Most of us go through our lives with some level of restraint. And this is especially true when it comes to foods we consume.
For a foodie like myself, that restraint is what keeps me doing what I'm doing for what I hope will be a lifetime. Because without this restraint, I would give in to gluttony. And there is no joy in that. Only remorse.
I am not saying that the next time you visit you'll find I've put up a picture of myself in a bikini. That would require an actual waistline (among other things) And since I don't, I won't.
Yet there are those things that set my taste buds free with little if any repercussions on my waistline or the weighing scale. And I wait for summer so that my lunches will be filled with such heavenly meals.
Think Peter Kaminsky and his book Culinary Intelligence: The Art of Eating Healthy (And Really Well) where he outlines how eaters can reconcile physical well-being with sensual pleasures.
Moderation is a concept has been around for generations. I can swear hearing those very words from my mother who heard it from my grandmother who heard it from hers and so and so forth. But what appeals to me is that Kaminsky suggests readers maximize their "flavor per calorie" count by eating choice foods. Think Dean & Deluca v/s Dean's hotdog stand.
That makes so much sense to me.
If I'm going to have a piece of chocolate why go for the Hershey's when I can have a Maison du chocolat truffle for the same number of calories?
And that brings me to this salad.
Fresh romaine lettuce, crisp baby spinach leaves, succulent slices of strawberry with a smattering of roasted almonds and fresh mozzarella cheese. This made all the more luscious when drizzled with balsamic vinegar and strawberries in a vinaigrette.
I take my plate to the couch, feet curled as I fork this salad till all that's left is an empty plate and full belly.
Because I deserve every bite of 'flavor per calorie'.
I'm worth it.
And so are you.
Now here is a post without food. Well certainly without recipes.
It's been quite a week for me. On Thursday I joined nine fellow food bloggers for a virtual cooking school class called Delicious Summer Picnic Recipes. The class is part of the Cooking Connections series on The Motherhood. Take a moment to look up the summary of the entire class as well as view the video right here
And though we had lots of fun brainstorming, here were some of my favorite and very handy Summer Picnic Tips from George Duran:
Rinse pasta in cold water to stop the cooking after you’ve drained it for your pasta salad.
To save calories in preventing sticky pasta while you’re preparing your other pasta salad ingredients, spray a little PAM Olive Oil nonstick spray in your pasta and mix it around. “Yes- I always have a problem with sticking!
To make your own croutons to save money and eat healthier, cut up bread, put it in a sheet pan and spray it with PAM Olive Oil, then toast and season it. Freezes well.
Kid-friendly picnic foods are usually finger foods like small sandwiches, cubes of cheese, watermelon wedges and other items that allow kids to keep moving while they’re eating.
To keep foods fresh over a long period of time, stick with cold foods that don’t contain milk products, and use ice packs while transporting.
For an alternative to sandwiches, try bringing wraps. Kids will love these peanut butter apple wraps from ReadySetEat.
Remember to pre-cut food so people can easily eat with one hand or eat standing up at the picnic location. Grilled vegetables are a great picnic option, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
To make sure you’re getting a sweet watermelon, buy a pre-cut watermelon so you can see the color inside. Make sure it’s bright red.
Consider creating a toppings bar if you have guests over for a picnic. Grill hot dogs and hamburgers and let them choose their own toppings.
Aren't these some super handy tips to remember for this summer? And don't forget, you can view the entire video and read up on the nitty gritty details right here
And just when I surfaced from that class, I was already elbow deep in prep for my Saturday class 'A Summer Italian Luncheon'. It was such a lot of fun.
And look at the spread!
What tremendous group of people to work with! The class was divided into 4 groups and each had their own workstation-kitchen so for most part, it was hands-on with a few demonstrations worked in as needed.
And of course a whole lot of do-this & don't do that, not to mention a stream of nibbles, eats and Godiva coffee.
Can't wait for my next class 'An Elegant Picnic' scheduled for the end of June.
Isn't it fascinating that even today we love foods that hail from as far away as the 15th century?
Because it's here that the origins of this beloved biscuit lie in a small town outside Tuscany called Prato which is at the center of the slow food movement. The first biscotti to come out of this little town was made only with almonds.
The twice baking process is that the dough is baked once, then cut into biscuits, turned face up and baked again. What this does is it gets rid of moisture in the biscuit and therefore allows these lovelies to be stored for long periods of time without the risk of mold.
Consequently these became quite popular with sailors off on long voyages to sea. So much so that it is documented that these crunchy munchies were quite the favorite of Christoper Columbus.
Think on that the next time you dunk a biscotti in your favorite cuppa!
Speaking of double baking and getting rid of moisture and what-not, I don't know about you but the off chance I do purchase some commercially prepared biscotti, I am almost always put off by how hard and dry they are & it makes me wonder if I should be making an appt with my dentist before I bite into the biscuit!
So lets be clear, if you like your biscotti hard and dry, then this will certainly not be your cup of tea (or biscuit) but if you like your crunchy, crusty & crumby (the 3 c's indeed) then you will love these!
So much so, that I am taking this recipe that has been perfected after pouring over countless recipes & mediocre runs over the years and teaching it at my 'A summer Italian Luncheon' Culinary class this week end.
The great news is that though biscotti hails from 500 years ago, anyone who can shape a meat loaf, has played with clay & can slice bread can make these. And this is good to know because once you've eaten these home baked lovelies, your neighbourhood barista is sure to lose a valued customer.
