Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Vegan Strawberry Vanilla Panna Cotta



Easy to make Vegan Panna Cotta; this Strawberry and Vanilla flavored dessert is the recipe you need for your parties and beyond!! 



We are quickly approaching Spring and I cannot wait to have my heart's content of fresh strawberries. These berries being my favorite, I love to make recipes that use them. Plus, at this time of the year the berries are super sweet and most recipes made using the may not even need a sweetener! 

This post is really special for me and the blog. This happens to be my FIVE HUNDREDTH post on the blog! I cannot believe I published 499 vegetarian recipes already and still have a long of pending posts! 



For the 500th post I wanted to make something delicious. I was planning a cake and an ice cream and then I was planning a round up of my favorite recipes from the blog. Finally I decided to post a dessert that was yummy and easy to make. 

This Panna Cotta is VEGAN, SUGAR FREE, GLUTEN FREE and CARRAGEENAN FREE. The starting point of this recipe is So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew. This is a super delicious alternate to regular milk and has only 50 calories or less per serving and is light tasting and smooth. Available in three flavors; Unsweetened, Original and Vanilla; these are made with 7 ingredients or less. 

I love this in my coffee and in making vegan desserts. I got the Vanilla flavored So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew on my last trip to Walmart and decided to make this yummy dessert using it. 



Vegan Panna Cotta?

Panna Cotta is on my favorites all the time. Traditionally made from heavy cream, this dessert is super rich and heavy. But you can now make a light version with this recipe. Each time I plan to have Panna Cotta at a restaurant I have to confirm if it has gelatin. The most common ingredient used to set the dessert, gelatin is not consumed by vegetarians. However, vegetarian substitute for gelatin is agar agar; a perfect setting agent to use in vegetarian desserts.

To make a light version, I skipped the regular sugar and substituted it with maple syrup. I got a BIG bottle from Canada some time back and it seemed like the ingredient I wanted to use to sweeten my dessert. This dessert is really good for parties or for date night. It can be made in advance and taste best when refrigerated for a few hours. Plus, made quickly with a few ingredients; this one can be whipped in hardly any time and is loved by most people. 

I topped the Panna Cotta with a delicious Strawberry Sauce. I made that using just three ingredients and it complements the Vanilla flavored Panna Cotta perfectly. The slight tart and sweet sauce looks pretty on the Panna Cotta and makes it even more yummy. 



Variations

I made my dessert with Vanilla flavored So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew. However, if you have the Original flavor, add your favorite extract to flavor it. Plus, you can use coconut milk or the like to make the Panna Cotta.

Agar agar can be easily found in most grocery stores. However, gelatin can be used to make the dessert if you consume it. 

Not a fan of strawberry? Top your Panna Cotta with your favorite fruit puree. If you like, add vegan chocolate chips or granola on top. You can even leave out the topping and serve the Panna Cotta as is. 



I made these in my favorite cutting chai glasses. Any mason jar or bowls work well for the recipe. You can also make them in ramekins and overturn it in a plate to serve. It looks pretty chic and perfect for date night! 

Now with all the information above, head straight to your closest Walmart and grab a bottle of So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew and make the recipe. Here is an Ibotta Rebate for your purchase: So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew 




Ingredients


For the Panna Cotta
So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew 2 cups (Vanilla flavor)
Agar Agar 2 tsp
Maple Syrup 2 tbsp
Cornstarch 1 tsp

For the Strawberry Sauce
Strawberries 8-10
Maple Syrup 2 tbsp
Water 1/4 cup


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Method

To make the Panna Cotta

In a bowl mix together cornstarch and 1/4 cup So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew

In a pan heat the remaining So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew for 4-5 minutes on medium flame. Do not boil. Once heated, add the maple syrup and agar agar powder. Mix well. Add the cornstarch and milk mixture and mix vigorously. 

Let the milk heat for another 5-6 minutes till the agar agar mixes into the milk and the cornstarch is homogenous.

Transfer the mixture to 5-6 small bowls or shot glasses. Remember to sieve the mixture before pouring. This ensures the result is a smooth panna cotta; free from undissolved agar agar and cornstarch. 

Cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 hours till the panna cotta sets. 


To make the Strawberry Sauce

While the panna cotta chills, make the sauce. To do so, wash and hull the strawberries. Cut into pieces.

