May 06, 2009

Clicking Cookies, Strawberry Spring Cake, Carrot-Bell Pepper Rice and Summery Mosaru Vade.

Happy Mother's Day to all you sweet mommies, enjoy your Sunday! :)
Well....last week I told you I am planning for something special. Here it is! I know for most of you it may not sound THAT exciting, but for the first time in almost 18yrs after my kids were born and never leaving the husband for not more than a 5-6 days at a stretch in 20yrs, I am going away to have few weeks for myself alone, will tell you where I was when I come back!! Can you believe that? Great Mother's day gift for me for me from my family, can't beat it! YAY! See you in June! :)

Christmas cookies:
I made these a year ago for Christmas, click on the title to get the recipe. Dough is the similar to sugar cookies but lighter with added red and green colors and sprinkled with color sugar to make them Christmassy. This is my entry to Bee's "CLICK-Cookies"(Links and logos are below).
Camera used is Sony Cyber-Shot 8-1 mega Pixels.

X Mas Cookies

Strawberry Spring Cake:
I am bringing this Spring cake to Meeta's Monthly Mingle! I used a recipe for a regular white or yellow cake and added fresh Strawberries blended to smooth puree instead of milk. Strawberry puree gives a very beautiful pinkish color to the cake and flavor is wonderful. I didn't feel like eating too much sugar, so instead of icing I just sprinkled some powdered sugar on top. You can't believe the aroma of this cake! Spring is here alright! :)

You need:
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) softened butter, 2 eggs, 1 cup regular white sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence,
1 3/4 cups plain flour, 1/8 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder, 2/3 cup fresh red ripened Strawberries pureed.
Few sliced Strawberries to garnish which I forgot to save to decorate the cake! :D
You can also sprinkle 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes on top on the cake before baking but optional.

How to bake:
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a Bundt cake pan or any 9" cake round or square pan with no-stick oil or butter well and keep aside.

1. In a mixer bowl, beat the sugar and butter first until fluffy. Add in the eggs,mix. Then add in the vanilla.
2. Sift flour and baking powder, add to the creamed butter mixture and mix again gently on low speed until everything comes together.
3. Now, stir in the strawberry puree, beat until batter is well mixed and evenly pink. Pour into the prepared pan, tap on the kitchen counter to top get the bubbles out.
4. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden and skewer comes out clean form the center. Take it out of the oven, let it sit for 5mins.
5. Invert gently on the cooling rack. When cool, sprinkle powdered sugar on top to serve or you can use Vanilla icing.

Carrot and Bell Pepper Rice:
Here is a quick version of Tomato Bhath I make with added red bell pepper and Orange Carrots, which gives it a sweet and spicy taste. I usually buy baby carrots in a pack for using them quickly in Sambhar or Pulao without too much work of cutting etc. This time I found a few regular size organic Orangey Carrots, I peeled them slightly and sliced into 1/4" rounds to use them in this dish. It's quick to make, sauce can be made in the MW to mix with rice too if you have any leftover rice already. Here is my elaborate Tomato Bhaat!

To make spicy Veg rice:
Cook 1 1/2 cups of long grain rice with 1 tsp butter and water as usual, spread it on the wide plate and let it cool to separate the grains.

Microwave 2 Carrots, cut into round 1/4" thick pieces with 1/4 cup water and pinch of salt, 1 small Potato, peeled and cubed, covered in a bowl for 5 mins or until almost cooked and but not mashed, drain if you have any water left. Keep it aside.

Make the sauce:
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan, add 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, let them splutter.
2. Add finely chopped onion, saute. Add 1-2 minced garlic and 1" grated ginger, 1/2 an Jalapeno, sliced, stir fry for 2 mins, and then add cubed 1 large red or any color bell pepper, 1/4 tsp salt. Fry for 2 mins or until they are soft a little, not too soft to keep the crunch.
3. Add 1/2 cup Tomato sauce, 1 tbsp Coriander seeds powder, 1/4 tsp or more chilli pd, 1 tsp MTR Rasam or Vangi bhath powder (optional) and 1 tsp Garam masala, mix and cook well.
4. Add Carrots and stir fry gently until sauce becomes thick, leaves the sides of the pan with oil shows up on top.

Mix with cooled rice:
5. When the sauce is ready, mix with rice, adjusting the salt. Serve with slices of Lemon, Potato crisps and a salad.
Tastes better after few hours when the spices get a chance to mingle.

Karnataka style, cooling Summer snack Mosaru Vade/South Indian style Dahi Vada:

Mosaru Vade is a Karnataka style Summer snack which literally means vadas soaked in yogurt in Kannada, one of my favorite snack to make and chill to have on Summer days. It's basically fried and cooled vadas soaked in Spiced Yogurt. It can be chilled to serve or served at room temperature.
I make it once or twice in Summer every year. Since it involves deep frying don't feel like making it often although I would love to eat Mosaru Vade. Sometimes I freeze some vadas for later use. When thawed and warmed in the Microwave, it's ready to go into the spiced Yogurt.

