Thursday, December 30, 2010

Red velvet pancakes with whipped cream cheese

Red velvet buttermilk pancakes were awesome as expected. Ate them with whipped cream cheese and maple syrup. We used this recipe. Next time, we'll add a bit more cocoa powder and sugar to the mix.

Sous vide

Sous vide is a relatively new method of cooking where you cook meat or vegetables in a vacuum-sealed bag in a water bath at a steady low temperature for many hours. It brings out better flavor and texture and since all the cool kids are doing it, we wanted to try it too. I got Sous Vide Magic(SVM) which controls temperature of the water in the rice cooker/crockpot. Rubbed steak with salt and pepper and sealed it in ziploc bag (at that time we didn't own a vacuum sealer, so we used the water immersion method to get most of the air out of the bag) and dropped it in the slow cooker which had warm water ~140F. Dropped SVM's temperature probe in the cooker and connected cooker->SVM->power. SVM maintained the temperature at 140F. Cooked it like this for 1.5 hours and then seared the steak on hot cast-iron skillet to develop crust (mallard reaction). End result was juicy and flavorful medium cooked steak! Sous vide is pretty easy and produces great results, so looking forward to experimenting with it more.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Tree Bread

We were in Dallas with Mohit's family for Christmas and I got to introduce them to Christmas tree bread! My family's tradition was always to eat the bread on Christmas morning, before we opened presents. It is quite possibly my favorite part of Christmas! I think Mohit's family enjoyed it too, because both trees were eaten by the time the last present was opened. :)

One note if you haven't worked with yeast before, the temperature is really important to make sure the yeast do their thing. I recommend getting a thermapen instant read thermometer, Mohit bought one and it is so much better than a slow candy thermometer. If you don't have any thermometer you can use hot tap water as a guide, if you know how hot your hot water heater is (I think most are around 120) so if you run your water till it is at it's hottest you can get a feel for what 120 is like.

Oh - If you ever want to make this bread at a time other than Christmas you can braid strands of dough into a ring instead of making a tree. Sometimes we have used this as a Mardi Gras King Cake. OK - recipe time already!!

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk, plus some extra for frosting
½ cup shortening
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1) In large bowl combine 1 ½ cups flour and yeast.
2) In saucepan heat 1 cup milk, shortening, granulated sugar, and salt until warm (115-120 degrees), stirring constantly.
3) Add to dry mixture. Add eggs. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for ⅓ minute, scarping side of bowl constantly.
4) Beat at high speed for 3 minutes.
5) By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough.
6) Place in greased bowl, turn once to grease surface.
7) Cover, let rise till double (1 hour) in a warm place (like next to a heat vent or in the oven).
8) Punch down, cover. Let rest 10 minutes.
9) On a floured surface roll to a 15 x 10 inch rectangle. Cut dough into fifteen 1 inch wide strips. Make tree by using the longest strip for the tree trunk. Use the other strips to make branches of decreasing size from the bottom to the top.
10) Let the dough rise in a warm place till double (about 1 ¼ hours). (I do this overnight so the bread is ready to bake in the morning.)
11) Bake at 400 degrees 12-15 minutes.
12) Cool. Mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to make an icing of spreading consistency. Drizzle icing over the trees. Top with colored sugar.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Crazy for Christmas Cookies!

We went a little cookie crazy for Christmas... we baked 3 types of cookies to take with us to Dallas! There are lots of photos with this post because cookies are just so photogenic!

First was classic sugar cookies. They aren't really the most exciting tasting cookies, but they are very pretty when decorated. To make the taste a little more interesting we added some lemon zest in some and orange zest in some. I think the lemon zest worked better, but they were both an improvement. We mixed all 3 of the doughs one day, then left them in the fridge overnight and rolled out the cookies the next day. This is maybe the 2nd time I have used the big rolling pin and the first time I used my new cookie cutters. :-)

Then we made chewy gingerbread cookies and added some frosting to both:

And finally, we added the dark chocolate mint chip cookies to the mix. These were delicious! :)
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Walnut Raisin Bread

Fresh walnut raisin bread, recipe from

My serving suggestion, with goat cheese and honey:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Homemade French Fries!

We recently acquired a deep fryer and decided to test it out by making french fries. It turns out this is very simple. Step 1: Wash and cut potatoes. Step 2: Fry them, then wait some time. Step 3: Fry them again. You might try to skip step 3, but is essential to get crispy fries! Look at the difference between the fries that have been fried twice (on the left) and the soggy ones that have only been friend once (on the right):

Yummy finished fries:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Paalak paneer and urad and chana daal

Paalak paneer and urad and chana daal (I call it bhutte vali daal since chana daal tastes like corn). One of my favorite lentils and of course, paalak paneer rocks.

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Looove the slow cooker, just dump stuff in it and later you have a meal. Recipe:

Modifications to the recipe: We use 1 - 1.5 lbs of chicken instead of 3 because we like lots of gravy. Also we've always skipped the pine nuts for some reason.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

MoTiff's First Thanksgiving

It was a big day for MoTiff and we basically starting cooking as soon as we woke up! Mohit even made a chef's hat for me and here I am waving some celery at the turkey for some reason.

We cut the turkey into parts before cooking it because white (breast) meat cooks faster than dark (thigh) meat (160F vs 175F) and this is the simplest way to control the process - this worked well although the cutting part was pretty hard (good work Mohit!). We cooked it for 2 hours at 275 (turned the breast upside down after an hour) and then, after a 30 minute rest, put it back in the oven at 500 for 15 more minutes to make the skin nice and crispy! Here was the finished product:

And here was the final lineup:

From front to back - pecan pie, cranberry sauce, copper pennies, turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole. And this is what it looked like on a plate:

My parents were visiting and they also helped with a lot of the cooking, especially my dad!! We took some group photos somewhere around here, but due to equipment malfunction (or maybe user error) we don't actually have those photos... but we do have a photo of the end of the meal, featuring pumpkin pie in the foreground and pecan pie in the background.

