November 26, 2010

Pumpkin Donut Holes

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I don't know if its the bright orange leaves outside my window or the crisp, cool air at mid-afternoon (freezing by nightfall!), but I've had a really, really strong craving for something pumpkin-y lately. And I don't just mean your regular pumpkin pie (don't worry, we finished our first one yesterday and hopefully that'll be the first of many pumpkin pies this season!), I wanted something different yet traditional. And most importantly, easy.

This recipe was not only easy and delicious, it really hit that pumpkin-spot. In fact, I only made it about 20 minutes ago and left dinner cooking in the oven to quickly come and tell you all about it so you can also get to making it this, ASAP!

Now if you excuse me, the last of the Pumpkin holes are calling my name...!

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Donut Holes
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 eggs
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Heat oil for deep frying (375°F).
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  3. Mix pumpkin, milk, oil, vanilla and egg.
  4. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil 5-6 at a time.
  6. Fry 1-2 minutes, on each side, until golden brown.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Mix sugar and cinnamon; roll warm donuts in mixture.

November 25, 2010

40 Minute Hamburger Buns

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Around here, we like our hamburgers juicy and our buns soft. So I thought I'd hit the jackpot with my previous hamburger buns recipe, it's sturdy with a delicate crumb, soft and chewy at the same time and actually tastes like something more than a piece of bread. But they're hard work, taking the better part of 3 hours from start to finish. Don't get me wrong, it's totally worth the effort and time, but what if you don't have time as is often the case here?

I know you can buy hamburger buns but with so much doubt circling the halal-ness of ingredients like mono- and dy-glycerides, enzymes, etc., I feel better feeding my family food that I've made with my own hands, alhamdulillah. And so at long last, I found it. A hamburger bun that taste good, from scratch and all under an hour - rise time included!

40 Minute Hamburger Buns
(from Taste of Home magazine, my notes are italicized)


    • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
    • 1 cup warm water, plus
    • 2 tablespoons warm water
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3 -3 1/2 cups flour


  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
  2. Add oil and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.
  4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Do not let rise.
  6. Divide into 12 pieces and shape each into a ball.
  7. Place 3" apart on greased baking sheets.
  8. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Bake at 425° for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool.

November 20, 2010

Garlic & Ginger Paste: The Real Deal

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Garlic and ginger paste is crucial to Indian cooking, particularly south Indian cooking. While many other cuisines around the world use fresh garlic, Indian cooking takes it up a notch by including grated ginger as well. The zing and almost spiciness of fresh ginger compliments the aromatics and depth of flavor of garlic. Your dishes will be severely lacking without them but please, if there's just one thing you do when it comes to cooking, MAKE THIS YOURSELF.

I know you can buy pre-made pastes but that'd be akin to throwing in a couple sweaty socks into your dish because really, thats what they taste like. I know because I've tried it (buying pre-made paste, not the sweaty socks). With the jarred stuff, the flavors are so off, so skewed, so chemical that it'd be better to avoid it in the first place.

Not only does the fresh, real stuff taste so much better, it ends up being much cheaper than a small jar of the gross, sweaty sock paste. Sure, it may take a few minutes to do, but it'd be so worth it. Even if you're not a fan of ginger in your food, then go ahead and do garlic only but please, whatever you do, avoid the pre-made paste!

Homemade Garlic & Ginger Paste

amount of each varies, but stick to a 2:1 ration of garlic to ginger, as the ginger has a stronger taste and a little goes a long way

1. peel garlic cloves (can be made easier by soaking in warm water for a while before) and rough chop in half.

2. peel ginger (the skin peels off like a dream by simply using a spoon) and chop into 1/2" pieces.

3. Throw everything into a food processor and blend until smooth. You can add some water to help things along. Imediatly store in a labeled jar.

