Vanilla Button Wafer Cookies – Eggless, Simple and Irresistible

It was good to get a breather . Don’t remember the last time I had a weekend where I could actually have a cup of tea and sneak in a few moments that did not involve schedules and lists – of any kind . DH and yours truly are Yin and yang when it  comes to tea – a dash of sugar in one and absolutely none in the other one . Ginger shining through in one and no thanks on the other. Cardamom with a heavy hand on one and not so fast on the other hand. But for the 30 minutes, it was middle ground for tea and absolute serenity. Accompanied by absolutely ” melt in the mouth vanilla button wafer cookies”. Oh these were so good . Had to try this out because I wanted to make something for a dear old soul who would not eat anything with eggs in it.

These were buttery, crispy , absolutely melt in your mouth with vanilla not overpowering and keeping the flavor subtle but classy. I like those kind .  And I suppose now that these were such a hit , I would be experimenting a bit more – on the flavors .

INGREDIENTS:

  • Unsalted Butter: 1/2 cup 
  • Fine All Purpose flour : 1 and  1/4 cups
  • Powdered / Confectioner’s sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Fine Granulated Sugar: 1/4 cup
  • Salt: 1/4 tsp.
  • Milk : 1/4 cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract : 1 Tbsp.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer cream the butter and sugar till you get a light fluffy mix. It should take about 4-5 minutes. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl so all is incorporated and you do not have butter stuck high on the paddle.
  4. Add the quarter cup of milk and vanilla extra extract and make sure it is whipped in well.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl sift the flour and salt together.
  6. Add the flour to the creamed mix and fold  gently. Only till incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX.
  7. Fit a pastry or piping bag with a large round piping tip. The dough is very very soft and pliable . Almost like very sturdy buttercream. So you should be able to pipe it out easily.
  8. Pipe about an inch diameter circles onto the baking sheets. These do not spread very much so an inch space between then should do.
  9. Bake for 16-18 minutes. You are looking for golden brown on the bottoms and around the edges. It is very easy to over bake, so keep an eye.
  10. Let it cool on the pan for about a couple of minutes (the cookies set further on the baking sheet ) and then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely and store it in air tight container.
  11. This makes about 60-65 one inch button cookies. Lasted about a couple of days  hours at my place.

NOTES:

  • Creaming is absolutely essential otherwise you will not get the desired consistency. If you think your white granulated sugar is a little big on the crystal size, pulverize it once before creaming. I would not use brown sugar here, because the molasses content in the brown sugar will make these soft.
  • Over mixing will produce tough cookies. The texture is crispy, absolutely melt in the mouth because of the high butter content. There is a fraction of caramelization as well and you can feel it in the taste.
  • Are these sweet? Yes. Overpowering? No. Could you reduce the sugar content? Possibly. I would probably experiment the next time by increasing the flour content and adding a couple of tablespoons of milk to ease out for the texture, keeping the butter and sugar content the same.
  • I honestly felt the vanilla extract was just perfect. You need the taste subtle not overpowering and this will make it a wonderful addition to a pudding or in ice cream. Would this work with wheat flour? Possibly but you will need fine milled whole wheat pastry flour for this. And definitely work on the ratios to get the texture.

 

 

Baby Corn Masala (Gravy style)

It was supposed to be a small remodeling of the kitchen but it put mine out of commission for nearly a couple of months. What’s that saying about humans making plans and the gods laughing on it?  

Sprinkle  in extra chaos of spring break – before , during and after, some 4 year old chores and AP exams and prep for A1 . Then add in some gymnastics meet schedules for A2 and spring soccer for A3 – complete with game schedules, make ups , thunderstorms and more( we won the last game – yay!), I just think we were lucky to just have plain simple fare to fill the bellies.

Add to it a missing contractor. Just when we thought we should put out an APB ( I did contemplate it for a whole min – I promise !) for this chap , he shows up . Yippee ! Now that work is almost done, I can get back  some of the sanity that was in short supply during these couple of months  !!! . And therefore on an impoverished day , canned baby corn come to the rescue. This was got in the hope that some day it would inspire me to make MSG – less version of it from a popular Indo- Chinese fusion restaurant that draws in hoardes near my place.

Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)

This is such a simple and delicious fare that you can add your own twist to it and it still works out handy. A friend of mine sampled it on the day it was made and had nothing but good things to say. Serve it with a wedge of lime, add a dash of cream to make it extra special. Serve it with basmati pilaf, hot phulkas, laccha parathas or fried rice. You just cannot go wrong with this.

Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)

Of course the main reason why this could be made in 15 -20 min or so is because we pan cook the tomatoes and onions before grinding them to a paste. And also we use readily available dry masala powder to shorten the process time.

Prep time : 5-8 min  Cook time : 8 -10 min Total time 15 -20 min

Ingredients :

  • Canned baby corn : 2
  • Onions : 2 ( diced)
  • Tomatoes : 2 ( diced)
  • Green bell pepper : 1 ( chopped into big pieces)
  • Cashew/ Almonds : 10 ( broken if possible)
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
  • Crushed Kasuri Methi : 1 tbsp.
  • Chopped fresh Cilantro : 1/4 cup
  • Garam Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Kitchen king Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Kashmiri Mirch powder : 1 tsp.
  • Red chili powder ( spicy ) : 1/4 tsp. + adjusted to spice tolerance
  • Optional : 3 Tbsp. light cream, for serving
  • Flavorless oil : 2 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp.
  • Salt : to taste
  • Water : 1/2 – 3/4 cup

Method :

  • Drain the baby corn of the liquid in the can , wash well with cold water , cut into smaller pieces about an inch long or so and keep it drained in a colander. The idea is to get rid of the brine as much as possible.
  • In a heavy sauce pan or wok, on dry heat roast the cashew or almonds until very warm or slight brown and set aside.
  • In the same wok add the 2 Tbsp. of oil and  fry the onions and then the tomatoes in sequential order for about 5 -6 min so you are left with a very thick stew. The purpose is two fold – one is to cook the onions and tomatoes so the raw edge of the veggies are wiped out and the second purpose is to hasten the cooking process of the gravy. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil in the wok and add in the cumin seeds and once it sputters add in the chopped bell peppers and sauté till it retains the texture but almost cooked. Say about 3 min or so.
  • Now add in the chopped baby corn and stir it in.
  • Add in the Garam Masala. Kitchen King masala and chili powders and a tsp. of salt and stir for about a min or so.
  • Grind the roasted cashews / almonds and then the sautéed onions and tomatoes with about 1/2 a cup of water till you get a thick gravy. It was about a min in my Vitamix.
  • Add this to the vegetables and let it boil for about 5 min or so. You will see the change in the color a tad bit . Taste for salt. Add in the crushed Kasuri  Methi , stir again.
  • You will have a very thick stew with slightly crunchy bell peppers and tender baby corn !
  • Serve hot garnished with fresh cilantro ! Add a dash of lime or drizzle in some heavy cream and your kids will lick their finger tips !!
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy) served hot with steaming peas pulav!

FAQ:

  • Can I use frozen baby corn? 

I wish I got those here  in these parts of the world. Definitely would be my preferred choice over canned ones. Follow the instructions on the pack for cooking directions or if there are none, I would thaw and then dunk in boiling water for about a min.

  • What if I do not have the Kitchen King Masala or Garam Masala on hand?

Simply adjust the quantity of one for the other  or use whole masala in their place. Of course it requires additional time of roasting and grinding.

  • Why do you need both the chili powders?

One is of low heat and gives a vibrant color and  the other adds the heat.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

A3 wanted blueberry muffins. Lemon blueberry muffins. In the last days of winter ! You get the picture. I think he was bit impatient for spring to arrive and to play soccer. But NC weather was such a tease ! Gloomy skies, bare trees, dark clouds and not a ray of sunlight.  Who could blame the poor kid for wanting his own bit of sunshine?

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

 

In any case a tub of sour cream begged to be used before the expiry date and since the fresh blue berries did not  cause me an arm and a leg or to play Rumplestiltskin with my first born, a tub meandered its way home from the store. A bag of fresh Meyer lemons and armed with some butter, I has to try these prize winning sour cream lemon muffins from this site with of course a couple of minor switches and few more adaptations.

They are so tender,  utterly soft pillowy ones. I have adapted the recipe ever so lightly to yield the tang of lemon muffins with its citrusy flavor and these are simply irresistible. So good and so perfect and huge plus they are not overtly sweet cupcakes masquerading as muffins. Lovely domed tops as well. Go ahead , raid your pantry and make these . You will not be disappointed.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Prep time : 15 min   Baking time : 22-24 min  Yield : 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Flour : Sift and Mix 

  • White whole wheat flour : 1/2 cup
  • All purpose flour , unbleached : 1 cup
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.

