Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert / Salad

Why they would name this as a Salad, i will never understand... because this actually fits very well in the dessert category. I was quite intrigued by this dish and the combination of ingredients that go into this recipe when my cousin P (akka) told me about it... I got a chance to make this for my son's birthday party (he just turned two) and since there was already cake on the menu, I thought that this would make for a nice dessert. It went over very well with the guests. Another good thing is that it can be made the previous day so one less thing to worry about on the day of the party! :)

The party's menu included chocolate cake, onion pakoras, vegetable vellai kurma, paneer jalfrezie, yummy chole that my neighbours helped make (will try and post that recipe soon), peas pulao, naan & curd rice besides this dessert.



Prezel Layer:
Powdered Pretzels - 2 cups ( I used this)
Sugar - 3 tbsp
Butter - 3/4 cups (melted)

Cream Layer: Whipped topping - one 8 oz. tub or freshly whipped cream
Cream cheese (low fat should work) - 8 oz pack
Sugar - 3/4 cup to 1 cup (to taste)

Strawberry Jello Layer: Strawberry Jello powder - Two 3 oz packs
Boiling Water - 2 cups
Fresh Srawberries - 1 lb, washed, dried, hulled and sliced

Method: 1) For the pretzel layer, combine the powdered pretzels, melted butter and sugar in a bowl. Press into a 9x13 inch pan evenly. Bake this in a preheated oven at 400F for 8 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely.

2) For the cream layer, beat cream cheese and sugar till blended then fold in the whipped cream carefully. Spread this layer on the pretzel layer uniformly making sure you go till the ends and covering the crust completely. Chill this for atleast 2 hours.

3) To the boiling water, add the 2 packs of strawberry jello and dissolve. Switch off the flame and allow to cook completely. Arrange the sliced strawberries on the cream layer. When jellow is completely cool and slightly thickened, pour over the sliced strawberries slowly.

4) Refrigerate this for atleast 6 to 8 hours or upto 2 days. When ready to serve, slice (a serrated knife works best) and dig in.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Potato & Caramelized Onion Pizza

When visiting friends in Boston, my friend S had only good things to say about this pizza joint (unfortunately I don't remember the name) so for dinner she and her husband had ordered a roasted veggie pizza and a potato pizza from there. Both pizzas were fabulous.. nice thin crust and yummy toppings. I was quite surprsed that the potato pizza tasted so good - not too starchy or filling but light and even crispy in some places.

So, I tried to duplicate that at home and it was just as tasty.. For the pizza base this time I used Raaga's recipe and it turned out perfect (recipe given below)


Potato - 1 medium , peeled and thinly sliced
Red Onion - 1, sliced thin & caramelized in 1 tbsp oil with salt, chilli powder
Pepper jack /mozzarella cheese - 1/4 cup
Parmesan cheese - 2 tbsp
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil to drizzle on potato slices
Garlic powder, Chilli flakes & Pizza seasoning mix on base
Srirarcha / Chilli sauce sauce to do the pizza.

1) Take the time to caramelize the onions on a medium flame till nice and brown. I used a non-stick pan and 1 tbsp of olive oil. I used red onions this time but shallots would be best and white onions will work too.

2) To assemble the pizza, sprinkle the garlic powder, chilli flakes and pizza seasoning (this is optional) spread the mozzarella cheese on the pizza. Then spread the caramelized onions uniformly.

3) Top with the thin potato slices (make sure they are thin or they won't cook well) and sprinkle some salt and pepper on the potato.

4) Dot the entire pizza with sriracha sauce to add a spicy kick and finally lightly drizzle some olive oil on the potato slices and sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese all over the pizza.

5) Bake in a preheated oven at 400F for 15 to 16 mins. Slice and enjoy.

PIZZA DOUGH / BASE (makes 2 pizzas)

It may seem daunting initially but once you give it a shot you realize how easy making this is... All it needs once mixed is an hour of resting time and then you are ready to make delicious pizzas at home. The proportions below make enough dough to make 2 (slightly bigger than medium) pizzas.

All purpose Flour / Maida - 3 cups
Active Dry Yeast - 2 packs
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Milk - half cup
Water - half cup
Salt - 1.5 tsp
Sugar - 3 tbsp
Garlic powder & Pizza seasoning to taste (optional)

1) I usually proof the yeast - to do that, heat water so it's a bit more than warm about 20 to 30 seconds in the MW usually works for me (ensure it's not too hot). Dissolve sugar in this water and add the yeast packets. After about 5 minutes or so it will be foamy.

2) In a big bowl, combine the flour, salt, garlic powder, pizza seasoning and combine. Next add the milk, olive oil and the entire bowl of proofed yeast and combine to form a dough. Minimal kneading is required.

3) Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise for an hour or until it doubles in a warm place. If it's winter, I usually place it in the oven with the ligh on (without switching on the oven however)...

4) When ready, roll out the dough and then spread it out with your hands to a base of desired thickness. Add sauce, cheese and toppings and bake in a preheated oven for 400F for about 15-20 minutes or till bottom is golden & pizza is cooked through.