Friday, September 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

This is my favorite dish to prepare.  The prep time is minimum but flavor goes long way.  I usually do this in the morning and let it take its own time to cook in its own sauce; by dinner time, the meat is succulent and fork tender.  This is an awesome dish for busy mom's.



  • 2 pounds boneless beef roast
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 16 baby carrots
  • 2 celery, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the roast in the oil for 15 minutes, or until all sides are well browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  • Place the onion, carrots, garlic and parsley in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the roast on top of the vegetables and pour the soup over the roast and the vegetables.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, stirring once.
  • Transfer roast to a serving platter and place the vegetables around it. Pour the roast gravy from the slow cooker into a gravy boat.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Scallopini Picatta

At one glance you would think that this is chicken...well, you are wrong.  This is the Gardein product that I got from Whole Foods. I just love this product, its tender and takes on any flavoring you add.  Feels like you are eating the real thing.

Source:  The Conscious Cook


2 pcs Gardein chick'n scallopini
6 tbsp unbleached flour for dredging
8 tbsp  butter
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup vegetable stock
3 tbsp brined capers (rinse off to remove excess salt)
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp chopped shallots
1 tbps fresh parsley,  chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Season the gardein scallopini with salt and pepper. Dredge scallopini in flour and shake off a large 12 inch sauté pan over medium high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of soy butter with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  • When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of scallopini and cook for 3 minutes.when scallopini is browned, flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes. remove and transfer to plate.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add the  lemon juice, stock, garlic, shallots and capers and return to stove and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor.  Check seasoning - if too bitter, add a pinch of sugar.  Return scallopini to the pan and simmer for 3-5 minutes. 
  • Remove scallopini from the pan to a platter. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of  butter to the pan and whisk vigorously. 
  • Pour sauce over scallopini and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Turkey Meatball Curry

I spoke to a cousin of mine who constantly comes up with ideas on making curry for her family. She gave me this idea on making meatball curry which tastes almost like chicken curry with meatball version which I think is clever when you have little ones trying to eat on their own.  


1 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 egg
1/4 cup of either breadcrumbs or oats ( use only if the mixture is too soft)
salt and pepper
1 small potato, cubed
1 tomato, cubed
1 onion, sliced
Cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cup water or more

  • Mix the cumin, coriander, ginger garlic paste, oats, egg, salt, pepper and turkey together and set aside.
  • In a medium heat, lightly oil a pot and throw in the cinnamon stick, onion, cloves, anistar and stir till fragnant.  Add the tomatoes and potatoes.  Stir and let it hang out for about 1 minute then add the curry powder, chili powder and water. Stir and let it come to a boil. Cover and let the potatoes cook. 
  • Once the potatoes are almost fork tender, drop the meatballs one by one. Do not stir, just leave them to cook.   If you stir the meatballs will break apart.  Once the curry comes up to a boil again, slowly turn the meatballs and let the other side cook.  At this point you can adjust the seasoning. Whether you need more liquid or more curry powder.  It depends on your taste buds.
  • After the meatballs are fully cooked and the seasoning is just right, sprinkle some coriander leaves and dish out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

This is a heathy version of the regular Oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and surprising enough it stayed soft even after 2 days.  My children actually enjoyed eating homemade cookie.

Source: Eating Well - Bev's Chocolate Chip Cookies


3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar ( increase the sugar if you want it to be sweeter)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
  • Grind oats in a blender or food processor but not too much. 
  • Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls, at least 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. 
  • Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until firm around the edges and golden on top, about 15 minutes. 
  • Cool the cookies for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chutney Chicken Breasts

This grilled chicken breast is a simple twist to our regular grilled breasts.  Adding mango chutney makes this dish a little tangy and some spice to it. For a refreshing and flavorful accompaniment, grill thick slices of pineapple when you grill the chicken.

Source:  Cooking Light


4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 lbs)
1 jar mango chutney, coarsely chopped
1 can (8-8 1/4 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 tbs curry powder
1 tbs fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tbs vegetable oil
lime slices for garnish

  • Prepare grill. With tip of knife, cut a horizontal slit in thickest part of each chicken breast half to form a pocket
  • In a medium bowl, mix chutney, pineapple, curry powder, and lime juice. Transfer half of chutney mixture to bowl to serve with chicken later
  • Stir oil into remaining chutney mixture. Place 1 tablespoon chutney-oil mixture in each chicken breast pocket. Coat chicken breasts with remaining chutney-oil mixture
  • Place chicken on grill over medium heat and grill, turning occasionally, until chicken loses its pink color throughout, 10-12 minutes
  • Arrange chicken on 4 dinner plates. Garnish with lime slices and serve with reserved chutney mixture. 
Makes 4 main-dish servings.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chocolate Whoopie Pie

I have never had a woopie pie before today. I would say a Woopie pie is sort of a cross between cake and cookie. It is pillow soft and has filling in it.  There are many different recipes for this but I am making a lighter version. I absolutely enjoyed this treat.

