Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cilantro-Rosemary Naan

I have said before that parathas are my absolute favorite type of Indian bread. Nevertheless, I do harbor a soft spot for naan, probably the most well-known Indian bread. Naan is traditionally made with plain white flour without any added flavoring, except possibly kalonji(onion seeds). However, these days, naan comes in a myriad of varieties and flavors, including whole wheat, garlic, kashmiri (a sweeter version flavored with dry fruits and nuts), and many more. When my mom moved A. into her college dorm, she had the opportunity to dine at a very unique Indian restaurant with innovative twists on classic dishes. In particular, she raved about a certain type of naan flavored with rosemary and jalapeno peppers. Now, doesn't that sound like an enticing spin? I absolutely love rosemary, and I was very intrigued by the idea of using it in naan. So, when I came across this recipe at Chef in You for Butter Naan, I slightly modified it to prepare Cilantro-Rosemary naans. I used 2 parts white whole wheat flour to 1 part white flour to make it more nutritious. Moreover, I prepared them on the stovetop, as I much prefer the soft, fluffy naans fresh off the stovetop to the crispy ones that emerge from the oven. Everyone loved them! The rosemary added a whole new dimension to the otherwise rather plain naan, and I loved the slight nutty flavor from the whole wheat flour, which was not at all overbearing. Together, the two lent a very earthy flavor to the naan, and I must say, I definitely favor this earthy, flavorful, not to mention healthier version of naan to the traditional one made with just plain white flour. Enjoy this divine treat with any rich curry, such as my Egg Kheema, Palak Paneer or Creamed Eggplant!
Cilantro-Rosemary Naan(Makes about 10 naans):
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. instant yeast
2/3 cup warm water(check yeast package for appropriate temperature)
salt to taste, or about 1 tsp.
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1.5 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
melted butter or ghee for brushing on top
Mix yeast, water and sugar together in a bowl, and mix until the yeast dissolves. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl, and mix in the rosemary and cilantro. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Mix them together well, and gradually add water(I added about 3/4 cup) to make a soft, slightly pliable dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. and leave it in a warm place to double in volume(about 3 hours). Then, knead the dough for 5 minutes, and divide it into about 10 balls of equal size. Heat a large griddle pan. Roll out one naan into an oblong shape, and brush water onto one side. Place the watered side face down on the griddle, and cook over medium heat. Cook one side until brown spots just begin to appear. Then, flip it and cook until the other side is completely done and covered with brown spots. Spread butter on the top side, flip, and cook until completely done. Repeat for the other naans, and serve them hot. Wrap them in foil and reheat on the stove if not eating right away.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Palak Paneer: The Emblem of Indian Cuisine

A. trotted off to college last week, and she had requested that we prepare many of her favorite dishes before she left. One of those dishes was the infamous palak paneer. I was more than happy to oblige, given that palak paneer has been my all-time favorite Indian dish since I was a toddler. Every year, my mother prepares palak paneer for my birthday, and I never, ever tire of it. How could I, given the creamy, spiced spinach flavored with cumin and garam masala, and of course, the soft, creamy cubes of paneer. I think of palak paneer as the emblem of Indian cuisine. After all, you find it in practically every Indian restaurant, and even those with just a basic knowledge of Indian cusine will more than likely be familiar with palak paneer. We prepare this dish at home each time we want to introduce someone to Indian cuisine. There exist, of course, numerous methods of perparing this delicacy. Some people fry the paneer, while some use it uncooked. There is often some variation in the spices and their proportions. I have never tasted any palak paneer quite like my mother's. Hers always turns out mouthwatering and just the way I like it, with the perfect balance of spices to please all palates; it is neither too spicy nor too mild, but just right. I have been less than thrilled by many versions prepared by restaurants, so I always prefer my mother's own recipe. I promise, after just one bite of this creamy spinach delight, you will never revert to restaurant palak paneer, or (God forbid!) the frozen versions again. Enjoy!

