Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Cranberry Sauce3Happy Thanksgiving! I’m sure you’re getting ready to celebrate with your family and friends this week. I love all the planning, anticipation, preparation, and cooking that leads up to a grand Thanksgiving dinner. Most of all, I like that, around this time of the year, I’m reminded to reflect on my blessings.

There are three very important people in my life – my daughter, Jyoti, my son, Sanjay, and my daughter-in-law, Dharti. Each one brings to the table their own unique strengths, energy, and love that makes our home complete. I am thankful for them. I come from a close-knit family and I love and adore each one of them. I’m thankful to have friends that have cried, laughed, and grown old with me! And, of course, I am so thankful for my blog readers and commenters! I hope you will join me in counting your blessings. You’re welcome to jot them in the comments section.

I’d like to share two recipes that are going to be on our Thanksgivings table this year – Cranberry Sauce and Sweet Corn Pudding. Just click on the links below to get the recipes. I hope you will enjoy them as much as we will. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed time with your family and friends.

Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Corn Pudding

Raisin, Apricot and Cranberry Scones

Raisin, Apricot and Cranberry Scones10

Start your Sunday morning with these freshly baked raisin, apricot, and cranberry scones. I made them for my family this past Sunday and they really enjoyed them. We topped them with cream and homemade strawberry jam. My favorite thing about making scones is that there is such a wide variety to choose from. You can make them with dried fruit or fresh fruit. You can make them sweet, nutty, or savory. In the picture above, you can see both raisin, apricot and cranberry scones on the bottom and chocolate chips scones on top. British scones are lightly sweetened so when I first made them, I added very little sugar. I’ve since changed my recipe and added two tablespoons of sugar to please my children. You can adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste buds.

Here are some tips to making light and airy scones. Make sure that your butter is very cold but not frozen. Sift the dry ingredients to aerate the flour. Work quickly and lightly when combining the wet and dry ingredients. Don’t over handle the dough as this will make your scones tough. Use very little flour to roll and shape your dough. Cut your scones with a sharp knife or cutter. Place them close together on the tray as this will help to keep their edges straight. Bake them on the top rack of your oven. Keep these tips in mind when you make scones and I promise your scones will be perfect.

Raisin, Apricot and Cranberry Scones
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Makes: 18 scones

3 cups all-purpose flour, (or use cake flour)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, (0-2 tablespoons, depending on your taste and preference)
10 tablespoons cold butter, (diced into small cubes)
1 cup dried fruits, (raisins, diced apricot, cranberries)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk + 2 tablespoons, (reserve 2 tablespoons to brush tops)
Turbinado sugar for tops

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, a fork and a knife, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle sugar over the flour, add the dried fruits and toss to combine.

Shake the carton of buttermilk before you measure. Pour one cup buttermilk into a separate small bowl. Add the eggs and whisk until combined.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly add the egg and buttermilk mixture. Gently fold the wet and dry ingredients, using a flat bladed knife, until a dough forms. The mixture simply needs to be pulled together until the flour is incorporated. The dough will be slightly wet, light, and pliable.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Flour your hands and using a very light touch, gently pat into shape. About three to four pats only. Shape the dough into an 8 x 8 inch square that is about half inch in height. Use a ruler or a large knife to straighten the edges. Cut into thirds. You will have nine squares. Then cut each square diagonally to make two triangles.

Place the scones close together on the parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with the reserved two tablespoons of buttermilk and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the tops turn light golden in color. Scones are best served warm and fresh, with jam and cream or creme fraiche.

More tips:
– For lighter scones use cake flour, which is soft flour that has less gluten protein. You can make your own cake flour. For every one cup of all purpose flour, take out two tablespoons and replace with two tablespoons of cornflour. Sift using a sieve.

– For chocolate chip scones, you can replace the dried fruit with one cup of chocolate chips.
Easter Brunch 3

Pistachio, Cranberry and Cardamom Biscotti

Pistachio & Cranberry Biscotti3

The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over. It is time to sit by the fire, relax, eat biscotti, and drink chai! Originally made in Italy, biscotti is a small, crisp, rectangular, twice-baked cookie, usually containing nuts. I’ve put a twist on the recipe by using the aromatic powder of green cardamom seeds. A truly delightful blend of ingredients makes these cookies one of my favorites.

Here’s wishing you peace, prosperity, good health and happiness in 2014!

Pistachio, Cranberry and Cardamom Biscotti
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
Makes: 24 biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
¾ cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use silpat. Sift flour, baking powder, and cardamom powder into a medium bowl. Using a stand mixer, beat sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Add spoonfuls of flour and beat until just blended. Stir in the chopped pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden. About 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on a cutting board and using a bread knife, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Arrange the biscotti, cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti again until they are light brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

If you like, you can dip the biscotti into melted chocolate chips. Shake off the excess chocolate and place them on a baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm. It takes around 30 minutes.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce3

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers and my Facebook friends. Here is a recipe for cranberry sauce that I make for my family Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is so easy and delicious that you will never buy another can of cranberry sauce again! It has an Indian spin to it, in that, I add a little dry chilli flakes while cooking the cranberries, but it is totally optional. You can add it if you like. This recipe can be make in advance. Just heat it up and serve.

The recipe is very basic and you can make it your own by adding ingredients, such as, chopped Granny Smith apple, slivered almonds, pecans, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Instead of sugar you can use maple syrup and instead of orange juice you can use cranberry juice. So, once you have the basic recipe, you can dress it up with ingredients that you like.

Enjoy the tangy, sweet, and spicy taste of this super easy cranberry sauce at your thanksgiving table this year.

Cranberry Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Serves: 6

1 cup water
¾ cup granulated sugar
12 ounces fresh cranberries, (340 g)
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ teaspoon dry chilli flakes, (optional)
1 tablespoon orange zest
orange segments for garnish

In a small saucepan bring water to a simmer. Add sugar, fresh cranberries, orange juice, chilli flakes, and zest. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries begin to pop. It will take about 10-12 minutes.

Remove, dish out into a beautiful bowl, garnish with orange segments, and serve.