Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Four Month Birthday With Ice Cream Trifle

Our local Indian grocery store opened an ice-cream shop recently with all the Indian favorites - sitafal (custard apple), kesar, mango, pistachio etc. I excitedly tried all the flavors; and while most of them were just okay, I was certainly reminded of Indian ice-cream. It was perfectly light and airy, and not cloying sweet. I came home with a carton of one of my all time favorites - butterscotch. I made this simple trifle with the ice cream to celebrate my daughter's 4 month birthday last week (gosh, she's growing up so fast!). It was the perfect dessert for this hot summer month.

I ate this trifle at one of my aunts' place. We used to visit my dad's siblings and cousins in Thane every summer vacation. My aunt used to have all the kids over and treat us to all sorts of fun stuff - chaats, paav bhaaji, Indian desserts, and other kids favorites, like this ice-cream trifle. It was just layered pound cake, mixed fruits, and ice-cream - the easiest dessert ever - but it tasted so good! It had all the right components - dense, moist cake, fruits including the season's best mango, and good quality ice-cream. You can't go wrong with that combination! I recreated the trifle from my memory, and it was a big hit in my family. My baby girl can't eat yet, but I'll be sure to make this once she grows old enough to eat sweets (yes, I believe in spoiling kids once a while :D). I used store bought pound cake for the recipe since it didn't need much. With minimal effort, I created a great dessert everyone loved, and spent time playing with my daughter instead of fretting over baking a cake. This trifle would be great for parties - you can make it in advance, make a large batch in no time, change it up a thousand different ways to create a 'new' dessert, and appear really cool to young as well as adult guests for treating them to something this good. You can play on the flavors of ice-cream and pound cake, such as lemon cake with citrus fruits and strawberry ice-cream, or chocolate swirled pound cake with chocolate chip ice-cream, pineapple pound cake with coconut ice-cream. The combinations are countless and the joy limitless!

**Husband managed to click a few decent pictures this time. What a breath of fresh air after my rushed, poorly lit, poorly staged phone photos!

Ice Cream Trifle

Good quality pound cake - I used almond flavored - cut in 1/2 inch slices
Chopped mixed fruits - I used mango, strawberry, apple, and grapes for a variety of flavors and textures
Tutti frutti (optional) - to mix with fresh fruits
Butterscotch ice-cream - softened for the ease of spreading.
Chopped dry fruits of your choice - I used almonds to resonate the flavor of the pound cake
Rectangular casserole dish, or any other flat dish, preferably glass so you can flaunt the dessert.

  • Layer pound cake at the bottom of the pan. Then spread about 3/4-1' layer of mixed fruits. On top of this, spread 1/2' (or as thick as you like) layer of softened ice-cream with a spatula. Let some of the ice-cream drizzle down into the fruits and cake. The cake tastes even better after soaking up some of the ice-cream flavor, and it ties all three components together.
  • Sprinkle a good amount of chopped dry fruits.Cover and freeze until the ice-cream is set.
  • Remove the pan from the fridge 5-7 minutes before serving so that you can slice it easily.

You can serve the trifle with some fresh fruits on the side, or a jam, or jelly, or chocolate sauce, caramel sauce. I told you - the combinations are countless!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stuffed Padron Peppers...And Other Veggies :)

My colleagues and I were having a conversation about how to train kids not be picky eaters. To my mom's delight, I was a good eater from early on. But even when meals didn't include what I absolutely loved, mom enforced a simple rule - serve a very small portion on the plate and don't get off the table without finishing it. As tortuous as it may sound to some, it really can't kill you to eat a few bites of something you don't love. The good part was that my mother cooked delicious food. If we didn't like something, she made an effort to try different recipes to make it more palatable for us. And there was often that guilt trip - there are way too many kids out there who don't even get two meals a day, let alone choose what they eat. Be thankful that you get to try such variety of foods!

There was one vegetable for which I always made faces though -  bell peppers! The ubiquitous vegetable in the US, and something I've grown to love, was my enemy as a kid. The Indian bell peppers are much smaller, with thinner skin, and more robust flavor compared to what we get here. I thought they were too pungent. Mom cooked them many different ways - fire roasted bell pepper and yogurt raita, stir fry with crispy potatoes, or stuffed  potatoes or chickpea flour to mask their strong flavor. Her stuffed bell pepper preparation was my favorite.

I found beautiful Padron peppers at the Saturday farmer's market. They looked like smaller versions of Indian bell peppers with the same fragrance. Padron peppers originate from Spain and have a wonderful smoky flavor when charred. The seller at the market told me they are usually deep or shallow fried in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt. They don't have a lot of heat, so you can eat them whole. I asked her how they would taste stuffed with something, and she thought it was a great idea. I thought I would try the chickpea filling. The recipe is fairly simple. Chickpea flour is seasoned with garam masala and other spices and stuffed inside seeded peppers. The peppers are beautifully charred in oil on high heat. The slight heat and smoky flavor of the peppers is fabulous. The chickpea flour filling is slightly crunchy against the soft flesh of the peppers, and does a great job of taming some of the pungency. This dish can be served as an appetizer, or a side dish. It tastes great with roti, or rice and yogurt. If you don't find padron peppers, any low heat peppers such as small bell peppers, poblano, Anaheim would be great. I cooked the peppers on stovetop, but you could grill stuffed peppers in summer. It'll be a great side to all the cookouts.


Chickpea Flour Stuffed Peppers

2 Dozen medium Padron peppers - destemmed and seeded
1 Cup chickpea flour
3 Tablespoons olive/vegetable oil + more for shallow frying
1/2 Cup chopped cilantro
1/2 Teaspoon mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
1/2 Teaspoon turmeric powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons garam masala
1 Teaspoon red chili powder (adjust per liking)
Salt to taste
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and chickpea flour.
  • To this, add chopped cilantro, garam masala, red chili powder, and salt to taste. Roast chickpea flour till fragrant and 'cooked'. If it looks too dry, you can sprinkle some water (use very little - you don't want clumps). Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Once the chickpea flour filling is done, keep aside.
  • Remove the stems of peppers and take out the seeds. Fill them with chickpea flour filling.
  • Coat the frying pan with some more oil and lay all the peppers on the pan. Cover and let the peppers get charred. Covering the pan will keep the steam inside and help cook the chickpea flour further.
  • Turn the peppers with a tong and char them on the other side. Once the peppers are cooked through, turn off the heat.



Speaking of stuffed veggies, I made a set of stuffed felt veggies for my baby girl. I had seen a toy veggie basket at my friend's house; her son played with them. That set was a little more 3D than my version, which is somewhere in between 2D and 3D :D. I think it's a great toy - colorful, educational, and may encourage my daughter to eat all her veggies (or so I hope).One of my friends who has a girl just a little older than Shreya loved the idea of felt toys, and asked me to make some for her baby. I wanted to send the toys just in time for her 6-month birthday which didn't leave me time to make a new veggie set, so I gifted her the one I already had. I can always make more for my daughter. Here's my satisfied customer playing with her new toys :).

Along with veggies, my friend asked if I could make an owl as well. Owls are all the rage these days. I came up with the following pattern after going through several pics on the web. Whooo wouldn't like a pink owl?

Just hangin' out!

Until next time!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...