Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mexican Chocolate cake with Flan

(From Amy’s Cookbook)


1 box chocolate cake - prepare as directed
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup condensed milk
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 bottle/jar Coronado Cajeta (try to find a squeeze bottle easier to handle than the jar - find this at any Mexican grocery store like Fiesta, and Albertson’s may carry it - not for sure.)


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour a bunt cake pan.
2) Mix the chocolate cake as directed and keep to the side.
3) In a blender mix the evaporated milk, condensed milk, eggs, and vanilla.
4) Squeeze or pour into the cake pan a thin layer of the cajeta. (If you use the squeeze bottle go around the pan twice with the cajeta)
5) Pour the milk mixture from the blender into the pan.
6) Pour the chocolate cake mixture next. Don’t worry if the milk mixture comes over on top of the cake. Just make sure that the cake is evenly distributed in the pan.
7) Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until you poke the cake with a stick and it comes out clean.
8) Allow the cake to cool for 15minutes and flip onto a plate. You can also top the cake with chopped nuts
9) To store the cake cover and place in the refrigerator.

Chinese Fried Rice

From Ning's Cookbook


2 small bok choy
2 large bok choy
4-5 medium size leaves of cabbage
2/3 cup of mixed carrot and peas
1 cup of rice
2 eggs
4-5 tbsp cooking oil (you can use olive oil if you are conscious about calories)


1) Cooked the rice one day ahead and store it inside refrigerator over night.
2) Thin slice bok choy and cabbage.
3) Heat Oil in a pan and sautee cabbage for about 2 minute. Add bok choy into cabbage. Add salt and stir them.
4) When bok choy and cabbage are soft and tender, remove them out of pan.
5) Warm 2-3 tbsp cooking oil. Add cold rice, stir fry.
6) When rice is warm, make a hole in the middle and crack 2 eggs there. Scramble egg and mix egg with rice when egg is solid but not too hard.
7) Add bok choy and cabbage back into rice, mix well. Add more salt or few drops of soy sauce.
Turn burner to low heat and let it stay for 5-8 minutes (this dependents on how you like the fried rice, if you like it a little sticky and soft, 5 minute, if you like fried rice not sticky at all, take long time to keep it on low heat).
9) You can also add black mushroom (the chinese type) into your fried rice. Thin slice mushroom the same way as bok choy

Daal Maharani

From Bharvi Bhuta’s Cookbook


1/4 Cup Masoor Daal
3/4 Cup Toor Daal
2 Medium Tomatoes
1/2 Medium Red Onion
10 Cloves of Garlic - Shredded
2 sq inch of Ginger
Green Chillies according to your taste
(Make a paste of Green chillies and ginger)
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder
2 Tsp Kasoori Methi
Cumin Seeds for Seasoning
Asafoetida for Seasoning
Salt according to Taste
Oil for cooking


1) Pressure cook both daals separately.
2) Chop onions finely and tomatoes too.
3) In a non stick pan, heat some oil. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
4) Add Onions, ginger-green chillies paste and garlic and saute it.
5) Add Tomatoes and saute for a little while.
6) Add both the daals and stir gently.
7) Add all the masalas and Kasoori Methi.
Let it all boil for a few minutes. Add water if required.

Enjoy it hot with Rice or Chapathi.

Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Soup

From Amy's Cookbook


2 Large Eggplants (about 1 pound each) quartered lengthwise
2 red peppers (about 6oz each) quartered lengthwise
6 garlic cloves peeled (or more if you like a lot of garlic)
4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1 small carrot - chopped
3 medium ripe tomatoes (6 oz each) peeled, seeded and chopped. - time saver I used 15oz can of stewed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
salt and pepper
8 cups vegetable broth
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Optional - fresh cilantro and lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 400F

Rub the cut side of the eggplants, the skin side of the bell peppers and the garlic with 1 tablespoon of the oil. (Low fat version - I used Pam “Olive Oil” Cooking Spray)

Roast in the oven until the the garlic is browned and softened, (turning once) the peppers are blistered and beginning to char, and the eggplants are softened and slightly wrinkled. This can take up to 30-40 minutes depending on your oven and how well you want the vegetables roasted. Place the roasted peppers in a paper bag, (plastic bag worked!) twist to close and set aside for 20 min. Set the eggplant and garlic aside to cool.

