Friday, July 31, 2015

Garlicky Egg and Cheese Dip

Whenever I’m visiting someone and they serve something I really like, I try to learn how to make it. This dip is one of those recipes from Pani Natalya (Pani  is an Ukrainian honorific for women), whom I’ve had the pleasure to visit with a couple times at Purdue. True to the incredible Ukrainian hospitality, she always has a delicious fare laid out for her guests. One of her dishes that I really enjoyed was an egg and cheese dip which has been in her family for years. The first time I had it, it was served on roasted eggplant slices topped with tomato slices. A fantastic appetizer! Another time we had the dip with crackers and veggies, and it was equally delicious. She was kind enough to pack some for me to take home and also told me how to make it. In the recipe below, I’ve made one minor change - replaced mayonnaise with sour cream. It doesn’t turn out as creamy with just sour cream, so I did add a little bit of mayonnaise. Still tastes great if you leave it out, so feel free to adjust the sour cream/mayonnaise ratio to your liking.


2 eggs - hard boiled and finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
1-1½ cups shredded cheese - 5 cheese Italian blend (or other cheese of your choice)
1-1½ cups sour cream (or mayonnaise)
~¼ cup mayonnaise (optional - use if you like the dip very creamy)
½ - 1 Tbsp chopped dill (or other herbs) - optional

Crush the garlic cloves (preferably in a garlic press). Fine mincing would work, but crushing helps release the juices which make this dip so garlicky.

Mix the eggs, garlic, cheese in a bowl. Add the sour cream/mayonnaise and mix. Adjust quantity till you get the consistency and creaminess that you want. Mix in chopped herbs if using. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serving suggestions
This dip tastes great with crackers or crunchy vegetables like carrots, sweet peppers, broccoli, celery or other crudites.


If you have time and want to make a fancier appetizer or side, you can serve it with roasted eggplant and tomatoes. I had baby eggplants and cherry tomatoes on hand, so I pan roasted the eggplant slices, sprinkled a little bit of salt, added half a cherry tomato on each piece and a small dollop of the dip; sprinkled with crushed black pepper and chopped parsley for a colorful vibrant bite sized snack.



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Creamy egg and cheese dip with a delicious garlic flavor!

Posted by The Cooks of Cake and Kindness on Friday, July 31, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

At the beginning of July, we had another “Red-White-Blue” food day at work to celebrate Independence Day, and there were a lot of delicious treats! One of the sweet treats we made was white-chocolate and cranberry cookies, a variant of our hazelnut chocolate chip cookie. I brought about 3 dozen in to work and there were none left to take back home!


Ingredients: (makes ~3 dozen cookies)
Follow this link for basic ingredients

~1 cup white chocolate chips
~¾ cup dried cranberries
Heat oven to 350F. Per the recipe here, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, blend sugars together, then add butter and mix well. Stir in eggs and vanilla.
Add flour mixture to wet ingredients until everything is combined, then fold in your add-ins (cranberries and white-chocolate chips).

Place tablespoon-sized scoops of batter on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, making sure to leave enough room since cookies will spread while baking. Bake for 10 minutes - the edges will just barely begin to turn brown and the cookies will be delectably soft and moist on the inside!



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Soft and delicious white chocolate cranberry cookies... An extremely versatile cookie recipe!

Posted by The Cooks of Cake and Kindness on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Spinach, Feta cheese scones with sundried tomatoes & basil

I love baking treats for friends’ birthdays - cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and lately - my new favorite, scones! Scones are quick and easy to make, and the same base recipe can be adapted to make different kinds of sweet scones (for example, chocolate chip and cranberry-orange). However, this time I was looking for something savory to make as a birthday treat for a friend who is trying to cut back on sugar. Starting with the same base recipe, I switched out the milk with buttermilk to get a subtle tang, and replaced the sweet add-ins with a combination of spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and Feta cheese. All these ingredients came together really well to form deliciously soft and flaky scones - with the flavor of each savory ingredient coming through without any one of them being overwhelmingly strong.


