Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Peanut chikki/brittle


[Sorry, these are the last three pieces that were left.]

My DH and I, both are very fond of peanut chikki. So it made perfect sense to try making it at home. Not that this was the first time; we'd made it once before but that was so long ago that I'd forgotten how I made it. So I used the recipe from Chachi's kitchen.

I used 250 gms of jaggery and around 400 gms of peanuts. We had a packet of Trader Joe's Old fashioned blister peanuts (unsalted) which we used for making this chikki. If you haven't had these peanuts and are a peanut aficionado then let me tell you these are extra long and extra crisp virginia peanuts! One of the best I've tasted! So I put the jaggery into a pan and heated it on medium heat. Added 2-3 tsp oil. Kept stirring it till it changed color. We crushed the peanuts in the food processor. Mixed it into the melted jaggery and immediately spread the mixture on a greased plate (greased with oil). Flattened it with the help of a flat bottomed bowl (katori). Grease the bottom of the bowl so that the mixture doesn't stick to it. Let it cool. For us, it took a long time. Then cut it into pieces. It makes a boxful of chikki!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Homemade pizza!


I came across this wonderful recipe once again through King Arthur's blog! You can find the link to the original recipe here. The dough makes two 12 inch absolutely delicious pizzas! Of course, we can't compare them to Sammy's pizzas but for home-made ones they're the best!

We made one pizza the same day while we refrigerated the rest of the dough for later. So that proved that we could make the dough and refrigerate it for future use. I didn't have the Italian style flour so I simply used all-purpose flour but even then we found it pretty good!

Here's the recipe:

2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor (optional, but tasty)
1 tablespoon King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver OR Baker's Special Dry Milk OR nonfat dry milk
3 cups (11 ounces) King Arthur Italian-Style Flour* all purpose flour
3/4 cup (6 ounces) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) olive oil

*Substitute King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat flour for half of the Italian flour, if desired.

  1. Mix all of the ingredients to make a soft, supple dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Add more water than specified if your dough is not soft.
  2. Divide the dough in half, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap.
  3. Let rest and relax for 15 minutes (or for up to an hour or so; work it into your schedule as you see fit). I kept one for only 30 mins or an hour but the other one was out longer. It fermented much more so I think you should give it as much time as it needs to ferment well.
  4. Grease two 12" squares of parchment paper.
  5. Use your greased fingers to press each piece of dough on the parchment into an 11" to 12" circle about 1/8" thick. I used a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle.
  6. Brush or spray the crusts with olive oil, and let them rest for about 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 450°F (with a pizza stone inside, if you have one).
  7. Place the crusts with their parchment directly on the stone, or onto a baking sheet. I directly placed the parchment paper in the oven.
  8. Bake till they're just starting to brown around the edges, about 4 minutes. It's for a really short time; you just want to cook the top a little bit so that after you add the toppings the top of the crust doesn't get soggy.
  9. Remove from the oven, top with whatever you like. We used readymade pizza sauce, grated mozarella, chopped tomatoes, green pepper and onion!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A shop and a cause

The shop: The Paper Shop.
The cause: an orphanage/old-age home in India.
How are they connected:
Sometime back I'd setup a shop at Etsy (a place to sell handmade stuff), The Paper Shop. Recently I visited an orphanage/old-age home in India, Nethaji Mercy Home, and since then I wanted to do something for them. So I decided that I would use my etsy shop for raising funds for this home. Below is a picture (borrowed from their website) of the children from the home:
On the extreme left and right is the couple behind this home. It was so amazing to meet these beautiful people; they treat all the children as their very own and have devoted their life to the care of these children and the old-age people. On seeing such selfless service, I felt there could be something that I could do and came up with this idea: a dollar ($1) for each item sold at my Etsy shop, The Paper Shop, will be donated to this home.

How you can help?
  1. Of course by shopping at The Paper Shop.
  2. Spread the word: Word of mouth publicity - tell your friends about it, it would be great if you could publish a post on your blog (if you have one) linking to my shop or this post.
There's a link to my Etsy shop on the right of my blog.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sins and Virtues

I read this verse in Naradapurana (this link just indicates what Narada Purana is, my source is a book by the Gita Press) and found it not only very profound but also beautiful; I've translated it in english too for the benefit of all.

अकीर्ति के समान कोई मृत्यु नहीं
क्रोध के समान कोई शत्रु नहीं
निंदा के समान कोई पाप नहीं
असूया के समान कोई अपकीर्ति नहीं
काम के समान कोई आग नहीं
राग के समान कोई बंधन नहीं
संग अथवा आसक्ति के समान कोई विष नहीं

English translation:
There is no death like ill-fame
There is no enemy like anger
There is no sin like libel
There is no stigmata like jealousy
There is no fire like desire
There is no binding like affection
There is no poison like attachment