Friday, September 28, 2012

Empanadas Anyone???Daring Bakers Challenge Sept 2012

Its that time of the month again...
Hormones go into overdrive and endorphins endorse all that is good about food.
Hot and spicy and hand held.Empanadas.
I am a rebel without a could not bear to do a whole pie which would be massacre"d" in the name of slices and dinner.
These are the crisp...straight out of the oven empanadas...
Crisp-which was surprising ,because this was bread dough.Almost like toast wrapped around the corn"y" filling.
My filling was corn"y" with olives...yours does not need to be. Next on, with the little left over dough I'll do chicken or maybe lamb...with a Indian touch!
We , in India are familiar with this shape..we make gujiyas every Holi.(The festival of colours)
Gujiyas are small hand held "pies" if you will...these are sweet, filled with coconut and nuts with some khoya-milk reduced and then deep fried.
FYI-according to wiki...

An empanada  is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Western Europe, Latin America, and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.
Empanadas are made by folding dough or bread around stuffing, which usually consists of a variety of meat, cheese, huitlacoche, vegetables or fruits, among others. In Brazil, a variation of "empanada", called "Pastel" (Pastel (food)) is a very common day-by-day food, you find a variety of stuffings like: pizzamozzarella, chicken with catupiry, meat, heart of palm, small shrimps, pork meat... but you can also find sweet "pastéis", filled with brigadeirogoiabada (and goiabada with cheese), doce de leite...

The best part about this ,was that the dough was low in fat and was baked.
My only regret, no meat.
A low calorie snack or meal...good to go here in my home!
We need healthy and low calorie.
So this months the Daring Bakers Challenge was spot ON!

Blog-checking lines:

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

As I post on blogger,sweet child is finishing off the last of the empanadas.
Actually 2 days late...but then the internet services are not

And I am off sharing this with you,now...

for the 

Empanadas Anyone???Daring Bakers 

Challenge Sept 2012...

you need

the dough

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried yeast

2 tbsp/30 mils Olive Oil

1/2 tsp sugar

1 pinch paprika

warm water to knead the dough

1 egg beaten for egg wash

the filling

1 large onion finely diced

8 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cup fresh shucked corn

8-10 olives

1 tsp olive oil/any neutral oil

3 tbsp grated cheese-I used mozzarella

salt, red chili flakes

herbs..whatever fresh or dried are available

Start with the dough.
Place the yeast and sugar with half a cup of warm water and set aside. Make sure you cover the yeast mix till it froths up.
Place the flour and salt and a pinch of paprika-deghi mirch (I like the bite) in a bowl.

And knead the dough with warm water till it is nice and elastic.Now add in the oil and cover and let it rest a while in a warm corner,till it is almost double.

Start with the filling.
Oil in the pan, to which you add the large diced onion.

Now add in the chopped cloves of garlic...I added some roasted garlic from the time I baked the focaccia bread.A few cloves were left...

Just translucent here...

My freezer has zip lock pouches of shucked corn- fresh frozen from my backyard...I used that and 

seasoned this with salt red chili flakes and rosemary, basil and oregano(the herbs were dried)...

Actually, I could not make up my mind...what would be apt.After eating them...the oregano seemed to fit 

the bill!

A quick toss, the halved olives and the fresh chives from the garden-garlic overload!

And the grated mozarella!

I should have waited till the corn was absolutely cool...but whatever...

Set the oven to 200C/400F.

Now the dough, not exactly doubled, but almost.

One lemon sized ball, rolled out to 3 mm thin and cut out with a steel bowl/cookie cutter.

Repeat the process till the filling or the dough exhausts itself.I had enough for a dinner for three.

A spoonful of filling in the centre  and the round folded over. You can seal this with beaten egg, or if you wish to skip the egg, a mix of flour and water will seal this well.

Set on the baking tray.

I sprinkled some flour on the trays before I began placing the empanadas.

Seal with the tynes of  a fork to make it look pretty.

An egg wash for the colour, milk if you are ova avoiding!

Into the oven for  35 minutes.Keep an eye on them may need more or less time, depending on your

 oven.Out, low calorie, wholesome and novel bites for dinner.

Served on a bed of Salsa...

Thank you daring bakers
I learn something new each month...

Cant wait for the next month!

I'll stick to the hand held version , but a meat filling is what waits...

So what are you baking today???

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Egg Free Orange Silk Cheesecake-Chocolate and Orange...go hand in hand

A cheesecake...that had to be chocolate  and egg free and beautiful...
And if possible...low in fat.
Well almost...
An almost Birthday cake for friend Kanchan Bhartari...
For birthdays, the last thing we reveal are ages...
We are, forever young.
That is why we keep company...
A birthday is not always about the cake.
Its about the  friendship and good times and good food and chocolate.
A cake would have been superfluous she had already baked. So this was a take on a chocolate tart that I had seen on  Deeba's site , but have not been able to locate it since.
I love the flavour of Cadbury's Orange Silk and I wanted to recreate it.
I cant call this low fat, but...OK ,that thought  was the genesis of  A reduced fat Orange Silk Cheesecake.
It may not look that impressive...but the flavours were  bang on!
I was minute maid for the day, I even managed to incorporate the pulp!
Super Easy, and easy on the palette...made a refreshing dessert.
No reason to make a simple chocolate pudding the next time you decide to attempt something fancy.

for the 

Egg Free Orange Silk Cheesecake-Chocolate and Orange...go hand in hand...

you need

230 gms digestive /chocolate biscuits
80 gms (or more) butter
1 orange
1 tsp gelatin
5-6 tbsp icing sugar
200 gms semi sweet chocolate
400 gms non dairy /dairy cream-I used Amul
200 gms cream cheese- I used fresh yogurt, which I hung to remove all the whey
30 mils Orange twist Remix Vodka-Optional

Start with the base .
The digestive it was, Oreo would have tasted and looked prettier.I whizzed the digestive biscuits to a fine powder and added...the zest of half an orange. I had one leftover in the fridge one it was .
Into this I added about 40 gms of the butter -that I melted in the microwave.40 gms is not enough ,you need at least 80 gms.I promised reduced fat- reduced fat I deliver.
I added the juice of half an orange.
I had to make the crumbs any wet will do!
Into the loose bottomed tart dish...One large tart tin and one small ...
Set to set in the fridge.
Now the cream and the chocolate.Pour 200 mils/one tetra pack of amul UHT cream in a sauce pan that will fit in your fridge.Place on heat and just before it comes to a boil...dunk the chopped chocolate.
You don't see the bubbles here only because the heat is turned off...but the cream needs to be hot or else the chocolate will not melt.
A bit of decadence...the rest of the butter.
Whisked well to let the butter make the chocolate glossy.
Et Voila...
The leftover rind of the orange I chopped fine and added it while the chocolate ganache was still warm essential oils ,you see...
Mix them well and stow into the fridge to let it set.
That was why you needed the exact size of the pan!
All this was done in the dead of the night.You know what would have gone really well.Orange flavoured guessed it....
I'm a veritable advertisement for Smirnoff Vodka!
Chocolate and Orange and Orange twist Remix ...yay!
What a happy/hippy combo!But sadly...Kanchan was  teetotalling for a week.So we skipped. One friend would not have been happy...what say Monica Mallik??
OK , now next morning..
The remaining 200 mils whipped with the sugar till whatever peaks form. Amul UHT does not rise to the in you can not get any whenever your hand tires, drop the hand held whisk.
Now bring out the semi solid ganache and whip it to submission...
And you get something like this...
And the remaining orange juice...sitting over warm water with the gelatin in.
So now, the hung curd ...
I whipped it into the chocolate mix to make it lighter.
Light in texture and colour.
A quick whip of the cream again...And all folded the gelatin and orange juice mix in.
The mix tasted like a mousse ....a lot chocolatey a wee bit orangey and a little tangy...the taste of the hung curd.
I got one large tart, one small tart and one bowl of the cheesecake mix.
And in the fridge for a few hours...
Is this ethically a cheesecake?I know not...It had the integrity and the texture of a cheesecake...Sliced gorgeously ...and tasted wow.

