Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pizza Buns

Who does not like PIZZA? We are a pizza loving family and love our pizzas in all it's forms. After trying Veggie Pizza, Spinach Artichoke Pizza and Pav Bhaji Pizza, it was time to try something new with pizza. That gave birth to this idea of stuffed rolls with pizza ingredients stuffed.



The tragedy with this recipe is that i have made it many times in the past few months, but never managed to photograph it. Sometimes I was too late to serve dinner, sometimes I was expecting guests and got too busy and sometimes I was plain bored to get behind the camera. Finally, I clicked it and it is up on the blog. 

When I first made this recipe for a family lunch a few months ago, it got a lot of praise. This dish managed to be the star of the lunch then, and a few days later at another friend's lunch too! It was awesome to see the buns vanishing one after the other, and people trying to look for holes in the bread to see how the stuffing got in it! That is when they realized that the entire thing is made from scratch. Happy friends and family, happy me :)



The recipe has two parts, the crust and the filling. The crust is regular bread recipe with some oregano and garlic powder in it. The filling I made was pretty much from whatever I had in my refrigerator. I used pink onions,  olives, sweetcorn, peppers, and jalapenos. Adding minced paneer, baby corn or pineapple would make it a great filling too. For the meat loving folks, adding the stuffing from your favorite pizza topping is a great idea.



Make the stuffing, make the dough. Stuff the fillings along with marinara sauce and cheese in the dough balls, let them rise and bake them to perfection. Serve them with a side of marinara sauce. They make perfect appetizers for a party or even a great tea time snack for a friends gathering. 

Ingredients

For the Crust

All purpose Flour/Maida 3 cups
Active Dry Yeast 1 sachet (2 1/4 tsp)
Unsalted Butter 4 tbsp
Oregano 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp 
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Garlic Powder 1 tbsp
Warm Water 1 cup 



For the stuffing

Onions 2 medium
Colored Peppers 2 medium
Jalapeno 1 
Sweet Corn 1/4 cup
Cut Olives 1/4 cup
Pizza Sauce/ Marinara Sauce 1 cup
Garlic 2-3 cloves
Basil leaves 10-12
Salt, Black pepper, Oregano
Butter 1 tbsp
Mozzarella Cheese 1 cup



Method

In a cup add water, sugar and 1 tsp salt. Warm the water to 100-110 F, add yeast, mix and let the mixture stand for ten minutes till the yeast blooms. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1 tbsp oregano. 

Pour the frothy yeast mixture into this mixture and make a soft dough. Add little water if required and knead well. The mixture may be sticky at first, knead it well till it converts to a soft dough.  Apply little oil over the dough and place it in a large bowl, cover it with a moist cloth and let stand for 45 minutes. 

While the dough rests, prepare the stuffing. Mince garlic and jalapeno. Dice onions and peppers. Partially cook the sweet corn in water on the stove or in the microwave.

Heat butter in a pan. Add the butter and saute garlic. Once the raw flavor vanishes, add onions and peppers. Let them cook for a few minutes, then add corn and jalapenos. Add the marinara/ pizza sauce, cook on medium heat till the mixture becomes partially dry. Add the olives and basil leaves. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well and let it cool.



Once the dough is almost double it's size in 45 minutes,  punch it down and knead it for 5 more minutes. Now line a cookie tray with nonstick spray or oil. 

Divide the dough into equal sized parts. I made 22 out of my 3 cup dough. take one part, roll it out to a disc of 4-5 inches diameter. Add a tbsp of the stuffing, a tbsp of cheese and roll the dough to a smooth ball. Place it in the greased tray. Repeat for all the dough parts. Place all the buns in the tray, leaving some place between them. Brush them with little butter, and add oregano on top.



Let the buns rest for 20-25 minutes till they rise. Preheat oven to 400 F/ 200 C. Place the tray in the preheated oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes till the tops are a little brown. 

Remove and serve warm with marinara sauce on the side.






Thursday, March 24, 2016

Shikanjvi | Indian Lemonade


Shikanjvi (Hindi: शिकंजवी) is a type of traditional limeade or lemonade from North India and Pakistan, especially prevalent in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Sindh. Alternative names include shikanji, shikanjbi and shikanjbeen. While the base ingredients include lemon or lime juice, ice and water, shikanjvi often contains other ingredients such as salt, saffron and cumin. It is also known by limun paani or nimbu pani.



When serving a typical Punjabi meal at home, this is the perfect drink to make. It is so tasty, yet so simple to make. I love to make this drink with something like chole or chaat. While this recipe uses water, the same can be easily made into a soda based Masala Soda! Just replace the water with soda.



