Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Spinach Lasagne









Cheese is another thing I can’t keep my hands off, I guess it’s in my DNA. My parents, sister and me love cheese in all forms. For X’Mas I thought of making Spinach Lasagne, mainly keeping mom in mind. Mom doesn’t eat beef and she was fasting so thought of Spinach. You can even add Zucchini ,broccoli or egg plant.


Ingredients


Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne- 1 box
Barilla Italian Baking Sauce – 2 jars
Frozen Chopped Spinach - 2 boxes
Garlic Chopped- 4-5 cloves
Ricotta Cheese – 1 cup
Cream Cheese - 4 oz
Salt – to taste
Parmesan Cheese- ½ cup
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese- 2 cups

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Thaw Spinach, heat the oil and saute chopped garlic. To this add the Spinach and cook till the water dries out.Mix ricotta cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper. To this added cooled spinach mixture.


To assemble Lasagne:


Spread 1 cup sauce in 13x9-inch baking dish; top with 4 lasagne sheets. Spread ricotta cheese mixture completely over lasagne.Top with 1 cup sauce .Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and half of mozzarella cheese.Repeat layering with 4 lasagne sheets, remaining ricotta cheese mixture, 1/3 cup Sauce and remaining lasagne sheets.Spread remaining sauce over lasagne and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.Cover with foil and bake 50 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Uncover; let stand 10 minutes before serving.



Kozhi Nirachathu / Stuffed Chicken









Thanksgiving, X’mas, New Year etc etc , almost all the special occasion will have baked bird on the table. I was getting fed up with baking the bird and was running out of ideas on how to jazz it up. Atleast Thanksgiving has the stuffing to make a difference. I was planning for X’Mas menu and then suddenly thought about an article in Vanitha, it’s regarding a lady who caters for weddings and her speciality is Adu nirachathu (Stuffed goat). This is done by stuffing the goat with chicken which has been stuffed with masala and eggs. Then frying the whole marinated goat.


So thought of taking stuffed chicken for the menu. Original recipe calls for frying the bird and then stuff it, I took the frying part out just to avoid the grease. The menu already had enough grease. So here it goes and every one liked it .




Ingredients :-


For Marinating :


Whole Chicken – 1 small

Vinegar – 1 Tbsp
Ginger- 1 medium piece
Garlic – 4-5 cloves

Red Chilly powder – 3 to 4 tsp

Turmeric powder – 2tsp

Salt – to taste
Oil- 3 Tbsp


For Stuffing :


Egg – 1 or 2 depending on the size of your chicken

Big Onion sliced – ½

Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tsp

Red chilly powder – 1/4 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves chopped – 1/2 cup

Salt – to taste

Oil – as needed


Method :-


Marination:


Clean the chicken thoroughly. Make tiny slits on the chicken on both sides, for the masala to penetrate well. Grind the ginger, garlic and vinegar to make a paste. Prepare a marinade using red chilly powder,turmeric powder,ginger garlic paste,Oil and salt adding necessary water to make a smooth paste.Apply the paste all over the chicken on both sides . Cover it well and marinate it for atleast 1 hr.


Stuffing :


Boil the eggs till it is fully cooked. When it is cold peel off the shell and reserve
Heat oil in a pan and saute onion and ginger-garlic paste until onion turns translucent .Add the chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and fry it in medium heat until everything is blended together. Add salt and the rest of the ingredients for stuffing and mix together. Finally add the boiled egg (whole or sliced half),and fry for few more minutes. Switch off the heat and keep this aside.


Preheat the oven to 400 F.


Bake the marinated chicken breast side down in a pan sprayed with pam or drizzled with some oil. Bake it for 30 mns, take the pan out, turn the chicken. Now the breast side is up, fill it with the stuffing .Just be careful not to overstuff the chicken, you can either use kitchen twine to tie the legs or just leave it. Baste the chicken with the juices in the pan and bake it again for 30-40 mns .

Biscotti




I had promised Rajeev ( my hubby) that I will bake something for his office, huh it’s been 3 months since I made the promise. Finally I thought ,it’s holiday season and I’ll make something. Since I had to bake Shortbread cookies for Arjun( my son), I thought I’ll make one more batch of those. What else to make? Searching for more ideas I went to get some Almonds ( I was hungry, I need fuel to charge my brain). The jar in which the almonds were stored had a label for Biscotti. “Yes” that’s the second item I am going to make for my hubby’s office.
My mom and hubby always got these from Sam’s Club, hubby liked it for taste, while my mother loved it for two reasons, one is the taste and second is the jar ( yes she never failed to remind Rajeev to buy them)

Since it’s holiday season I made cranberry and almond biscotti, you avoid these and you will get the plain ones. It’s very similar to shortbread cookies in versatility. You can add almost anything to it and alter to your taste buds. To make it more rich, melt some semi sweet chocolate or white chocolate and dip them. It pairs well with tea or coffee.