Dairy, Sugar, Egg : To cream

  • Unsalted butter at room temperature : 1/4 cup
  • Granulated or organic cane sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Large egg, cage free : 1
  • Reduced fat Sour cream/ Greek yogurt : 1 cup

Citrus: Meyer Lemons

  • Juice of 1 big lemon or about 3 Tbsp. of lemon juice
  • Grated lemon zest : 1 Tbsp.
  • Pure lemon extract : 1 Tbsp.

Produce : Berries 

  • Fresh blueberries : 1 cup, tossed in about 2 Tbsp. of flour ( If using frozen, use unthawed only please.)

Topping : Mix thoroughly

  • Lemon zest , grated : 1 Tbsp.
  • Granulated sugar : 2 Tbsp.

Method :

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  • Line your muffins pans or grease them  if preferred. Set aside.
  • Measure and sift the flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a separate mixing bowl and set aside. Alternatively you can whisk it thoroughly.
  • Cream the room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy using a hand/ stand mixer. Add in the egg and mix until blended well. Next add in the sour cream or yogurt , followed by lemon juice , zest and extract and mix well.
  • Stir in the  flour mix into the creamed  mixture just until no streaks remain. DO NOT over mix or you will have a tough muffin on your hands.
  • Next gently fold in the  blueberries. If using fresh berries, toss  the rinsed and patted dry berries in about 2 Tbsp. of flour. Shake off the extra flour and gently fold it. If using frozen , use the unthawed frozen ones directly.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or measure , distribute it into the prepared cups.
  • Combine the ingredients listed under topping, and sprinkle some on the top of each muffin.
  • Bake for about 22 minutes or so until  just lightly browned.
  • Cool in the pan for about 5 min and then cool on the wire rack.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Slice and eat warm or cold, simple straight or with a dab of  jam. Breakfast or after school. You simply cannot go wrong with these melt in your mouth tender lemony blueberry muffins ! Go ahead grab one while it warm and you can polish it off very adult like with a cup of coffee as well.

Recipe source:  Adapted

Chunky Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

How would you like some big – fat – wholesome – crunchy and crispy on the edge and chewy in the middle wheat – oats  and toasted nut – Chocolate chip cookies? Drooling ?

Fresh cookies baked with hint of cinnamon and some milk chocolate as well . And did I day they have reduced sugar. Definitely a worthy contender to the list of wholesome options. And not to mention the kitchen smelled heavenly . Definitely christmassy in spring theme , I say !

This was to have been published a couple of weeks ago. But let’s just say my Macbook decided not to cooperate and a whole bunch of my photos just poofed up in thin air !

Chunky Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Lots of adventures aside, this recipe needs to be up as the cookies are long gone  and kids are clamoring for more. And I would love for you all to try it as well.

 

IMG_0722_edited-1HChunky Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Gorgeous, big fat near bakery style cookies with crunch of nuts, hint of cinnamon and sweetness of milk chocolate balanced by semi sweet chips. Crispy, yet chewy oatmeal wheat cookies – served with a glass of milk and a big smile !

 

Prep time : 20 min

Baking time :  10-12 min

Cookies about : 24 -36

 

Ingredients:

Sift and Mix :

  • White whole wheat flour : 3/4 cup
  • Unbleached All purpose flour : 3/4 cup
  • Baking powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon ground : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.
  • Quick cooking oats : 1 cup

To cream :  ( Ingredients at room temperature)

  • Unsalted butter  : 1 and 1/2 sticks or  12 Tbsp.
  • Granulated sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Packed dark brown sugar : 2/3 cup
  • Pure Vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.
  • Almond extract : 1 tsp. ( optional)
  • Large , cage free egg : 1
  • 2 % milk : 2 Tbsp.

Additions for the final cookie base :

  • Milk chocolate chips : 1 and 1/4 cups
  • Semi sweet chips : 1/4 cups
  • Toasted and chopped walnuts and almonds : 1 cup

Instructions:

  • Pre heat oven to 375 F.
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Clean up would be a breeze.
  • Sift and mix all the ingredients listed under order. Add the quick cooking oats  at the very final stage and then given a thorough mix.
  • Cream the butter well initially. Say for about 3 minutes.Then add in the sugars and cream for another couple of minutes to yield a fluffy creamy mass.
  • Add the whole egg and mix it in thoroughly and then add the vanilla and almond extracts and the couple of tablespoons of milk and mix till blended again.
  • Now add in the flour-oats combination mix. Just mix until no streaks remain . Do not over mix.
  • Finally fold in the chocolate chips and nuts for even distribution.  Fold it in please. Again DO NOT over mix please.
  • Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon scoop, scoop out portions of the cookie dough and place about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake at 375 F for about 10-12 min so edges are browned crisp , but centers remain chewy. Or if you prefer you can make it crisp entirely too. I made a combination of both.
  • Remove and cook on baking sheets for about 5 min. Remember they do continue to cook on the sheets, so change them out to wire racks after that to cool down.

