The Offset Spatula

My baking adventures

The Very Berry Healthy Verrine

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I recently ‘liked’ NPR on Facebook and the first post of NPR that came up in my feed made me❤ them even more. It was titled ‘Verrines: A Glass Act‘ and talked about what verrines are, the difference between a verrine and a parfait and a few recipes. The dessert verrine caught my eye of course!

Completely enlightened and inspired, I decided to try out my version of the Berry Verrine, but with a healthy twist.
Heatlthy twist = sugar-free + gluten-free (+ enriched with protein?)
That basically meant the 2 most awesome ingredients from the main recipe- sugar and the oh-so-yum Milano cookies were out. *sadface*

Ah well.

So here’s the how-to for my version:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Coconut milk
1/4 cup Unsalted Cottage Cheese
2 tbls Heavy Whipping Cream
1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
1 tsp Orange Extract
1/2 cup Blueberries
3/4 cup Strawberries
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Puree 1/4 cup of strawberries with the coconut milk, cottage cheese, whipping cream, protein powder and vanilla and orange extract.
  2. Pour in a wine glass (preferably not as big as the one I have) and put the glasses in the freezer for around 30mins.
  3. When you take the glasses out, make a layer with the blueberries and then add the strawberry layer (it just looks better in that order thanks to contrast).
  4. Optional: Top with some light whipped cream if you have some laying around- you wont regret it🙂
The final result was pretty darn close to the original and probably no less tastier!
berryverrine

(L-R) NPR's Version, My Version

It was so refreshing and super-delicious! Each layer had its own personality, color, texture and taste…but they all came together so harmoniously in your mouth.
Raj made his own version as part of the ‘Flippin Delicious 4-course Meal‘  he cooked for a friend and I this weekend. He did not disappoint to say the least🙂

All I can say is, I’m already looking forward to making the next one and what to put in it. A savory one maybe?

Make your own and link me!

Written by mssriram

August 15, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Breakfast for Dinner

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Who said pancakes were just breakfast food? And who said pancakes can’t be made without sugar, butter and flour? Well, here to bust those myths is my own version of a sugar-free, gluten-free, protein-licious recipe.

'Eat no evil' Pancakes

The ‘Eat No Evil’ Pancake

Time: 20min | Makes 6 regular pancakes

Ingredients:

1 whole egg
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted low-fat cottage cheese
1 scoop vanilla-flavored whey protein powder
Optional extras:
Any flavoring you want other than vanilla
E.g Cocoa, Orange extract, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Pumpkin Spice

Directions:

1. Spray some non-stick spray on a heated griddle or skillet.
2. While the heat turns up, blend/beat  all ingredients together to form a smooth  batter.
3. Using about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, cook until bubbly and a little dry around the edges.  (This is the perfect point at which to add some fresh fruit chocolate chips if you so desire)
4. Turn and brown the other side (this side browns quicker)

Being the sugar-fiend I am, I couldn’t not help but make a syrup to accompany my pancakes.

Blueberries in Syrup

Blueberries in Syrup

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tbsp Agave nectar

Directions:

1. In a heated skillet, throw in the blueberries and the agave nectar and swoosh them around a bit (around 2-3 mins till they berries become soft).
2. The water from the now-thawing blueberries will mix with the agave nectar to make a nice syrup that will coat the berries with enough to soak the pancakes.

And voila! My ‘Eat No Evil’ Pancakes topped with Blueberries in Syrup- sugar-free, gluten-free and deeeelish!

'Eat No Evil' Pancakes w/ blueberries in syrup

Written by mssriram

July 20, 2010 at 11:10 pm

And we’re back on!

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After a long hiatus, I’ve decided to come back with a super-healthy, super-duper-easy dessert that you can whip up in just about 5mins!

I saw this post from Oven Haven on my twitter feed a couple of days ago and I was determined to do something about it this weekend.

There were a few challenges to work through though: the recipe called for both flour and sugar. I am currently trying to cut out all sugar from my diet and Raj is in the process of leaning out: which basically means he’s banned sugar and grains from his diet.

As I wondered how to adapt the recipe to make it gluten-free and sugar-free, I clicked through to Almost Bourdain‘s post on the same cake. This was an improvement (as the recipe called for gluten free flour) but still not acceptable😦. And I REALLY wanted my dessert!

To make things more difficult, I promised that the dessert would also be rich in protein! What was I thinking!

So on a limb, I just decided to do throw the following ingredients together and see what it resulted in.

5min Chocolate (Tea)cupcake

Serves 1

Ingredients:

3 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk (I used whole milk)
1 whole egg
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 scoop chocolate-flavored whey protein

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in the microwave or double boiler
  2. When melted, add the milk, egg and vanilla extract to it.
  3. Beat the mixture till everything is blended uniformly.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat together till you get a lovely uniform batter.
  6. Pour the batter into a microwave-able teacup and microwave on high for about a minute.
  7. Keep an eye on the microwave as the batter will rise up pretty darn fast.
  8. Garnish as you like (or not)🙂

I dusted some Stevia extract on top but would have loved to whip up some cream to plop on top with a sprig of mint. Ah well.

