5.22.2011

Cooking Demos

It is always a treat to watch Cooking Demos because every person has a distinctive flair of cooking and brings a different dimension to a dish. Since I had the day off, I took the opportunity to go down to The Market @ Santa Monica Place for their Grand Opening where delicious chef demonstrations were held @ Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories throughout the day. The first one was an Indian Cuisine with Chef Kaumudi from Uncurry restaurant. She made two delicious, easy-to-prepare dishes and here are her recipes! :)

Muttari Chi Usal ( Lemony Green Summer Peas) 
This is a lovely bright green dip that has the texture of a hummus dip, with an Indian touch of spices. It went really well with crackers. She mentioned that she even uses it as pesto on pasta.
Ingredients:
2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 white onion, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/2-3/4 tsp salt
pinch sugar
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp lemon/lime juice
a few sprigs of cilantro, washed and finely chopped
Method:
Rinse the peas and drain well. Heat oil in a skillet. When it is almost smoking, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Brown the onions slightly, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the green peas. Cook covered 1-2 mins. Stir in cumin seeds, tumeric, salt, sugar and chili powder. Cook for several minutes until peas are tender but still bright green. Stir in lemon juice.
Pease can now be served as a side dish, garnished with cilantro.
To make dip: Cool peas slightly, then grind them to a smooth paste in the food processor, using more lemon juice or water if needed. Taste and correct the seasonings. Garnish the dip with cilantro and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Carrot Peanut Slaw ( Gajrachi Koshimbir)
A healthy low-cal alternative to a mayo based coleslaw, the flavor comes from lemon juice and spices. Use fresh curry leaves, not the dried ones.
Ingredients:
3 large carrots, grated ( or combination of finely chopped cabbage and carrots)
1/2 tsp white onion ( minced)
1/2-3/4 tsp salt
pinch of sugar
1 1/2 tsp grated coconut (OPT)
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds or mustard
2 green chillies, sliced
1 branch fresh curry leaves
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
3 Tbsp peanuts, coarsely ground
few sprigs of cilantro, washed and finely chopped
Directions:
Place carrots ( or cabbage ) in a bowl. Toss with sugar, salt and coconut . Heat oil in a pan. When it is almost smoking, add in cumin/mustard and let them pop. Add tumeric and chillies. Stir well, add in curry leaves and let them sizzle. Immediately mix the spice seasoning into the carrots. Add lime juice and salt. Stir well and garnish with cilantro. Now....here's a candid shot of me at the photo booth :)
After this Indian Cooking session, it was on to Ahi Crudo Appetizers Demostration with Chef Lisa Browne. Followed by Sustainable Chocolates and Demo with Patricia Tsai of ChocoVivo and special guest.
Lastly, Pastry Chef Ruth Kennison did a chocolate demonstration where she demonstrated how to make yummy chocolate truffles! :) She had different types of coatings for the truffles- toffee, pretzels, cocoa powder, and pistachio powder. Several chocolate flavor variations were demonstrated- infused fresh lavender, balsamic, and white chocolate.....will have to talk more about it next time, if I have time :) It's time to sleep.......:) Good night! :)

5.01.2011

Filling for Chocolate Cups

I saw these mini chocolate cups at Surfas Supply store in LA and bought a bunch. After debating between a pudding-type filling and cheesecake-type filling, I decided to go with the latter. Hence, I used a no-bake cheesecake filling recipe, and topped it with blackberry and strawberries. Strawberries are in season! It is US$0.89 for a box! :)
It is a real simple recipe.
In a stand-mixer, Beat 1 (8 ounce) package of low-fat cream cheese, 1 tsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup vanilla-sugar** until fluffy. Add in half pint of heavy whipping cream and 1 tbsp vanilla essence. Beat until batter becomes thick and fluffy. Place in piping bags and using a star nozzle, pipe them out into the chocolate cups. :) Top with fruits.
** vanilla sugar- sugar infused with magadascar vanilla pods. Place the pods in a jar of sugar. It last a long time and comes in handy. In fact, I have different (smaller) jars of sugars infused with different things- like green tea, lemon peel, etc...
I did not get to try them as they were all gone by the time I wanted to get one. :) But I was told that they were yummy, and not-too-sweet. :)
These were brought to a friend's son 1st year birthday party. He is such a cute little boy! :) He stuck his hands in his owl birthday cake, and cut it into a horizontal half. :)  Yummy cake pops :)
I thank God for a nice, relaxing weekend to rejuvenate for the upcoming week. :)
Disclaimer: All the recipes posted are for my personal references and/or adapted from mentioned instructors or books. They/I reserve the rights to it. Please remember to cite your sources! Thank you.