When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, peel away the skin. Coarsely chop and set aside. Peel of the kins of the peppers with our fingers or with a small paring knife. Coarsely chop and set aside. Chop the garlic and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot heat the remaining oil over medium heat ( I used 2 TBS olive oil and some of the spray) Add the onion and carrot and cook stirring occasionally until very soft but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. (I also added additional garlic here!)

Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, cumin seeds, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a brisk simmer over medium high heat.

Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15minutes. Stir in the roasted eggplant, bell peppers, garlic and cayenne. Bring to a brisk simmer. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 15minutes.


I suggest to make the soup at least 1 day ahead to allow the soup to sit and the flavors intensify in taste. At this point I allowed the soup to completely cool. Working in batches transfer the soup into a food processor and blend until smooth and pureed. (For a thicker soup - use less of the broth. I didn’t use all the broth maybe 6cups of the broth)

Salad with cranberries, pears, and walnuts

From Amy’s Cookbook


1 bag spring lettuce mix (or any kind of lettuce mix)

4oz of goat cheese crumbled (use a plain goat cheese - no added flavors use more or less depending on how much you like goat cheese!!!)

Handful of Dried Cranberries

Handful of chopped walnuts

1-2 bosc pairs (firm) diced - I used a soft pear once, it’s good but not the same

Newmans Own Balsamic Venerate - Light (However much you want - but don’t drench the salad - it should be coated - Make sure it’s the light - I have never used the full fat and calorie version so it may taste slightly different

Cucumber Salad

From Amy's Cookbook

2 cups yogurt
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic
2-3 tsp of white vine vinegar
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
2 tsp snipped fresh dill
salt and ground white pepper to taste
1 tbl spoonolive oil - preferably extra virgin


1. Toss the cucumber with salt in a colander.
2. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
3. Press the excess water out of the cucumber,rinse quickly and blot to dry.
4. Keep aside.
5. Mash the 2 cloves of garlic with a little salt.
6. Combine the yogurt, cucumbers and garlic in a medium bowl with the white vinegar, fresh mint and fresh dill.
7. Add salt and white pepper to taste.
8. Drizzle over the salad the olive oil.

Bite Size Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomatoes Quiche

From Amy's Cookbook


2oz goat cheese
2oz semi-dry sun dried tomatoes
3 TBS of fresh basil - chopped
1 pkg. Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of milk
Salt & pepper to taste


Unthaw the sheets of puff pastry. Chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces and mix with goat cheese and basil. Place this mixture back into the fridge if your pastry is still unthawing.

Once the pastry is unthawed take 1 sheet which is divided into 3 sections and cut out 12 circles from the dough. The size should be slightly bigger than the mini-muffin pan. (Each section of the sheet should yield 4 circles.) Once in the pan you can press the pastry dough to come up on the side a bit to outline the mold.

Take the cheese mixture and equally place a small amount in the center of each mold.

Beat eggs, milk salt and pepper. (Not much salt is need as the goat cheese can be salty) in a bowl. You can easily fill the molds with the mixture by using a tablespoon. Each mold can hold 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons of egg mixture. I suggest filling each mold once and then repeating.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Since oven temps vary all the time you are baking until the crust becomes a golden brown. I always start off cooking them for 10 minutes and then taking a fork and slightly lifting up one of the quiches from the mold to determine how much time is required.

Cool – and enjoy! Once the quiche start cooling they will begin to sink in the middle – so don’t panic its ok


Semi-Dried Tomatoes:I have only found semi-dry tomatoes once and I don't remember where so I end up buying the regular sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil or if I am lucky water! (I prefer these, as they are not as sweet as the dry). Those of us with curvaceous figures and are looking to make this a little lighter I suggest placing the tomatoes in napkin to squeeze out all the oil. Repeat this until you feel good about it or the paper towel comes out 98% clean! When chopping the tomatoes - you don't have to make it an exact science. Just take your knife over the tomatoes a few time chopping.

Unthawing Puff Pastry:This process can take up to 1 hour or over night depending on your method. Since I am a procrastinator I usually end up waiting the day of 3 hours before I am suppose to have the things ready! Allow the sheets to unthaw folded on the counter top for about 30-45 minutes. Once you can unfold the sheets do so - The sheets will unthaw faster this way. Don't panic if the sheets crack at the fold line) Type of Pan needed:24-Cup Mini Muffin Pan - they make 12-cup pans as well. I suggest the 24 so you only have to bake once. This recipe yields 24 bite size quiche.

