On this lazy weekend, faced with the task of emptying my fridge (or at least finishing the large quantities of buttermilk that I had left!) before I left for India, I decided to make some buttermilk pancakes. While I’ve made pancakes several times before, they’ve never come out quite as fluffy as this time when I used buttermilk, so I would highly recommend including that as an ingredient the next time you’re going to make pancakes! I also added a dollop of nutella to the pancakes when I first dropped the batter over the pan, then covered up the nutella with a thin layer of batter. Overall, fluffy, decadent pancakes and a delicious start to the weekend!
Nutella-stuffed buttermilk pancakes
Recipe adapted from Food Network. Makes 6-7 pancakes (possibly more if you’re not stuffing them with nutella)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar (white should also work)
21/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, plus some for frying
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup Nutella
In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Beat the eggs with the buttermilk, vanilla extract and melted butter. Combine the dry and the wet ingredients into a lumpy batter, being careful not to over mix. If you over-mix, the pancakes will not be fluffy.
Heat some butter in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet and put a dollop of nutella on the batter. Cover up the nutella with an additional tablespoon or two of nutella. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Serve with some additional nutella or fresh fruit!
If you’re looking to branch out of the traditional hummus recipe using chickpeas, black bean hummus is an easy and delicious option. I originally got the the idea from Positively 4th Street in Charlottesville, VA, which has an excellent, spicy black bean hummus on its appetizers. This one is really easy to make – just throw all the ingredients in a food processor and you’re ready to serve in 5 minutes!
If you find it getting drier than what you’d want, then throw in some extra lime juice (if it’s too salty for your taste), or some olive oil to make it smoother. I used paprika, but you can also use jalapeno peppers if you want more of a kick.
I’ve been seeing a lot of interesting recipes on Pinterest lately, and while some have been quite underwhelming, this M & M Cookie Pie is a huge winner. M & Ms and a cake-like texture, what’s not to like? Much lighter, more chewy (and perhaps) more delicious than M & M cookies, this dessert is perfect for entertaining. I’ve made this twice now and it’s very easy to ruin the dough by adding even slightly more flour than is written in the recipe. So do check My Baking Addiction’s tutorial on How to Measure Flour if you’re even slightly doubtful about how to measure flour correctly!
I was first introduced to Pão de Queijo by one of my Brazilian friends, and I wanted to try making it because after all, who doesn’t like bread and cheese? Crispy outside but soft and chewy inside, this is a perfect snack or breakfast food. It’s also free of gluten – its biggest difference from any other kind of bread is that it is supposed to be made with sour cassava flour instead of all-purpose flour. However, sour cassava is typically hard to find in most other countries, so our best bet is to use tapioca flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill finely ground tapioca flour). The insides are kind of hollow, so you shouldn’t expect something like a dinner roll. The cheese flavor is present most in the middle, so pick your cheeses wisely! I was told that using only Parmesan cheese would be a bad idea as it would make the end product too dry. So I decided to use a mixture of half-parmesan and half-Mozzarella, so as to make it more moist. If you like stronger flavors, I would suggest using sharp Cheddar in the cheese mixture as well.
2 cups (10 ounces) tapioca flour or sour cassava flour
2/3 cup Mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking pan with parchment and set aside.
Combine the milk, oil, and salt in the saucepan, and whisking occasionally, bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from heat as soon as you see big bubbles coming through the milk.
Add all of the tapioca flour to the saucepan and stir until you see no more dry tapioca flour. The dough will be grainy and gelatinous at this point.
Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it smooths out and has cooled enough that you can hold your finger against the dough for several seconds.
Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium, beat the eggs into the dough in two additions. Wait until the first addition has been fully incorporated into the dough before adding the second. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
With the mixer on medium, beat in the cheese until fully incorporated. The resulting dough will be very sticky, stretchy, and soft with a consistency between cake batter and cooke dough.
Using an ice cream scoop, a tablespoon measure, or a dinner spoon, scoop rounded portions of the dough into mounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Space the mounds an inch or two apart. Dip your scoop in water to prevent sticking.
Transfer the sheet with the puffs to the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 350°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the puffs have puffed, the outsides are dry, and they are just starting to color. Cool briefly and eat. Leftover puffs can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week and re-crisped in a warm oven or toaster oven.
This one is one of my favorite soup recipes – it’s warm, filling and a very hearty winter soup, which continues to be apt even in March, when it’s still quite cold here in the North-East. I wasn’t too excited about this recipe when I first saw it because it wasn’t too colorful and I like having food that have a lot of colors, so my friend decided to spice things up a little by adding some sriracha sauce. I was very skeptical about the addition, but it definitely gave the soup that extra kick that it needed (at least for me, but then again, I love spicy food!). The sauce definitely made it more colorful and inviting than just a cream soup. I would suggest doing the same, perhaps adding a few drops of sriracha to try it out first. For those who want to make it more healthy, I would suggest cutting down on the bacon – I usually add a little less because I like the crunch that it provides, but not all the fat that comes with it.
2 1/2 cups sliced leeks (about 2 medium leeks; white and light green parts), rinsed well
1/2 cup sour cream
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-5 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens or fresh chives
2 cups homemade or lower-salt chicken broth
sriracha sauce, optional
Scrub the potatoes in water, pat dry, and pierce in several places with a fork. Warm them in a microwave until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the leeks are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the bacon in a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon bits with a slotted spoon to a saucer lined with paper towels to drain and cool.
