Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vanilla Cake Frosting

No cake is ready without frosting. There are many types of frosting, but here is one that works well with the cake described previously.

Perfect Butter Cream Frosting

This recipe is from the Baking cups package.
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening( I prefer oil)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Beat 1/2 lb sugar with the shortening and butter. Gradually add milk. Continue beating, and add the vanilla extract. Gradually add the remaining sugar until an appropriate consistency is achieved. The frosting is sufficient to cover 24 cupcakes or a 9"x13" cake.

Eggless Cake Recipe

My sister-in-law shared this recipe with me more than 20 years ago.

Eggless Cake
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks (300gm or 1/2 lb) butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Greased and dusted rectangular pan (9x13 in)
  1. Mix sugar and butter and beat until becomes fluffy in a bowl. Add vanilla extract.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, and milk powder in another bowl.
  3. Add the flour mix and milk alternately to the butter sugar mix with upward motion ( not pressing down) to fluff and ensure that the batter is uniform.
  4. Bake at 350 deg F ( about 30mins). To check if the cake is ready, insert a toothpick into the cake. When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.
To make cup cakes, use the same batter mix and bake for about 20 minutes. The batter is enough for about 24 cup cakes.

To make the cake softer, add 1 cup sour cream instead of milk powder and half&half in place of milk.

For flavoring and texture, I usually add a pureed ripe banana and raisins (1/2 cup) and decrease the sugar to 1 and 1/2 cup. Other options include dates, grated apple, mushed peaches with walnuts or pecans.

Perfect Butter Cream Frosting:
This recipe is from Baking cups package
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening( I prefer oil)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Beat half the sugar with shortening and butter. Gradually add milk. Continue beating, add extract and gradually add remaining sugar until right consistency is reached. It is good enough for 24 cupcakes or 9"x13" cake.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


by Jackie Redrupp

Ingredients (Makes about 6 dozen pieces):
  • 1 lb. chilled butter
  • 1 cup superfined sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup rice flour or arrowroot flour
  • 5 cups all purpose flour (bleached)
  • Blanched almonds split in half

  1. Dice chilled butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in bowl. Add sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat mixture until it is light and fluffy.
  2. Combine flours and add gradually to creamed mixture. The dough will be crumbly. Butter and lightly flour a large cookie sheet and a 10 or 12 inch pizza pan. Preheat oven to 325degF.
  3. Spoon 1/3 of dough in to prepared pizza pan. Push, pat and roll until it is smooth and covers the pan uniformly. With a sharp knife cut circle in to 8 or 12 wedges and decorate with split almonds.
  4. Put remaining 2/3 of dough on to cookie sheet. Push, pat and roll the dough until it covers the sheet uniformly. With a sharp knife , make 3x1 inch rectangles(fingers). Place a split almond at the center of each.
  5. Prick the shortbread all over with the tines of a fork. Bake in the middle of preheated (325degF) oven for 20minutes or until just lightly colored.
  6. Remove from the oven and immediately run sharp knife through all the divisions. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using a spatula transfer pieces to a cooling rack. Store in tightly covered containers.

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies
(Modified from recipe on Quaker Oats Box)

Ingredients (makes about 5 dozen):
  • 1 cup butter or Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water (may use juice instead)
  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp soda

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degF.
  2. Beat together butter, sugars, milk powder and vanilla until creamy.
  3. Add combined remaining (oats, flour, soda, salt) ingredients and mix well.
  4. Using rounded teaspoonfuls, drop cookie batter onto greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 degF for 12 to 15 minutes.
For variety add chopped nuts, raisins, chopped dates, chocolate chips or coconut. Add cinammon, apple pie spice mix to enhance flavor. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rice-Lentils (Daal-Chaawal)

Rice is a staple food in many parts of India, especially in the South. This is certainly true in my home state of Maharashtra (the state in red at right). There are many varieties of rice around the world, each with its own flavor and texture. The rice in India tastes very different from the rice commonly eaten in the U.S. It has a more distinct fragrance and is less sticky. The most popular variety in Maharashtra is called "Ambemohr" (pronounced 'uhm-bay-mo-her'). Another variety that is known worldwide from India is "Basmati" ('baas-muh-thii'). The Hindi word for rice is "Chaawal" ('chaa-wuhl') In Marathi, "Daal-Chaawal" is "Aamati-Bhaat" In Hindi, this is written as दाल- चावल.