Chunky Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe is a minor adaptation of the original one from  Nestle site.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

It is a gorgeous day and looks like winter is on its last legs in NC.  Who wants to do a boatload (make it loads) of laundry, check things off the work checklist, shop, cook and drive around for a gazillion pickups and drop offs.. Right ! We sure can dream on, can’t we?.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Meanwhile reality sinks in and work beckons and just for the lark of it , I think this week calls for something special. Why so, you may ask ? Why not ? I reason . It’s special cause we want it to be , cause we feel like it and cause I am singing Pharell Williams “Happy” song.  A3 theorizes that un-birthday , birthday celebrations are cool. Therefore , mom has been summarily hinted and pleaded alternatively, to pretty please plan and throw  a “surprise” one. No amount of  A1 and A2’s reasoning that one cannot really plan for one’s “surprise” party holds water. A3 promises to promptly forget he asked for one as long as he is promised his special day. LOL. I love this kid’s reasoning !

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

I kind of agree. I guess if you really want it, then you should go for it. While the event still  has a few more weeks ( atleast 12 weeks ) to go into, I am pretty sure A1,2 and 3 will be thrilled to have a slice of this freshly baked cinnamon swirled bread . Hand it over with a tall glass of milk and wholesome fruit  to go with it. Yum ! After a long day of school and before the gym practice and meet, this is a welcome treat for them.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread: 

A welcome treat, especially after a grueling day for the kids. Flecks of cinnamon in the batter will greet you along with a ribbon of cinnamon sugar smack in the middle. Vanilla enhances the flavor subtly and you have a moist crumb when you slice the bread. If only you can wait until its cool enough to slice !

Prep time : 15 – 20 min   Cook time : 45-50 min   Serves about 10 thick slices.

Ingredients:

For making the batter base :

  • Unbleached All purpose  flour : 1 cup
  • White Whole wheat flour : 1 cup
  • Salt : 1/4 tsp.
  • Baking Soda : 1 tsp.
  • Cinnamon powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Unsalted Butter : 8 Tbsp. / 1/2 cup
  • Packed Brown sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Granulated Sugar : 3/4 cup
  • Egg, large, cage free : 1
  • Pure vanilla extract : 1 tbsp.
  • Buttermilk  : 1 cup or Milk , 2 % : 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. of Vinegar or lemon juice

For the Sugar swirl : ( whisk ingredients till combined well )

  • Granulated sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Cinnamon Powder : 2 tsp.

Method:

Note: please bring all the ingredients to room temperature before baking. The only exception for me is the vanilla extract which I take it out just when I start creaming the butter and sugar.

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 by 5 inch bread loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, scoop out  the 2 cups of flour and add salt and baking soda along with cinnamon and whisk very well to ensure thorough distribution. Alternatively sift it all together in a bowl.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in your stand / hand mixer till pale and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and whisk it till well combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract and whisk again.
  • Add the buttermilk if using or if not add the vinegar to room temperature milk and set aside for a couple of minutes and use.
  • Whisk well till combined thoroughly.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix till combined.
  • The batter would be thick and fluffy.  Optional : you can add cinnamon chips now in the batter if using. 

Layering the batter and baking :

  • Add half of the batter to the  prepped pan and smooth it.
  • Now add 3/4 of the sugar – cinnamon mix as a layer and gently pat a couple of times to get it to stick to the batter.
  • Now add the rest of the batter as dropfuls and smoothen it to get a layer like a sandwich. The reason to add as dropfuls and not add in one heapful is because this is such a thick batter , if you drop them in spoonfuls distributed along the pan length , then it is simply a matter of joining the dots.
  • Now add the reserved 1/4  of the sugar cinnamon mix on the top and pat down to let it stick.
  • Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or so or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove, cool and then slice.
  • Serve warm !

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

 

 

 

Adapted from redflycreations and allrecipes.