In a pan heat together the strawberries, water and maple syrup. Cook on medium flame till the berries are mushy. Use a masher to mash the berries well. 

Once the sauce thickens, turn down the flame and let the sauce cool.


To serve

Spoon some sauce on all the panna cottas and top with some diced berries. Add some mint leaves if desired.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Brazilian Tapioca Pancakes for #BreadBakers


Inspired by Brazilian Tapioca Pancakes; this TWO ingredient pancake from scratch is the breakfast recipe you have been looking for!


It is Valentines Day tomorrow and today we are showcasing our Pancake skills for #BreadBakers! Our lovely hostess Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm came up with the theme and I LOVED it. I was thinking of making something RED, given it is time to celebrate LOVE! A couple of years ago I posted Red Velvet Aebleskiver Pancakes for Valentines Day and I did not want to repeat something similar. So I opted for something that is different yet PERFECT for V-day; Brazilian Tapioca Pancakes. 

These pancakes are traditionally made from tapioca flour and water. However, I had a BIG packet of mini tapioca in my pantry and tried these pancakes using them. The result was so pretty that I started making these with mini tapioca all the time. 



Coincidentally this year Valentines Day falls on an Indian festival day; Mahashivratri. Celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, a lot of people fast on this day and only consume ingredients like tapioca, little millet, potatoes and yams. Fruits and nuts are also consumed on this day. So this recipe works really well for those who are fasting and yet want to celebrate Valentines Day! It can be a great breakfast recipe for any kinds of Indian fasts. 

This pancake recipe needs only two ingredients; unsalted butter and tapioca pearls/tapioca starch. The pancakes can be topped with any kinds of fruits, nuts and maple syrup for a sweet version or bacon, cheese, spinach and sautéed mushrooms for a savory version. 

These pancakes do not have any sugar or salt so that the same pancakes make perfect carriers of both sweet and savory toppings. The day I made these to shoot, I decided to serve them with fresh fruits and maple syrup. The colorful fruits complement the white pancakes really well. 



This is the EASIEST pancakes I have ever made. Though made from scratch, they only need a couple of ingredients and no preparation needs to be done. It is as simple as mix, cook and enjoy! Another version of these pancakes involves mixing tapioca flour with water and making a batter. Then the batter can be used to make pancakes. However, after making this version with pearl tapioca, I  do not think I am using tapioca flour now! I am too addicted to this version. 

I have been thinking of trying out breakfast recipes for the weekend since a while. I was pretty bored of the regular recipes I make. This recipe was just the right one. With no overly complex ingredients or recipe, I can easily make this for a lazy Sunday morning. Better still, serve this with a sunny side up and some mushrooms and you have a great brunch recipe. 



Coming to the recipe, this one needs tapioca pearls or tapioca starch and water. I made these with a wee bit of unsalted butter. I have tried this recipe even without the butter. If you are using a non stick pan, the tapioca pancake comes right off in spite of no butter! 

The concept in this recipe is that the moist tapioca pearls become starchy when wet and they become soft. While cooking, they tend to stick together without a binding agent. Adding some unsalted butter makes the pancake a little greasy and delicious! Along with maple syrup and fruits like strawberry, blueberries, mango and peach, these pancakes are my latest breakfast addiction! So wait no more, and read the recipe right away. Hope you all have a great Valentines Day with your someone special! 



Ingredients

Small Tapioca Pearls 1 cup
Water 2 cups
Unsalted Butter 1 tsp
Mixed Fruits to top
Maple Syrup to top



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Method

Add the water to a plate or flat bowl. Divide the tapioca pearls into four parts.

Heat a sauce-pan on medium flame. Add 1/4 tsp unsalted butter on it and spread it out. 

In a sieve add 1/4 cup tapioca pearls and dip it a couple of times in the water. Remove and drain the pearls.

Place the tapioca pearls in a thin layer on the saucepan. The pearls will stick together. Cook for a couple of minutes and turn over. Cook again for 2-3 minutes and remove from pan.

Top these with fresh fruits and maple syrup.



