Category Archives: Cooking

Cookies Galore!

For this last Christmas/New Year we were not able to go back home to be with our loved ones during the holidays and were stuck in Kuwait. It was a an emotional time for me because I was missing all the festivities, but we tried to do a little something here to take away the homesickness as much as we could.

One of the things we did was make cookies! I’m pretty good baker,but 20151226_134652cookies have always intimidated me! I think because of how delicate they are, but this year I thought “Oh why not, I should try this out!” So I went to my favorite baking website/blog (Sally’s Baking Addiction) She has such a wonderful website and I love the tips she puts in. I went through her site and found a few cookies to try out.

These were the cookies I chose to make:

1. Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies  (I used Strawberry Jam instead)
2. Snickerdoodle Cookies
3. Holiday Sugar Cookies  (I wanted to try out the frosting, but didn’t have enough time to have it hardened)
4. Coconut Macaroons

I also made brownies and did little heart cutouts (I know it wasn’t Valentines, but I wanted to do a shape different from the normal square and all my other cookie cutters were too big so I used the heart)

I planned to have all the cookies done on Christmas Day (Friday) so that I wouldn’t be stressed out the next day because our guests were coming over on Saturday night.. Also Friday night we were going to one of our close friends for dinner so I needed to make a dish for that.

We woke up a little late Friday morning and made a nice brunch for ourselves. After brunch I started out on the cookies, I of course being the wonderful planner I was didn’t read that 2 of the cookies needed to be chilled over 4 hours to make until I was ready to make! Ok, that’s not a problem.. I can just prep now and quickly bake in the night. I started the

Baking Collage

The Final Product! I forgot to take pictures of the shortbread cookies.. but everything was delicious! 

Snicker-doodle, and a small incident happened. I don’t know how these things always happen – but somehow again I hurt myself… while I was using the hand mixer! I was cleaning the sides of my bowl with the spatula, but somehow my hand collided with the hand mixer. I cannot even begin to explain the pain I felt as my hand convulsed through the beaters. I was finally able to take my hand out, and my hand was the same color as my Red Hot Rio nail polish and it wouldn’t stop shaking. By now The Husband was in the kitchen trying to figure out what to do. I took a couple of pills help with the pain, and went to lay down in bed.. I think the pain was so bad that I passed out!

So that was the beginning of my cookie experience..and oh what a memorable experience it was/is! I was able to make all the cookies with the help of The Husband who did all the mixing and rolling in the end because my fingers were stuck in a bent position and burning from the cuts.We ended up staying up pretty much all Friday night making the cookies and slept in Saturday!

The cookies all turned out well and we were able to pack them and give them away to our guests to take home as a treat!

Cookies

 

Thenga.. Maanga..Chakka… “Kerala Masala”

If you haven’t realized by now, I’m an Indian. I grew up in Texas, but my heritage is
Asian Indian. I am from a place called Kerala, which is located in the southernmost
tip of India. Kerala is known as “God’s own country”. Kerala is a tropical coastal
region and all around you’ll see lush foliage, rivers, and lagoons. Usually kerala-165347_1920people will go to North India to visit the Taj Mahal, Golden Temple, the different palaces in Rajastan, etc. Kerala used to be a hidden gem, but has become a popular touristic destination. One popular attraction is riding a houseboat through the backwaters of Kerala.  These boats look old school from the outside, but inside it is fully modern and equipped with AC. They come with a chef who will make you authentic Kerala meals. They boat staff will catch fish and shrimp from the water and cook it right in front of you! I haven’t had the chance to go on a houseboat, but it’s on my bucket-list and I am looking forward to doing this on my next India visit! Kerala is rich in culture and full of traditions, which I don’t really know much about. Here’s some pictures of my last India trip form 2010, this trip was long over due because I went to India 16 years before.

(Just click on the picture and you can see bigger images) 

I don’t really relate much to Kerala, but my  association with the Kerala culture comes with food. I love Kerala food. Kerala food is nothing like the Indian food you get at North Indian restaurants. It’s not the typical Butter Chicken or Tandoori Chicken – Kerala cuisine is more intense than the westernized Indian food that pops into our head when we hear Indian food. Kerala food is so wonderfully complex that in every bite, you have an intense flavor that is revealed layer by layer. The food is full of spices and bold flavors that makes each morsel you ingest to be tasty and delicious.

