Simply Being | Simple Being

Tag: cookbook (page 1 of 1)

All is quiet + Simplest Chocolate Cake Ever + A Great Book

Been almost a month since I posted here. Not that I lacked anything to write about but I got distracted. This site came under a hacker attack once again… sigh. Just after I had spent a sunny afternoon cleaning up the posts and deleting what seemed like tons of horrible spam links, it happened again. I think I need to be realistic here. Website security isn’t my forte; maybe it is time to find a competent person to manage it, so I can get back to writing.

Well, we’ll see what happens. I was almost tempted to take the site back to Blogger but it seems like such a copout, especially after all the time spent getting this site up…

In other news, I got an Oyama Stainless Steel Rice Cooker. The older rice cooker had a nonstick bottom and the coating had been peeling off gradually. Oyama has a sturdy stainless steel vessel to cook the rice in – no question of any peeling off happening. However, we have been trying to figure out the cooking time, water-rice ratio, etc. Brown basmati requires more water than regular white rice plus cooking time is longer. However you need to monitor the cooking process. Else the rice turns out to be horribly dry. Anyway, it feels like I now have a handle on the cooking process but any illusion I had of letting the rice cook unsupervised is poof!

I have to share this GEM of a recipe for a chocolate cake that the lovely world of food blogs brought my way. So simple and sublime in both taste and preparation… Wow. I had to get a container of buttermilk to make this one, and because it is a big-sized container AND there was such a lot of buttermilk remaining… I made this cake another time. And possibly once again. It is such a keeper, the simplest chocolate cake you can ever make! I chanced on this recipe via Nupur’s One Hot Stove and she got it from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.

I have been cooking a bit from Heidi’s gorgeous book Super Natural Every Day too.

Super Natural Every Day

During the holidays, I baked the divine Apricot-Ginger-Chocolate Cookies… Lovely! A few days back, I made the Kale-Coconut Salad. Unfortunately, that one turned out a tad too dry for P and I. I think it may have to do with the fact that the kale was slightly wet after I washed it? I don’t know. I loved the taste of baked coconut flakes and toasted sesame oil but I doubt I’ll make this again. Or maybe I’ll go the route of chips instead of salad? I don’t know.

Kale Coconut Salad

In a last-ditch attempt to finish up the buttermilk (and to use the zest from a couple Meyer lemons I bought two weeks ago), I baked a Buttermilk Cake, again from the same book. I got impatient towards the end, threw in the chopped dates, skipped the toasted walnuts and large-grained sugar… I wasn’t expecting anything fancy. Fancy this cake is not, but it has a subtle saltiness that combines with a light and airy crust and a rich buttery flavor… Mmm, I love it. Have already been tucking in one slice after another this evening. And now I feel bad that I lost my patience while making it. I have to make it again, for sure. But this time, instead of using liquid buttermilk, I am going to see if I can get hold of a packet of powdered buttermilk.

Buttermilk Cake


Zucchini Tofu Almond Koftas

I obsessed about baking a host of goodies and sweet treats this holiday season. Christmas came, went. I planned everything well in advance, pored over the recipes a million times, checked the Internet for variations, blah blah blah… basically expended a whole lot of mental energy simply thinking about my holiday bake extravaganza.

Sigh. If I had spent even half that energy in the kitchen, I would have been less tired. Long story short, I learned some valuable (life) lessons this December. Stop obsessing, get cooking. You cannot ruminate endlessly on a plan; you have got to start moving eventually, take the first step. Profound stuff, huh!

This evening was a whole different story. We had a dinner invitation, so I had nothing to do, really. As far as cooking dinner was concerned, I mean. Started leafing through Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. This is a gift from a dear friend, a long time ago. I haven’t cooked much from this book but I love reading it. It covers cuisines from China, Italy, Eastern Europe, India and other countries. Each section has a little bit of history, a personal story, anecdotes. I came across a recipe for Zucchini Tofu Koftas in the section on Indian cuisine. It is a simple recipe with a short list of ingredients. I realized that I had most of them at home. Hmmm, should make this one some time. Well, why not now? Talk about learning from last week’s endless obsessing!

I got permission from the nice folks at Moosewood to pass on the recipe here.

Zucchini Tofu Koftas

2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
6 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
4 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried mint (1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
2 blocks tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1/2 cup chopped cashews, walnuts or pistachios

In a heavy skillet, saute the zucchini and garlic in the oil, stirring often, until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the spices and cook for one more minute. stirring constantly. Place in a bowl. Crumble in the tofu, add the flour and nuts, and mix well.

Form the mix into walnut-sized balls. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Reprinted with permission by the Moosewood Collective from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, Copyright, 1990, Moosewood, Inc.; Simon and Schuster, publishers.

Zucchini Tofu Almond Koftas

I must admit, I tweaked the recipe a little. I was not sure if I could handle six large cloves of garlic, so I used three. I should have tasted the dough for salt/spice before baking it. Well, it was low on salt and I could have upped the spice levels, added some additional spices too. Also, I had sliced almonds at hand, so I used them instead of cashews, walnuts or pistachios. I skipped the mint as well.

All that being said, this is one delicious kofta! Tofu is so light in texture and taste, so you can eat a whole bunch of these koftas without feeling weighed down. Flour (2 tablespoons) is required as a binder but I am guessing there should be a gluten-free way to bind the dough. This is a vegan recipe also, yay! Next time, I will probably give the garlic a miss, add shredded ginger, chopped cilantro, garam masala, maybe some raisins.

So glad that I acted fast when the thought of making these koftas came to me… Else this would have been another one in the list of ‘MUST MAKE’ recipes.