I have added orange zest to these because I absolutely adore the scent of oranges in biscotti but this recipe can be tweaked to your liking: substituting lemon zest or pistachios instead of almonds, dried cranberries and so on and so forth.
In fact, I won't be surprised if you'll be getting requests for these from every corner. Come to think of it, Mr. Hubby has already put in a request for a large batch for his office mates!
Here's exciting news for a Thursday afternoon. Join me & nine others from the food blogosphere who will be co-hosting Delicious Summer Picnic Recipes class. See ya!
What: A virtual cooking school class called Delicious Summer Picnic Recipes. The class is part of the Cooking Connections series on The Motherhood. You can check out great easy picnic recipes ahead of time on recipe website Ready
Set Eat here: http://bit.ly/IFL27b
When: Thursday, May 17, at 1 p.m. ET. It will last 30 minutes.
Where: TheMotherhood – here is the link to the page where the class will be held: http://bit.ly/JbFML2
About the class: Who doesn't love a summer picnic over Memorial Day, July 4th, and beyond? Chef George Duran will appear on live feed video to demonstrate how to cook up great picnic dishes and discuss easy-to-prepare recipes that will keep your menu filled with new tastes and flavors, and keep your picnics far from reaching a state of "same old, same old" by summer's end.
Giveaway! We are also giving away a summer picnic gift basket for class participation – don’t miss out! Here’s how to enter: Attend the live chat and answer the question, “Which picnic recipe from ReadySetEat are you most excited to try?”
You can check out the recipes on ReadySetEat here: http://bit.ly/IFL27b
The class is sponsored by ReadySetEat.com and ConAgra Foods, and it is hosted by TheMotherhood.
I’ll be there with nine other bloggers to co-host the class, and I hope you’ll join us:
Amanda, Parenting by Dummies http://parentingbydummies.com
Angie, My Four Monkeys http://www.myfourmonkeys.com
Jodi, Mom's Favorite Stuff http://www.momsfavoritestuff.com
Kim, At Home with Kim http://www.athomewithkim.com
Kristy, Mommy Hates Cooking http://www.mommyhatescooking.com
Piera, Jolly Mom http://www.jollymom.com
Thien-Kim, My Cup of Creativi-Tea http://www.mycupofcreativitea.com
Wendy, Around My Family Table http://www.aroundmyfamilytable.com
Yoli, Sassy Mama in LA http://sassymamainla.com/
Good as bread. Outstanding as toast.
Think of the finest toast you'll ever have. If all you've had is whole wheat and whole grain trust me when I say you haven't.
Because quite simply, nothing comes close to the 'full bodied' crunchy, crusty, each crumb singing to you kind of toast that this loaf yields.
I wonder if one can use that term, full-bodied to describe anything other than wine. I hope so.
This bread made with nutritious blue cornmeal (but feel free to use yellow cornmeal) semolina and the nutty flavor of sesame seeds, comes together in perfect harmony to give you one gorgeous, golden loaf.
Perfect for work week lunch sandwiches and even more delightful for PB&J, you'll never buy another loaf of that commercial, preservative laden trove again. Why would you? When 10 minutes of active working time and a whole lot of sitting around reading or catching up with your favorite shows yield such a magnificent treat from the oven.
Anyone who has baked a loaf of bread knows, that few things give us a greater sense of accomplishment and that all-is-right-with-the-world feeling than watching a loaf of bread - rise, peak and then bake to a glistening golden brown.
Not to mention, the therapeutic properties in punching and kneading that dough ball . Better still, call some friends over and make a party of it!
I made this wonderful grape crostata after an amazing dinner of Chilean Sea Bass tagine, which I must post forthwith washed down with a bottle of New Zealand wine - Oyster Bay, Sauvignon Blanc which quite simply was superb.
Superb because this wine is heavy with the scent of grapefruit on first sip and is by far one of the finest of New Zealand wines - already quite renowned for their Sauvignon Blancs.
The evening, alight with Brazilian Bossa Nova music of Rosa Passos was only improved by the presence of our dearest friend. She has known us ever since we were students and so our friendship, like the wine has refined & deepened with age & time.
We love roasted grapes so we are partial to this crostata from the get go. But what is lovely about it is the simplicity and the unassuming ease with which it comes together. Very much like old friendships.
The flaky crust which is my pie crust staple nestles those two ingredients - grapes and marmalade ever so simply. And the chilled ricotta cream, infused with orange zest picks up where the marmalade left off.
So much did we enjoy this rustic Sicilian fare, that I decided to teach it my upcoming cooking class.
Needless to say it is worthy of your time and some loving effort.
And to think the first one kick's off next week. Whew! As thrilled I am that I have a nearly full class of 12 people next week, it seems to take up most of my days this week in preparation. Between the printing & stapling little packets together and the grocery shopping that needs to get done, long winded elaborate dinners are the last thing on my mind.
Hence the spicy salmon summer rolls are the perfect answer.
Not only do these refreshing summery bites call to our love for salmon but the wonderful medley of flavors, honest and un-fussy rejuvenate my taste buds in a way few things can. Not to mention these are down right healthful and perfect for the clammy 83 deg weather that seems to be here to stay.
I hope to see you next week at the cooking class, sign-up details for which are here ~
I made these for my dearest friend the other day as we welcomed her home from the airport.
A light dinner of sorts with some lovely Chilean red wine to unwind after a long International flight.
These bruschettas couldn't have been more perfect.
The orange infused ricotta and complex flavors from the balsamic and vanilla infused strawberries with the refreshing burst from the occasional bite of basil was absolutely incredible.
So much so that I'm interrupting our girl time or should I say wine time to bring you this post.
So I really do hope you'll include this in your summer soirees.
And now if you'll excuse me, an excellent bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc and some very valuable friend time and a delicious chilean sea bass tagine awaits.
This is not a post for those with a weak stomach who believe that the lovely meat that graces their dinner table each night comes from the freezer section in the supermaket and no animals were harmed in the process.
Whether you're into goat or not, bottom line is this, any good cook worth his or her salt knows that the secret to excellent meat in your excellent dinners is making friends with your local butcher. If all you know are pre-packaged cuts of meat on the freezer section of your pristine supermarket, think again.
Begin with 'select' meat and chances are you are half way there to a 'select' dinner. Ask around the farmer's markets and find a local butcher -it's what worked for my grandmother, your grandmother and it will work for us!
Though I am not about to go all Gordon Ramsay on you and show you how to butcher a piglet, duck or goat for that matter, EXIT NOW if you are going to go all eww.... at the sight of a slab of meat on a hook - like this one!
Why am I writing this post?
Let me be perfectly honest, I am writing this post for that one person one in a million who has a genuine desire to select a perfect cut of goat meat and doesn't know how. And for my sons who I hope when they grow up will read this golden nugget of a post because the knowledge herein has been passed down from generation to generation, from father to son on my Dad's side.
This tradition broke with me being a girl and all and so my Dad now passed it down to me - who passes it down to the blog with a hope that decades from now my 30 some year old sons will learn just like their ancestors, how to select a perfect cut of goat meat.
Since Mum and Dad are in town, what better time to post this than now! When I can learn first hand from the Master - My Dad, the same way he learned from my Grandfather. And I have an ulterior motive too - that means Dad is going to be cooking his specialties which is always a momentous occasion in our home. So let's get started -
There are some that things synonymous with our childhood. For me, its weekends spent at my grand parents home. My Grandmother is a phenomenal cook and weekends at their home always meant wonderful treats and little made- from-scratch afternoon snacks. It was a time for playing, swinging from trees and listening to the National news on the radio. More often than not, punctuated by my Grandmother's voice rising above all others as she hollered at my Granddad who invariably fell asleep reading the newspaper in the middle of the day.
Those days remind me of pyjama afternoons.
Except for meal times. Now these were always an event as a parade of dishes would make their way into the dining area. There are certain dishes that almost always served in Gujarati meals. Chach which is a thin butter milk (hand churned of course) a selection of vegetable dishes, various pickles, steamed rice, super thin rotis embellished with 'ghee', papads and always a dal.
In my Grandmother's home that dal would invariably be 'Traveti dal' - A wonderfully simple creation, incensed by the process of tempering (a selection of whole spices, cast into hot oil) and infused with flavor. Here, once again,' less is more'!
"...if I can’t get to the lavender fields of Provence, in France...." I must find a way to bring the joy home!
It has been a few months past that I received a wonderful little sample of dried lavender flowers from Justin at Marxfoods. And these little lovelies I have used sparingly with love and care.
"too much of a good thing..." holds very true for lavender buds - use too much and you end up with an overpowering soapy feel & flavor. What is wonderful is just a teeny bit goes a long way in infusing desserts and custards and short breads with that lovely ephemeral lavender scent.
As far as I am concerned lemon and lavender are like two peas in a pod. How can you not? And so I decided to take my signature short bread recipe - you know that one I fixed for the pre-school kids way back when, here and tweaked it. The results are delicate and wonderful. The kids and hubby have gobbled several, warm out of the oven with ne'er a peep.
And I have been saved from ranting and raving about it's medicinal benefits as has been treasured though the ages in Ayurveda -insomnia, anxiety, depression, fights colds & cough.....So I guess, Mary Poppin's knew what she was all about, when she said "just a spoon full of sugar, helps the medicine go down"!
As for me - with one stroke I have appeased both glutton & gourmet!
Some things need a dunk in really good olive oil.
The Italians knew just what they were doing when they decided to do just that with summer fresh succulent zucchinis.
This wonderful old recipe of Italian style which I have slightly adapted from dear Nika Hazelton is one where thick zucchini slices are pan fried in olive oil, layered in a dish with fresh sliced garlic and mint leaves and then the hot oil in the pan is doused with a good serving of red wine vinegar which is then drizzled all over the layered vegetable.
Set aside in the refrigerator overnight and you have the perfect offering at an elegant picnic. Perhaps at a lovely vineyard with the grass between your toes, the whisper of the wind between the vines and the taste of a good wine on your lips.
Oh yes! I hear a picnic calling.
Nothing gives me a greater sense of accomplishment, an-all-is-right-with-the-world moment than watching two loaves of perfectly risen bread making an exit out of my oven.
I always bake my bread on Sunday and it's such a ritual in our home that any suggestion to buy supermarket bread is treated with groans. What makes it so fulfilling for me is that each loaf is packed with nutritional goodness - whole grains, nuts, fruits and no preservatives or unrecognizable junk.
Right here is a perfect example. How can you possibly resist a bread that's not only good for you but with whole wheat, oatmeal, walnut & honey tastes too darn good to be a chockful of healthful?
This bread with its wonderful flavors speaks for itself! And don't just think its just for lunches though it makes a wicked PB&J, it's pretty irresistible toasted and slathered with butter and your fave jam.