Make plain Urad dal vadas first without adding any onion, herbs etc. Recipe for vadas are here and here. Cool them before you add to the spiced yogurt. Here is the Rasa vada if you would like to try. You can make vadas in any shape like round vadas, vadas with a hole in the middle to make this Mosasru vade. Since they are soaked in the yogurt sauce, shape doesn't matter. If they are too big to soak in the yogurt, tear them into big pieces. To grind without adding much water, you can use either Sumeet mixer or ULTRA grinder or any grinder which is tough enough to make fluffy thick Urad dal batter. Some add hot vadas to a bowl of water, let it soak for few seconds and squeeze out the water to make it soft and then add to the yogurt. I don't do this, I just add to the yogurt and chill for few hrs.

Spiced Yogurt:
1. You need 6-8 Vadas for 4 people. Add whole vadas or tear them in to big pieces if vadas are large.
2. Take a wide mouthed deep bowl, add 2 cups of plain Yogurt (I use Dannon) and 1/4 cup water, beat well until it's smooth with no lumps. Add enough salt to taste.
3. Take 1/2" fresh ginger and 1 large garlic, pound in a mortar Pestle with pich of salt and 1-2 tbsp of water, squeeze only the juice to add to yogurt, mix.
4. Add seasoning and 2 tbsp finely chopped Cilantro. Mix well. Add Vadas, make sure they are immersed in Yogurt. Top the vadas often with yogurt to soak them well. Chill in the fridge as an option, delicious to dig into a cold snack on a warm evening sitting on the deck! :)
Heat 1tsp of oil in a pan, add 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1-2 sliced Green chillies or 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes, few curry leaves. Fry until they splutter, cool before adding to the yogurt, mix well. Adjust the salt and heat and thinness too, can add more yogurt if it's very thick.
When Mosaru Vades are soft and plump, serve scooped in a bowl with some of the Yogurt sauce on top.

Logos of all the events and link to event hosts, enjoy hosting girls! :)

X Mas cookies, goes to Bee's "CLICK-Cookies" event.
Strawberry Spring Cake, goes to Meeta's "Monthly Mingle #32-Spring cakes" event.
Bell Pepper-Carrot Rice, goes to Sanghi's "FIL-Carrots" event.
Mosaru Vade, goes to Priti's "Festive Food-Summer Treats" event and to Sweatha's "FIC-Favorite color" event which is started by Harini.
I am also sending Bell Pepper and Carrot rice, to EC for her "WYF-Quick meals" event.

Tried and tasted from other blogs. My thanks to all of you ladies for posting all these delicious dishes, we all enjoyed them! (Click to enlarge both the collages)

Pesarattu, from Vaishali.
Spicy dal-Potato fry, from Subhie Arun.
Doi Dim, from Sandeepa.
Capsicum Peanut curry, from Supriya.
Egg curry in Milk sauce, from Aquadaze.
Potato Curry with Podi, from Cham.

A and N jodi of "Delectably your's" blog sent me a pack of their homemade spicy Rasam powder last week. It was very flavorful, lovely red color and aromatic. I made some Rasam for Idlis using this Rasam pd, it was super delicious. Thank you so much to both of you to take time to send it to me. Hope I didn't bully you into sending me some too N! Hugs to you! ;D

Movie I watched:

"Last chance Harvey"

Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, both are excellent actors as you know, play the lead roles in this movie. Both are tired, hopeless and middle aged (old?), doing mundane jobs and caught up in routine lives in their own countries meet in London accidentally as strangers in a bar when Harvey lands there to attend his estranged daughter's wedding.
His daughter prefers her step father to give her away rather than him which makes him feel left out, skips the wedding, tries to leave London but had to stay back when he misses his flight and gets fired from his job in US as well, decides to make amends as his last chance after his daughter gets married by attending her reception
instead. He asks Emma Thomson to be his date on a whim to attend the wedding reception and what goes on after that is the story you have to watch. All goes well in the end, no tragedy here, so great movie to watch if you like the actors! :)

Guitar concert links:

Here is a photo and the video of Tushar's wonderful 8th grader Guitar concert with his classmates and his Technology teacher Mr.P who sang on that evening of April 28th, 2009. This is the last concert for all of them before they move on to High school this Fall. Videos are 3 1/2 mins long, had to cut it short to 1 1/2 mins upload there. It sounded much better in the auditorium than you see here in the video with my shaking hand holding little Sony camera and all! :P
8th graders did better than High school Guitar major students! Here is the video of the second song. son is the tallest at almost 5'10" and "super model skinny" 14 year old kid there, sitting second from left! He saw Hugh Jackman the other day in the movie. Now he wants to go the Gym this Summer to train with wts etc to have muscles like a mini "Wolverine!! :D

Sayonara for a while!
Here are each and every post from "Foodie's Hope" blog and all posts of "Aroma" blog from my recipe Index if you want to browse. I have updated few current events on the sidebar and will not be updating the rest until June 3rd. I will be not able to answer your question or email you back as PC is not available to me while I am away, Trisha will just publish the comments if any. If you do have any question, hold on to them until I come back please.

See you all later then, be good. Bye! :)