Saturday, November 13, 2010

Super-Quick No-Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies

I love me some oatmeal at least every other day. I don't usually prepare it the traditional sweet-porridge way, but as a savory sludge, with salt and every now and then, also a small green chilli. Although oatmeal is only a recent addition to the Indian diet, it's been prolific enough to find itself in everyday dishes such as upma (savory semolina porridge), idli (steamed rice cakes) and dosa (savory rice crepes).

Quick-cooking oats is definitely my favorite, and recently I picked up a HUGE box of it from Costco. Or at least, I thought it was a box of quick-cooking oats. In fact, it turned out to be a HUGE box of Old Fashioned Oats! I tried making my usual concoction, but found it a tad hard to down too much of it. So, I decided the rest would have to find itself in other dishes.

Cookies, I thought. I would start with cookies. So, I made my way to the Quaker Oats site, hoping to get some inspiration there. I found something better than inspiration - a No-Bake cookie recipe! It calls for all of 4 ingredients not counting the oats, and needs only about 5 minutes of prep! It was a no-brainer. I had to try this recipe.

And, so I give you the Super-Quick No-Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie recipe. The oats worked well in this cookie, and gave it the right amount of chewiness one would expect to have in an oatmeal cookie. I have tweaked the recipe just a tad, and have mentioned in what way in my notes.

Super-Quick No-Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies

  • Light Brown Granulated Sugar                      1 1/2 cups
  • Vegan Butter or Margarine                           6 tbsp or 3/4 stick
  • Vegan milk                                                1/2 cup
  • Cocoa Powder                                           1/3 cup
  • Uncooked Quick or Old Fashioned Oats         3 cups
  1. Combine the sugar, vegan marge/butter, vegan milk, and cocoa powder in a saucepan, and bring to boil over medium heat. Stir frequently, and continue to boil for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Remove the saucepan from heat, and stir in the oats. If you are using old fashioned oats, allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes before getting to the next step. If not, proceed.
  3. On waxed paper, drop tablespoons of the mixture, and allow to stand till completely cooled and set.
  4. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
  1. The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar. I used that amount and found it to be sickly sweet.
  2. The original recipe called for 1 stick or 8 tbsp of butter or marge. The cookies were a little greasy till they set, and the taste of the fat was very prominent. Strangely, with such a high quantity of fat, the website touted this as a 'Low Fat' recipe. I guess they meant each serving is low in fat. But who's going to stop at just one cookie!
  3. I had to leave the cookies to cool overnight before they were completely set.
I am sending this post in as an entry for 'The Chocolate Fest' Cook Curry Nook's First Anniversary Event!! Cook Curry Nook, authored by the charming Madhuri, is one of my favorite sites for super-simple, super-quick, and most importantly, super-yummy vegetarian/vegan recipes. If you haven't already visited her site, head over as soon as possible, and certainly try and send in your entry for this event.... there's a super-cool cook-book at stake!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Olive Tapenade Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Masala French Fries

Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe is heaven for vegans. This primarily online store is owned and operated by vegans, and caters to a vegans every need! They have a small store here in Marietta, close to where we live, and I badgered my husband till, recently, he caved and took me there. Even before I has fully set foot in the store, I had a few items already in my shopping cart! By the time we got out of the store, I had a brighter smile on my face, and my husband had a considerably lighter wallet. Kidding aside, if you are on the lookout for vegan anythings, you should definitely browse their online store, and if you live somewhere in Atlanta, you can actually visit their store. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Whole Wheat Naan

Who knew the humble naan was so prolific? Since I moved to the US, I have seen it in ethnic stores that stock Indian foods, supermarkets, and even natural and organic markets like Whole Foods. And, if that was not enough, they even offer a few varieties - Original, whole wheat, Garlic, to name just a few.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunflower Seed and Chocolate Chip Speckled Banana Cookies

Like a lot of other people in the US, we too tend to buy a lot, if not all, of our produce from local farmers markets. You get practically EVERYTHING there, in terms of vegetables and fruits! And the prices tend not to be as inflated as they are if you are buying in bigger name stores.

So, the other day when we were shopping there, I happened to notice the aisle that housed all the varied nuts and seeds. They had the usual - cashews, pistas, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, et al. And then my eyes caught sight of something I used to love to eat when I was as a school-girl, in Dubai. Sunflower seeds. We used to get them unshelled and salted. The whole process of de-shelling and consuming the seed was theraputic in a way. I remember doing a lot of thinking while I got those little crunchy nuggets out of their casings and gobbling them up. Never thoughts of any significance, mind you. More day-dreams than anything, really. And I think thats what I liked so much about them - after opening up the first few, one tends to zone out, and your hands just move doing the work of opening, and moving the seed to your mouth, automatically. Sigh. Good times.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dingri Muttar Masala a.k.a Mushrooms & Peas in a Spicy Gravy

Mushrooms are versatile. They not only come in a whole slew of varieties, they can be used in myriad ways. Stuff 'em, incorporate them in sandies, blend them into a soup, stir fry them to perfection, use them as a pizza topping - the possibilities are limitless! Not to mention delicious!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Someone Loaves You - French Baguette!!

Wow!! Time sure does fly!! It has been eight days since my last post!! EIGHT WHOLE DAYS!!