Ingredients

· all-purpose flour- 2 cups
· baking powder -1 1/2 teaspoons
· sugar- 3/4 cup
· unsalted butter, room temperature -1/2 cup (1 stick)
· grated lemon zest ( i used pure vanilla essence)- 1 teaspoon
· salt- 1/4 teaspoon
· large eggs- 2
· almonds, coarsely chopped ( toasted) -3/4 cup
· dried cranberries- 2/3 cup
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest (or essence), and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the almonds and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

I am sending this to Cakes n Cookies hosted by Sara


Marbled Chocolate Treat



“Chocolates” I have been an ardent chocolate lover since the time I came into this world. I am constantly in search for chocolate recipes. The basic idea of this came from a food network recipe for “chocolate bark”. I wanted to add a base to this, something which will hold the chocolate from melting off and something that will give a crunch. I wanted to make this for my hubby’s office and I want them to melt in their mouth and not on everyone’s hand. I came across a recipe for a peanut and chocolate bark in a food magazine. I just altered it and “wallah “, lucky me it came out just as I thought.



If you are planning to make bark you need not break the grahams in half, but if you are looking for a bar break it in half


Ingredients:


Graham crackers - 8
Semi-Sweet Chocolate - 6 squares
White Chocolate -3 squares



Line pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Arrange grahams on bottom of pan, completely covering bottom of pan.


Microwave semi-sweet chocolate in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted when stirred, stirring every 30 sec. Stir until well blended. Pour over grahams; spread with spatula to cover completely.


Repeat microwave melting steps with the white chocolate. Drop spoonfuls of the white chocolate over chocolate-covered grahams. Immediately cut through the chocolate mixtures with knife several times for tiger-stripe effect.


Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Use foil handles to remove dessert from pan. Peel off foil. Cut dessert into bars or barks. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Shortbread Cookies






“I want biscuit” my son demanded, I raided the pantry for parle-g. Nope it’s not there, hmm middle of the night where can I find some. I asked “you want cookies? (just thought he will calm down with that) , he looked at me ( more of a stare) “no I want biscuit”. Hmm that was new, he is a cookie fan. Somehow we were able to divert his attention. The next day morning he popped the same demand. I told soon after school you will get one, when mom and I went for shopping I came across the shortbread cookies, which almost looked like a biscuit. I was able to cheat my little one and to my surprise he liked the taste. At that point I decided I’ll make this, more over I had promised my hubby that I will bake something for the office.

My search ended when I stumbled upon joyofbaking’s shortbread cookie recipe. Shortbread cookies are very light , declious and very very buttery flavoured. You can even flavor it up with anything. For a good shortbread two things are very essential an AA quality Butter and pure vanilla essence (no imitations pls).


Baking was fun, my baby even helped in cutting out some of the cookies and he liked them too.



Shortbread Cookies:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

Shortbreads:

In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/4 inch (.5 cm) thick. Cut into rounds or whatever shapes you wish using lightly floured cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly brown. Cool on rack.

Shortbread with keep in an airtight container for about a week or frozen for several months.
Makes about 20 shortbread cookies


I am sending this to Cakes n cookies hosted by Sara


Eggless Tiramisu

















The phrase tirami su literally means "pick me up" or "pull me up" in reference to the effects of the sugar and espresso. It is also thought to mean "pick me up to heaven" due to the delightful taste. It is a very popular dessert loved by everyone, atleast those I know.



It is made by layering cake or ladyfingers dipped in a mixture of coffee (espresso) and coffee liqueur (Kahlua), followed by a layer of Zabaglione or Zabaione (a rich Italian custard that is made by whipping egg yolks, sugar, and sweet Marsala wine over a water bath) that has been mixed with mascarpone cheese.



I wanted to make something new for X’Mas and declared to my family that Tiramisu will be the dessert. Hubby happily agreed to that ,but my mom asked for more details and she said I am sorry I’ll have it the next day , I am fasting on Friday and I can’t have.




So I wanted to make eggless version, unfortunately my mom had it only the next day cause it has Kahlua and Marsala wine. Instead of ladyfingers I made eggless sponge cake and cut it into ½ inch thick slices. I have added the recipe for eggless sponge cake too, pls check it out.
If you don’t want to add alcohol, pls don’t .This won’t drastically change the taste, In the original recipe, there was no liquor as the cake was originally aimed at children and the elderly





Ingredients:


Eggless Sponge cake – 40 Slices


Soaking Syrup

Coffee Powder ( instant)- 5Tbsp
Hot Water- 1Cup
Kahlua or any coffee liqueur - ¼ cup

Cheese Mixture

Mascarpone cheese- 3 cups (24 OZ)
Cream Cheese - 8 OZ
Vanilla Essence - ½ tsp
Marsala Wine- ½ Cup
Confectioner Sugar - ½ Cup

For Dusting

Cocoa Powder



Cream Topping:



In a bowl, with a wooden spoon or hand mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese and cream cheese until it is soft and smooth. Add marsala wine , sugar and vanilla essence and beat until smooth.




Coffee Soaking Syrup:





In a large shallow bowl combine the coffee powder (instant), hot water, and Kahlua. Set aside.



To Assemble:






















Dip sponge cake slices in the coffee mixture and place them side by side in a single layer over the bottom of the pan. Spoon 1/2 of the cream filling over the cake layer, making sure they are completely covered. Repeat with another layer of cake slice by dipping them in the coffee mixture and placing them on top of the cream. Again, cover the cake layer with rest of the cream. Sift the cocoa powder over the cream cheese. Cover the Tiramisu and refrigerate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.



















































































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