Baked Apple Roses

Apple roses

Unless you have been under a rock, you must have seen the Apple Roses Video. Its been making rounds on the interwebs. At first I ignored it. Then it popped up in my Facebook Newsfeed again. And again. Till, we had an email from Varun’s school for a bake sale. That day the video which I had ignored for days popped up again. Cut apples, roll them in puff pastry with a bit of jam and bake. The video made it look real easy. I figured I could bake a few dozen of those. I signed up for the bake sale. And even told a couple of mom’s about it. Big mistake. Now I had to make them. And make sure they were edible. And looked good. Good enough for someone to buy them with real $$. So I made the first batch using Manuela’s recipe.They looked ok. Not as good as in the video. But were edible. No one died ūüėČ I decided to make chocolate cupcakes instead. My trusted fallback! Only to find we are out of flour and butter. So I had to make another batch of apple roses. Since we have a ton of apples at home from the trip to the apple farm on Columbus day. Apple roses

This time, I made a few changes:

  1. Didn’t defrost the puff pastry completely. When it was partially thawed, rolled it thinner.
  2. Made 12 sections instead of 6 from one pastry sheet.
  3. Didn’t cut the apples paper-thin but slightly thicker
  4. Cooked the apples for 90 secs instead of 3 mins.
  5. Baked them longer for about 50 mins.

It’s not easy to work with puff pastry but with smaller sections that are not completely thawed,¬†it’s not that hard either.

Voila! Had a better batch of apple roses.

Apple rosesThe real success: People bought them at the bake sale and they were gone in no time. We were sold out! A big deal given that there were dozens of professional cookies/cupcakes/brownies there.

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Give them a try for a fun dessert! Well worth the effort to put it together ūüôā

Whole Wheat Chocolate Mug Cake & Happy New Year!

Chocolate Mug cake

Happy New Year!

I know its 11 days late ( or 12 depending on which side of the world you are on!) but it’s still January. Its first post of the year. And more than date its the intention that counts isn’t it? I sure hope so.

I debated what should the first post of the year be? Quick and Easy chocolate mug cake? Endive and Citrus Salad boats? Or our Christmas trip to Palm Springs? There were couple of soups and salad contenders. But then I thought of starting the new year on a sweeter note.

I have seen mug cake recipes floating around the blogosphere for couple of years now. I never believed that they worked. I thought this is one of those things that work on a blog or Pinterest board but FAIL in real life. I secretly hoped they failed in real life so temptation will not be minutes away.

So here I was last weekend, debating what to make and feed my rather hungry family at 4 pm. Varun wanted something “fun”. He thought about it and told me he would let me know what he wants once he thought about it some more. Vipul wanted something “tasty” but healthy. The only fresh things in our house were some tomatoes, milk and a lone banana.

I turned to my Pinterest recipes inspiration and felt worse. I literally had nothing in the house.

In such a state, cake usually does the trick. But I didn’t feel up to baking an entire cake and then eat it all up.

In that moment, I wondered if mug cakes truly work. Working quickly, I mixed flour, eggs, milk and sugar. A dash of baking powder whisked in and off the cup went into the microwave. First for 90 secs, then another 20 and then another 10. The cake eventually puffed u p over the top of the cup – kindda like a souffle. It collapsed back into the cup as it cooled.

Varun saw me get the cups out and didn’t pay any attention thinking it was tea.

When he saw me eat from the cup, he scrambled over. It cooked like soft chocolate cake. He couldn’t believe that I was eating cake out of a cup. He had a bite and you should have seen his eyes widen as he realized this is something he wants a separate cup of. No sharing business.

Vipul and I shared a cuppa while Varun had his share.

These mug cakes really do work.

It was fun and I fear will be addictive. Something that takes only minutes to “bake” and with endless possibilities. With nutella, vanilla, some cream cheese frosting, or caramel or hot fudge.

I am secretly thrilled at this quick dessert. Hopefully we keep up with salads and other healthy habits to indulge once in a while.

Chocolate Mug cake

Whole Wheat Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe

Makes 1 mug cake

  • 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Chocolate powder
  • 2.5 Tbps Sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. In a 14 oz mug, mix all the ingredients. Whisk well.

  2. Place a tissue in a microwave (to catch spills). Place the mug in the microwave and microwave for 100 secs to 2 minutes.

  3. Take it out carefully (it will be hot!)

  4. Let cool and enjoy!

Persimmon Smoothie

Persimmon Smoothie

Its been a long time since I posted here.

It was an intentional sabbatical. Too many things happening in real life. A new job, becoming parents to 2 kiddos with no life lines (aka parental support as grandparents went back home), vacations, Varun’s K school tours. We were being stretched in too many different directions.

But now that things are bit under control and we have a semblance of a routine, I am back.

