Sinful Chocolate Roulade

Aug 28, 2012
Over the weekend, I accomplished a daunting task of making a chocolate roulade! Its been on my bucket list for so long but I was always afraid because it looked intricate and handling delicate dessert like a roulade is certainly not my forte..but I did it anyway and it turned out fabulous minus some cracks which was easily covered by heaps of cocoa powder :)

I followed Martha Stewart's recipe  for both cake and the filling. I added some vanilla bean to the filling to give subtle vanilla flavor. 

It's a pretty simple recipe but it requires a lot of attention especially when you are beating egg whites and carefully folding them with the chocolate mixture. The key is to get that right and cake will come out light and fluffy.. the filling was heavenly with perfect balance of sweetness and mild vanilla flavor.. 

so, I learned my lesson- do not let the fear of failing get into the way of enjoying sinful, chocolate roulade!

Is there anything you are afraid of baking/cooking ? Feel free to share!  

Quick Red Thai Curry (Meatless Monday)

Aug 13, 2012
So, again its that time of the week- Monday which means I go meatless for a day. I have no problem when it comes to breakfast & lunch but every week- dinner gets little challenging. I had been craving Thai for few days and there is something about the coconut milk & basil combination that always hits the spot, I can never get enough of it..

Tofu makes a great substitution for protein in meat dishes.  Tofu tandoori wrap  is one of my all- time favorite lunch. Also, they are great addition to stir fry's.

I made a quick red thai curry with tofu with veggies & lots of freshly chopped basil in less than 30 minutes.

Stir fry veggies of your choice & tofu separately. Then mix red thai curry paste, soy sauce, fish sauce & coconut milk (light) in a pan and let it cook for 5-8 minutes. Combine veggies & tofu and let it cook for additional 10 minutes. Add coconut milk if needed. Throw in chopped fresh basil (a lot of it).  Serve it with cooked rice.

Chocolate-Mint Cake with a Secret Ingredient

Aug 12, 2012
Its no secret that I love chocolate..
When I miss family, I make fudge.
For birthdays, I have made cake pops.
Instead of dinner, I devour chocolate bundt cake.

And my chocolate musings still continue and this time I got little more adventurous and made cake with an unusual ingredient- red kidney beans as a base for the cake instead of flour.I had seen several recipes using beans as a fat replacement in baked goods but this was my first time in using beans baked goods.

I adapted the recipe from healthyindulgences, tweaked ingredients around but I got carried away and did not pay attention while following a recipe and thought it will fail miserably, however, to my great surprise- the cake came out moist & very delicious..and no one has to know the cake has beans - full of fiber.

Trust me you wont taste any beans in the cake- it turned out moist, flavorful with a hint of peppermint 

1-15 oz canned red kidney beans (may use other beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoon butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
6 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

- Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
- In a blender, place beans, 3 eggs, sugar, salt, and peppermint extract and mix until there are no lumps.
- Whisk together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, & baking soda along with the bean mixture.
- Beat butter and eggs together until it mixes well with the bean mixture. (this is the part where i messed up with mixing, so if you want to do it right way, refer to the original recipe but my way worked out fine too).
- In a small square, line with parchment paper, pour the mixture and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the
inserted tooth pick comes out clean.
- let it cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy :)

Fresh from the oven

cà phê sua đá - Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Aug 9, 2012
I was introduced to Vietnamese coffee by one of my friend through this youtube video, MUST watch while making this coffee.. I got myself an adorable French drip filter/phin filter from a Asian supermarket for only few bucks and  it looked like a fun thing to do and for a coffee lover, its just hard to pass up any opportunities that involves coffee! 

It could be enjoyed hot or cold but given the scorching day here in Dallas, it made sense to drink iced-coffee. Here is the step by step demo of how to make cà phê đá aka Vietnamese coffee. 

You will need: 
Phin filter
Dark roast Vietnamese coffee ( I used Trung Nguyen brand )
Sweetened-condensed milk
Boiling water

In a glass, pour about 1 tablespoon condensed milk, depending upon your sweet preference.Add 3-4tsp of ground coffee to the base of coffee press. Shake it gently to spread the coffee evenly. Pour boiling water into the coffee press 2 times, the first time with about a tbsp of water, cover the lid and wait 30secs to let the coffee grinds absorb the water and expand.

Then fill with hot water again, but not too full. Cover the lid.   Allow it to drip slowly. Once it stops dripping, stir well and pour cubed ice or let it refrigerate for 15 minutes to enjoy the chilled iced coffee.

On a side note, if you suffer from acne & drink alot of coffee & chocolate- go easy on them for couple days and see acne clears up. Sadly, I found out that two of my favorite things in this world are partly the reason of my acne :(  :(  :(

Goat Curry with Fragrant Basmati Rice

Aug 1, 2012

While my brother was gone for almost two months to Nepal, I was too lazy to cook any Nepali food because it could be pretty laborious (depending on what you make) and it felt pointless to go through the hassle of cooking and cleaning for only one person! Also, the whole experience of sharing a good home-cooked meal is not same when you are alone at a dinner table with plethora of good food :( so yeah, pretty much last two months went by with easy to fix meals in front of the tv.

Spicy, flavorful Goat Curry over warm, fragrant Basmati Rice was the answer to ultimately end the craving for Nepali food...

Goat requires low-heat, slow cooking to preserve the tenderness and this is when pressure cooker comes very handy..also if you like dal/lentil, I highly recommend investing in this appliance.

How to Make Goat Curry: 
- Marinate the goat with whipping cream, turmeric powder, salt & garam masala for an hour. 
- In a pressure cooker or a heavy bottom pan, heat some oil, add bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks until they turn slightly brown. 
-Add garlic/ginger paste followed by chopped onion until they turn translucent. 
-Stir in goat and mix with other ingredients.
-Reduce the heat to low add tomatoes and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
-Close the pressure cooker and let it cook for 15-20 minutes or so.
-Depending upon how thick or thin you want the final product, continue simmering until it reduces to desired consistency and enjoy the curry garnished with fresh, chopped cilantro.

* If using a heavy bottom pan, it takes longer (30-40 minutes) for the goat to become tender and cook fully.

I jazzed up the good ol' Basmati Rice with ghee (clarified butter) and two of my favorite spices. Boil water with cardamom pods & cinnamon sticks, add rice and reduce heat until all the water is absorbed. Drain the extra water. Stir in ghee (clarified butter) at the end.