Palak Paneer:
About 1.5 cups of paneer
1 16 oz. bag of frozen spinach, thawed and partially squeezed
2 tbsp. oil
1 onion, peeled and cut into fourths
1 heaping tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
1 tsp. garam masala
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
salt to taste, or about 1 tsp.
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 cup cream

Put the onion pieces into a food processor, and process until finely chopped, but not ground. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion, and cook on medium heat until tansluscent and cooked. Add the corainder, cumin and cayenne powders. Then, add the tomato sauce, and cook for 1-2 minutes. In the meantime, process the spinach in the food processor until fine, but not a paste. Add in the spinach, cover, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until it achieves a creamy consistency. Add the salt, garam masala, and cream, and let it simmer for 2 more minutes. Finally, add the paneer cubes, cover and cook on low for about 5 minutes. Serve hot. Note: This picture was taken with candlelight on a night we had lost our electricity.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Egg Kheema: An Entry to Cooking with Seeds-Fennel Seeds

My university started back up last week; however, I am leaving in a few days to spend the year abroad in Paris. So, I wanted to prepare a nice dinner for some of my friends before I left. Previously, for my dinner parties, I had prepared mostly Italian/Mediterranean style food, but this time I wanted to come up with something different. So, I thought, what better alternative than a warm, comforting Indian meal? Of course, I just had to concoct something other than the ordinary restaurant fare that most people conceive of when they think of Indian cuisine. Thus arose this aromatic, scrumptious egg kheema. Kheema is traditionally made with minced meat(generally chicken or lamb) in a thick, spicy gravy. I prepared this version with boiled, grated eggs in place of the meat, also flavoring the gravy with fennel and saffon for a unique twist. The tiny amount of saffron adds a touch of sweetness that perfectly rounds out the overall spicy flavor of the dish, but only use a tiny amount as a little goes a very long way. I also used coconut milk to lend some richness to the dish. This gravy can be used as a base for any other type of kheema; I plan to try this with both tofu and paneer. Egg kheema lends itself to being served with paratha, roti, or in my case, Cilantro-Rosemary Naan(mmm...need I say more?), coming in my next post. This dish goes to the event Cooking with Seeds: Fennel Seeds hosted by Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes.
Egg Kheema:
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. oil
4 cloves garlic
1.5" piece ginger
2 green chilli peppers
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 heaping tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1.5 tsp. garam masala
1 cup chopped carrots, partially steamed
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
2 tbsp. lemon juice
a pinch of saffron powder
salt to taste, or about 1.5 tsp
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
10 hard boiled eggs, peeled and grated

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the bay leaf and cumin seeds, and let the cumin seeds begin to brown. After, add the fennel seeds, and let them just begin to brown until they give off a strong aroma. Add the chopped onion, and cook it over medium heat until transluscent and tender. Make a paste with the garlic, ginger and green chillis, and add the paste to the onion. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is no longer raw, but not brown. Add the tomato sauce, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the coriander, cayenne and turmeric powders. Add the carrots and peas, cover and cook until the carrots are well-cooked, but still have a slight crunch to them. Then, mash the potatoes and add them to the mixture along with about 3/4 cup water. The potatoes act as a thickener for the gravy. Cook covered until the potatoes absorb the water. Add the coconut milk, garam masala, lemon juice, saffron and salt to taste. Let simmer for about 2 minutes, and then taste and adjust spices/seasonings as needed, especially the lemon juice depending on how sour as opposed to sweet you like it. Add the grated eggs, cover, and let the mixture simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Serve hot with rotis, parathas or naan.
Serves 8

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homemade Paneer

I have received numerous requests to post the recipe for homemade paneer, so lo and behold! Actually, even though many people find it a daunting task, it is actually a breeze to prepare. And of course, homemade paneer just cannot compare to anything you buy in a store; it is so much creamier and tastes(and is) so much more natural, as opposed to that rubbery taste you find in the store-bought paneer. It is a small effort that is well-worth the time it takes to really elevate the quality of any dish you prepare.



