Friday, April 29, 2011

Carrot Cake with Light Cream Cheese Topping

I love carrot cake, but it has to be rich, decadent, moist and loaded with goodies.  This carrot cake is just that because it is loaded with lots of rich flavors and textures.  I baked it for my father's birthday and everyone enjoyed because I did not ice the cake with a very sweet frosting.  Rather, I made a cream cheese whip topping to dollop over each piece of cake.  The topping was slightly sweet, tangy and very fluffy so it  perfectly complimented the sweet rich cake. 

To make the cake:
For the wet ingredients gather:
2 cups of grated carrots
1 cup of drained canned crushed pineapple (from 20oz can)
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of applesauce
Stir together and set aside for a few minutes to allow the raisins to soak up some of the moisture and plump up.          

Add 4 large eggs
1/4 cup of oil canola oil
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
Stir well with  the carrot/pineapple mixture and set aside while you gather the dry ingredients.

For the dry ingredients gather:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp of cinnamon
Blend dry ingredients together well.

Finally add 1 cup of chopped walnuts and one cup of sweetened coconut and stir into the carrot/pineapple mixture.  Then add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients.  Stir gently and mix well until it forms rich cake batter.  

I baked the cake for 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees in a large bundt pan that was sprayed well with cooking spray (or you can butter it).  Prick to see if it done and allow to cool before serving. 

For the cream cheese whipped topping: 
Blend together 1 brick of cream cheese (at room temperature) with 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Once well incorporated and smooth, gently fold in one tub of cool whip topping. Allow to chill for a few hours before serving.  Dollop on cake slices as desired.

Serves 8-12 people.   Enjoy. 

Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hunan Chicken 2

My husband and son love a dish called Hunan Beef if we ever indulge in Chinese take-out.  Well, I wanted to make it at home and see if I could make it a bit healthier since we usually see a lot of oil in our take-out box.   The first step to making it lower in fat was using chicken breast instead of beef.  I don't cook beef so that was easy for me to swap out. : )  I also swapped out a lot of the oil for a nice spicy "Hunan sauce".  I think with this Hunan Chicken on my recipe list the take out menus are getting tossed away.

The Hunan Sauce:
4 Tbs Soy Sauce
1Tbs of Chili Sambal (or to taste)  You can substitute with some chili flakes to taste
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1/4 cup Shao Hsing Chinise cooking wine or sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs Hoisin Sauce
1 Tbs Oyster Sauce

Also have ready:  1 Tbs of grated garlic and 2 Tbs of grated ginger for the stir fry.  1Tbs of cornstarch with 4 Tbs of water to make a slurry to thicken the sauce at the end of the stir frying process. 
Marinate 2lbs of thinly sliced chicken breast for 30 minutes with:
1 Tbs of soy sauce
black pepper
1 Tbs cornstarch

You can add any veggies you want to your stir fry.  I recommend broccoli, carrots and water chestnuts.  This is what is used in my local Chinese take out.  I also added some sliced mushrooms.

In a wok or large pan, heat 2-3 Tbs of canola oil on high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the marinated chicken and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.

Then add the grated garlic and ginger and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.

Now add the prepared Hunan Sauce.  Stir fry for another 2-3 minutes (your chicken should be almost cooked by now).    After the sauce has had enough time to cook , add the cornstarch/water slurry and stir well.

Now add your veggies and saute.  If you want the veggies tender crisp just stir fry for another 2 minutes,  taste for seasoning and turn off the stove.  Then put a lid on the pan and allow the broccoli and carrots to "steam" in the pan for a few minutes before serving.  If you want your veggies more cooked through then cook on the stove longer until the veggies are to your desired texture.  

Serves with Rice and Enjoy.  Serves 6-8 people.

Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sour Cream Marbled Brownies

I baked these brownies out of necessity.  I had a large tub of sour cream that I needed to use so why not add it to some brownies and see what comes out.  Well, what came out was pretty darn tasty and my family and friends were very happy for my little experiment.  These brownies are not your "crumby-cakey" style brownie.  Instead these sour cream brownies are very fudgy and rich. 