Ingredients (Makes 16 small scones)

Base ingredients
2 cups self rising flour (See note if you don’t have self rising flour)
~½ tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold butter
⅔ cup buttermilk (See note if you don’t have buttermilk)
~2 Tbsp milk (or buttermilk) for brushing tops of scones

Add ins
1-1.5 cup packed fresh spinach - chopped
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes - chopped
1 tsp chopped basil (fresh, frozen or dried) - optional
⅓-½ cup crumbled Feta cheese (I used low fat)


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix salt with the flour. Cut the butter into small pieces. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until you get a crumbly mixture - this helps make the scones light and flaky.

Add the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and Feta cheese. Mix well. Add the buttermilk and mix everything to form a soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a square (about 1” thick).


Cut into 16 pieces. Spread them out on greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet. Brush the tops and sides of the scones generously with milk.

Bake in preheated oven for ~15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let scones cool down before storing in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.


Self rising flour can be made by combining 1.5 tsp of baking powder with each cup of all purpose flour. Use same ratio for wheat flour, but increase the liquid quantity in the recipe.
Substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk: Add ~1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, mix it a little and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it curdles.

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Savory scones with spinach, Feta cheese, sundried tomatoes and basil.
Posted by The Cooks of Cake and Kindness on Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Garlicky Oven-roasted Asparagus

I always try to make balanced meals, with good portions of protein and vegetables. With time in short supply, however, I rarely have time to prepare interesting veggies and generally resort to the steam-in-a-bag frozen peas, corn, or green beans. On occasion, though, I plan well enough to be able to cook some fresh vegetables, which always taste better than frozen! I especially love asparagus because it’s super healthy (good source of fiber and vitamins A, C, E, K; contains antioxidants; low in calories) and there’s not much chopping involved. This method of preparing asparagus has quickly become a go-to for dinner, and it could easily be applied to other fresh veggies, such as zucchini, summer squash, or green beans.



1 large bunch (~2 lbs) asparagus
~2 TBSP canola oil (or oil of choice)
~1 tsp ground black pepper
~1-2 TBSP ground or minced garlic

Preheat oven to 425F. In a bowl or plastic bag, combine the oil and spices.


Rinse the asparagus and chop off about 1.5 inch off the woody base. Place asparagus in the bag, seal, and shake well so that each stalk is coated. Lay the asparagus in a foil or parchment lined baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, per desired crunchiness or softness.


Let cool a few minutes, then serve up as a delicious side for any meal!


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Garlicky asparagus - a delicious and healthy addition to any meal!

Posted by The Cooks of Cake and Kindness on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Open for Business!

Recently, The Cooks of Cake and Kindness became more than just a blog! Since we love to bake and it’s always fun to share the baked goodies with others, we started taking orders for special occasion cakes and other baked items. It has been a lot of fun and a good learning experience for us.

Our very first cake order was for a bumblebee-themed baby shower cake. We made a two tier cake - 9” round vanilla chocolate chip layer cake, topped with a 6” round dark chocolate layer cake. We frosted it with soft and fluffy (and not too sweet) buttercream, and added fondant baby booties on top and little bees and flowers made out of mini marshmallows all around the cake.



Another special occasion cake order was for a vanilla cake covered in whipped cream frosting. We made a 9” two layer vanilla cake, used a scallop pattern to decorate the cake (had a lot of fun doing that!), and adorned it with marshmallow flowers with red frosting centers, and a simple “Happy Birthday” message written on a white modeling chocolate disc.


We have also shipped baked goodies made to order. Receiving a nicely wrapped package full of cookies and scones in the mail can brighten up anybody’s day! We made hazelnut - chocolate chip cookies and cardamom-pistachio-rose scones, wrapped them up all nice and shipped them off to South Carolina to celebrate the arrival of a new baby boy.


We would love to bake for your next event or mail goodies to your loved ones! Please send us an email at, or leave a message on our Facebook page for orders and enquiries.

~Karla & Gayatri

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This has been a wonderfully busy week for The Cooks of Cake and Kindness. It started out with little colorful fish...

