Shital's-Kitchen: December 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Garlic Noodles with Sundried Tomatoes and Roasted Zucchini

Zucchini is my latest obsession. From the time I had zucchini in cheese Quesadillas from kids lunch menu at school, I am a zucchini fan. It is such a versatile veggie. Zucchini kababs, steamed zucchini, zucchini and cheese quesedillas, zucchini fritters....yum yum.

Zucchini is a type of squash just like bottle gourd or lauki or doodhi that we use in Indian cooking. This means that it is low on calories, high in water content and rich source of vitamin A :) So, while I cooked my favorite pasta, I also added some roasted zucchini to it. This was the first time Snehanshu was to try this delicious veggie, so roasting and caramelizing it would sure be deliciously inviting :)

Here is my favorite pasta, Spaghetti cooking in boiling water. Do not over cook the pasta.
I like it Al dente, so that it does not get mushy and super soft. 

Drain excess water. Pour 1 tbsp. olive oil and chopped garlic over warm pasta. Mix well and cover the pot. Pasta absorbs all the garlic flavor...Delicious!!

Meanwhile, heat the pan, add chopped garlic and onions and saute for a minute or two.

Let the sauteed onions rest on the sides of the pan. Add 1/4 inch sliced zucchini such that each of the slice roasts well on in the pan. In 2 -3 minutes flip them and roast on the other side.

Add 1 chopped bell pepper and 2 tbsp of sun dried tomatoes.

Add salt and mix well for the bell pepper to roast slightly.

Add boiled, garlic fused pasta.

Add 1 tsp. of Italian spice mixture and toss the pasta well.

Serve with warm bread sticks of garlic bread of your choice.

Yes, I did bake these at home from scratch :)
This was an experiment. They tasted delicious, but were slightly hard, and not what I had thought of. So, I will try making these again before I post a recipe here :)

Enjoy delicious Zucchini and Sun Dried Tomato Noodles! 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Edible Jewellery

Jewellery is such an important part of Indian tradition. Especially, during weddings and engagement ceremonies, the bride to be is bestowed with gold, diamonds and traditional family antiques. My favorite jewellery is Kundan and Meenakari on gold. Kundans are semi precious stones cut into various shapes and set to form a design. Meenakari is an enamel paint around the stones. Intricate designs and minute details are the hallmark of traditional Indian jewellery.

Since we Indians are well known for food and jewellery, combining them together is a creative and thoughtful idea. Few years back, my mother in law came up with the idea of presenting an Indian sweet in the form of jewellery. She did a wonderful job on it, and was quite appreciated amongst friends and family.

With confidence, support, and motivation from Snehanshu's aunt, (Pranita mami) I tried to create an edible jewellery to welcome the pretty bride to our family. Believe me, I was nervous when Pranita mami asked me to create a sweet necklace for her daughter-in-law to be. Although she knew I would come up with something good, presentable, and delicious,  my brain at that time was almost dead. Just 2 days before the engagement ceremony I ran to Michael's and collected few edible paints. I had edible pearls and I had made Kaju Katli (cashew cake) hundreds of times. Maybe,  I would put those together and create something pretty before the ceremony. You will now see rest of the story :)

Inspired by my favorite jewellery set, I created a paper stencil to cut my cashew cake.

I also found a jewellery box I could decorate and use to present the edible jewellery. I lined this box with food safe wax paper at the bottom so that the box could be reused :)

This was how the jewellery would fit in perfectly.

To make the sweet, I started with fresh, unsalted, raw cashew nuts.
You do not want to use the ones lying in your pantry or refrigerator since a long time. 

I pulsed to grind them and form a fine powder.
Do not let the cashew turn oily and lumpy.

1 cup cashew powder and 1/2 cup confectionery sugar

Mix sugar in a pan with 2 1/2 tbsp. milk to dissolve the sugar.
Do not heat the pan yet.

Clean a rolling surface and grease with ghee/clarified butter.

Place the pan on medium heat stove and bring the sugar mixture to boil.

As it starts bubbling, add a cup of fine cashew powder and mix well for 3-4 minutes.

Add 1/2 tsp. ghee or clarified butter and mix well.

Pour the cashew dough over greased surface. Roll it to fit the size of the jewellery.

While the dough was still warm, I cut off a few sides to mold into a tear drop pearl shape. I knew if the dough cooled down and set, I would not be able to mold it the way I wanted to.

It was time to get into action before the dough hardened :) Using a sharp pairing knife, I cut along my design.

If you are planning to make regular kaju katli (pieces) cut using a sharpe knife or pizza cutter at this stage, while the dough is still warm.

I gently removed the sides to avoid the pretty necklace shape from breaking.

OMG I could not believe it!! My imagination was taking shape.

Edible golden color, isn't this great!

Keeping the kaju katli as it is on the counter, I sprayed it with Wilton's golden mist and let it dry.
I was not worried about my counter. It could be cleaned easily.

Here is the jewellery box I painted with my puffy paints. Glittering Red and Gold Pearls :)

While the color set and dried well, I prepared some sugar frosting. 
I wanted to create a traditional Indian Kundan and Meenakari Jewellery look. Can you imagine, I was doing this just 2 hours before the engagement ceremony. By that time I knew this would look gorgeous. I have created this frosting before and this is my favorite painting technique too.

To create a smooth frosting to pipe designs, mix 1/2 cup confectionery sugar with 1 tbsp milk. Mix well to form a smooth easily flowing, but not runny frosting.Add a drop or two of milk if needed.

Look at my shimmering gold nail paint for the day! :)

I used bright red and green Wilton food colors to mix into the frosting.

Have I shown you this before?
My box of decorating tips.

Since I wanted my design to be intricate, I used Wilton number 1 piping tips.

Filled in the decorating bags and I was ready to go.

Oh yes, I couldn't forget the pretty, edible, sugar pearls.

Here are few pictures of frosting the cashew cake.

I also wanted to give an effect of filigree, which I manged to by filing the corner of the necklace to look like an intricate carving and Meenakari paint.

I covered the top with a clear cellophane, to protect from dirt or curious invitees touching it before the engagement ceremony.
I was so excited! Thanks to Pranita mami for all her motivation and confidence in me. 
 This is such a pretty gift for engagement, wedding, baby shower, henna or dance party, Diwali and many more occasions.

I am so ready to create more edible jewellery designs. If you do create one, please post it on my Facebook page. Would love to see them.