Kale and Spinach Masala Vada(i)

What’s your indulgence on a cold miserable day? NC brought out in full spate some miserable and grumpy days to the boot. Nagging cold weather accompanied by some rain and a weather that could not decide between holding onto winter and hopping aboard the spring train. Yikes !

Now imagine a day where the sun refused to peek out and the bare branches of the trees formed a sticky silhouette to temper the gray dull skies. The weather even managed to incite my boisterous and slightly neurotic lab to snooze . And quite a vent hugger she was. The warm draft of air from the heater vent provided the perfect huggable carpet spot for her and I could hear her stretching and yawning.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

I would have loved to take out that raggedy brown blanket, stretch out on the recliner with a hot cuppa and indulge in a book. Any book. But since kids would arrive from school and look forward to something that could perk them up.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

 

So a hot steaming cup of chai it is and a plate piled with piping hot and steaming baby kale and baby spinach masala vada(i). Chockful of these and the lentils provide much of the protein and flavors of fennel and ginger and garlic. Seriously folks, you would be missing out if you do not make these.

Kale and Spinach Masala ( Vadai)

A   plate piled high with piping hot, crispy, golden brown masala vada(i).. packed with kale and spinach and spiced with those flavors that make it extra special – protein packed indulgence and hot steaming cuppa to  make it even more better. It’s ok to indulge once in a while and it sure calls for it today !

Now what’s your excuse and what’s your indulgence?

Soaking time : 3 hrs   Prep time : 15 min   Cooking time : 25-30 min  Pieces : about 30 

Serves a hungry lot !

Ingredients:

Pulses and Cereals: Soaked for about 3 hrs or so.

  • Dry split Channa dal : 3/4 cup
  • Dry Toor Dal : 1/4 cup
  • Flax seeds : 2 Tbsp
  • Rice : brown/ white : 2 Tbsp.

Vegetables/Herbs

  • Baby Spinach : 1 cup : chopped
  • Baby Kale : 1 cup chopped
  • Onion : 1 medium size : chopped fine
  • Garlic cloves: 3 : chopped fine
  • Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped fine
  • Mint leaves : 8-10, chopped fine
  • Green chilies : 8-10. chopped fine ( adjusted to spice level)
  • Ginger : peeled, 1 inch , chopped fine

Dry Spices: ( preference can dictate the kind of spices added)

  • Fennel seeds / Saunf : 1 Tbsp
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp , adjusted to taste.

Frying:

  • Deep frying in peanut/ canola/vegetable /saffola oil of your choice.

Method:

  • Grind to a thick and coarse consistency the soaked ingredients listed under pulses/ cereals
  • The batter should not be extra fine or smooth but be ground enough to show occasional whole soaked dals with coarse consistency and done so just the little amount of water required. Do not make it too watery or mush, then the vada(i)s will soak up extra oil.
  • Add in all the ingredients listed in spices and mix well.
  • Add in the ingredients listed in vegetables and herbs and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium high heat.
  • Test the temperature of oil by putting in a tiny dropful of batter. If it floats immediately to the top and is sizzling, you can begin the process of making vada(i)s.

Shaping, Frying the Vada(i)s

  • You can use the flat side of a ziploc bag, dab it with oil and drop 2 Tbsp. of coarse batter, flatten to get a round disc and gently slide it the  oil.
  • Or the method I prefer, is to use my fingers and palms to shape the flattened discs and slide them gently in oil.
  • Fry in medium high heat about 6-8  in batch or so.  The discs are about 2-3 inches in diameter.
  • Fry these in medium high heat to a nice even brown. Do not fry in very high heat. If you do so, the outer layer will get cooked faster than the inner one and it is not something you will relish!
  • Enjoy with a hot cup of tea and the mush awaited book of your choice!

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

New year and new beginnings?  Nah , more like everyday is a clean slate to make something out of yourself. It’s what I keep telling myself . There is joy in small things. It’s the small things that build it up for the grand finale – life . Calvin and Hobbes sum it up the best in a beautiful snippet on watching the stars and losing yourself in it its infinity.. Sometimes it’s good to be lost.

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

So all the while, NC gets about a few inches of snow and ice and we get snowed in at home – School is far far away in another land. Tee hee.. The joy of skipping school – even my high schooler fell prey to its charm and exhibited an uncharacteristic elation.

So while mom and kids lazed around and spent quality time and lost themselves in snowmen and hot cocoa, DH was stranded trying to make his way back amongst the sea of travelers and some 8500 canceled flights.  Over night layover and a really bizarre circumnavigation apart, a welcome face pops in after nearly couple of days of journey. Home sweet home !

