisk together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Mix the sugar with lemon zest by rubbing the zest together with the sugar to ensure it releases its flavours
  • Add the lemon and sugar to the dry ingredients
  • Whisk the egg lightly
  • Add the lemon juice and milk to the egg and mix 
  • Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients 
  • Add the poppy seeds
  • Mix to ensure no dry flour is left in the bowl
  • Pour the batter into the waffle mould till almost full
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the top is golden brown
  • Let it rest for 2-3 minutes before de-moulding 
  • Serve warm with honey or maple syrup 
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can also cook the waffles in the waffle iron. I use the silicon waffle mould

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme ‘Protein Rich Dishes’
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Chia seed Cookies

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Finally the cake is done, cut and eaten and I can pack up my cake fears and store it away until next year. I was worried the entire day about what the husband would think about the cake, if he would like it or not. The problem is that if he likes the cake, he would say, ‘you bake so well. You should do it more often’ and if he doesn’t he would say, ‘you had to bake just one cake in the entire year and you could still not get it right?’ It is like being between the devil and the ….well, devil. I was so frightened of frosting that I finished innumerable long pending activities in a bid to postpone the frosting. Finally I started frosting just an hour before the husband was due to arrive and finished it in time. 

He was so surprised seeing the cake that he couldn’t say a word. I like that!

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I am terrified of eggless cakes. It is either a jinx or I am doing some humongous error each time because they never ever turn out good. When I told my parents about my annual cake baking adventure, they suddenly professed a desire to taste some of it. Since I am off to visit them tomorrow, I figured I had to take some over for them. But they don’t eat eggs and the only thing I am more scared of than baking eggless cakes is offering them to my perfectionist mom. Then when I baked my usual egg version of the cake, it turned out to be a disaster. It tasted really good but surprisingly the structure was off. Then I luckily landed on a eggless cake recipe which to my absolute shock, turned out really good. So yay for me! I got to eat a lot of cake because of this entire chaos and I got a decent enough cake for the husband to cut and celebrate his birthday. 

Now on to the real dish of this post -these a,axing lemon flavoured chia seed cookies. I made them quite big and eating one was quite a task and the daughter finished half with significant effort. So if you want, you could make smaller ones for it to be more manageable. But otherwise this is an amazing cookie recipe. It was a vegan recipe which I adapted to my requirements. I used yogurt instead of applesauce and buckwheat flour instead of almond flour to keep it protein rich. I absolutely loved the coconut oil flavour and fragrance from the cookies. This is a one bowl recipe and so it is as easy as it is chewy and flavorful.

I have been telling you too many stories today. Off to the recipe now –
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Protein – Chia seeds, Buckwheat flour

Recipe adapted from here

Makes 10 large cookies

WHAT WE NEED

Lemon zest                      1 tbsp

Lemon juice                     2 tbsp

Yogurt                                3 tbsp

Chia seeds                         2 tbsp

Semi solid coconut oil    3 tbsp

Sugar                                  1/3 cup

Buckwheat flour               1/4 cup

All purpose flour               1 cup

Baking powder                   1 tsp

Salt                                         1/8 tsp

Sugar & salt for coating
WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, yogurt, coconut oil, chia seeds and sugar in a bowl till the sugar dissolves
  • Set it aside for 2 minutes
  • Add the buckwheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and mix well to form a dough
  • The dough needs to be soft. If it is too sticky, add 1 tbsp of flour. If it is too dry then add few drops of oil or water and mix
  • Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper
  • Mix 1 tbsp of sugar and a generous pinch of salt in a plate
  • Take out the dough from the refrigerator
  • Take a small pinch of dough and roll it into a smooth ball
  • Roll the ball in the plate mixed with sugar and salt
  • Place it on the baking tray and press it down so that it is flat
  • These cookies don’t spread much and so you don’t need to leave too much space between 2 cookies on the baking tray
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes and cool for 10 minutes
  • Store at room temperature for 2 days
  • Enjoy them with some milk!

NOTES

  1. The buckwheat flour can be replaced with almond flour, wholewheat flour or all purpose flour
  2. Buckwheat flour tends to absorb more moisture making the dough a little dry. If you are not using buckwheat then reduce the yogurt to 2 tbsp
  3. You can add a pinch of turmeric to get the yellow colour
  4. Semi solid coconut oil is when the coconut oil starts solidifying during cooler weather and is not easy flowing liquid

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Italian Lunch Spread

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Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes on my blog or talking to me will know I adore all things cheese and all food Italian. I have been planning on making a full fledged Italian meal forever now but never got around to doing it. The Thali theme for this month’s Blogging Marathon finally forced my hand and I ticked an item off my bucket list.

Disclaimers first – This may not be an authentic Italian meal considering it is purely vegetarian except for an egg in the Eggplant Parmigiana. This would be the meal you would have in popular Italian restaurants in India. My limited research tells me the meal usually consists of –

Soup

Antipasti / Starters

Primo / First course – Usually a risotto or pasta

Secondo / Second course – Usually some meat or fish

Dolce / Dessert

I have made –

Mushroom Soup

Bruschetta – A simple and lip smacking starter that goes well with the soup

Pasta in Arrabiata Sauce for the First Course

Eggplant Parmigiana – A tasty baked eggplant dish topped generously with cheese

Mushroom and Capsicum Pizza with lots of Mozzarella cheese – I used a healthy pizza crust recipe with oats and wheat flour which results in a guilt free indulgence.