Source: Eating Well


1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup nonfat milk


1/2 cup cold water
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.
  • To prepare cookies: Beat oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with milk; beat until smooth. Let the batter stand for 15 minutes.
  • Drop batter by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets, spreading the batter into a 2- to 3-inch circle with the back of a spoon if it doesn’t spread itself. (Each large baking sheet accommodates 8 cookies"they will be close together.) Bake the cookies until firm to the touch, about 8 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Wash, dry and coat the baking sheets with cooking spray again. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  • To prepare filling: While the cookies cool, stir water and gelatin in a small heatproof cup or bowl. Let stand 1 minute. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the gelatin has completely dissolved but the liquid is not boiling, 20 to 30 seconds. (Alternatively, bring 1/2 inch water to a gentle simmer in a small skillet. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture in the simmering water until the gelatin has dissolved completely.) Stir the mixture until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Beat cream, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until very thick, about 1 minute. With the mixer beating constantly, add the gelatin mixture in a steady steam until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until the cream filling is thickened to the consistency of pudding, about 30 minutes. Whisk again until smooth.

To assemble whoopie pies

Turn half the cookies bottom side up and top with a generous 2 tablespoons of the cream. Top with the remaining cookies. Chill in the refrigerator until the filling is set, about 30 minutes.

My filling is little but you can top as much filling as you want

Homemade Ice cream Without Machine

Guess what I made today...Ice Cream. This is an accomplishment for me. Furthermore making it without an      ice cream machine.  My hubby gave me the funny look when I told him I made some ice cream, he tried it out and already has lined up flavors for me to make next.  Of course for people who are calorie watching, this is a no enter zone.  The ice cream can be flavored any way you want.  Let your imagination run wild.  As for me, since its my first time, I thought of settling down with good ol cinnamon and banana.

Source:  Kevin & Amanda


2 cups of heavy cream
1 can condensed milk ( 14oz)
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 small banana, cubed


In a cold bowl, whip the heavy cream till stiff peaks form.  In another bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, vanilla, melted butter and the cubed banana.
Gently fold in the whipped cream into the banana mixture.  Stir till all is combined. Pour into a 2-quart container for freezing.
Freeze at least 6 hours or until firm.
Had to stop my husband from eating so I can take a pic...:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Granola absolute favorite topping for a vanilla yogurt.  It gives a special crunch and texture with just the right amount of sweetness.


2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashew nut/ walnut
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried fruit ( raisins, cranberries, blueberries, dried apricots)


Preheat oven to 350.

In a small pot, melt the butter, honey, brown sugar. Set aside,

In a large bowl combine the nuts and oats, cinnamon powder and salt. Slowly pour in the liquid mixture. Stir till well combined.  Spread on a baking tray and bake for aproximately 20 minutes.  Do check as oven temperature varies.  Once the granola has turned golden brown, take it out and mix in the dried fruits.  Cool completely before storing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hasselback Potatoes with Spinach Pesto

If you love potatoes as much as I do, then you should immediately plan this for dinner tomorrow.  This truly is so yummy with some grilled portabella mushroom. Flavored with garlic and butter, this side dish cannot beat anything.  I also made some spinach pesto, which is new to me; to top up the potatoes.  It almost tastes like mint chutney.  I did not have  lemon so I substituted it with lime. 

Source: Allrecipes

Ingredients for the Potatoes

4 russet potatoes
4 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Before baking
After Baking

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Thinly slice garlic cloves.  Set aside.

Rinse and scrub potatoes well.  We’re keeping the skin on so it’s gotta be clean.

Slice a thin layer off of the bottom of the potatoes.  This will give them a solid base to rest on to get sliced.  Slice into the potatoes but not completely through them.  Slice potatoes, creating very thin rounds connected at a base.  Slide garlic slices in between potato slices.  You might  actually need to shove them in… the potato might be pretty tight.  Just be careful not to tear the bottom.

Place potatoes on a baking sheet.  Generously sprinkle potatoes with salt.  Top each potato with one tablespoon of butter.  Drizzle with oil.  Bake for 1 hour or until tender on the inside and crisp on the outside.  Remove the pan about every 15 minutes to baste potatoes in the oil and butter on the pan.  This will make the skin crispy and delicious and the potato extra buttery.

