Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blogging Break

Dear Readers

Due to some unfortunate incidence in the family, I am visiting India and will be on blogging break for a few weeks. I'll try and resume writing as early as possible.

Thanks for visiting my posts.

-See you all soon


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tri-color & Tri-flavor Cheesecake!

Happy Independence Day everyone. India is celebrating its 64th independence day today on 15th Aug 2010. I am proud to be born Indian and to be brought up in this beautiful democratic country. Today Mr. Prime Minister hoists the National Flag at the Red Fort in New Delhi (Capital of India).
People celebrate by flying colorful kites, eat sweets with their family and friends. Amongst all the celebration, we cannot forget to salute the millions of brave soldiers, people, leaders who gave up their lives while fighting for India's Independence so that we all can breathe in a free country today. Jai Hind! (Hail India)

I too decided to do something special this Independence Day and what's better than making something sweet and in colors that represents the National Flag of IndiaThe Orange (Saffron) stands for courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation; the white, for purity and peace; the green for faith and fertility.

You can go to Wikipedia and read more about India and its history, The National flag and Independence.

Coming to today recipe- Tri-Color & Tri-flavor Cheesecake. This cheesecake not only has 3 colors but 3 different flavors too. The bottom green one is banana flavor, center is vanilla lemon and top most is orange.
I anyways love cheesecake and what's better than having three flavors in one?  Trust me, this triple flavored baked cheesecake is heavenly! Sending this right to Champa's ongoing Bake Off Event.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)


For Crust
12 graham crackers ( crush them to crumbs in a mixer)
1/4th tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter

For Filling:
3 (8 oz) packs of cream cheese ( At room temperature. I left mine out on the kitchen counter for 3 hrs)
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup and 2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp banana essence
1 mashed banana (use over-ripe banana)
1/2 tsp orange essence
1 tsp orange zest or peel (I grounded the peel)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Food colors of your choice ( I preferred to use the colors representing Indian flag)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 10 inch spring-form pan or a 1-use aluminum foil pan. I used the aluminum foil pan as its easier to slide the prepared cake out of it by cutting the pan edges.
2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Press onto bottom of pan using back side of a measuring cup or flat spatula.
3. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 15 minutes and then let it cool on the counter top.
4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth using the paddle attachment on a low speed. ( use can also use hand blender at the lowest speed)
5. Blend in sour cream, sweetend condensed milk and mix until incorporated. Add lemon zest and blend it in.
5. Add the corn starch at this point and let it blend well at the low speed or you can mix by hand using spatula. Do not overmix. ( Don't forget to scrape the sides of the bowl in between)
6. Then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Stir after adding each egg and then add the other.
7.  Now divide the batter in three equal portions.
8. For the bottom portion, take one part of the batter,add mashed banana to it and mix just until incorporated. Add the banana essence and the food color (i used green) and mix well. Pour the batter on the prepared crust.
9. Now take the second part, add vanilla essence to it and mix well. Pour on the top of the banana layer covering it completely.
10. Take the third and last portion of the batter now. Add the orange zest and essence to it and mix. Stir in the orange color and pour this batter carefully on top covering it end to end.
11.Put the baking pan into the center rack of the oven. Right below that rack put another pan (of larger size) filled halfway with hot water. This creates moisture in the oven for even baking of the cheesecake and prevents cracking. 
12.Bake the cheesecake for 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for 2 hours. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top.

Look how smooth and clean the top is

13.After couple of hours, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then resist your temptation and put in the fridge to chill for 5-6 hours at the minimum. Overnight is best. ( If you can resist that long, we couldn't :D )
 14. Serve at room temperature.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Double Decker- Coconut Chocolate Cookies

Talk about insomnia!! Last night, I just couldn't get any sleep. Even though I had popped one of the painkillers for my shoulder pain that are supposed to get you drowsy too; but no luck! I was all up and my mind was running on various topics; one of which was what's left in the refrigerator; new recipes and all. That's when I realized I had 1/2 a can of sweetend condensed milk in my fridge and I had some medium shredded coconut left too!

