Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ALMOND AND SAFFRON VALENTINE PIES

ALMOND AND SAFFRON PIES

Friendship Day was the most popular college celebration I knew of when I was growing up.  Seriously, I never celebrated Valentine's Day until the last year of my graduation. It was so interesting and fun to see girls buying cards for their Valentine. They got so giddy over it!

On Valentine's Day, you could see girls dressed their best. They wait for their Valentine to come with red roses.  Few guys did come, and the rest were jealous.  The four(my friends and I) did not have much excitement on the day and tried to get past the day without being too embarrassed or annoyed. This happened for years.


So, the last year of college, my friends and I decided that we would give each other roses and cards. We wouldn't worry about these men who didn't deserve us. It was funnier than it sounds now.


In the morning of Valentine' Days, we all met a bit early and went out for coffee. We exchanged our gifts and flowers. Entering the college with flowers in our hands was a quite proud moment. I remember a few of other friends went winking at us, I guess they just imagine the flowers that we had we given by guys..:).  We carried on with what they thought and it was not a bad day to have virtual boyfriends.  It was fun.


ALMOND AND SAFFRON PIES ALMOND AND SAFFRON STUFFING FOR PIE


That was then, now I don't even believe that women or men should be showered with love/flowers and gifts on Valentines day alone.   
Here's a dessert which combines one of my favorite stuffing, which, by the way yum by itself. It is complete sweet heaven. Now, imagine that sweet heaven encased in a pie crust. Mmm!  It's one dessert, among a few others, which I am planning to make for a big party that I am hosting in a few days.


ALMOND AND SAFFRON PIE ALMOND AND SAFFRON PIE
Makes 10-15 pies
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes

Ingredient:

For the pie crust:
1 cup All purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 stick very cold butter cut into squares
2 tbsp vegetable shortening 
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt
2-4 tbsp ice cold water

For the stuffing:


1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup milk powder
1/4 tsp crushed saffron
1/3 cup sugar(use it according to how sweet you want your desserts)
3 tbsp of milk
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Egg wash to brush over the pie for the golden crust.


Method:
For the pie crust:


1. You can use a cuisinart or a standing mixer to make the dough.  Keep the butter in the freezer for 30 minutes before making the dough.  Add the flour, salt, sugar, egg and pulse for few seconds.  Add the butter and shortening and let the mixer run until everything is incorporated and you can see tiny specs of butter in it.  Add ice cold water a tbsp at a time and pulse until it all comes together to form a dough.  The dough will take anywhere from 2 to 4 tbsp depending on the temperature in the kitchen.  ONCE it all comes together, wrap it in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.


2.  Roll the dough, cut to any shape, stuff, crimp the edges with a fork and brush with some egg wash Cut a small slit in the middle to allow the steam to come out and bake the pies for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown in a 350 degree oven.  


For the stuffing:


1. In a microwave safe bowl add almond meal, milk powder, saffron, sugar, milk and cook it for a minute.  Take it out and stir it and cook for another minute.  It will take about 3-4 minutes to cook and it will be slightly thick.  Take it out and mix in the cardamom powder.

Cool and stuff it in the pie.

ENJOY!

___________________________________________________________

Note:

You can make the pie dough and wrap tightly and freeze it for a longer time.
The stuffing is great as a dessert on it's own with some icecream.
Make sure all the ingredients are cold when making a pie.
Do not over stuff the pies.



ALMOND AND SAFFRON PIE 1

Have fabulous Valentines day with your precious someone.  
 Copyright 2013 - Food Fashion Party

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DOSA- A SOUTH INDIAN SPECIALITY

DOSA with PEANUT CHUTNEY(a perfect South Indian breakfast)

Imagine going to your in-laws' home for the first time, that itself is nerve wrecking(it was for me). How would you react if they ask you to make dosa?  It was quite overwhelming. At that time, I didn't know how to make coffee to save my life, leave alone the art of making a perfect crispy dosa.  I slowly made my way to the kichen, kept the flat iron pan, and started making my dosas. That was not so bad until my father-in-law came and said, "hold on, let me show you how to make a proper dosa"(in a nice tone).  My ego was hurt, and I was not a happy girl.

