Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Eggless and Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes

I had been thinking of making the red velvet cake for long time. I saw some egg-less recipes but those used color and I was not keen on using any colors. This recipe posted by Anushruti from Divine Taste is surely a winner and keeper in terms of ingredients as well as taste and texture of the cupcakes. Do try this recipe. The secret ingredient Beetroot gives the bight red color can not be felt at all in the cupcake. I asked S if can he make out what did I use for color, but he could not! So try baking these cupcake and play the guessing game for the secret ingredient.

Adapted from Divine Taste

It is important to boil the beets with their skin to get maximum color from them. 

For the Cake
3/4 cup beet puree (directions follow)
1 1/2 cup plain flour (Used whole wheat pastry flour)
4 tsp cocoa powder
11/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk + 1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Take 2 medium sized beets, wash them and cook in a pressure cooked until tender without peeling them. This ensures that you get the maximum colour out of the beets.
Once the beets are cooked through, allow to cool and peel the skin. Chop into pieces and blend to a puree using approximately 4 tbsp water. Line cupcake or muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a bowl assemble all the dry ingredients the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together and sieve once. Pre heat the oven to 175 C/350 F.
In another bowl put in the milk and vinegar and allow it to sit for about five minutes. Put in the granulated sugar and oil and blend with a blender until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the beet puree and the vanilla extract.
Now put in the sieved dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients and beat until well mixed, about 3 to 4 minutes. With the help of an ice cream scoop or a spoon drop the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. The cupcakes baked in 20 minutes in my oven.

Method for the Frosting

1  8 ounce package cream cheese, at room tempertaure
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1 to 2 tbsp cream or milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Beat all the ingredients together with an electric mixer or stand mixer until smooth and fluffy.
Makes 15 cupcakes or one 9 inch cake. I halved the recipe for frosting as we like cupcake without icing too. I used Wilton 1M tip for icing the cupcakes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Minestrone Soup

I received a stainless steel soup pot as a birthday gift from a friend. I used this new vessel to make the minestrone soup. I like the olive garden Minestrone soup, and always wondered how to make it. I read through several online minestrone soup recipes, and adapted the one to suit our taste buds. For the last one year, I have been making this soup at home. I use hard anodized vessels for cooking. This new stainless steel soup pot is now a part of my kitchen collection, and I will be using it more often to make soups.  I had apprehensions that the food may stick/burn and will be hard to clean, however this pot received score of 10/10 from cooking to the cleaning perspective.

Sending this soup for the event No Croutons Required - Vegetarian Soups and Salads hosted by Lisa's Kitchen

Recipe source adapted from here Two peas and their pod

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (Used 2 fresh diced tomatoes)
4 cups vegetable broth (used 1 can of vegetable broth)
2 cups water
1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans  (Used mix of Great Northern beans and Pinto beans, and boiled them in pressure cooker)
1 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese-optional, for garnish
(I also added 1 tsp Red Chilli flakes, 1 tsp cumin powder, and pinch of nutmeg)

1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add in zucchini, green beans, and diced tomatoes. Stir in vegetable broth and water. Add beans, macaroni, oregano, and basil. Simmer until vegetables and macaroni are tender-about 35 minutes.

2. Season soup with salt and pepper, additional powders from the ingredients section, and serve warm. Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.