Sunday, March 30, 2008

Orange Yogurt Bread

I came across this recipe on Nicole’s wonderful blog- Pinch My Salt and decided that this was something that had to be tried out immediately. It looked so very appealing. And for once I had all the required ingredients at home!

I made a couple of changes to the original recipe. I cut down on the amount of butter used, increased the amount of yogurt, substituted the granulated sugar with equal amounts of brown and regular sugar and also threw some raisins into the batter.

The results were pretty impressive, if I may say so myself. The batter turned out to be enough for almost 2 loaves so that’s what I ended up doing- baking 2 loaves.
They turned out really well. They were moist, sweet, soft and spongy- just the way I like it.

4 Tbsp butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
½ cup+ 2 Tbsp low-fat yogurt
½ cup orange juice
2 tsp orange extract

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup raisins
½ tsp salt

For the glaze:
Powdered sugar
Orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, beat well.
Add the yogurt, orange juice and orange extract. Mix well.

Mix the dry ingredients well and combine with the wet ingredients. Add the raisins and mix into the batter. Pour into greased loaf pans.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. (Check after 35 minutes or so. I found that the top had started to brown while the rest of the loaf needed some more time. Cover loosely with foil at this stage.)

Cool the loaves. Poke a couple of holes on the surface of the bread. Drizzle the glaze and spread all over.

This is a really good bread/cake to have along with a hot cup of tea or even as an after-dinner treat when you are craving something sweet. We simply loved it and I am definitely going to make this again and again.

Nicole, thanks a ton for the recipe!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Balsamic Strawberries with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese

I stumbled across this recipe while I was looking for something simple to do with the strawberries that had just been purchased. I made this last night and it was a huge hit.

15-20 fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 tsp (or more) of sugar

For the syrup:
1/3 cup
balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

For whipping together:
2-3 Tbsp
mascarpone cheese (at room temperature)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Serves 2

In a bowl, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar. Let it stand for 15 minutes or so until the strawberries have released their juices.

Meanwhile, combine the balsamic vinegar, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the vinegar is reduced to a syrup-like consistency (takes about 5 minutes). Cool.

Whip together the mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla essence.
Portion the strawberries with their juices, mixed with a bit of balsamic syrup into serving bowls. Top with the mascarpone mixture and drizzle with the remaining balsamic syrup.

Balsamic vinegar has a lovely sweet flavor with a hint of tartness. Reducing it only intensifies the goodness. The mascarpone, the strawberries and the balsamic vinegar go really well together to make a quick dessert that is absolutely heavenly.

Off this goes to Mike @ Mike’s Table for Strawberry Seduction.

Some other recipes using balsamic vinegar:
Chocolate Balsamic Truffles
Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter

Another quick dessert with mascarpone cheese:
Peach and Mascarpone Phyllo Cups

I decided to have some fun with the balsamic vinegar while putting this together.
I clicked a couple of pictures and decided to send this one over to Bee and Jai at Jugalbandi for
Click: Metal.

A spoonful of balsamic vinegar

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Grape Smoothie

There’s really no need for a recipe for this one!
I just threw a whole bunch of grapes into my blender along with some milk, yogurt, a tiny bit of honey and some vanilla essence.
Blend everything together until smooth and frothy. Pour into your favorite glass and drink!

While the smoothie may not be much to look at, it certainly is simple, filling and tasty.
I saw this on one of my favorite blogs- Vaishali’s
Happy Burp. Sadly, her blog has not been showing any signs of life for almost a year now.

Off this goes to
Sig who is hosting the March edition of Monthly Blog Patrol.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pinwheel Pasta in a Roasted Vegetable Sauce

On a recent visit to our local Farmers’ market, I came across a store selling a wide assortment of pasta. I’ve never seen so many different varieties, colors and flavors of pasta in one place before! I spent a good deal of time in that particular store alone trying to pick out something I’d never used before and finally settled on this pretty looking pinwheel pasta.

After coming back home, this was pushed to the back of my pantry and was forgotten about until a couple of days back.
I then decided to use it along with whatever vegetables I had on hand to make this tasty dish.

Rotelle/Pinwheel pasta
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 big onion, peeled and sliced
½ red bell pepper, chopped
20-25 grape tomatoes, halved
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red chilli flakes
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried rosemary
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (for topping)
A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the carrots, onions, peppers, grape tomatoes and garlic with olive oil, salt, pepper, red chilli flakes and dried herbs. Roast until tender for about 35-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions or until al dente. Reserve some pasta water to make the sauce and drain off the rest.

Once the roasted veggies have cooled down a bit, blend adding a little bit of the pasta water at a time, to get a sauce-like consistency. (You could skip this step and leave the roasted veggies alone too.)

In a large bowl, pour the roasted vegetable sauce over the pasta and toss to coat.

Stir in the chopped fresh basil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top.

I’m sending this over to dear Ruth for
Presto Pasta Nights.

Other pasta recipes here:
Simple Pasta Salad
Pasta with Basil Pesto
Pasta with roasted Bell Pepper-Cherry Tomato sauce
Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mushroom Thoran

Mushrooms are usually ignored during my trips to the grocery store. I guess it has something to do with its very rubbery, almost meaty texture, in addition to the fact that it is not easy to clean. (Gently wiping with a damp paper towel/dry cleaning, to me, does not constitute cleaning!)

Though I’m not a big fan of these, I do pick up a pack occasionally to make this
thoran . All of the flavors blend very well to make a pretty decent dish.

15-20 mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
½ tsp sambar powder
½ tsp coriander powder
2-3 Tbsp grated coconut

For the seasoning:
1 Tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp urad dal
A pinch of asafoetida
4-5 curry leaves
1-2 red chillies

In a pan, heat the oil & add the ingredients for the seasoning.

Sauté the onions, add the garlic and mushrooms and cook on medium to high heat till mushrooms are cooked.

Add the sambar and coriander powders and mix well. Cook for a minute or two.

Add the grated coconut. Mix. Serve hot.