Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Molten Chocolate Liquor Cake

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I've been spending a lot of time on twitter lately. I mean its sort of getting out of hands now. With a toddler at home, my life is crazy as it is right now and twitter is making it crazier! But I can't help it, it is so much fun! And I can't believe that I had no idea how to tweet a month back. And if you are one of my tweet buddies, you might know that it was "A's" birthday last week. Unlike all the other birthdays in the past, I just didn't get time to plan anything for him. So when asked a day before that what he wants for his birthday, his answer was "cook me some GOOD food."

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Cooking 'good' food for him (specially food that would make him happy) is not difficult at all. My husband is the simplest and most predictable person when it comes to food. If you know him even a little you know that making him some rajma or a nice curry or baking something chocolate will make him the happiest man in the world. But since it was his birthday, I tried to make it a little fancy for the two of us. Of course there was curry in the menu but for dessert I made some individual molten chocolate lava cake and to make things a bit interesting I added some liquor into it (Ok, a little more than 'a little'!). Cake was a hit and the man was super happy!

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I had these two molten chocolate lava cake recipes bookmarked and they had been sitting there for a while now. One of them was from the pioneer woman and the other one was on Foodista. Both the recipes are so simple and quick but in my household if you want ice cream, you better be on my side and if you want anything chocolate then the husband leads the way. So I waited for him to taste this beauty on his birthday.

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I love a recipe if it is quick and easy and if it tastes anything like this cake, then its a home run! If you've not tasted this cake, PLEASE give this recipe a try. You will be surprised how good it comes out after putting in almost no time and energy. Just put everything in a bowl, whisk and bake. How simple can it get? I served this cake with vanilla ice cream that added a whole new dimension to the cake. I felt that if you add something lightly sweet with cake, it balances the taste and in this case light vanilla cake did the same.

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Ingredients: serves 6

3 1/2 oz of Dark Chocolate 
1/3 cup Butter
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 whole Egg Yolks
2/3 cups Flour
1 tbsp Liquor Per Ramekin (optional) I used coffee liquor because I think coffee brings out the chocolate's taste even more.

Method:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray 4 medium or 6 small ramekins with oil and place on cookie sheet.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is also melted.
If you think the chocolate is hot, let it cool down or else you'll get scrambled eggs instead of a cake batter!
Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.Add liquor.
Divide between cups.
Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft.
Take it out of the oven and let it stand for a minute.
Invert cakes on dishes and decorate a little if you want.
Serve with ice cream like I did or you could serve it with whipped cream.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - An interesting experience!

I've told you before about my trip Atlanta for the Food Blog Forum conference which was such great fun but what I didn't tell you was that on our way back home we went to this flea market which I always wanted to go visit every time we drove past it. I was so happy that we finally decided to stop and see around. This was the first time I ever went to a flea market and it was such an interesting experience. Trying to share that eperience with you through some photographs.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Aloo Gobhi (Potato and Cauliflower)

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When I married A and came to the US I had to leave a lot behind! It was a strange feeling to leave your country, your family and your childhood friends and step into a whole new world. But what is even more strange is how this new country, his family and his friends have become so important and close to me. I know that whenever I need them they are just a phone call away. A is lucky enough to be with his friends from childhood and college even today and its crazy when they all come together! And one such friend is A (Yes, yet another A in my life!)

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She was my husband's friend when I met her for the first time and one among the many new faces I knew nothing about except her name and today she has become one of my closest friends. She has been so appreciative of whatever I'm doing. I receive an email from her every other day suggesting what I should make or what I can do to improve my photography or the blog. One thing she has been asking me again and yet again for is a recipe for Aloo Gobhi. I supposedly made this Aloo Gobhi for her once and she is in love with it since and has been asking me for its recipe forever! So today finally I sat down to share the recipe with her and with all of you.

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Now there are a number of ways in which I make Aloo Gobhi. My mom's way, my mom-in-law's way, my way, with gravy, without gravy...... But I am sharing the recipe with which I made it that day (only if I remember clearly enough) for 'A'. So this one's for you A!


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Ingredients:

1 medium size cauliflower
2 potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 inch size chunks)
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp red pepper powder (If you want it hotter add to taste)
1 tsp cumin or mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
Salt

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Method:

Heat oil in a medium size wok or a shallow pan.
Add cumin or mustard seeds (whatever you are using). Once it starts popping, add chopped onion to it.
Saute the onions until it turns golden and then add all the dry ingredients to it.
Mix it all together and then add cut cauliflower and potato. Stir it all together and turn the heat to low.
Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook by stirring occasionally.
Once the vegetables are a little undercooked, take out the lid and let it cook uncovered by stirring after every few minutes until its well cooked.
Garnish it with chopped cilantro and serve with hot roti / paratha or with dal and rice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Although its a Wordless Wednesday, I want to write a few words here just to give all the credit for this photograph to my better half! A took this photograph a while back and I love it so much that just couldn't resist putting it up here. He's the one who inspires me and teaches me!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A weekend full of food, food talk and foodies!

Food was in the air this whole of past weekend! So much that I don't think I should be even thinking of food for a couple days. But what a wonderful and fun trip this one proved to be! This was the first time I was leaving my little monster and was going to be away from her for two full days. I must admit I was questioning myself if I must really go but I am so glad I did. This was my first food bloggers conference and I may be addicted to it now! It was such a  great opportunity to meet some like minded people who share the same passion as yours. Food Blog Forum and the organizer Gwen of Bunkycooks made the experience a lot more entertaining and informative for us. I've already said this to them a number of times personally but I want to say this again to them in writing "thank you so much Bunkycooks, whiteonricecouple and steamykitchen for putting it all together for us!". Now a quick recap for those who were not able to join us.

Day Night 1:

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All the bloggers met at the Viking Store on Friday evening just to kickoff the conference with loads of food, wine and a few surprises.. Well, good ones!

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Environment was relaxed, people were cooking together in the kitchen, sharing their travel experiences over a glass of wine, taking photographs and before we knew we all had made some new friends!

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Jaden then spiced things up by introducing us to Chef Kevin Rathburn (from Rathbuns Restaurant) and he was actually going to cook for us!

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And do I even need to tell you how insanely good his pork chops were? He gave us a few cooking demos but I can tell you, people were mostly thinking how fast that food was going into their mouths. We were stuffed when we finally said a goodbye to everyone before going back home. It was a great start to a great event.

Day 2:

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Next day began with a few more surprises. Again some good ones!

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Foodies can't even think of doing something without a belly full of good food so first things first!

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And then began a day full of some really useful info which a new blogger like me who is still trying to wrap her arms around the blogging world really appreciated.

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Diane and Todd from whiteonricecouple shared some really cool insights into food photography. Scott Hair of steamykitchen shared with us ways to design a food career, John Kessler from Atlanta Journal-Constitution and James Andrews and Lauren Thomas from Everywhere helped us understand how to work with media outlets and brands.

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Then there were two beautiful ladies Virginia Willis, renowned chef and cookbook author and Alisa Barry of Bella Cucina who joined Jaden and talked to us about ways to stand out in a crowd and how to build a personal brand.

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Now everyone thinks about how to make some money and if you can do it while doing something you are passionate about nothing beats that! So Jaden spent some time discussing blogging bussiness stratergies.
All in all it was a great wholesome conference!

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But you know what the best part of this whole weekend was? No, not the wine or food! It was the people we met and the friends we made in these mere two days.