Back at my parents' home, we did make dosa, but it is not as popular as it is in some parts of Southern India. My hubby comes from Coimbatore, a place known for its idli and dosa.  Well, along the years, I've learnt much traditional cooking from my in laws, and I love their cooking style.


So, now when I go visit my in-laws, I do manage to ask my father-in-law how my cooking is, he never stops amazing me with his sweetest compliments as to how great a cook I am, but just next to his wife..;).



Dosa DOSA Batter



Dosa is a rice and lentil pancake which, to me, is similar to INJERA.  It's much easier to make dosa, which has to be fermented overnight, than Injera, which requires way more effort(I'm still working on perfecting it). There are many variations; it's made paper thin, thick and medium, stuffed, plain with egg, anything your heart desires.

Generally, I do not mess around with authentic and traditional recipes but this is one of those mixes I enjoy and I think it is a little bit better than the original.  Here goes, the most traditional breakfast in most South Indian homes.  The accompaniments are endless: coconut chutney, peanut chutney, tomato chutney, onion tomato chutney(my kid's favorite), sambhar, corinader chutney, potato and peas curry stuffing and much much more.


DOSA with PEANUT CHUTNEY(a perfect South Indian breakfast)1

I love my dosa crispy with my mom's peanut chutney and a little sugar sprinkled over it, which is exactly how my dad prefers it. It is freaky how similar our habits are to our parents.   

DOSA with PEANUT CHUTNEY

Ingredients:

DOSA

4 cups medium grain Indian rice(Sona Masoori)
1/2 cup green whole green daal(moong daal)
1/2 cup split white lentils (urad daal)
1/2 tbsp meethi seeds
Water to soak-4-5 cups
1/2 cup leftover cooked rice(any kind)
Water to grind-1/2-3/4 cups
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Method:
1. Wash the rice and lentils well until the water runs clear. Soak all the ingredients for the dosa overnight.  You have to soak this for at least 7-8 hours because the green lentil takes a bit longer to get soft.
2. Make 2 portions of the soaked grains, drain all the water. It will be hard to grind the whole thing at once. Grind the soaked rice and lentil with 1/2 cup of cooked rice in a heavy duty blender with water adding it little at a time until you achieve a semi-smooth consistency.  It should not be too pasty or too watery.  Take it out in a large vessel, add the salt, mix well and cover. Leave it in a warm place for 6-7 hours or until it ferments or rises an inch or two.
REMEMBER- In colder months it does not rise that well.  I turn on my oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, turn it off and keep the mixture in the oven overnight.  It does the trick.  DO NOT TURN ON THE OVEN WHEN THE MIXTURE IS IN.
3.  Once it ferments, add baking soda and baking powder, mix well and make your dosas on a medium hot griddle.  SERVE HOT with any sauce of your choice.
NOTE:MAKE sure to use a good heavy duty blender. 

PEANUT CHUTNEY
1/2 cup roasted peanuts without skin
1 cup grated coconut
4-5 whole red chillies
1/4 inch ginger
pinch of cumin
a very small piece of tamarind
salt
water needed to grind it -1/4- 1/2 cup

GRIND everything in a blender with water as needed until everything is well ground and not too smooth or watery.  You can temper it with some mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.

ENJOY DOSA WITH CHUTNEY!!

DOSA with PEANUT CHUTNEY(a perfect South Indian breakfast)2

I'm sure most of you have tried dosa, do you like it? Have you made it at hoem? Would love to hear from you. 
Have a great week!!