Since we’ve have come to Kuwait, we don’t get many home cooked Kerala meals like
before. When we were in Toronto, every Sunday we would go over to my in-laws and mom
would have a huge spread for lunch each Sunday. After Kuwait, both The
Husband and I have come to miss this! This year I thought I’d try and get over my fear
of Kerala cooking and try at least once a month to make a dish. I’ve never ventured into
Kerala cooking because it’s always intimidated me…

The title of this post says “Chakka.. Maanga..Thenga… Kerala Masala” The first three words mean Jackfruit, Mango, Coconut. These are three important and delicious delicacies of Kerala! Every corner you go to there’s a Coconut tree, Mango tree, or Jackfruit tree! These three are also an important factor in Kerala cooking. Coconut can be used in gravies, thoran’s (vegetable dish), desserts, etc. It is a versatile fruit!

What I’ve learned after cooking all the different dishes- In most all dishes you need a base of chopped or sliced onions, minced garlic and ginger, green chilies and curry leaves…. and sometimes tomatoes. The spice combination to make Spicesmeat dishes are: Coriander, Garam Masala, Chilly powder, Turmeric, and Smoked Paprika.

When making Chicken/Beef/Mutton Curry- I first sauteed sliced onions, added the minced garlic, ginger, green chilly combo and let it brown without getting burned. Once this is nicely browned I would add the spices and let it all toast for about a minute then add the tomatoes to make a nice paste. Once this is done I would add the meat and water and let it cook on slow heat. Pretty simple!

When making a thoran ,chopped steamed vegetables with a little bit of coconut, you basically cut up whatever veggies and keep aside. Add some oil to a pot, add mustard seeds, then add onions and green chilly let it saute up a bit and then add the veggies with some chilly powder and turmeric and steam it. Also pretty easy to do! These are the basics of Kerala cuisine.

Below are the dishes I’ve tried to make.. They all turned out well, but I need more practice for making the meat dishes. Hope you enjoy browsing through my pictures.

(Just click on the picture and you can see bigger images) 

 

Oh Texas my Texas…

I know I keep saying how excited I was to go back home during this trip. It came at the right time for me – but also the weather in Texas was amazing! It wasn’t too hot or too cold and I was able to just wear whatever I felt like and enjoy!

A majority of our trip back home is about shopping because I rarely shop while in Kuwait. The only type of shopping I do is groceries… I just find clothes shopping overpriced and irritating in Kuwait, I only do it if I have no other option. My thinking is – Why would I want to spend $100 on something when I can get the same thing for almost half the price back home? I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting on in the years or what, but I LOVE going to Costco, Target, and WalMart! I can spend HOURS there and not get tired. I think my obsession for these stores have increased after living in Kuwait.

Besides shopping we were able to do an early celebration of my dad’s 60th birthday and had a mini family reunion. This was really nice because I was able to see some family members that I hadn’t seen

Birthday Cake!

Birthday Cake!

in years. A few of my cousins even have kids that are a 4 and 5 years old that I haven’t ever seen. I grew up being around my family so going from that to nothing has been eye opening. It really has made me appreciate them in a whole different level. I was able to be there for my aunt and mom’s birthday. These two women have been such a big influence in my life and it was such a joy to be there for both their birthday’s this year!

Big Tex in all his glory

Big Tex in all his glory

We were also able to go to the State Fair of Texas. I haven’t been to the fair in years and I was so excited that we would be in town while the fair was going on. For those of y’all who find it weird that I am was so excited for something like a fair, it’s the biggest fair in the country. You buy your tickets and walk through a fountain area that’s beautiful and then after a little walk you hear Big Tex greeting you and nothing prepares you for this gigantic man wearing a gallon hat with Dickies button down shirt and Dickies jeans with cowboy boots. I think it was about two years ago Big Tex burned down and it was a sad sad day for all Texans. Anyhow they rebuilt Big Tex and I was excited to see the “Newer Larger Big Tex”. The State Fair of Texas is known for all the crazy fried food.. I’ve never been a fan of this because I get crazy heartburn if I eat too much fried stuff – But there a couple things that I just couldn’t stop myself from having: A Corny Dog and a Funnel Cake. The Fletcher’s Corny Dog stand has been part of The State Fair and is a legend. There is no way you can go to the fair and not have one of these things. You might be

All what's left of my delicious corny dog... Got so excited that I forgot to take a picture!

