Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Continued Thanksgiving

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving with your near and dear ones, and had a big indulgent meal. A few of our friends gathered at our place for a pot-luck dinner. The celebration continued for me till today with yet another pot-luck at work. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to reflect on life and count the many ways we are blessed. I had much to be thankful for this year as we celebrated one wonderful year of marriage last week! God has blessed me with a loving, caring husband who has changed my life for the better. And how can I not thank Him for making me a part of two beautiful families, friends I can count on, a job I can depend on, and the beautiful city of San Diego I call my home now.

We didn't cook Turkey, but it was at the dinner table nonetheless =D
A few of us friends gathered for a rather non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year. Everyone decided to bring their favorite dish (or anything they could make, pretty much :D). Since most of our friends are fishatarians, hubby went on to prepare his favorite shrimp and pardon a turkey! Don't underestimate the shrimp on Thanksgiving though, it definitely became the start of the show.

We started off with a kick-ass guacamole our friend NK prepared right in front of us. I made my favorite stuffed mushrooms with garlic, onion and more mushrooms. Another friend NP, whose sister works for Sanjeev Kapoor (google Anupa Das for her recipes), got fruits & cheese on skewers. All the while we were munching on appetizers, hubby was hard at work bar-tending, making sure everyone was getting enough alcohol in their systems =D.

NP also made this amazingly delicious salad with orange, pomegranate, goat cheese and honey dressing using her sister's recipe. I'm a big fan of fruits in salads and it was definitely one of the best salads I've had. SM made a yummy penne pasta with pesto sauce. The garlic bread he brought with it made it a perfect combo. I contributed to the main course by making baked cauliflower. And of course, everyone gorged on the hubby's grilled shrimp.

We were almost in food coma by the end of it, but what's a Thanksgiving meal without a pie?? Since we didn't stick to the traditional Thanksgiving theme, I skipped the usual pecan-pumpkin and made a coffee-chocolate silk pie - my take on French silk pie! This was my first time making a pie and I was nervous about the outcome, especially when I modified the original recipe. But it was oh-so-good!!! I made it again for my colleagues today and they loved it too. I used this recipe and modified it a bit to have the perfect filling for a 9 inch crust. The addition of coffee was perfect - it helped cut through the sweetness and added some depth to the flavor. The pie was silky smooth, totally sinful and extremely luxurious!

Coffee Chocolate Silk Pie

9" Pastry shell - baked according to the package directions
3/4 Cup sugar
2 Large eggs
2.5-3 oz Baking chocolate (depending on how chocolaty you want it)
1 Tablespoon brewed coffee
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 Cup unsalted butter
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
Extra whipped cream & chocolate shavings (optional)

  • Combine sugar and eggs in a sauce pan and heat on medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture covers the back of the spoon without dripping right off (~5 mins). Remove from heat, add chocolate, vanilla and coffee and stir until mixed well. Let the mixture cool till lukewarm.
  • In a bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Whipping is the key to getting that light, smooth pie filling. Add the cooled mixture and beat again on high until fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until firm,stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture gently.
  • Pour the mixture into the baked crust and chill for a minimum 6 hours. I kept the pie in the fridge for almost 24 hours and it was just the perfect consistency and texture when I served it.
  • Garnish with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings if you like. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Warm Winter Soup

Others may think it's always bright and sunny in San Diego, but we do get our fair share of cold days. Like the bone-chilling 60 degrees weather we had today ;). Jokes apart, it's getting cold here now and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, winter is in the air (literally). Well, I'm totally loving the crisp morning air, signs of the holiday season and how the heavenly aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasty pecans engulf me when I step into the grocery store. Squash of every color, shape, and size have replaced summer produce on the racks just in the two weeks I was gone to India. Pumpkin, of course, is the king of squash around this time. I got a gorgeous bright orange slice of pumpkin last week to initiate my winter cooking!

There's nothing more comforting in this season than a pot of soup simmering away in the kitchen. The waft of aromatic spices going around the house makes you feel all warm and cozy inside. I came across this pumpkin soup recipe by Rachael Ray and loved the idea of garnishing the soup with crispy apple and cranberry relish. Knowing that I'll be consuming (a lot) more than needed calories in the ensuing weeks, I wanted to make my soup low on calories. I replaced the heavy cream with a little bit of milk and added a small potato to get that smooth, rich texture. Also, I reduced the amount of liquid quite a bit to make it thick and full of pumpkin flavor. It was a perfect winter soup with all the wonderful holiday elements in it!

The recipe looks long, but it's literally as simple as tossing ingredients together and letting them simmer until you have a hearty flavorful soup. 

