Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Eggless Mango Cake ~ Day 124


I'm back after a short break with this irresistibly soft, moist, and delicious mango cake recipe.  I have bookmarked this recipe from Vaishali's blog a long time ago and never had a chance to make it until now.  Though the original recipe is a vegan version, I slightly tweaked it and added some Greek yogurt for some extra moisture and flavor.  However, if you prefer to go with a vegan version, see my notes for the instructions.

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
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Recipe Source: Holy Cow Vegan

Ingredients:
  • All-purpose flour - 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Baking powder - 2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
  • Mango puree (fresh or canned) - 1 cup, if using fresh ripe mangoes, cut the sides and scoop the pulp out and puree in a blender.
  • Mango flavored Greek yogurt - 1/4 cup
  • Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup 
  • Vegetable oil or melted butter - 1/3 cup
  • Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Note: For a vegan version, omit Greek yogurt and butter.
          Use 1 and 1/2 cups mango puree and 2/3 cups sugar, if not using the Greek yogurt.
       
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a cake pan or bundt pan.
  2. Puree the mango pulp and set aside (if using the fresh mangoes).
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix in the cardamom powder.
  4. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the mango puree, Greek yogurt, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix gently (don't over mix) until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  I baked it in a silicon bundt cake molds.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Stuffed Pasta Shells in White Sauce ~ Day 123


Here is one of the ways to use the bechamel sauce that I posted yesterday.  This  hearty, delicious stuffed shells are easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner and a definite crowd-pleaser. 

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4
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Ingredients:
  • Jumbo pasta shells - 16
  • White / Bechamel sauce - 2 cups
  • Mozzarella cheese - 1 cup
  • Parmesan cheese - 1/2  cup
  • Chopped fresh basil - for garnishing
For the stuffing:
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
  • Onion - 1, medium, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes - 2, chopped
  • Spinach (fresh or frozen) - 3/4 cup
  • Broccoli - 3/4 cup, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp or to taste
  • Ground black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Dried oregano - 1 tsp
  • Dried basil - 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh basil - 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Salt - to taste
  • Whole milk or part-skim ricotta cheese - 1 1/2 cups
  • Parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup


Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cook the pasta shells according to package directions.  Place the cooked pasta on a parchment paper in a single layer to prevent from sticking.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until lightly brown.  Add the onion and saute until translucent and stir in the tomatoes and cook until soft.   Add the spinach, broccoli, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground pepper, basil, and salt.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally  Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and the vegetable mixture.  Mix 1 cup of mozzarella cheese into the white sauce. Spread 1/2 cup of white sauce in a baking dish.  Stuff each pasta shell with the ricotta mixture.  Arrange the stuffed shells on top of the white sauce.  Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and garnish with basil.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bechamel (White) Sauce ~ Day 122


Bechamel or white sauce is a French mother sauce made from flour, butter, and milk.  A variety of cheese sauces can be made from this rich and creamy base sauce.  Bechamel sauce can be used in pasta, lasagna, mac and cheese, and casseroles.  It is simply delicious when spooned over steamed vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.

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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yields: 2 cups
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Ingredients:
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • All-purpose flour - 2 tbsp
  • Milk - 2 cups
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Nutmeg - 1/8 tsp, freshly grated
  • Salt and white pepper powder - to taste

Method:


  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and cook until combined, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Add nutmeg and bay leaf.
  3. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk until the sauce is slightly thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Add salt and white pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  
  4. Turn off the heat and transfer the sauce into a large bowl.  Discard the bay leaf.  Place a plastic wrap directly over the sauce to keep skin from forming.  Refrigerate until ready to use.