Plus forget about all that elbow-grease- kneading and what-not that's all old school babe! Now its as easy as it gets - soak, flour, knead all in the bowl of your electric stand mixer or your super sized mixing bowl.
So get your bread on with me!
Toast the return of warmer weather with these wonderful Herb Ricotta & Balsamic Tomato Crostinis meant to be savored in the company of good friends and family.
But then again, who's to stop you from opening a nice bottle of wine, curled up on the couch with a plate of these watching reruns of Downton Abbey?
Think toasted thin sliced bread, topped with creamy, fresh herb embellished ricotta and goat cheese made only better with balsamic steeped tomatoes.
So you see, some indulgences don't require an occasion or even a crowd, their very existence is reason enough.
Today is cleaning day and that means I am elbow deep in chemicals that are doing God know what to my insides.
So as I was busy wiping down the counter tops, I look down and sniff only to realise that the kitchen paper towel I was using for cleaning was the same I had used to soak up the bacon grease from breakfast....UGH!
How do these things happen to me?
Now left with the task of scrubbing the counter tops yet again, my mind drifts to a humongous bowl of yogurt that has been sitting in the refrigerator since the day before and I know that no matter how I am feeling at this moment, it is impossible to not feel instantly elevated when I am just a few steps away from my favorite dessert.
Srikhand is one of the main desserts in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and since I have Gujarati blood flowing through my veins and Maharashtrian by geography, can there be any doubt, that I imbibed the love for Srikhand before I took my first steps?
Another reason for my addiction - my Mum! While many buy this dessert ready-made or at restaurants (phooey to that) are used to thick, cornflour hardened, somewhat sour tasting Srikhand, I grew up on my Mum's which is as sweet and smooth as silk.
Thick sweetened yogurt, infused with the scent & flavor of saffron and lavishly bestowed with nuts, can you think of anything more refreshing on a hot day?
And like any true love, this one has had me in its clutches from cradle and probably to grave which for a change is a good thing. One bite of this devilishly simple dessert and you may be joining in the chorus line singing its praises as well!
I think not.
If ever there was proof that when it comes to food our species have long crossed boundaries, reached across countries & cultures and are more bound by our similarities than our differences, it is this.
The Ricotta pie.
Though hailed as a quintessential Italian dish, it has at its core the very ingredient that has had Bengalis from Eastern India reverently reduced to tears for hundreds of years, by the one ingredient they singularly adore - namely ricotta a.k.a channar - the core of the Bengali Sandesh.
And thus it should come as no surprise that being married to one, I would be lying through my teeth if I said that this Ricotta pie gets made for Easter only.
It gets made whenever the heck we wish...and we wish it a lot!
The traditional Ricotta pie is made with a lard crust using no butter. Since I happen to adore the taste of butter and the flakiness that lard or vegetable shortening, lends, I'm using both.
The filling is also traditionally known to include the likes of ground almonds and finely chopped candied orange peel with nuts being a symbol of fertility.
Fertility? Been there, done that. The factory is officially closed.
So we happen to adore it quite simply : tons of ricotta, cream, orange zest instead of peel, a zing of orange emulsion (extract are so yesterday) and ever so slightly sweetened with sugar and kept moist with crushed pineapple. Eggs of course are here to stay no matter which recipe you choose.
Speaking of the very traditional & exquisite Easter Wholegrain Ricotta pie La Pastiera di Grana, is gastronomic experience in itself for which there is no substitute.
This is well worth the time and effort and you'll find that recipe here from an Easter gone by.
So without further ado, lets get cracking so we can all dig into this very delicious Ricotta pie the simplicity of which belies its incredible flavor.
I found out last night that I am a tearjerky. (Is that even a word?)
This, at our son's first strings concert where he was playing the Viola. All these months of what sounded like a donkey braying has magically added up to music. I was so proud, I teared up as the first 'D' string notes floated across the room.
And I thought, so I am a gusher. I now officially belong to that group of Mums who tear up every time their kid does anything worthwhile. Who knew?
I think it means so much more to me because even though I grew up in a family where music is a heart line, I myself never learned to play an instrument. So I feel so proud that at such a young age, my kids are learning to read sheet music and play. What a gift - to be able to channel all of life's tumultuous moments into beautiful music. I am so grateful for schools like his where the Arts Programs flourish, are encouraged and supported.
Wasn't it Nietzche who said, "Without music life would be a mistake." And coming from a man who spoke of darkness and the abyss of the human soul, I'd say he was onto something.
So at the end of the day, I am still me and the only music I play is one with pots, pans and spatulas. So I do what I know best, I bake. My music in response to his.
This Italian inspired cake is a variation on a traditional Semolina cake I have been making forever. A classic tea cake reminiscent of the time of the Raj, bridge parties, the gymkhanas and cummerbanded servers, it seemed like a fitting cake as I think of all the beautiful music that has wafted over time, from the long forgotten mouths of gramophones.
Now all of a sudden, I must see The Artist!
As parents we don't get enough of these - the just' 'coz nights and we should.
Because taking the time off - nay making the time hopefully means that we talk and that means we air our thoughts, not just as parents but as people, as friends. Not forgetting to air our opposing points of view which in turn hopefully makes us less crotchety as people which makes us less crotchety as 'better halves' which makes us less crotchety parents. Win-win.