#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers



Check out the Pancake themed breads that our fellow #BreadBakers have prepared this month:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Loaded Baked Potato and Cauliflower Soup

I am partnering with OXO to share this recipe from the new Healthyish Cookbook by Lindsay Maitland Hunt. #OXObetter #healthyishcookbook

Make this yummy and wholesome soup for weeknight dinners. A delicious Cauliflower and Potato soup that is super creamy in spite of ZERO added cream!


Spring almost refuses to arrive and the days are still a little chilly. The nights do tend to get super chilly and it is the perfect time to enjoy some yummy soups. I LOVE all kinds of soups; loaded, skinny and the ones made with a couple of canned ingredients. 

This winter I made a TON of soups on almost all rainy days. I can never get enough of them and keep making some new ones every week. Most of the soups I make are pretty simple and need only a few ingredients. This soup is also like that; yummy, easy to make and super quick. It is THE soup I would want on any cold evening! 


For those who know me as a student, I made really creative notes of important points for all the classes. I had a dozen colored pens and took a lot of interest in making it all look pretty. Then somewhere after school I left the paper books and started enjoying e-books. Highlighting was a click of a button and so was bookmarking. 


Lately, I have fallen in love with the paper books again; only that Engineering and Finance have been replaced by Cookbooks. I love to read recipes from these books, bookmark them with cute stickies and keep gazing at the colorful pictures over bad over again! One of my latest favorite book is Healthyish; a cookbook by Lindsay Maitland Hunt. Her book is super amazing and the cover photo has had me gazing for quite a long time. I love colorful pictures, easy to follow recipes and interesting combinations; and book has IT ALL! 

Today I am teaming up with OXO to make a yummy soup from the book. This one has only a few ingredients; all of which are easy to find in any pantry and is really adaptable to your taste preferences. The original recipe does have bacon in it, but I made a vegetarian version of the same. It turned out just like I would want my soup to be. Perfectly spiced, rich and creamy yet easy to make! 


To make this soup I used the following equipments from OXO:

Pro 8" Chef's Knife - Ideal for chopping, mincing, dicing and scooping.
12" Tongs - Sturdy and comfortable for effortless grabbing and flipping.
Wooden Corner Spoon - Made of solid, one-piece beach woods, its distinctive straight-sided shape allows better reach along walls and in corners of cookware.
Coarse Grater - Etched blades give the Grater a sharp surface to tackle soft cheeses, apples, potatoes, onions and more.
Swivel Peeler - The Swivel Peeler's sharp, hardened stainless steel blade removes inedible outer layers with ease and leaves all the good stuff underneath intact. The cushioned handle won't slip, even when your hands are wet. 
Kitchen and Herb Scissors - Handy for cutting meat, veggies, twine and more, the soft handles feature cushioned pads to absorb pressure.

Once you have all the ingredients and the tools ready for the recipe; it takes only a few minutes to make this. The result is a creamy soup, in spite of not having a ton of cream dumped in. The potato makes the soup so delicious and creamy. The soup was amazing, and my potato hating husband licked his bowl clean too! 


Variations

As I mentioned above, the original recipe has bacon in it. The first step involves cooking the Bacon slices till crisp and using the fats to make the soup. As I skipped the bacon, I made the soup in a tbsp of Olive Oil. 

The toppings for this soup can be customized as per your preferences. Sour Cream, Chives, Grated Cheddar, Black Pepper powder and Everything Bagel spice work really well for this soup. Serve it with crackers, bread or even your favorite pasta. 

Don't miss out on making this soup before the season becomes too warm for soups. The book has a TON of other recipes I would like to try. The next recipe would probably be the Crispy broccoli, pepper and burrata sheet pan dinner! Sound interesting, right? Get a copy of your Healthyish cookbook today! Before that, head straight to the recipe below.  


Ingredients

Onions 2 large, chopped (about 2 cups)
Russet potatoes 2 large, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
Cauliflower 1 medium head, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
Olive Oil 1 tbsp
Vegetable stock 8 cups 
Kosher salt 
Ground black pepper, freshly ground
Sour cream, chopped fresh chives, and grated Cheddar cheese; for serving


Instructions

Heat a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add a tbsp of Olive Oil.

Add the onions, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and soft, 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes, cauliflower, and vegetable stock, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. 

Reduce to a strong simmer and cook, stirring here and there, until the potatoes are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Purée the soup, using a blender in batches or a handheld immersion blender. 

Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if you like.
 
Serve the soup topped with sour cream, chives, and cheese. I also added some Everything Bagel seasoning and served the soup with some Everything bagel Flatbreads. 



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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The BEST Strawberry Milkshake

Once you try this Home-made Strawberry Milkshake, you will NEVER have it at the restaurant again! One SECRET ingredient that helps makes it the BEST ever! 



February is here and all I can think of is all things Pink and Red! These colors are all over Social Media, in the stores and on my mind! I am thinking of making Eggless Red Velvet Cake one day, then I want to make another batch of Chocolate Dipped Madeleines or Red Velvet Aebleskiver Pancakes with a cup of Pink Hot Chocolate

Along with all these Red Velvet goodies and beyond, it is time for another season of Strawberries! The fruit that is delicious, colorful and always fun to use in many recipes. I love how these berries add so much color to many otherwise boring recipes. If you love strawberries just as much as I do, you must try these Strawberry recipes from the blog: Roasted Strawberries, Eggless Chocolate Strawberry Cake and Strawberry Cereal Smoothie Bowl


Around this time of the year we got for Strawberry picking and get home a LOT of berries. While we eat most of them as fruit, I like to make something yummy using the farm fresh berries too. This year I kick off the strawberry season with this yummy Strawberry Milkshake. 

This recipe has been my favorite since a very long time. While most milkshakes would call for fruit and milk, this one has one more ingredient that makes it thick, creamy and super delicious. That ingredient is Vanilla Ice Cream! Not only does it give the shake a restaurant style thickness, it also lends a slight taste of Vanilla, making it super yummy. 


Plus fresh strawberries and ice cream bring in a perfect blend of sweetness and tart taste. Most likely the recipe will not need any additional sugar. However, if the berries are not sweet enough or you like super sweet milkshakes, add in some sugar. 

The color of the drink is perfect for this month. Plus, with strawberries in full season now, it is amazing to enjoy fresh milkshake often. In fact when the berries are in season, I buy a bulk and purée them. Then I transfer them to ice cube molds and freeze them. Store these in ziplock bags to enjoy the milkshake throughout the year! Are you as big a fan of the berries like me? Then this recipe is made for you! 


The recipe I made was a little different from the regular shake recipes. The trick lies in blending just the fruit first and then adding the milk. I always notice that adding milk with the fruit makes a thin version with the strawberries not blending completely. This method always gives me a THICK creamy version of the shake. 


Variations

In this recipe I used fresh strawberries and ice cream. However, any kind of berries can be used or even a combination of berries. The recipe works well for blueberries and raspberries too. 

Besides, I tried adding some strawberry ice cream to the recipe a couple of times. I was not a fan of that unless the ice cream had 100% fruit. If not, the artificial flavor of strawberries spoils the balance in the shake.

If you do not want to add ice cream, add some whipping cream. This combination is amazing too. It makes the milkshake creamy without the vanilla flavor. And yes, if you like a Vegan version of the drink, try adding some soy milk/ almond milk/cashew milk and cream. It makes a delicious thick shake. 


Looking for more drinks before you head to the recipe?? Try this YUMMY Vanilla Chai Hot Chocolate. It is delicious and PERFECT for Winters and Fall.





Ingredients

Strawberries 12-14, washed and hulled 

Chilled Milk 2 cups
Vanilla Ice Cream 2 scoops
Sugar if needed



Method

Place the washed and hulled strawberries in the blender jar. Add sugar (if needed) and blend for a couple of minutes, till the strawberries turn to a purée. 

Add n ice cream and milk. Blend again to get a perfect milkshake. Serve with frozen strawberries on top.


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Looking for more Strawberry recipes? Try these: Eggless Chocolate Strawberry CakeRoasted Strawberries and Strawberry Cereal Smoothie Bowl





Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Homemade Chocolates

Rich, shiny and customizable DIY Chocolates. These chocolates are super delicious and better than the store bought ones! Edible gifts for the Hostess or for Valentine's Day! 


Valentine's Day is almost here! I cannot believe we are the end of January already and thinking of Valentines Day treats. Last year I posted a yummy Pink Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Dipped Madeleines. I started preparing for this year a week ago. I wanted to make something super easy yet delicious! 