When cooked through and crispy, remove from the oven, cool for 10 minutes.  Top with spinach pesto and serve.

For the Pesto

2 loosely packed cups of spinach
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cups roasted cashews
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Place garlic cloves, spinach, nuts, lemon juice, zest and Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor.  Blend until spinach is broken down and, whiles still blending, slowly pour in the olive oil.  Turn off food processor, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.   Serve over potatoes… or pasta!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bee Hive Cake

This is one of the recipes that I love the most.  It is not overly sweet and of course does not use frosting.  The only part that I think would take some time is getting the sugar to caramelize.  Other than that pour everything together and whisk whisk and bake.  I have been making this for so many years now.  Some people usually steam the cake but I truly prefer baking it.


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tin condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 egg

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Spray nonstick spray and line a 8 by 8 in square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized frying pan, spray nonstick spray. On low heat fry the sugar till it melts and turns to golden brown, honey like color.  Make sure the heat is on very very low, slow pour in the 1 cup water and add in the butter. Leave it undisturbed for 10 minutes.  Off the heat.  Let cool completely.  Be very careful not to get the caramel on your hands, it can hurt real bad.
  • In a bowl, crack the eggs.  Using wire whisk or hand mixer beat the eggs slightly, add the condensed milk and beat slightly.  Sift in the flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly pour in the cooled caramel.  Using either the whisk or hand mixer beat till all is combined.
  • Pour into the prepared cake tin.  Bake for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the oven.  Use a toothpick and check if its done.  This cake is best eaten the next day. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mattar Paneer


I have always enjoyed this dish whenever we are at the Indian restaurant and most of the time we used to get the frozen ones. The gravy is made of blended tomatoes, onion, ginger and spices and thickened with cashewnuts.  After talking to a friend of mine, I came to know there is nothing complicated about this meal.  It is easy to prepare and taste really good when served with naan or puri.


1/2 cup paneer – cube and saute in a tsp of oil till lightly browned
1/4 cup fresh green peas
1 large onion, finely chop
small piece of ginger
1 green chilli
12 cashewnut
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
3/4 tsp red chilli pwd
pinch of turmeric pwd
1 1/4 tsps coriander pwd
1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp yogurt
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil


  • Heat oil in a non stick pan, add the cashewnut, onions and sauté, approx 3 minutes. Add ginger, green chili, coriander pwd, turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd and combine. Add few tbsps water and saute for a minute. Add tomatoes and cook for 4-5 mts. Turn off heat and cool. Blend the tomatoes and  onion mixture.
  • Return this paste to the pan add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame, add the green peas and cook for 6 minutes. Add the paneer and yogurt and simmer for for a bit. Add salt. Finally add the kasuri methi leaf and stir to combine everything.  Turn off the heat.
  • Let it sit for a while before serving. The gravy thickens, so at the time of serving, add a little water.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Minestrone Soup

I love minestrone soup but not overly powered with tomato sauce.  I especially love it when sprinkled with just a little bit of parmesan cheese.  This soup is so versatile.  Any kind of vegetable or beans can be added. I had some spiral pasta instead of elbow pasta and it worked out fine.  For my soup I chopped up some zucchini, celery, carrot, mushroom and a can of cannelini beans. This is the soup you want when its getting chilly outside and just want to hang out with your feet on the couch. Dip some sliced baguette and you have an awesome meal.

Source: Two Peas and a Pod


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
4 mushroom, cut into fourth
1 celery stalk, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni ( I used spiral pasta)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese-optional, for garnish


  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add in zucchini, green beans, and diced tomatoes. Stir in vegetable broth and water. Add beans, pasta, oregano, and basil. Simmer until vegetables and pasta are tender-about 35 minutes.
  • Season soup with salt and pepper and serve warm with baguette. Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kadhai Paneer

I had some leftover Paneer and Methi leaves which is also known as Fenugreek leaf from my previous cooking.  Both the paneer and Methi leaf can be bought at the Indian Grocery. As I was browsing the web, I came across this wonderful aromatic dish.  This dish goes well with naan, puri or white rice.  I especially like this since it uses bell pepper which is another favorite of mine.  This is definitely a dish that I would be making often. Preparation wise I think its pretty straight forward.


