Cook's Hideout: May 2010

May 30, 2010

Orange-Yogurt Cake and a Upcoming Review

I was so excited when CSN stores recently contacted me to review one of their products. CSN Stores has over 200 amazing online stores where you can almost find anything you need whether it be a sofa or a suitcase, a crib or a cookie sheet. It is going to be really difficult to decide on what to review.

Coming to Orange-Yogurt Cake, this recipe has been in my drafts for a long time. I had to use up some extra yogurt and made this cake from Martha Stewart's website. It came out so moist and delicious and extremely easy to make. Here's the recipe:

Recipe from Martha Stewart.
Wholewheat Pastry Flour (or AP flour) - 1 cup
Granulated Sugar - 1/2 cup + 2tbsp
Baking powder - 1/2tsp
Baking soda - 1/8tsp
Salt - 1/2tsp
Plain Yogurt - 1/2 cup (I used 1%)
Vegetable Oil - 1/4 cup
Orange Zest - 1 tsp
Orange juice - 1tbsp
Egg - 1, large
Pure Vanilla extract - 1/2tsp
Confectioner's sugar - for sifting

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan.
  • Stir flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, yogurt, oil, orange zest and juice, egg, and vanilla in a bowl. Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
  • Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.
All of you in US, have a fun long weekend and everyone else have a great week.


May 21, 2010

Pistachio Shortbread for 4th Blog Anniversary

I have never in million years thought that moving would be so hectic and moving into your own home would make you insanely busy. We are now all moved in, but not completely settled in. Still have tons of boxes lying around in the basement (what a great place to dump stuff and just forget about—didn’t have this luxury in any of our previous residences). Well right now we are in the process of cleaning things up (and that includes the basement as well) and opening the boxes. So fortunately this past weekend, I found the Tripod and the boxes with my NICER bowls & plates (that I use to take pictures) and I also made something that was worth posting, so here I am finally in my virtual kitchen.

Another occasion to celebrate is “Cook’s Hideout” completes 4 years this month.
Coming to the Pistachio shortbread recipe, I bookmarked the recipe the minute I saw it on King Arthur Flour blog. I just loved the pista green color and the easy to make recipe, but it took me more than 2 months to get to it.
I used Earth Balance buttery sticks instead of regular butter making these Vegan. But after tasting them I realized that Earth Balance has more sodium % than regular unsalted sweet butters, so the shortbreads were little on the salty side, but still buttery & yummy.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour blog.
Unsalted Butter – 1 cup, at room temperature
Pistachio flavored Pudding mix – 1 3.4oz box (Jell-O brand preferred by experts at KAF as it gives the best color)
Salt – ½ tsp
Sugar – ¼ cup
All-purpose Flour – 2 cups
Pistachio flavor – ¼ tsp (I used Almond extract instead)
Pistachios – 2/3 cup, finely chopped (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 300ºF. Grease 8” or 9” round baking pans or line them with parchment paper and grease the parchment.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter, pudding mix, salt, sugar & extract until well combined.
  • Slowly add flour and beat until incorporated. It is a little dry to begin with but will come together with continuous mixing. If it absolutely does not come together, dribble in a tablespoon of water and mix until it forms stiff dough.
  • Divide the dough equally in the two baking pans. Smooth tops with fingers or a pastry roller (see KAF link for this nifty gadget).
  • Prick the dough all over with a fork. Sprinkle the nuts on the top (if using) and gently press them down into the dough. Bake until its golden brown around the edges, about 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and gently flip them over onto a clean surface immediately. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut into wedges while still warm. Let them cool and enjoy.

May 15, 2010

Rasmalai for April ICC

I couldn’t participate in the last two ICC’s but this month’s challenge was too delicious to pass on. When Srivalli announced Rasmalai for this month’s ICC, I was dancing with joy, just with the anticipation of eating freshly made yummy rasmalai right at home.

I could care less for the dust in the attic or the long growing weeds in the front yard or the umpteen numbers of boxes that need to be unpacked before we can see at least take a step in the basement. I forgot about all the chores for about 2 hours this past weekend to make these soft snowballs and the end result was so sweet and delicious that it was all worth it.

Have to thank Lavanya for the recipe and Srivalli for choosing it for ICC. I can see this dish being made in my house many many more times. So without further ado, here’s how I made them.

Adapted from Lavanya’s & Show Me the Curry recipes.
For the Snowballs (Paneer balls):
Whole milk – 4 cups (1 liter)
Vinegar – 3tbsp
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 5 cups

For the Ras:
Whole Milk – 4 cups (1 liter)
Sugar – ¾ cup
Saffron – pinch
Ground Cardamom – ½ tsp
Nuts – 2tbsp, chopped (I used chopped pistachios)

  • First make Paneer – Bring milk to a boil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. At this point, add vinegar and stir. When milk starts to curdle, immediately turn off the heat.
  • Drain into a clean cheesecloth (I used my husband’s kerchief instead), pour cold water to remove the vinegar. You can save the whey water for future use, but I let it go in the drain—I’ll save it the next time.
  • Hang the cheese for about ½ hour to drain out any excess water.
  • In the mean time start making the ras: In a large non-stick pan, boil milk until it simmers down to half the volume, takes about 45minutes – 1hour. Rub saffron with few drops of milk and add to the milk before boiling.
  • Now is the time to make the snowballs: I followed the tip from the lovely ladies at Show me the Curry and kneaded my paneer in the food processor. I pulsed for about 1 minute and the paneer came out just perfect, soft & smooth.
  • Roll paneer between both the palms to make the balls and make sure they are as smooth as they can be with no cracks. Keep aside.
  • In a pressure cooker, take 5 cups water and 1 cup sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Slowly drop the paneer balls and let them cook for 1 whistle. Turn off the heat and exactly after 5 minutes, set the cooker in the sink and pour cold tap water to cool the cooker.
  • When cool enough to handle, remove the now puffed up paneer balls into a container along with some sugar syrup. Let cool.
  • In the meantime finish the ras: When the milk cooks down to about half, add sugar and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Finally add cardamom and chopped nuts.
  • To assemble: When the paneer balls are cool enough to handle, gently squeeze out the sugar syrup and put them in a serving bowl. Pour ras on the top and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. Enjoy!!



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