April 18, 2014

cilantro coconut chutney

cilantro coconut chutney

I have big and exciting news to share with you today;

1. We're moving to the Bay Area.
2. We got engaged! I can't believe, I get to marry my best friend and now we are on our way to start and share an exciting new chapter in our lives! We've known each other for six years, been through the ups and downs that life has to offer, laughed, argued, and cried together, traveled to places, and once narrowly escaped a bear on a hike. Yep, the usual things that all couples do, but above all we're happy and home is where the two of us are together.
3. Finally, I am also super excited to have my first post up at Food52 today where I talk about my love for this bright green chutney aka the Green Goddess, with so many fresh and bright flavors, it will surely brighten up your day. So head over to Food52 to get the recipe.

coconut chutney

April 14, 2014

berry, lime and cardamom spring cake

berry lime cardamom cake

There are things that I have learned that I do as a blogger that normal people don't. For example, baking yourself a cake and then trying to figure out if it's more birthday, spring or Easter appropriate for the blog. You see April is my birthday month (though my birthday falls at the very end of the month) and this year it falls on one of the solar eclipses (perhaps it might mean something), Easter too tends to bounce around the calendar every year, so I fell into the blogging dilemma of when to make the cake and when to share it on the blog. The only thing I was surely certain of, was making it! Last year I made myself chocolate butter cookies but this year I wanted a big fat cake full of berries, I should rephrase that, I mean't to say LOADED with berries! 

a dozen eggs

I love angel food cakes because they are so airy and light yet so soft and spongy. I zested a couple of green limes into the batter and tossed in some ground green cardamom. Instead of a frosting, I slapped the cake layers with an extra generous amount of lightly sweetened Greek yogurt and stuffed the cake with fresh strawberries and blueberries.

cornflour

This is not a very sweet cake but when you taste the yogurt and the cake together, the yogurt brings out the sweetness of the cake and the fresh flavors of the lime, cardamom and berries. I'm very happy with this cake, it's a little less guilt-free and makes deliciously light dessert. Needless to say, to balance things out, I cut myself a huge fat chunk and ate  devoured it! So here's to happy spring, birthdays, Easter and celebrations of all sorts and for that matter any reason.

lime zest and meringue 

I adapted the angel food cake recipe from Great Cakes by Carole Walter.

Note: When sifting flour, I recommend taking out a leveled cup of the flour, then sifting it and remeasuring the sifted flour. You can store the extra bit that's left behind. Also, with the strawberries and blueberries, you can use less and I indeed did have fruit left behind after I put the cake together. Feel free to play around with the amounts of the berries. You might notice, that I've used cornstarch/cornflour here to make my own cake flour and yes, this kitchen hack indeed does work!

berry lime cardamom spring cake

These are some of the delicious and beautiful spring recipes and blogs that I'm definitely gearing up to try out from my fellow bloggers;
  • Sini of My Blue and White Kitchen made her version of Finnish Raspberry Meade that looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous.  I might need a few pitchers, just saying!
  • I came across a new blog called Kiss My Spatula and I've fallen in love with the rich and colorful photography. 
  • The talented duo, Alex and Sonja at A Couple Cooks made these Ricotta Scrambled Egg and Asparagus Tacos that looks perfect for a spring brunch.
  • One of my favorite inspirational bloggers, Linda of The Tart Tart made some amazing Black Sesame Macarons that I really, really want to taste!
  • Imen has a Rhubarb and Rosemary Syllabub with Poitin up on the Farmette. It's no secret that I love farms and I'm adore the photographs she shares of her family farm on Instagram because it reminds me of M's parents' farm in Virginia. 
lime berry cardamom cake

berry, lime and cardamom spring cake 

yields: 6-8 servings / one 10 inch diameter angel food cake

ingredients 

32 ounces plain non-fat/ low-fat greek yogurt
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) sifted flour 
2 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch
1 1/2 cups fine sugar
1 1/2 cups (15 3/4 ounces) 12 egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
3 limes
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom, freshly ground
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) confectioners sugar
32 ounces strawberries, rinsed, drained, hulled and sliced in half 
6 ounces blueberries, rinsed and drained

1. Place the greek yogurt in a colander or sieve pre lined with a piece of clean cheese cloth or a kitchen towel over a large bowl. Allow the yogurt to drain in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 hours and discard any whey the collects in the bowl. Reserve the yogurt until ready to use.
2. Place a wire rack in the lower-third of the oven and preheat to 375F.  Take a 10 inch diameter angel food pan, trace and cut out a circle of parchment paper to line the base of the pan. There is no need to grease the pan. Keep the prepared pan aside until ready.
3. Sift the pre-sifted flour, cornflour and 1/2 cup of the sugar three times on to a sheet of parchment paper and keep aside.
4. Place the egg whites and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the whisk attachment beat on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes or until the eggs get frothy. Stop the mixer and add the cream of tartar, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract. Whisk until the mixture begins to form soft peaks (ripples should form in the foam at this stage). At this stage, add the freshly grated zest of two limes and the ground cardamom and whisk for another minute .  Add 1 cup of the sugar, two tablespoons at a time from the side of the bowl and continue to whisk for about 2 minutes in total time. Remove the bowl from the mixer and transfer any of the white meringue mixture and lime zest bits that might have collected onto the whisk, back into the bowl. 
5. Sift 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients from step 2 onto the egg whites and using a large wire whisk and carefully fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. Do not overmix or stir the batter as it will deflate. 
6. Using a rubber spatula, carefully transfer and push the batter into the prepared cake pan. Gently press the cake batter with a clean tablespoon and flatten the top surface. Finally, run a knife along the edges of the pan in a circle to remove any trapped air bubbles and once again smoothen the surface with the tablespoon. 
7. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the center of the cake is soft and springy to touch and becomes golden brown. Avoid over baking the cake or it will deflate. Spray a wire rack with a little non stick spray and then once the cake is done, immediately invert the cake onto the wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Once the cake has cooled, run a sharp knife along the edges of the pan and around the inner tube to loosen it. Transfer the cake on to a cake rack and remove the pan. Peel and discard the parchment paper from the top of the cake and discard. 
8. To prepare the yogurt "frosting", place the drained yogurt in a large mixing bowl, add the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the confectioners sugar. Whisk the yogurt until the sugar is completely blended. 
9. To assemble the cake: Slice the cake in half using a sharp serrated bread knife. Remove the upper layer and keep aside. Spread a generous 1/2 cup of the yogurt on the lower half and place the sliced strawberries with the bottom surface onto the yogurt. Scatter some of the blueberries in the space between the yogurt. Layer the berries with another generous 1/2 cup of the yogurt and place and align the upper half of the angel cake on top. Layer the top of the cake with a generous amount 1/2 cup of the yogurt and fill the hollow center of the cake with the rest of the yogurt. Layer the top of the cake with some of the strawberries and blueberries and fill the hollow center with the rest of the fruit as desired. Just before serving the cake zest the last lime over the cake. Store the cake in the refrigerator. This cake is best eaten the day it is prepared but you can make the angel cake a day in advance and assemble the cake the following day.