1/2 pound paneer ( I bought the ready fried panner)
1 medium red bell pepper, cubed small
1 medium green bell pepper, cubed small
3 tablespoons oil
3 medium tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 small shallot
About 1/4 inch piece of ginger
1 green chili
Pinch of asafetida (hing)
1 teaspoon cumin seed 
1 and 1/2 tablespoons coriander powder 
1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder
2 tablespoons chopped fenugreek leaves (methi) or dry fenugreek leaves 
3/4 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste

  • Cut paneer and bell peppers into ½ inch cubes.
  • Blend the tomatoes, garlic, onion, ginger, and green chili to make a puree.
  • Heat the oil in frying pan on medium heat and stir fry paneer for about 2 minutes – take them out before paneer starts changing color.( skip this if using ready fried paneer)
  • Next stir-fry bell pepper until they are tender. Do not over cook the bell pepper. Take them out and drain on a paper towel.
  • Using the same frying pan, Test the oil by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if seed cracks right away oil is ready.
  • Add the asofetida and cumin seeds.
  • After the cumin seeds crack, add the tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, fenugreek leaves and cayenne pepper.
  • Cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
  • Tomato mixture will reduce to about half in volume.
  • Add about 2 spoons of water, and the salt.
  • Wait till gravy comes to boil add paneer and bell pepper and let it simmer for about five minutes on low medium heat.

I served the paneer dish with Puri.  

"Beefless" Stew

One of dishes I love to do whenever it gets chilly outside is beef stew. It tastes even better the next day but this time I made mine with Gardein Beefless Tips.  Its a vegetarian product. I got this at frozen section in Whole Foods market.  Read about it and had wonderful review on it.  The vegetarian protein tastes almost like the actual thing.  Its super easy to prepare.

Source: The Conscious Cook


8 small red potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered (halved then quartered, if large)
2 large carrots, sliced thick
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup red wine — (optional)
Gardein Beefless Tips or 1 cup TVP Chunks(Textured Vegetable Protein)
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons cornstarch


  • Fill a 5-quart saucepan or dutch oven 2/3 full of water (about 10-11 cups). Add the first 13 ingredients, potatoes through pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, until the onions are cooked and the potatoes start to soften.
  • Add the red wine (if desired), TVP chunks. Add peas.
  • Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water (or additional red wine, if desired). Stir the mixture into the stew and cook until the stew thickens slightly. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve in bowls with lots of fresh bread.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Classic Banana Cake

I call this a classic banana cake because this is one of the super easy and no fail cake. You can jazz it up with chocolate chip, powdered coconut, raisins, walnut and anything imaginable that would be delicious with a banana. I like topping my banana cake with vanilla ice cream.


90gm butter
90gm sugar ( I used only 50gm)
1 egg
2 ripe banana, mashed with 1 tsp lemon/lime juice
1 tsp vanilla
120gm flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp milk ( I did not use since my batter was wet)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line and grease a 8 inch square or round baking pan with greased greaseproof paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy about 5 to 10 minutes. Beat in the egg.  Add mashed banana and vanilla essence. Mix well.  Fold in the dry ingredients and stir in the milk. ( Add in's can be added at this time)
  • Bake in preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this super easy and simple cake.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bell Pepper with Stuffed Quinoa

I do not know if the meatatarians will envy the vegetarians with this colorful and delicious entrée of bell peppers stuffed with mushrooms, carrots, black bean, quinoa and cashews, but these stuffed peppers are equivalent to a calorie packed meat stuffed peppers.The only thing is that it is super healthy. The quinoa used in this recipe gives it a slight bite and protein.  And of course I can never stay away from my mozarella.  I sprinkled some shredded mozarella before baking it. I know, there is only a certain point where I can control my calorie, but most of the time I try not to skimp on good cheese. For a beautiful presentation, choose a combination of green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers. This recipe also freezes well before baking. Wrap it in a foil and put it into a freezer bag.  I let it thaw for about 1 hour and then bake as normal.


1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped carrots
7 bell peppers (1 cored, seeded and chopped; tops removed and reserved from remaining 6 then cored and seeded)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup black bean
1 tsp teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews
Shredded Mozarella cheese for topping


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until transparent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and black bean. Stir in cumin and cooked quinoa and toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper and cashews and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool until just warm.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking pan or glass baking dish with oil then set aside.

Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers, gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with shredded mozarella and stack them upright in prepared pan. Cover snugly with foil and bake, checking halfway through, until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hour. Transfer to plates and serve.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chocolate Applesauce Cupcake

These cupcakes are such a breeze to make.  You just have to combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a seperate bowl.  Whisk them together and you are done.  How easy can that be...except that if you actually forgot to check before deciding to make a banana cupcake if you have any banana's in stock.  I gathered all the ingredients when I turned around to get the banana, and saw my little one munching on it.  Gosh, lucky for me there was some applesauce left in the fridge.  I measured the equal amount and used it instead.  The cupcakes were moist and nice but it would have tasted yummier with the banana's.  For the frosting, I made a super easy swiss meringue buttercream and flavored it with strawberry flavoring and red color.


