Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Cake Roll

The next thing I wanted to make out of the pumpkin I bought over the weekend was some kind of a cake or cookie. I'm really not that in to pumpkin pie. I have to eat a really good pumpkin pie to be inspired to make it, and I haven't really been that in to it to even eat it. Anyway, I found this recipe on and I had all the ingredients, plus I've been dying to try to make a cake roll for the longest time, so I decided to attempt it. When baking it, the smell was so heavenly. And it was quite delicious. The pumpkin was not at all too overpowering, which is what I like. And, again, it was surprisingly easy to make. I was always intimidated to make cake rolls, but it was really easy. This is going to be another potluck item I'm adding to my list.

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
confectioners' sugar for dusting

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 15x10x1 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper.

2) In a large bowl, beat eggs on high for five minutes. Gradually add white sugar and pumpkin. Add flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Spread batter evenly in pan. Sprinkle walnuts evenly on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.

3) Immediately turn out onto a linen towel dusted with confectioners sugar. Peel off paper and roll cake up in the towel, starting with the short end. Cool.

4) To Make Filling: Mix confectioners sugar, vanilla, butter or margarine, and cream cheese together till smooth.

5) Carefully unroll the cake. Spread filling over cake to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up again. Cover and chill until serving. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caramelized Spicy Pumpkin seeds

Went to the pumpkin patch/farm around the corner from our house and bought a small pumpkin over the weekend. Last year, when I bought a pumpkin, I pureed it for my daughter's baby food. This year, I have so much planned for this pumpkin. But I almost forgot how hard it was last year to peel and cook a whole pumpkin. When I saw all the seeds, I thought of making a sweet and spicy snack with it. I found this recipe on and it was quite tasty. My daughter even liked it. The recipe called for ground ginger, but I decided to omit it. This can also be easily cut into half, which is what I did. The seeds in the pumpkin only came out to be about a cup. The rest of the pumpkin will be pureed and I plan on making soup and a dessert with it. I love the fall :)

3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds, washed and dried
cooking spray
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white sugar

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons of sugar, the cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne pepper, and set aside.
Place the pumpkin seeds on the prepared baking sheet, spray them with cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake the seeds in the preheated oven until lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

3) Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds along with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Cook and stir the seeds until the sugar forms a coating on the seeds, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the caramelized seeds into the bowl of sugar-spice mixture, toss to coat, and let cool.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Indian-style chicken burgers

All of my Indian dishes are inspired by my dear friend, Kiran. This one isn't an exception. She brought some chicken burgers to work one day for us try out. It was so tasty and so flavorful that I wanted to try making it at home too, so she gave me the basic recipe for it. I also found a recipe online for a Tandoori chicken burger, so I incorporated both recipes and came up with this one.

1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (I used ground turkey)
4 stalks green onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. garam masala
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes (more if you want it spicy)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1) Heat grill to medium-high. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, green onion, ginger, lemon juice, paprika, garam masala, turmeric, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Set aside and marinate for 10-30 minutes.

2) (Skip this step if you're using ground turkey): Transfer mixture to a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, but not pasty.

3) Form mixture into patties (4 large patties, or 8 medium sized patties). Moisten grill with oil. Cook patties on grill until opaque throughout. Serve on hamburger bun or pita bread, topped with tzatziki or cumin yogurt sauce (recipe below).

Cumin Yogurt sauce
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 tsp. cumin, salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crockpot Chile Verde

I went out to lunch with my entire office one day at a Mexican restaurant. I chose to eat their buffet lunch, while others chose their food from the menu. I ate, what I later found out to be, Chile Verde and I was hooked. I told one of my co-workers that I was going to attempt to make the dish. There were different recipes that I found, but this was the only one that seemed to be popular for fans who liked using their crockpot. So I gave it a shot. This recipe was adapted from This recipe was a little bit more like a tomato-based stew. It was pretty good, but not as good as what I had at the restaurant.

3 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs. cubed pork.
7 ounces green salsa
4 ounces diced jalapeno peppers
14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. cumin

1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add cubed pork, and cook until browned on the outside. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Stir in green salsa, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, salt and cumin.

2) Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Reduce the setting to low and cook for 4 more hours. Serve with tortillas and Mexican rice.

Mexican Rice

I've had this recipe for a while and I always make it whenever I make a Mexican dish. Its really simple to make.

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1) Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.

2) Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Monday, October 19, 2009

California Club Pizza

We took our boss out to lunch to California Pizza Kitchen for Boss' day last week. I normally order the Santa Fe Chicken Pizza or mushroom ravioli. I decided to be adventurous and try something different from the menu. So I tried their California Club Pizza and it was really good. It was so simple but had all kinds of different flavors. The saltiness of the bacon, the crunch and creaminess from the salad on top, and the butteriness from the avocado. So I decided to replicate it at home. Hubby took a look at his meal and his eyes bugged out. He was quite impressed.

1 tube of prepared pizza dough (like Pillsbury)
slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup cooked bacon bits
1 large tomato, sliced thinly
shredded lettuce, dressed in a mayonnaise dressing (mayonnaise splashed with a little milk)
avocado slices

1) Preheat oven to 425 deg. F. Spread pizza dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Layer slices of the mozzarella cheese on top of dough. Evenly spread cooked chicken over the cheese. Sprinkle bacon bits. Place tomato slices evenly on top. Bake for 15 minutes.

2) Cut pizza in slices. Place salad mixture on top of each slices and top with avocado.

Hot Cocoa

Its starting to get pretty cool down here in sunny SoCal. But it won't last long, because the forecast says temperatures will reach the 90's again by the end of the week. In October!!! Well, I was craving a nice hot chocolate this morning, so I decided to make a batch. I found this recipe a while back. Its very chocolatey, and very yummy. Its a large batch. So I usually drink a cup or two, and place the rest in the fridge and warm up another cup the next day. This batch usually lasts me about a week. Hubby doesn't really drink too much hot chocolate, so I pretty much have this batch all to myself ;)

3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2/3 tsp. salt
1/3 cup hot water
half a gallon milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1) In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa and salt. Add hot water and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add milk, and heat to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. Do not boil.

2) Remove from heat. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Whip mixture with a whisk. Serve hot, with whipped cream or marshmallows.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Peanut Butter Maple cookies

I came across this recipe at when I was trying to get dinner recipe ideas. I thought, I still have maple syrup from Canada at home, so I should try this recipe. If you love peanut butter, you'll love these cookies. You can't really taste the maple syrup, but they're still awesome. Especially with a nice, cold glass of milk.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips

1) Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and mix until it is well incorporated. Stir in peanut butter chips.
3) Scoop batter by the heaping tablespoonful, about 2 inches apart, on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until they are golden brown. Cool for about 1 minute before removing from the cookie sheet.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spaghetti Carbonara

I have 2 of Rachel Ray's first cookbooks, and the only thing I've been able to make out of it was this dish. I saw her make it once on her Foodnetwork show, 30-Minute meals, and it looked pretty easy and tasty. So I tried to finally make it and I was hooked. I substituted some of the ingredients with items that were easily accessible, like bacon instead of pancetta, grated parmesan instead of Parmigiano Reggiano. And it still tasted really good.

1/4 lb. bacon, chopped
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked according to the package (reserving some of the pasta water to use later)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 eggs
splash of milk
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
black pepper to taste

1) Cook the bacon in a small pan over medium-heat until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and place on paper towels to absorb the oil. Combine eggs, a splash of milk and a few tablespoons of the pasta water and whisk together. Set aside.

2) Heat garlic and olive oil in a large skillet over very low heat. Add red pepper flakes, if you decided to use it. Toss the cooked pasta in the skillet and evenly coat with the oil. Add the bacon pieces. Pour egg mixture evenly over the pasta. Rapidly stir pasta to cook the eggs. Turn off heat. Add cheese, parsley and black pepper to taste. Serve hot, with more parmesan cheese on top.