Copyright 2013 - Food Fashion Party

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SAVORY WHOLE GRAIN WAFFLES

Whole Grain Savory Waffle
Whole Grain Savory Waffle 3

How are you'll doing? Hope you are keeping yourself warm and safe.  
What have I been up to?? 
Not a lot.  Watched a very bad movie, infact the worst Indian movie ever and it had the biggest cast.  
Ran 6 miles today after taking a break for a while, feels AMAZING.
Ohhh and by the way, watching episodes of STAR GATE.  I remember watching it long back.  Now on Season 2 and I am quite addicted now. After the boys are in bed, hubby and I watch at least four episodes, loving it.
And also made a huge batch of these waffles.

I am always impressed with my waffle machine, it never ceases to amaze me. I remember owning a waffle maker even before I knew a single recipe for a good waffle.  
Waffles are a staple in our home.  The kids can have sweet waffles everyday.  Every once in a while, I love to make these. I've put my waffle iron to good use, and quite shocked that it still serves me after years of tormenting it with spice after spice.

Whole Grain Savory Waffles Whole Grain Savory Waffle 2
Whole Grain Savory Waffles 5


SPICY WHOLE GRAIN WAFFLES

Ingredients:
1/2 cup finger millet flour(ragi)
1/2 cup black lentil flour 
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup fat free milk 
1 egg
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 green chillies finely diced
2 whole carrots grated finely
optional-chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds(2 tsp together)

Method:
1. In a large bowl, mix the millet flour, black lentil flour, chickpea flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, soda and sugar.  Keep aside.
2.  In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg, fat free milk, vegetable oil, green chillies and carrots.
3. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together well till incorporated.  You can add the chia, hemp and flax seeds and incorporate it.
Let the mixture sit in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
4. Bake it in a waffle maker or you can make small pancakes and cook at low temperature.  
ENJOY!!

Quick Note:
You can made thick pancakes out of the batter.  That is how we make in India.
I made a sandwich with alfalfa sprouts and some green and date chutney.  You can also serve it with some chana masala or chicken curry(yum).  
You can make this vegan by omitting the egg.  The result is pretty good.
You can substitute the fat free milk for unsweetened soy milk.
You can make the waffles and freeze it and toast whenever ready to eat. Let the waffles cool well before freezing. 
Serve with a gravy or make waffle sandwiches.
  


Whole Grain Savory Waffles 4 Whole Grain Savory Waffles 3
. Copyright 2013 - Food Fashion Party

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI WITH ASIAN DRESSING

                                                                                                             
CRISPY ROASTED FLORETS WITH SPICY ASIAN DRESSING1

It has been a good couple of weeks. I am trying to get back on track with my workouts and a good healthy diet.  I've always been consistent with workouts, in fact I can overdo a bit but the results are definitely well worth it.  Although my parents beg to differ, they hate to see the skinny me.  Food, on the other hand is something I love too much to be eating less portions and healthy all the time.  So I have to come up with tasty alternative which are liked by all.  I am so glad that my boys are into salads and smoothies.  

This was our light dinner for the day, with a cantaloupe smoothie (cantaloupe, strawberry, and coconut water).   

I know I roasted the bazookas out of the broccoli, but trust me, they tasted like they were fried. You could make a big portion of the dressing and use it as a sauce to make your favorite stir fry, or you could just use it as a dip for appetizers.


CRISPY ROASTED FLORETS WITH SPICY ASIAN DRESSING 3

CRISPY ROASTED FLORETS WITH SPICY ASIAN DRESSING 2 CRISPY ROASTED FLORETS WITH SPICY ASIAN DRESSING

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI WITH ASIAN DRESSING

Ingredients:

1 whole head cauliflower 
1 whole head broccoli
2 tbsp rice flour 
2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp salt

For the Asian Dressing:
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp sweet chilly sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp chilly flakes
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
3 stalks scallions finely chopped
1tbsp corn flour
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sesame seeds for garnishing

Method:

