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Breakfast/ Continental/ Desserts/ Spring - Summer Special

Zucchini Bread

Everyone around me seems to be fighting allergies these days. The culprit? Climate Change! Warmer, drier air is prompting trees to release their offending pollen prematurely. Stay sniffle free with this nutrition packed treat – zucchini bread with cranberries and walnuts!

zucchini bread

This was a complete surprise. I was under the impression that zucchini bread was a mere attempt to hide veggies inside a sweet treat without adding anything to the flavor. But that’s not really true. After first bite, I was sold; partly because I had pretty low expectations and also because it does taste yum!zucchini cranberry breadAddition of cranberries and walnuts contributed a whole new dimension to otherwise chewy one-tone bread. So I totally recommend adding nuts and dried fruits of your choice.

zucchini bread slicesVitamin C, anti-oxidants and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids from the 3 key ingredients will definitely help you build your defenses against the seasonal allergies. That’s how I convinced my husband to try this bread and he loved it, as always!

Zucchini Bread with Cranberries and Walnuts

Zucchini Bread with Cranberries and Walnuts

A nice treat to have after a long day!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 5 by 9 inch loaf pans.

2 In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter.

3 Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and stir it in. Add the flour, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg over the batter and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.

4 Divide the batter equally between the loaf pans. Bake for 55 minutes (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.zucchini bread loaf

Notes

I will recommend cranberries as they add a slight tangy note to this sweet bread. Feel free to try raisins or chopped apricots or dried figs.
Walnuts can be substituted by any other nuts of your choice such as pecans or almonds or pistachios.

Continental/ Desserts/ Entertaining/ Italian

Tiramisu

Truly irresistible with Bold burst of Coffee flavor!

Tiramisu or tiramesù in Venetian dialect, literally means “pick me up” or idiomatically it means “make me happy”. And it does 🙂 I love coffee and this dessert takes my favorite flavor to a next level.

Tiramisu

Though it’s a quite recent addition, it’s now ubiquitous across Italy and worldwide. I first had Tiramisu at Royal Orchid Hotel in Mumbai and I fell in love with this masterpiece. As with the most things in Italy there is a great debate about the true origin of tiramisu. Some sources name its origin as Siena in Tuscany however the most credible claim comes from Treviso, in the Veneto near to Venice. Roberto Linguanotto from the Beccherierestaurant claims to have invented it at the end of the 60s and this is his recipe.

People have changed the recipe a lot over the years and the original included no cream or alcohol and hence there are so many versions available on Internet. And here is one more addition to it, adopted from multiple sources which claimed the ‘authentic tiramius’ title.

It’s a no bake dessert and contains raw eggs. The base is made with ladyfingers which is lightly sweet, porous, soft cake shaped like lady fingers and has nothing to do with Okra. (Okra in India is known as lady fingers). The lady fingers are dipped in coffee mixed with alcohol. Needless to mention, you should use the best coffee you have got. Instead of debating between Nescafe or Bru or any other brand I picked up a tall espresso cup from local Starbucks. Alcohol is optional and if you are using it there are two options – dark rum or marsala wine. I prefer Rum & Coffee combination. And then the cream part – it’s made with beaten egg whites and the mascarpone cheese – the cheese with highest fat content – it tastes like साय (say) if you know what I mean. All these ingredients work together to create this magic.tiramisu_1

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

I am sure it requires no introduction!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Make sure coffee is cold before you use it. Add 2 shots of rum to coffee. 
  2. Separate egg whites and yolks.
  3. Mix the egg yolks with 4 table spoons of sugar and whisk it until you get creamy light mixture.
  4. Fold in mascarpone in sugar-egg mixture making sure that there are no lumps.
  5. In a bigger bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until it forms firm peaks. Don't overbeat it.
  6. Now carefully fold in mascarpone-egg cream with egg whites to form the cream.
  7. In a wide dish, pour some coffee.ladyfingers & coffee
  8. Now take one ladyfinger and dip it in the coffee from both side. Don't leave it in the dish for too long or it will become too soggy.ladyfinger dipped in coffee
  9. You can arrange them in a wide rectangular glass dish or use individual serving bowl.
  10. Now create a thick layer of the cream on top.tiramisu_in_progress_1
  11. Build one more layer of ladyfingers dipped in coffee and cream on top.tramisu_in _progress
  12. Now, sprinkle some unsweetened cocoa powder on top to add one more flavor dimension.sprinkle_cocoa
  13. Finally, if you like some chocolate shavings go on top.final look - tiramisu
  14. Refrigerate it for at least 4 hours before serving. tiramisu_2

By the way, be ready to clean such mess but it's worth it.
be_ready_to_clean_such_mess

 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

This is my official entry for Foodomania’s Christmas Cook-Off Contest. Happy Cooking!

Breakfast/ Desserts/ Snacks

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two years and two months, I had successfully put off the urge of making chocolate chip cookies at home. Finally I gave in and decided to make S happy by making his two favorite dishes – Sabudana Khichadi and Chocolate Chip Cookies. The debate still continues whether firm and thin or soft and chewy is the perfect texture but we both agree that fresh, warm, just-out-of-oven cookies with a glass of cold milk is a pure bliss!

It would have been a lot easier if there were one master recipe for each classic dish. After going through numerous websites I settled on Joy Of Baking recipe. I adapted the original recipe to make about 2 dozens cookies instead of 4.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

For me soft and chewy choco chip cookie is always a winner!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Beat the butter together with white and brown sugar until smooth,  creamy and fluffy. I used the hand mixer on low speed.
  2. Then add vanilla extract and one egg at room temperature and beat it gently on low speed.
  3. Whisk all purpose flour, baking soda and a pinch of salt to ensure there are no lumps.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter and mix well.
  5. Fold in chopped walnuts / pecans.
  6. Preheat the oven at 350 F and keep the oven rak at the center.
  7. Drop 1/4" diameter balls on an ungreased cooking sheet, about 2 inches apart. I used the scooper, you can also use two spoons to get the balls.
  8. Press them down a bit with your fingers.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes!

Notes

  • Use butter and eggs at room temperature.
  • Once the cookies are out of oven, immediately transfer them on a cooling rack else they become soggy due to moisture.
  • Store them in an airtight jar, microwave for 15 seconds before eating.

Sending it to Vardhini’s Bake Fest hosted by Mad Scientist kitchen

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