Fruity Ginger Smoothie

From Banu's Cookbook


1 1/2 cups cubed mango
2 cups strawberries
1 tablespoon minced, candied ginger
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup soy milk or 1 percent milk, chilled
Pinch of ground allspice


In a blender, combine the mango, 2 cups strawberries, ginger, honey, soy milk or milk, and allspice.

Process until smooth. Pour the mixture into 2 glasses.

Sprouted Moong Curry

From Saroj's Cookbook - Karnataka Recipes

1 cup sprouted moong
1 green chilli
1 stalk curry leaves
1 tsp. coriander leaves finely chopped
3-4 pinches asafoetida
1/2 tsp. mustard & cumin seeds mixed
2 tbsp. oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup tamarind water extract

Make paste of:
1/2 fresh coconut (1 cup grated)
1″ piece ginger

Roasted together for paste:
1 tsp. coriander seeds
3 dry whole red chillies
1/2 tsp. methi (fenugreek) seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds


1) Add water to sprouts till covered. Add salt and whole green chilli. Boil and simmer covered till sprouts are tender.
2) Heat oil in a heavy pan, add cumin and mustard seeds. Allow to splutter, add curryleaves and asafoetida.
3) Stir, add paste, stir, add tamarind water, bring to a boil.
4) Add sprouts, and some of its drained water.
5) Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Serve hot with rice or roti.

Roasted Red Pepper Garlic Dip

From Banu's Cookbook

2 red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper


1) Roast whole peppers by broiling approximately 6 inches from heat until blackened on all sides (turn with tongs).
2) Let rest for 10 minutes, then drain and peel off skins.
3) Cut in half and remove stem, seeds and ribs.
4) Place peppers in a food processor and add remaining ingredients.
5) Process until creamy.

Steamed Lentil Cakes

From Banu's Cookbook

1/2 cup toor dal
1/2 cup bengal gram
1/2 cup mung beans (moong dal)
1 onion, chopped
6-7 green chillies
1 tsp. grated, ginger
2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
1/2 tsp, asafoetida
Salt to taste.

1) Soak all the lentils together in water for 4 hours and drain.
2) Grind to a coarse batter with the remaining ingredients (not fine paste and do not add water)
3) Shape the mixture into small balls, (like oval shape) flatten them slightly.
4) Arange them in a pressure cooker container and steam them for 10-15 minutes.
5) Experiment with it by adding different vegetable

Lemon (Yellow) Rice

From Banu’s Cookbook

1 ½ cups of basmati rice cooked
Salt to taste
2 tblspns of oil/ghee
A pinch of asafoetida
2 dried red chillies
1 tblspn of split black gram (urad dal)
1 tblspn of split gram (chana dal)
½ tspn of fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
½ cup of peanuts
½ tspn of mustard seeds (optional)
10-12 of curry leaves
3 tblspns of lemon juice
½ tspn of turmeric powder
1 tblspn of grated fresh coconut (optional)

1) Cook the rice as per directions.
2) Heat oil/ghee in a shallow pan or a kadai.
3) Add a pinch of asafoetida. Add dried red chillies broken into two, urad dal, chana dal and methi seeds. Cook until dals change colour to light brown.
4) Add peanuts and mustard seeds. Let mustard seeds crackle, then add curry leaves.
5) Mix turmeric powder in this. Stir fry for half a minute.
6) Add cooked rice, salt and lemon juice.

Garnish with grated coconut.

1) You can use roasted or fried peanuts for this recipe
2) YOu also add Onions, Peas, Finely Chopped Bellpepper to this recipe as well.

Black Bean Salsa

From Banu's Cookbook


1 Can of Organic Black Beans
1 Can of Sweet Corn
1 Green Bell Pepper - Chopped Finely
1 Yellow Bell Pepper - Chopped Finely
1 Red Bell Pepper - Chopped Finely
1/4 Red Onion - Chopped Finely
2 Tomatoes - Chopped Finely
1/2 Cup of Chopped Cilantro
2 tsp Lemon Juice
Few Flakes of Red Pepper
1/2 tsp of Black Pepper
Salt to Taste

Toss all the ingredients together and adjust the spicyness as required. If you need it more hotter, you can always add some chopped Jalepenos.