1. Cut the cauliflower and broccoli to big pieces and wash well and dry very well.  IT has to be very dry.
2.  Take a large bowl and add the florets in it.  Sprinkle tapioca flour, corn flour and salt evenly on top of florets.  Cover the bowl with a pate and shake it out so the flours distribute evenly.  You could also use a Ziploc to mix it in.
3.  Preheat over to 420 degrees.  Bake the florets at for 20 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned.
4.  Mix all the ingredients for the dressing until there are no lumps.  Pour in a small sauce pan and simmer it for couple of minutes or until slightly thickened. Set aside and cool.
5. Arrange the roasted florets on a flat bottomed plate, pour  pour the dressing over, and garnish with sesame seeds.
ENJOY!!

CRISPY ROASTED FLORETS WITH SPICY ASIAN DRESSING15

Copyright 2013 - Food Fashion Party

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ridgegourd Yogurt and Coconut Milk Stew with Sriracha Garbanzo Beans

Ridgegourd Yogurt-Coconut Milk Stew with Sriracha Garbanzo Beans

As the holidays are behind us and a new year is ahead of us, a fresh start always feels good. It was relaxing,took a break from all social networking, yet crazy, couple of weeks.  We ate a great deal of food, spent some quality time with friends, and baked plenty of different goodies. After a couple of weeks of waking up late, skipping workouts, eating out, and having absolutely no routine, I was craving to get back into shape. I guess that sometimes, too much of a good thing can annoy you.  

Well, I am quite excited for the New Year. I have no resolution in particular, but I have goals I want to accomplish. To start off, I am in deep need of some detox. Well, the carb lover that I am, it is hard to do that. However, once a day, healthy smoothies or soups/stews are not a bad thing.



Ridgegourd Yogurt-Coconut Milk Stew with Sriracha Garbanzo Beans

I can not believe I am saying this, but I am tired of cookies, sweets, and fancy foods. I have simply had too many of them. My body is craving simple food, but with definite, bold flavors.  

I've done pretty well this week with my workouts and food choices.  Today, it is this stew which I would normally pour over a huge portion of white rice. This time, I added the sriracha garbanzo beans, and-trust me-rice was not missed.  


This is one of my interpretations of a stew made in Kerala (in the southern part of India) which is eaten with appam (rice pancakes/rice noodles) during breakfast. It is a delicious stew which is quite a healthy one too.



Ridgegourd Yogurt-Coconut Milk Stew with Sriracha Garbanzo Beans Ridgegourd Yogurt-Coconut Milk Stew with Sriracha Garbanzo Beans
Ridgegourd Yogurt-Coconut Milk Stew with Sriracha Garbanzo Beans
RIDGE GOURD YOGURT AND COCONUT MILK STEW
WITH SRIRACHA ROASTED GARBANZO BEANS

Ingredients:
For the stew:
1 cup fat free yogurt beaten or whipped
1 cup light thin coconut milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 red onion
1 cup chopped ridge gourd without the seeds
1 Serrano chilly
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 cups water
1/2 tsp mustard seeds(optional)
1/4 tsp asafoetida

Garnish and serve with Spicy Garbanzo Beans,cilantro, sliced chilly, chilly oil. 

Method:

1. In a large bowl, mix the yogurt and coconut milk and mix very well.
2. In a pan,add 1 tsp oil. Let it get hot and add cumin.  Add onion and fry for a minute.  Add the ridge gourd, serrano chilly, salt turmeric and fry it for a minute.  Add 1 cup water, cover and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.
3. Let cool the vegetable mixture and grind it to a fine paste and keep aside.
4. In the same pan, add 1 tsp of oil, mustard seeds and asafoetida. Add the ground vegetable paste, the coconut milk and yogurt mixture and another cup of water and keep the flame to low and stir constantly.  Once you see tiny bubbles on the edges, turn off the heat and serve with some sliced serrano chillies, garbanzo beans and cilantro.  