Colorful pumpkin soup with apple-cranberry relish - full of all the wonderful holiday flavors!
Pumpkin Soup with Apple-Cranberry Relish

1 Tbsp butter
1 Small onion - chopped
1-2 Garlic cloves - chopped
1 Bay leaf
1 Inch cinnamon stick
1 Small russet potato - peeled and cut into small pieces
Salt & Pepper
1 Tspn cumin-coriander powder
2-3 Tspns paprika - adjust per your liking
2 Teaspoons all purpose flour
1 Wedge of pumpkin / 28 oz can of pumpkin puree
2 Cups water
1 Cup Vegetable stock (optional)
A pinch of nutmeg
1/4 Cup whole milk

Red apple - finely chopped
Handful of dried sweetened cranberries - finely chopped (no particular measure here, add as many or as little as you want)
1 Tspn chili powder
2 Tspns honey
Chopped almond (optional)

  • If you have fresh pumpkin, cut it into 2 inch pieces and pressure cook them in a little bit of water. The peel comes right off after cooking. Mash it slightly. 
  • Heat a soup pot on medium, add butter and let it melt. 
  • Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, garlic, potato and onion and season with salt & pepper. Saute for a few minutes until the potato and onion are tender (~5 mins). 
  • Add cumin-coriander powder, paprika, pumpkin mash/puree, 1 cup water & 1 cup vegetable stock. I didn't use all vegetable stock because I didn't want the pumpkin flavor to be overpowered by the stock. However, some stock provides a little bit of body to and extra flavor. Add another cup of water if needed.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg. Add milk and let the soup simmer for 10 mins or so. 
  • Take out the bay leaf and cinnamon and puree the soup in the food processor or by using a hand mixie. 

  • Mix chopped apple, chopped dried cranberries, honey and a little bit of paprika. Top the soup with this relish.  For some more nutty flavor to the soup, I sprinkled some chopped almond. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coconut Creamed Corn - From Jenny of Vintage Sugarcube

Hello everyone! I'm back from a wonderful vacation to India. Just as I recover from all the Diwali festivities, I can smell Thanksgiving in the air here. While I've taken a long break from cooking, I'll share a lip-smacking good creamed corn recipe by my blogger friend Jenny of Vintage Sugarcube.

The monthly meet-ups of San Diego Food Bloggers has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing bloggers and try their scrumptious dishes. Jenny and I met at the Bake Sale that initiated the food bloggers meetings and I've been an admirer of her blog since. As the name suggests, her blog is very vintage with some  delicious dessert recipes. Each of her recipes is woven through a funny story accompanied by fabulous pictures, like this or this. The effort she puts into each post is evident and her witty personality shines through them all. Check out her 'About Me' page for her published recipes.

Jenny brought this creamed corn dish to the bloggers meet a couple of months back, and everyone was raving about it. Not only does she know her desserts, she can cook. It was the best creamed corn I had ever had. Of course I helped myself to a few handsome spoonfuls of it. The secret ingredient? Coconut milk! Creamed corn is already yummy, but coconut milk takes it to a whole new level. The fresh corn and lime zest made it a perfect summer dish then. But I don't see why you wouldn't skip baked corn this Thanksgiving and make this utterly delicious creamy, fragrant, melt in the mouth corn dish instead. I asked Jenny to share the recipe on her blog, but she only posts dessert recipes. I immediately offered to do a guest post (a recipe this good needs to be shared with the world). Jenny was extremely kind to make the creamed corn again - twice, to get it perfect - and share the pictures and recipe with me. I was supposed to post it before leaving for India, but work schedule did not permit. Better late than never though, and just in time for the holidays.

Thanks, Jenny, for sharing this wonderful recipe with me and my readers.

Coconut Creamed Corn
By Jenny (

Serves 6
Found and adapted via  / Ad Hoc at Home Cookbook
  • 6 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream (no cheating, gotta buy the heavy cream)
  • ½ cup coconut milk (please don’t buy the light/lite)
  • Few shakes or more of cayenne (I haven’t a clue how spicy you like it!)
  • ½ tsp salt
Cut corn off cobs and set aside.  I place a couple large pieces of wax paper under the cutting board to catch any flying kernels.  
Zest lime and set zest aside.
Melt butter in stock pan or medium skillet.  Microwave whole zested lime to soften it up a bit (30-45 seconds).  
Add corn and juice from lime to sizzling butter and sauté for 5 minutes.  
Then add cream and coconut milk, cayenne and salt.  Cook until creamy (approx 15-20 minutes) over low-medium heat.   
Stir in lime zest prior to serving.  


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