(Note: depending on your ratios, the mixture may turn a slight green color from oxidization. No worries, its still safe to use! I store mine in the fridge, but my mother doesn't and hers has also always been fine at room temperature)

November 10, 2010

One Ingredient Wednesday: Dill Rice

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Welcome to a new weekly feature we'll be trying out here at the MWK: One Ingredient Wonder. It's pretty self explanatory; I'll be taking a simple recipe or idea and showing you how you can spruce it up with just one ingredient (maybe two, but let's not tell anyone that part yet!). We'll keep it to Wednesdays for now because, well, because it was originally going to be "One Ingredient Wonder Wednesday" but then I thought that'd be too much cheesiness for the site, so we're just gonna keep it to a three word title ;)

Sometimes all you need to take a dish from good to great is just one ingredient, and in this case, that's dill. Fresh is always better when you're talking about herbs but I've never had luck with finding good quality fresh dill and have been using the dried kind for years. But one word of advice y'all, spend a little and go for quality on this one. I'll admit to buying some dollar store garlic powder when I'm in a pinch but don't do that with the dill weed. Trust me, it's worth the extra few dollars for it.

My mom adds dried dill to some daal (lentil) dishes but when it comes to dill rice, I give credit to my aunt who first introduced us to this very fragnant and easy dish. She's a fan (and Masha'allah, a great cook of) persian food where she first tried dill rice and then introduced it to the rest of us. I can't make it as good as hers but even if you botch up the recipe, it's still going to be much better than just plain white rice.

Dill rice pairs perfectly with lamb or roasted veggies. Try it out this coming Eid for a nice change to your usual rice dish! (sorry there's no 'after' picture...we were hungry and hunger trumps taking pictures!)

Dill Rice
1 cup long grain rice (Basmati)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tblsp oil of choice
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tblsp dried dill weed
2 cups water

1. Saute onions in oil until translucent. Add rice, garlic poweder and salt. Mix around until rice is coated with oil and cook until grains start to become slightly translucent, 3 - 4 minutes.

2. Add dill and mix to combine. Pour in water and allow rice to come to a boil. Then turn down to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and water is gone. Fluff with fork and enjoy hot!

November 3, 2010

French Cream Pie

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Oh,wow. This is good. No, I mean really good. Probably a little too good. In fact, don't plan on making this unless you can guarantee every slice but one can be eaten by someone who's NOT you. So in other words, a perfect Eid treat!
I first saw this recipe in a simple and unassuming cookbook my sister gave me when I first got married and bookmarked it almost immediately. Back in those days, I had time to devote hours upon hours to do thins like trying new recipes that have more than 10 steps or allowing doughs to rise twice. If I saw a recipe like that today, I'd give it a hearty laugh and toss it over my shoulder as I got back to finishing dinner, changing diapers and switching loads of laundry...all at the same time.

 But when I did stumble upon it recently; all of a sudden I could think of nothing else except slicing into a creamy, rich slice of this pie. Yes, it has a lot of ingredients that have to be just so (melted, cooled, continuously whisked, chilled, etc) and it is really one of those pain-in-the-butt recipes but did y'all read how I started this post? It's good. And ya, it's worth the effort, especially with Eid around the corner

Classic Chocolate Cream Pie
One pre-made Oreo or graham cracker crust ( I made this myself at home with about 12 - 15 chocolate wafer cookies)
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3 3/4 c. milk
5 egg yolks
3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened Baker's chocolate, melted
2 Tblsp. butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. heavy or whipping cream

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt; with a wire whisk, stir in milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and boils; boil one minute. In a small bowl, with a wire whisk, lightly beat egg yolks. Beat 1/2 c. hot milk mixture into beaten egg yolks. Slowly pour egg mixture back into milk mixture, stirring rapidly to prevent curdling. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is very thick or until temperature reaches 160 degrees.( I think I burned my milk slightly here but after a day or say chilling in the fridge and the whipped topping layer, you couldn't tell!)

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in melted chocolate, butter pieces, and vanilla until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Pour hot chocolate filling into crust; press plastic wrap onto surface. Refrigerate until filling is set, about 4 hours.(I let it sit 24 hours and it was perfect!)

To serve, in small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form; spoon over chocolate filling.(totally skipped this and bought cool whip!)