Monday, February 14, 2011

Bringing in the love with Red Velvet Cupcakes

Well what can I say. Love is in the air, its everywhere - Its in the over priced flowers and in the long wait times at restaurants on valentines. But that's the realist in me. The romantic in me of course wore RED to work, enjoyed a take out dinner and movie with my husband in the comfort of our home and finally tried my hand at the red velvet cake :)

When I first laid my eyes on this cake the color just shocked me enough to think that if it ain't brown it ain't no good. Of course that opinion was totally biased because of my love for chocolate. And then I tried it once at a friends place and kind of liked it. There is a light chocolate flavor to it...YIPPEE !!!!

This year I decided to be predictable and make something pink or red for the day, of course the first thing that came to my mind was that red velvet cake. Having browsed through endless recipes, the comments on the shocking amount of food color that goes into making this cake, and the opinions on cream cheese frosting versus regular whipped cream frosting, I decided to make cupcakes with a regular cream cheese frosting. I always have used regular frosting and wanted to try the cream cheese for a change.

Ended up that people were right. Its got a tang and requires a lot more sugar to make it sweet. I liked it but next time around I am going to stick to regular whipped cream frosting.

Ingredients: (makes about 10 cupcakes)

1 1/4cups all purpose flour
2 Tbs corn starch
1 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbs liquid red food coloring
1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degree and line a muffin pan with paper liner.
In a large bowl beat the egg, sugar and butter at room temperature with a hand blender. Once its creamy add salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, corn starch and beat for a few seconds. Add the red food coloring and the mix well with a spatula. Be careful not to get the color on your counters or on yourself.

Once the color has been mixed well, add the flour and buttermilk in alternate batches and beat to mix well. Finally add the vinegar and beat for a few seconds scrapping down the sides of the bowl.

Fill the lined muffin pan with the cake batter adding a little more than half way through in each cup. I got enough batter to fill regular sized 10 cups. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick through the center comes out clean. Top with frosting and serve.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Now add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 heavy chipping cream and beat with a hand blender. Start at a low speed and increase the speed until the mixture thickens. you might need to add a little more sugar and/or cream to get the right consistency and sweetness. So be sure to check in between.

bon appetit !!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting on Foodista

Friday, February 4, 2011

Creamy Delight - Spaghetti in Carbonara sauce

Not sure if its the richness or its simplicity that attracts me more to Italian food. Either ways its always a pleasure to cook pasta. Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish that's usually cooked with egg, cheese, fatty pork and black pepper.
Since I am not fan of pork we modify by using some heavy cream.  I also added some mushrooms, peas and sauteed shrimp for added flavors and textures. It turned out to be a welcome break to my usual dinner and is most definitely here to stay :)


Pasta Spaghetti - good for 2 people
Chopped Mushrooms - 1/2 cup
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Shrimp - 1/2 cup
Garlic salt
Ground Pepper
Paprika (optional)
Eggs (beaten) - 2  (I used the egg whites and yolk of 1 egg)
Heavy Cream - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Grated Parmesan cheese - 1 cup


Bring water in a large pot to a roiling boil and add some salt to it. Drop the pasta in to cook to al dente - about 6-8 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked drain the liquid and set aside.
While the pasta gets cooked, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the mushrooms and shrimp and saute. Season it with garlic salt or some minced garlic and salt, paprika and freshly ground pepper
Add the green peas and continue to saute until the shrimp and mushrooms are cooked - about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix well. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the cream, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and milk to the pasta. Mix well to combine the sauce but be careful to not let it curdle.
Give it a minute or two and turn off the heat. Sprinkle some of the leftover cheese on top and serve.

Tips: top with fresh chopped parsley or crushed peanuts.

bon appetit !!!

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gulab Jamun

Happy New Year everyone !!!
Here s hoping that my experiments in the kitchen get more interesting and challenging in the new year. I am starting my first post of the year on a sweet note from homeland - Gulab Jamun.

This is likely by far one of the most popular and common Indian desserts that's familiar to most people around the world. It finds its place in every wedding, festival and for those of us in the USA, in every Indian buffet. But its almost impossible to get bored of it. It is made of a dough consisting mainly of milk solids, rolled into a ball, deep fried and is then put into a flavored sugar syrup. Its best served warm and pairs fairly well with ice cream. 'Gulab' means rose and usually but not always the sugar syrup is flavored with rosewater and hence the name.

Since its a favorite dessert of ours and hubby dear has been badgering me to make these for a very long time now, I thought what better time to get down to it than New Years.
Pretty much all Indian stores sell the instant gulab jamun mix that you can use. Since my hubby isn't very fond of those and I for one love putting the ingredients together, decided to make it my own. There are variations in the kind of milk solids used to make the dough. I am making mine real simple and easy.

The below measurements makes about 20-25 jamuns depending on how small or big you roll them. You want to keep them small since they tend to almost double in volume once fried and dropped in the syrup.


Milk powder - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Baking soda - 1/8 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup (I used a little less than 1/2 cup)
Oil for deep frying
Butter or oil to grease your hands ( makes it easier to roll the dough)

For the syrup
Sugar - 1 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups
Cardamom seeds - 3-4
Chopped pistachios for garnish
Coconut flakes for garnish


In a saucepan over medium heat add the sugar and water to make the syrup. Drop in the cardamom seeds to flavor the syrup. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer, until it thickens slightly. When touched with your fingertips the syrup should feel sticky but be careful not to burn yourself. You could also add a little rosewater to the syrup if you like.

Mix the milk powder, flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Slowly add the milk to it to make a slightly sticky dough. The dough tends to dry faster, so keep them moist with milk. I first added about 1/4 cup milk and mixed it well and let the dough sit for about 2-3 minutes. It will absorb the milk by this time and tends to dry up a bit. Now add a little more milk, and try rolling the dough into small balls. If the balls don't turn out smooth without cracks then the dough is dry - Add more milk. Also be sure to grease your hands with some oil or butter to roll the dough.

Before you start to roll the dough heat some oil for deep frying. You don't want your oil too hot for this. When you drop the rolled balls it shouldn't immediately come up. If it does, then your oil is too hot and it will just burn the outside and the inside wouldn't be fully cooked. So do some test runs once the oil is heated. Somewhere between a low and medium setting worked for me.

Once the the dough has been rolled and your oil is ready, drop them 3-4 at a time depending on how big a pan you are using and deep fry the balls. Keep them moving in the oil so that they are evenly cooked. Once they turn a medium brown remove them and place on a liner to drain the oil. Wait for a couple of minutes and then drop the fried balls into the sugar syrup. Let them soak a while in the syrup before serving. Garnish with pistachios or coconut if you please and serve warm or cold.

Tip: Add some rosewater to the syrup for the flavor and aroma.

bon appetit !!!

Gulab Jamun

Related Posts with Thumbnails