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I want to say this to all my new friends if you are reading this post (you better be!) that I loved spending time with you and knowing each and every one of you! Megan of What's Megan Cooking, Wendy of The Local Cook and Julie of Mommie Cooks thanks for spending so much time with me and being so kind! Alison Lewis of Ingredients, Inc what can I say? I just wanna be you! Loved talking with you and learning so much from you. Tori of Food Victorian, Melisa of My McDonald Meal and Julie of The Little Kitchen thank you so much for being so warm and friendly. It was great to see your interest in knowing more about Indian food and Tori please forgive me if you don't like your photograph up here! And finally a BIG shout-out to Jodie of Eating on The Cheap, Amy of She Wears Many Hats, Robyn of Add a Pinch, Debra of Smith Bites, Dana of One Haute Plate and Andrea of Off Her Cork you guys rock! Love to you all and I really hope we get to meet again soon.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Off to Atlanta!

fbf-badge-AtlantaFood Blog Forum is holding a day-long conference in Atlanta this Saturday. This would be interesting and informative to bloggers who want to learn to increase their social media presence, do better food photography, monetize their websites and break into mainstream media. There will be some great food bloggers/photographers from around the country coming in and this would be a great opportunity to meet them. And if all this comes with some out of the world food, finest wines and a lot of fun and partying then who will not want to be there? I'm going too!

Hoping to learn a little from Jaden Hair, Diane Cu and some of the other great names in food writing/photography fields and at the same time have a great time. See you guys when I'm back with lots to talk about. Wish you all a happy weekend!

I also wanted to wish all my friends who celebrate the birth of Lord Ganesha a very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi and Happy Eid to everyone!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Garlic Chicken

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Today I want to share a couple of good news with you guys. Let's first start with the food part! The summer fest was supposedly coming to an end with summer or so did we thought! The idea became so popular among the fellow bloggers that Margaret Roach and her friends who started this fest together thought of having some more fun for a little longer so the summer fest is being extended…and will be renamed to Fall Fest once summer officially ends. This week's theme ingredient was Garlic.

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The whole fun about such events is the challenge in it! Although garlic plays a very big and significant role in Indian food but still I wanted to bring something simple to the table that anyone can make. I gave it a lot of thought but then A's idea sounded brilliant! He suggested that I make Garlic Chicken.

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Although I don't really believe he actually wanted to help me and not just have some chicken for dinner, I still liked the idea. Specially because you don't need to rush to the supermarket or some Indian grocery store to buy ingredients for this recipe. Its pretty straightforward! For this recipe you just need chicken and tons of garlic along with some basic ingredients like lemon and what you have in your spice shelf. So without further ado, let me just come right to the point. Let me tell you how you can make this beauty in you own kitchen.

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Ingredients: 


1 pound cut chicken (I used boneless skinless breasts and a few drumsticks. You can use any part)
15-17 cloves of garlic
2-3 thai green chili (you can even use cayenne pepper or jalapenos according to how much heat you can handle)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional just for color)
6-8 whole cloves (optional)
2 whole cardamom (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt.

Make a paste of ginger, chili and about 10-12 cloves of garlic. Mix it with yogurt and lemon juice. Add as pinch of salt and marinate the chicken with it.
Let the chicken marinate for a couple hours.
After the chicken is marinated use a thick bottom skillet or pan for cooking.
Smash 5-6 cloves of garlic. If you are using cloves and cardamom along with garlic throw it in the cool skillet. Pour olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Slow heating of the pan infuses the olive oil beautifully with the flavor of garlic and cloves which will be so distinct in your chicken when you taste them (I nearly died when I had my first bite!)
When the oil is hot enough, add onion. Let it saute until golden.
Now add the marinated chicken. If you are using turmeric, add that too.
Add salt when the chicken is half cooked.
Let it cook on medium low heat stirring occasionally. Slow cooking brings out all the flavors (if you think your chicken is taking longer, cover it and cook by stirring occasionally.)
The chicken doesn't have any gravy and should be done in 20-30 minutes.
Serve with rice or your choice of bread or naan.

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If you think you want to know more about the summer/fall fest click here.