All what’s left of my delicious corny dog… Got so excited that I forgot to take a picture!

wondering what is a corny dog, basically it’s a wiener on a stick that’s dipped in a cornmeal batter and fried to perfection! Yes it’s sinful even thinking about it, but it is delicious. Smear some Ketchup and Mustard and you’re good to go! Besides the food there’s the rides, games, and the amazing concerts

through the day and the big main even at night. The Husband has never been to the Fair so it was such an amazing experience to share it with him. We decided to do a family event and took my youngest brothers and cousins. It was alot of fun just spending time with them and relaxing all day!

I think I can go on and on about my trip, but here’s some pictures for you to go through.

 

 

Carne Guisada Latin Beef Stew

Hi Everyone, I’m sure y’all have all given up on me but I have just been so busy with life and also finding motivation to post. Summer was busy for me because my family came to visit us.

We did our annual US/Canada trip early and went in September. This trip was one of my favorite trips back home because we were able to enjoy amazing weather in both the places! Usually Toronto is

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

freezing cold in December and I walk around looking like an Eskimo and get made fun of, but this year it was fabulous. I’ll write and share pictures about my trip.

I have been cooking a lot and taking pictures, but no time to update the blog. I have been talking about Slow Cookers since I came to Kuwait and have been searching but haven’t been able to find it anywhere. Recently a friend of mine found one and gave it to me as a gift and I am just so ecstatic! I really missed having a slow cooker because I used it a lot while in Toronto. I’m really excited to use this especially during the summers and since “winter” is coming up I’ll be making lots of different stews and soups in it!

My wonderful Slow Cooker! It's sitting on top of my washing machine because I have a tiny kitchen and no space anywhere else!

My wonderful Slow Cooker! It’s sitting on top of my washing machine because I have a tiny kitchen and no space anywhere else!

We had a rainy weekend so here’s a recipe I found while perusing some website and blogs. I found this recipe through the Skinnytaste.com website. It’s called Carne Guisada Latin Beef Stew. I didn’t follow the directions exactly because I think I’m incapable of doing this – but it turned out well.

I’m always wary about making beef recipes because it’s so easy to mess up beef. If it’s not tender enough it will be chewy and in steaks I hate when they are overcooked and dry!

Ingredients

Delicious Carne Guisada Stew with Pico Di Gallo

Delicious Carne Guisada Stew with Pico Di Gallo

Olive Oil
1 cup Green Onions – Chopped
3 cloves Garlic – Minced (I used 5)
2 small tomatoes – Chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro – Minced (I had at least 4 or 5)
1 1/2 lb stewing beef
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup light beer (1 cup beef broth because I cannot get beer in Kuwait)
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 tsp dry adobo seasoning (did not use this)
1/2 tsp ground achiote (just used paprika)
1 dried bay leaf (used 2)
salt to taste
10 oz baby red potatoes halved or quartered (I used regular potatoes because I couldn’t find red)

Oregano
Chilly Flakes
Black Pepper

Pico De Gallo

1 Onion – Chopped
1 Jalapeno – Chopped (2 Jalapeno if you want more spicy)
1 Tomato – Chopped
Lemon Juice
Salt to taste

Step 1

Heat up a heavy frying pan and add a little bit of oil. When the oil heats up add the chopped garlic and let it cook for 2 minutes but keep watch so that it doesn’t burn. Then add the green onions and let it cook for about 3 minutes.

Add in the tomatoes and cilantro next and mix it all together. Cook for another 3 minutes until the tomatoes become soft. Add a little bit of salt. Once you are done, place into the slow cooker.