You see, persimmons are in season. If you don’t know about them, you are truly missing out on a unique fruit. Rock hard and bitter when raw but soft and fragrant when ripe, this fruit is pure sugar. I am surprised it is not used in place of applesauce.

I accidentally picked a persimmon instead of an orange at work from the fruit basket. Realizing my mistake too late, I left it in the bag and then set it on the counter for a few days. The fruit visibly softened over days.

Persimmon Smoothie

And having read about their legendary sweetness, over the weekend, I decided to make it into a persimmon milkshake (aka smoothie) on the lines of “chickoo” milkshake.

Within minutes there was a creamy smoothie that was naturally sweetened. Delicious. It was gone in no time.

I wished we had more ripe persimmons on hand to make into persimmon chutney, ice-cream or sorbet. Or just more smoothie as my husband suggested.

Luck be hold when I came early to office last Monday morning and there were 2 ripe persimmons sitting in the week old fruit basket. The admin said I could take them as they would toss the old fruits out and replace them with this weeks fruit.

I eagerly took them home. Another one was made into a smoothie and the one last one was added to a kale salad Рwhich is another winner winter recipe.

Rathi (a dear friend and a fellow foodie) visited us couple of¬†leeks ago¬†and eagerly told me about her cousin’s backyard persimmon tree loaded with fruit. If that was my backyard, the fruit¬†would probably be all eaten up. These two persimmon recipes ( and my foray back to blogging) is thanks to Rathi’s enthusiasm which rubbed off when they visited.

Without further ado, a simple 3 ingredient persimmon smoothie recipe below.

Chop, whirl and drink. It doesn’t get easier than that.

Persimmon Smoothie Recipe

  • 2 ripe persimmons diced
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 -2 teaspoon yogurt
  1. Blend all the ingredients till smooth. Serve immediately.

P.S.- I made this in my magic bullet – which makes serving and clean up easy. If you don’t have one, truly consider getting one this holiday season. That and a crock pot truly make everyday cooking a breeze!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fridge Pickled Bell Peppers

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I think I am on a pickling and preserving roll.

First up were the padron peppers, then we made basil walnut pesto and oven roasted tomatoes (which in a turkey provolone are heaven!) and now pickled bell peppers. Cool and crunchy, these colorful peppers are soaked in a vinegar bath for 2 –¬†3 days. Surprisingly tangy, they don’t turn into a mush.

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I made one batch with 2 bell peppers and it got over quickly. I didn’t want the vinegar brine to go to waste. I had couple more bell peppers on hand so I sliced and added them to the jar. I guess the novelty of the peppers wore off and this jar is going slowly. Mom and I loved it over our chickpeas salad sandwiches. As well as over spinach salad.

Oh well, its something you should try while the bell peppers are still cheap! Or try with colorful cauliflowers or carrots!

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Fridge Pickled Bell Peppers Recipe

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 7-8 black peppercorns
  • 2- 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • Salt
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, sliced thin (washed, de-seeded and white membranes removed!)
  1. Add all the spices, vinegar and water in a clean glass jar. Add salt. Taste and adjust for tanginess and salt.

  2. Add the bell peppers to the vinegar bath. Close the jar tightly and place it in the back corner of the fridge. Leave it untouched for 3 days before opening.

Excellent over salads, sandwiches and even scrambled eggs.

Refrigerate after opening.

 

Kid Approved Sweet Potato Chips

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Sweet potatoes. Its one vegetable that has featured in our house only during fasts and in “introduction to solids” phase. Mom used to grate sweet potatoes and pan fry it with peanuts and cumin and salt. Along with Sabudana Khichadi it is on approved food during fasts and eagerly relished by me and my brother. When¬†Varun started solids, sweet potato puree was one thing he used to love. I don’t think sweet potatoes are common as first baby foods in India but they are staple here in US.

Now Vihaan is in that stage of life. Solids, trying to pick up chunks and shove it in his mouth. He drools and coo’s. And along with spinach, pumpkin and apples, we have sweet-potatoes in his menu. I bought a bunch of sweet potatoes at the farmers market and decided to make them into chips – inspired the many Pinterest pins and the Whole Foods Vegetable Chips.

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Baked with olive oil and salt, they have no added ingredients. Other than slicing the sweet-potato it is fairly hands-off. It is crunchy, colorful and healthy. A bunch of them in a paper cone was an interesting afternoon snack. Well, whats not to like about crunchy, colorful snack!

I have read the same method works with beets as well. Thats what I am going to try next!

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Sweet Potato Chips Recipe

  • 1- 2 sweet potatoes, washed and sliced 1/4 ” thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika or cumin (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl toss the sweet potato slices with olive oil, spices and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. On a pre-lined baking sheet, layer the slices in a single layer
  3. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes till the chips crisp and curl up on edges.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.