Posted by The Cooks of Cake and Kindness on Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stuffed Potato Patties

I gave up eating meat a long time ago, but I do remember a few meat and fish dishes that I loved. One of them was kheema patties. Kheema is minced meat, and these little parcels of goat kheema are enclosed in a soft potato coating, then pan fried until golden brown. Just delicious! So delicious in fact, that every once in a while I still like to make “fake” kheema patties - with the filling made from mushrooms, peas, soy granules (like Nutrela), or Morningstar grillers crumbles (these are my favorite!, and also made from soy).

Ingredients (Makes ~10)
2 cups frozen Morningstar grillers crumbles (or minced meat, mushrooms, peas, any other chopped vegetables)
1 small onion chopped
~1 cup packed spinach leaves - finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic - minced
1 tsp oil
2 tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp garam masala
⅛ tsp turmeric powder
Black pepper (optional - just salt and pepper can also be used to season the filling instead of the other spices)
½ tsp lemon juice (optional)

5-6 small potatoes - boiled, peeled and mashed
1 Tbsp minced spinach
1 egg - beaten (Use a couple Tbsp of Eggbeaters if you don’t want leftover egg - but it can always be used to make a small omelette!)
Oil for shallow frying

For the filling, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Leave a Tbsp of spinach out for the coating, and add the rest to the onions. Add grillers crumbles and saute for a minute. Add the spices and season with salt. Once all the liquid has evaporated, add the lemon juice, mix well and take off the heat.
For the coating, mix 1 Tbsp minced spinach with the mashed potatoes and season with salt.

Assembling the patties
Take a little potato mixture and form a ball (about 1.5” in diameter). Flatten it out to about ¼” thick and add 1-1.5 Tbsp mixture in the center. Fold the edges over and seal. Gently shape into discs about 1” thick. Repeat until you run out of potato mixture or filling.
veggie kheema patties.jpg

Frying the patties
Heat some oil over medium heat for shallow frying. Beat one egg and add a pinch of salt. Dip a prepared patty in the egg. You really only want a very thin coating of egg on the patties, so what I usually do after dipping them in egg is to wipe off the extra with my fingers before putting the patty in the pan. Shallow fry on one side for a minute or so until golden brown, then flip and fry the other side. Repeat with rest of the patties.

Enjoy warm with ketchup.


  • If using meat for the filling, adjust cooking time accordingly. You can also pre-cook the meat.
If you have any coating left over, its great on its own as mashed potatoes. If you have any filling left, it is also delicious on its own, but you can also mix it with the leftover beaten egg and make a nice omelette.  

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Stuffed potato patties with a flavorful filling and soft mashed potato coating with a nicely browned crust

Posted by The Cooks of Cake and Kindness on Thursday, July 16, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

Quick(er) Hungarian-style Goulash

This flavorful dish is based on a childhood favorite of mine (and, as it turns out, my husband’s), and is just one of the many dishes that convinced me that my mom was the greatest cook ever. Traditionally, goulash is a soup or stew that uses beef, veal, pork, or lamb, seasoned mainly with paprika. In my husband’s family, it is THE birthday dish (along with carrot cake), but it generally takes most of the day to prepare. This modified version of goulash uses chicken instead of the traditional meats, and cuts total cooking time way down - so we can indulge a bit more often!


Ingredients: (about 8 servings)
~1.5 lbs chicken breast
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
~½ onion, roughly chopped
8-16 oz sour cream (I used fat-free)
2-3 Tbsp paprika
ground black pepper and garlic to taste
~1 Tbsp cooking oil to sauté onions and mushrooms

Place chicken breast in a greased baking pan and season with pepper, garlic, and paprika. Cover with parchment paper and bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes. Once cooked, chop or shred the chicken. (Chicken can also be prepared ahead of time.)


Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté onions and mushrooms until they are soft and most of the released water has cooked off. Add chicken to the pan and season liberally with garlic and paprika. Stir in sour cream a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Let simmer over low heat for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve over a bed of noodles and with your favorite side, such as garlicky oven-roasted asparagus. Yum!



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Moderately creamy, flavorful Hungarian-style chicken goulash.
Posted by The Cooks of Cake and Kindness on Monday, July 13, 2015