Fresh, steamed rice is commonly paired with "Daal." The word Daal means skinned and split lentil. There are many varieties of beans, lentils, or pulses: Moong, Toor, Chana, Chole (chickpeas), Chawali (blackeyed peas), Masoore (Western lentil), Urad, and many other varieties. For many Indians, Daal-Chaawal is a good combination for someone who is on-the-go and wants a quick, nutritious meal.

Serves 1

Chaawal Preparation:
  • 1/2 cup of rice ( cleaned and washed )
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup of water
  1. In 1 quart pan, boil the 1 cup of water with the butter.
  2. Pour the 1/2 cup of rice into the pan, and reduce the heat.
  3. Let it simmer for 10 minutes , while partially covering it.
Keep the pan on the lowest heat setting, cover it completely, and let it sit there for another 10 minutes.

Daal Preparation:
  • 1/2 cup daal ( Toor daal )
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric (1/4 twice)
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoitida ( 1/8 twice)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Corriender seed powder
  • 1 tsp ground Cayenne pepper powder (Chili powder)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp phenugreek seeds ( methi)
  • 1/8 tsp citric acid (this can be substituted by tamarind, aamchur [dried raw mango powder], kokum, V8 juice, or tomato juice)
  1. In a separate 1 quart pan, put the measured amount of daal (1/2 cup per person for full meal of daal-chaawal only) and wash it by changing water 2-3 times.
  2. For every 1/2 cup of daal, add 1 cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon oil, 2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (haldi) and 1/8th teaspoon asafoitida (hing).
  3. Cook in pressure cooker or on stove directly for about 30 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Make sure that the daal is cooked and gets mushed by spoon. Adjust the consistency according to your liking by adding water.
  5. In a small measuring steel pan, add the remaining oil and heat it. To make sure it is hot enough, add a seed of mustard. If it makes a sound, the oil is ready to make "Tadakaa" in Hindi or "Phodni" in Marathi.
  6. When the oil is ready, add all the mustard seeds. When they stop making sounds, remove the pan from the heat. Add cumin seeds, then phenugreek seeds, followed by asafoitida and remaining turmeric.
  7. In the pan with the daal, add dhania powder, Cayenne powder, and the citric acid. Add tadakaa carefully and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Variations of daal :

I.Varan- Bhaat : This is a favorite first course of full Marathi meal. For this version, after step 3
of the daal preparation, daal is only stirred, with about 1 tsp jaggary added. It is a good starting baby food as well.

II. Sambar: In step 4 of the daal preparation, many vegetables (about 1/2 cup altogether) are added and cooked until soft. In step 6, sambar powder is added.

III. Mogar: For moong daal, I prefer tadakaa of ghee with cumin and asafoitida. Garnish with dry mint leaf powder or ginger paste, and serve with fresh lemon piece on the side.

IV. Palko mogar: In cooked mogar (see III above), chopped spinach leaves are added.

V. Urad daal: Urad daal is very sticky. Once cooked, I prefer adding stirred yogurt or buttermilk and ginger paste,
instead of citric acid . The tadakaa should be made of only ghee and cumin seeds.

VI. Katachi aamati: Whenever "Puran poli" is made, katachi aamati is made also. While boiling chanaa daal, now
for every 1/2 cup of daal, add 2 cups of water. After the daal is cooked completely, the water is strained off and used for making katachi aamati. The special garnish for this is roasted dry coconut and cumin powder.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Thank you for visiting my page. I will be posting recipes from my homeland of India soon.

Most of my cooking involves vegetarian dishes, as I am vegetarian. However, vegetarianism is very common in the part of India that I am from. I call my cooking "fusion" because, instead of merely sticking to the original, traditional recipes, I let my recipes evolve as I have been exposed to new flavors and methods of preparing these cultural dishes. I like to mix and match various vegetables based on the season, availability, and my personal tastes. Again, thank you for visiting, and I hope you enjoy the food you create!