 Welcome home –  with a hot cup of tea and wonderful tandoori bites…

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

When fresh veggies were not exactly ruling the roost in this part of the country, I usually have a stock of fresh frozen (if I can manage the non GMO kind, then definitely ) of vegetables in my freezer. Cauliflower florets – a favorite here. I used this to make the tandoori bites. It was a full head of fairly medium  – big sized cauliflower that I had cut in florets and frozen. I would say about a pound of it.

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites

Baked Cauliflower Tandoori Bites:

Prep time : 5-10 min   Marination time : 5 hours to over night

Baking time : 15 -20 min

Vegetable:

  • Cauliflower florets – A head of cauliflower cut into bite sized florets or frozen 16 oz. bag

For the Marinade:

  • Thick plain yogurt : 1/4 cup
  • Plain chili powder / Kashmiri powder : 1 tbsp. ( use your judgment for the heat)
  • Chaat masala : 1 Tbsp..
  • Salt : 1 tsp.
  • Tandoori Masala : 1 Tbsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1 Tbsp.
  • Mint -Coriander Green chutney : 2 Tbsp.

Optional :

  • Ginger- garlic paste : 1 tsp.

Method:

  • Defrost the cauliflower florets or if using fresh ones, either nuke it in the microwave for a couple of minutes or quick blanch it.  Let it come to room temperature.
  • Whisk all the ingredients listed under marinade. Taste test if desired so.
  • Pour the marinade on the cauliflower pieces and mix it to ensure all of it is coated thoroughly.  Keep it covered in the refrigerator for minimum of 4-5 hours , but can be left overnight for best results as well.

Baking :

  • Pre heat oven to 400 F.
  • Layer a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray oil if desired so on them so the pieces do not stick.
  • Spread the cauliflower florets so they are in single layer on the sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 min or so. Keep an eye after about 12 minutes of baking. A lot depends on the tenderness of the cauliflower and your oven. 

HUGE TIPIn the 8- 10 min interval, flip the cauliflower florets and rotate the pans to ensure even baking. If not you run the risk of burning the smaller sized ones.

  • You should get crisp but tender cauliflower florets bursting with flavor.
  • Serve with a wedge of lime and some mint – coriander green chutney as dip. You can also use a cool yogurt dip.

Bite sized, perfectly spiced and zero oil… Isn’t this just awesome?

 

 

 

 

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

An absolutely  packed schedule just before the winter break sets in. There are days and then there is today 

So while the going gets crazy , the crazy get going ??

The breakfast was bit of a dud ..Cold winter morning , not freezing but still cold enough for you to want to pull in the blankets closer. You might want to reach out for the warm toasted bread and dab of butter. Or a warm cinnamon roll. But not a single loaf of bread was baked and we were all out bread, cinnamon rolls, hot and tasty dosa or anything nice – according to the kids.

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

It was the second last day of school before winter break sets them free. And the kiddos are to be out for a long time and were fed fig bars(tsk tsk ) for break fast – all natural very good ,stone ground wheat and natural fig in it .But it was not exactly a cold morning choice ! Sigh ! Even the apple oat smoothie did not soften the wounded eyes of A2 ( A1 was more preoccupied with his gazillion tests in school today ) . And mom decided to make an after school treat.( Sucker for those wounded eyes , me thinks! )

A1 and A2 are a huge fan of samosas ! I mean honestly what’s not like about it – there’s all sorts of spiced laden veggies in a pastry dough which is usually fried.  And mom kind of relented( guilty of momism) and made a quick batch of – samosas . With whole wheat partially ( I cheated ) and BAKED it ! Corn and potatoes and carrots and so much more bring the burst of flavors and fresh mint/ coriander chutney – I need chai now !

Not very labor intensive. It was done pretty fast.

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

 

Time for prep : 30 min      Resting time for dough : 30 min  Shaping and filling : 15 – 20 min

Baking 25-30 min        Yields : 12 -14 pieces

 Ingredients :

For the stuffing:

  • Large potatoes : 3 nos.( boiled and mashed roughly )
  • Onion : 1 , diced fine
  • Sweet corn : boiled : 1/4 cup
  • Mix of peas and carrots : 1/4 cup
  • Oil : 1 tbsp.
  • Red chili powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam masala : 1 tsp.
  • Chaat masala : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cilantro : chopped : 1/4 cup
  • Salt : 1 tsp + as required
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.

