Life..a miracle

Life..a miracle

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Farewell oh summer..

The summer has been a real roller coaster for me! A lot of things happened.. I moved.. I got a new job..I started writing again..baking again..huff..the list goes on..
With the summer coming to an end I had to grab the opportunity to bake something summery before it was too late. I decided to buy stuff and convinced myself that it would compel me to bake ..especially when I was getting desperate to bake. My last trip to Trader Joe's set the stage for me. The store was full of lovely peaches and nectarines and I had to grab some.

I looked around for the various things I could bake with peaches and truly the list was endless. I left the choice to the better half and by his choice I was ready to make some lovely peach cupcakes.

I still had to control the amount of guilt I would get and decided to skip the frosting. The best part is the cupcakes turned out so moist and light that you didn't need anything else. I was in a mood to have something decadent and pretty much used the original recipe and it turned out to be great! Here it is:

Peach Cupcake
Ingredients: (Makes about 8-9 cupcakes)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter / 1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a little more than 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
1 peach peeled, cored and chopped (I made 1/2 inch dice)

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the muffin cups with paper liners. I didn't have any so had to do without them.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy. Add the egg, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and then the vanilla. Gently mix in the yogurt. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the peach chunks.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
The original recipe suggested cream cheese frosting and I can imagine it would taste yumm... Here is the original recipe, if you guys are wondering what frosting to pair with. I did try making a low-fat version of the frosting for my cupcake which turned out to be pretty good. Here it is:

Brown sugar yogurt frosting
1/2 cup of greek yogurt / low-fat yogurt (extract out all the water from the yogurt)
4 tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp corn flour
  • Mix all the ingredients well and keep the frosting frozen to make it firm and only use it when the cupcakes cool down.
We had these as a dessert with some peach slices as well as for breakfast with coffee, in fact just now the better half had it with some whipped cream. Surely a recipe to make again and again. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lentil madness..

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was set on recreating some recipes from my childhood and one of my favorite ones was dosa! Mom would serve us hot dosas right off the tava and boy it felt heavenly! The spicy chutney and the rich sambhar would be just perfect! But back in India mom would either gather patience to ferment the batter.. (Read: only if we had guests) or else go to a local grocery store and pick up a bag of the ready batter.. anyhow those thin and crispy dosas were mouth-watering!

But I am even more lazier..and a drive down to the local Indian store doesn't really happen especially on a lazy after a bit of digging around I decided to experiment with lentil dosas. My mom made this a couple of times, when she was bored with the usuals.. but I wasn't sure what combination she really used. So I decided to go with what I had in my pantry and it turned out beautiful!

I love lentils..can't really express how much.For these dosas I decided to use five different types of them! Yes five types of lentils! Of course these dosas are a spin-off of the originals, but with the variety of the lentils, there is no end to the combinations one can conjure up. The best part being the dosa batter is ready in a few hours, no need to wait overnight for the fermentation. Here's my rendition of this lovely lentil dosa:

Lentil Dosa
1/4 cup toor dal (Split pigeon pea)
1/4 cup moong dal (Split mung beans)
1/4 cup whole moong (Mung beans)
1/4 cup chana dal (Split bengal gram dal)
1/3 cup urad dal (Split vigna mungo bean)
1/3 cup white rice (any variety should do, I used basmati)
2 dried red chilies
1 inch ginger roughly chopped
oil for making dosas
1/2 onion
salt to taste
Clockwise from the top: Chana Dal,Whole Moong, Toor Dal, Urad Dal, Moong Dal
  • Soak all the lentils and rice in water for 6-8 hrs.
  • Grind the soaked lentils and rice to a coarse texture along with the red chillies and ginger. Season with salt. The batter should have a medium consistency but a bit thicker than the usual dosa batter. Let the batter rest for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Now heat a non-stick pan. Sprinkle a few drops of water and let them evaporate or just use an onion and mop it over the base. Pour two spoonfuls of the batter and spread out the dosa with a light hand. The dosa isn't supposed to be very thin, but I had kept some batter for the next day and managed to get very thin dosas with it.
  • Let one side get a bit crispy and sprinkle few drops of oil and turn the dosa over. Let it get cooked and served with a spicy coconut chutney or sambhar. Enjoy!

