Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Uzma - Mango Kulfi Cupcakes

Recipe Courtesy Raspberry Eggplant
·         ¾ stick unsalted butter (at room temperature)
·         ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
·         1 large egg (at room temperature)
·         ½ teaspoon pure vanilla
·         1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
·         ¼ teaspoon salt
·         1¼ teaspoons baking powder
·         1¼ cups flour
·         ½ cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Beat in egg, vanilla, cardamom, salt, and baking powder
4. Add half the flour and mix to just combine with the wet ingredients.
5. Add half the milk and mix to combine.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5.
7. Beat on low speed until the batter is smooth and shiny, about 30 seconds.
8. Divide the batter among mini muffin pans lined with foils or papers. Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating the pans after 7 minutes. (A toothpick should come out clean.)
9. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack until the cupcakes come to room temperature, then remove the cupcakes from the pan.

Alphonso Mango Meringue Buttercream

3 large egg whites
½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes (the butter should be just at room temperature but not too soft)
5-6 tablespoons reduced Alphonso mango puree*

* Alphonso mango puree can be found in Indian grocery stores - the best brand is Ratna, but others are fine. To make the reduction, put 1 cup of the puree in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until it has reduced to about 1/3 of its original volume and is thick and dark orange in color.

1. Set the bowl of a stand mixer over a pan of simmering water. Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl. Whisk the mixture until the sugar has dissolved – this will take about 2-3 minutes.
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high speed (10) until it holds stiff peaks and is cool – this will take about 8 minutes. Don’t worry if you overbeat the mixture, just make sure you beat for at least this long, or your frosting will be runny when you add the butter.
3. Reduce the speed to 6. Add the butter, one cube at a time. The frosting might look curdled when you have a few cubes of butter left, but keep beating and add the rest of the butter. Continue beating until the frosting is smooth.
4. Add the mango reduction and beat just until incorporated.
(I took some leftover mango reduction and drizzled it on top!)

Samia - Fat Free Chocolate Trifle


·         1 box Trader Joe's reduced guilt brownie mix, baked (as directed)
·         1 box instant chocolate pudding mix
·         ½ Cup water
·         1 can fat free condensed milk
·         2 - 8oz containers of fat free cool whip


Bake and cut brownies in to 1" squares.  In separate bowl, combine: pudding mix, water and condensed milk until smooth. Fold in one thawed container of cool whip. In a trifle dish, layer brownies, then pudding mixture and then plain cool whip (from second container), repeat layers until everything is used up. 

Uzma - Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes

Recipe Courtesy Chef Chloe

(Makes 12 Cupcakes)

·         1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
·         1 cup sugar
·         1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         1 cup coconut milk
·         ½ cup vegetable oil
·         2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·         1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.  

Sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut milk, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and espresso powder until smooth.  

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix with a fork or small whisk.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners until each cup is 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

I topped it with any ol' chocolate buttercream recipe

Monday, August 30, 2010

Erum - Mediterranean Salad

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis 

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (1-pound) box Israeli couscous (or any small pasta)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
In a medium saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the couscous and cook until toasted and lightly browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the stock, and the juice of 1 lemon, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the couscous is tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the couscous.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with the remaining olive oil, remaining lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper and let cool.
Once the couscous is room temperature, add the fresh herbs, dried cranberries, and almonds. Toss to combine and serve.

Nesibe - Hasan Pasa Koftesi


·         2 lb Ground Beef
·         1 Yellow Onion, finely minced
·         2 Tbsp Flour
·         Salt (1tsp or so)
·         1 tsp Black Pepper
Mashed Potato
·         2 Medium Sized Boiled Potatoes
·         1 Tbsp Butter
·         ½ tsp Salt
·         Enough Milk
·         ¼ cup Butter
·         2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
·         ½ Tbsp Pepper Paste (I use it but it's optional. Available at wholesome choice)
·         3 Cups Boiling Water
·         Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Combine all Meatball ingredients together. Mix well and roll the meat into ping pong ball sized balls. Then shape them into cups and place them in a greased baking dish. Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the mashed potato filling. Mash all mashed potato ingredients together. Add enough milk to easily fill the baked meatballs.

Once the meat "cups" are cooked, remove from oven and using a tsp fill the cups with the mashed potato. I like to over stuff them.

Sprinkle the tops with shredded mozzarella cheese. (If you want to be more authentic for the cheese, you have to find "kasar peyniri") Set aside.

Finally prepare the sauce. In a saucepan melt the butter while stirring constantly until it becomes clear. Add the tomato and pepper paste and stir for about a minute. Add the boiling water and salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Using a spoon, pour some sauce over each meatball. Pour the remainder of the sauce in the bottom of the dish.

Bake in 400 degree oven until the top of the potatoes becomes golden.


Samia - Tortilla Chaat


·         8 Flour Tortillas
·         1 Can Garbanzo Beans, drained
·         1 ½ Potato boiled and peeled (the brown, dirty looking kind) J and diced
·         1 can Plain Yogurt
·         1/8 tsp Red Pepper
·         ¼ tsp Salt
·         1/8-1/4 cup Milk
·         Imli (recipe below)


Preheat oven to 400.  Cut tortillas into small pieces and bake for 6-7 minutes until they start to turn slightly golden brownish.  Cool--they will get crisp as they cool.

Arrange tortilla pieces in a dish, sprinkle garbanzo beans and potatoes 

In a separate bowl: mix ¾ of the yogurt container with milk, salt and pepper (should be like pancake batter consistency), pour over tortilla, garbanzo beans and potatoes.  

Drizzle Imli on top and enjoy J

·         ½  Block Raw Imli (soak in a bowl with enough warm water to cover the block of Imli)
·         ½  tsp Salt
·         ¼ tsp Black Salt
·         ½  tsp Cumin Powder
·         Dash of Red Pepper
·         Pinch of Black Pepper
·         ¼ Cup brown sugar

Once the Imli block is soaked for about 15-20 minutes, massage the block in the water and strain the pulp. Add water as needed to keep the consistency like thick pancake batter.

Once the pulp is drained add remaining ingredients and mix--if it seems too tart or tangy add more brown sugar.

Saman - Borek with Chicken and White Sauce Filling

Recipe for big Pyrex baking dish (9"X11") approx. 16 servings

·         1 pack of 25 spring roll sheets
·         Greased baking dish
·         3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Trader Joe’s organic low fat cheese)
Chicken filling
·         1.5 - 2 pounds boneless chicken cut into 1/2" cubes (use breast pieces for lower fat content, but I mixed breast and leg pieces)
·         1 medium chopped onion
·         2 tbsp oil
·         1/2 tsp garlic powder
·         Salt and black pepper to taste
·         1 cup mixed frozen veggies (I used peas, carrots, corn and beans - you can be creative and anything you such as mushrooms or broccoli)
White Sauce
·         3 tbsp butter (I used whipped)
·         3 tbsp flour (I used unbleached)
·         3 cups milk (I used 2% milk)
·         Sprinkle salt and pepper
Egg Wash
Whisk the following ingredients together:
·         1 egg (I used brown veggie fed cage free eggs from Costco)
·         4 tbsp yogurt (I used nonfat yogurt)
·         1 tsp olive oil

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F
Chicken filling
Put oil in a large fry pan on the stove and add the chopped onions. Sauté onions a little so they become translucent. Next add the chicken, garlic powder, salt and onions to the pan. Stir and put a lid on and leave to cook on low heat. Chicken and onions will release their own water and cook in it. After the chicken is cooked you can add in the veggies and cover with lid and let them steam and absorb the pan juices for a few min. Finally dry remaining liquids in pan. If there are any large chicken chunks you can break them gently with your utensil.

White sauce
In a small saucepan melt 3tbsp butter. Add 3 tbsp flour. Fry the flour in the butter on low heat till it slowly brings on shades of pink (that's what my aunt said and I just pretended I knew what she meant, she said if its brown then it’s been too late, so I just pulled it off before that could ever happen). It starts giving off this yummy 'cookies-being-baked' aroma. Now slowly add milk while stirring at the same time to break any clumps, REMEMBER to pull it off the stove before you start adding milk. Put it back on low fire and let it gently start boiling, watch the pot to make sure it doesn't spill over, mine almost did. Find the right flame to keep the milk in the pan. Stir occasionally; add a very little amount of salt and pepper. Keep simmering it until you bring it to a thick consistency, like a thick melted cheesy sauce - I think that is when it has  boiled to half the original amount, turn off the flame.

Assembling the Borek
Grease the baking dish. One by one start layering the dish with the spring roll sheets. (Tip: While using the sheets keep them covered with a wet towel to prevent drying). The first bottom layer arrange the sheets so some of them are hanging over the baking dish, its okay if the sheets are overlapping. Brush the egg wash over them. Now add the second layer of sheets (also with edges hanging over) and brush them with egg wash. Make 4 total layers. Put in the chicken and veggie mixture, top it off with the white sauce so that it covers all of the chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella. Make the 4 top covering layers one-by-one by bringing over the hanging parts of the sheets to cover the chicken and adding two sheets to cover any open middle area. Brush the egg wash over each layer to help them stick together too. Finally when all the layers are complete you can drizzle the remaining egg wash over the Borek to keep the spring rolls moist. Bake for about 20-25 min until the top turns golden. Cut into squares and serve.

To make half this recipe, you can halve everything except the egg wash, the same amount can be used