Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chocochip Sundae aka Pizookie (B'day Post!!)

2 years back this day I was celebrating my birthday in L.A. with my aunts and cousins. We'd all gone out to eat and well when the restaurant got to know its my birthday, they brought out this dee-lee-cious dessert on the table. It was a first for me! 

And oh boy! 

You don't quite forget your firsts do you?! 

The dessert was a warm Chocolate chip cookie baked in an individual plate dish topped with a cool scoop of vanilla bean icecream. My my....the icecream slowly but surely melting..losing its resolve to stay cool just as I was losing my resolve not to dive in! The dessert won ofcourse. 

So this birthday,  I wanted to give myself a similar treat. The feeling of accomplishment when I do end up making one of the best things ever in my life is utterly indescribable!!! 

Yes!! This is one of the best ever! I'm so proud of me..... Happy Birthday to me!!! 




Here's how you can make it as well

Serves: 6

Complexity: ** 

Time taken: 45 mins


You'll need

1 stick butter (approx 5 tbsp), softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
50-100 gms dark choco chips (as much or as little you like them)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp instant coffee granules
pinch of love


Method

Have your oven preheating at 350F or 180C.

Line your baking tray with parchment paper. I wanted to make just one giant cookie. So I went for a glass baking dish and since I was out of parchment paper, I lined it with foil. If you know me, you'll know I like to bend rules

Start with combining your wet ingredients first. Take the butter. in a bowl (I used salted butter which is why I did not add any salt to the dough. If you're using unsalted butter, please do make sure you add 1/2 tsp salt to bring out all the flavours of the ingredients)



Add the brown sugar first




Then the white sugar



And then the condensed milk.




Mix them all together with a whisk. 



Crack open the egg quite clumsily so the yolk splits and you can't take a pretty picture



Add in the vanilla essence. By all means use pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean to this if you have it on hand. It will amplify the taste I'm sure.




Again whisk it all together. 



Now, and quite unceremoniously so, dump in the chocolate chips or in my case the chocolate bar that I broke into chunks. Make do in your kitchen. Its more fun that way. 




Meanwhile in another bowl, add in the cup of flour and the instant coffee powder. 



Top it with baking powder. 



Give that a whisk as well so everything's combined. 




Now its time to combine the dry and wet ingredients. Add the flour mix to the other bowl. 




Fold them all together well. Whisk it so everything becomes perfectly combined. See how the batter is not runny but yet its glossy almost like a dough. Sprinkle in your pinch of love. 




Place the batter in the baking dish. 




Spread it around as evenly as you can.




Place in the oven for baking. Mine took about 25 minutes to bake. This is after 12 minutes or so. You can see the dough rising and cracking on the surface




Check with toothpick after 20 mins to see done-ness. Your cookie is ready. All cracked n perfect. I really really want to have it all....




Look at it, showing off... 




The fun doesn't stop here. 

Cut out a piece of the cookie. You'll see how soft the inside is. The crust all crisp and those wicked chocolate chunks, oozing by now. *fast shallow breaths*




I added caramel biscotti ice-cream on top of this evil perfect cookie. I call it evil because I'm sure it has me in a trance since I can't keep my hands off of it. Oh and top it off with a red cherry. My desserts are not complete without a cherry on top. Why would anyone even eat a dessert if it has no cherry?! Garnish it with grated chocolate and boom!! 




Its a beauty, isn't it?! Make it and please don't forget to wish me a Happy year ahead! Thank you! Indulge! 









Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chef's Aglio Olio e Peperoncino

So the other day I went to see the movie Chef. Hi5 if you've seen it as well! 

Oh my! What an experience it was to watch the movie and the delectable food in it.

Three cheers for Jon Favreau for making a movie like this. Btw, the part with RDJ, which I was sooooo looking forward to, came and went so quickly. I wanted some more and then some. 

At this moment I'm not entirely sure if I'm just talking about the RDJ -JF conversation or the food shown in the movie. Something akin to the scene they had. Life's surreal moments.....

My head's a little muddled up like that. But one thing I'm sure of, that Grilled cheese S/w- that beautiful golden crusted S/w oozing with melted cheese, yes that very one that stole my breath away, I'd die happily after eating that. 

Actually no, I wouldn't, I'd probably just ask for a couple more. I like eating, what can I say?! I have a food blog for Christ's sake!

Lets not talk about me though. Lets talk about food. 

There was so much gorgeous food in the movie- if I start talking about it, we might be here for the next 12teen hours. I don't think you'd want that. 

So the guest of honour today is the breath taking Aglio e Olio that JF made for Scar Jo. I could hear loud gasps while the pasta was being put together in the movie and deservedly so. I mean such a simple dish and yet it made me want to dive right into the pasta and live there forever. 

Which is why I was inspired to make it again today. I have made versions of it earlier and you can see them here. 


Lets see how you like this one.



Serves: 2

Complexity: **

Time taken: 10-12 minutes


You'll need

1/2 packet Spaghetti about 250 gms
6-7 cloves of garlic, slivered
1 tsp of red Chili flakes 
10-12 Basil leaves
Salt to season the pasta
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter (optional)
Fresh Parmesan
Pinch of love


Method

First bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti to it and cook according the time stated on the packet. Make sure its al dente.

Next get a skillet/ pan and drizzle about 4 tbsp olive oil in it. Don't even start the heat yet.



Add the slivered garlic to it and then start the heat on  medium low. We want to infuse the oil with the garlic flavour and sloooooooowly caramelize the garlic.