1 box of Brownie Mix made per box instructions
1 cup of  sour cream

For the Swirl:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs of all purpose flour

Make the brownie mix with the 1 cup of sour cream and pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

Dollop the sour cream swirl over the brownie mixture.

Make swirls with a butter knife.

Bake according to brownie box instructions or until knife comes clean.  Allow to cool and then cut into squares.  Enjoy.

Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca is a very flavorful Italian dish that is full of bold flavors.

 For this dish you will need the following:
1lb of pasta of your choice ** (see pasta notes)
1 small tin of anchovies fillets (2oz)
1/3 cup olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic grated
1 tsp of red pepper flakes or to taste (I wanted it extra spicy so I added about a Tbs)
1 16oz can of black olives coarsely chopped
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes (or you can use two whole tomatoes chopped)
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
1 cup diced green bell peppers (optional)
Small handful of Italian flat leaf parsley and basil finely chopped to garnish
Parmesan Cheese to garnish

1.)The traditional sauce also calls for  some capers (about 2-3 Tbs).  I personally did not have capers on hand so I omitted it from my recipe.
2.) I have also seen this sauce as more of a tomato base.  You can do this by adding a can of crushed tomato to the dish. 
3.) If you want to make this a heartier dish, you can also add a can of good quality tuna to the sauce while cooking.

Pasta Notes: The style and make of the pasta is up to you.  You can use spaghetti, penne, linguine, whole grain, traditional semolina etc...
Method: Cook pasta in a big pot of salted water until al dente.  You don't want to over cook the pasta.

In a large pan on medium heat, get your olive oil heated well.  Then add the drained can of anchovy fillets.  Put a lid on the pan and allow the anchovies to melt into the oil (2-3 minutes).  You can help it along by crushing them with your spoon too. 

**Careful, the oil and anchovies will splutter.

Once the anchovies have melted into the oil add your grated garlic and red chili flakes.  Stir well and allow to cook for about a minute.

Then add your chopped black olives and diced tomatoes.  If you decide to use frozen peas and green bell peppers add them as well.   Stir well and allow to cook for a couple of minutes.

Add 1lb pound of your cooked pasta and toss with the sauce.

Garnish with parsley, basil and Parmesan cheese.  Serves 4-6 people.   Enjoy

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sri Lankan Fiery Pork Curry

My Mother makes the best Sri Lankan Spicy Pork Curry that I know.  So I had her by my side as I made this dish so I could make sure I got the best cook giving me the best advice on how to get it right.  Well, it worked because this curry turned out wonderful.   Now, it's my turn to share it with you. 

I used 2lbs of lean pork loin for this recipe that I cut into 1 inch cubes. The first step is to marinate the pork for 30 minutes or up to over-night.  I just marinated it for 30 minutes and the flavors were still really great.  You will marinate it with:
  • 2 Tbs of Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs of Red Chili Powder or to taste **(see note below)
  • 2 Tbs of Roasted Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp of Turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs of grated garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbs of grated ginger
**Note:  When I mention red chili powder it is powder from dried red chilies and available at your Indian Grocers if you are in the US.  Do not use chili con carne "chili powder" used in Texas style chili.

    Now gather other aromatics:
    • 2 stalks of lemongrass bruised
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 20-30 curry leaves
    • 1 large onion chopped
    • 2-3 green chilies (serrano) chopped
    • 1tsp of fenugreek seeds
    • 6-7 cardamom pods
    • 6-7 cloves

       Heat 3 Tbs of oil in a large pan or pot on medium-high heat.  Once oil is hot, fry your onions, lemongrass and other aromatics until onions soften a bit.

      Now add the marinated pork and fry with the aromatics for 3-5 minutes until the pork browns.Keep stirring so nothing burns.

      We decide (just by the color) that it did not look spicy enough for us so we added another 1Tbs of red chili powder.  This step is of course optional.  The red chili powder gives you the reddish color to the dish.  If you have a very strong brand of chili powder  and need to you less chili powder, you may have a more brown dish, but it all tastes good. : )

       Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and allow to simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes with a lid on.  Stir occasionally.  The pork should produce more liquid, if it does become too dry you can add a little more water.