Homemade Paneer (enough for 8 people if making a thick-gravied dish, like paneer makhani):
1/2 gallon whole milk(do not use low-fat or skim)
3-4 tablespoons lemon/lime juice or distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt


Bring the milk to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn off the heat, and add the lemon juice or vinegar. Stir until the curds completely separate from the whey. Strain the curds, and run them under cold water to keep them soft. Let them drain for about half and hour to get rid of the excess water. Transfer the drained curds to a food processor, and add the flour and salt. Process until the flour is thouroughly incorporated and the mixture is very creamy. Transfer to a lightly oiled work surface, and knead it lightly for a minute or so. Place the paneer on a cheesecloth, and press it into a square about 3/4" thick. Wrap it in the cheesecloth, place a plate on top of it, and place one or two large, heavy cans on top of the plate. Leave it for at least 2-3 hours to firm up. When ready to use, remove the cans, unwrap carefully, and cut the paneer into about 3/4" cubes. The paneer is ready to use in any gravy-based dish.

If you want to make paneer bhurji or anything else that does not require the paneer to be cubed or hold its shape, then you can skip the steps of adding flour and kneading. Just run it under cold water, and let it drain.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paneer Makhani

What Indian doesn't love paneer? For that matter, what non-Indian who has tasted paneer has not fallen in love with it? Since my early childhood, paneer has held a very special place in my heart. If you present me with any dish made with paneer, you can surely bank on love at first bite! Every year for my birthday, I ask my mom to prepare her amazing palak paneer, my most favorite paneer dish made with creamed, spiced spinach and paneer cubes. I can eat paneer anytime of day, morning, noon and night, and I never tire of it because of its extreme versatility. Like tofu, paneer is quite bland on its own but takes on the flavor of whatever you combine it with. Anytime I visit a North Indian restaurant, I almost always order a paneer-based dish. Paneer makhani(paneer butter masala) ranks as an all-time favorite paneer dish found in practically all Indian restaurants. However, I had never tasted this dish in spite of my fondness for paneer. I had wanted to prepare this dish for the longest time, but, as with many others, I just never got around to it. So the other day when I decided to make paneer to use up leftover whole milk, I decided that instead of the palak paneer or paneer parathas we usually make, that I would finally try my hand at the infamous paneer makhani! Boy, oh boy, what a delight! Soft, creamy paneer smothered in a warm, spicy tomato-based gravy coupled with the richness of butter and cream! What's not to like about it? Make sure to serve it warm. I served it with onion kulchas*, but you can also serve it with naan, roti or pulao. Next time you're craving paneer and feeling in a particularly indulgent mood, treat yourself to this rich, spicy delight! But be warned, paneer makhani is an indulgence, not an everyday dish by any means!

Paneer Butter Masala (adapted vastly from Wake Up and Smell the Masala):

Paneer made from 1/2 gallon whole milk, cubed(about 2 cups)
1.5 tbsp. oil
1/2 of a large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic
1" piece ginger
2 green chilli peppers
1/4 cup roasted cashew nuts, ground
5 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
puree of 5 tomatoes
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. coriander powder
1.5 tsp. garam masala
1 tbsp. crushed kasturi methi leaves
salt to taste, or about 1 tsp.

Heat oil in a large pan, and saute the onion over medium heat until tender and transluscent. Make a paste with the garlic, ginger and green chillis in the meantime, and add it to the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is no longer raw. Add the tomato puree, powdered cashew nuts, coriander powder, salt and 1/2 cup of water, and let it cook for 8 minutes. Then, add the paneer and kasturi methi, and let the mixture cook for another 5 minutes. If the mixture appears too thick, add extra water as needed (I added about 1/2 cup extra). Gently stir in the heavy cream, and let it simmer for 2 minutes (Be careful not to break the paneer cubes). Remove from heat and serve hot.