This lag between posts can be attributed to a lot of things - my internet connection being on the fritz, having guests over a few days last week, and of course, last and NEVER the least, caring for my sweetheart now 3-month old son. But most of all, the internet connection issue. I mean, honestly, it is only then that I realized how reliant I am on the internet. For practically EVERYTHING. I use it for pretty much everything - I follow other peoples blogs, I check to see if someone has looked up MY blog, I read up about animal rights issues, I do research for the articles I write (oh, by the way, I write a 4-days-a-week column for a newspaper reviewing videogames - what fun! If you can get your paws on a copy of Bangalore Mirror, you should look it up sometime. If not, you can check it out here. :0)) , I chat with friends and family near and far, I Google senseless nonsense that really doesn't effect me in any way just to while away precious time,  yada yada, yada yada. I think you catch my drift!

My point is that the internet has now become an indispensable part of my life, in a way that I sometimes think may not be very healthy. Its almost like I use it in lieu of my brain every now and then, 'cause, really, its soooo much easier to get information out of!! The weirdest part is that I am sure a lot of you guys who are reading this will relate to it. So much of our lives has become 'virtual'. I even met my husband on the internet! I mean, I have 'friends' who I have never met, and interact only through this medium. Ok, alright. I think I have made my pointless point, and wasted enough of your time and mine!! :0) So, lets get on with the show!!

The Marvellous 6-Minute Microwave Cake!!

I've gone the microwave way for baking on more than a few occasions. Let's just say it was one of those "Try, try, till you succeed" type of things. Lets also just say I figured I never would succeed.

That's probably why, when I saw this recipe on Madhuri's (a fellow food-blogger) site, I was like "HA!! She must have a magic microwave! I need to get me one of 'em!" But, 'cause the itch to try, try and see if I could succeed was still lurking under my skin, I decided to scratch it by giving her recipe a go. After all, she proclaimed it would take just 5 minutes in the microwave (at this point there were MANY more 'HA!!'s sounding in my head)! That was the kinda time I could spare to prove a recipe wrong. Besides, it was also my folks 31st wedding anniversary. I needed a quick dessert item to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vegetable Stuffed Crust Pizza

My first memories of pizza was from when I was probably 4 or 5. We used to live in Bahrain, and there was this quaint little pizza place called Pick-A-Pizza. Just the mention of pizza would be enough to get my siblings and I into a frenzy. Daddy'd drive his three drooling runts there, and let us order the usual; usual only because there was only one vegetarian option! I remember the few things I loved about that place: the smell, the menu board (there were numbers against each pizza option, and if I remember right, we always ordered the No:5!), the anticipation of a yummy pizza, the high chairs, and Tina, the Manglorean girl at the counter. Since we were so little (read: cute), and visited so often, we soon became good 'friends' with Tina and the Sri Lankan Chefs. This meant free extra toppings, and sometimes even free pizzas! Since mumma and daddy didn't want to be indebted to these nice people, mumma used to make idlis (ya, thats what they said they'd like in exchange!) in bulk, and parcel them up for the drop-off.

Eventually, we left Bahrain, only to return a few years later. Fortunately for us, Pick-A-Pizza was still around, and still served the yummiest of pizzas. So we had another two lovely years of devouring yummy pizzas. When we left Bahrain for good, and moved to UAE, we were devastated, and all the pizzas from Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner, Pizza Inn, et al could not sate us like the good ol' ones from Pick-A-Pizza. The only other pizza that has come close to the Pick-A-Pizza yumminess is the deep-dish variety from Pizzeria Uno. Many years later, we visited Bahrain for a few days, and not only did we eat a couple of pizzas from our favorite pizza outlet, we also carried 8 large bad boys back with us to Dubai! YES! We actually brought back pizza from Bahrain! I bet those were the first few pizzas ever to get on a plane!

Happy New Year with Chocolate 'Cheese'cake!!

First of all, let me wish all of you who follow the Sauramana Hindu calendar, a very very happy new year!!

While my husbands side of the family celebrate the Lunar or Chandramana new year, my side celebrate the Sauramana one, and this works very well for me indeed. I say this, of course, because there is always something special prepared in terms of food on festival day, and so its a good thing to celebrate as many festivals as possible!! 

It recently hit me square between the eyes, that festivals, especially in the south, become attached to not only certain traditions and customs specific to it, but also to certain food preparations. You see or speak of these items, and your brain is already busy looking through its memory files to associate it with a festival.  And these food items I speak of, generally tend to fall in the dessert category. Laddus, pedas, payasam or kheers, holige, are all the usual suspects.

Now, I like to break the mould when it comes to practically everything, and this is no different when it comes to the food I cook. And so I set out to bake a dessert to celebrate the New Year with. The funny part is that I got my days and dates all mixed it up, and it ended up being eaten the day before Yugadi, but what the hey, eh?! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My First Post - Starting a Food Blog

I wonder how some of these food bloggers do it! Not only do they cook, they photograph, they blog, they share stories! Only when you start to do this yourself, do you realize how much time and effort must actually go into it. 

You see, I decided a some time ago that I wanted to somehow document the meals that I prepare. This was mainly so that I could have a recipe book of sorts, of tried & tested recipes that were a success. Or not. So, I decided that the best way to do this was to blog about it. I regularly visit several food blogs a week, and they all seem to have a great database of recipes, so why not me, right? Of course, this also meant that I could share these recipes with friends and family, especially if they were on the lookout for simple (although, I do have a knack to complicate the most simple recipe!), quick vegan recipes. 
So anyway, from the time I decided that this blogging simply had to be done, it took me more than a couple weeks to read up about Food Blogging, and then another few weeks to research which blog hosting site offered what I was looking for. Sifting through the several sites took another few weeks. And then finally, once I figured out which one worked best for me (I based this on the most editable template offerings mostly, and also on the ease of posting, editing, adding fonts, uploading pix, et al, considering I am a HTML dummy), I realized I didn't really know what my first post should be about.
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