Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ahh....Creme Brulee'

Creme Brulee'! I really believe that this delicious creamy dessert has the power to break many diets. I call it the "calorie bomb". However, if I see this on the menu, then yes, creme brulee is what I order for dessert. I love it so much that if I were eating this in a closed room with nobody around, I would lick the ramekin clean! (Shh.....don't spread this around now )

Until a few months back, it was a restaurant-only dessert for us. But I recently conquered the wide spread fear of making creme brulee at home and was ready to serve it to our friends for a farewell dinner. Creamy, smooth and delicious, this classic French dessert left a lasting impression on their minds!

Try out this in your own kitchen and experience the "wow" effect for yourself....


1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
1 tbs vanilla extract
Brown sugar


1. Combine the heavy cream, milk and vanilla extract and bring it to a boil. Cool for about 10 minutes while you prepare the egg mixture.
2. Mix the egg yolks, egg and sugar in a bowl. Beat the mixture with an electric beater just until well incorporated. Do not over beat.
3. Now comes the slightly difficult part. You have to add the hot milk mixture to the eggs without curdling it. Add the milk in a slow and steady stream into the eggs while continuously whisking the egg mixture. Remember that you should not over whisk the eggs as you do not want to add air into the mixture. By slowly adding the milk to the eggs, you will ensure that at any time the temperature of the eggs is almost the same as that of the milk.
4. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer to remove the foam.
5. Divide the mixture into four small ramekins (about 4 ozs each). Pour hot water in a baking dish and set the ramekins such that the water comes half way up the sides. This is a water bath which will ensure even baking.
6. Place in a 325 deg oven for about 25 minutes or until the centers are just wobbly.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the counter.
8. Cover the ramekins and keep them in the refrigerator overnight.


Before serving , sprinkle brown sugar on top and caramamelize the tops with a torch or under the broiler. You have to be very careful if you are caramelizing the tops under the broiler. Set the broiler to 300 deg F. Place the ramekins in a baking dish under the broiler. The caramelization will take only about 10-15 seconds.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Summer Beetroot Soup

I remember liking this vibrant root vegetable, beetroot from the day my mom introduced it to me. This luscious red bulb looks very unattractive on the outside. However, once cut open the lively red color will never go unnoticed.

I always ate beetroot in some salad form when I was young. My mom either served it as a raw shredded salad on the side with crushed peanuts and lemon juice or partially cooked and mixed with yogurt, salt and pepper. Either way, it was fantastic!

With an intention to give a tweak to these two favorite recipes, I recently bought these lovely red beetroots from the farmers market. The inspiration for this recipe came from the “Summer Borscht” televised on Ina Garten’s show on Food Network. Whether you like beetroots or not, try this recipe and you will find yourself appreciating the inner beauty of this delicious and nutritive root vegetable.


2 cups low fat buttermilk
½ cup vegetable broth
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 cup cooked beets, cubed
½ cup cucumbers, cubed
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt & Pepper


1. Mix the buttermilk, vegetable broth and yogurt with a whisk.
2. Add the beets, cucumber, salt and pepper and mix well with a spoon.
3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.


Just before serving, add the lemon juice in the soup and mix well. Serve in individual soup bowls or cups and garnish with chopped chives.