Monday, October 24, 2016

Lemon Polenta Pistachio Buttons


There is nothing therapeutic than baking for me.  My daughter is lately showing interest in baking.  She baked her own chocolate souffl√© last week.  It’s a joy to watch your kids follow your footsteps.  My Mom used to bake varieties of cookies and cakes when we were little.  The crunchy coconut cookies she used to bake were my favorite among all.  Good traits are meant to be inherited and I feel proud of it.  So now when my daughter goes to the library with me she finds time to stop at the cooking books aisle and recommends some baking books for me to try.  She bookmarks the recipes she would like me to try.



Lemon Polenta Pistachio Button is a gorgeous yellow button shaped cookie with the crunch from the pistachios and flavor from the lemon zest.  These yellow cookies are soft inside and crunchy at the outside.  They are delicious melt in mouth kind of cookies apt for tea time snack.



Recipe source - Baking With Less Sugar by Joanne Chang 
Ingredients:
1/2 cup - unsalted butter softened
1/4 cup - granulated sugar
1 - egg
1 tbsp - grated lemon zest
2 tsp - pure vanilla extract
1 cup - all purpose flour
1/4 cup - fine corn meal/Polenta
1 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - salt

Dipping mix to roll
2 tbsp - granulated sugar
1/4 cup - finely chopped roasted salted pistachios
1 tbsp - grated lemon zest

Directions:

  • Cream the softened butter, egg and sugar together in a mixing bowl using stand mixer or hand mixture.  Add vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix well.
  • Sift together flour and baking powder.  Combine the flour, baking powder, corn meal and salt to form a sticky dough.
  • Cover the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Preheat over to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine the ingredients of the dipping mix in a bowl.
  • Roll the refrigerated dough into small balls and roll into the dipping mix.
  • Place the cookie dough balls on the parchment paper and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  These cookies will expand as they are baked, so make sure to keep them apart before baking.
  • Cool them on wire rack and store them in air tight container.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Indian Style Tomato Rice


Summer vacation and sunny days are swept away so quickly by the moody and cloudy cold days.  Days are getting shorter and the sun seems to find comfort behind the thick black clouds. The inconsistent rain makes it difficult to be outside to enjoy the slight fresh cold breeze.  Stores and many houses in my neighborhood are getting ready for fall/Autumn.

Scarecrows, hay rolls, different shapes, colors and sizes of gourds and pumpkins are overflowing in the nearby farmer's market.  It seems like everyone other than me are prepping for the cold weather.  I am still wishing for a tiny bit more of sunlight and warmth.


During the summer vacation, my parents stayed with us for couple of months which made my life so easier and spoiled me a bit.  The daily cooked fresh food and the almost no kitchen time were the perks of their pampering.  I was totally lost where to start when they left.  Now you can imagine how bad I was spoiled.  We enjoyed our time together and they were so happy to be around their grand kids and take care of them.  Blogging never got a chance since I was rarely using kitchen other than making Chai/tea during those days.  Then the usual work and school took its turn and got very busy with all the stuff that took precedence over blogging.



When resuming blogging after couple of months of break I want to start with a simple rice recipe.  It’s over a month now my friends asked me for this recipe and I finally got the chance to take some pictures and post the recipe.  Tomato rice is one of my favorite rice recipes that I yearn for any time.  I had mentioned in one of my previous posts that during college days our friends used to pack us this delicious rice for lunch from home which was a great relief for some of us who stayed in hostel.  So you can imagine my predilection towards tomato rice.
Ingredients
2 cups - basmathi rice
1 cup - tomato puree
2 1/2 cups - water
1 tsp - butter/oil
1/4 tsp - cumin seeds/jeera
salt to taste

To season the rice
1/3 tsp - black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp - urad daal/lentil splits
1/2 tsp - chana daal/chickpea splits
2 - green chili slits
1/2 tsp - red chili powder
1/2 cup - chopped onion
1/2 tsp - chopped ginger
1 cup - chopped tomato
2 - sprigs curry leaves
1/4 tsp - asafoetida powder
2 tsp - oil
salt to taste

Directions:
  • Soak the basmathi rice in warm water for 20 minutes.  Make sure to set a timer.  
  • While rice is getting soaked, take 2 medium size tomatoes and puree it in the blender.
  • Prepare the seasoning in the meantime.  Heat a pan with 2 tsp of oil and add mustard seeds.  Wait till it splutters to add urad daal and chana daal.  Lower the flame and cook till they get a golden brown color.  Now add the chopped onions, ginger, green chili, salt and saute till onions are translucent.  Add the chili powder and asafoetida powder.  Cook till raw smell goes away.  Add the chopped tomatoes and cover and cook till the water is completely evaporated and you get a thick paste consistency mix.  Add the curry leaves and turn off the flame.
  • Drain the rice after 20 minutes in a colander.  Heat a non stick deep pan. Add the butter/oil and splutter the cumin seeds in it on a low flame.  Now add the soaked rice to the pan and saute for 2 minutes on low flame.  Add the tomato puree and cook on low flame for 1 minutes.  Add 2 1/2 cups of water and adjust the salt.  Let the water start to boil.  Close the pan with a tight lid and lower the flame and cook till all the water is evaporated.  It takes between 10 - 15 minutes.  Let the rice sit in the pan for 15 minutes.
  • After the rice has slightly cool down, mix the seasoning into the rice using a wooden spatula without breaking the grains.  Enjoy the warm tomato rice with your favorite curry.

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