Vanilla Panna Cotta – An easy and quick dessert to round up the meal

The usual Italian meal also includes a cheese platter and seasonal fruits. I have omitted them and replaced that with a Pizza in typical Indian style because all we know about the Italian cuisine is pizza, pizza and some more pizza.

I have detailed the recipe for Bruschetta here which is a perfect answer to an easy and tempting starter and can be made quickly if you have unexpected guests.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Thalis.

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Stuffed Tomatoes

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We have a new vegetable vendor in our complex who gets fresh veggies and fruits and sells them at a reasonable price. As part of his marketing, he has come up with the offer of free tomatoes. Yes, as many as you like. All you need is to have bought at least one other vegetable. Cool right? So, needless to say my house is overflowing with tomatoes at all times. It is so hard to shake off that silly feeling of grabbing what is free. But I come home and sanity prevails and I am left wondering how to use up all the tomatoes. The daughter is exhausted with tomato soups and tomato rice and tomato juice.

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So when I was at a loss to come up with a baked dish for today’s post, I figured it has to have tomatoes because, duh! So I picked out whatever ingredients were in the fridge and pantry and set out to make the dish as I went along. Modestly speaking, it was quite delicious. I liked them so much that I finished them all without leaving any for my husband. He saw the pictures on the laptop and went ballistic. So I have promised to make them again tomorrow because, free tomatoes. Yay!

Makes 5 stuffed tomatoes

WHAT WE NEED

Tomatoes, medium                 5

Paneer / cottage cheese         60-70 gms

Roasted garlic                           2 cloves

Pitted green olives                   1 tbsp

Mixed Italian herbs                  1 tsp

Chilly flakes                                1/2 tsp

Fresh coriander                          To garnish

Oil

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven at 200C
  • Cut a slice from the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the inner flesh and seeds
  • Cut a small slice from the bottom of the tomatoes t ensure they can stand well without falling
  • Rub oil on the skin of the tomatoes 
  • Mix all the other ingredients except fresh coriander to form a crumbly mixture
  • Fill the tomatoes with the paneer mixture
  • Place them on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh coriander 
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Waffles

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Some dishes you love because they are nutritious and others because they are comfort food. But my primary reason to start liking a waffle was that it looks so pretty. Such cute little squares inside a slightly larger one and can be doused in honey or smeared with any preserve of your choice. Sigh!!!

It was one of my first picks in a buffet breakfast and i fell in love with it more when the daughter ate it without a fuss. Who would throw a tantrum against waffles? But I was resigned to eating it only when I travel because I couldn’t justify, even to my most impulsive side, that buying a waffle iron made sense for the twice a month waffle affair. Yes, the frequency would be low because the husband doesn’t like it. Like that surprises anyone anymore! So the sighing continued until one fine day, I discovered a small silicon waffle mould on Amazon and life began to look up again. The only flip side is that the waffle grooves appear only on the lower side but the upper side is plain. This has no impact on the taste and is a perfect middle ground between having no waffles at all and buying a waffle iron. Now the daughter and I enjoy baked waffles every now and then thanks to this very easy recipe. Do try this –

Recipe adapted from here

Makes 12 small waffles

WHAT WE NEED

All purpose flour               1 cup

Sugar                                     1 tbsp

Baking powder                   1 tsp

Baking soda                         1/2 tsp

Egg                                          1

Milk                                        3/4 cup

Oil                                            2 tbsp

Vanilla essence                    1 tsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 220 C
  • Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl
  • In another bowl, mix the egg, vanilla, oil and milk
  • Pour the egg mixture on the flour mix and combine well till no large lumps are visible
  • Pour the waffle batter in the mould till it is 3/4th full and place it in the oven
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the top is golden brown
  • Take out of the oven and serve with any of honey, preserves or jams
  • Enjoy a blissful breakfast!

P.S. You can use this recipe to make a pancake too. Just add 2 tbsp of milk to the batter and have fluffy pancakes.

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Eier Kichel

 

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So I bought another cookbook. Yes. Despite having access to millions of recipes online, despite having bookmarked countless recipes from my co-bloggers, despite having cookbooks from which I have tried only a handful of recipes, I bought another one. In my defense…..well, I have no defense.

