Eggless Thumbprint Cookies

Cookies ~ Soft or Crisp, Warm or room temperature, Chewy or not, is a universal dessert that can satisfy everybody. With various flavors from chocolate chip to nutty almond the options are endless. I generally avoid baking because baking requires meticulous preparation, mixing and baking of ingredients when I generally measure ingredients by eye-ball method. But cookies is something my children would like to get involved. They enjoy rolling a small portion of the dough with their tiny rolling pin, or cut out shapes using cookie cutters. It is such a family bonding time for us. Plus, who does not like home-made baked goodies as a thank you gesture?
It’s simple, delicious and speaks volumes. We had so much making these cookies and my kids picked out their flavor for the center filling – raspberry! They even made their thumbprints in the center for the filling which I thought was so cute. I believe that by getting them involved like is a great way to introduce cooking and appreciation for food at an early age. Ok, enough said, let me share the easy recipe.

Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies


Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp flaxseed soaked in 3 tbsp water (optional)
Jam

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or use PAM non-stick baking spray. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until incorporated. Whisk the salt into the flour and gradually add to the butter mixture, add flaxseed and mix. Check for adjusting sweetness per your taste and adjust.
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Sprinkle your surface with flour and with a rolling pin, roll until the dough is about an 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a star or any shape cookie cutter, press into the dough and cut cookies. Place on a baking pan, press with your thumb in the center for filling jam.
Bake cookies for about 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are just barely golden. Remove cookies from oven. If thumb prints look shallow in the center, press a little more again and then fill each with approximately 1/2 teaspoon jam. Bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until jam melts slightly and edges of cookies are lightly golden. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
Enjoy them or gift them in a gift bag with a ribbon of your choice.

Eggless Thumbprint Cookies ~ Perfect for any season

Eggless Thumbprint Cookies ~ Perfect for any season


NOTE: The jam will set and harden slightly after cookie completely cools down.

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Thai Red Curry

Oh let it snow, let it snow, let it snow… well, it does not snow where I live but certainly a cold winter. I like to sit next to the fireplace, cuddled inside a blanket and sip some hot tea. Who wouldn’t like that comfort? Winter also calls in for healthy eating for me since not eating healthy is an easy choice considering the fact that its so cold outside and less walk in the parks etc unless I am committed in going to the gym, which surely am not. And winter is also a season of festivities and parties – potlucks, wines, beer and so much fun. Every year I host christmas party at my place and call family over. It really feels festive to have people around rather than being alone. Kids look forward to this party you know why, the presents. The unwrapping of each and every present gives them so much excitement and watching them unwrap brings me chills. That smile on those innocent faces is worth a million bucks!
Ok, coming back to food, now I wanted to make something quick and easy yet flavorful and healthy and kids and adults will like it. Parties should be fun and not be stressful for me so I was thinking what to make and after giving considerable thought I narrowed it down to Red Curry. It’s spicy, tasty, has tofu, tons of chunks of vegetables in a savory coconut sauce. I am so glad I made it because everyone loved it. Here is the recipe to a easy breezy recipe.

Thai Red Curry

Thai Red Curry


Ingredients: (For about 12 people)

- 1 Big red bell peper
– 2 Cups broccoli florets
– 2 medium size carrots
– 1/2 extra firm tofu
– 2 medium size zucchini
– 1 8oz. can baby corn
– 10 String beans
– Thai Red Curry paste (Mae Ploy or Thai Kitchen brand)
– 14 oz light coconut milk
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– Salt per taste
– 4 cups rice

Thai Red Curry

Thai Red Curry


Directions:
Wash and chop all vegetable in big chunks, say about 2 inch pieces. In a wok, heat oil, then add the vegetables except zucchini. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add about 1 tbsp of red curry paste, sauté for about 2 minutes. Now add the coconut milk, bring it to a boil, simmer, cover and let it cook until 3/4th done. Now add the zucchini, let it cook. Add salt, taste and add more curry paste as per your taste. Before turning off the stove, add tofu, mix and cover it with a lid. Just before your guests arrive, turn on your rice in the rice cooker so that you can serve it hot with the scrumptious thai red curry.
Thai Red Curry

Thai Red Curry

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Multigrain Childa

Winter is here and with walks in the neighborhood or to the park gets tough, eating healthy all the more becomes essential. Of course going to the gym is always an option or finding time for yoga is good, but with two little kids and now a stay at home mom, makes it very challenging to find time. Fortunately I have a treadmill that I try to run as many days regularly as possible. Cool winters and warm fireplace calls for good comfort food but healthy too. How do we balance the taste, comfort with a healthy option? There are plenty of options. They are easy and so versatile to fit your family lifestyle, taste and such. One such dish for me is childa, kinda like a pancake or crepe which is made out of batter and pouring on hot iron skillet or even a non-stick pan. My mom always always made healthy choices for us growing up and so thinking in those lines is not a battle for me. She made childa usually with 2 lentils varieties and rice, onion topping and a side of coconut or tomato chutney. I just made some changes to it to fit my family needs.

