Cook's Hideout: July 2010

July 31, 2010

Eggless (Yet Creamy) Vanilla Ice Cream

The last ice cream I made was sooo good, rich and delicious, but it had way too many eggs in it that I couldn’t pull myself to make it again. At the same time it was soooo good, creamy & yummy, that couldn’t go back and make my eggless icy crystal version.
So that meant the ice cream maker had to collect dust for a couple months until I found this eggless version that is just as good but without the eggs. So when I saw this recipe that uses corn starch to thicken the ice cream, I had to make it right away.

I made this basic vanilla ice cream thrice already and it was a hit each time. Recipe also uses just little bit of cream cheese to give the final ice cream better scoopability & softness. The final result was this creamy with no crystals and an ice cream that melts in your mouth. I used whipped cream cheese on my second try and it made life much easier as you can use it right out of the fridge and don’t have to worry about softening it on the counter.

Whole Milk – 2 cups
Heavy cream – 1 ¼ cups
Sugar – 2/3 cup
Light Corn syrup – 1½ tbsp
Pure Vanilla extract – 2 tbsp
Corn starch – 1tbsp plus 1tsp
Cream cheese – 3tbsp (1½ oz.), softened.

  • Mix corn starch with 2tbsp milk in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Add the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup in a large sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook on moderate heat until sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Gradually whisk in the corn starch mixture. Return to boil and cook on moderately high heat until the mixture thickens a little bit, between 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and mix in the softened cream cheese. Let cool. Once the mixture is slightly cooled add the vanilla extract. Chill the milk mixture for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
  • Once thoroughly chilled follow your ice cream machine instructions to make the ice cream. Enjoy right away or freeze for later.
I served my ice cream topped with the chocolate ganache I made here.

July 25, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache & an Upcoming Product Review

CSN stores have contacted me to do a product review and since they have over 200 online stores where you can find everything from dinnerware to dog beds to sofas and suitcases, I eagerly agreed to do another review. Stay tuned for the review.

I made this cake for my husband on Father’s Day (yup.. that’s right, this post has been on the drafts for way too long). He is a chocoholic and always asks to make a decadent chocolate cake and I think this cake fits the bill – very chocolatey and moist, it is the best chocolate cake I’ve made so far.

Recipe is printed on the King Arthur Flour’s Cake Flour box. It’s pretty convenient to look for ingredients and prep when you have the box propped right in front of you, rather than referring to a cook book every minute. Since the recipe is a keeper, I’ll probably keep the box too.

Coming to the recipe, it is quite easy with all the ingredients being dumped in a large mixing bowl one after the other. You might want to make sure that the mixing is done on a completely cleared counter to avoid stuff being covered with flour & chocolate.

Recipe is from King Arthur flour.
Cake flour – 2 cups
Unsweetened Cocoa powder – ¾ cup
Baking Powder – 1½ tsp
Baking Soda – ½ tsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Sugar - 1¾ cups
Unsalted butter – ½ cup, very soft
Vegetable oil – 1/3 cup
Vanilla extract – 1tsp
Milk – 1 cup (I used 1%)
Brewed coffee – ½ cup, cooled (or substitute with water)
Eggs – 4 large

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9”x13” baking pan or two 9” round pans or three 8” round pans. Set aside.
  • Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl making sure that there are no lumps.
  • Add the softened butter and using a hand mixer (or stand mixer) blend on low speed for one minute. With the mixer running, add oil and continue mixing until the mixture looks like sand.
  • Combine vanilla with the milk or water and add to the dry ingredients all at once. Mix for 1 minute and scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds.
  • Next add eggs one at a time and beating well between additions. This is a thin batter.
  • Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 34 mins for 9”x13” pan: 28 to 30 mins for 9” layers; 24 to 26 mins for 8” layers. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on rack before frosting.
I frosted the cake with a simple Chocolate ganache recipe, also from King Arthur flour site.

Heavy Cream – 1 cup
Light Corn syrup – 2tsp
Semi sweet chocolate (I used a combination of 55% cocoa & 70% cocoa chocolate – 10 to 16 oz.)
Vanilla extract – 1tbsp

  • Heat the cream and corn syrup till they begin to steam. Pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes, add vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Pour over cooled cake while the ganache is still slightly warm. Cool completely before serving.


July 20, 2010

Potato-Eggplant curry

The potatoes from the garden ended up in my all-time favorite curry: Vankaya-Bangaladumpa kura. I would have used the tiny Indian eggplants if I had them on hand, but since I didn’t I used the American globe variety. Only problem with these gigantic eggplants is the thick skin (and the lack of taste), so I peeled the skin off and I think it makes the eggplant more palatable.

This dish does not have many ingredients and is quick & easy to put together. The garden fresh potatoes had light papery skin and cooked up in no time.
Potatoes – 4 medium or 10-12 small, cubed
Eggplant – 1 large (peeled) or 10-12 baby (unpeeled), cubed
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Green chilies – 3, chopped
Curry powder – 1tsp
Salt – to taste

For tempering:
Chana dal – ½ tsp
Urad dal – ½ tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 6

  • Heat 2tsp oil in a large sauté pan; add the tempering ingredients and once the seeds start sputtering add onions and sauté till softened and turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Next add the eggplant and potatoes; cover and cook on medium heat till both the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add curry powder and salt. You can add ½ cup water of you think the curry is too dry. Cook for couple minutes. Serve with steamed rice and dal.

July 16, 2010

A Review and Garden Update

This post has been long overdue. This space has been quite for a while as we have family visiting us and it’s been fun spending time with them and showing them around the New York Metro area. We have been enjoying a lot of yummy dishes made by my MIL, will post about them some soon.

Product review for CSN stores that I had mentioned in my previous post is finally here. It took me almost forever to decide on what to get as they have such a wide selection of products to choose from. After almost 2 days of browsing, I decided on this Calphalon Stainless Steel Pan. I’ve been thinking of buying stainless steel cookware for a while but I was always skeptical. I was worried that food is going to stick to the bottom and it will be difficult to clean. So I decided to try the pan and see how I liked it. I also ordered a Jelly roll pan. Thanks to CSN Stores for this opportunity to review the product.

Order arrived within 2 days and I was so happy to see my shiny new pan and the baking sheet. One of the main reasons I chose this pan is that it is oven safe upto 450ºF, very convenient when you are making a dish that needs to be finished in the oven. The sloped sides and flat bottom makes the pan look small, but I made a curry for a family of 4 with some leftovers.
The Stay Cool handles makes it easier to handle the pan even after long stove top cooking. Since it is stainless steel, I can use any utensil, but for now I prefer my wooden spatula. I especially like the see-through glass lid making it easier to see what’s going on in the pan and also it fits perfectly avoiding any moisture to escape.
The first dish that I made is this White Pumpkin Gravy Curry. Gravy is same as the one I posted here; instead of Chayote I used white pumpkin (Budidha Gummadikaya).

Coming to the garden: Since this is our very first year having a house and a back yard and since we are extremely new to gardening, we decided to take baby steps and plant only few plants. So for our first attempt we planted: White & Red Potatoes, White Onions, Dalias in the ground (bought all of these at BJ’s for a reasonable price); Cherry tomatoes, cayenne pepper, green bell pepper, eggplant, basil, arugula in the container garden.

We harvested our first potatoes yesterday and it was such fun to search for these tiny beauties in the dirt. We ended up with about 12 of them. Don’t mind my dirty hands; I was too excited to take the picture that I didn’t wash my hands. Here are some of the other plants from my garden.
Cherry Tomatoes

Budding Green Pepper

Dahlias in full bloom


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