Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee cake6I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! My daughter-in-law, Dharti, graduated with a Masters in Psychology so our family and friends celebrated all weekend. The blueberry coffee cake was part of brunch on Monday morning and one of my toughest food critics, my son, said this was his new favorite cake. I hope it will become one of your favorites too.

Here’s a quick tip before you dive in: Dust the blueberries with flour before you fold them into the cake and also when you scatter them on top. This keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake while it bakes.

Blueberry Coffee Cake
Adapted from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

For the Cake
2 cups flour plus 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup fresh blueberries

For the Topping
½ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

For the Cake
Sift two cups of flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. It will take about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Turn the mixer to low speed, add one-third of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Then beat in half of the milk. Add half of the remaining flour, beating until incorporated and then add the remaining half cup of milk. Finally add the remaining flour and beat until incorporated.

Toss the blueberries in a small bowl with half a teaspoon of flour. Make sure that the blueberries are coated with flour before you gently fold them into the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and make the topping.

For the Topping
Toss the blueberries with the remaining half teaspoon of flour and scatter them over the top of the batter. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then cut and arrange them on a cake platter. They taste heavenly when eaten warm.

Thai Salad

Thai salad1Last year I visited my brother and sister-in-law in Thailand. The food was incredible and they made sure that I had an opportunity to taste everything. The only fruit I didn’t taste was durian. Maybe next time!

I thought I would share with you a Thai inspired salad. It’s 100% vegetarian – no fish sauce. The dressing is easy to make and my family loved it. I use maple syrup which gives the dressing an unusual flavor. It’s a great companion to your favorite fiery Thai dish, but compliments non-Thai dishes as well.

Thai Salad
1 head Napa cabbage, shredded (6-7 cups)
1 head purple cabbage, shredded (6-7 cups)
1 large English cucumber, julienned
3 small carrots, peeled and grated
2 cups shelled edamame, cooked
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 cup roasted peanuts to garnish

Put all the above ingredients, except the peanuts, in a large salad bowl. The recipe for the cilantro and lime dressing is given below.

For the Cilantro and lime dressing:
1 cup lime juice
¼ cup Turbinado sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
2 cups roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons finely grated lime rind

Blend lime juice, sugar, maple syrup, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Remove the dressing into a small bowl and stir in the grated lime rind. Top each serving of salad with two tablespoons of dressing and garnish with roasted peanuts. Serve the remaining dressing on the side, because people always ask for more!

Bombay Toast with Yoghurt Topping and Strawberry Jam

Bombay Toast5The smell of Bombay Toast wafting up from the kitchen is a delightful memory that I have from my childhood. Thick slices of white bread from Kayani bakery, dipped in a batter of eggs, sugar and milk and shallow fried in Amul butter – yum!

Well, here is a bumped up version that I recently made for brunch with two of my friends. The yoghurt topping is easy to make and goes well with pancakes and waffles too. My homemade strawberry jam added a touch of color to this composition. Enjoy!

Bombay Toast with Yoghurt and Strawberry Topping
8 eggs
1½ cups half-and-half or milk
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon vanilla
1½ tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
1 large loaf challah or brioche bread, cut into ¾ inch slices
Vegetable oil and butter for shallow frying

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside. Whisk eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt in a large, wide-mouth bowl. Soak two or three slices of bread, at a time, in the egg mixture for two minutes on one side. Turn them over and soak the other side for two minutes.

Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter. When the butter melts, gently add the soaked slices of bread. Cook for two to three minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Fry the remaining soaked slices of bread, adding oil and butter as needed. Place the prepared Bombay toast on the sheet pan and keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with maple syrup, yoghurt topping and jam of your choice.

Yoghurt Topping
1 cup yoghurt
½ cup cool whip
¼ cup maple syrup

Whisk the yoghurt, cool whip and maple syrup in a small bowl until creamy and smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Cauliflower Subzi

Cauliflower Subzi4Spring is here and there is an abundance of fresh vegetables in the grocery stores. I picked up a medium sized cauliflower the other day and made a “subzi” out of it for dinner. Subzi (or subji) simply means vegetable dish and it can be used with any vegetable. My cauliflower subzi turned out well and I thought I would share the recipe with you.

For this dish, I suggest that you use fresh ginger and garlic and crush them using a mortar and pestle. Using bottled ginger and garlic from the grocery store changes the taste of this dish completely. Also, make the extra effort to roast and crush whole black pepper and whole coriander seeds to sprinkle on the dish just before it is done. This extra step gives this cauliflower subzi a unique North Indian flavor.

Cauliflower Subzi
1 medium cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets
1 cup sliced onion
2 teaspoons crushed garlic (about four or five garlic cloves)
1 teaspoon crushed ginger (about 1/2 inch piece of ginger)
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

In a large pot, set over moderate heat, add three tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft. Add garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chill flakes, salt, and cumin seeds. Cook for one minute and then add the coriander, turmeric, and garam masala powder. Stir and cook until the oil separates from the tomato-onion mixture.

Add the cauliflower and mix well, stirring occasionally, to make sure that the cauliflower does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook for seven to eight minutes or until the cauliflower is done.

In the meantime, place another small frying pan over low heat and gently toast the black pepper corn, and coriander seeds for three minutes. Remove and cool. Put them in a mortar and pestle and crush them to a coarse grind. Sprinkle the crushed pepper-coriander mixture over the cauliflower. Stir gently, cover the dish with a lid, and turn the heat off. This dish goes well with fresh rotis (Indian bread).