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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chocolate Flan Cake

• Time 45 minutes
• Serves 8


• Ingredients for cake:
Devil's Food cake mix (Duncan Hines preferred)
1 can Coke

• Ingredients for flan
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1/2 C. fresh milk
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs

•You also need:

1 bottle of Cajeta (Mexican caramel or a regular caramel sauce)
Pam to spray Bundt pan

How to make it

• Heat oven to 350-degrees
• Follow instructions to make cake but use the can of coke instead of water.
• Set cake mix aside and make the flan.
• Put the flan ingredients in a blender and mix well (see details for my flan recipe on this blog)
• Spray the Bundt can with Pam and cover the bottom with caramel
• Pour cake mix into Bundt pan
• Pour the flan mix gently down one side of the pan. The flan will go to the bottom and the cake mix will raise up a bit as the flan mixture fills the bottom of the pan.
• Set the Bundt pan in a larger pan or tray with water. You are creating a double boiler but you need only a couple of inches of water.
• Put it all in the oven and it will cook for at least 45 minutes and as much as an hour.
• Check the cake with a toothpick. The cake will stay more moist than most cakes you've ever made and you will see it separate a bit from the pan when it's done.
• Let it cool and refrigerate for several hours
• Take it out two hours before you plan to serve. Turn the Bundt pan over and let it sit while warming to room temperature.
• The Bundt pan should then lift off to reveal a layer of flan, topped with caramel sitting atop a very moist chocolate cake.
• You may drizzle some chocolate syrup on top and sprinkle nuts like walnuts/ pecans or sliced almonds if desired.
• If you want the flan creamier, you can use 5 eggs instead of three and you can add a small package of Philadelphia cream cheese.

Recipe source:
Photo by Surekha.
Thank you Sulu for inspiring me to post this recipe :) and yes I took above Pictures of what you gave me to sample. It was delicious. Thank you !!
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper /Tomato Bisque with Smoked Gouda Cheese

We have this small coffee/sandwich shop at work where they serve this soup. I love it.....for the longest time I wanted to recreate this recipe at home. Until now I used to buy a two cartons of organic roasted red pepper soup, a can of organic tomato bisque and used to combine both with shredded Gouda cheese. Then I would cook it until the consistency and taste of the soup at work.
(Thank you Betty M. for often picking these items for me from Trader's Joe). The taste was pretty close to the soup from the coffee shop.
Yet, I still had this burning desire of cooking this soup at home, so I started searching the web. Believe it or not, there are not too many recipes for this soup on the web. I found something very close to it and modified it based on my memory of taste of the soup that my palate so loves.
So here it is my very own modified recipe for the Roasted Red pepper/Tomato Bisque with Smoked Gouda cheese. And yes, of course, more pictures still to be posted of this creation in keep checking...and Enjoy :)

Makes 8-10 servings


6 large red bell peppers

3 fresh Pablano peppers or 2 green peppers

6 table spoons olive oil divided in to half

3-4 bay leaves

8-10 baby carrots, diced

3 tablespoons butter

1 large red onion diced

1 large yellow onion diced

8 cloves of garlic

1" peeled ginger root

6 tablespoons flour

1.5 quart vegetable broth

1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped

1 cup of tomato puree or paste

6-7 table spoon of Marsala wine

5 tsp. sweet paprika

Cayenne pepper if desire heat to taste

1 tsp of white pepper

4 tsp. Sugar

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp oregano

1 cups of water

8 oz. smoked Gouda cheese shredded

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream or sour cream (optional or can reduce the amount to 1/4 cup)


• Cut the stems out of peppers and cut them in halves.

• Take out all the seeds

• Cut them in to wedges; toss them with 3 table spoon of olive oil in a roasting pan just large enough to hold them in a single layer.

• Slide them in 450 degrees heated oven for 15 min and then broil them for 15 min or until the peppers are charred browned, stir them in between.

• If you use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes, like I did, you can broil the tomatoes in the oven as well. Brush them with olive oil before putting them in oven. I had the peppers on top rack and the tomatoes in the bottom and then later switched them for little bit during last 5 min of broiling. The skin will come off very easily by doing this vs boiling them.

