Egg Free Ranch Dressing

Note: This recipe has dairy, but no eggs. It actually comes out BETTER than Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, though.

Ingredients:

1/4 c Just Mayo
1/4 c yogurt (not the whey, just the solid part)
fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
2.5 tsp Hidden Valley Ranch mix
1 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp cholula
1/4-1/2 tsp Ploughman’s mustard

Directions:

Mix well and enjoy!

Tastes great with salad, as a pizza dip, or a vegetable dip.

NOTE: You can add fresh chopped dill, fresh chopped spinach, and the giardiniera mix from Potbelly’s sandwich shop for a phenomenal dip. It IS a bit spicy, though, so watch it with the Potbelly mix if you can’t tolerate spicy food.

Strawberry Cake

 

I want something that I can make in pieces, and then assemble when company comes.

SO: Vanilla cupcakes, custard, strawberry compote, and whipping cream.

To serve: Slice the vanilla cupcake in half, add a dollop of custard and a dollop of strawberry compote. Replace the top of the cupcake. Top with whipping cream. Serve with meringue crumble.

NOTE: These ingredients can also be arranged in a trifle. Find a tall container. Layer first cake, then compote, then custard, then cream. Alternate attractively. Serve.

Custard Recipe (makes 3 cups):

4 large egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
pinch salt
2 c milk
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Whisk egg yolks until smooth in large bowl. Combine sugar, corn starch, and salt in medium saucepan and heat on medium heat. Stir constantly, adding milk gradually in a slow, steady stream. Cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 min.
  2. Whisking constantly, slowly pour 1/3 of the milk mixture into the egg yolks (this is called tempering, which keeps the yolks from curdling). Pour remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to full boil and is thick enough to hold its shape when lifted with a spoon, 2 to 4 min. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
  3. Strain mixture through fine sieve into heatproof bowl. Cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 2 hours, up to 2 days.

Vanilla Cake Recipe:

Ingredients:

1.5 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp room temperature butter
1 1/8 c sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Mix butter and sugar on high in kitchenaid until fluffy.

2. Add eggs. Blend on high until fluffy.

3. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt. Blend on low until fluffy.

4. Add buttermilk and vanilla extract. Blend on low until fluffy.

5. Add flour. Blend on low until cohesive dough forms.

6. Bake 350 degrees for 25 min.

7. Remove from pan, let cool.

Strawberry Compote:

1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
2 quarts strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced (a few whole berries reserved for garnish)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 c sugar

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, cranberry juice, 2 cups strawberries, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. Using a potato masher, gently mash strawberries.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until very thick, about 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  5. Stir in remaining strawberries.
  6. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours (or up to 1 day).

Whipping Cream:

2 c heavy cream
1/4 c confectioner’s sugar, sifted

  1. Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add sugar, whisk until combined.
  3. If not being used immediately, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 hours in airtight container.

Meringues:

2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
dash salt
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 200F.
  2. In large bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt.
  3. Beat until soft peaks form, THEN gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add vanilla extract at the end.
  4. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, shiny side up. Drop the meringue by large teaspoonfuls.
  5. Bake 1.5 hours. THEN turn off the heat and leave the meringues in the oven until they are completely cool, 3 hours or more (best done overnight..).
  6. Store in airtight container to keep crisp.

 

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Cut sweet potatoes into matchstick size. Roughly 1/4 in by 1/4 in.

Wash thoroughly.

Create slurry, 1 part corn starch, 1 part water in flat bowl.

Coat matchstick sweet potatoes in slurry, place in flat dish or on metal mesh sheet.

Heat peanut oil to medium high heat.

Drop matchsticks in, one by one, for a batch a handful at a time. Because of the cornstarch, the matchsticks stick together if you put them all in by the handful. Let cook on medium high heat until cornstarch is solidified and matchsticks are a light golden brown. Put into dish with a few paper towels in it to drain.

Make seasoning: salt, garlic powder, black pepper, white pepper, paprika.

Make dip: 1 part just mayo, 1 part ketchup. Cholula to taste.

WHEN READY TO EAT: Get a second dish, line it with paper towels. Heat oil to medium high/high heat. Fry matchsticks a SECOND time. They will brown up really really fast now. Take them out, drain the oil on the paper towel covered dish, season well. Enjoy with the dip.

YUM YUM YUM.

Navaratri Sabu Dana Pooda

Sabu Dana Pooda
(this is a tapioca pancake)

1/2 c sabu dana (tapioca), soak in 2 c warm water for 2 hours

Drain.

Add:
1/4 – 1/2 c ground peanuts
Salt
Pepper
Adu Mircha (ginger jalapeno paste)

Mix to create batter.

Optional add:
Shredded potatoes
Ground ginger
Green pepper, julienne
Coriander, chopped

In skillet:
1 tbsp oil
Add big spoonful of mixture, spread, cover (with lid!) on low/medium heat.
Check every 2-3 min.
Flip, don’t cover (with lid).

Enjoy!

Navaratri Sabu Dana Khichdi

Sabu Dana Khichdi
(this is a hot mash made of tapioca)

1/2 c sabu dana (tapioca), soak in 2 c warm water for 2 hours

Drain.

Vaghar:
Oil
Jeeru (cumin)
Ground black pepper
Green pepper, julienne
Ginger, julienne

Add:
Shredded potatoes (from 1 small potato)
Ground peanuts (one small handful)

Add tapioca.

Add salt and yogurt and lemon juice to taste.

Enjoy!

Navaratri Potato Shak

Navaratri Potato Shak
(appropriate for fasting)

Boil potatoes, dice into half inch cubes.

Vaghar:
Ghee (clarified butter)
Jeeru (cumin)
Peanuts
Sesame seeds (tal)
Black pepper (mari)

Add boiled diced potatoes.

Add:
Salt
Sugar
Lemon juice to taste.

Enjoy!

Happy Navaratri!!

Navaratri is a Hindu holiday. It began on October 1, 2016, and lasts for nine days. Each of the nine days is dedicated to the Mother Goddess, Durga/Ambaji/Mataji. Most Hindus fast for all nine days. Learn more about Navaratri here. The holy book for the Mother Goddess is called Chandipath. Read it here. Hindu gods and goddesses have many names. Read about the many names of the different Hindu gods and goddesses here.

Other important Hindu festival dates:

Dassera – October 11, 2016.
Vagh Baras – October 27, 2016.
Dhanteras – October 28, 2016.
Kali Chaudas – October 29, 2016.
DIWALI – October 30, 2016. [Festival of Lights][VIP date!!!]
NEW YEAR – October 31, 2016. [Gujarati New Year]
Bhai Beej – November 1, 2016. [Brother and Sister’s Day]

Diwali is celebrated all over India, by all religions and states (much the way that Christmas is celebrated here in the US). Please wish any Indian looking people in your life a “Happy Diwali” on Diwali day.

Learn more about Diwali here.

I’m following up my blog with a few simple recipes that can be enjoyed over Navaratri. NOTE: I haven’t gotten around to including recipes for the full thal, let me know if you are interested in that.
NOTE: Thal refers to the full balanced meal plate of food that is offered to God. Have you seen the pictures of Indian meals, with a silver plate, and a bunch of little bowls? That plate and bowl set is called a thali. Generally, a proper thali includes a bread dish (roti, poori, paratha), a few vegetable dishes (shak), a few lentil soup (dal) dishes, pickle (achar), salad (kachumber), sweet (mithai), yogurt (dhai or raita).