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

Everyday Chicken Meatballs

Chiken meatballs 2

I mentioned that I made two types of meatballs for my June Daring Kitchen Challenge – Mutton Apricot meatballs and Chicken meatballs. This post is about the chicken meatballs. Simple and easy to make, they can be cooked ahead on weekend and added to your salad , pasta or in a sandwich. They are perfect as appetizer with some mint chutney at an open house or a potluck.

The flavors in this recipe are inspired from Northwest Frontier Province of Indian subcontinent  Рwhole coriander seed pods, cumin seeds and red chili powder. The flavors though can be easily altered to taste.

I sometimes flatten them into nuggets and pan fry with a crumb coat. Either ways it’s a wonderful back up to be stocked in your freezer for those busy weeknight when you want something yum for dinner but don’t have energy to tinker around in the kitchen.

Chicken meatballs

Chicken Meatballs Recipe

  • 1 lb chicken breast ground
  • 3- 4 garlic pods finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely diced green chili
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 inch root ginger freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4- 1/2 ¬†teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon – garam masala¬†
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon – Oil (for frying)

1. Mix all the ingredients well (except oil for frying). Form meatballs and set aside.

2.Heat oil in a non-stick skillet and fry the meatballs  for a couple of minutes on each side till golden brown.

3. Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil

Serve warm. Or store in an air tight container in fridge once cool.

The Daring Cooks June Challenge: Mutton Meatballs With Apricots

Kebab

Long long ago in mid May, the Daring Cooks posted there June Challenge on Meatballs from around the world. Meatballs being a family favorite,I wasted no time in making them. In fact I made 2 types of meatballs.

They were made and devoured the first weekend after the challenge was posted and amidst all other things never mentioned. Not on the Daring Cooks internal forum nor here when the “day” we can go public with our challenge.So, while it’s still June I must correct this oversight.

One of my friends mom had made these Turkey meatballs stuffed with apricot and light spiced gravy a few summers ago. They were really awesome. Juicy, flavorful with the sweetness from the hidden apricot. Spices from the northern state of Kashmir – cardamom, saffron and cinnamon. Or so, I recalled of that dinner.

When the challenge was posted, I decided to use spices common to the northern state of Kashmir and extend that to the flavors of Silk Route. Ingredients sourced and recipe built from a variety of sources – memory of that turkey meatball, lingering taste of kafta kebab and shammi kebab.

Here I had a recipe that was great on paper.When I actually made it, it turned out a bit dry and not so juicy. An egg or two should help with that problem. I was hasty and added the kebab to the gravy before they achieved their golden – brown color. Cooking them in gravy instead of adding at the last-minute to get the flavors to meld was another rookie mistake. Here is a modified recipe that I am sure would work. I just need another free weekend to re-try this.

Kafta kebab

Mutton Meatballs With Apricots Recipe

  • ¬†10 – 15 dried apricots soaked in water for an hour, seed removed
  • 1 lb Mutton or Turkey mince ( use ground and mix of dark and light meat to make juicy meatballs)
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 3- 4 cardamom pods , shelled and seeds powdered
  • A pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 3 -4 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1 inch ginger root, grated
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoon oil for frying

Gravy:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¬†2 inch ¬†cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 Red Onion finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • Salt to taste

Make Meatballs

1. Mix all the ingredients listed except the oil and mix well. Adjust seasonings per taste.

2. Form the meatballs, stuffing an apricot in the center of each. Set aside.

3.Heat oil and fry the meatballs on medium-low flame till golden brown. Set aside.

Make Gravy

1.Heat oil. Add spices once the oil is hot but not smoking. Add onions and fry till cooked through. Add yogurt and let onions cook in this yogurt base.

2. Crumble a meatball in the crazy and cook through so that the gravy thickens.

3. Add salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

To serve

1. Add the meatballs to the gravy and cook together for few minutes till heated through.

2. Serve warm with rice or rotis.

Enjoy!

Home Made Mango Juice

MangoJuice

What do you do with the skins of mangoes and the seeds after enjoying mangoes? Discard it. Don’t you dare! They are perfect for making mango juice. Its anyways what most of tetrapak mango juice makers use with a bit of real pulp to make “real mango juice”. Added sugar, color, preservatives and god alone knows what else to increase shelf life, add color and make it smell like real juice.

It’s just very easy to make homemade juice from left over skin and seeds. I get to control the quality of mangoes , amount of salt and sugar and can spice it up with flavorings of my choice ( paprika, cumin powder or red pepper). The color and the taste are all natural.

I used Alphonso mangoes as they are my personal favorite but any other would work just fine. Just add  more sugar if the mangoes are bit tart. also, use less water if you like your juice to be thicker.

This is perfect to be hydrated on summer afternoons when plain water is just a bit meh.

Homemade Mango Juice Recipe

  • Skins and Seeds of 4 mangoes
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (adjust based on how sweet the mangoes are)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper¬† or paprika or cumin powder

1. Turn the skin inside out. Soak the seeds and skins in a bowl of potable water for 10 minutes with sugar and salt. If you are not squeamish, give the seeds and skins a good rub. The juice and even some pulp will be released as you soak.

2. Squeeze off excess water from seeds and skins in a separate bowl. Discard the skins and seeds now. Retain the juice Рwater.

3. Add the juice from step 2. into bowl from step 1.

4. Add black pepper or cumin powder. Taste and adjust seasonings. Let this cool in the refrigerator.

Serve chilled with ice or as is.