I bought ‘The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook’. Aren’t you a little tempted? Accept it. I have been browsing it and lovingly touching the pictures of some of the yummiest looking bakes. My first attempt is Eier Kichel, which has been described as ‘Jewish cookies made with egg’. It is usually a sweet type cookie but I was in the mood for savory and all enthusiastic to experiment. So I made a savory version of this cookie. Also my cookies are smaller in comparison because I wanted to have them over a longer period of time. Here goes –

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Adapted from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook

Makes 16-18 cookies

WHAT WE NEED

Eggs, large                              3

Canola oil                                1 tbsp plus extra for brushing

Salt                                            1 tsp

Sugar                                        1/2 tsp

Baking powder                      1/2 tsp

All purpose flour                  150 gms (1 cup plus 3 tbsp)

WHAT TO DO

  • Whisk the eggs in a large bowl till frothy
  • Add salt, sugar, oil and baking powder and mix well
  • Add 130 gms of flour to the egg mixture in two additions. Ensure the first addition is fully mixed in before adding the second one
  • The dough will be sticky but check if the dough pulls away slightly from the sides of the bowl.
  • If not, add 1 tbsp flour at a time and mix well till it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes
  • Cover it with a plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 260C and line the baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Divide the dough into 16 parts. Take one piece at a time and keep the balance covered in the plastic wrap
  • Press the dough ball on a lightly floured surface with your hands. Take the ends and pull it to the middle and pinch into each other. Repeat the process three times
  • Press the dough into a flat circle slightly smaller the size of your palm and transfer it to the baking sheet
  • Repeat the procedure for all the other dough balls
  • Reduce the temperature to 205C and bake for 6 minutes
  • Reduce the temperature to 150C and bake for about 6-7 minutes till the cookies bubble and turn slightly brown
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
  • These cookies will crisp as they cool
  • Store in an air tight container for 4-5 days
  • Enjoy them as is or with toppings of your choice.

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Hash Brown

   

In my daughter’s universe, the importance given in descending order are hash brown, her father, her mother. She gobbles them up whenever she sees them and you can get her to do anything with this inducement. So here is the recipe for her favorite dish in the world –

Makes – 6-8

Recipe source – here

WHAT WE NEED

Russet potatoes, large              3

Egg, large                                      1

All purpose flour                        2 tbsp

Oil                                                   1/4 cup + for coating

Salt & Pepper

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Coat the potatoes with oil, poke them with a fork on all sides
  • Sprinkle liberally with salt and bake for 25 minutes
  • Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow to cool
  • Once the potatoes are cooled, refrigerate them for an hour or till they are cooled
  • Shred the potatoes on the largest hole in the grater and put them in a large bowl
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Beat the egg and add to the potatoes and mix gently with a fork or spoon
  • Add the flour and mix
  • Make about 6-8 patties around half inch thickness
  • Heat the oil and place one or more patties in the oil depending on the size of the pan
  • Once the bottom side turns into golden brown, turn over to the other side and fry till golden brown
  • Enjoy!

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – One vegetable three dishes
 
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Shirred Eggs with Potato Purée

   

For the second day of this week’s Blogging Marathon, I picked this simple and delicious recipe of potatoes with eggs. This is from the book ‘My Kitchen Year: 136 recipes that saved my life’ by Ruth Reichl. The recipes are wonderful and the writing simply mind blowing. Sample these lines about this very dish – 

Potatoes and eggs have had a very long love affair, but their romance has never been more exciting than here, where they embrace with astonishing fervour. When you want to be really really good to yourself, take the time to make this soft egg, gently cooked on a pillow of butter-rich potatoes. Then eat it very slowly with a spoon. Each bite reminds you why you’re glad to be alive”.

If this can’t make you try a dish, I don’t know what can. The husband had to travel for a couple of days and I chose that very time to try this one out. He is scandalized if I make anything with the potatoes other than a good South Indian roast complete with curry leaves and red chilly powder. So the daughter and I had this yummy and filling breakfast though she chose to have only the buttered potato purée without the egg included, not that I blame her. Do try it out.
  

Makes 4 Ramekins

WHAT WE NEED

Potatoes, medium sized                3-4 (around 400 gms)

Cream / sour cream                        3/4 cup

Butter                                                  3 tbsp / 40 gms

Eggs                                                      4

Salt & Pepper

WHAT TO DO

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into small pieces
  • Put them in a vessel and fill it with water enough to cover the potatoes
  • Add 1-2 tsp of salt and bring it to a boil
  • Simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes till the potatoes offer no resistance when pierced and can be easily mashed
  • Drain the water and mash the potatoes thoroughly
  • Season with pepper and set aside
  • Melt the butter and add 1/2 cup of the cream and mix well
  • Add this butter mixture to the mashed potato and watch it turn into a smooth purée
  • Preheat the oven to 190C 
  • Boil 2-3 cups of water
  • Butter 4 ramekins and fill them with potatoe purée up to half full.
  • Arrange the ramekins in a deep baking tray
  • Break open one egg in each of the ramekins carefully without breaking the yolk
  • Pour the boiling water into the baking tray 
  • Bake for 8 minutes until the egg whites have just begun to set
  • Add the remaining cream equally in the 4 ramekins and bake again for 5 minutes until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
  • Garnish with salt, chopped chives or bacon (optional)
  • Enjoy!

 

NOTES

  1. The original recipe calls for cream but I had some sour cream to use up and so replaced it. Both options work very well
  2. I baked it for about 7 minutes the second time since I am not a huge fan of runny yolks. 

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – One vegetable three ways.

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.