*For the onion kulcha recipe, check out my post on Paneer Kulchas. The method is exactly the same, except I used no paneer and extra onion in the stuffing. Also, I used 2 cups of white whole wheat flour and one cup of all-purpose flour for the dough.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Sudden Craving: Nachos with Homemade Queso!

Mexican food(or rather, Tex-Mex in most cases) always turns out either hit or miss with me. When prepared well and with good quality ingredients, I fall heels over head for it! But oftentimes, unfortunately, I walk away from Mexican restaurants with my plate half-empty because of exceptionally poor quality. Thus, I often like to prepare Mexican/Tex-Mex food myself at home, and I am always more than happy with the end result as I can control the quality of the ingredients and customize the taste to my liking, mostly with tons of flavorful spices such as roasted cumin and smoked paprika, which both lend that extra dimension that I find essential in Mexican cuisine.

It had been forever since I had tasted good nachos, or nachos at all for that matter, when I suddenly began to crave them. Quite random, actually, but I just had to have my fill of nachos, nonetheless. In the past, Ive just spread crushed tortilla chips with salsa, canned refried beans and shredded cheese, which I then microwaved, but I definitely wanted to elevate them up a notch this time around. So, I prepared my own refried black beans, which makes such a huge difference from using canned beans. I especially wanted to come up with a delicious homemade queso sauce.The first time, I made the queso sauce by first preparing a bechamel sauce with a flour-butter roux, and then whisking in pepperjack cheese to make it a mornay sauce. However, I was not entirely satisfied. So I tried it again, this time by mixing the pepper jack into a mixture of softened cream cheese and sour cream and baking the entire mixture in the oven until bubbling. It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for! Nice and thick, creamy, with the heat from the pepperjack and jalapenos, with the cheese flavor as the shining star. Serve the nachos as an appetizer or as a meal all-together, like I did! I will make only this recipe every time I feel like nachos from now on!
For the refried beans:
3 cans unsalted cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 of a large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt to taste, about 1.5 tsp.
2 tbsp. oil
For the queso:
8 ounces neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces pepperjack cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup hot jalapeno peppers

For the guacamole:
3 ripe avocados, cut into chunks
1.5 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste

Salsa of your choice(I used Whole Foods brand Roasted Chipotle Salsa)
Jalapeno peppers to top
Corn tortilla chips for serving

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine all the ingredients for the queso in the food processor, and blend them until smooth. Transfer to a small baking dish, and bake in the heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown on top.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion, and cook on medium heat until the onions are transluscent and tender. Add the garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the garlic just begins to brown. Add the roasted cumin powder, the paprika, and the cayenne pepper. Then, add in the black beans with enough water to cover them. Add the salt and pepper, and let the water come to a boil on high heat. Lower the heat once the water starts boiling, and let the mixture simmer until the water is nearly evaporated. At this point, begin to mash the beans until they reach the desired consistency. Taste for salt, and adjust as needed.

Place all the ingredients for the guacamole in a large bowl, and mix them together with a fork until combined. Mash if you prefer a creamy consistency.

To serve the nachos, divide tortilla chips among 5 individual plates. Cover the chips generously with salsa. Then, divide the refried beans among each plate of chips. Then, top with queso as desired(it is rich, so a little goes a long way). Finally, top each plate with a generous dollop of guacamole.

Yields 5 meal-sized servings



I unfortunately did not get to take a picture of the nachos on my second attempt because everyone was starving by the time I took the queso out of the oven, so Ive included a picture of the first attempt, with the bechamel-based queso sauce(which is why it looks runny).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aloo Parathas

