Monthly Archives: March 2012

Slow Cooker Urad Dal Curry

My mom and MIL swear by their pressure cooker.  I think a lot Indian women do.  I, on the other hand, am scared of it.  What I’m about to say is not logical at all.  My fear is that the top of the pressure cooker will fly off once it starts whistling and the steam will burn my face off.  Again, completely devoid of logic.

Give me a slow cooker any day.  Slow and steady wins the race for me.

Combining the rich black lentils (urad dal) and rajma (red kidney beans) with several spices in a slow simmer for 8+ hours pretty much guarantees comfort in a bowl.

I had every intention of eating this as a side with my rice or roti.  However, what started as a taste turned into me just pouring a bowl for dinner.  And for many dinners after that.  I served with a side of onions and tomatoes splashed with lemon juice.  Delicious, nutritious and easy-peasy.  And, if you didn’t want to use the slow cooker, or don’t have one, you can just as easily cook this over the stove using the same heat settings.

Urad Dal Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup urad dal (dry black lentils), washed
  • 1/2 cup rajma (dry red kidney beans), washed
  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper (Adjust to taste.  If you don’t prefer that spicy, start with 1 tsp.)
  • 1/4 cup ghee (or butter)
  • salt to taste
  • chopped cilantro to garnish (some people prefer to mix it in but if you don’t, omit altogether)

Directions:

  1. Soak the urad dal and rajma in a bowl of water overnight (at least 8 hours).
  2. The next morning, place everything except the salt and cilantro in the slow cooker.  Fill with enough water where you have at least two inches above the beans.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours.  After 4 hours, add salt, starting with 1 tsp and increasing to your liking.*
  4. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 4 hours.
  5. Serve with chopped cilantro.

*At this point, I add a little less salt than I think the dish calls for.  As the dish continues to simmer, the salt gets concentrated so I hold back until after the full 8 hours to add more.

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Filed under Indian, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cardamom Clementine Pancakes

Try saying that name five times fast.

Let’s say this together – hiatus. This is the longest I have ever not blogged. Why? Many reasons. Mainly, it’s been a whirlwind around here. In addition to the craziness that happens with running a business, house, husband, baby, extended family and my own sanity, we had to put down our family dog of 18 years and, for the first time ever,had a judge dismiss one of the most important cases of my career. So between Monday through Friday, I was doing damage control upon damage control, while maintaining as much control as possible.

Then, Saturday morning came. And, per usual, I embarked on my pancake project. One may guess that I was setting myself up for failure. However, this Saturday, I put aside the worries and disasters of the week for our now-typical Saturday breakfasts.

I therapeutically mixed the ingredients with hopes of nothing more than avoiding another failure. The pancake stars aligned and we have another winner. Starting with a solid recipe for a base and adding ingredients purposely yielded a beautifully light and flavorful pancake.

I absolutely adore cardamom and drink it often with my regular cup of chai. I was inspired to the same flavor and combined it with the refreshing juice of clementines. The pair work wonderfully together and the proportions of each allow you to enjoy the flavor of both without being overpowered by one.

Cardamom Clementine Pancakes
adapted from Barefoot Contessa

– Makes about 10-12 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar (you can use regular sugar)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (you can use cow’s milk)
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of one clementine
  • zest of one clementine

Directions:

  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, almond milk, eggs, vanilla extract, clementine juice and zest.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  4. In a non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  5. Ladle 1/4 cup worth of batter onto the skillet. Cook each pancake 3 minutes on each side.

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Filed under Breakfast, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Banana Cupcakes with Butterscotch Buttercream

…and butterscotch ganache.

Lately, I can’t stop.  Baking.  Cupcakes.  Well, lately, baking in general.  On Friday I was set to attend a mediation for my client.  Typically, Binks and I have our own separate cases that we handle, but keep apprised of each other’s cases nonetheless.  Here’s why.