• Grind Onions, carrots, ginger and garlic in the food processor.

• In a medium saucepan, melt butter, add remaining 3 table spoon of olive oil Add bay leaves and saute the onion, carrot and garlic on medium heat.

• Once they begin to brown, discard the bay leaves, sprinkle flour over all the veggies and cook on low for another minute or until flour is well mixed.

• Add the stock, canned or fresh tomatoes and tomato paste, Marsala wine, and roasted peppers and bring to a boil.

• Lower the soup to medium-low and allow it to cook just above a simmer until the veggies are tender.

• Use a hand blender and partially puree the soup (you still want some chunks) - you can also do this in a blender or food processor using all the chunky part of the soup and pureeing then adding back to the saucepan, but it is easier with hand blender, add some water if consistency too thick.

• Add shredded Gouda cheese and cook until cheese is melted.

• Season the bisque with paprika, cayenne (optional), oregano, basil, white pepper, black pepper and salt.

• Whisk in sour cream or heavy cream and just heat through; do not let boil.

Recipe modified by Surekha from a recipe from
Photograph By Surekha
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tropical Cool Fruit Delight

I usually make this dessert when I have company or if I have to take dessert for a potluck party because this recipe serves about 12-15 people. You is hard to reduce the recipe to half or less because most of the ingredients used are from cans, unless you have left over canned ingredients from any other recipe.


3 tubs of 8 oz lite non dairy topping

1 cup of whipping cream

1 cup of milk

1 can of condensed milk

1 8 oz pack of lite cream cheese softened at room temperature

1 8 oz container of lite sour cream

Juice from one fresh lime

1 14 oz can of pineapple tidbits

1 16 oz can of tropical fruits

1 20 oz can of Lychees chopped in to small pieces

2 14 oz cans of mandarin oranges (use about 1.5 can in the recipe and keep the rest for garnish

1 14 oz can of mango slices of 1 cup of fresh mango cubed (make sure fresh mango or mango in the can is not fibrous)

1 cup of chopped fresh strawberry and some extra for garnish

1 cup of grapes sliced or any seasonal fruits of your choice

1/2 cup of red delicious apple finely chopped

1 cup of raspberries (frozen or fresh)

1/2 cup of blackberries (frozen)

1/2 cup of dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of marshmallows (optional)

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)


• With a hand mixer mix whipping cream, milk, non dairy toppings, condensed milk, regular milk, and sour cream until well blended to smooth texture.

• Add freshly squeezed juice from one lime to it, blend it again.

• Drain juices and liquid from all the canned fruits and fold them in the above cream mixture.

• Garnish with extra strawberries and Mandarins (may use Kiwi slices for some green color)

• Refrigerate for 2 -3 hours before serving.

Note: You may add or delete any fruit or ingredient that you like or dislike from above recipe. Basically you can not go wrong with the base which is blend of creams and condensed milk.

Some people like to add bananas to this, but not one of my or kids favorite fruit so I usually omit it.

Recipe by Surekha
Photographs by Surekha.
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Applebee's Walnut Blondie with Maple Butter Sauce


For dough

1 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar - (packed)
1 egg beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

For Maple butter sauce

3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts chopped (optional)


* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

* Sift flour, add baking powder, baking soda and salt.

* Sift again. Add chopped nuts. Mix well and set aside.

* Melt butter.

* Add brown sugar and mix well.

* Add egg and vanilla extract. Blend well.

* Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well.

* Stir in white chocolate chips. Spread in a 9-inch square pan.

* Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean or with slightly fudgy-looking crumbs.

* Serve with ice cream and Maple Butter Sauce.

Maple Butter Sauce:

* Combine syrup and butter.

* Cook over low heat until butter is melted.

* Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Add walnuts, if desired.

This recipe yields 4 servings.

Recipe source:
Photograph By Kodamakitty Liza Lagman Sperl
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dahi bada

This recipe may sound a little complicated to some of you, but if you like yogurt and spices you would love this. Dal is the base for this recipe, which is a good source of protein.

Dahi vada (my mom's favorite) is an Indian side dish, prepared by soaking vadas in thick yogurt(dahi). The hot deep fried vadas are first put in water and then transferred to thick beaten yogurt. For best results, the vadas have to soak for at least a couple of hours before serving. It is served topped with cilantro and mint leaves chutney, chili powder, and roasted cumin seeds powder.
A sweeter yogurt is preferred in some places in India, especially in Maharastra and Gujrat, although the garnishing remains the same.


• 1 Cup Moong
• 1/4 Cup Urad dal
• 1 Green Chili
• ½ inch piece of ginger
• ½ teaspoon of baking soda
• One small onion chopped
• Oil to fry

• 4 Cups plain yogurt
• 3 teaspoon oil
• ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds
• ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
• Pinch of asafetida
• 1 dry red chili pod
• 4-5 curry leave if available
• Tamarind Chutney (recipe on blog)
• Coriander/Mint chutney (recipe on blog)
• 1 small red onion
• ¼ cup Coriander leaves (chopped)
• Salt to taste
• Cayenne pepper powder
• Roasted cumin seeds crushed and coarsely powdered
• Fine sev (fine noodles available at local Indian grocers) Optional

How to make Bada (balls):

• Wash and soak the two dals overnight in water.

• Drain out all water.

• Add Ginger, salt and green chili.

• Grind above in food processor to make a thick batter, beat till fluffy.

• Add chopped onion and run the food processor one more time to mix and finely chop onion in above mix.

• Add baking soda.

• Mix the dal batter well to aerate it for soft balls.

• Heat oil in a large frying pan or deep fryer.

• Add spoonful of dal batter in oil and fry until turned golden brown, turning them in between.

• Remove balls from oil and place them on paper towel.

• Drop the hot badas in a lukewarm water in a bowl and leave for about 3-5 minutes.

• Take each bada/ball out of water and squeez them with palms of your hands till all water and oil comes out and set aside.

Prepare yogurt:

• Take plain yogurt in a bowl and beat it with hand blender until smooth.

• Heat 3 teaspoons of oil.

• Add ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds and cumin seeds in heated oil, when they crackle
add asafedita, chili pod and curry leaves if available.

• Remove oil from stove and add this to yogurt, mix well.

• In a serving dish arrange the squeezed vadas and pour a layer of yogurt on it 30 min before serving.

Serving instructions:

• Place squeezed vadas in deep bottomed serving plate.

• Pour additional yogurt mixture over vadas.

• Pour desired amount of tamarind chutney and mint chutney on top.

• Sprinkle with salt, cayenenn pepper poweder, and roasted cumin powder.

• Garnish with chopped onion/coriander leaves.

• You may sprinkle fine sev for garnish, if desired to give a little crunch to the recipe.

This recipe makes about 10-12 vadas

You may change/reverse the proportion of dal to 1 cups of Urad dal and ¼ cup of of Moong dal for variety.

If you make the plain yogurt mix ahead of time, be sure to refrigerate it, as the yogurt becomes sour very quickly if left at room temp and this process is accelerated if you add salt to yogurt and let it sit outside.

Recipe by my dearest mom Mrs. Kasturben
Photographs by Surekha
Description of Dahi bada source:
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Stir fry Chinese Vegetables


2# of frozen stir fried vegetable blend (string beans, pea pods, baby corn, water chestnuts, red peppers, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, carrots, broccoli florets)
8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
¼ cup of cashews halves
4 tables spoon of vegetable oil
2 table spoon of five spice
1 table spoon of Teriyaki sauce
4 table spoon of Schezwan sauce
2 tablespoon of peanut butter
1/2 cup choppe green onions and 1/4 cup of Cilantro for garnish.


* In a heated frying pan add oil and when the oil is hot add garlic.ginger and cashew halves
* When cashews are golden brown all the vegetables + all the sauces and peanut butter.
* Stir and mix everything
* Cook it for about 2-3 min to desired tenderness
* Serve them on bed of rice
* Garnish with green onions and cilantro

Note: Quantity for sauce and five spice can be modified based on desired flavor and heat. These can be purchased at local Chinese or Indian stores. The five spice already includes soy sauce, so you don't have to add soy sauce to the recipe.

Also you may add Tofu and or paneer to this for some variety.

Recipe by Surekha.
Photos by Surekha.
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