When it comes to Indian breads, most people spontaneously think of naan. And for good reason. Soft, fluffy, buttery goodness-what's not to like about naan after all? However, as much as I love naan, parathas win hands down when it comes to my personal favorite Indian bread. I love parathas in any form, plain or stuffed, and would choose paratha over naan any day! Plain parathas typically entail layered, crisp and flaky flatbread brushed generously with ghee or butter, while stuffed parathas can contain a variety of fillings, including just about any vegetable and paneer. The most widespread type of paratha is the aloo paratha, a stuffed paratha containing a spiced potato filling. In addition to being one of our family favorites, I harbor many fond memories of eating aloo parathas with my family back in India. A dhaba in Pune, Vadeshwar, prepares some pretty scrumptious aloo parathas in the evenings, so whenever we visit my aunt in Pune, we always have to order aloo parathas from Vadeshwar for at least one dinner. Moreover, each aloo paratha dinner has to be followed by mastani from Hotel Sujata for dessert. Mastani, ever-popular in Maharashtra, simply consists of a milkshake topped with the same flavor of ice cream, and Sujata wins hands down for the best mastani in Pune. You can find an ample array of flavors, from the typical mango and pistachio to butterscotch and, my personal favorite, orange! I always look forward to this ritual each time we visit India. Indeed, most of my memories of trips to India center around food! Not at all surprising when India boasts such divine delights as chaats, aloo bondas, crisp and spicy dosas, pav bhaaji, samosas, Indian Chinese cuisine and, of course, all the delicious ice creams!

Anyway, I prepared aloo parathas for dinner the other night, and I have only one word to describe them: YUM! Hot off the stove, smeared in ghee, flavorful and filling, aloo parathas make for a perfect one-dish meal, accompanied by just plain yogurt and perhaps a spicy pickle. As if I didn't eat enough of the parathas, I remembered all those aloo paratha and mastani dinners with my family in India, and I suddenly began to crave mastani! Of course, you unfortunately cannot find mastani here in the U.S., but I satisfied my craving by running out and buying my favorite ice cream instead :)


For the dough:
2 cups atta/whole wheat flour
2 tsp. oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. mung flour
1/4 tsp. methi (fenugreek) powder
2 tbsp. yogurt(if you want to incorporate soaking)
enough water to make a very soft, pliable dough


Combine all the ingredients except for the water in a large bowl. Gradually mix in the water until you have a soft, pliable dough. Knead for one minute, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours if you wish to incorporate soaking, or at least 1/2 hour to fully work the dough.

For the filling:
4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
paste made with 3 green chillis and 1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 heaping tsp. cumin powder
salt to taste, or about 1 tsp.
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves

Ghee or melted butter for brushing

Mix the mashed potatoes with all the seasonings until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the mixture into 10 equal-sized balls. To make the parathas, make ten 2 inch balls from the dough. Roll each dough ball into a small circle that is larger than each ball of the potato mixture. Place one potato ball in the center of each circle of dough, and close the dough up and around the potato mixture. Flatten the dough ball, dip in flour to lightly coat, and roll in out on a floured surface into a round paratha about 8" in diameter. Cook on a preheated skillet on each side until golden brown. Then, brush each side with ghee or melted butter and cook again until slightly crisp on each side. Serve hot with plain yogurt or raita and a pickle.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs

I had never oven-roasted veggies before until recently, when I found a bunch of very fresh asparagus at Whole Foods. In spite of the fact that I bake incessantly, I found the task of oven-roasting vegetables quite daunting and intimidating. However, I absolutely love roasted asparagus, and roasted vegetables in general; roasting just intensifies the natural flavor of the vegetables themselves without the addition of much extra flavoring. When I came across Ina Garten's recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs, I knew I just had to give it a shot. This combo makes for a perfect, light summer lunch or a hearty breakfast (if you have a big appetite early in the morning). I actually remembered the episode in which Ina prepared the roasted asparagus, and she made it seem so simple to whip up. Indeed, Ina makes everything look smooth and straightforward; however, her recipes almost always produce outstanding results. So I decided to have faith in her, and I must say, I made the right decision. I successfully roasted the asparagus without any problem, and A. and I gobbled up the entire pan. The scrambled eggs also turned out prefectly creamy and mouthwatering, especially with my addition of garlic and herbs. So bottom line, roasting in the oven is a breeze and something I will continue to do over and over. Thanks Ina!



Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs(adapted from Ina Garten's recipe):
Scrambled Eggs:
4 eggs
2 tbsp. half-and-half
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Roasted Asparagus:
1 bunch fresh asparagus
Good olive oil
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese

For the asparagus:
Break off the tough ends of the asparagus, and, if they're thick, peel them. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat completely. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

For the eggs:
Whisk eggs in a bowl with salt, pepper and half-and-half. Melt 1/2 tbsp. butter in a skillet; add chopped garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes on medium-low heat until it just begins to brown. Add basil and rosemary, and cook for another minute. Turn the heat to low, and add the eggs. Cook the eggs over the lowest heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, to the desired doneness. Remove from heat, add remaining 1/2 tbsp. of butter and the parmesan cheese, and stir until they melt. Serve atop the roasted asparagus.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lemon-Berry Fruit Pizza

Anytime I think of dessert, the tought of a rich, chocolate-based confection inevitably pops into my mind before anything else. Indeed, I proudly admit that I suffer from chocoholism. My day is never complete without at least a tiny dose of chocolate, in some form or another, whether just a small piece from a Valhrona bar or a large piece of a rich, decadent, fudgy brownie. Especially when it comes to serving guests, chocolate tends to be my number-one go to base for sweet treats. After all, chocolate always pleases the masses. However, for once, in my quest for lighter, more summer appropriate fare, I decided to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and come up with something different, something that did not include any chocolate! A fruit-based delight seemed the perfect alternative. Years ago, during one summer vacation, my mom prepared a scrumptious, refreshing fruit pizza for us that we all gobbled up. Simple yet elegant, light yet zestful, a fruit pizza is a perfect make-ahead dessert for dinner parties and a sureshot crowd-pleaser. I recreated this version turned-up a notch by adding the lemon curd as opposed to preparing a plain cream cheese frosting. Citrus flavors in general, but particularly lemon, wonderfully accompany all types of fruit. The amalgamation of sweet berries with the tang of the lemon curd atop the sweet cookie crust provides the perfect ending to any meal, and because it is not overly rich, you just might have room for a second piece!

Sugar Cookie Crust (from Allrecipes.com):
2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1.5 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Microwave Lemon Curd(from Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea):
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
zest of 3 lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup lemon curd
1/2 cup sugar(powdered is best, but granulated works fine too)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Glaze:
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Strawberries and blueberries to top pizza

For the crust:
Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the flour mix until it forms a ball, but don't over mix. Transfer the ball to a lightly greased 10X15 inch sheet pan. Press dough evenly across the bottom of the pan to form a crust. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until, golden brown, in the preheated oven. Crust will be bubbling and appear slightly underdone, but it will finish cooking with the internal heat. Let it cool completely at room temperature before assembling the pizza.

For the lemon curd:
Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl in a microwave on high for about 1 minute, or until melted. Combine sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest in another bowl with a whisk. Slowly beat in the melted butter. Microwave the mixture on high(or about 70% power if you have a very powerful microwave like me) for 3-4 minutes, until it is thickened. Stir every minute. Transfer to a clean glass jar, and let it cool slightly. Let it chill in the refrigerator overnight.
This made about 2 cups, one cup of which I used for the pizza. I happily used up the rest by mixing a dollop into vanilla yogurt for breakfast or using as a fruit dip!

For the frosting:
Beat all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and creamy.

For the glaze:
Mix orange juice and sugar in a saucepan on a stovetop on medium heat, and let it simmer until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool, and them mix in the lemon juice.
To assemble:
Spread frosting on top of the cooled crust. Wash strawberries and blueberries, and slice the strawberries. Toss the berries with the glaze just to coat, and strain the extra glaze. Arrange the berries on top of the frosting in desired pattern. Let it chill in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. I promise, it is worth the wait!






 

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