For the dough:

  • White whole wheat flour  : 1 cup
  • All  purpose flour : 1 cup
  • Ajwain/ Carrom seeds : 1 Tbsp.
  • Oil : 3 Tbsp.
  • Water : as required
  • Baking powder : 1/4 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.

Method :

For the dough :

  • In a wide bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients first and whisk well to ensure even distribution of salt and baking powder.
  • Add the oil and mix thoroughly so the dough now resembles fine crumbs.
  • Now sprinkle water ( DO NOT ADD EXCESS WATER. SPRINKLE LITTLE BY LITTLE ) and bring the dough together to form a very tight dough. It has to be tight dough. Do not knead it excessively. We do not  want to form gluten in the dough and then you will have stretchy outer covering instead of a flaky one.
  • As soon as the dough comes together to form a ball, keep it covered for about 30 min. It is important to rest the dough.

For the filling:

  • In a wide skillet or fry pan, add the oil and add the cumin / jeera seeds and let it sputter. Add the onions and fry well. Subsequently add the  boiled and mashed potatoes, boiled corn and peas and carrots . I microwaved the frozen peas and carrots and then corn for a couple of min each to aid the cooking process.
  • Add the salt and then spice powders  listed and mix well. Do not mash it too much
  • Add the fresh chopped cilantro, stir once and take it out to cool.
  • After cooling divide it into 12 – 14 portions depending on the number of dough pieces.
  • If you have excess left , then it makes a great sandwich filler.

Making the samosa:

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 deg F
  • Fill a small cup with water and keep aside.
  • After the dough has rested for 30 min, knead it once to get a smoother one. Divide it into about 6-7 portions.
  • Roll out each portion into a big circle. Try to keep it on the thinner side.
  • Slice it in the middle to form 2 semi circles.
  • Now using the tips of your finger wet the  edges of the semi-circle.
  • Bring the edges together so it overlaps to form an open cone and seal the edges .
  • Fill the cone with your stuffing and seal the third side as well by wetting the line edge of the dough.
  • Repeat for the rest.

Baking the samosa:

  • Arrange the triangular pastries on a single layer on  parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Brush with a dab of cooking oil on the surface.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes in the pre heated oven.
  • The increase the heat to 375 F and bake another 10-12 minutes.
  • You will have flaky and crisp shell with spiced filling inside.
  • Serve hot with chai and green chutney.

 

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning Muffins – Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

I apologize for the delay in the post. A1 had some work done for the braces and a forgotten appointment we had to rush to. Stoic as he normally would be with everything, the pressure and pain of the lower wire in the brace is not a pleasant experience for anyone  and can quickly get on one’s nerves. In the case of A1, it usually leads to  monosyllables . In good days it would be a sentence.

And then M ( my slightly nutty and neurotic lab), decides to chase the squirrel up the tree – not happening . Sore and bruised leg and ego later, she wanted to sleep on mum’s lap. Oh well ! They never grow up. You would not be very far off thinking there is three ring circus at home. Well most of the days the juggler is awesome and peace reigns..

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

A2 on the other hand has grown a sweet tooth ( a few gazillion teeth more likely )and seems to hover around the kitchen a bit more interested in the goodies of the day. A3 has devoted his life to building Legos , Legos and more Legos. And when we take a break, we build a city out of Legos .. Again.

My faithful blender of 10 years goes kaput and  the newly ordered and delivered Vitamix stares back at me from the counter giving me  the come hither look . More carrot smoothies I say ! Or Morning glory muffins! I will take both. So how has your day been so far?

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

In this recipe we have a slightly adapted version of the Morning glory muffins from King Arthurs domain and  Earthbound farms original recipe.

Plump raisins , crunch of almonds and walnuts, hint of cinnamon and ginger, grated carrot and apple and added dash of flax meal. I mean what’s not to love about this. And btw who says it just has to be for breakfast . It’s a great after school snack as well. And in the car. And after soccer. You get the picture.

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

Hand one to your growing and bouncing of the walls active kid with a glass of  milk and they are good on the hunger front !

