Sunday, July 31, 2005

Flan fares well!

So this weekend was the blessing of the house! In case you are wondering what the heck is this, in our Syrian Orthodox tradition, when you move into a new house, there is a prayer held and the priest blesses the house. The priest marks all the doors of the house with the sign of the cross. I am a fan of ceremonies and I immensely enjoyed it,although it was more of an emotional factor than fun factor.
We had invited some of our friends from our church and since we have no family in the neighboring hoods we skipped them. Anyway since the purpose of this blog is to talk about food let me skip talking about the other fun stuff we had. It was a catered event but I did want to add something homemade to it. And I decided to do dessert as I am not a big fan of Indian desserts and I did not think that the caterers we had did desserts.
And therefore we decided to make flan. Flan is just Mexican for simple milk and egg pudding. It is painlessly simple and can be made ahead and therefore was perfect for us.

This is the recipe

6 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
2 cans evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Beat the eggs and sugar, add the evaporated milk and the vanilla extract.
Pour into a caramelised mold.
Place the mold into a larger pan with half inch water and place in the bottom rack of the preheated oven.
Bake in oven for 65min and to check if done, insert a sharp knife into the centre of the flan. If just a film of custard clings to the knife, the flan is done. When you jiggle the mold, the custard should shimmer in the middle but look cooked around the edge.
Remove from oven and cool mold on a rack. The flan will continue to cook for about an hour after being removed from the oven. During this time it will set up. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before unmolding, and this is real FUN
Just run the knife around the edges. Place a plate on top of the mold and hold them together and flip over in a quick motion.

Serve with the caramel sauce that is left in the mold.
This is one recipe that has never failed but once, when I used condensed milk instead of the evaporated milk and it just did not hold well.

Other possible and healthier substitutions are:
Use 1 can evaporated milk and 12 oz. regular or low fat milk instead of 2 cans of evaporated milk.
You can also use 4 egg yolks instead of six.

Recipe courtesy Gourmet Sleuth
Click here for more info and recipes on flan.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Confessions of a conservative cook

When it comes to cooking, it seems like I am a hard core conservative. I hardly venture out from the original recipe and make all efforts to follow the recipe as it is. Although I want to try out risky recipes,atleast that look risky, I almost always chicken out from trying them. Satish is very different from me in the fact that he always try to innovate something in the dishes we make, although I try my best to deter him from those efforts. And also, I cannot say that all innovations has been entirely successful.

It is raining heavily and the first thing I did this morning was to go and get my beach permits. "Not much of a day to be at the beach",said the old lady at the counter. I got back home and was reading some of the blogs when I read this post by Heidi. Raw food? Ok...I have heard of salads, but this pie or tart as she likes to call it was totally mind boggling for me. That is when the realization that my cooking life is awfully boring and conventional hit me. Suddenly I want to break loose and make something truly innovative and artistic but alas it is raining outside and I don't feel like going out right now.

So thank you Heidi for motivating me and I have promised myself to go out and buy the stuff for this awesome looking tart.

Picture courtesy of

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Killer crab cakes

This was going to be our first entertaining session at our new home. And therefore it had to be something special. I used the new cookbook which I had recently bought from Costco, Soups, Salads and Starters from William Sonoma. It had gorgeous pictures and was well organised. So, I was browsing for some recipes in the book when I found a recipe for crab cakes. I also decided to do a potato leek soup from For the main dish we decided on shrimp biryani. We had first seen the recipe for shrimp biryani on malayalamanoroma but when I looked for it on that day it seemed like they had removed it from their website. Luckily I had
a printed out copy of the same recipe. I will post that recipe later.

For now, here is the recipe for crab cakes
Unsalted butter 2tablespoon
Green onions 6 (thinly sliced including tender green tops)
Celery stalks 2small (chopped)

In a frying pan over low heat,melt the butter. Add the green onions and celery. Cover and cook ,stirring occasionally for about 10min till soft. Remove and allow to cool.

Saltine crackers 6 (crushed)
Dry musttard 1 tablespoon ( I used hot mustard as that is what I had on hand)
Hot pepper sauce 1 teaspoon
Worcestershire sauce 2 teaspoons
Eggs 2 well beaten
Mayonnaise 1/4 cup
Fresh parsley 3 tablespoon finely chopped
Crabmeat 1 lb cooked ( I used canned frozen crab meat bought from
Costco, save some time and energy)
Salt and pepper To taste

To the cooled onion-celery mixture, add the above ingredients.

Toasted bread crumbs About 2 cups

If the mixture is too wet to hold its shape, add enough bread crumbs,about 1/2 cup pr as needed to absorb the moisture. Shape the mixture into 6 cakes. Place the remaining bread crumbs in a shallow dish . Dredge the cakes lightly in the crumbs.

Vegetable oil To fry About 4 tablespoon

In a frying pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Add half of the crab cakes and saute, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Serve with remoulade sauce.

The crab cakes turned out perfect and was delicious. I had used frozen crab meat from Costco instead of making fresh crab meat at home. Otherwise I followed the recipe as it is. This was by far the best crab cakes ever. Overall the dinner was a success.

The following picture is an omelette I made the next day with a filling of the above crab cake mixture.