Serve it with Tortilla Chips.

7 Layer Dip

From Banu's Cookbook

2 - Cans of FRITOS Hot Bean Dip with Jalapeno Peppers
1 - Small can of chopped black olives
1 - Cup of Sour Cream (You can use the light or fat free version as well)
2 - Avacados - seeded and mashed like guacamole (but without any added ingredients)
1/4 - Red Onion - Chopped Finely
2 - Roma Tomatoes - Chopped Finely
1/4 - Cup of Shredded Cheese (You can use any cheese you want)


In a nice flat bottmed bowl, layer the bean dip, and then layer each of the ingredients listed above in that manner.

Serve with Tortilla Chips.

Zucchini Walnut Bread

Recipe from Banu’s Cookbook

1 cup chopped walnuts
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually beat in sugar, then oil.
Seive together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder.
Add flour mixture alternately with zucchini into the egg mixture.
Stir in the walnuts and vanilla.

Pour batter into two 9 x 5 inch greased and lightly floured loaf pans.
Bake on lowest rack of the oven at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes. Let cool for 10
minutes in the pan, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

To freeze, wrap loaves in plastic wrap, and then wrap in heavy freezer paper.

Bittergourd Gojju (chutney)

From Anuradha Rao’s Cookbook


Bittergourd - 6 - Chopped into small pieces
1 tsp of tamrind paste or equivalent tamrind juice
2 tsp Brown Sugar
4 tsp MTR Rasam Powder
2 tbsp Dry Coconut Powder
Salt to Taste
2 tbsp Oil to fry
Mustard Seeds, Turmeric and Curry Leaves for Seasoning


1. Heat around 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and turmeric. After Mustard seeds splutter, add the chopped bitter gourd and saute it well on low fire. Around 15-20 mins.

2. Add 1 tsp of tamrind paste or equivalent tamrind juice. Add 2 tsp of brown sugar and salt to taste.

3. Mix all these well and cook well.

4. Grind MTR Rasam powder about 4 tsp (or more if you need it more spicy) and 2 tbsp dry coconut power in a blender. You can add a little water and make it into a smooth paste.

5. Add this to the bittergourd and cook it well until oil starts leaving the side.


a. You can use fresh coconut also instead of dry coconut.
b. If you fry the bitter gourd pieces well in the oil before you add anything else to it, that will be good as it will remove a lot of the bitterness.

Blueberry Gojju (Chutney)


3 cups Blueberries - washed
2 tbsp oil for cooking
Mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves and Hing (Asafoetida) for seasoning
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tbsp MTR Sambar Masala


1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in pan. Add Mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves and turmeric. Once the mustar seeds splutter, add blue berries.

2. Cook this on low fire for a few mins.

3. Add 2 tbsp of brown sugar and 2 tbsp MTR Sambhar masala and cook for a little while.

You should not add any water to this chutney.

Cabbage Pathrode (Patra)

Cabbage Pathrode (Patra)

Recipe from Anuradha Rao’s Cookbook


2 cups of rice
2 tbsp of channa daal
2 tbsp of urad daal
2 tbsp of dry corriander seeds
7-8 red chilles (as per taste)
1 tbsp of Jagger (as per taste)
2 tbsp of tamrind juice (adjust the amount if you are using paste)
1/2 head of cabbage - chopped finely
Turmeric Powder

For Seasoning:

Urad Daal
Mustard Seeds
Cury Leaves

For Garnishing:

Grated Fresh Coconut


1. Soak the rice, channa daal, urad daal, corriander seeds and red chillies overnight.
2. Grind this into a coarse mixture with less water.
3. To this, add the finely chopped cabbage, jaggery, tamrind, turmeric and salt.
4. Steam this mixture in Pressure cooker like Idli for 10 mins or so.
5. In a separate pan heat oil and put the seasoning of mustard seeds, urad daal, hing and curry leaves, to that add the crumbled steamed cabbage mixture.
6. Mix well and cook on medium fire for a few minutes until the mixture has absorbed the seasoning.
7. Add the grated coconut garnishing and serve it hot.

You can also add chopped corriander leaves for garnishing.
You can add extra salt after mixing the cabbage mixture with seasoning if you feel like salt is less.