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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Creamy Red Velvet Hearts for this Valentines Day!!!

Valentines Day as everybody knows is the lovers day. Like friendship's day, father's, mother's day etc, a day to remember your loved ones or show your affection towards them. But do you think this is really necessary. I do not think your lover will love you more on this day. But it definitely is a day where gals gets tons of roses and gifts. Of course its nice to celebrate love and something to look forward for everybody.

Why is Valentines Day special to me. Well fortunately or unfortunately I was born on this day :). So I share my birth date with Saint Valentine. I had no clue what it all meant until I was in the 6th or 7th grade. And the lucky one is my husband, not only that its easy for him to remember my birthday, he can just manage with one gift. Anyways this years birthday has kicked of with a great start with couple surprises from Briji. He gifted me a dozen roses and Cuisinart hand blender which I wanted to get for a long time.



I wanted to create sometime special for Dumuki's readers this Valentine. So after brainstorming with Briji, finally decided on the Red Velvet cake. But I wanted it special, thus created the mini hearts Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. This is a simple and easy cake recipe which tastes out of the world. Try this out and  treat yourself with a special romantic dining. Lets go into the recipe.

Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients

For Cake:
Buttermilk - 1 cup
Vanilla - 1 Tspn
Vinegar - 1 Tbspn
Oil - 1 1/2 cups
Eggs -  2 large
All Purpose flour - 2 1/2 cups
Cocoa Powder -1 Tbspn
Sugar - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 1 tspn
Salt - 1 tspn
Red food color - 2 ounce

For Cream Cheese Frosting:
Soft Cream Cheese - 8 ounce (at room temperature)
Butter - 1 stick (1/2 cup at room temperature)
Confectioner sugar - 3 cups
Vanilla - 1 tspn

Method:

- Preheat the oven at 350 F. Prepare the pan with butter paper and spray with oil.
- In a bowl beat the eggs with the hand mixer on medium speed. Once done add the other wet ingredients - buttermilk, oil, vanilla and vinegar. Once mixed add the food color to this. Make sure it has reached the desired color.
- In a separate larger bowl sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar and salt together. Add the wet ingredients to this and mix until its all incorporated well.
- Transfer this to the baking pan and bake for 40 mins or until done completely. You can test it by inserting a toothpick into the cake and if it comes clean its done.
- Keep it aside to cool.
- For the frosting, take the butter and cream cheese in a bowl. Combine the two ingredients well.
- Add sugar little by little and mix well. Also add vanilla and incorporate them.



To make the mini hearts, you will need a heart cutter. You may choose to make any shapes or use the whole cake. I used the mini heart shaped cutter to create them. Layer the heart shaped cakes the cream cheese frosting. And you have a wonderful treat in front of you. Combine it with a glass of wine and enjoy this wonderful dessert.

Hope you enjoy this and let me know your comments once you try them. HAPPY VALENTINES DAY...

Submitted this entry for the Valentines Day Event hosted by http://teenzyummydelights.blogspot.com.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mediterranean continues with Tzatziki Sauce

Continuing with my Mediterranean cooking, I came across an amazingly tasty sauce/dip. I was introduced to this dish by a new friend of ours. They had invited us for a potluck party at their place. The hostess send us three different cuisines and we were to choose from them. Majority of us chose the Mediterranean cuisine and I had to get Tzatziki Sauce and Shawarma chicken.


I had no clue what Tzatziki Sauce was. This was completely new to me. I knew this could be bought at store, but was determined to make it from scratch. So I set out on a research to find out on how this was made. Thats when I realized that it was very easy to make. Once I made them, it was totally worth the trouble. We loved it for its taste and being a healthy sauce. Thanks to our new friends for a wonderful party.

Tzatziki Sauce is made of Greek Yogurt. I hate Greek Yogurt even though its much healthier than the regular one. For me it tastes like liquid chalk, which is a weird description. I replaced with the regular yogurt, but there is a trick I found to get the same consistency. So lets go into the details of the method.

Ingredients:

Regular Plain Yogurt - 1 Can
Cucumber - 3 small nos
Lemon juice - 2 tbspn
Garlic - 3 cloves
Black pepper - 1 tsp
Dill - 2 tsp (chopped)
Salt - 1 tsp to taste



Method:

- The first step would be straining the liquid from the plain yogurt. You can do this by using a strainer. To be on the safer side I kept a tissue towel on the strainer and poured the yogurt on it. Keep this on a bowl to collect the excess liquid. Leave it in the fridge for atleast 5 hours. You may skip this step if using the Greek Yogurt.
-Peal the cucumbers and scoop out the seeds from them. Cut them into block pieces. Add some salt to this and put them in another strainer to drain the water. You may restrict the use of salt as we are adding it in cucumber at this stage. The salt helps to drain the water from it. Keep it aside for 30 mins.
-Fresh dill gives an excellent flavor to this sauce. You can find them in the greens section of the grocery store. You may also substitute dill with mint leaves. But that changes the flavor. Wash the dill and dry them with tissue towel.
-In a food processor/grinder, add the dill, garlic, cucumber, black pepper, lemon juice and grind them until the cucumbers are in fine bits.
-Transfer the mixture to the serving bowl and add the strained yogurt to this. Mix well. Add salt if required.



Tzatziki Sauce is ready. Its a healthy yummy tasting sauce/dip/spread. Pair it with anything, you will love them. Will be back soon with more recipes.

ENJOY!!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hummus.. a Mediterranean Twist

Being a hardcore lover of Arabic/Mediterranean delicacies, entering into this New Year with one of my favorite dish. I was brought up in UAE and now you  know why I love these Arabic food. My favorites include Shawarma, Falafel, Chicken and Rice, Hummus, Rotisserie chicken and many more. Coming to US, one of the major things that I miss from Middle East is the food. But that doesn't stop me, whenever I get a chance would grab the opportunity to get hold of some authentic Mediterranean food. But it would be more fun to have your favorite delicacies served at home. That is when my experiments on this began and realized that preparing them is very simple unlike the Indian cuisine.

Lets start with Hummus. Its usually severed as an appetizer dip or spread. Hummus is also combined with Shwarma, Falafel or Pita-bread. Its one of the healthy dips which is high in iron, protein and fiber. This is also a good option for the vegetarians with Falafel. Most of you would have tasted the store bought Hummus. But did you realize this is one of the easiest dip anybody could make at home and get the same flavor and taste. Guys you would not believe how easily you can amaze your guests. Lets go into the recipe.



Ingredients:

Chick Peas (Garbanzo beans, Chana) - 2 cups
Tahini - 3 tbspn
Curd - 2 tbspn
Garlic cloves - 3 nos
Lemon juice - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Olive oil to garnish
Parsley to garnish

Method:

- Soak the chick peas overnight in water. Pressure cook them until 3 whistles/ they become tender. Let it cool.
- In a food processor/grinder, add the cooked chick peas, curd, tahini, garlic cloves, lemon juice and salt.
- Grind until it becomes a fine paste. If its really thick add a little water, about 1/4 cup or until desired consistency is reached.
- Scoop out the hummus into a dish, garnish with olive oil and fresh parsley. The hummus is ready!!.

* You may use the canned chick peas which is already cooked. This makes it much easier.
* You will find Tahini paste in any stores. However I made the paste at home. This is again simple, toast some sesame seeds in low flame. Once it becomes golden brown, grind it with oil until it forms a paste. You can store this upto a month in an air tight container.
* To spice up the hummus, add flavors like bell pepper/chilli powder/jalapenos etc with the other ingredients.


ENJOY!!! Will be back soon with more Mediterranean delicacies...