I had every intention of me going to the mediation while Binks sat at home to take care of the baby.  To date, the baby has not taken a bottle.  I thought, no biggie – he should take it without a problem.  (We are baby-dumb people.)  Well, Binks did a trial run at home one morning.  It did not go well.  After calming down the hysterical baby and cleaning up spilled milk, we looked at each other and came to the conclusion that an all-day mediation would not be the best way to first experiment with the bottle.  So, I stayed home and I helped via telephone.

Well, during a mediation, both parties do a lot of waiting.  When the waiting fell concurrently with Isaiah’s nap-time, I baked.

Something warm and comforting was in order.  Warm: Butterscotch.  Comforting:  Banana.  I mean they really do just go together, don’t they?  My main focus was to balance the sweet.  The butterscotch ganache does just that.  While the banana cake and butterscotch provide a complementary sweetness, the butterscotch ganache cuts each bite with a slightly salty, caramel flavor that cannot be beat.

And let me tell you about the banana cupcakes.  They are just that cake/cupcakes.  Not muffins.  Not banana bread in muffin form.  Unlike the denser muffins and bread, this cake is light and clearly a dessert as opposed to a snack or breakfast option.  Because I really don’t want banana bread with buttercream.  Because I really prefer banana muffins more like this.

Banana Cupcakes with Butterscotch Buttercream Frosting … and Buttercream Ganache

Banana Cupcakes

– yields approximately 36 cupcakes
–  adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups very ripe banana (about 2 large), mashed
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Mix the mashed banana and the lemon juice and set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 275F.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  3.  In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Once it’s light and fluffy, add the eggs once at a time until fully incorporated. Then, add in vanilla extract.
  5. Add the flour mix to the wet mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, ending with the flour mixture.  Once the flour mixture and buttermilk are added and fully mixed in (no lumps), stir in the mashed banana.
  6. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Butterscotch Ganache

Ingredients:

  •  2/3 cup butterscotch chips
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
Directions:
  1. In a small saucepan, over low heat, mix and melt the butterscotch chips and cream until it’s fully melted and both are incorporated.  Set aside until cooled.  This is the butterscotch ganache.
  2. Remove about 3 tbsp of the butterscotch for drizzling later.  The rest will be used for the buttercream.
  3. As for the 3 tbsp of ganache, you may want to reheat a bit when it’s time to drizzle.

Butterscotch Buttercream
– yields enough to frost all of the cupcakes
– adapted from my vanilla buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Reserved butterscotch ganache
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. With your electric mixer, cream the butter and add the vanilla.
  2. Add the reserved butterscotch ganache to the mix until it’s completely mixed in.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy.
  4. Frost away.

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Filed under Cupcake, Desserts, Uncategorized

Pumpkin Pancakes

Binks, the baby, and I are sick.  Binks started the chain of events in the household, followed by me and now the baby.  So, what I decided on a sore-throated morning was I absolutely without a doubt wanted pumpkin pancakes.  Binks silenced any thoughts about telling me to not make said pancakes after a quick flashback into the past.  So, in my weary state, I was determined to make pancakes.  And, if they flopped, Binks was warned to take cover.

Pumpkin, in the food blog world, is seasonal.  Copious amounts of pumpkin recipes come up around October and die off after the new year.  I say, “why?”  I say let’s enjoy this fruit all year.  I say this with love and knowledge of three cans of pumpkin sitting in my pantry that I would like to use up.  I dare you to tell me that pumpkin pancakes were not a fabulous idea.  I dare you … and you have been warned to take cover.

Pumpkin Pancakes

–  adapted from Martha Stewart Living
–  makes about 10 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 6 tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp melted butter, cooled

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves).
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg.
  3. To the egg, add and mix the vanilla, milk, pumpkin, and melted butter.
  4. Using a wooden spoon (you don’t want to over mix), just fold the wet ingredients into the dry to make sure everything is incorporated and smooth.
  5. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
  6. Once the pan is hot, melt butter in the pan.
  7. Once the butter is melted (don’t let it burn), add 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  8. Cook each pancake for 3 minutes on either side.

How do you deal with a cold?  Do you engage in any illogical behavior?

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Filed under Breakfast, Vegetarian