Prep time : 15 min  Bake time : 22- 25 min  Makes : 16 muffins

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour : 1 cup
  • All purpose flour : 1 cup
  • Brown sugar : 3/4 cup
  • Melted butter + lite olive oil : 2/3 cup ( in total)
  • Large eggs : 3
  • Baking powder : 1 tsp.
  • Baking soda : 2 tsp.
  • Flax seed meal : 3 Tbsp.
  • Vanilla extract : 2 tsp.
  • Dry ground ginger : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon powder : 2 tsp.
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Peeled ,fine grated carrots : 2 cups
  • 1 Large apple grated ( tart or sweet ) : 1/2 cup approx.
  • Slivered almonds or chopped walnuts : 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Pre heat oven to 375 F
  • Line the muffins trays with paper cups.
  • Pour 1/2 a cup of very hot water over the raisins to plump it up before use.
  • In a large mixing bowl add both the flours, flaxseed meal ,baking soda and baking powder and whisk very well. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, add the butter and oil combination and sugar and whisk well.
  • Add the cinnamon and dry ginger spice mix , vanilla extract and then add the eggs one by one and whisk well.
  • Add the flour and gently fold it.
  • Add the grated carrots and apples next and fold gently once again. Do not whisk vigorously.
  • Drain the water from the raisins . Then gently stir it in the along with chopped nuts.
  • The batter would be very thick .
  • Drop in heapfuls to fill up about 3/4 the muffin well.
  • Bake till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean and the muffins springs back slightly when touched.
  • Cool in the pan for a couple of minutes and then remove and cool on a wire rack very well.
  • They stay fresh at room temperature very well.
  • Serve warm with a a dab of cream cheese if preferred and with a tall glass of milk.

Good Morning Muffins - Wholesome, healthy and just perfect!

Espresso/ Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

The sun peeked out after days of bleh weather here. An appointment got rescheduled. Multiple loads of laundry got done and dust bunnies were chased away. The sun shining on the deck enticed Maya ( my gorgeous and slightly nutty black lab) and she acutely made me aware why I probably needed to invest in a doggie door. The girl wanted to be in multiple places at once.. And there you have it, I think I influenced the dog !

And did I tell you about this week. We usually have nice weeks , crazy weeks and  – I – can’t – find – my head weeks.. This week was mercifully though just toggling between the first two kinds.  The next week would be headless chicken week. I guess the cookies fortify me for those. DH traveling and school, afterschool and after-after school schedules run amok. The kids had it more packed  and A1’s schedule honestly made my high school one look easy peasy.

Espresso/ Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

So in any case, felt the kids would enjoy this and a cup of milk as an afterschool treat.

And then again mom could sneak in one with a cup of coffee. After all when one bakes cookies, quality control and all .. Absolutely mandatory to test one. Fresh and warm out of the oven makes it even better. Oh and  what a treat it was, crisp on the edges, gooey chocolate chip , coffee shining through and bit of delicate fudgy center.

This is a take on the traditional toll house recipe 🙂

I also was made aware of a National cookie day. Well a happy coincidence it seems.

Espresso/ Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep time : 10 min  Bake time : 10-12 min  Yields : About 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • Unbleached and Unbromated  APF : 1 cup
  • Salt : 1/4 tsp
  • Baking powder : 3/4 tsp.
  • Baking soda: 1/4 tsp.
  • Butter : 1/2 cup at room temperature
  • Granulated cane sugar : 3/4 cup
  • Large egg : 1
  • Pure Vanilla extract : 1 tsp.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder : 1/4 cup
  • Instant coffee or espresso powder : 3 Tbsp.
  • Mini  semi sweet chocolate chips : 3/4 cup ( reserve 1 Tbsp. to sprinkle on top if desired)

Procedure

Before you begin the baking process, please ensure all the ingredients are at room temperature.

  • Pre heat your oven to 350 F.
  • Line a couple of cookie sheets/ baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, first measure out the flour and whisk together with salt , baking powder and soda. Do not add more than what is called for.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer if using or any big mixing bowl – add the room temperature butter and sugar and cream till it is smooth and light in color. Mine took about 3 -4 minutes.
  • Now add the egg and whisk till incorporated.
  • Then add in the cocoa powder, instant coffee or  espresso powder, vanilla extract and whisk once again.
  • Add the flour gradually and fold till you do not see any dry flour remaining. Do not over mix.
  • Fold in the mini choco chips and reserving a tbsp. if desired so to sprinkle on the top of cookies before baking.
  • Scoop out using a cookie scoop ( usually a tablespoon of it or a bit more ) and drop onto the prepared baking sheets. Space them apart to allow room for expansion.
  • Bake for about 10 min, the cookies will remain soft but set.
  • Cool them in the tray for about 5 minutes and then gently using a spatula, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • These are firm and tender, crispy yet fudgy in the center.
  • Best with a tall cup of milk

Espresso/ Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies