Tuesday, July 19, 2011

melba toast and sun-dried tomato snack

This is a healthy delicious snack that is great for when you have guests over

Melba sesame toast
fat free cream cheese
California sun-dried tomatoes (found in the produce section)

place the toast in singles on a plate
smear the cream cheese over the toast
remove the tomatoes from the oil and place on top


Beef and Broccoli

Beef steak piece
ground ginger
ground garlic
Olive Oil
soy sauce
chilli sauce
Sweet sauce

slice the beef steak piece into thin strips
Cover the strips with salt and pepper
add a tsp of garlic and ginger each
rub into the strips and set aside for it to soak up the spices
In a pan, saute the broccoli in olive oil with a dash of soy sauce and set aside
In a small wok add a tbsp. of olive oil
saute the strips for 5 minutes on high heat
turn to medium low heat
add a tsp. each of the sauces
Add a 2 more tbsps of soy sauce
add a dash of flour to thicken the sauce
Continue cooking at low heat covered for 10 more minutes
Add the broccoli to the meat and mix

Serve over a bed of steamed white rice (or brown if you're feeling healthy)


Pineapple Cake

Note: this recipe isn't entirely mine, I made a few tweaks to recipes I found online

Cake Ingredients:
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup White Sugar (or splenda)
Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Baking Soda
20 oz can crushed pineapple

note: these measurements serve about 8-10 people (depending on how you cut the slices)

Pre-heat the oven to 350
Take a medium-large bowl and add the flour
Add 3/4 cup sugar or splenda (some recipes call for more, there is no need for that)
Add the baking soda
Mix all these dry ingredients together
Make a crater in the middle and add the eggs, vanilla extract and pineapples

 Now mix until all ingredients are uniform

Butter the sides of your baking pan (i used a round glass pan with high edges and it has worked really well for me)
Now dust lightly with flour
Add the cake mixture prepared above
Place in the middle rack of the oven
Turn the timer to 40 mins (but be sure to check at 30mins - each oven varies and it may be done by this time)
Use a toothpick in the center to check if done (pierce tooth pick into the cake as far as you can, it should pull out clean if its done, if its wet it needs more time in the oven)
This one turned out a little darker than it should, make sure to keep an eye on the oven and cake, my second one turned out much better ;) 

Icing Ingredients:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 pack cream cheese (8 oz) (go for the light for less calories)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar (yes you do need this type to make the icing a good consistency)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

keep the butter and cream cheese out for a few hours so they are sufficiently soft, if you arent able to do this, just stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds
mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until its uniform
depending on the weather, you may want to refrigerate the icing for a little while

note: the icing adds unnecessary calories and the cake tastes fine without it, however if you are hoping to impresses, the icing is very delicious ;)

When the cake is done, give it at least an hour+ to cool down before icing

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Afghan Rice (Kabuli) and Meatballs (Kofta)

When I was growing up in Southern California, my parents had a lot of friends who hailed from the exotic land of Afghanistan. Many a weekend we had dinner parties we invited each other to. I was always excited when we were invited over to theirs, because the food was so delicious. Afghan food is similar to Indian yet has a distinct flavor. Now living in the North East and failing to make any Afghan friends here, I had a sudden craving and decided to make a dish myself. It was a lengthy process (nearly two hours) with many steps. Try to follow the instructions exactly.

I will start with the rice first

4 cups of Basmati Rice (can be found in any Indian store and now regular stores are carrying it as well)
White Sugar (can substitute splenda)
4 julienne carrots (video posted below of this process)
1/2 cup of black raisins
vegetable oil (don't use olive oil, it has a distinct flavor/scent that will take over the taste of the dish)
3 stalks Cinnamon, 6 Cardamom, 1tsp cumin (grind these in grinder or by hand)

black pepper
a video on how to julienne carrots


wash the rice 3 times and drain (leave aside)
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
In a saucepan, heat up 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat
Add the carrots
Add 1 tsp sugar
Cook while stirring for a few minutes
Add the raisins
Cook for 10 more minutes
Take off heat and Set aside
In another saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of oil and 1 tbsp. sugar
Cook until sugar dissolves
Remove pan from heat and cool
Add 1 cup of water
Return pan to heat to boiling, cook for 2-3 minutes
Take off heat and set aside
Heat water in a large pot til boiling
Add the washed rice and boil for 6 minutes
Strain the rice
Obtain a heavy oven safe pot
Add the rice
Add the carrots and raisins mixture
Add the syrup mixture
Add a pinch of saffron and the ground spices
Cover the pot and put on high heat on the stove for 5 minutes
Then place pot into oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes
The rice should be removed at 20 minutes and placed on a wooden slab until oven cools
Once oven is cool place rice back in to stay warm while you work on the kofta

Now for the Kofta

2 lbs. of ground beef
let it strain while you ready the other ingredients
2 medium onions thinly sliced
2 Cloves of garlic thinly sliced
3 Cloves of garlic cut into 2 pieces
2 medium onion chopped roughly into 2 inch cubes
Ground Black pepper
Olive oil
1.5 cans tomato paste

blend the onion and garlic pieces (not the slices) with the black pepper in a food processor finely
Add 2 tsp of salt and the above onion and garlic mixture in the ground beef
In a large non-stick flat pan with high sides, heat about 3/4 cup of oil - heat up at medium high heat
Add the onions - cook until reddish brown (dont burn)
Add the sliced garlic half-way through
While the onions are cooking, mix the tomato paste, 3 cups of water and 2 tsp. of salt together
Add to the onions when they are ready
Cook for five minutes
Take about half a handful of ground beef mixture and toss and roll it in your palms until you get a perfect sphere
Add to the pan

Continue until all the beef is used up
Cover and cook for another 30 minutes

To complete this meal, make a simple salad:
take piece of iceberg letter and slice 2mm thick slices
then cut the other way 2mm until you have chopped pieces
do the same with cucumbers and tomatoes
Mix together
Don't add any dressing or anything on top

here is what your finished product should look like: