Friday, November 27, 2009

Back in time @ Daring Bakers..

The first ever time I had Cannoli was at Boston's North End, the Italian world within the city...We had inadvertently landed there on a week-long stay and how fortunate ! Those hot cuppa espressos which we would drink just standing , those intimidating Italian restaurant owners , the fresh baked breads and ohh, those small bakeries with amazing array of sweets all inviting us in....Daring Bakers took me back there with this amazing Daring Challenge -
The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
Cannolli !! Thats what we made around the DB world this month and what a great challenge it was..

First the ingredients:
I didn't have the foresight to order for the cannoli forms in advance but fellow DBs came to help and I used Cannelloni shells and it turned out pretty great with it.
Marsala wine - 6.99 and 12.99 ...guess which one I picked :) .. last month I spent $20+ for sushi ingredients..neways
It is pretty simple to make once you have all the ingredients..
For Cannoli shells:
2 cup AP flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup + marsala wine
Mix all the dry ingredients and add the oil, vinegar and wine till a moist dough is formed. Cover and rest in freezer for couple of hours or more.
Roll into small round balls and wrap around the cannelloni shell and dab water where the ends meet. Deep-fry and let dry.

Cannoli filling:
1 can of ricotta cheese strained overnite
Confectionars sugar as required
Vanilla as required
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Whip everything up and fill in a ziploc bag with one end cut off. Squeeze into both sides of cannolo. Top with nuts or chocolates and enjoy....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A day well spent...

A mid-week holiday brings in lot of joy but also endless possibilities on what can and should be accomplished..The 'Veterans Day' holiday this mid-week had one thing on top of my list though..make 'Sushi' , for DaringCooks!!

The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.

Sushi (寿司 or 鮨 or 鮓) is much appreciated for its delicate taste and exquisite appearance. Sushi actually means vinegar-ed rice, which is the essential ingredient in every sushi recipe. Sushi is simple and cheap to make at home, needs no special equipment and is an excellent way to use left overs. Although sushi in various forms has been around for fourteen centuries, the modern version was invented in Japan in the 1800’s where a 'hand-formed' sliced fresh fish and vinegared rice ball was eaten as a snack food. Nowadays, sushi is made with various seafood, meats and vegetables, raw and cooked.

The challenge is in four parts:-

Part 1: Making proper sushi rice – you will wash, rinse, drain, soak, cook, dress, and cool short grain rice until each grain is sticky enough to hold toppings or bind ingredients. Then you will use the cooked rice to form three types of sushi:

Part 2: Dragon /Caterpillar sushi roll – an avocado covered inside-out rice roll with a tasty surprise filling.

Excellent videos on making Dragon Rolls

>> Fillings : cucumber + carrots + avocado

Part 3: Decorative sushi – a nori-coated rice roll which reveals a decorative pattern when cut
>> Fillings : avocado, green beans, asparagus

Part 4: Nigiri sushi – hand-shaped rice rolls with toppings

>> Toppings : Sweet potato, pineapple, asparagus.
God know what I was thinking , but when adding that wasabi strip/spot for the topping I went a bit overboard and boy, it hit me!! real bad !! all the way from my nose to my head and spreading through my ears!! I could not have it again..though DH did..and though he was shaking like 'Kramer' he finished all of them :)

Also, any other suggestions for sushi rice, Ive got half the packet left..

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anti-procrastination brigade...

To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing -- Eva Young

And thats what kept happening to me , month after month, one good intention after another.. The link goes into my bookmarks, reminders, right panel to glare at me, then out as the date goes by... the 1st of the month bright with intentions , 15th bringing a bit of anxiety about things yet unaccomplished and then full blown panic as the end of the month approach... decision time - what to pick , what to throw .. which challenge to love and which to step over.. Im talking about all the culinary challenges floating around in this amazing culinary-blog-world ! It would be a full-time job to keep track of all those event and participate in..

Ones I've managed to stick to are the Daring Cooks and Sweet and Simple Bakes - and come to think about it, is it because they tell you exactly what to make, with a full recipe and instructions attached ? Hmm... maybe Im just a follow-the-recipe kinda cook.. unlike those natural ones who concoct delicacies out of nothing and gourmet meals out of everyday pantry stuff ..

One of these event which I would very much like to be part of but keep managing not to is IAVW started by Vaishali of Holy Cow .. She is hosting it this month and I saw her announcement on Its a Vegan World - Chinese and decided to take things in hand aka make do something chinese asap .. no procrastination .. no 'Perfect is the enemy of good' .. no scouring for recipes for days and for ingredients some more..I decided to go ahead with the recipe I had and the ingredients at hand..

I cannot believe I have never tried the much-loved and ubiquitous chinese fried rice as yet .. innumerable pulaos , rice variations but somehow never got around to making the fried rice.. though basic and simple , I think its an authentic indo-chinese recipe and if I sneak it in early enough I may claim my dibs on it [grin]


1 cup brown rice cooked yesterday

chopped spring onions

Steamed broccoli nd mushroom - 1 cup

handful of coarsely grated carrot

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 tsp chopped garlic

salt nd pepper to taste


Heat oil and add the spring onions , stir for 2-3 mins and add ginger + garlic .. add the carrots and stir for another couple of mins. Add the steamed veggies and salt and pepper. Add the rice and soy sauce and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

To go with it I made this Sweet and sour Tofu with vegetable with the vegetables that I had in hand - Some steamed radishes (Im really glad on how I used radishes in varied ways this week - one, this stir fry and other was with mung dal - both turned out very well-adjusted and not out-of-the-place additions) , some cubed tofu and some peppers..

There goes my entry to IAVW and if this month chooses to bring some more chinese in my kitchen, so be it!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cookies come home..

Sweet nd Simple bake this month came up up with another sweet and simple recipe - baking cookies ! With chocolate and Orange.. what else does a girl wants ! Recipe found here , I followed it to the T except for the egg part, I just substituted a tbsp of oil for that which it could've done without too..
The cookies turned out to be amazingly soft and chewy and chocolate-orange-y !
The whole trial did made me realize something I've never consciously done before - that cookies are made entirely in butter... as in NO milk , or cream or water .. ENTIRELY BUTTER...
I actually took them all to work the next day and shared with my colleagues, saving some calorie-overload on my end and earning some cookie-points in turn !