A few years ago I learnt how to make chocolates. I was on a roll making chocolates for friends, family and of course myself. Starting off with the simplest plain chocolates to ones filled with nuts, coconuts, caramel and jams. At that time I made truckloads of chocolates and then suddenly I stopped making them as I got bored of making the same things over and over and I had gifted some chocolates to EVERYONE around me.


A couple of weeks back I was arranging all my cooking equipments and saw a pile of my chocolate molds! I pulled them out and decided to make some. I made them for Valentine's Day and for gifting it to my friends and nephew. It was so much fun making them after YEARS and it was awesome to see my hubby enjoy them just like he did years ago! 

I made an assortment of chocolates this time. I had a Love inspired mold set and used that to make plain bittersweet chocolates. I made others with Roasted Almonds, Crunch bites, Strawberry Jam and Roasted Cashews. 

To make it easy to identify after making, I try and make the same kind of chocolates in one kind of mold. Plus, if you intend to wrap the chocolates, make sure you wrap each kind of chocolate in the same color. It helps identify which wrapper has which chocolate and makes a colorful combination in the box. 


Important points in making Chocolates

When I made this in India, I used to use Morde Compounds. They made the shiniest and smoothest chocolates. In the US I like to use Plymouth Make your own Almond Bark to make the chocolates. They make really yummy chocolates. 

I used roasted nuts to make the chocolates, as they make amazing fillings. Just make sure the nuts are completely cool before using them in chocolates. If the nuts are warm, they will release water into the chocolates making them soggy. 

The MOST important part of making chocolates is keeping it AWAY from WATER. Water and chocolate are enemies. Any contact with water in the process will seize the chocolate and will result in clumped chocolate that cannot be used to continue the process. 


use the molds as you like. There are plastic molds and there are silicone molds. Pick the size of the cavities such that it makes bite sized chocolates. There are plenty of molds available in the market, choose one as per your preference. 

The chocolate can be made by two methods; stovetop in a water bath or microwave. I like to make it by the microwave method, as it ensures no water gets in the way. 

Choose the chocolates as you like; dark, milk or semi-sweet. I like to make a them either as a combination of semi-sweet and dark or only milk. I am a great fan of white chocolates filled with nuts but I did not make them this time. 


Ingredients

Chocolate blocks (Milk, Dark or somewhere in between) 2 cups
Fillings 1 cup (I used Almonds, Crunch bits, Coconut flakes and Cashews)

Method

Chop the chocolate block into pieces. I used a mix of 1 cup of dark chocolate and 1 cup of milk chocolate. Ensure the knife and the chopping board is completely dry. Transfer to a glass bowl that is fairly big.

Keep the molds ready on the counter. If you like the nuts roasted, dry roast them for 4-5 minutes on a pan. Allow them to cool completely.


To melt on the Stove

Heat a large pot of water on the stove till it boils. Turn down the heat and place the bowl filled with chocolate in the water. Ensure that the water does not enter the bowl or splash into it. Let the chocolate sit till it is about 2/3rd molten. Remove from heat and place on a kitchen towel so that the water below the bowl is absorbed.

To melt using Microwave

Place the chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on full power in successions of 30 seconds till the chocolate is almost completely molten. It took me about 2 minutes to melt the chocolate. Remove bowl from microwave and place on the kitchen counter.  

To Temper the chocolate

Once the chocolate is on the counter, quickly stir using a spatula or fork till the chocolate melts completely. The chocolate should become shiny and completely liquid. This is the most important step in making the chocolate as this step helps to make perfectly shiny. 

A lot of recipes ask for a thermometer to make the chocolate. However, it is simplest to determine the right temperature by touching the bottom of the bowl. If it is cool to touch, it is the right temperature to make the chocolates. 


To make the Chocolates

Using a spoon fill the chocolate cavities with the melted chocolate. If making plain chocolates, fill the molds till the top. Tap well to remove all air bubbles. 

If making filled chocolates, fill the molds halfway, tap to remove air bubbles. Add the fillings in the centre of the chocolate and pour the liquid chocolate till it the molds are completely filled. Tap well.

Let the chocolate molds stand till the chocolate completely solidifies. In coo weather it takes a couple of hours to solidify the chocolate and in warm places it may take up to 12 hours. Remove chocolates from the mold and enjoy! 

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