Hey Idea!! How bout some coconut cookies..?? Nah....Something different....How bout Coconut Chocolate cookies?? Double layered??...Big Fat Egg-less Coconut Chocolate Cookies!! Yes!! That's the project for tomorrow apart from baking bread and cooking some veggies! See what all I think when I am not sleeping :)

As it was Sunday, my husband helped me with the cookies and also we played a little with the cookie dough. We made some different shaped cookies [not putting the pic here :) ] and also carved each others initials on the cookie....

I know..I know.. Cheesy Me :P

These double layered big fat cookies turned out delicious and chewy! I didn't know coconut tastes this great with chocolate! Love it!! Sending these directly to Champa's Bake Off Event.

Here is the recipe for you (Click here for printable recipe)


For Coconut Dough
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut (medium shred)
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Melted Butter
1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

For Chocolate Dough
1 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
4 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Melted Butter or Margarine
1 tbsp Cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp of water
1 tsp Vanilla Essence


Preparing Coconut Dough
1. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in the vanilla essence.
3. Now make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture to it. Mix it well with a spatula until it comes together. It should come together as a sticky dough.

Preparing Chocolate Dough
1. In a bowl, add all purpose flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, cream together the melted butter and sugar. Add the vanilla essence and dissolved corn starch and mix well.
3. Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients while mixing with a spatula. It will come together as a dough.

Making Cookies
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F and lightly grease a cookie sheet.
2. Now make small balls from the coconut as well as the chocolate dough.
3. Take one ball from each dough and bring them together. Light press them together in-between your palm.
4. Continue making rounds like this until all the dough balls are used.
5. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes.
6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes before removing and then let them cool completely on a wire rack.
7. These store well in an airtight container.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Quick Vermicelli Upma

Before I start with today's recipe, I would like to thanks Mina of Authentic Vegetarian Recipes to pass on the The Versatile Blogger Award to me. You can see the award on right hand sidebar. I cherish all the appreciation, awards, love and your thoughts. I feel honored to be a part of this huge blogger community; learn new ways of cooking, recipes etc from all of you and  I will continue to do my bit with your support.

I believe each one of you are worthy of this award. Please feel free to collect this award and display it on your page.

Now coming to today recipe. Vermicelli (Sevai) is a type of pasta that is thinner than spaghetti and is easily found in Indian as well as other Asian Grocery Stores. Vermicelli can be made in various ways. It is very often made as a Milk Dessert called Seviyan Kheer or Payasam. It is also made savory differently in different parts of the world. I make this quick Savory Snack and its called Vermicelli Upma. It is very easy to make and can be prepared in less than 10-15 minutes.

Today my husband called from work and told me that he is just leaving and will be home in 10 minutes. I knew he would be hungry by the time he gets home as he had early lunch. I immediately started preparing the Vermicelli Upma on one side of the burner and had Tea started on the other side. By the time my DH reached home, Hot Tea and Snack was ready to welcome his hungry stomach. :)

Here is the recipe for you (Click here for printable version)

1 Small Onion (Chopped thin and long)
1/4 Cup Green Peas
1 Medium Potato (Washed thoroughly and cut into small square pieces with skin-on)
2-3 Green Chillies (Chopped)
Few Curry Leaves
1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
Salt - To Taste
Red Chilli Powder- 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala- 1/4 Tsp
3/4 Cup Vermicelli
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tbsp Oil

1. Heat oil in a pan. Once Oil is hot, add Mustard Seeds and Curry leaves. As soon as Mustard leaves starts to sputter; add green chillies. Saute for 10-12 seconds.
2. Add Onions and stir fry until they turn translucent.
3. Now add the Potatoes and the Green Peas. Stir fry until potatoes are tender.
4. Add all the dry spices; i.e- Salt, Red Chilli Powder and Garam Masala and Mix well.
5. Add the Water and let it come to a boil. As soon it comes to a boil, add the Vermicelli and mix well.
6. Cook till all the water is absorbed and vermicelli is well done.

Serve Hot over a Cup of Tea.

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