Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pick "up" your own pumpkin

Being from India, we are pretty new to the halloween traditions in the US. All started a couple years ago when we decided to get pictures at the pumpkin patch with N. A train took us to the farm and we wandered around with the wheel-barrow picking out our own pumpkins... And getting pictures... Little did I realise how pampered we were out west. This year, since we are all out east decided to get our annual pumpkin patch pictures out here. We pulled up and there was a huge patch of picked pumpkins... No.. thats not what we want... We want the pumpkins in the field and we want to pick them... Oh a hayride to the farm??!! Not a bad idea.. sure, we will take that... We went around the "farm" and ended up at the same patch with all the pre-picked pumpkins... As C puts it, out east, its never a pick-your-own-pumpkin... its always a pick-up-your-own-punpkin

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cherry Strudel

So since R was on his way to India and its about Father's day, I thought I'd send home some cherry strudel for dad. The filling was awesome but my bad luck with phyllo sheets continued. I had to salvage it be brushing it with more butter after slicing it to pieces and baking it a while longer. And since it ain't gluten-free, I end up eating the crust while he gets the cherry.

The banana bread with dried mangoes turned out a better father's day gift.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Going a-maying!

And some have wept, and woo'd, and plighted troth
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth
Many a green-gown has been given
Many a kisse, both odde and even
Many a glance too has been sent
From out the eye, loves firmament …

Can't believe it has been a year!! And this was the dessert yesterday. Traditional Rasmalai from scratch.

Grind blanched almonds and pista and add to 4 cups of milk. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer on low heat till it reduces to 2 cups. Stir in sugar(to taste), cardamom and saffron. This is the rabdi.

Bring 1000ml of whole milk to a boil. Turn down the heat. Dilute 30ml vinegar with water and stir in slowly. As soon as the milk begins to curdle, add in ice cubes. Drain through a cheesecloth and let it hang for atleast an hour to drain out excess water. Knead the soft cheese very lightly. Make walnut sized balls and flatten them out.

Mix 1 cup of sugar with 5 cups of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add in cardamom powder. Cook them for about 5 minutes. They will puff up to twice their original size. Ladle them out and drop them in the rabdi.

I like it cold. So, I chill it before serving.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chocolate Mousse

Amazed at how many desserts are inherently gluten-free. So difficult to get a picture of it since we finish it before I can even think of taking a picture. So here's half of the last cup left. Might not be such a bad idea to use this as frosting :)

2 large eggs, separated

1 tablespoons brown sugar

3.5 oz dark chocolate

1/2 + 1/8 cups heavy cream

Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar to soft peaks. Add sugar and whisk to stiff peaks.

Melt the chocolate in a double broiler. Remove from heat. Add 1/8 cup of the cream and the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

Whisk the remaining cream to soft peaks.

Add in the melted chocolate mixture and fold gently. Add in the egg white mixture and fold gently to combine, trying not to deflate the mixture.

Scoop into glasses and refrigerate at least 2 -3 hours till set.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring was here!!

Since Saturday was so wonderfully warm and we saw crab-apple and cherry blossoms on our evening walk, decided to visit the arboretum for some pictures of cherry-blossoms. So what if I couldn't make it to DC. As luck would have it, it rained on Sunday and Monday, so there were no blossoms on the trees. That explains why all my pictures were at one place!! Lots of favorites but the picture of the little girl is the best, I think. She was so full of energy, calling out to the ducks and the turtles. A handful for her mom!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Frangipane!!! That's whats baking today. Though I screwed it up at end by letting him distract me and overbaked it, it had the fluffiest crust and an awesome filling. And of course, its gluten-free. Its exactly similar to the original recipe except for replacement with gf flour. I believe this is the first dessert I have made that has some finesse to it!!

And just in case I lose the piece of paper I have the recipe on, making a copy of the recipe.

Adapted from Dessert First Recipe

Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart - makes one 9-inch tart

Pâte Sablée
  • 1/2 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoon butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
Poached Pears
  • 2 ripe medium pears
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground blanched almonds
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

For the pears: Combine the water, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cut the pears in half, remove the seed core and fibrous cores at either end, then peel the pears. Add the pear halves to the simmering syrup and reduce heat to low. Cover, and let pears poach for about 10 minutes, turning them halfway. The pears will become slightly translucent, very tender, and easily pierced with a knife or skewer. Let the pears cool in the liquid until room temperature before using. Or, you can store them in their liquid in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

For the tart shell: Put the flour, confectioner's sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse until the butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. Add the egg yolk and combine in several pulses until the dough starts to turn from dry to clumpy. Butter a 9-in tart tin with removable bottom. Turn the dough out into the tin and press into the bottom and up the sides. Freeze the tart shell for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Take a piece of foil and butter the shiny side, then press the buttered side tightly to the shell. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, until the shell is dry and lightly colored. Let cool on a rack until room temperature.

For the frangipane: Combine the butter and sugar in the food processor and combine until smooth. Add the ground almonds and blend together. Add the flour and cornstarch, and then the egg and egg white. Process the mixture until it is very smooth. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts just to blend.

To finish the tart: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the frangipane evenly into the cooled tart shell. Take the poached pears out of their liquid and drain them on paper towels. You don't want too much excess liquid or they will make the frangipane soggy. Cut each pears and arrage them. I had no more energy to try the wonderful arrangement suggested in the original recipe. so arranges the sliced pers in circle. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed, golden brown, and firm to the touch. Dust with confectioner's sugar.

WATCH IT. DON'T LET IT OVERBAKE like I did. Even if it does, it will taste awesome!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A new year kiss!!!

Watching: Phantom of the Opera
Dessert for the day: Pistachio Creme Brulee (yes, I made it!!)

"Why arent you at Times Square?" he typed.
"It is about 1F !!!", I said.
"Down a couple shots and it will all be fine...", he shot back.
"What about him?", I worried.
"Sake should good. Rice-based.. Gluten-free", he quipped.
He has a good sense of humor, my brother... Some people may call it sarcastic. But I enjoy it. Maybe, because I am sarcastic too. Anyways, thats how my new year started - watching the Clintons and Bloomberg at Times Square on our huge-ass TV from our living-room couch. 2009 is here.

As I look back on the last year, everything is a haze. Maybe I should start blogging. Just like the weekly status reports at work. Proposal in January after dinner at Genoa, Wedding in India in April, Kennebunkport (Maine) in May, his GMAT in June, Lion King at Broadway for his birthday in July, Nesara turned two in August, Hwy 101 trip in September, Fall-trip to VT in November. Lots of wonderful restaurants like Tabla(NYC), Genoa(PDX). Could have blogged a lot, but work consumed all my time. This year will be different. Will be more serious and disciplined.

Straighten out my finances
Finish my PhD
Travel to Europe
Eat well, Exercise Regularly

The last year in pictures... Wedding is the highlight and of course, Nesara...

Little Miss Sunshades... on our Fall-trip to Willoughvale

Two people I adore the most...

Prashanth and me

Chand, Rags and me