Month: February 2010

Un-Inspired :/

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I’ve been very un-food-inspired and I hate it.  You can find me in the kitchen often making something or another, but these days nothing has been pushing to make something.  I’m thankful that I have the luxury of taking some time off from the kitchen and not being forced to simply throw something together.

I was going somewhere today and I was determined to find something, anything, to bring.  I ended up debating between a chocochip recipe and a snickerdoodle one.  I’ve made snickerdoodles twice before, once coming out amazingly and the other a total failure so it was due time to try to make these again.

They’re a cousin of sugar cookies, as they have a base of sugar cookies but have the addition of cream of tartar to give it a kick and rolled in cinnamon sugar.  This particular recipe uses browned butter.

Snickerdoodles (from here)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt

a little less than 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat to 375 F.  Melt the butter in a sauce pan and put on medium heat. Cook for about 12-15 min, stirring frequently to make sure the butter doesn’t get burnt.  The butter will turn to a golden brown when done.  Meanwhile, place the 1 1/2 cup sugar and eggs in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, sift together the salt, flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and 3/4 cup sugar.  Once the butter is done and cooled, whisk it into the eggs.  Stir in the dry ingredients into the egg mixture just until combined.  Cover and chill for 10 min.  Roll the dough into small balls, about 1/2 a tbs and roll into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 min.  Remove from baking sheet and place on cookie rack to cool.

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Baked Goods Dilemma

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I’m having such a dilemma with baked goods.  I don’t buy them from outside because the ingredients just horrify me.  And when I make it at home, I tend to eat more because there’s a whole bunch right there in the kitchen calling out to me.  Each time passing through the kitchen, sneaking in a bite or two….or threee.  And if I do buy them from outside, theyre expensive and far.  I guess I don’t mind the expensive part if it saves my waist line, but I can’t be buying expensive sweets each day.  And I feel like I must have a little sweet each day, just to satisfy my sweet tooth.  And oh my, Girl Scout cookies just came in.

I went to this new cupcake shop called Frosted Betty a week ago and I’m so wanting to go back, but it’s pretty far from my place.  I ordered two chocolate cupcakes, one with mint frosting & the other with raspberry.  The mint one was like eating toothpaste…which I guess that’s what it’s suppose to be like but it could be a dab less stronger.  The raspberry one was soooo scrumptious.  They have a trailer that goes around town so I’m going to hunt them down soon.  Hands down, they are better than Crave Cupcakes, which I found to be dense, really expensive, and just not good.  I also like Frosted Betty because they use fresh, local, organic ingredients and use recyclable packaging.  You can really taste the non-processed-ness in the cupcakes.

Even though Girl Scout cookies came in today, I felt the need to bake something.  I feel like this recipe accomplishes many first for me as I’ve never really baked with oatmeal, browned butter, or made bars before.

Browned Butter & Chocolate Oatmeal Bars (from here)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (4 1/2 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1/2 tbsp vegetable shortening

Start by melting the butter in a small sauce pan.  It will take 12-15 min for the butter to brown.  Stir frequently while going onto preparing the mix.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda.  Put the chocolate chips in a large bowl.  Line a 9X13 baking pan with foil, having the foil go over the sides of the pan.  Once the butter has gotten golden brown, whisk it onto the chocolate chips until it’s a smooth mixture.  Stir in the brown sugar.  Add in the egg and vanilla.  In two additions, mix in the flour-oat mixture until combined.

Press the mixture into the lined pan.  Bake for about 15-20 min.  Take out once an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.  With a plastic knife, carefully cut into squares.  In a small bowl, microwave the shortening and white chocolate in intervals until melted.  Drizzle on top of squares.  Let cool for 2 hours and lift the bars out using the extended foil.

These bars weren’t too sweet and were so yummy and chewy.  They were pretty easy to make too.  I got most of everything done while the butter browned, the rest was just mixing everything together.  I was hesitant when I put the bars into the oven but I love the texture the oatmeal gives the bars, and the flavor the browned butter gives.

Popeye the Spinach Man

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Growing up there was always this stigmatism agianst spinach, broccoli, and other yummy vegetables.  I can’t see how cause they’re just oh, soo good.  And good-ol Popeye always said spinach made him stronger. 

I found a huge bag of spinach in my fridge and didn’t know what to do with it, as I had no paneer made.  I wanted to make a light vegeterian dish and searched for ideas.  I found this recipe made of spinach & chickpeas and made it my own.  It was easy, simple, and who knew spinach & chickpeas were such a good combination.  I love discovering amazing combinations. 

Spinach & Chickpea Saabzi (adapted from here)

4 bunches of fresh spinach ( I used baby spinach that was already cleaned)

1 can/28 oz chickpeas

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp garlic, minced

2 green chili, halved

1 cup yogurt, whisked

1 tsp red pepper

1.5 tsp cumin

1.5 tsp coriander

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

In a large skillet, heat up some oil.  Add the onions once the oil is hot and let them brown.  Next, mix in the garlic and stir for about a minute.  Add in the tomatoes, and spices: salt, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, & red pepper.  Cook the mixture for about two min.  Stir in the yogurt. 

At this time, start adding the spinach.  You might not be able to fit all the bunches into the pot.  Add as much as you can and cover the pot with a lid so the spinach can steam and wilt.  Once there’s more room, add in the remaining spinach.  When all the spinach has wilted into the pot, mix the spinach together with the mixture of yogurt.  Dump in the chickpeas and mix.  Cover the skillet with a lid and cook till the spinach is fully cooked.  Serve either with rice or flat bread.

the only decent pic i could get...the camera was being weird

Sunday Brunch at Indika

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After a pretty rough week, a much needed relaxing hangout was due.  A few of my friends and I hit up a restaurant in midtown to enjoy some fine Indian Cuisine.  I’m not a fan of eating Pakistani/indian food at restaurants.  Usually the food has too much garam masala to make up for their lack of using the right spices, the restaurant is not the cleanest of places, the wait staff is a mess or a combination of all that. 

Indika is an upscale Indian restaurant that offers traditional Indian cuinsine as well as some innovative-modern dishes.  We went for a Sunday brunch which consisted of an all you can eat menu, chaat-bar, and dessert-bar for a base price.  There was no buffet table, everything was served to you at the table. 

The food had good presentation, the waiter was awesome, food was delic, and the atmosphere was pleasent. 

Chick pea crepe stuffed with slow cooked spiced pumpkin & goat cheese

We were such food-dorks, tryig to figure out what spices were used in the dishes. 

Gunpowder salmon with green masala sauce

This was my favorite there. 

And for a more traditional dish:

Pooris with sauteed mixed vegetables & paneer

We also had the Coconut pancakes with banana, potato cakes, samosas, corn & mint chaat, and bhel poori. 

I didn’t know decent Indian restaurants existed and I’m glad theyve taken the food up a notch.  But if your looking to get your hands greasy with biryani, this might not be the place for you.