And then we fell into a delicious food coma. :) Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Monkey Bread

When I was a kid we used a big bundt pan for monkey bread, but this time we used a smaller loaf pan. This is very easy to make - start with a can of refrigerated biscuits, cut each biscuit into 4 pieces with scissors, sprinkle each piece with cinnamon and sugar and layer them in the greased pan. We tossed in some raisins and nuts would probably be good too. Then, melt some butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan and drizzle that on top. Then pop it in the oven until the biscuits aren't gooey anymore.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chocolate Lava Cake

This was every bit as good as it looks. We used this recipe, and the only adjustment that I would make next time is to reduce the cooking time. Ours wasn't runny inside at all, although it wasn't overdone either... I think you have to take it out before the top looks done if you want to get that molten lava effect.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ethiopian Food

We love Ethiopian food and since there's an Ethiopian grocery store very close to us that sells fresh injera bread and spices, we decided to make the main course at home. Key ingredient was berbere (a mix of spices) and we made gomen kitfo and mesir wat (collard greens with cheese and red lentils). It came out time, we just need the honey wine in addition.

Happy Halloween

We carved pumpkins and made 2 flavors of roasted pumpkin seeds - one with salt and cayenne pepper and one with sugar and cinnamon. :-)
We also made chole with extra spooky red rice. Here are the pumpkins posing with our dinner - the one on the left is scared of our food!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin bread with walnuts

Pumpkin season is here! We made pumpkin bread using this recipe, but we used less sugar (2/3rd) and added walnuts.

Pasta with vodka sauce

This was our first attempt at vodka sauce. We used less cream than suggested, so it didn't turn out very pink. But it was tasty.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thai Food

Mohit food some cool Thai cooking kits and we were excited to try some stuff out! We made chicken with the holy basil seasoning paste, which was OK. Yummy salad with tomatoes from our garden, nice cucumbers and red pepper. But the highlight was the Tom Kha Gai soup - highly recommend this!

Smoked Salmon

We got this new smoker, which is very easy to use. It came with 4 types of wood chips and we semi randomly choose alder for smoking our salmon. My favorite part was the thinly sliced lemon pieces on top. And we went ahead and cooked broccoli in there too... is smoked broccoli a thing? I don't know, but it worked.

Pav Bhaji

Meenali brought the pav and we made the bhaji. I was in such a hurry to eat it I couldn't be bothered to take a good photo... oh well.

Chilli Relleno

This was the first chilli pepper to grow from our garden. I sliced it open, stuffed it with cheddar cheese, fried it up and topped with sauce.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Goat curry

Goat is sooo much better than's a crime that most indian restaurants in US serve lamb and not goat (I never had lamb in India). We cooked goat curry in slow cooker and ate it with sangak bread. Yum!


Tiffany bought the beignet mix from Cafe Du Monde. To be enjoyed with a fresh cup of espresso (or chicory coffee).

Carrot ginger soup

Carrot ginger soup with a lot of cream :)

Aloo ka paratha

The other day we made aloo ka paratha (chapati filled with spicy potatoes). Classic indian breakfast comfort food.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Hot chillies and molten cheese float on top of delicious enchilada sauce! Inside is a mix of grilled chicken, more enchilada sauce, sour cream, more cheese, onions, and diced tomatoes. To balance out the calories we ate this with oven-roasted broccoli (see it in the background there?).

Hash Browns!

The trick to crispy hash browns is to press all the water out of the potatoes before cooking. We first used a Kitchen Aid attachment to shred the potatoes, which was a great timesaver. Then we pressed them between paper towels until they were dry. The other trick is to use a cast iron skillet! Let the skillet get really hot, put some oil in it, then add the potatoes, salt, and pepper. Let it sit until the bottom is crispy and then flip it once. After both sides are done, remove the hash browns and fry an egg in that skillet!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Salmon with our bread

Oven-baked salmon with garlic, ginger, chilli pepper and lemon juice. Baked for about 20 minutes. With home-made bread and asparagus.

Home-made whole wheat bread

We made our own bread for the first time! It was soft and delicious. Will have to try variations next time (walnuts and raisins...mmmm).

Dutch baby!

Made a dutch baby (aka german pancake) in the oven the other day. It was a nice change from normal pancakes. Gotta love the cast-iron skillet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eggs in a Basket

AKA "Eggies in a basket", "Frog in a hole", "Egg in the hole", "Chicky in the nest", etc...


I marinated the chicken in worcestershire sauce, cumin, garlic, chilli poweder, and lemon juice. Then we grilled it up with onion and green pepper in the cast iron skillet. Toppings include pepper jack cheese and cilantro from our back yard.


We have really been getting a lot of use out of our ice cream maker. Here are 3 of our first ice cream flavors - vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry! My favorite is chocolate... obviously.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


We made this dhokla using a packaged mix, so it was pretty easy. Basically add water to the mix and then steam it. The topping is a bit more involved - heat mustard seeds in oil until they pop, and add spices, etc. We garnished it with cilantro and chillies, plus freshly made mint chutney and tamarind chutney. This is a very satisfying snack.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nutritious Breakfast

Steel cut oatmeal with a variety of toppings to choose from. :) For me - brown sugar, walnuts, and fresh from the farmer's market raisins.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

OK, so we are a bit behind on posting... here is what we had to celebrate the 4th of July:

Indian style barbecued paneer - we decided this cooks best on skewers by itself.

Awesome plate of paneer, veggies skewers, and watermelon.

And finally, a very patriotic berry trifle!

Sambar and Idli

Delicious sambar and idli!