Cook's Hideout: August 2008

August 27, 2008

Chimp Cakes

Many of the friends think it is very strange that we celebrate our son’s monthly birthday. We put a cute new outfit on him, make a cake and take pictures. One of my friend actually said that it is too much to think about and arrange for. But for us it’s something we enjoy and cherish every month.

It’s hard to believe that our little fella will soon be 1 and before we even realize he’ll be off to college. I hope time takes a little break and he doesn’t have to grow up that fast.
For this month’s birthday, I made these Chimp cakes. I adapted the recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine. This is a vegan recipe, but I made it non-vegan. Here’s my non-vegan version of the recipe.

Recipe Adapted from here
All-purpose flour – 1 cup
Whole wheat pastry flour – 1 cup
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Brown Sugar – ½ cup
Regular Sugar – ½ cup
Unsweetened Apple sauce – ½ cup
Canola Oil – 1 cup
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
1% Milk – ¼ cup
Bananas – 3 medium, mashed
Chocolate chips – 1 cup
Walnuts & Cashews – ½ cup, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
  • Whisk the two flours, sugars and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, oil and vanilla essence.
  • Fold applesauce mixture into the flour mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts into the batter.
  • Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full with the batter. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes, then unmold onto wire rack to cool.

This is my entry to
* Meeta’s (@ What's For Lunch Honey?) Monthly Mingle: Fruit and Chocolate and
* Hima’s (@ Snackorama) Sunday Snacks-Bake it event.

August 24, 2008

Thai Broccoli Salad

I got paired with 28 Cooks for this month's Taste and Create XIII edition created and hosted by Rachel @ For the love of food. Fiber @ 28 Cooks calls herself a Vegaquarian and her blog has a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Her hearty vegetarian sub, Curried Lo Mein and Black Bean cakes are on my must-make list. For the event I made Broccoli salad with Thai peanut sauce. It was simple, but full of flavor.

Peanut butter, smooth - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 1 1/2 tbsp
Hot water - 1 1/2 tbsp
Lime juice - 1 1/2 tbsp
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Sesame oil - 1 1/2 tsp
Red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
Broccoli florets - 2 bunches
Bell pepper - 1 medium, julienned (I used 1 green bell pepper)
Carrot - 1 medium, julienned
Onion - 1 medium, thinly sliced
Garlic - 3 cloves, minced

  • Blend peanut butter, sugar, water, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper flakes until well blended and set aside.
  • Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add the veggies and garlic, and stir-fry until tender crisp.
  • Remove from heat, place in a large bowl and pour dressing over it. Mix well and serve.
This salad is quick, filling and delicious. I would add fried tofu for a complete meal next time.

August 22, 2008

Gulab Jamuns from Scratch

My MIL makes awesome gulab jamuns from scratch. I grew up eating MTR jamuns and I loved them until I tasted the jamuns made from scratch with khoya. They are quite easy to make and they taste soooo good.

Khova/ Khoya – 1 pkg (I used Nanak frozen khoya)
Sooji (semolina) – ¼ cup
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Oil/ Ghee – enough for frying

For the syrup:
Sugar – 2 cups

  • Thaw khoya by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight and resting on the counter for couple of hours.
  • Add water to sooji and knead till it resembles roti dough. Cover and let it rest for about 1 hour. Knead again for another 5 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of water to sugar and simmer till the sugar melts about 15-20 minutes.
  • Crumble khova into the food processor and add sooji dough & cardamom powder. Pulse until it almost comes together, about 3-5 minutes. Remove into a bowl and knead well for at least 10 minutes.
  • Roll them into small balls. My MIL makes them into bullet shaped balls because they fry up better without any rawness in the center.
  • While the jamuns are being made, heat oil/ ghee; when it is hot enough, slowly slide in the first batch of jamuns and fry on medium flame till golden brown. Do not over crowd the pan; always fry in batches. Also keep an eye on the oil temperature; too hot jamuns burn.. not hot enough jamun centers are uncooked. Remove the fried jamuns onto a plate and let them cool for couple of minutes, before sliding them into the sugar syrup.

Enjoy warm or cold with some ice cream. These jamuns stay fresh at room temperature for upto 4-5 days. Makes about 25 jamuns.

August 19, 2008

Grilled Tempeh with Broccoli Rabe and Red Peppers

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and has higher content of protein, vitamins and dietary fiber compared to tofu. It also has a different texture and a very strong flavor (slightly bitter). My favorite way of cooking tempeh would be baking it in a marinade and made into a sandwich. Grilling it would be my second favorite; grilling makes it juicy and yummy.

I used broccoli rabe for the first time in this recipe. I have to admit that I didn’t like it. I thought I would because I like Karela (bitter gourd), but this was way too much bitter for my palate. Next time, I’m going to make this with either broccoli or broccolini (never had this before and is on my must-try list; now that broccoli rabe is out of it).

Recipe adapted from here.