Anyways, whipped cream or not, Raj and I got to finish a delicious, nutritious dinner on a super-healthy, sweet note. Win all the way.

5min Chocolate Teacup Cake

The final result

Written by mssriram

July 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

A chocolatey start to 2010

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The new year arrived, and so did Pongal (the Tamil harvest festival). I was given the task of making dessert for a family gathering which gave me the perfect opportunity to bring out the first bake of the new year. I had received Crazy about Cupcakes from a friend as a Christmas gift and decided to peruse it for inspiration.

I decided chocolate was probably the safest bet for this group of 20 or so. Not too many people I know turn the other way when they’re offered something chocolicious🙂

I baked straightforward chocolate chip cupcakes but decided to give people a few options in terms of what went on the cupcake. I went through a sort of “Additive Decorating Experience” and here are the 4 that I ended up with:

Chocochip cupcakes-4 types

Clock-wise from L-R: The
I don’t do frosting: Cupcake dusted with powdered sugar
Simplicity: Cupcake with Vanilla frosting
À la Sprinkles: The Simplicity version with a single chocolate chip resting atop the frosting
Caffeine Kick: How about multiple chocolate chips on top of the cupcake with some espresso powder dust?

Well, I was planning on making mini-cupcakes and I didn’t know that this recipe was for a normal number of muffin-sized ones. Can you believe it… I ended up with 80 mini cupcakes! Needless to say, I had plenty for both family and for my colleagues at work. And I’m happy to report that the first bake of the year was shared with and enjoyed by a LOT of people. Happy 2010!

PS My personal fave was the Caffeine Kick.

Written by mssriram

January 26, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Pumpkin Bread

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For the first weekend of December, I thought I’d bake something that conjures up images of the holidays, warmth and festivity. What spells all those things better than ‘Pumpkin Spice’? I decided to bake some Pumpkin bread. It’s light, delicious and can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack or dessert. Personally, I think just the aroma of pumpkin bread or pie is enough to lift one’s spirits.

I spent quite a bit of time looking for and comparing various recipes and zeroed in on this recipe. Instead of cinnamon and nutmeg, I used Pumpkin spice which contains both of those spices and ginger. YUM!

After taking the bread out of the oven I garnished it by dusting some cocoa and powdered sugar over it. Turned out great!

beautiful batter post-dusting with cocoa and powdered sugarscrumptious slice

Written by mssriram

December 21, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Posted in Dessert, Recipe

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Who doesn’t like Red Velvet anything? Nobody! Be it bundt, cup or layer…these ruby hued delicacies are always a hit!

The Red BatterIn the oven

For Thanksgiving weekend, I couldn’t think of anything more delicious to bake than red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. And there could be no recipe more indulgent and decadent than one from Paula Deen. You can find the recipe I used right here.

Freshly baked red delicious

I think the recipe is meant for big cucpakes because I ended up having enough batter for 50+ mini-cupcakes! In my opinion, muffin-sized cupcakes are just look too calorie-heavy to make people want to pop one into their mouth.I had some difficulty in judging when the cakes were done and ready to be taken out of the oven and cooled. One of the batches were left in a bit too long and darkened more than I wanted. That batch luckily tasted just fine but had a harder crust on top. Some people actually liked the bite that it gave, but I admitted that it was unintentional.

Coming to the frosting…OH BOY…1 whole friggin’ pound of cream cheese! Bring it on! I had quite a bit left even after piping each cupcake with a 60:40 ratio of frosting:cake. I topped most of them with a fresh raspberry. When I ran out of berries, I delicately dusted some cocoa on top. They were a perfect holiday-hangover-cure to take to work on Monday.🙂

Raspberry-topped Cocoa-dusted

Written by mssriram

December 9, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Posted in Recipe

#2: Pound Cake with Lemony Drippy Icing

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Mastering Cakes Fillings FrostingsI used the Pound Cake recipe from the Williams-Sonoma book “Mastering – Cakes, Fillings and Frostings”.I bought the book at a used book store at a really good price and I have to say that I am really glad I did. Great resource. But in searching for reviews/info out the book, I could not find it online at all. The closest I got was this book.

The Cake:
The cake is a classic and pretty straightforward but I made sure to be patient and incorporate each ingredient without haste. This definitely helped blend the ingredients evenly and also helped get the right texture.

The Icing:
The  book suggested just dusting the cake with some powdered sugar, but I really wanted to add a little something other than just vanilla-ish, sugary sweetness. I took a chance and made a simple ‘drippy’ lemon-flavored icing (the one used in this Martha Stewart recipe). And am I glad ! I poured it all over the cake, put it in the fridge overnight and in the morning I spooned the icing from the sides and re-poured it on the cake. It was DELICIOUS! I did feel like I could have used quite a bit more lemon though.

The Cake

I took the cake to work and it was gone in a flash. Empty tray=happy me!

Before:
Pound Cake: Before

After:
Pound Cake: After

Written by mssriram

December 1, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Posted in Recipe

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