Monday, December 30, 2013

Chocolate Cottage Cheese Crinkle Cookies



December is almost over and I realize that I haven't blogged much this month.  Lots of things were in my plate, few were accomplished and few more to go.  When I sat to jot down something, I had this scarcity of words, this might be the writer's block......hmm..could have found some time for my little blog...did I ignore you totally...still pondering to find the answers...



Christmas season cannot pass by without baking cookies.  In fact I had been on a baking spree, tried some cookie recipes, baked cakes, loaf etc.  I know I should have clicked some pics, but I was busy making some homemade gifts for our relatives and friends.  I also even tried my hand at wine making too :).  Keep your fingers crossed, they might appear on the blog sooner or later :)



It was beginning of December, my hubby and kids picked up a book on cookies especially for me from the library with the notion that 'Mommy' would bake lots of cookies from there.  I was really interested in something unique or different and picked this Cottage Cheese Chocolate Crinkle cookies recipe.  It was a wise choice.  When I made it for the first time, it dissipated into thin air within an hour.  This recipe is a sure keeper for my family.  The cookie is crusty outside and soft inside and chocolaty enough to please the kids.



Yields - 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients
3/4 cup - all purpose flour
1/4 cup - cocoa powder
3/4 cup - sugar
1/4 tsp - salt
1/2 tsp - baking powder
6 tbsp - soft butter
1 - egg
1 tsp - vanilla extract
1/2 cup - cottage cheese (small/big curd)
1 cup or more - sifted confectioners sugar

Directions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 °F.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into a bowl and keep it aside.
  • Beat the soften butter,sugar and egg till creamy with wire whisk. 
  • Add vanilla extract and cottage cheese to the egg mixture and beat well.
  • Now incorporate the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula till it forms a loose dough.
  • Using a cookie dough scoop, take enough dough and drop 12 balls onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 - 12 minutes.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Take the sifted confectioner's (powdered) sugar in a wide plate.
  • Dip the top of the cookie in powdered sugar and keep in air tight container.
Notes:
  • There is no need to drain the water from the cottage cheese.
  • These cookies remain soft and delicious for one week when stored in air tight containers.
  • These cookies are super moist and you won't even taste the cottage cheese in it.
  • I didn't refrigerate the dough before baking.  You can refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes if you think the dough is very hard to handle.  The dough scoop really helps to make balls.  The stickiness of the dough will be dependent on the weather where you live.  You may have to refrigerate the dough if you live in warm climate.  Also you may have to keep the cookies refrigerated in warm conditions.

Monday, December 16, 2013

MultiColor Bell Peppers in Creamy & Savory Sauce - Hyderabadi Bell Pepper Curry




Hi readers, I didn't quit blogging if you were wondering...I got tied up with few inevitable events and really missed visiting my favorite blogs.  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  As usual we spent time with family and we had a great time cooking together, feasting and a last minute fun with black Friday shopping.



While driving through the streets of NY, I noticed there were no homeless people hanging out on the roads and it was awefully chilly to be out anyways.  They might have been in the shelters and looking forward for a warm meal.  I was talking to my hubby all the way back home that how they would be celebrating Christmas when they have nothing to look forward;how they tackle each day without any concerns for tomorrow.



As human nature, we always neglect and forget how fortunate we are and never try to appreciate what we have.  We always like to reach for higher altitudes even though we are very well comfortable and secure in our zone.  As we are in the month of December to celebrate Christmas, it is the apt time of the year to take a moment to look back and reflect on things we have done; how we can be Thankful for the wonderful life we have; how we can forgot and forgive each other; Care and love each other so that we can make this a better place to live.  On this jovial time of the year, let's keep our hearts and mind clean and rejuvenate ourselves with all the good memories that we had and thank Almighty for what we have.

I would like to pay tribute to the great leader Nelson Mandela who passed away leaving his legacy behind; the lesson of forgiveness, patience, tolerance and love for others to learn.

 The following quotes of Nelson Mandela made at Walter Sisulu's 90th birthday celebration, Johannesburg, May 18, 2002 is my favorite:

''What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.''

OK, let us peek to my kitchen to see what I have for you today.  Multicolored peppers are the handy vegetable in my refrigerator.  I widely use them in salads and pastas.  It was during summer I got a chance to taste this Hyderabadi pepper dish and I totally loved it, I am not sure what is it called or even didn't know the recipe at that time.  I checked online and took bits and parts from several recipes and started to make my own version of this Hyderabadi dish.  This may not have the authenticate Hyderabadi dish taste, but it really tastes delicious with steamed plain rice or Rotis.



Did you know that fresh bell peppers are the rich source of the popular antioxidant Vitamin C?  They are found to reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.  They also contain good levels of Vitamin A, essential minerals like iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium and they are also good source of B-complex group of vitamins.  During winter season, it is better to include these Vitamin C rich vegetables in your diet to stay healthy and fight cold.

Give this recipe a try and let me know how you liked it.


Ingredients
2 cups - multicolor peppers (red, yellow & green) seeded & cubed
1 1/2 tbsp - oil
salt to taste

To grind
3 tbsp - sesame seeds
2 tbsp - raw peanuts
1/4 cup - grated coconut (fresh/frozen)
1/2 cup - water

For Masala
1 tbsp - ginger garlic paste
1 - small red onion chopped
1 tsp - tamarind paste
1/4 tsp - turmeric powder
1/2 tsp - red chilli powder
1 tsp - Coriander powder
1/2 tsp - Garam Masala
1/4 tsp - Cumin seeds
1 tsp - oil
2 tbsp - freshly chopped Cilantro leaves
Salt to taste


Directions:
  • Dry roast the sesame seeds and peanuts in a cast iron or non stick pan till they slightly gets golden yellow color.  Turn off the heat and let them cool for 2 minutes.  Grind the roasted sesame seeds and peanuts with grated coconut and water to make a smooth paste and keep it aside. 
  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil in the same pan.  Gently saute the multicolored pepper with little bit salt for 2 minutes on medium to high heat.  Remove the peppers from the pan and transfer to a bowl.
  • In the same pan add 1 tsp of oil with the already exisiting oil from previous step.  Splutter the 1/4 tsp cumin seeds.  Saute the ginger garlic paste with chopped onions and salt till the raw smell of garlic is gone and the onions become translucent.
  • Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala and cook till the raw smell is gone.
  • Add the sesame, peanut and coconut paste with tamarind paste to the pan.  Mix well and see if you need addition water. Add 1/4  - 1/2 cup water the gravy is too thick for you.
  • Now add the shallow fried bell peppers and cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Adjust the salt per your taste.  Turn off the burner and garnish with fresh Cilantro leaves.
  • Serve the Hyderabadi bell pepper curry with steamed rice or Indian flat breads like Roti, Chapathi or Naan.

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