Hello…Again!

Wow! Time has seriously flown by. I haven’t posted anything, but I have been busy! I have recently been trying out new recipes and am actually going through Julia Child’s cookbook. If you don’t have it, you’re missing out!

Today I made the Beef Bourguignon recipe which took me about 2 1/2 hours to make, but it was well worth it! Not only have I been trying my hand at French cooking, but I’ve been working on my baking skills as well. I plan to post a few pictures of the various dishes I have made and then follow up with recipes!

“See” you soon!

Ethics…And Cooking?

Startup Stock PhotosThis is a different blog post this week, but after reading about this on various food blogs I follow, I felt it was necessary to write about it. When it comes to blogging, food blogs, in particular, it can be very easy for someone to steal another person’s content. As I was reading one of the blogs I follow, the blogger shared that one of her recipes was stolen from her site and published in a cookbook without credit or her permission.

I understand that often times recipes can be very similar, sometimes even almost identical, but to outright steal and publish something someone else wrote word for word is beyond unethical. Our blogs are spaces where we share what we love with others and for that to be taken advantage of is so very wrong. I’m not naive. I understand it will still happen and it probably will never stop. One can hope, though, right?

A blog I recently came across is called Food Ethics and they actually have a whole post dedicated to a code of ethics for food bloggers, you can find it here. It’s helpful to be reminded that we’re all sharing this space and there are certain rules we all should follow. Give it a read and let me know what you think about this topic.

P.S. Stay tuned for some of my favorite Christmas recipes!

How Do You Make Your Caramel Sauce?

Hi, everyone! Thanksgiving is fast approaching and with that comes stress and planning. Every year, I am the one responsible for the desserts and with 20+ people that can be pretty challenging. Our guests are such a wide array of people which means I need a wide array of desserts. I’ve decided on five delicious, but somewhat time-consuming desserts. One of those is a caramel apple pie. Apple pie is such a thanksgiving classic, but I really wanted to add a little twist, hence the caramel.

I already have a go-to caramel sauce that I absolutely love. When it comes to caramel sauce some people think a really thick sauce works best, but I tend to disagree. Caramel sauce with a thinner consistency always works better…at least in my opinion! As I was reading some of the various blogs I follow, I stumbled upon a recipe from the blog Serious Eats titled, “How to Make an Easy Caramel Sauce”. Even though I already have a favorite recipe, I’m always down to try something new. One thing that I immediately noticed about this recipe was the fact that this blogger doesn’t use butter in her sauce.

Her reasoning was, “Butter is a relatively delicate emulsion of fat and water. So delicate, it breaks as soon as you melt it, never to become creamy and smooth again.” I have never made a caramel sauce without butter and it always turns out creamy and smooth. Without butter, I find that it becomes waaaay too thick and basically the consistency of caramel candy.

My caramel sauce recipe is as follows:

  • 12 Tablespoons of cubed unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt or more if preferred
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Seriously, it’s that simple. To me, the mixture of butter and cream creates a richer and more decadent caramel sauce that isn’t too thick. Please excuse the picture quality, but check out this picture of my homemade cheesecake with my caramel sauce from last Thanksgiving. It was beyond delicious and my recipe of the sauce pairs perfectly with this dulce de leche cheesecake.

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Honestly, it all comes down to preference. As for me? I think I’ll stick to my tried and true recipe for my apple pie.

Simple Chocolate Cake

This week I wanted to share with you all a recipe that has been in my family for years. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also my great grandfather’s favorite cake. This chocolate cake is so simple and it requires no eggs, butter or oil. The secret ingredient that makes this cake so simple and delicious is miracle whip…yeah you read that right. I know this may seem like a weird ingredient to add into a cake, but trust me it works.

The reason why mayo is used instead of more common ingredients like eggs or butter is because during World War II the ingredients that are now so common weren’t as readily available. The rationing required a little creativity and ingenuity which then created an amazing cake. Instead of doing a step by step with pictures, I wanted to really show the process of how this cake is made with a video. Check it out below and let me know what you think!

 

 

Beginners Recipe: Roasted Tomato Sauce

Hi, friends! This week I want to introduce you all to one of my all time favorite recipes. If there is ever a night where I want a home cooked meal, but don’t want to put in much effort, this is what I make. This sauce is the most delicious and simple recipe ever. Since the sauce is blended, it tends to turn orange in color, but don’t worry!

The orange can throw people off a bit, but don’t let the color deter you. The best thing about this recipe is that it can be customized to your palate and anything can be decreased or increased depending on your tastes. This recipe is so easy, anyone can do it! Shall we begin?