See how its starting to turn golden around the edges....this is after a couple of minutes. 



Stir it a bit for another 30 seconds and then add in the red chili flakes. Turn the heat to low.



Keep stirring till the garlic turns golden n toasty. Not yet...we could still keep going...we want all the slivers to be evenly coloured



This is after another minute or so. Just perfect. Please don't let the garlic go any darker than this or else it will burn and become bitter and we don't want that. 



Meanwhile your pasta should have cooked by now. or you could just turn off the heat for the garlic-oil skillet. Before you drain the spaghetti, make sure you retain about 1/2 a cup of pasta water. We can use this later if the pasta gets a little dry. 

Plomp, yes plomp, the spaghetti right in the garlic oil. Turn the heat back on, on low. 



If you're using the butter, add it to the pasta before giving it a toss. The butter just adds to the richness and shine



Take basil leaves and stack them like so. And I know the movie Chef had parsley instead but I couldn't get my hands on fresh parsley and basil tastes better anyways. 



Try to roll them as best as you can. 

Observe for a moment how weird your thumb looks while you multitask- holding the leaves and taking a picture. Moving on...



And slice them with a sharp knife. 




Sprinkle the chiffonade over the spaghetti and give it a good toss so the caramelized garlic and chili flakes are all mingled with the spaghetti




Dust in your pinch of love. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan before serving. 



I was just amazed at the nutty flavour rendered by the garlic and the simplicity of it all. 




Load your fork as best as you can, not skimpily like this...




And take a bite of this orgasmic deliciousness. Indulge! 







Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chicken Satay with Pineapple Salsa

From the internet:

Grandpa: In our times we didn't question why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken crossed the road and that was good enough for us

Wish life could be simple like that some time. 

Thank God though atleast when it comes to food it is. 

Here's a simple Chicken Satay with a real simple Pineapple Salsa. 

Now don't go n be fooled when I say simple. When I say simple, I mean bursting with flavour, blow-your-mind-delicious. 



The smokey sweetness of the Chicken combined with the sweet and textured salsa ....well heck with the description...just go ahead, take a look, and then make it. 

Please. 

Make it. 

You'll thank me. 

Thank you


Serves: 2

Complexity: **

Time taken: 45 mins (including marination time)


You'll need


For the Chicken 

2 Chicken breasts (cleaned and cut vertically in the middle)
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce (optional)
2 tbsp bbq sauce
1" pc of ginger
3-4 whole dried red chilies 
Salt to taste
Peanut oil
Pinch of love

For the Pineapple Salsa

3-4 Pineapple slices (I used canned)
1/2 red bell pepper
2 Jalapenos
1/4 onion
20-25 mint leaves
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
salt (optional) 
handful of salted roasted peanuts
Pinch of love

Skewers for satay


Method

Lets marinate the chicken first.

Halve the chicken breasts vertically and pound them to an even thickness. 



On that sprinkle some garlic powder. I use fried garlic powder. I always have it on hand. Its my life source. Now that we have that covered, we can move on. 



Next drizzle some soy sauce



The hoisin.... you could skip this if you wanted to but i feel it echoes all the flavours we are using beautifully and add an extra dimension to the chicken.



Next grate in the piece of ginger. This is just a little over 1" but I think you could get away with lesser. 



Add the bbq sauce. I just squeezed some directly from the bottle. Thats right, I didn't measure it.. I like living on the edge like this. 



Also let me just say that bbq sauce and ginger are my two new bffs. They make stuff taste unbelievably goooooooood. Sprinkle salt. 

Rub all the marinade over the chicken. 



The reason why we are rubbing now before adding the last ingredient is because the last ingredient is red chilies. Break the whole dried chilies in halves and let the seeds fall out on the chicken. Leave the chilies on the marinating chicken and place in the fridge till the time you're ready to cook. I usually let mine sit for about 2-3 hours but even 15-20 minutes would do. 




Take the chicken out of the fridge and thread it on the bamboo skewers. You could also use metal ones. I also used a stove top grill to cook mine. 

So get your grill heating. Drizzle some peanut oil over the chicken and a little over the grill. Place the skewered chicken so you get beautiful grill marks over them. 



Let it cook for 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other till the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. Please take care not to over cook the chicken or else the meat will turn hard n chewy and it will be a disaster. 

Yummmy, smokey, slightly sweet Chicken Satay is ready. Flavoured with those punch-packing red chilies and the earthy heat of the ginger; are you salivating yet?! I am! 



Perfectly charred marks, soft moist chicken on a stick. My life's complete! *Happy Dance*. But there's more! My life just keeps on giving! *quick thank-you prayer* 

For the Pineapple Salsa

I didn't have salted roasted peanuts on hand, so I roasted them at home with salt. 

Then bring out your mortar n pestle or just a rolling pin or even a bottom of a good jar, and coarsely grind the peanuts. 



Take your chopper or food processor or even a blender and put in the vegetables and the pineapple along with the mint leaves, the lime zest, the lime juice and peanuts.



Give it a couple of whizzes. If you want chunky pico de gallo here's where you stop. But I wanted it all to be pineapple-y and salsa like. 



So I went ahead and whizzed it for about 30 more seconds. Et voila! My Pineapple Salsa was done! Garnish with a few pineapple pieces and a sprig of fresh mint leaves. 




How delicious are those flavours all combined together! Pineapple salsa is my new favourite after the Mango Pico de Gallo


Dust in your pinch of love and Serve chilled with the hot Chicken Satay. Indulge!