1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (35 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup banana ( I substituted it for applesauce)
1 tbsp flax seed
1/2 cup (120 ml) warm water
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
1/4 cup (60 ml) canola, corn, or vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. (The batter is quite thin.) Pour or scoop the batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full, and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  
  • Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Frost with the Chocolate Frosting.
  • Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
1/3 cup strawberry preserve

To Make the Frosting

Combine the egg whites and sugar in the stainless steel bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan. Heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch.
Return the bowl to the mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white mixture on high until it is cooled to room temperature and holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after all the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes more. Fold in the strawberry preserves and use right away.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mushroom Avocado Bruschetta

Being vegetarian has opened up a whole new dimension for me.  I am now cooking and trying out foods that I would not have given a second thought. Bruschetta, to be honest, this is my ever first time eating this.  I have never liked baguette.  That is one bread that I would never buy when I am at the grocery store. But after making this super simple dish or appetizer, I have changed my mind.  My sister in law actually gave me this idea of making this with mushrooms.  Eventhough the ingredients used to cook this was minimal, the taste was unbeatable.


3 tablespoons butter or oilve oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
5 mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 tsp dried parsley
1 large avocado
slices baguette
3 tbsp shredded mozarella cheese or more, optional
salt and pepper


  • In a medium non stick pan, put in the butter and add the onion and mushrooms.  Cook on low heat till the onions and mushrooms are slightly browned.  Add parsley, salt and pepper. Turn off the hear.
  • Cut the baguette into thin slices. Brush olive oil on top. Layer with avocado and sauteed mushrooms. Top with cheese.  
  • Put under the broiler until cheese melts. Serve while still hot.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Quinoa and Black Bean Chili

The other when I was out at Whole Foods, they had some food sampling for vegetarian chili.  I was amazed what people do with Quinoa.  A black bean chili with quinoa. Of course the sampling was only a bite so I went and got the recipe, came home and made it for my dinner. Oh how glad I was...the chili was amazing.  I was pretty amazed that all this time having chili with meat and having now without any meat, did not matter any more. In fact, the quinoa and celery gave a little bite to the chili.  For all meat lovers out does not end if there is no meat.


1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (regular or red)
1 cup water (or broth)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder (or Chipotle)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 celery rib, sliced
2 (19 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes; set aside. 
  •  Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin; cook and stir 1 minute to release the flavors. Stir in the tomatoes, black beans, green bell pepper and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. 
  • After 20 minutes, stir in the reserved quinoa. Cook to reheat the corn for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the cilantro to serve.

Kuih Lapis

Made this wonderful Asian snack or tea time treat to a friend's house. Its made with rice flour, sago flour and coconut milk. Kuih (alternatively Kueh or Kue) is the term given to various manners of bite-sized food items.  It can also be described as Pastry, however it is to be noted that the Asian concept of "cakes" and "pastries" is different from that of the Western one.

In almost all kuihs, the most common flavouring ingredients are coconut cream (thick or thin), grated coconut (plain or flavoured), pandan (screwpines) leaves and gula melaka or palm sugar.


160g rice flour
20g green bean flour  or cornstarch
150ml water

For the Syrup

190g castor sugar
300ml water
2–3 screwpine leaves (pandan leaves), knotted
250ml thick coconut milk (squeezed from 1 grated coconut)
1/4 tsp. salt
A few drops of colouring


  • Combine sugar, water and screwpine leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Strain and set aside to cool. 
  • Put rice flour and green bean flour into a large mixing bowl. Pour in water gradually and leave aside to soak for 40–45 minutes. 
  • Add coconut milk and salt to the rice flour and mix well. Stir in syrup. Strain the batter to ensure it is free from lumps. 
  • Divide batter into two. Leave half a portion white and add colouring to the other half. 
  • Place a greased 20cm tray in the steamer and heat up for 4–5 minutes. Pour half cup of the white batter on the heated tray. 
  • Cover and steam over medium heat for 5–6 minutes or until set. 
  • Pour half cup of the colored batter over the white layer and steam covered for 5 minutes. 
  • Repeat the procedure, alternating white and colored batter until all the batter is used up. 
  • To the very last layer add a little more colour to make it a deeper shade of color. 
  • After the final layer is set, steam the kuih for a further 12–15 minutes. Halfway through open the lid to release the steam, then cover again until the end of the steaming process. 
  • Cool the kuih thoroughly before cutting into small diamond-shaped pieces.

The way to eat this will be just to peel it layer by layer...