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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fighting the Good Fight

It's been a bit rough around here lately. Between some unforeseen/foreseen stresses and general malaise, we seem to be in a constant state of partially having a cold.  Last week, I fought these things with chocolate cake and Indian food.  The Indian food seemed to knock out the cold impulses, at least for a day or two.  And the cake?  Pretty damn good, Joy the Baker!  (It was pretty similar to this recipe, minus the cream cheese and orange, and adding in some cocoa powder.)  But I digress.

Cold-Busting Indian Chili

(adapted from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness)

1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste (about 3-4 Tbsp.)
1 onion (optional- I was out, but I'm sure it would have been good with it)

3 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/4 tsp. peppercorns
1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes
1" piece of cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 c. water

Don't be put off by the long spice list; you probably have most of those things already, except for maybe the garam masala and the cardamom pods.  

In a large pan, heat the oil.  Add the first set of spices, and let it cook until the seeds start to pop. (You may want to use a cooking screen to protect yourself from flying oil!- I got one from the dollar store a million years ago.)
Add your onion (if using) and garlic to the hot spices.  Cook until the onion is translucent, or until the garlic stops smelling raw.  Then add your canned tomatoes and drained beans.  Evenly disburse the second set of spices and mix them in.  Pour in the water, and cook for 15 minutes.  Just before serving, add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce.  Serve over rice, with plain yogurt to temper the spice.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Confetti Cookies!

It's Zizi's 3rd Birthday party tomorrow, and what could be better than sprinkle-laden cookies?  These were inspired by a recipe in Joy The Baker's newest cookbook, Homemade Decadence; but being that I have been working with limited amounts of time lately, I decided to just use my tried-and-true (and delicious) shortbread recipe, then roll the cookies in sprinkles before baking them.  

Confetti Cookies
(adapted from both Joy the Baker and Martha Stewart)

2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 c. unbleached flour
1 1/4 tsp, salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean (optional)
1 entire container of sprinkles (3/4 oz)

Get out your mixer!  Blend up the butter until it is spreadable, (about 3-5 minutes) then add the sugar.  Slowly add in the flour, and once it is all incorporated, the salt.  Add the vanilla extract, and mix some more.  Use a knife to split open your vanilla bean, and scrape out the seeds.  Add the seeds to your cookie dough, and mix a bit more to incorporate them. Lastly, add a few tablespoons of sprinkles to the dough, and mix them in.

Pour the sprinkles into a small bowl; one that you can fit your hand into.  Take out small amounts of dough (about a tablespoon each) and roll them in the bowl of sprinkles.  Press hard enough to get them to really stick to the dough.  When you have rolled all of the cookies, put them on a parchment-covered sheet, smush them down a bit (so they are slightly flattened) and freeze for 30 minutes.  Bake at 300* for 30 minutes; they will be brown on the bottom, but not the top.