This recipe goes into my favorite recipes list and I will most surely make it again!
With all the lentil madness going on, I am definitely entering this one into the monthly MLLA event initiated by Susan and guest hosted by Cathy this month.
Also entering this one into the Flavors of South India event hosted by
Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Melange full of yumminess!

With Ganpati festival.. I was going veggie for 10 days and had to conjure up some yummy treats to truly enjoy this time.. and we definitely had some delicious meals.. Of course no Ganeshotsav is complete without modaks, and I made a small batch this season..
I have definitely had better times with rice flour wasn't fresh and I had to pay a price for that. It took me a real long time to make the modaks, because my dough would crack easily if it was made too thin..urgh.. nonetheless I did not give up and at the end they came up pretty good..the flavor was dot on.. that's one pat on my back..especially since the better half enjoyed them a lot!

But Ganpati brings back some lovely memories and more often than not makes me really emotional. With the ten days of Ganpati I was intent on recreating some of these lovely dinners that I truly cherish. A simple yet fun meal which was loved by everyone at home is misal!
I was googling around for various versions posted by other people and I infact found an official wiki page for it right here. :) Here is my version of the misal, more rather my mom's version with my dad's specifics. Yes, very few recipes had my dad's input in them..and he made sure that if this recipe was made it would have his required ingredients in them. So here goes:

Misal meaning mixture in Marathi is comprised of a bunch of components, namely:

Usal, matki (moth beans) curry
1.5 cups sprouted matki boiled
1 medium onion sliced
1 medium tomato chopped
1-2 tbsp Garam masala
1 tbsp Dhaniya-jeera powder
1-2 tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric power
1-2 tbsp grated/shaved jaggery (gul)
4-5 curry leaves
1.5 tbsp oil
salt to taste
  • Heat oil and saute the mustard seeds,curry leaves and onions followed by tomatoes
  • Add the jaggery and the spices, let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the matki with all the residual water. Adjust the water if required.
  • Season with salt and adjust the flavors to your liking.
Tarri (Spicy gravy)
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
1 inch ginger finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp oil
1.5 cups water
salt to taste
  • Heat oil and saute the mustard seeds,ginger,garlic and onions followed by tomatoes
  • Add the spices and the water. Let it simmer and keep it on until it reduces to half. Season with salt.
The rest of the ingredients for misal are: 
Batata Bhaji - boiled, diced potatoes seasoned with spices and lightly sauteed in oil. This is a requisite for my dad, he says the bhaji makes the misal a more complete meal.
Chivda, farsan & sev (My dad had to have a specific kind of chivda for the misal, I was so excited when I found it in the Indian store here,surely something to have when he visits again.)
Chopped onions,tomatoes and cilantro

To assemble the misal, start of with the bhaji, followed by the usal. Add the chopped onions and tomatoes followed by the chivda and top it off with the tarri and some sev. A delicious melange of yumminess is ready to be enjoyed! Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Je t'aime, Paris!

I still wish my day starts with wishing someone..
Hmm I guess only in my dreams...
I so didn't wanna be back! The three days I spent in this city passed by like a flash of light..truly a magical city.. Paris!!! I know I won't be the first one to say how awesome the city is but this post is just going to be my way of jotting down my thoughts for everything I felt about this city. Yes, its quiet late..but its never too late to post.. :P

I went off to Paris with a very excited yet open mind and very little knowledge of the French language. But truly the experience couldn't get better! The city welcomed me with open arms.. the weather turned out to be really great.. with some showers here and there..which only added to the beauty of the city!
So enough of me blabbering around about the city..I did manage to visit most of the tourist spots..n used the metro everywhere! It was a lot of fun..n definitely the pics will say it all...

With hardly anytime at hand, I literally had to take a long stroll through Louvre..

Splendid sculptures..some glimpses from Louvre!

But of all the things that I saw, they was one structure whose mind-blowing beauty had me mesmerized! Its the Opera.. 

The interiors are truly made for the grande royals! I just couldnt imagine what it would be back then..I wish I had the opportunity to actually watch a show in the splendid amphitheater.. I am still mesmerized by these pictures..

The only thing I am guilty of is the fact that I didn't photograph all the yummy things I had! But there is always a next time and there will be surely be one for Paris!
I will be posting a bunch of overdue blog posts today and over this weekend...I have gotto give some much needed attention to my blog!
Stay tuned!