New Hope

Hope you all had a fun Thanksgiving holidays!We have been planning to go to Florida for some time now.We have postponed until 'S' is a little grown up and watches Mickey and other Disney shows.Now that she is a big fan of Mickey, almost to an obsessive degree, we thought it will be a good idea to visit!I will be back after a week, but until then, I will leave you with the pics of a little charming town-New Hope!

New Hope is an hour away from Lehigh Valley.It is small and filled with antique shops, boutiques and bustling with energy.It is mainly a tourist town.I love to eat in some of the patisseries there which offer unique desserts.And there are a few shops that sell Indian dresses too!!

We went on a boat ride in the morning which is about half hour.An old world boat ride which my daughter thoroughly enjoyed!!


A rustic book store.The cycle in front of the bookstore reminded me of India.When you go to B&N or library, you don't get to see anything like this


And how often do you get to see people relaxing and reading a newspaper, OUTDOORS?


This train ride was wonderful!Again, my daughter who is a big fan of Thomas,The Tank Engine and trains in general was very excited!


This restaurant which has the water view when you sit on the Patio has such a lovely ambiance and great food.Best of all the ivy leaves!!


See you again on the 5th!!

Till then


French Macarons with Raspberry Buttercream

Over the past few weeks, I have come across some wonderful macaron creations in blogs, be it Daring Bakers' Challenge or otherwise-Masterpieces, I must say!I have admired the Daring Bakers all along and I am simply awed by the cookies/cakes they bake and every time I want to join, I cannot muster the courage.
They don't call it a challenge for no reason, do they?I have tried making Milan cookies and as you can guess,they were in no shape to pose for my camera!The french macarons, on the other hand, tasted fantastic although the shape was slightly flat or should I say without feet as they call it in the DB circle?My guess, I made some mistake while whipping up the egg whites .Once you start eating these macarons, you cannot stop with one!

I have given you the exact recipe and procedure from the site and the link to the site.
Yields 30 two-inch cookies
From chef Alex Trouan, L'Artisan Macaroon

2 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cup almond meal
5 egg whites
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Red food coloring

1/2 cup egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 pound room-temperature butter
3/4 cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 325°.
Sift confectioners' sugar, then add to almond meal in a bowl.
Whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form - the whites should be firm and shiny. Add a few drops of food coloring and keep whipping until desired hue is reached.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold in confectioners' sugar and almond meal into egg whites until completely incorporated. The mixture should be shiny and flow into itself when folded. When small peaks dissolve to a flat surface, stop mixing. Be careful to not over mix.

Fit a piping bag with 3/8-inch round tip (or bigger size for large macaroons). On a few sheets of parchment paper, draw circles 1-2 inches in diameter 1-2 inches apart. Flip the parchment paper over so the penciled side is on the bottom. Fit one baking sheet inside another one to double the insulation, then place the parchment paper into the baking sheet. (The doubled baking sheet facilitates smooth macaroons.)

Starting in the center of each circle, pipe the filling onto the circles, extending the filling out to the edge of each circle.

Bake 17-20 minutes. Remove macaroons from the oven. Let cool on baking sheets. When completely cool, slide a metal regular or offset spatula or paring knife underneath the macaroons to remove from the parchment.

For the filling: Warm egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until the sugar is dissolved. Transferred to a standing mixer and whip until cool. Once cool (slightly below room temperature), add the softened butter to the bowl, a little at a time, and whip until fluffy. Once all butter has been incorporated, add the jam and whip until incorporated.

Pair macaroons of similar size, and pipe about 1/2 teaspoon of the filling onto one of the halves. Sandwich with the other half and freeze for 1-2 hours to allow flavors to blend together. Bring back to room temperature before serving. Well-wrapped macaroons may be frozen for up to three months.

Note:You get Almond meal in Specialty stores, that is if you cannot find in the regular grocery stores.In case you cannot find almond flour, use sliced blanched almonds (not slivered) and finely pulse them.

Have fun,

Tomato & Rice Soup err...stew!

A few years back, this soup was served at our work cafeteria and after that, I never came across the soup, ever anywhere else.Thought will give it a try and so here it is-It is very simple and believe me, it is really tasty:)

About 4-6 servings

29oz can of Tomato Sauce
6-8 cups water
1 Med Onion, chopped
1 garlic clove,crushed
1 Med Potato, peeled, cubed, boiled
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp fresh coriander
1/3 cup cream (Optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
3/4 cup Basmati Rice or any long grain rice


  • Saute onion and garlic until tender in olive oil
  • Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes
  • Stir in the seasoning and coriander
  • Add sauce and water/broth and bring it to a boil.
  • Add rice slowly and cook till tender and soft but not mushy.
  • Add coriander, cream, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Serve it hot with parmesan cheese
Note:If you don't like the tomato taste to dominate, you can add more cream to mellow the tangy flavor.


Coconut & Lime Lace Tuiles

A lot of you can relate to when I say, kids in their 'terrible 2's',-eating habits or just making them sit in one place for 5 sec and focus on something particular.It is frustrating and equally humorous!Lately, I am unable to manage my daughter, some one who I thought is relatively a docile one, with good listening ears.But now, she does exactly opposite of what I ask her to do.Is it the age or my frustration, I am not quite sure!Despite all of it,the one part I love is when she runs and hides under my dining table whenever I ask her to clean up her toys or have food.That makes me smile,always!
She is not a good eater. She mainly survives on dairy products, boiled veggies and occasionally fruits!And oh!Apple juice, lots of it!But anything else is a big no-no for her!We are still struggling to get her to mix rice and curry or dal instead of eating both of them separately.I hope time and age will take care of that!However, she is open to tasting and spitting instantaneously if she doesn't like it, which is mostly the case!But these cookies are one of those that she was willing to give a try and I had this feeling she liked:)

Tuile in French means 'tile'.Apparently, it is so named because the classic tuile when moulded gives it a roof tile shape.These are a lot of fun to make and quite easy actually!You can mould them into different shapes-flowers or tubes or cups, when in a pliable state after baking.You can also fill some light fillings.

I have used Martha Stewart's recipe,almost to the letter.

3 tbsps unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 light corn syrup
2 tbsps all purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
Zest of 1 lime


  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Line baking with parchment paper
  • Cook butter, sugar and corn syrup on medium by stirring constantly until the butter and sugar liquefy.Remove from the heat
  • In a separate bowl, whisk flour, coconut and salt.Add this to the butter mixture.Mix in the zest
  • Drop rounds of batter onto the sheets.Place them atleast 2 inches apart, it spreads out
  • Bake them for about 8 to 9 minutes, until the cookies are golden
  • Take them out and using a spatula, wrap them around a rolling pin or the handle of a saucepan (must be a metal handle).
  • Let them stand until set.


Vangi Bhath

There is not really much to do outdoors now that the weather is getting cold.Of course with some pleasant days here and there, we try to stroll in the nearby outdoor mall.We are home bound pretty much on weekends and you can imagine how the weekdays are!

I know there are several versions of Vangi bhath but I fell in love with what I ate in one of the Indian restaurants during my trip to North Carolina in Summer.It seemed like a tasty mix of South Indian and North Indian flavors.So here it is, an attempt to recreate that restaurant's version.

1 medium eggplant, chopped
2 cups long grain rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes(firm and not too juicy), chopped
2 potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled just below tender
3 cardamom pods
3/4 inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsps Cumin-Coriander powder
3 green chilies, vertically sliced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tsp Urad dal
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped
1 tbsp chopped coriander (optional)


  • Place the rice in a bowl of water and leave it to soak for 15 min to half hour.
  • Boil the eggplant in a microwave or on the stove just until tender.Drain all the water and let it sit for 5 minutes in a colander.
  • Heat 2 tbsps of Oil in a saucepan.
  • Fry curry leaves and green chillies.
  • Add onions and cook till translucent.
  • Stir in the spices-Cumin-coriander powder, Curry powder,Cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf.
  • Let the spices mix in well.
  • Add the tomatoes and coriander.
  • Mix in the tomatoes and eggplant.
  • Pour 3 cups (@ ratio of 1 rice:1.5 water) of water and bring it to a boil.
  • Slowly add rice by stirring and cook for about 10 minutes until all the water has evaporated.
  • Turn off the stove and garnish.
  • Serve hot with raita or chips
For garnish-
  • Heat a table spoon of ghee
  • Fry urad dal, onions and cashews
  • Sprinkle coriander


Off for now-

Chickpea Soup

With cold weather upon us, it is time to grab a book, curl up on the couch, listen to some music and keep things simple in the kitchen, like a soup that will serve as a meal by itself!

I have adapted this soup recipe from Linda Fraser's 'Vegetarian' book.The original recipe calls for heavy cream which I reduced.The end result will be on the watery side as opposed to a thick and a creamier version.But you could always add the heavy cream and corn starch to make it a thick soup.

1 can of Chick peas ( about 15 oz)
1 Onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups of fresh Spinach,shredded
4 cups of vegetable stock or water
2 tbsps Olive oil
2 tsps Cumin powder
2 tsps Coriander powder
2 tbsps heavy cream
2 tbsps tahini paste
1 tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper


  • Heat oil and add garlic and onions.Cook till they are soft.
  • Stir cumin, coriander and curry powder.
  • Add Chickpeas and potatoes and let them cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add Spinach and cook for 2 minutes
  • Pour in the stock and simmer for about 10 minutes, till the potataoes and chickpeas are tender
  • Stir in the cream and Sesame seed paste and let it boil for 5 more minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper and Paprika(optional).
  • Let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Season with Paprika or salt or Parmesan cheese
  • Serve it hot


For a thicker version
2/3 cup of heavy cream
1 tbsp cornstarch
When you are stirring in the cream, also add the corn starch.

Note:You could also use frozen spinach but drain all the excess liquid before adding.

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