Step 2

Add a little bit of oil back into the same pan and let the oil heat up, add in the beef a little bit at a time so you can brown the meat and get a nice crust. I think i did maybe 4 minutes per batch.  I wiped the pan and added a little bit of oil before adding the beef each time. After I did the last set, I placed all the beef back into the pan and added the 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour and just mixed until it coated all the beef. Once the beef is fully coated, add the beef into the slow cooker

Step 3

Next add in all the rest of the ingredients and mix it well. I added some extra water so it would come a little above the meat. I also added some black pepper, oregano, and chilly flakes. Since I added the beef stock, I didn’t add any more salt, but you should take later on to see if it is to your salt preference level. Let it cook on low for about 6 – 8 hours or until the beef is tender and soft.

You can see how much liquid I added.

You can see how much liquid I added.

Pico De Gallo:

To make the Pico De Gallo, I just chopped up some onions, tomatoes, jalapeno, and cilantro and added some lemon juice and salt to taste. Place in fridge to let the flavors mingle together and take out when ready to serve the Carne Guisada.

Look at the beautiful colors of the chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro!

Look at the beautiful colors of the chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro!

This takes a bit of prep work, but you can do it the night before and start it in the morning before going to work and come home from a chilly day to a nice warm stew. The fresh bold taste of the Pico to the warm comforting feeling of the stew will take you to Latin America. I can imagine years ago, an old lady cooking on an open fire with a heavy cauldron stirring away trying to get this dish ready for her family in the evening. Adding the Pico brought the Carne Guisada up a level. You can serve it on rice or eat it by itself. The husband actually ate it with Pita bread and I just had it as a stew.

My comments:

I wasn’t able to find the Adobo or Achiote and beer is illegal in Kuwait so I just added some beef broth. I might add some more vegetables next time I make this. If you want it spicy, maybe try marinating the beef early on with some spices (Cumin, chilly powder, oregano, garlic etc).

Tuscan Skillet Chicken

One of my favorite things to do is search on Google for recipes and go through Pineterst just to check
out pictures and get new ideas an be inspired to cook. . I can spend hours just searching for, reading 20150401_133404about, and watching youtube videos on different recipes.

Before the internet was readily available (the prehistoric days 😛 ) – I used to watch PBS
cooking shows whenever I got the chance. I grew up watching Julia Childs, Jacques Pepin,
and Martin Yan on the weekends. I always looked forward to this on Saturday
mornings/afternoons. We didn’t have cable so Food Network wasn’t availble at the time.
I’m not even sure if Food Network was even conceived during this time. Another thing I did was go to the library to read recipe books. I never really cooked growing up, but I loved to watch others cook. After getting married, I realized I would have to start cooking so that’s how I started! Anyhow, back to the recipe.

I found this recipe for Tuscan Chicken through Pintrest. I took a risk the first time I
made this and cooked this for 13 people.For some reason, I get these inspirations to try
out new recipes when guests come over, which is probably not a good idea. You can find
the original recipe here. This recipe was a hit and I made it again last week for just The Husband and me.

My favoritething is that you can cook everything in one pan! I love to cook, but the only thing I hate is the aftermath with cleaning and washing all the pots.In Kuwait we don’t have a dishwasher so everything has to be cleaned by us. 😦 <— Sad Face

For the recipe I used mainly the same ingredients but I made some changes because I couldn’t find the right ingredients. I found some regular sun dried tomatoes, but it was selling for KD 5 at the store! This is around $18 and I just coudn’t get myself to buy this so I bought the sauce instead which was only KD 2 (about 7 bucks). One thing I just can’t get around is how expensive things are at the grocery store. Sometimes I gasp at the amount I spend at the grocery store for a week.

Ingredients

Some olive oil
4 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces (I cannot find chicken tenders in Kuwait, and I
like having it in bite size pieces)
1 teaspoon – black pepper
1 teaspoon – italian seasoning
1 teaspoon – Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb
1 onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – minced
2 packages mushrooms – sliced (You can use 1 package if you want less, but I love mushrooms
and can never have too many)
1 8 oz – bottle of sundried tomato pesto sauce (This is the main change I made)
1 15 oz – can Cannelini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz – cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
Chili flakes – as needed
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

First – season the chicken with salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash and let it marinate for 30
minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high
heat, then add the chicken and brown for 3 minutes on each side.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and let it cook for 3 minutes
on each side. You should get it brown on both sides. Once this happens, take the pieces of
chicken and set it aside on a plate.