April 11, 2014

balsamic raspberry sauce and chèvre cake

balsamic raspberry sauce and chevre cake

One of my favorite things to do when I work on my blog posts is to sit in the bedroom and have the curtains to the doors pulled back all the way, simply because I can glance outside and enjoy the view of my little garden. It's even more exciting when spring arrives, because I impatiently indulge in multiple glimpses of the little tips of green that are sprouting through the soil or budding off the branches. Not that the incessant staring will make them come any sooner but more so because it reminds me of what my garden looked like in previous year and what it might look this time.  I have a mid-shade of a green thumb, I can grow some plants with ease and others, well not so much. I keep getting a little better each year, learning what really works well with me and my garden. Mind you my garden is not huge, it's a tiny semicircle of open soil that I am super thankful for, especially when you live in a city, it's my little oasis.

raspberry cake prep

Spring time entertaining is one of my favorite things to do, there are so many fresh colors and tastes that start to show up everywhere that it's hard not to enjoy it. I haven't baked a cake in a while and I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to indulge a little. This cake is not too sweet and is "healthy-ish" but it definitely has personality (it might remind you of my cobbler recipe) but it's simple to make and will definitely impress. This is a saucy cake and a sassy one at that, perfect to serve at a spring lunch or dinner party. There are fresh raspberries that are bathed in a sweet concoction of honey and a balsamic vinegar from Calivirgin to make that sassy sauce. To brighten and balance the sweet and tart flavors of the sauce, I added a few dollops of lightly sweetened fresh chèvre cheese from Vermont Creamery. Serve this cake warm, then eat a lot of it and share it with your loved ones, if you must. A little cooking note, you can keep the raspberry seeds in the sauce or filter them out, either way it's delicious!

To give spring a much needed warm welcome, I've teamed up with a bunch of wonderful and talented bloggers in a fantastic giveaway organized by the very wonderful Katie Webster of Healthy Seasonal Recipes. There are several wonderful prizes that one lucky person will win. To enter the giveaway, simply follow the instructions in the widget at the bottom of the post. Good luck and do visit the other participating bloggers and check out their delicious recipes! The giveaway begins on April 11, 2013 and ends on April 16, 2014 at 9:00am PST.

Here's what's to be won in the goodie bag!

From Vermont Creamery: A Taste of Vermont Creamery Gift Package and In a Cheesemakers Kitchen Cookbook. 
From JK Adams: A set of Coupe Appetizer Plates (2 pieces.) 
From Calivirgin: 1 8.45 ounce bottle of roasted garlic olive oil, 1 8.45 ounce bottle of the rosemary infused olive oil and 1 8.45 ounce bottle balsamic vinegar. 
From Effie’s homemade: 10 packages of crackers (2 oat, 2 corn, 2 nut, 2 cocoa, 2 rye.) 

Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation from the participating sponsors in this giveaway. All opinions stated are my own. I did receive free samples from Calivirgin and Vermont Creamery.

balsamic raspberry sauce chevre cake

balsamic raspberry sauce and chèvre cake

yields: 4-6 servings

ingredients

11 ounces raspberries, fresh
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (Calivirgin) 
1/4 cup honey+ 2 tablespoons
2 ounces fresh chèvre cheese, at room temperature (Vermont Creamery)
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, full fat
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted + a little extra to grease the baking pan

1. Place half of the raspberries in a medium sized saucepan along with the balsamic vinegar and the 1/4 cup of honey. Heat the contents on medium-high flame and bring to a boil, immediately reduce and cook for 10-15 minutes. Mash the raspberries with a potato masher. At this point you can use the sauce as is or pass it through a sieve and press the pulp as much as you can to remove the seeds. Add the remaining raspberries to the sauce and keep aside.
2. Place the chèvre and remaining two tablespoons of honey in a small bowl and mix with fork.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F and place the wire rack at mid level in the oven. Lightly grease the baking pan with a little coconut oil. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt and keep aside. 
3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the egg, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, and coconut oil. Carefully fold the egg and coconut milk liquid into the whisked dry ingredients and mix until completely combined. Transfer the batter into the greased baking pan.
4. Randomly drizzle the raspberry mixture onto the cake batter and then using a silicone spatula or spoon create random swirls. Using a teaspoon drop small scoops of the sweetened chèvre on the surface of the cake. Bake the cake for at least 30 minutes or until the cake is completely cooked or until a knife comes out clean from the center of the cake.


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