When the potatoes are cool, cut one of them in half lengthwise. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh in one piece from each half. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside. Coarsely chop the potato skin and the entire remaining potato and add to the pot with the leeks. Purée the contents of the pot until very smooth. A hand blender would work really well here, because it can be a pain to transfer the mixture to an ordinary blender.
After pureeing, heat the soup over medium low. In a small bowl, whisk the milk and sour cream until smooth and then whisk this into the soup, along with 1/2 cup of the Cheddar. The soup should be fairly thick, but if it seems too thick, thin it with a little water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the remaining Cheddar, the bacon bits, and the scallions or chives.
If you’ve ever seen Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Made, you’ll know that feeling of immediately wanting to eat what’s being cooked on TV. Geoffrey Zakarian’s chocolate souffle was one of the things being cooked on an episode which was focused on chocolate. This was not the first time I’ve seen Zakarian whipping up his souffle – he’s made it on Iron Chef as well and they always puff up so beautifully that I’ve been dying trying to test his recipe for a while now. I wasn’t disappointed. The souffles puffed up beautifully, but unfortunately they have to be eaten immediately or they start subsiding. Still, it was probably among the most decadent and delicious desserts I have ever made it and I would highly recommend trying it out yourself!
I recently bought my first silicon baking pan. I didn’t realize how flexible these pans can be until I actually handled it, which made me slightly suspicious of whether these would be ideal for baking and holding shapes. Fortunately, the pan more than surpassed my expectations – it’s completely non-stick, does not even need to be greased, the baked goods can be popped right out, and it’s barely a pain to clean. For more on basics of baking with silicon pans and how to check the quality of silicon bake ware, check this link out.
To inaugurate my new mini bundt cake pan, I went with one of my favorites – the lemon blueberry combo. These cakes aren’t as light as muffins, but I also decided to have them without icing or any kind of glaze, so that it’s a great and filling breakfast on-the-go.
I’ve never been a huge fan of greens – I detest most salads, and it usually takes a lot of cooking down greens to get me to eat them. This dish seems like a great compromise between a salad and a cooked dish to me. It barely takes 10 minutes to prepare and the crunch from the outside of the beans that get just a little crispy is great for the texture of this dish. I personally used baby spinach and arugula, but feel free to use any kind of greens, though I do like the slightly peppery, tangy flavor that arugula gives to this dish. It’s great to have on its own, or with bread, or even with poached eggs.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn. Gives 2 main servings or around 4-6 side dish servings
6 oz baby spinach
6 oz arugula
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons salt
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil
Heat one teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions until they are very soft, for around 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the baby spinach and arugula, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl.
Warm another 1-2 teaspoons of oil, enough to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add the beans and spread them into a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Stir and spread them out again. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning the beans.
Stir the onion-garlic- leaves mixture, cumin powder, paprika, turmeric and salt into the beans. Stir until the greens are completely wilted and taste tender, 3-5 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Stir and taste. Add more lemon juice, salt, or other seasonings to taste.
While I’m in love with my new ice-cream maker, I also realize that it’s dangerous thing, given how easy it is to make any kind of ice cream. The salted caramel ice-cream disappeared at an alarmingly high rate from my freezer and I knew that I couldn’t keep making ice creams that were full of heavy cream and sugar, which made them so delicious and decadent in the first place. So I thought – why not try making a frozen yogurt? I decided to try this pumpkin frozen yogurt. It’s great, relatively low fat since the small amount of brown sugar is the only fat in this recipe. However, the downside to making a low-fat ice cream is that it freezes so hard and turns into stone if you leave it in the freezer for more than a few hours. My suggestion would be to serve it as soon as it comes out from the ice-cream maker, or to thaw it for a few hours if it has been in the freezer for a few days.
The recipe itself takes only 5 minutes to prep, and requires 20-25 minutes of churning in the ice-cream maker, so you can have a quick dessert on your hands, especially if you’re throwing a dinner party and are looking for a light dessert!
Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings)
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 and 3/4 cups Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir until combined. Taste the mixture and add more sugar if you so desire. I was going for an end product which would not be too sweet.
Place mixture in an ice cream maker and let churn for 20 minutes, or until cold and creamy. Serve immediately or place in the freezer for another hour if a firmer texture is desired. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top while serving, if desired!
And my love story with caramel continues. I feel caramel is to this winter what basil meant to me this summer. Not that I’m over basil. I still crave Caprese sandwiches and salads even on cold winter days, when I should be craving warm soups. Either way, any new year’s resolutions about fitness can quickly go astray when there is either caramel or mozzarella involved. Anyway, with this ice cream, I actually inaugurated my brand new Cuisinart ice-cream, gelato and sorbet-maker, which I got as a Christmas present!
Verdict: delicious ice-cream, cannot wait to try other delicious and novel flavors! (Though I do see a tiny glitch with this recipe. The ice-cream does not stay hard beyond a few minutes after being taken out of the freezer, and I’m wondering whether the sea salt is lowering the freezing point of this custard. Thoughts? Similar experiences?) Still, it’s barely worth complaining as I love that soft-serve like texture!
Recipe from Epicurious. Please read the full recipe before starting, as many hours of cooling the custard are required, and this is not kind of ice-cream you can whip up in just an hour or two.
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon (with 3/4 teaspoon, the salt flavor is pretty pronounced, which I like. If you like a more subtle salt flavor, reduce it to 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
Equipment: an ice cream maker, instant-read thermometer
Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.
Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
Preparing the cream and caramel mixture
Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.
Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel.
Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 5- 6 hours (though I actually left it overnight in the fridge to chill).
Freeze custard in ice cream maker for around 25-30 minutes (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.