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Now the second news. Many of you might have heard about DMBLGiT and if you haven't, let me say in the words of the founder that "it is the grandest foodporn event" on the web! This is a monthly food photography event in which many bloggers participate and then a few winners are announced. And this month yours truly was among the lucky few! Thanks Cooksister for hosting the event and Jaenne and judges for appreciating my work!

Wordless Wednesday - Sun playing games!

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kati Roll

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We came back home from an awesome trip celebrating our li'l one's first birthday and it was GREAT!! I was sooo glad to see all your best wishes coming every time I got an opportunity to check my blog. Thanks so much! The li'l one just adores animals. So we decided to take her a bit closer to them this time and see how she reacts when she sees animals (other than mommy n daddy) and she just had a blast. I made a simple cake for her which had to survive  hours of drive then two days and nights in a hotel room to be able to cut on her birthday. She loved the cake, she loved the zoo, she loved doughnuts and we all had a perfect birthday trip. I think we will be doing such birthday trips until she's grown up enough to be embarrassed about taking trips with us!

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Just like every great thing comes to an end so did this trip! We came back home a couple days back to a living room full of toys scattered around, a dishwasher full of dirty dishes which I forgot to switch on before leaving and a fridge full of...uuuuh..nothing! Except a bottle of milk gone bad, a couple tomatoes from last week's tomato dal and a few tortillas. But I had to do something specially for my friends from the US who are looking for something great for the labor day. So I made Kati Roll.

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I'm sure a lot of you must have at least heard of it if not tasted one yet. For those who are not aware what a Kati Roll is, its an Indian form of a wrap. You can find these easily anywhere in India (especially North India) from local street vendors to high end restaurants.

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Normally Kati Rolls are made with marinated chicken or vegetables cooked on a skillet and then served with some green chutney wrapped in parathas. Some people add a layer of cooked eggs. It tastes divine and is a great Indian fast food. I tried making them a bit lighter though and also more accessible. So I baked the chicken and instead of wrapping them in parathas I used whole wheat tortillas. And trust me, taste was still the same but the experience guilt free!

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If you are a vegetarian you can substitute chicken with paneer or tofu and if you don't have even that handy just use some vegetables and marinate them like I did with my chicken. Then smear green chutney over it, throw all the stuff in, wrap it and eat it. That's what I love about wraps - you can use whatever you want. Cheese, avocado, lettuce or whatever strikes your fancy although I wanted to keep mine more Indian.

Ingredients:

For the chicken marination:
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (if you don't find the paste easily, you can also add powder)
1 tsp degi mirch (its kind of an Indian cayenne pepper, only not as hot and gives the marinade a nice red color. If you are not that crazy about the color just add cayenne pepper according to your taste)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/4 cup yogurt (full fat or low fat whichever you prefer)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp curry powder 
1 tsp tandoori powder (optional)
Salt

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 For the wrap:
5-6 whole wheat tortilla
1/4 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup sliced tomato
1/4 cup green chutney
a little chat masala (optional)
1 lime (optional)

Method:

First to marinate the chicken, mix all the ingredients together and pour them over the chicken. Give the chicken long little cuts for the marinade to penetrate and mix well. Let it marinate for at-least a half hour and at most 24 hours.
Pre heat the oven upto 400° F.
Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet, spray a little bit of cooking spray and cook for 20-25 minutes or until clear juice runs out.
When the chicken is cooked well, take it out from the oven and cover with aluminum wrap for it to rest for about 5 mins. This makes the chicken juicier.
Slice chicken, onion and tomatoes.
Now for the wrap you can either use plain parathas or naan or whole wheat tortillas like I did. Heat them over a skillet.
Smear a thin layer of green chutney and place chicken, sliced onion, tomato & a squirt of lime juice and a pinch of chat masala if you want.
Make a tight wrap and cover with paper or aluminum wrap.
Enjoy it with soda or chilled beer! Have a happy labors day everyone!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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