      Once the pork is cooked through and a "reddish-brown" color, add 1 cup of coconut milk or regular cow's milk and stir well.  Taste for seasoning here.  You can adjust the salt if necessary.  You can also add more chili powder.   ** if the dish happens to be too spicy for you, you can add more milk to dilute some of the spiciness.

      Simmer for another 5 minutes and give your final taste for salt and seasoning.  If you adjust anything here, simmer for another few minutes.   If not, you can turn off the stove at this point.  Your pork curry is done.

      Serves 6-8 people.  Serve with white/brown rice and mild lentil curry or other vegetable curries.  You can also serve this with fried rice, roti, chapathi, naan etc... Enjoy.

      Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission

      Friday, April 22, 2011

      Easter Tag, "I'm it" Game Menu


      Hi Everyone!  A fellow Foodbuzz friend tagged me in a Easter Tag Menu game.  I have to come with a menu (Starter, Main Course and Dessert) using only my existing recipes from my blog.  Well, my recipes are so diverse from across the world (and my blog only 2 months old) so I don't know how "Easter Themed" they will be.  But here is my menu suggestions...


      Caramelized Onion & Bacon Pie

      Main Courses and Sides:

      Smithfield Ham -cooked per instructions

      Mushroom Biryani


      Zucchini Cornbread


      Easy No-Bake Coconut Cream Pie 


       Quick Boston Cream Pie

      Dreamy Pineapple-Orange Trifle

      Now I get to tag some of my foodbuzz friends.  I hope you enjoy playing the game and checking out my Easter recipes.  I also hope everyone has a safe and Happy Easter... Enjoy!!

      TAG!!  Your it!

      "Egg-cellent" Meatloaf

      It's Easter time and we have a lot of eggs for coloring them with the kids.  I also have a lot of items in the fridge I wanted to just use up like cornbread (from another recipe) and fresh zucchini that I bought way too much of at the store. So what recipe is more comforting and forgiving than meatloaf?  Yes, this Egg-cellent meatloaf not only "wowed" my kids by the cool "egg" surprise, but it used up my fridge items so I thought I had to share the method with you.

      The first step is to boil about 5-6 eggs until they are hard boiled.  Then after they have cooled down, peel them and set them aside until later.

      The next step is up to you when it comes to the "binding" ingredients.  You can use:  1 pkg of Stove-top
      stuffing that you have moistened with 1 cup of hot water or 2 cups of cornbread you have moistened with milk, a few slices of bread (moistened) or cereal such as cornflakes or rice crispies, etc...I also flavored it with:
      1 Tbs of paprika
      1 Tbs of Dijon mustard
      2 Tbs of grill seasoning (consists of salt, pepper, garlic and other spices)
      1 Tbs of onion powder
      1 Tbs of garlic powder
      1 tsp of Italian seasoning
      1 egg 
      1 cup of grated fresh zucchini

      Mix all ingredients well before adding the meat.

      Now add two pounds of your favorite ground meat. I used ground chicken.  You can use turkey, beef or a combination of meats.

      Mix all ingredients well.

      Now for the fun part, time to form the loaf.  If you free form the loaf like I did, I recommend that you cover your baking sheet with some foil and giving it a quick spray of cooking oil for easier clean-up.  Then use 2/3 of the meat loaf mixture and form the bottom of the loaf with a slight well in the middle. Then place your row of eggs along the meatloaf.

      Top it off with the remaining 1/3 of the meatloaf mixture and finish forming the loaf.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes initially.

      Note:  If you decide to use a loaf pan or cake pan to cook your meatloaf, spray with some cooking spray or oil  so for easier clean up.

       Take it out of the oven at the 40 minute mark and top with a glaze.  You can use straight ketchup, bbq sauce or sweet chili sauce like I did here.  You can also mixed the chili sauce and ketchup because it is tasty together.  Then put it back in the oven to bake for another 15 minutes to continue baking.

      Note:  Every oven varies a bit so the cooking time could vary too. If you have a meat thermometer have the internal temp of the middle of the loaf reach 155 degrees.

      Note:  The glaze is optional, but it does give an added flavor and beautiful finish to your meatloaf.

       Serves 6-8 people Slice and enjoy with mash potatoes, vegetables etc...  Enjoy.

      Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission