Monday, May 23, 2011

Baking With Dorie: Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

I have not done any baking in months.  Thanks to a very long & tiresome renovation and the fact that my oven refused to work. So I've been impatient to bake again and to also fall back in step with all the BWD bloggers who have been carrying on without me for weeks and weeks.

No baking and no cooking means a neglected blog . . I keep meaning to come back here and at least write about my holiday but I've been immensely busy. Too busy to write & too busy to keep up with all the blogs that I follow. Has it really been a whole month since I got back? But that's another blog post . . and I promise to get to it this week.

For now, I bring you crumbly, buttery, melt-in-the-mouth, lime-scented shortbread cookies with a surprising crunchiness.

Who would have known cornmeal could take shortbread to another level? I absolutely love these cookies! I substituted lime zest for the lemon zest because limes were what I had on hand & made only half the recipe. My kids have been sick all week so I didn't expect them to have much of an appetite. Had I known what a hit these would be with them, I would have made double the batch!

Rivki of Kosher Cooking for Ordinary People is the host this week. Please head over to her blog for the recipe, or to Page 130 of Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan. Please check the blogroll here to check out everyone else's posts. 

Next up we're baking Quintuple Chocolate Brownies, picked by Shahieda. If you'd like to join our baking challenges please drop me an email at needfulthings at ymail dot com. We'd love to have you bake along with us! 

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Curry-Palooza: Rajmah

As far as indian food goes, Rajmah is one of my favorite things to order when we eat out at Indian restaurants. I'm also guilty of throwing in the occasional packet of 'Gits Rajma Masala' into the grocery cart, unhealthy as it might be.

I have actually never tried  making it myself & simply presumed that I wouldn't be able to get it right. The thing about Subcontinental cooking is that some recipes seem simple and unassuming yet getting the right flavor can seem so elusive.

For this months' currypalooza I wanted to pick something flavorful yet simple that could be put together quickly. I've been back home for over two weeks but things have been so chaotic that I simply don't have the time to make anything labor-intensive in my not-yet-quite-functional kitchen. Blogger croquecamille had introduced me to the Quick Indian Cooking website and after testing out one of the other recipes there last week, I decided to pick Mallika Basu's Rajmah curry for this challenge.

Since it uses canned kidney beans, it was a snap to make this morning though I let it simmer longer than needed so that the masalas would really infuse the beans. The only down side of using canned beans is that they tend to remain quite bland regardless of how deeply flavorful the base-curry itself is. However, simmering them on low heat for almost an hour seemed to do the trick for me. And the resulting curry was almost like the one I eat at restaurants. I had been aiming for a thicker sauce and had added only just enough water to cover the beans. This was a mistake and I should have simply added more and gotten a slightly thinner sauce. That said, the flavors in this curry were spot on & we enjoyed it as part of a more elaborate indian-themed meal this evening. 

Please head over to Sage Trifle to check out Rocquie's version of this curry and for the recipe please follow this link. Currypalooza is a monthly event and we take turns picking random Indian recipes instead of following any particular book . I hope others will join us!

post-note: I've been unable to upload photos because blogger keeps telling me my post cannot be saved. I'm publishing this without them for now & will try uploading tomorrow morning.


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