Saturday, September 11, 2010

India in Milwaukee

So last month CP and her man JP came over for dinner for CP's birthday and we decided we celebrate with a home-cooked Indian dinner. So we raided the grocery stores and got all the ingredients to make vindaloo, naan, mango lassis, cilantro chutney, cucumber salad with yoghurt dressing, and basmati rice. OMFG, the dinner was beyond awesome! all the food tasted fantastic, which it should have after the way we slaved over the stove... well not really slaved. We actually totally enjoyed the evening making dinner and drinking Malibu with mango lemonade on the rocks (which, my friends, is a truly delicious drink and makes cooking even more enjoyable). So we couldn't get our hands on any lamb or goat that day for the vindaloo so we used beef instead. Totally perfect substitution. And instead of grounding all our spices manually, we just bought the pre-grounded spice mix.  Umm yes, just because we used pre-ground spices the meal is still considered homemade, And why not? We cut all the veggies, the meat, cooked the sauce, cooked the dish.

We even made our own naan bread. That's right, we baked bread! It really wasn't that we baked it, because actually we grilled it on the grill pan. Basically it was water, yeast, white flour, sugar, salt. Following the standard rules of making bread, we let the dough rise and then divided it into small balls, flattened them out with our hands, brushed oil over them, and then threw them on the grill. 

So what do you serve with Indian food? Umm no, its not ketchup. Eww! So we made some cilantro chutney. Basically all we did was dump a lot of cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and a little bit of cumin, tumeric, and chili into a blender and let it whirl and whirl and whirl until you've got a sauce :o) Ahh, isn't Indian food just so easy? So yeah, that was CP's birthday dinner. After that we made a stop @ Kafevino for some red wine... some yummy Australian red wine. I think it was a 10 point birthday dinner. Sorry I don't have the recipes typed up step by step, but honestly, there are so many variations to these recipes I suggest just google a basic recipe and just putting your own twist to them. If you don't like spicy then don't use green chili. If you prefer chicken instead of beef, or lamb instead of goat, or maybe fish or tofu, go for it. Just be creative and bon appetit. 

Pina Coloda Cupcakes

So my girlie CP and I were tempted to create our own version of a Pina Colada cupcake after we tasted the ones made @ Milwaukee Cupcake Company (which, by the way, are awesome. Sorry H and K, you guys should have called me in advanced and I would have happily got the Lady Gaga cupcakes for you). Anyway, so on one of our many girls' weekends we hit Whole Foods and got all the ingredients to make Pina Colada cupcakes following the Coconut Rum Cupcake recipe from the How Sweet It Is blog. We did make a few changes for instance we used brown sugar instead of white (because that's what we had in the kitchen) and unsweetened coconut. We also sweetened our frosting with maple syrup (maybe because CP and I are Canadian we just love that maple syrup). So anyway they turned out yummy yummy in our tummy. Not too sweet, but not so alcohol-y either (but oh HUNNY, that Malibu tasted oh so fresh and so clean). I think our next cupcake experiment is going to be in the peanut butter category...

Pina Colada Cupcakes (adapted from the Coconut Rum recipe)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup Malibu rum
Preheat the oven to 359 degrees. In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and eggs until it becomes white and fluffy. Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and mix them well. Mix the dry ingredients separately and slowly add half to the wet mixture, combining the dry to the wet 1 cup at a time. Add the coconut milk and then the rest of the dry ingredients. Make sure it is all combined. Add the rum and shredded coconut. Pour the batter into a cupcake tray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
When the cupcakes are cooling make the frosting. We decided to take a separate approach to the frosting from that in the original recipe. We went ahead and made a cream cheese frosting. In a mixing bowl we combined one package of cream cheese softened with 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 1/4 cup Malibu and 1 tablespoon vanilla. When it was all mixed I put it in a plastic baggie and did my best to pipette it on top of each cupcake while CP sprinkled coconut on top. Et voila!