So because it was Tuesday and for no other reason I decided to make these along with cheesy scalloped potatoes, a yam and rutabaga mash and caramel ice cream for dessert.
I set up the kiddies table next (and a good 5 ft away) from ours and we sat on the grown up table along with a chilled bottle of wine and glowing candles. I even dabbed on some Guerlain. And with Andrea Boccelli bellowing on the stereo we sat down to eat.
And despite the kids side glances and sniggering at the next table, it was nice.
Mr. Hubby even suggested that we do this monthly. I agree and we'll see how it goes.
But for now, a just 'coz night on a Tuesday is a good start.
Some of my ancestors first arrived in this country on a ship.
However, if I were a member of the founding families to first step foot in the new world, knowing my propensity for lateness, I have no doubt I would have missed the Mayflower all together and would have been left high and dry on the banks in hope that the Juneflower would leave next.
Needless to say, no one from my family arrived on US soil prior to the 1900's.
And therefore having explained what seems to be coded into my genetic framework, it should come as no surprise that the Weave A Thousand Flavors facebook fan page made its debut 2 years after I began this blog. Shameful!
So now I need your help to please help spread the word or the 'LIKE' if you will.
The facebook link that is prominently displayed in the right hand sidebar at the top of the page -
And as a THANK YOU for your support and efforts, I am thrilled to host this GIVEAWAY thanks to Workman Publishing with this wonderful cookbook.
The Mom 100 Cookbook
By Katie Workman
Meet the food that brings us to lust
With this steaming hot weather in the middle of March, I've got Dr Seuss on the brain. Now few foods in our home are more coveted than salmon. And therefore seeing a slab of Atlantic salmon in the grocery cart is looked at with much glee and anticipation - this applies to the kids as well. And since we are all nutters over sushi, to actually cook the salmon is in hubby's words - blasphemy!
And therefore ceviche is generally the treatment of choice. The joke of the matter is that I hardly ever fix traditional ceviche - seafood 'chemically cooked' in lemon juice. Instead I am always playing around and dabbling with a variety of flavors & sauces to create a sort of reinvented 'ceviche'. Ceviche purists, I apologize.
Do you remember a while back when we made that lovely Asian salmon ceviche salad? Same ingredient, different treatment.
This one I must say goes down smooth - spicy salmon with creamy cucumber & radish guacamole is simply heavenly. The speed at which my kids shovel down these lovelies should give even those wary of raw seafood eating, a boost!
Marvellous for a light luncheon or afternoon tea, the lightly sauteed shrimp in Madras curry powder is all the kick needed to pizazz up what is other wise a lightly flavored offering.
For Mom's out there, I had my younglings fighting over the last piece and that's before I even got to the table myself!
Adapted from a tattered Cordon Bleu mini-series book on eggs from 40 years ago, these delights went by the name of Egg Mimosas and I've taken the original recipe and shaken it up.
I have yet to meet a grain than I couldn't turn into a 'pie' type dish. You know I luv me some pie!
So why not corn grits?
Did you read The Help? Remember when Abilene refers to grits as the vehicle for whatever foods you want to put on it? Well maybe that's not word for word for what she said but you get the drift. And I couldn't agree more.
Grits are a blank canvas in the palette of a cook just dying to be blended with some interesting flavors to create something with color or at least flavor.
So I decided that today was as good as any to make a wonderful roasted tomatillo and green chile sauce, mixed together with some leftover cooked chicken, topped with cilantro & onion and baked over corn grits.
What's wrong if a little bit of Dixie meets a whole lot of Mexican in the kitchen?
Take a bite and I doubt you'll be complaining. In fact I nearly had to arm wrestle the boys for the last piece to be able to get the pic for the post. Yah - it's really that good!
I take joy in life's little pleasures - kids off to school happy, on time and without a fuss, a string of green lights on my daily commute, no one ramming their shopping cart into mine, a day where no surprise and unexpected bills show up, Mr. Hubby back on time - these are the good days.
Days made only better when you set a cake in the oven and hold your breath just for a second as the timer goes off. Gleeful at the sight of beautiful, rounded perfectly golden top. On such days nothing makes the day complete than fixing that cuppa, cutting into a warm, soft slice of cake, sitting on the patio and watching the world go by.
So you see, this cake is about life's simple pleasures - a cake so perfect in intense banana flavor, with a touch of tang, soft and heavenly that it is a reminder that some of the best things is life are simple, honest and baked.
Go on, remind yourself.
I never thought my pillow soft corn bread recipe would be taken to so warmly. And I am glad.
So now it's time to introduce you to corn bread's better half.
Meet 'THE TERLINGUA RED' CHILI.
Since 1980 the Hard Times Cafe in Northern Virginia has served as a quintessential All American Chili Parlor thanks to the Parker brothers.
It's an unassuming place where the food is comfort & down-to-earth, the service friendly and the Chili, out of this world. Being family friendly and all, its the perfect place for us and kids alike to load up on wings and Chili on spaghetti and such. Not surprising, it's a visit we look forward to - not often but often enough.
As soon as you're seated in the wooden booths, a tray of chili samplers with little plastic spoons are brought out and the server proceeds to explain all the Chili offerings:
Texas Chili, Vegetarian Chili, Terlingua Red & Cincinnati Chili.
Over the years we've often switchbacked between one and another. Mr. Hubby for most part has given it all a go. For me however, Terlingua Red is king.
