Monday, July 25, 2011

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

Who doesn't love cornbread? And who would have thought to make corn muffins with cornmeal? These muffins have the same texture as corn bread but it has a coffeecake crumble crust that is absolutely delicious, especially from the sweetness of the berries and the extra honey. This recipe calls for cornmeal which is readily available in your cereal/baking goods aisle.

This recipe is easy as pie and with summer season coming along, we all have access to the best berries of the season. I chose blueberries because they are everywhere and Siddharth loves blueberries. I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart, and you must check it out. Here is the recipe. 

Sichuan-style Cashew Chicken

I love spicy Chinese food. Chilies and typical Asian flavors mingle so well, and this dish really exemplifies that. Plus it involves cashews as an added bonus! It kind of resembles what is often called "Kung Pao Chicken" in American Chinese places, but I've tried to use ingredients more representative of authentic Sichuan cuisine. Of course, I am missing the famous Sichuan peppercorns (which are not readily available in the US), but I did my best!

In this recipe, peanuts can easily be interchanged with cashews. In either case, the best results will be found by starting with fresh, raw nuts (not pre-roasted). Of all the ingredients that I employ, the two that are most important in generating the distinctive flavors of Kung Pao are the black vinegar and the Shaoxing wine. Black vinegar is a rice vinegar that is popular in many parts of China - it is made from fermented black glutinous rice. It has a sweet and smoky flavor, but if you can't find it, balsamic vinegar is a reasonable approximation (in my estimation). Shaoxing wine is a rice wine that is used widely in Chinese cooking, especially in many of the famous dishes termed "drunken."

The recipe follows:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Praline Pound Cake

Greetings fellow bakers! I apologize for the lack of communication for the past months, but no worries, I am posting some recipes that you will love. 

First off, for the Heat vs. Mavericks game, I wanted to do a southern dessert for the party, to go along with our "Go Mavs, boo Heat" theme. After browsing through Paula Deen's repertoire of southern baking, I was inspired to make a praline pound cake. Pralines are a big thing in Texas, so I thought this dessert will suit our Texas-themed party quite well. This dessert ended up being the biggest hit of the night, bigger than the Mavs beating the Heat.

For the recipe, I used a bundt pan but I'm sure you can substitute with a regular cake pan, just adjust the baking times. Make the cake first, then the praline sauce. Read on for the recipe!