Recently, I was sent a set of 4 Moscow Mules by Dorsters. The mules comes hammered and have a perfect finish. Though I have generally used mules that are like mugs, these come in a different shape. I love the shape and the wonderful brass handles. The size is perfect for all your drinks. 16 oz works for most people. I am not sure if I like the interior of the mugs, made in steel. The set of four mules are perfect for any gift! Get yours right away. Order them here



Ingredients

Jal Jeera Powder 3 tbsp
Lemons 2
Water 3 cups
Sugar 4 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp (optional)
Lots of ice
Mint to garnish



Method

Mix salt, sugar and jaljeera powder in half a glass of room temperature water. In a jug, add remaining water, juice the lemons and mint leaves. Pour the water with sugar and jaljeera powder in it and mix. Chill till ready to serve. 

If serving in a copper mug like me, freeze the mugs for at least fifteen minutes. Add ice and pour out the lemonade.

Garnish with lemon slices, maraschino cherries and sprigs of mint. Serve chilled.




**One or more products in this post were sent to me complimentary for review purposes. However, all the opinions are unbiased and completely my own.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Have you tried Olive Garden's signature Italian salad? Those big bowls piled with yummy salad vegetables and that signature dressing. The salad at Olive Garden is what attracts me to have dinner there many times. Ofcourse, not to forget the awesome Minestrone Soup and their warm Garlic Breadsticks




Few days ago I was shopping at Walmart and happened to see that Olive Garden actually sells the dressing in bottles!! I had made this salad along with the Minestrone Soup and Garlic Breadsticks a few days ago and my dressing was pretty close to the ingredients mentioned on the bottle :) We loved having the salad and it felt like Olive Garden at home!




If you want to make the salad for dinner, I would suggest that you whip up the dressing i the afternoon and refrigerate it till ready to use. The flavors become bold when the dressing rests for a while. When ready to eat, make fresh breadcrumbs, cut the vegetables and enjoy a yummy bowl of salad just like the restaurant!! Not very complex yet amazing flavors.

Ingredients

For the Dressing

White Vinegar 1/4 cup
Olive Oil 1/4 cup
Mayonnaise 1 tbsp
Garlic Powder 1 tsp
Italian Seasoning 1 tbsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Dry Parmesan powder 1 tsp
Lemon Juice 1 tsp
Pepper and salt to taste 




For the Salad

Iceberg Lettuce 1/2 head
Cherry or Regular Tomatoes 2-3
Pink Onion 1
Carrot 1
Cucumber 1/2
Black Olives 1/4 cup
Bread croutons
Cilantro
Parmesan cheese




Method

For the Dressing

Mix everything under dressing and refrigerate while preparing the salad.

To assemble the Salad

Tear the lettuce into small bits and place them in ice water to make them crisp. Remove from water just before assembling the salad. Julienne the carrot, slice the cucumber and tomatoes. Chop the pink onion and slice the olives. 

If making croutons at home, just follow this recipe

In a large mixing bowl, add all the vegetables. Top with some Italian Seasoning, pour the dressing and finally top with croutons and fresh parmesan. Serve immediately.
    



Monday, March 21, 2016

Sparkling Peach Lemonade



The summers are around the corner and lemonade is the perfect drink to do away with the heat. But often, lemonade also becomes the most boring drink with just lemon, mint and sugar. That is when there is a need to have options on the lemonade. Peaches are the right fruit to get that change!



The process of making this sparkling peach lemonade is pretty simple. You need just the same ingredients as a sparkling lemonade and a couple of peaches. The freshness of peach adds to the flavor of mint and lemon. The result is an awesome drink that can be enjoyed throughout summers!



Recently, I was sent a Moscow Mule mug by Advanced Mixology. The mule comes hammered and has a perfect finish. It is perfect if you intend to take a lot of pictures as it does not reflect too much! The weight is perfect. It is not one of those fake mules, copper outside and some trash inside. This mug comes with just copper all over, and I love the shape of the handle. The size is perfect for all your drinks. 16 oz works for most people. That along with the wooden coaster is a great gift too! Get yours here



So back to the recipe, you can make a jug full of the lemonade from about 6-8 large peaches. Just make the peach and sugar mixture and refrigerate it. Add that to soda, lemon and mint and you have a jug full of light peach colored drink for the summers. For those who would like to enjoy a moscow mule the authentic way, spike the drink with some vodka and it easily becomes an adults party favorite!


Ingredients

Ripe Peaches 3
Sparkling water/ soda 2 cups
Lemon 1 tbsp
Sugar 2 tbsp
Lots of ice
Mint to garnish



Method

Seed and juice 2 1/2 peaches with sugar. The amount of sugar should be adjusted based on the sweetness of peaches. Strain the juice and set aside. 

If serving in a copper mug like me, freeze the mugs for at least fifteen minutes. Add ice and sparkling water to the mule/glass. Mix in 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. Add the peach and sugar concentrate and mix well.

Garnish with peach slices, sprigs of mint and lemon slices. Serve chilled.



**One or more products in this post were sent to me complimentary for review purposes. However, all the opinions are unbiased and completely my own.




Saturday, March 19, 2016

Baked Thandai Gujiya

Gujiya, karanji, ghughra, empanadas or purukiya; it has many names. Gujiya is the brand ambassador of the Indian festival of colors – Holi. Gujiya can be defined as the flaky pastries made into half circles, stuffed with a variety of fillings. Some people make them stuffed with suji, some with mawa and others with some unique filling. Traditionally, these stuffed pastries are fried and glazed with sugar syrup. Served on the festival of Holi, baked Gujiyas are really delicious. 