One would think that a good chili would require a lot of fussing. Remember a while back we did a recipe for Southwestern Chili? Excellent right? But it took some work, no doubt. I was expecting a fair bit of fussing when it came to Jim Parker's (JP) recipe of Terlingua Red. So imagine my surprise, when just a chockful of ingredients and an hour's worth of work is all it takes to make this excellent Chili.
At the heart of The Terlingua Red is the spice blend consisting simply of red chili powder, ground cumin, ground cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder and a little salt.
Quirky, oh so easy and absolutely delicious especially when you've got those pillow soft corn breads for dunking. Follow the directions to the letter for a competition worthy bowl of chili, now a staple in our winter kitchen. So get off your hineys, give it a go and see for yourself!
Done right, broccoli soup is lovely. I do however favor the au naturel version of this soup v/s the heavily cheesed up, rouxed up one.
A challenge however is to end up with a soup that is creamy in texture rather than a gritty pureed boiled veggie type version. The addition of a tiddly bit of cream does wonders for this but the true magic lies in the addition of fresh dill in the puree.
I find that cooking dill for however little amount of time kills the fragrance of this gorgeous herb. So I've opted to add it to the soup at the very end, just as is. The herb drizzle oil, a simplified version of a basic pesto is lovely especially paired with the creamy goat cheese.
All in all this is a dressed up version of what is otherwise a homey comfort soup. But then again as we women know, accessories make all the difference!
February is invariably chocolate month in our home. This, for two main reasons - our oldest munchkin's birthday and Valentine's Day.
This month our little, not so little one anymore boy turned 10! Two-digits and that is scary for me as a mum. Because now everything that was in his future - the-far-away - one-day-future doesn't feel so far away anymore.
All of a sudden I can't help thinking that before the decade's out, he'll have a bobbing adam's apple, and hair - loads of hair - all over, and there'll be loaded looks between him and girls and that's not all - no longer the "ewww she's a girl", not to mention in a heart beat he's about to be taller then me which mind you is no great achievement considering I'm all of 5 ft, 2 inches. But nevertheless, how do you discipline a kid who is a ft taller than you? Oh I know, I'll definitely be putting than step ladder to good use. This by the way, is already the butt of family jokes - mom on a step ladder flaying her arms all around - snigger, snigger....
Not to mention - the driving. He'll be driving and I'll be sitting in the passenger seat. I need to take up crocheting or knitting just so I can keep my hands in my lap and have them do something other than clench. Not to mention him off to college and then into the world. You hear me, into the world.
And all I can think while all this is banging around in my head is that he isn't ready for the world. There is so much he has to learn, so much he doesn't know, so much I don't want him to know so soon. So I am holding on to the snippets of what will be some of our best memories and I relish the meals I cook for him and the joy on his face when he sees me baking his birthday cake. The cake he says I must bake because "Oh mum, you bake the best cakes in the world"!
I hold on to these beautiful precious moments and bake this cake, because before long he won't just be my little munchkin but a young man and then, a man. And I think of him stumbling upon this post decades later, and reading my words, seeing the snapshot of this cake and hopefully just for a moment he'll bask in the sunny memory of the day - the day he was 10.
A time when life was simple and uncomplicated.
I hope. I love.
At the heart of this recipe is a conviction,
Food will not meet it's death in my refrigerator
Nothing fires me up more than the thought of my refrigerator turning into a icy coffin for those wayward bits of veggies that have been neglected in the bottom tray below the bottom shelf. I am sure it feels half way to Hades down there.
Bits of vegetables and what-nots continue to rear there heads unexpectedly which goes to show that I am obviously not in control of my pantry and fridge. Though my body and soul may have recovered from my bout of recent PTGS - Post Traumatic Guest Syndrome, my fridge obviously hasn't.
I hope Mum isn't reading this because if she is, I expect the phone will ring any time...now.
I am therefore determined to put half the butternut squash and spinach to good use, before one gets moldy and the other wilty. if you don't know which ones going to do what I suggest you spend a lot more time with your greens...and start a multivitamin regime immediately.
For me the thought of a root vegetable quiche is exciting at so many levels -think buttery flaky crust nestling sweet roasted butternut squash, roasted red onions and spinach is a creamy parmesan custard. Not quite sure it will work but we're nothing if not daring!
Now you know me enough to know I will always advocate making your own crust but just this once I don't want to scare your away and keep you from experiencing this mind-blowingly delicious quiche so alright, buy a store pie crust if you must...sigh..
Thinking back, no wonder I was always broke - seems like I was feeding the whole dorm on any given night. I have always loved to cook but more than that I love to feed. Call it maternal instincts on overdrive with a dash of cultural idiosyncrasies.
I think such is true of almost all old world cultures - we are feeders!
Don't ever make the mistake of telling us you're full because chances are we're going to shovel another heapful onto your plate at that precise moment. Kid you not.
Speaking of student days, Mum had the foresight to pack some of my trusted cookbooks along with everything else. And thank goodness she packed my tattered , no frills Italian cook book by Nika Hazelton. Long before Batali, it's thanks to Nika that my love for home style honest Italian cuisine blossomed.
I still flip open the old girl every now and then and she never disappoints. This recipe however is an adaptation of one she makes with whole halibut. However, I've been making this simpler and economical version forever and it doesn't disappoint.
What more, its healthful and perfect for even the low-carb dieters.
I'm hoping to pass on my tattered cookbook to my boys when they're off to uni - the real question is how long does sticky tape hold and will they ever bother to open its archaic pages? I'll let you know in about a decade!