For the SRIRACHA ROASTED GARBANZO BEANS:

1 tbsp sriracha
1 tsp oil
1 cup cooked and dried garbanzo beans

Mix everything together and bake at 420 degrees for 20 minutes.  
Serve on top of the stew or it is perfect as a snack.

ENJOY!!


Do you have a favorite soup?


Ridgegourd Yogurt-Coconut Milk Stew with Sriracha Garbanzo Beans

 Copyright 2013 - Food Fashion Party

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR - It's 2014




A Very Very Happy New Year to you my dear friends!!

I wish all of you a wonderful year ahead with everything you desire. I wish you a Healthy, Happy New Year!!

I really appreciate all your visits and your comments.  Thanks for the constant support. I am looking forward to learning and sharing many things this year.   

We are at the tail end of our holidays, and I am tired (well, almost..:) of eating and socializing.  I would have made this halwa at least 10 times these last 2 weeks, for the sweet tooth in our family.  So here it is: a 5 minute, quick, 5 ingredient instant gratification dessert to keep things simple during the holidays.  


WHEAT-ALMOND BROWN BUTTER HALWA
Serves-4
Time to Make-5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar(or accordingly)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
10-15 almonds sliced 

Method:

1. In a small pan add the butter, let it brown on simmer till it is amber in color.  Wait till it cools and drain the top with a strainer or cheese cloth leaving the dark bits on the bottom.
2. In a non stick shallow pan, add the whole wheat flour and fry the flour on very low simmer and do not let it brown a lot. 
3. After 2 minutes add the brown butter and mix it well with the flour.  Add water to the butter and flour mixture slowly and let the flour soak it all in.  Keep stirring so it doesn't lump up. Mix well till it is cooked, takes about couple of minutes.
4. Add the sugar and mix it well for another minute, add the cardamom powder and almonds and serve warm.  
ENJOY!!

 Copyright 2013 - Food Fashion Party

Sunday, December 22, 2013

PISTACHIO BUTTER COOKIES WITH WALNUTS



Every Christmas was very special as a kid.  Dad made it quite memorable for me. It was the festive season, and he made sure it was remembered fondly.

There is a bakery in Bangalore(India), a very famous one, NILGIRIS.  They had/have a Christmas Cake Show which showcases beautiful pieces of art which were huge: the TAJ MAHAL, Titanic, Barbie dolls, castles, chariots, sports players,completely made of cake. The cake artists took weeks to mold and remold. There were rows and rows of exhibits. Kids gaped at those wonders and almost wanted to touch it.

I would hold my Dad's hand and drag him around, and he, just like a kid, was amazed and equally excited along with me. He definitely created memories for me.

Another thing about Christmas, the PLUM CAKE(a dry fruit and nuts cake). It is the most popular of cakes during Christmas, and it is sold like hot cakes, no pun intended.

My dad got so many for us, and I would not stop eating them until my stomach hurt.  I miss the original Nilgiri Plum Cake, although coming here, I've made a version of the original which is mighty close. I bake it for Christmas almost every year. However, that's for another post. Today, it's these awesome, simple, yet lovely cookies.



Well, it's the time to be thankful. Time for Christmas and New Year!! I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas. I'll leave you for now with these middle eastern cookies. Off for some much needed vacation!


PISTACHIO BUTTER COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE AND WALNUTS

Ingredients:

1 stick/113 grams unsalted butter softened    
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup powdered pistachios
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

2 ounces of melted dark chocolate
Walnut halves
chopped pistachios

Method:

1.  Beat softened butter and sugar till soft and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and mix it well.  
3. In a bowl, add the pistachio powder, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and form a dough.  Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or even overnight. 
5. Roll the dough to a 1/2 cm and cut out the desired shapes and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
6. After the cookies are completely cooled pipe some melted dark chocolate and top with a walnut or some pistachios and press it so it sticks to the chocolate.  Let the chocolate harden and pack it in some airtight container and it stays good for up to a month.  
ENJOY!!



 Copyright 2013 - Food Fashion Party

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