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!

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.

 

Padron Peppers Pickle

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Summer is winding down and this year I am going to make some vegetable condiments to last us through fall or possibly even winter. In India, my mom and aunt used to make vegetable pickles, fruit relishes and chutneys and even dry vegetables in summer to make interesting fritters ( tomato- carrots sandge or dried yogurt filled mirchi??). I have some other ideas based on recent mind-blowing dining experiences in SF. Home-made French mustard ( over salmon, in sandwiches and salads), over roasted sun-dried tomatoes ( for sandwiches, tarts and pasta), pickled red bell pepper (over anything really).

Before buying things in bulk, I am experimenting with a few vegetables and will probably make them in bulk to preserve if successful.

First up are Padron Peppers. I haven’t seen them in Whole Foods or Trader Joes but local Farmers Market has these peppers in bulk. The Peppers are not very spicy as is ( at least not if you are used to Indian palate) but taste brilliant when tempered in fruity olive oil. If you like Indian green chillies pickle, you are bound to like this.

Tempering the peppers reduces their heat even further. The crisped up pepper skin, fruity flavor of the oil and smokiness from the cumin and peppers make this an excellent condiment. We have had it with curd-rice, dal-chawal and even over taco’s and salads.

The pepper and cumin flavors seep into the oil giving it depth and smokiness. I used the oil as a dipping sauce as well as a base to make salad dressing. Both were excellent.

This is truly one pickle you should make before the peppers disappear from the market!

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NOTE: I made this couple of times in very small quantity. I plan to make a pound of pickled peppers. It will probably need 1 cup of oil and 1/4 cup cumin seeds. Cooking time will increase as well but just eye-ball it to make sure that the peppers are roasted evenly for better taste. Taste and adjust salt. Let cool completely before filling and refrigerating in airtight containers.

Padron Peppers Pickle Recipe

1 serving

  • 1 – 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup padron peppers, washed and slit
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add cumin seeds when the oil is heated. When the cumin seeds sizzle, add the padron peppers.

  2. Let them cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes or so till they are blistered. Toss them and let the other side of the peppers cook for another minute or so. Add salt. Cover with a lid and let cook for another minute over low heat.

Serve warm.

North African Lemon Dressing

North African Lemon Dressing

Tucked in the corner of the top kitchen shelf  was an old blue hardcover. The spine binding was falling off, the cover was faded. I had seen it when we moved in January and shoved it further as I crammed some plastic water bottles in front of it. All in the name of unpacking and getting settled.

Last week, I was looking for some serving bowls when I peered into this top shelf. The plastic containers and bottles came crashing down upon me revealing the The New York Times Cookbook (1992).

North African Lemon Dressing

Curious, I took down the book and thumbed through its yellowing pages. It was obviously well used with some watermarks, check-marks, scribbles and other recipe cut outs taped to its inner cover. Flipping through the pages, the north African Lemon dressing caught my eye.

read more

Quinoa and Chia Seed Granola – Sugar, Oil and Dairy Free!

Quinoa and Chia seeds granola

Its been some time since my last post. I haven’t ventured much into the kitchen.

Or when I have, I was not in the mood to stop to photograph.

Quinoa and Chia seeds granola
Till this morning, I decided I wanted something crunchy on my oatmeal. I have to eat Oatmeal everyday. A large bowl of it. To aid lactation. It gets boring after a while. This crunchy fruit and nut granola was the simple topping that made me have that bowl.

There is nothing artificial about this. Just oatmeal, dried fruit, nuts and applesauce. Yes, applesauce instead of oil that is traditionally used. I got this idea from David Lebovitz Best Granola Recipe. apple sauce makes it crisp and extra crunchy.I added quinoa and chia seeds to the usual recipe for an extra protein boost.

There is nothing more easier and hands free to prepare than this.

Pre-heat oven, mix ingredients and toast for 40 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Top over ice-cream, yogurt, oatmeal or just eat it as is for an afternoon snack. Crunchy, tasty, healthy. And so very Californian.

Give it a try tonight. Am sure your tomorrow’s bowl of oatmeal will thank you for it!

Quinoa and Chia seeds granola

Quinoa and Chia Seed Granola Recipe

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup red quinoa
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup applesauce

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 F.

  1. In a bowl mix all the ingredients. Layer them on a baking tray or cookie sheet. Bake for 40 minutes turning every 10 minutes or so for even baking, till it is deep golden brown.

Remove and cool in the pan. Store in an airtight container.