Lentils, Oats, Brown rice and Quinoa

Lentils, Oats, Brown rice and Quinoa


Ingredients:

1 cup yellow lentil
1 cup pink lentil
1 cup yellow mung lentil
1 cup oats
1 cup brown rice
1 cup quinoa
1 small onion finely chopped
1 bunch beet leaves finely chopped
A small piece of ginger (optional)
2 dried red chili or green chili or per taste
Oil for cooking
Salt per taste

Directions:

Wash and soak all ingredients including the red chilies except the vegetables. In a mixer grinder or food processor grind all except the vegetables coarsely, add water if necessary.

Batter ready to be cooked

Batter ready to be cooked

Batter on the iron skillet cooking.
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If using green chilies finely chop that and add it to the batter along with salt, onions and beet leaves. Heat a iron skillet to medium high and pour a ladle full of batter and spread it. Drizzle some oil around it and let it cook for about 2 mins, flip and let it cook for another 2 mins or until gold brown. Serve hot with any chutney, I served mine with Coriander and Onion chutney.

Multigrain childa served with chutneys

Multigrain childa served with chutneys

NOTE: You can add any vegetable either inside the batter for ease or as a topping. You can use grated carrot, chopped spinach, cabbage, even eggplent if finely chopped. I used black quinoa jus because I had it. You can add other types of lentils as well.

Truly a multigrain with green leafy beet leaves and onions

Truly a multigrain with green leafy beet leaves and onions

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Witch’s Finger Cookie

Boo!!! The days are getting shorter, darker, colder each day. The leaves fall down and not much of noise around. I hear the crinkly noise when someone keeps foot on the fallen dried leaves. I wonder who is it? Who is it? It’s that time of the year when we decorate the house with strange, weird, creepy things. We celebrate the ghost, skeleton, blood, tombstone figurines everywhere. We adorn ourselves with scary clothes, strange hair do’s, yucky makeup. It’s that time of the year when we let children eat unaccounted number of candies (well, not literally!). It’s when little boys love to become super heroes and little girls all become princess of some sort. We use pumpkin like no other time of the year in every possible way – from painting, carving, decorating, games, cooking, baking and more. Yes, I am talking about Halloween. One of the festival celebrated by all age groups with almost no boundaries for scariness. It is so much fun to dress up and go around the block and do Trick or Treat. I am dressing up my kids as little monster and a super hero. But it did not stop there, I wanted to bake something quick as always you know it by now. I came across Giada De Laurentiis, my favorite Food Network chef/host’s recipe for this Halloween which I am sharing today. Do not use store bought sugar cookie dough, I tried it, they expand way too much.

Witch Cookie finger read to baked

Witch Cookie finger read to baked

Ingredients:
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1/4 cup (/12 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp Flax seed mixed in 3 tbsp of water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
14 large sliced almonds
1/4 cup raspberry jam
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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the flaxseed mixture until smooth. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until a dough forms.

Using about1 1/2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough between your palms into 5-inch-long fingers about 1/2-inch thick. Firmly press a sliced almond into the end of each finger to make fingernails. Make several horizontal cuts, about 1/4 inch deep and 1/2 inch long, in the center of each finger to make knuckles. Press the dough on either side of the cuts to shape the knuckles. Arrange the fingers on the prepared baking sheet and bake until light golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the fingers to a wire rack and cool completely.

In a small saucepan, heat the jam over low heat until warm, about 2 minutes. Dip the blunt ends of the fingers in the warm jam and arrange on a platter.

Witch Finger Cookies ~ Dare to eat it! Boo!!!
Witch Finger Cookies ~ Dare to eat it! Boo!!!

NOTE: I modified the recipe a little bit and also eliminated the use of an egg, replaced it with flaxseeds.

Posted in Desserts, Snacks, Witch Finger Cookies, Witch Finger Cookies | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Mighty Kale Paratha

OMG, its been a long time since I sat down to pen on my experiences from my kitchen. Life is very busy with two kids and I have also been reading up and learning photography. Check out my sample work at ©Piah Photography. So if you live in the bay area and like my work that I have been learning, practicing and perfecting, contact me. Ok, photography aside, did you realize that my previous post was also about Kale and starts with “Mighty”? That’s because truly Kale is a mighty vegetable, so nutritious, so superior, so exceptional that I had no way getting around with the post without having to name it with the term “Mighty”. And I promised that I will tell you another way to make use of Kale and such is this recipe. I am sure you will enjoy it. Once you can make this recipe, you can use the same for Spinach and other greens. How versatile!