After a day of raiding the refrigerator, fixing 15 minute meals and eating out of bowls, I am ready to get back on the horse and bring out my exploratory cap for something different and delicious for lunch.
The prerequisite - nothing that involves rice or noodles or pasta. 'Nuf already!
My mind drifted towards samosas, since I had a some ground meat in the ice box but when we do end up making samosas we're going to make the traditional variety first - punjab style stuffed with spicy potatoes and peas, the meat filled ones will just have to wait.
And then it came to me like Zeus' bolt - 'meat filled envelopes' known by a variety of names such as tavaa roti in Mumbai or Mughlai paratha in Delhi or Murtabak in Maylasia.
I grew up eating these. We'd go to this neighborhood restaurant row with outdoor seating and we'd order what was called tavaa roti (which essentially means griddle fried bread) and I would watch this guy facing a 5 ft long griddle , stretch and twirl the dough like it was made of nothing but elastic, crack eggs and flip the stuffed rotis, high in the air with this long metal spatula. The one thing I do distinctly remember is that they were absolutely delicious.
Finally, standing at a roadside food cart outside the railway station at Johor Bahru, Malaysia, while these meat filled envelopes were prepared with similar theatrics was another dear memory. The rotiwala would throw the dough in the air and stretch it as he twirled it high above his head ( not unlike the pizza makers in Italy).
A lime sized lump of dough would become a large, smooth sheet in about a minute. It was then cooked and filled directly on the griddle with savory meat, chopped onions and beaten egg.
Only this time they were called Murtabak . Now I can't promise theatrics but I reckon we can make a pretty decent Murtabak a.k.a tavaa roti or Mughlai paratha right at home.
Lets blame it on the cloudy sky, an off day but please don't let my lame photography skills stop you from making one of the most delicious oatmeal creations you'll ever end up putting in your mouth. Guaranteed.
Old fashioned oats are cooked in freshly squeezed orange juice with nutmeg & chopped dates. To which is added brown sugar, butter & mashed bananas. Yummm......
Also,what a great way to use bananas on their last legs - that's exactly what you need for this dish - ridiculously overripe bananas.
Added incentive? 15 minutes to fix and dairy free for all those lactose intolerant & 'dairy-avoiding' folks out there.
So with the weekend here, what's your excuse?
Think Buttery Shortbreads Sandwiched with Caramel & Rolled in Coconut Flakes
Though there are many variations of this cookie all throughtout South America, the most common fillings are chocolate, dulce de leche & jam. As Dulce de Leche goes, you can of course go the super market route but as it's all the better home made.
How to make dulce de leche at home? Follow the cooked can method in one of my previous posts. You can make one can at a time but why bother when they'll keep for a long time in the pantry, unopened or refrigerated.
I first got hooked to these darlings as we continued to frequent our favorite Argentinian gelato place Dolcezza in Georgetown Washington D.C for their superlative gelatos, coffees and of course Alfajores. Just so you know, Argentinian gelato varies from it's Italian cousin in that's its creamier and made without eggs.
These cookies are all the rage during the holidays of course but since when do you need an excuse to enjoy these treats? These are even better when dunked in dulce de leche as you enjoy them with your cuppa.
That's what we've been doing all Sunday afternoon!
Well, here's a soup that will have you waiting for that chook carcass in your fridge.
Just think rich stock flavored with fennel with the scent of anise, natural sweetness of sweet potatoes enhanced with the flavor of brown sugar and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg? I hope that got you to sit up and take notice!
This is such a staple during the cooler months in our home and especially wonderful during busy days, cleaning days, 'I'm-bored-of-cooking-days' and 'I-am-soccer-mom-of-the-year' - days and of course my favorite 'leave-me-curled-up on-the-couch-with-a-book' days.
So for what ever ails you or for no reason what so ever, just simply because the air is crisp and the trees are barren, I hope you'll put this on your menu.
Chiles are hot
In most of Asia this holds true. If a chilli ain't hot, why bother!
It's only when you've been accquainted with the Southwestern and Mexican chiles like Guajillo, Anjo, Chipotle & Casabel that the opposite holds true - these chiles are smoky, rich and complex not hot.
At the heart of a great Pozole is a dried chile paste which gives it a thick texture, vibrant color and unforgettable earthy aroma. Here I've used dried Guajillo peppers that have been soaked in boiling water, turned into a fine paste and added into the simmering stewed pork. To this add the incredibly flavorful kernels of Hominy corn and you have an exquisite Pozole.
Guajillo chiles (pronounced Gwaa-hillo) are the backbone of Mexican-style cooking lending their classic smoky, rich and complex flavors to any dish. Especially fantastic with pork, these chiles have a 'heat reading' of 6000 scoville units.
Hominy corn is dried maize kernels that are treated and are available in cans in Latino or Mexican grocery stores.
Where to buy dried Chiles?
I buy all my chiles at Penzeys Spices and can vouch for their quality but feel free to shop at your neigbourhood Mexican/Latino stores.
Thank goodness for my years in the Southwestern USA where I learned so much about Mexican and southwestern cuisines I hope you'll find comfort from a cold blustery evening in the welcoming bowl of Pozole.
Here I am kicking off 2012 on the blog with~
a recipe, none (gasp)
gluttony, of embarrassing proportions
weight gain, equally embarrassing
exercise, on the books
smiles, from ear to ear
talk, a earful
a bucket, of love
a pail, of thanks
for all of you who have put up with my ups and downs, my oohs and my aahs whilst serving the world on a plate for all of two years now.