A little dusting of cocoa, a shard of chocolate...smooth as silk.
A little reminder of this flavour...never too far!
A little tribute to the taste buds...
A little tribute to friendship...
A new territory...that children loved too...
A new way to say happy birthday...

So why are you not baking today???

Oatmeal Spice Cookies

Another cookie post.
Another jaggery post.
I’m becoming a jaggery advocate.
We have had zero internet connectivity in Jharkhand since the last eight days. How this works now...magic!
Each day is a dull ,stressful day...ever try ensuring a 12 year old revises his lessons for his midterm exams when he would rather be wrestling imaginary humongausaurs....yes...the WWE bug has hit sweet child.
So there are tackles and jumps waiting at each corner of the house, and you suddenly realise that adrenaline will make a 12 year old tackle a fully grown man!
Boys and their toys...obsessions have a very short shelf life in a boys mind!
I dread to see what the next wave of obsessions brings in.
The cookies with the mandatory milk...
And to add to my woes...the rain just does not seem to stop.
The morning dawns with the promise of sunshine...and then by mid begin to hear the rumble of the clouds again. It’s almost like the sky is hungry, and its waiting for its next meal. It’s that time of the day again, when one wants to get out of the house, but the promise of a few showers is enough to send us scurrying back into our dens again.
And to top it internet connectivity!
So, I post on word instead of the blogger template.
Hope and faith ...totally central to my life here in Ranchi.
And a woebegone doggie!!!
Fortunate the power outages have spared we bake.
Referring to my Better Homes and Gardens magazine archives...Oatmeal Spice cookies, with a twist. No brown sugar, but jaggery. A cup of pumpkin pie spice coffee latte and these spiced cookies.
Next time I am adding some of the pumpkin pie spice  to the cookies too. The taste of the jaggery makes the cookies warm and mellow...and the cloves and the cinnamon powder adds to the taste and the aroma. I used my jugaad cookie sheets because these cookies were quick and I baked them 2 sheets at a time. Soft when they came out, the firmed up on cooling...I wont call them chocolatey, wholesome is more like it. And filling and satisfying.
Simple...I’m buying a wooden spoon for my cookie dough from Delhi...
That small impending tryst with Delhi’s heat and pollution and hustle and bustle is what is keeping my sanity.
You in the meanwhile, can bake a batch of these cookies. The book said 48 cookies, I got 42. Maybe mine were bigger...

For the

Spiced Oatmeal Cookies-with Jaggery/Gur ki Shakker...

You need

¾ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp cloves powder
2 eggs
1 ¾ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp soda bicarbonate
2 cups quick cooking oats-I used Saffola Oats

Start with the oven at 190C/375F.
Cream the butter...I had only 1/2 cup Amul butter so I used homemade white butter.
Worker really well, looked so pure and virginal white and I went and spoiled its whiteness by adding jaggery/gur ki shakker. You can do the same by adding brown sugar. And the plain boring granulated sugar for the crunch.
Whisk them all well together and add the spices.
Crack in the eggs, one at a time, and whisk all together.
Now is the time to abandon the whisk and adopt the spoon.
Reminder -On my agenda, wooden spoons from Delhi!
Now the flour and the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in...No I did not sift them...
And now the rolled oats...2 cups full.
It may seem to be too much, but trust me...they are all needed.
Now cookie sheets and baking tray out. I used a spoonful at a time...and placed them on the tray.
Lightly pressing them to make them flat.
And in to the oven.
Each tray took 11 minutes; I did take them out and shift their places...
Out, one minute later, carefully lifted off from the tray with a steel spatula and onto the wire rack.
Nice and firm and earthy and healthy!!!
Yummy ,yum,yum!
With a cup of pumpkin pie spiced coffee latte ...they were absolutely yummier.
I’ve made them once again...the second time I added ½ tsp of salt and decreased the granulated sugar to ¼ cup.
And can only tell you this...I will be making these wholesome , healthy , packed with nutrients and fibre cookies again and again and again and again...

So what are you baking today???

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Focaccia Bread with Garlic,Basil ,Rosemary and Olives

I came I saw and was conquered.
I never knew how enticing the aroma of freshly baked bread stuffed with olives and basil and garlic and slathered with extra virgin olive oil is.
Up to a little while ago, I used olive oil as massage oil…and used it liberally on my hair too. Consequently, every time I cooked in extra virgin olive oil or used it as a salad dressing…I could only think of oiled hair.
Not the most appetizing thing on the surface of the earth.
So I decided to make a change.
Not in the cooking medium, but in the massage oil. I converted to extra virgin coconut oil.
That now puts me off banana chips for life!
But at least the smell does not haunt me anymore.
As to where I get the extra virgin coconut oil…south India!
So I can now slather my bread with olive oil instead of butter.
And I am happy!
Fresh herbs do something wonderful to bread. And a little bit of garlic goes a long way. The last two months I have been requesting the Morphy Richards dealer to give me two extra baking trays, but to no avail…he absolutely refused.
So I did what Indians are famous for...JUGAD!
If you are not Indian…that may take a little explaining...jugad means not the real thing, but an ersatz arrangement.
I got a local trunk maker to make me two sheets...these act as my cookie sheets and they were crying out for something more wholesome than cookies,.
So focaccia it was.
I saw and lusted after this bread here, now I know one thing…whoever wants to buy me a gift…see my wish list on flipkart.!
Beautifully rustic bread that needs no knives…just a soup to be dunked into.
Not very complicated, but a word of advice…follow the instructions.
I used fresh basil and fresh aniseed leaves. And a whole lot of garlic. And I topped it with dried rosemary.
The most important thing to note…invest in a bread bin and do not refrigerate the bread.
This is also part of my quest to look for the new flavors that jaggery/gur can bring out in bread.
Enough said…

For the

Focaccia Bread with  Garlic,Basil Rosemary and Olives ...

You need

2 ½ cups or 330 Gms flour
1 tbsp brown sugar or jaggery/gur
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
8 -10 cloves of garlic (I used much, much more)
50 Gms olives (I used pimento stuffed olives)
Handful of basil leaves
1 tsp dried rosemary

For the starter

300 gms flour (2 tbsp less 2 ½ cups)
2 tbsp gluten
1 ½ tsp dried yeast
420 mils warm water

Start with a big bowl that can hold at least 2 ½ l of water.
Place the ingredients for the starter in the bowl and whisk them together. Just ensure you don’t have any lumps of flour.
Cover with cling film and set aside in someplace warm.
In about an hour, the mix doubles.
Now push up your sleeves and pouring the flour, the brown sugar-I used gur ki shakker (eliminates the mess of grating the jaggery) salt and the oil.
Knead for about 5 minutes till the dough is nice and elastic. You may need more flour to make a good dough.
Cover and set aside to prove. At this stage I dumped the dough in the fridge, as plans for soup and bread dinner were suddenly altered and replaced with chicken and rotis.

Next afternoon, the dough was ready to spill out…
So I got it out of the fridge, and let it rest till it came to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
The two cookie sheets, over which I liberally sprinkled flour and set aside.
The dough out on the counter top, and spread with hands.
Sprinkle the chopped garlic, some halved olives and a lot of basil all over. Fold first, 1/3 to the inside and then cover with the rest.
 So you have three layers. So you have a rectangular shaped pillow like thing. Now cut into two.
One on each sheet, and spread the dough with your hands, my focaccia measured 12 inches by 7 inches and was a centimeter thick. This was my second attempt, the first time I did not spread the focaccia enough.
Stud the bread with the olives and sprinkle the rosemary.
Pop the two sheets into the oven. I also popped in some garlic to allow it to roast as well.
After 35 minutes, the bread was DONE!

Out and slathered with some extra virgin olive oil.
I am heading straight for a hyper mart when I come to Delhi next…I want sea salt crystals!
See the crumb…
And tasted so good, no need for any butter or soup or any accompaniment.
This was my second try…and definitely will not be my last.
Loved the bread…
I am off yeast spotting too...
Thank you Deeba for such a wonderful bread.

So what are you baking  today???

Until the next

Until the next


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