What You’ll Need

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  • 5-6 tomatoes
  • Garlic (around 8 cloves)
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • Whole milk (or whatever you have)
  • Choice of pasta

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a medium size pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Begin by cutting your tomatoes into relatively small pieces so they all fit on the pan.
  3. After you place your tomatoes on the pan, begin by crushing 4 cloves of garlic and roughly chop. Pro tip: crush first, peel it after. img_2957
  4. Spread the garlic on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. You can use less depending on what you prefer.
  5. Coat the tomatoes and garlic thoroughly with olive oil.img_2959
  6. Place in oven and cook for about 35 minutes. I prefer to take my tomatoes out after 35 minutes, but they can certainly stay in longer until they are more concentrated. The longer they are in, the more roasted and concentrated they will become.
  7. While waiting for your tomatoes, crush and chop 4 garlic cloves. I love garlic, but if you find this to be too much you can use 2 or even 3 cloves instead. After the garlic, chop a handful of fresh basil. img_2964
  8. Set the garlic and basil aside. After the tomatoes are done, take them out of the oven and let the pan cool.
  9. Once it has cooled and is easier to handle, add the entire contents of the pan into a blender, including the oil.img_2968
  10. Add in your garlic and basil to the blender and salt and pepper to taste. If you want to add in pepper flakes, you can do so now. I used about 2 teaspoons for an extra kick.
  11. Blend and then add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of milk or cream and continue to blend until smooth.
  12. Serve hot with your favorite pasta! img_2971

Weekend Update: Best Birthday Cake Ever

Hi, everyone! This past weekend was my sisters birthday and we totally forgot to get her a cake…oops. We went to a few places in our area, but they either didn’t have anything or their options were sparse. Finally, I decided I would just make a cake for her, and the Pinterest search commenced. We came across this drool worthy picture of a salted caramel layer cake and I decided to give it a go.

So I spent my entire evening on Friday baking this cake and I have to say, it was pretty hard. Not skill wise, but in terms of all of the steps involved. Guys, this cake was well worth the hard work. It was one of the most delicious cakes that I have EVER made. You can find the recipe here on The Java Cupcake Blog and while you’re at it explore her site, she has a ton of awesome recipes!

See you next week!

P.S. Before I could take a picture, it was completely gone. Sign of a job well done, if I do say so myself.

The Perfect Pairing: Chapatis

A Walk Down Memory Lane

This week, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes with you. Chapatis are without a doubt the perfect pairing for curry, rice, fried eggs, you name it!  I remember the first time I made chapatis was in my aunt’s kitchen in India. In high school, my family decided to take a trip to Goa to visit my family.

When the time finally came, we boarded the plane for what seemed like the longest flight ever and when we landed in Mumbai, it was like we stepped into a different world. We spent a few days exploring, but we were all impatient to board the plane to Goa. When the time came, we were so excited and nervous. After all, we hadn’t seen our family in about 10 years. Our first visit was to see my Aunt Melan at the ancestral home. It had been passed down through the years and it held so much history.

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When we got there, it immediately felt like home. As soon as my aunt saw us she had warm chapatis, fried eggs, samosas and freshly squeezed juice waiting.

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When I say there’s nothing like a warm chapati and a fried egg, I mean it. After eating this almost every single day, we wanted to learn how to make it for ourselves. My aunt was more than happy to teach us. So that very day we took a rickshaw to Mapusa Market to gather the ingredients we needed.

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Once we had everything we needed to make the chapatis, we headed back home to begin the process. I remember mixing the flour, rolling and making these little circles which transformed into these flat, buttery layers. It wasn’t easy the first time, but it was so fun! It may not seem like much to some, but this memory is one I cherish. Cooking has the wonderful ability to bring people together in the best of ways. Even if you choose not to use my recipes, cook with your family and make lasting memories like I have! Now enough of the reminiscing let’s get down to business.

Note: This is a beginners recipe. I have not used traditional ingredients as I want this to be accessible to everyone. You can use whole wheat flour, Atta flour, regular flour, or a mix like I have done.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/2 cups regular flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Combine flour in a bowl. Add salt.

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2. Make a well in the middle and pour in your water.

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4. Mix together and add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil.

5. Continue to mix until dough is formed. If you find it to be too sticky, feel free to add in more flour.

6. Knead it into a ball. This should take about 2-3 minutes.

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7. After it has formed, cover it with a damp towel and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

8. After you have let it rest, knead the dough one more time and begin to form into about a 2-3 inch balls.

9. Place your cutting board down and generously coat with flour.

10. Begin to roll out the balls and form into a round or square shape. Then coat with a small amount of butter.

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11. After it has been coated in butter, fold it into a square or pinwheel.

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12. Continue rolling until it’s flat and relatively thin.

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13. Add 1 teaspoon of oil into the melted butter and set aside.

14. Place a frying pan on high heat and add in about 1 spoonful of the butter/oil mixture. Once it is nice and hot, place your chapati in the pan and add a small amount of butter to the top of the chapati.

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15. Turn the chapati over in the pan once it has started to bubble. Flip it twice to make sure both sides are thoroughly cooked.

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Once golden brown, it is ready to serve.

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