Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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Ratatouille and Garlic-Lemon Spaghetti

To kick-start the long weekend, I recreated one of my most favorite recipes from the blog, Ratatouille. This time, I served it with wonderful lemon-garlic spaghetti and French bread-sticks.  Dinner was done at 6pm. Do I need a bigger validation?!
ratatouille2
The spaghetti recipe has been adapted from Giada’s Lemon Spaghetti and edited some. Here is the recipe:

Lemon-Garlic Spaghetti

Ingredients:
Half lb spaghetti or any long pasta

One third cup olive oil

Quarter cup lemon juice

A hand-full Italian blend cheese

Two pods garlic, finely grated

A pinch chili flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Quarter cup basil, finely torn

Recipe:
Cook the spaghetti according to the package. Save half a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cheese, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Return the spaghetti to the pan, add the sauce. If the pasta is too thick, add the pasta water gradually until it reaches the desired consistency. Mix in the basil and serve warm with ratatouille and bread-sticks.
ratatouille
It probably took me longer to click pics than eat. I would call it a job pretty well done, won’t you? Happy Labor day, stay safe!


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A Picture Post for an Old Recipe

Today will not be about word counts or getting my recipe right. It will not be a story about family, memories or life as I know it. Instead, this post will be about a recipe I’ve already made but with a prettier picture that I snapped with with a better camera. If you like the update, drop me a line. You will make me happy!

cookie sandwich revampAnd so I log off before my computer’s battery runs out…


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Summer-y Lemon Curd

Oh yeah, I’ve been hearing about the end of summer since last month. I didn’t believe it then but I dropped into Kohl’s over the weekend and saw the end of season sale on all things summer and it struck me. There is no way of stopping it. August ends, September begins, Labor Day hits us and boom, the swimming pools shut down for the year (not here in the sunny south though. Hah!). Looking back at this summer, I am glad to admit that I made use of it as much as I could. We hit our local farmers market almost all weekends, I did a lot of canning with as much summer fruits as I could. I used all the fresh produce we bought, and then some. We had dinner parties at home, went on a wonderful beach holiday, soaked up all the sun (rather reluctantly, forgive the Indian in me) I made a whole bunch of hostess gifts for dinners away and have frozen preserves in the freezer for later this year. Phew! And there is more of this to come, at least for a month.

But my school doesn’t agree. Term begins again this Monday and I am trying my best to cook as much goodies and I can for the Mister so that he has the memories of all that during the next three very plain months to come. And after that, we turn to our stocked up seasonal food and later, we are off home for a visit. Man, in India, it is always balmy and very tropical. Cannot wait for that break, right in the middle of the cold season here at the other home. So summer always means lemon for me. In India, we would get fresh yellow lemons in huge bags. Apart from making pickles, as I mentioned in an earlier post, we also make other food like lemon rice, Nimbu Pani (Lemonade, à la Indian) with lots of sugar and a bit of salt. A wide range of food, put together with so may home-remedies, you understand why lemons are rockstars!

Though we cook food with lemons and lime back home, a few things we never put any part of lemon into are desserts. People have a feeling they would curdle with dairy products. That is not the case here and I love that! I love lemon cakes, I salivate over lemon meringue and making lemon curd for pies and tartlets takes me to my happy place. So today, with leftover lemon curd from my previous recipe (post), I decided to put my phyllo sheets to use and make lemon curd phyllo cups. The recipe for the lemon curd is from the joyofbaking website and figured out how to make phyllo cups all by myself.

Phyllo is the Greek alternative for puff pastry. Phyllo comes frozen in layers of thin sheets. The trick is to make sure you keep it frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge and make sure they stay between two damp kitchen towels when working with them. Working with phyllo is time-consuming since it is rather unforgiving. But with some TLC and enough butter/oil, they will transform into a wonderful base for tarts. You layer the phyllo sheets with butter and/or oil and place another layer of sheet. Cut the sheets into pieces that will fit into a muffin pan after you make five layers. Pleat the layers into cups and bake at 350° F (~18° C) for 10 minutes.. Let cool and then fill with the curd.

 


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Lemon-y Chocolate-y Yummy

 

After all that noise about refraining from baking on social media, I gave in to temptation. I tried my hardest but I failed… and I am happy!

I love using lemon in my cooking. In India, lemon and lime means the same to us. Though we did get them in green and yellow, they tasted the same and we used them the same way. And using lemon zest was unheard of! In summer, my grandmother would make pickles from the yellow variety and one of the things she was very particular about was the skin of the lemon/lime. The thinner it is, the less bitter the pickles would turn out. I will get the recipe from my mom and my aunts someday and try it out.

So when I got here and learned that there was a world of difference between lemons and limes, I was shocked and very curious. As I learned to experiment with fresh lemons in my cooking (the only decent thing I have made so far is the conventional lemonade), I fell more and more in love with the fresh, summer-y taste. The tang and the flavor will always be unparalleled and I always look for great recipes to use lemons in.

Today, I gave in to our sweet tooth and baked chocolate cookies with lemon filling and honestly, this ended up being one of my most favorite things I’ve ever made!

This is how I made it:

Ingredients:

One cup All-purpose flour

One tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

Half cup butter

Half cup white sugar

Quarter cup brown sugar

Ten oz chocolate chips

Two large eggs

For the filling:

Four oz cream cheese

One cup confectioners sugar

Juice from one full lemon

Two Tbsp butter completely softened

Method:

Sift all the dried ingredients for the cookie together. Melt the butter and chocolate together over a double broiler or in the microwave. If you don’t know how, here is a video from the ever-helpful Food Network website. Mix it together with the dry ingredients. Now cover and refrigerate for half hour. Pre-heat the oven at 350 F (176 degree C). Line a baking pan with parchment or aluminum foil. Drop dollops (I used the ice cream scoop) of the dough on the pan. Bake for 13 minutes.

For the filling, thaw the cream cheese completely. Add the softened butter, confectioners sugar and the juice from the lemon. I added a few drops of a gel-based yellow color but you can leave that out if you have issues with using artificial coloring agents. Whisk the icing until blended. Fill a Ziplock with the icing and refrigerate until you need it.

When the cookies are done, let them cool down. Now, bring the icing out, snap the end of the Ziplock and fill one cookie. Close it up with another cookie. You can also zest the lemon before you juice it and and the zest on to the icing for an extra lemon-y kick.

I can now safely say that I have fallen deeper in love with lemons!