Next add a little bit more oil (The recipe says add oil, but I didn’t) and add in the
mushrooms and let it brown and set it aside. You can work in batches so that you don’t over
crowd the pan. Once this browns set it aside onto another plate.

Now add a bit of oil and add the onion and saute till it glistens. Add in the garlic and
the sun dried tomatoes and mix. Next add in the fire roasted tomatoes, italian seasoning,
chilli flakes, beans, and sugar and mix well. Once it’s mixed, add the chicken pack into
the pan and gently mix the sauce mixture so the chicken will submerse inside.

I let this mixture bubble then I lowered the heat, and closed the lid for about 25 or 30
minutes. I added the mushrooms and and mixed everything together.

Give it a taste and add salt, pepper, and chilli flakes if needed. I added some more because I like to have a little bit of kick in my food!

And you’re done! This is a pretty heavy dish that you can eat by itself with a salad. Ifyou want, you can make some pasta and mix it with the chicken. You can also eat this with a nice crusty bread. 

Hope you enjoy!

20150401_133404

Palak Paneer Recipe

I love spinach and paneer! And putting them together creates an amazing dish!

When I go to Indian restaurants, this is a must have for me! The biggest downside of Indian restaurant palak paneer is they add lots of heavy cream to give it the rich and creamy texture. I tried making this

Palak paneer from frozen spinach

Palak paneer from frozen spinach

dish once back in Toronto but that was an epic fail. Since then I was always apprehensive about trying again, but a couple months ago I thought I’d give it another go. I wanted to make something that was healthy and delicious minus the cream. So I thought I’d try out what I did for my Butter Chicken recipe and just add yogurt!

The results turned out great! The palak paneer was delicious, my only one complaint was I should have added more paneer.

Hope you enjoy!

Palak Paneer

Ingredients

Spinach (Frozen or Fresh) – I used about 2 bunches of 8 leaves each. First time I made this, I used fresh spinach. I had the option of the baby spinach, but it is expensive in Kuwait so I just washed the

Palak paneer made from fresh spinach

Palak paneer made from fresh spinach

spinach and tore them up into smaller pieces. Please make sure to wash the leaves real well. Last night I used frozen leaves and I can say there is a difference in the color once it is done, but I think the taste is the same. Also, with frozen spinach make sure to drain all the water after defrosting! I forgot to drain properly and I can see there’s extra water in my spinach.

1 large onion – chopped

1 or 2 cups paneer – cubed (The amount of paneer depends on how much you want in your curry)

1 Large Tomato – chopped

2 – 3 – Green chilies (I use the Thai green chili’s) – Finely chopped

2 tablespoon Ginger – Finely chopped

2 tablespoon Garlic – Finely chopped

1/2 cup – Yogurt

1/2 cup water

some oil

Spices Needed

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

salt to taste

pinch of sugar

Marinade for Paneer

Oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon chili powder

salt to taste

Instructions

First you need to marinate the paneer. In a bowl add turmeric powder, chilli powder (I use kashmiri since it’s less spicy), pinch of salt and a little bit of oil to make a paste. Add in the paneer and mix it so that it is all evenly coated with the spice mixture. Keep this aside and let it marinate.

Fresh spinach – take a large pot of water and add the spinach, the spinach should cook in about a couple minutes. Once it is wilted, drain the water out. Make sure you do not overcook it.

Frozen spinach – thaw this and make sure you drain out all the water

Once spinach is cooked/thawed – keep aside

Next take a big frying pan and add some oil in it. Once the oil is hot drop in the paneer and brown the sides, make sure not to crowd the pan. I did this in 2 batches. Once this is done, take the cooked paneer and keep it aside in a separate bowl/dish

Now to start the process of assembling the palak part

On a medium to medium high flame, add a pot with a little bit of oil. When the oil is heated up drop in the chopped onions and let it soften up. Once it is soft add the finely chopped garlic, ginger, and chilies. Side Note** I use a chopper for the onions, garlic, ginger and chilies. This saves a lot of time and it really does a good job of evenly pulverizing!

Make sure to keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. You’ll know when the onion mixture is ready when it turns a nice brown color. A little bit darker than caramel, but lighter than chocolate. Once this is done, add in the masalas – coriander, garam masala, cumin powder and salt. Fry it in the pan, once you fry it for about 45 seconds to a minute add 2 tablespoons of water. This will make a nice paste and also help the spice onion mixture not burn. Add in the tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes cook down. Don’t forget to keep stirring so nothing burns. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes.

Once the tomatoes have cooked down, add the spinach that has been kept aside. Make sure that you drained out all the liquid. Fold the spinach into the spice mixture. Once it’s all thoroughly combined, turn off the heat. Add the mixture into your blender or food processor and pulse it until you get a nice smooth consistency.

Next return it onto the stove and mix in the yogurt and the half cup of water. Turn on the heat to low, add in the paneer and mix. Close the lid and let the palak paneer simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

Serve while hot

You can serve this with basmati rice, chapati, or naan bread.

Roasted Vegetables

I said I would post how I roasted vegetables in my previous post so here you go!

Roasting vegetables is pretty easy and you can do it with many different vegetables. So far I’ve tried onions, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, broccoli, eggplant, and sweet potatoes.

This time I had some bell peppers, onions, carrots in the fridge so I just chopped them up into one inch pieces and mixed in a little bit of olive oil, black pepper, some sea salt, garlic powder and popped them in the oven with the fish and cooked it for about 20 minutes. Usually I cook it at 400F, but since the fish was cooking I just put the vegetables with that. Make sure to mix it halfway through so that the vegetables are cooked properly.

The vegetables will become a little crispy and the edges will be a little brown and that’s when you know it is done.

Take it out of the oven and it’s ready to serve!

Some tips/ideas:

Make sure to add oil to your vegetables when you season so it will caramelize evenly.

Some ideas for seasoning would be: Italian seasoning, thyme, rosemary, cumin powder, etc.

If you want to add some Parmesan cheese to your roasted vegetable make sure to do it towards the end so it doesn’t burn.

Before adding the vegetables to your baking pan, line it with foil so there’s less of a mess to clean!

Lemon Pepper Salmon

It’s Eid holidays so I’ve had some free to time cook. I didn’t make anything so elaborate, but I made salmon twice. Salmon is one of my favorite things to eat! I can eat it grilled, baked, fried, and curried. IMG_20140729_224655The great thing about salmon is that you can make an amazing meal by using some simple ingredients.

Since it’s just the two of us, I had 2 pieces of salmon.

Ingredients

Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Black Pepper according to how much you like I think I used around 1/4 of a teaspoon
2 pieces of salmon whatever size you want (clean and keep aside)

Preparation

Step 1
Mix the juice and black pepper together in a bowl that’s large enough to add the fish.

Step 2
Place the fish inside the bowl and mix it with the marinade. I usually use my hands instead of a utensil because fish is delicate. If you are squeamish about touching fish you can use gloves 🙂 Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour or a couple of hours if you have time.

Step 3
Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C)

Step 4
Place the salmon onto a foil lined baking pan. I usually spray a bit of PAM, but with salmon it is not necessary because the natural oils will come out and the salmon shouldn’t stick to the pan.

Step 5
Bake salmon for about 15 minutes. You will know salmon is done when it is done when the white juices comes and it is flaky if you take a fork to it.
That’s it! It’s pretty simple to make salmon and this is a really simple and delicious meal! You can serve salmon with any type of vegetables.

I usually serve it with roast vegetables or a salad. I’ll post my recipe for roasted veggies in another post.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

 

Pineapple Upside Down cake

I’ve always loved to eat this cake, but never thought to try to make this cake because I was feeling intimidated by the cake.

I tried to make this for Easter one day, and followed the recipe but somehow I mixed up the sugar and salt, but the cake looked amazing!

I was really upset because after coming to Kuwait, my baking wasn’t up to par. There was always some issue with the cake not setting, falling apart, etc. I was so upset, but then a few months later I just couldn’t help myself so I decided I would try to make this Pineapple Upside Down Cake again.

I googled many recipes and couldn’t come up with one so then I did what I usually do when I consult recipes, I mixed up different recipes. When I look for recipes, I never stick with one recipe. I like to do my research with the different ingredients, preparation, and also I always make sure to read the comments that other readers have written.