For the marinade:
Low-Sodium Tamari – 4 tsp
Olive oil – 4 tsp
Balsamic vinegar – 1 tbsp
Garlic, minced – 1 tbsp
Dijon mustard – 1 tsp
Dried basil – 1 tsp
Dried Oregano – 1 tsp
Onion powder – ½ tsp
Paprika – ½ tsp
Red pepper flakes – ½ tsp
Salt and Pepper – to taste

For Tempeh:
Tempeh – 1 8oz. pkg any variety (I used veggie style tempeh)
Red Onion – 1 medium, diced
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Broccoli Rabe – 1 bunch, roughly chopped
Red pepper – 1 medium, diced
Garlic – 1 tbsp, minced
Nutritional Yeast – 4 tsp
Salt and Pepper – to taste

  • First prepare the tempeh for marinating. In a medium sauce pot bring some water to a boil. Cut tempeh into quarters and add them to the water. Let the simmer covered for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a dish that’s big enough to place tempeh.
  • After 10 minutes, remove tempeh from water and immediately place in the marinade. Cover and marinate for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat grill pan on medium-high heat. Grill tempeh for 5 minutes on each side.
  • Reserve the marinade. Keep grilled tempeh warm in a warm oven until ready to serve.
  • Then prepare broccoli rabe and red-pepper. To remove the bitterness of broccoli rabe, bring some water to a boil in a large skillet, cover and cook it for 5 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
  • Wipe the skillet clean and add oil; when hot, add onions and sauté for 5-8 minutes until onions are soft and golden. Add garlic and red pepper. Sauté until peppers are tender. Then add cooked broccoli rabe, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve along with grilled tempeh and rice.

This is my entry to this month’s JFI-Soy hosted by Lovely Sia @ Monsoon Spice. (JFI is the brain child of Indira @ Mahanandi)

August 14, 2008

Grilled Tofu

I buy tofu on a regular basis, but end up using it in fried rice or some kind of Chinese style dish (or my version of some Chinese dish). But this time I wanted to make something different and searched around quite a bit (since all I have in my fridge is this tofu) before I found this recipe on Vegetarian Times. Recipe is for baked tofu, but I used my stove top grill pan instead. I was quite impressed with my grilling abilities, but it can be done better the next time.

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times Magazine.


Extra-firm Tofu – 1 14 oz. package

For the marinade:
Tomato Paste – 1 ½ tbsp
No-Chicken stock – ¾ cup
Low-sodium Tamari (Soy sauce) – 2 tbsp
Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce – 1 tbsp (I didn’t have this, so I used an extra 1 tbsp tamari)
Red Wine Vinegar – 2 tbsp
Scallions – 2, chopped
Garlic cloves – 2, minced

For the sauce:
Nutritional yeast – ¼ cup
Oregano, dried – 1 tsp
Corn starch – 2 tbsp
Cold Water – 2 tbsp

  • To make the marinade: mix all the marinade ingredients in a baking dish and slowly slide in the tofu. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  • Preheat the grill pan on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove tofu from marinade and quarter it. Reserve the marinade.
  • Spray the grill pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the tofu slabs on the grill and let them sear for 3 minutes. Lightly press tofu with wooden spatula or tongs once in a while to get grill marks. Turn each tofu piece 90° and grill for another 2 minutes to get the cross hatch grill marks. Flip and repeat.
  • Remove and keep warm in a warm oven till ready to serve.
  • To make the sauce: Mix nutritional yeast and dried oregano to the reserved marinade. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the corn starch solution. Simmer until the sauce thickens, season with pepper and salt.
  • To serve: Slice each tofu slab into two triangles. Serve over brown rice with the gravy.

This is my entry to this month's Monthly Mingle: Grill It being hosted by talented Sig @ Live to Eat. Monthly Mingle is brain child of Meeta @ What's for lunch Honey..

August 07, 2008

Eggplant Wrap

I’m lucky to live at walkable distance from my work. Looking at the sky rocketing gas prices and extremely frustrating traffic jams I’m very glad we made the decision to move closer to work. But the biggest advantage is being able to see my son just minutes after I leave work. That to me is price-less.
Well now I have to confess, I don’t walk to work (ya… ya.. I know I have to), but being this close sometimes spoils you rotten. But on the other hand, I try to come home in the afternoon on my lunch break; prep something for dinner like cook dal, make a quick curry, chop veggies for evening, soak beans or something like that. It’s so much easy to come home in the evening and make some rice and finish up the curry and/or dal. This is giving us time to take our son for a stroll in the evening. I’m loving it..
So today I baked the eggplant and made hummus during my lunch time and put together the warps after we came home. I would include lettuce, roasted red peppers and onions next time I make these wraps.

Ingredients: For Baked Eggplant:
Eggplant – 1 medium, cut widthwise into ¼“ slices
Flour – ¼ cup
Milk – about ¼ cup
Bread Crumbs – ½ cup
Dried basil – 1tsp

For the Wraps:
Whole grain Tortillas – 4
Tomatoes – 2 medium, thinly sliced
  • Layer the eggplant slices in a colander; sprinkle each layer liberally with salt. Put something heavy on the eggplants, so that they release the bitter juices. Leave it for at least 30minutes (or before leaving to work).
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • After 30 minutes, (or during lunch time) rinse off the salt and pat dry thoroughly.
  • Set up an assembly line with 3 plates each with flour (seasoned with salt and pepper), milk and bread crumbs (seasoned with basil, salt & pepper or any other seasonings you like).
  • Drench the eggplant in flour-milk-bread crumbs (in the same order). Place them on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and bake them for 5-7 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown. Remove and let cool.
  • To assemble, smear the wrap liberally with hummus, lay the eggplant and tomatoes, wrap and enjoy.
For the Hummus (Adapted from Alton brown’s recipe):
Chickpeas – 1 15oz. can drained or 1 ½ cups cooked
Peanut butter – 3 tbsp
Lemon juice – 2tbsp
Olive oil – 2tbsp
Red pepper flakes – ½ tsp
Salt and pepper to taste.

Method: Blend them into a smooth paste in a food processor.


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