Though Gujiyas may sound a little tedious to make, the result is totally overwhelming! I made these Baked Gujiyas this year for Holi. As Holi is associated with the traditional drink, Thandai; I decided to stuff Gujiya with homemade thandai masala.

To make things interesting and unique, I added home-made Thandai masala to the ricotta cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Also, to do away with the frying, I baked the Ghujias and glazed them with sugar syrup. The procedure is pretty straightforward: Make the dough, prepare the filling, shape the pastry and bake them. 




Ingredients

For the cover

All purpose flour 1 cup
Ghee/ Clarified butter 2 tbsp
Baking Powder 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda 1/4 tsp
Salt a pinch
Cold Water 1/3 cup

For the Filling

Ricotta Cheese 2 cups
Sweetened Condensed Milk 3/4 cup
Thandai Powder 4 tbsp (Recipe here)
Gulkand 2 tbsp

For the Glaze
Sugar 1/2 cup
Water 1/4 cup
Mixed dry fruits 1/4 cup, slivered



Method 

To make the cover

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add molten ghee, and make a crumbly dough. Make a well in the middle of the dough, add cold water as required and make a soft, pliable dough. It may take a while to tame the mess, but it is worth the effort! Once done, wrap in cling wrap or put the dough in a ziplock and set aside.

To make the filling

Add ricotta cheese in a pan, cook it on medium flame for 15 minutes, till the water content evaporates. Add condensed milk, thandai powder and gulkand. Mix well and cook for 15-20 minutes till the mixture is soft and completely dry. Turn down the flame and let the filling cool.



To make the gujiyas

Take the dough, divide into four parts and roll each part to a 3 mm thin sheet. Using a round cookie cutter or steel glass, cut out even size circles from the dough. Mix the remaining dough with the second part, and repeat. Make sure to keep the dough that you are not working with, under a wet towel. 

To make the gujiya, take one round, brush water on the edges add a small ball of the stuffing on one half, and fold it over. Seal the edges and press the edge with a fork. Keep the made ghugras under a wet towel to ensure they do not dry. The proportion makes about 12-13 medium sized gujiyas.

Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Line a baking tray with ghee, butter or nonstick spray. Place the gujiyas on the tray and brush the tops with ghee. Bake for 10-12 minutes till the tops are light brown in color. Remove, cool and set aside.



To glaze the gujiyas

While the gujiyas taste great without the glaze too, glazing them makes the gujiya look beautiful and taste even better. To glaze, mix sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to turn sticky, turn down the flame. 

Using a brush, brush the gujiyas with the syrup. Add slivered almond, pistachios and cashewnuts. Let the glaze cool, and then store the gujiya in an airtight container. They stay fresh for a week when refrigerated. 





Friday, March 18, 2016

Classic Crème Brûlée



Crème brûlée; also known as burnt cream, crema catalana, or Trinity cream is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. It is normally served at room temperature. The custard base is traditionally flavored with vanilla, but can have a variety of other flavorings.




The essential ingredients for a brûlée will generally be easily found in the pantry. From heavy cream to eggs and sugar, these ingredients are easily found. However, the tool required for caramelizing the sugar on top is not often easily available. Investing in a good culinary torch is a good idea. While the caramelization can be done in a broiler, the effect by a torch is almost always better and easily controllable. 




I made this classic crème brûlée this time, I would love to try a Chai flavored brulee or a coffee flavored dessert. While I try the traditional ones, Matcha flavored Crème brûlée is on my list too. Till I make those, enjoy this easy to make Classic Crème brûlée!



Ingredients

Heavy Cream 1 cup
Egg yolks 2
Sugar 6 tbsp
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 tsp



Method

In a medium saucepan, add the heavy cream and heat. Just heat till bubbles appear, do not boil. Add 3 tbsp sugar and mix. Once it bubbles, turn down the heat.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks till smooth. Add 3 tbsp sugar and beat till the mixture falls as thick ribbons from the beater. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Once the cream mixture is little cool, add it to the yolks, beat well. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.




Sieve the mixture into three or four ramekins. Take a large glass tray and place the ramekins in it. Fill the tray with water till the ramekins are half submerged.

Bake for 25-30 minutes till the tops do not wobble. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. 

Before serving, add half a tbsp of sugar and caramelize using a blowtorch. You can top the brulee with fruits, chocolate chips, a sprig of mint or just serve as it is!




For this recipe, I used the blow torch by EurKitchen. They sent me the torch complimentary, but the opinions expressed are completely my own. The torch was really easy to use, and did the caramelization perfectly and was easier to use compared to the other torch I own. Filling butane in the torch was really simple and with a turn of a knob, the flame intensity can be managed. The torch is a great addition for any kitchen in which such delicacies are prepared! Get yours here.