Here are the different sites that I looked through to come up with my version of Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe.html – Pioneer Woman! Of course I have to check her out first! She’s my Go-To gal!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe.html

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/03/03/pineapple-upside-cake/
Ingredients

Topping

1/2 cup of melted butter
Brown sugar (no measurement)
6 or 7 Sliced Pineapples
15 Maraschino Cherries – You can add more if you wish

Cake

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar (you can use up to 2 cups if you want it sweeter)
1 cup milk
1 cup of the reserved pineapple liquid
1/2 cup butter at room temp
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

9 inch round pan

Directions

Step One – Topping

Preheat your oven to 350F.

I prepared the topping first so it will have time to set before adding the batter.
Add 1/2 cup of melted butter onto the round pan and then sprinkle enough brown sugar to cover all the melted butter.
Next add the Pineapple slices on top of the butter/brown sugar mixture, make sure not to move the pineapple around after you have put it on top of the mixture.
After you have done this, place the cherries in between or around the cake, where ever you would like.
Now keep your pan aside and get ready to make the batter!

Step Two – Batter

In medium-sized mixing bowl add the dried ingredients EXCEPT the SUGAR and mix together (Flour, Baking powder, baking soda, and salt)

Combine the milk and pineapple juice into one bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl take your SOFT room temperature butter and mix it with the sugar using a mixer or if you are lucky a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer (I am waiting for my move back to Texas to buy this..because it’s not worth it to buy here in Kuwait) Make sure to mix well. Add the vanilla.

Next add your eggs one at a time and beat. Afterwards, add the flour mixture into the egg mixture a little bit at a time and alternate this with the milk/juice mixture. I read on Paula Dean to start and end with the flour mixture so that’s what I did. Mix all this on medium until the batter is soft and no clumps remain.

Once the batter is set, pour on top of the topping you’ve set aside. Make sure to smooth out the cake using a spatula.

Stick it in the oven and wait for about 30 minutes until the cake is done. You can test it by inserting a toothpick or a sharp object in the middle and if it comes out clean then you know the cake is done. I use the handle of a teaspoon because I have no toothpicks at home and the insert is not as big.

Once the cake is done, allow it to cool for a 10 minutes or so (I think I only wait 5 minutes because I’m scared the cake will get stuck) and then flip it onto your serving tray so the bottom of the cake will be on top. If you are scared that it won’t flit properly, you can run a knife along the sides of the cake to loosen it around the edges.

This cake came out really good and it was a hit at the office! I made it once more for another group of friends and they also loved it!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

Get your Moushakel while it’s hot!

I love Middle Eastern food! I’ve also learned not to call it Middle Eastern food, instead call it Arabic food. One of my favorite go to meals is eating a Moushakel! I am not sure how to spell it, but it’s one of my favorite go to foods! There are two places in Kuwait that I like to go to to have this. One is a place in the city on the corner close to the Mubarakia, unfortunately I have no idea what the street name is! All I know is they’re so popular and the food is always so fresh and delicious! I took a picture of the place if that will help! The second place I like to eat my moushakel is at the restaraunt Canary. Their moushakleis also pretty good. It’s not as soft because the pita bread is not soft like the samoon bun, but it’s still a great fresh taste!

Moushakel Locations

Y’all might be wondering now what in the world is a Moushakel?? A moushakel is a type of vegetarian wrap or sandwich. You might be thinking, UUMMM vegeterian? I know at first I was apprehensive also, but I love this sandwich! A Moushakel can come as a wrap using a pita bread or as a sandwich in a bun(samoon). Both ways it’s called a sandwich. I like it both ways, but I like it only from two places in Kuwait so far! The inside comprises of a nice crispy falafels that are smashed, french fries, roasted eggplant, some cucumber slices, tomatoes, and then a nice heaping of tahini. A falafel is made out of chickpeas and parsley with spices along with it. So this sandwich is full of protein and also delicious veggies!

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Canary Wrap before bite

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After a bite

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You can see the veggies and fries sticking out and inside is the yummy falafels all inside this bun

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We usually order the wraps with a side order of falafels because you can never have enough falafels! The place in the city gives you a few falafels along with the moushakel sandwich.

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Our free falafels from the place in the city!

I found another blogger who also likes Moushakels and you can check out his post here.

I hope if you ever try this sandwich you will enjoy it as much as I do!

 

 

 

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