Mighty Kale Paratha with Aloo Saag

Mighty Kale Paratha with Aloo Saag


Ingredients:
1 Bunch Kale
1 tsp Ajwain
Vegetable or Canola Oil
Salt per taste
1 tsp Garam masala (Optional)
1 tsp red chili powder or per taste
2 Cups Whole Wheat or MultiGrain Flour
Flour for rolling

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Directions:
Remove the thick rib from the centre of the kale. Just fold the kale such that the leafy ends touch each other and rib is on one side. Use a knife and cut it out. Finely chop the kale. Add this to the flour, add all the spices, 1 tsp oil and knead it well. Use water if necessary to knead. Let it rest for about 10 mins. Heat a flat pan, let it be on medium high flame. Take some dough, about a spoonful roll it into a ball in between your palm. Dip it in the flour and using a rolling pin, roll it. Use flour as needed and roll it until you get the desired size and thickness. Put it on the pan, let it remain for about a minute, flip it. After the bottom side starts to brown just a little, drizzle some oil on the top, flip it again and press it all over for it to brown and crisp a little, flip again and repeat the same. Serve hot with some plain yogurt and aloo saag. Heaven is just bites away!
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Posted in Main Course, Mighty Kale Paratha | Tagged | 6 Comments

Mighty Kale Sandwich

Hello there my friends, it has been a while since I posted but this post is going to make up for it. It is super easy, super delicious and super nutritious. Yes, I am talking Kale. Do you know why it’s called a might kale? Here are some of the reasons – source wikipedia.

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Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat. Steaming significantly increases these bile acid binding properties. I buy kale every week. One bunch is used for sandwiches, another one.. shhh, that’s my post for the next time. In the meanwhile eat up your kale, enjoy its benefits, get out, exercise, socialize and enjoy the summer.

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Ingredients:

1 bunch kale
1 medium onion sliced and then cut into half
Alfalfa sprouts
Salt per taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
Multigrain bread
Cheese slices of any kind

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Directions:

Remove the center thick rib from kale using a knife, then chop it like a chiffonade. Heat a grill pan, drizzle about 1/2 tsp olive oil, sauté the onions until it starts to brown just a little, sprinkle some salt, black pepper and remove it from the pan. now drizzle another 1 tsp of oil, add kale, sprinkle salt, sauté until it looks a bit wilted down, may be in about 5 mins. Let it cool. Place a cheese slice on a bread, handful of kale, onions and alfalfa sprouts. Top of with another slice of cheese and close it with bread. Place this on the grill pan on low heat, place a heavy bottom pan on top so that the cheese will slowly melt and also seal the sandwich without burning the bread. Turn the bread to toast it on the other side and you will see beautiful grill marks. Your job is done. Delicious grilled sandwich is ready all year around. Dip it with some hot sauce for extra flavor.

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Posted in Main Course, Mighty Kale Sandwich | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Paneer Methi Paratha

Paneer, who doesn’t like it? It is filling, creamy, cheesy, protein packed of course some fat too, all in one which can satisfy anyone. Ask any non-Indian, most likely they will answer that they have had palak paneer. Its super easy to make from scratch at home, recipe here. It’s so versatile that both savory and sweet dishes such as Sandesh could be prepared. It could be used as cheese cubes along with other vegetables, as an appetizer in tandoori paneer, or as a stuffing in breads which I will share here. I also marinate in yogurt/ginger/garlic/chili paste mixture and grill it. It tastes fantastic with all those flavors and the smoky smell that comes grilling. It’s bland but in a good way because it can absorb the flavor and spices that you add to it or the sauce it is soaking in. Nowadays low fat versions of paneer are available in the supermarket and thats what I use for my family so that I can advantage of it’s versatility, its nutrients, wholesomeness without feeling guilty of eating too much fat.

Paratha ready to be cooked

Paratha ready to be cooked

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Makes: 12 approx.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated paneer 
  • 1 bunch methi (fenugreek leaves) finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ginger minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder or per taste
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • Salt per taste
  • Oil or ghee for cooking
  • Green chili (optional)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Hot Paneer Methi Paratha

Hot Paneer Methi Paratha served with raita


Directions:

Mix the spices, ginger, garlic, paneer, methi with some salt and taste. Adjust for seasonings. Add finely chopped green chilies if needed. Add the ajwain seeds, some salt, 1 tsp oil and a little water to the flour and knead well to form a dough a little stiffer than a pizza dough. Take some dough and roll in between your palms to form a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll it about 3- 4 inches in diameter. Place a spoonful of the mixture in the center, bring all the outer edges of dough to close the stuffing. Roll it again until the desired size which is about 13 – 15 inches or per your desired thickness. Heat a pan, and place this rolled out paratha for about 1 min or so and flip it. Cook for another minute or until you see brown spots underneath and then flip again. Drizzle from oil or ghee, about 1/2 tsp, press with a spatula all over, flip and again press until you see it golden brown spots. Serve hot with some mango pickle and raita.

Hot Paneer Methi Paratha

Hot Paneer Methi Paratha

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