That's right, WEAVE A THOUSAND FLAVORS is now officially a toddler and is in the terrible two's so expect a year full of frequent mood changes and temper tantrums. Hang on a minute, isn't that where we've already been these last two years? So not only do we have a toddler on our hands, it seems we have a dysfunctional one!
Well what a two years it's been - for one, depending on whom you're talking to, we've gone from Obama to Heybama to Boobama! And no we aren't entering a world of political discourse on the blog, I'm just sayin'.
As for me, I can't wait to for another year of delicious, challenging and always fun eats, stories and more of hearing from all of you. The fact that we're still here goes to show how much your support, your comments, emails and friendship means to me.
Now I know that you all are just at a point when the post-holiday-blues are about to set in - no more gifts with Santa safely retired to the North pole for his year long zzzz......, so it is nothing short of providential that SARGENTO cheese has graciously offered one of my readers a whole years worth of free cheese!
That's 52 SARGENTO cheese coupons for one lucky winner that will entitle you to shop for Sargento's wide range of cheese products to your hearts content.
Apologies to my International readers but this ones only valid for folks in the US only.
Now, the important part – To Enter: You can enter in one of three ways -
Post a comment here letting me know which option above you chose and what your favorite cheesey dish is. If you already are a subscriber, follower, or 'like' Weave A Thousand Flavors on Facebook, just leave a comment indicating that – it will count as your entry.
This giveaway will be open until Friday, January 15th 2012 at 11:59pm PST. I’ll be announcing the winner on shortly thereafter.
So here's to a GREAT 2012!
Comments are closed.
The Winner of the contest as announced on Jan 16, 2012 is
Katie @ cozydelicious
CONGRATULATIONS & Have a cheesy year ahead! (Sorry couldn't resist!)
Be sure to mail me your address. Thanks!
After the rather large gluttonous feast of yesterday, I have no business eating for a week!
So thank goodness, I have 3 ravenous boys (err, a man) to help polish off the leftovers. I'm like a vulture when it comes to leftovers - we're going to pick them bones clean down to the teeny tiniest morsel.
Fact remains that since Thanksgiving, I'm all turkey schmurkeyed out. I have probably eaten my weight in bird and am determined to stay away from turkey recipes for a while. But fact remains, I've still got the detritus of yesterday's meal to deal with.
But then providence has its own plans and send a dazzling smile my way - no I didn't win the lottery and you'd think among the gargantuan crisis of world hunger, poverty and global warming, the Big Guy may be a wee bit too busy to keep an eye on my refrigerator and pantry supplies, eh?
But no sirree, I receive a link on face book by da man, culinary teacher extraordinaire Richard Grausman, pointing the way to Chef Cole Kraft's recipe from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts for his Yam and Turkey Croquettes.
You get it don't ya - the whole connectivity bit? I mean come on people, who do I have to dig up from his subterranean resting place, Carl Jung?
Anyway, providence need say no more. I donned my flowery apron and off I went slightly adapting Chef Kraft's original recipe taking artistic liberties and all. The end result, I must confess is as dazzling as a smile from sky above.
~ Christmas Wishes for You ~
~ And for them too ~
~Dear Stollen Purists ~
No doubt you feel strongly about your Stollen so I do not claim that this is THE definative stollen recipe but I do vouch for the fact that it IS a dry fruit studded, mouth-wateringly delicious and incredible cake-like bread.
You will therefore forgive me if you like your stollen hard as Bratt Pitt's bottoms because mine is moist in it's texture. You will also find yourself disappointed if you like yours as a log because I have chosen to go with the much more rustic, fold-over version.
Quite honestly, I wouldn't dream to claim that this version has the artistry of the 150 Official Dresden bakers, who make their famous Dresden stollen sold at the local Christmas market Striezelmarkt, distinguished by a special seal depicting King Augustus II the Strong but as Stollens go, it's a star and sure to be polished off, toasted for breakfast (or not!) and slathered with buttah (oh yes!).
Ho, Ho, Ho!
So used to say the Nepali foreman on my job site in Singapore.
A lovely thought.
But right now, being at the helm of Holiday baking & kiddy concerts and class parties that seem to have taken over my existence, smelling the roses seems to be the farthest thing from my mind.
I am sure most of us women sometimes feel like the hamster on a ferris wheel where the endless rigors of the day take its toll. Days filled with picking up kids, dropping up kids, waiting during their activities, cooking, cleaning, shopping etc etc. Not to mention the demands of a full time job with equally demanding & relentless people. And that's not even during the holidays!
Yes smelling roses is a distant notion indeed.
On such days, I take solace in a quick and elegant dinner. Something that forces me to take a deep breath, reminds me of fresh baked bread, cobblestone streets, azure waters and a bright golden sun. And few places in the world inspire a cook like Italy. And so with a handful of 'Oh so Tuscan' ingredients, a glass of wine and 15 minutes to spare, a dinner worth mention is created.
So I guess one man's roses, is another woman's soup.
Banoffee pie which as the name suggests is essentially a shortcrust pastry topped with homemade toffee filling i.e. dulce de leche, bananas and whipped cream is an English classic.
It is also a recipe that shouldn't be made by goofballs!
By that I mean, people who cannot, will not or simply don't believe in following directions to save their lives, people who leave stuff on the stove and fall asleep or worse walk out the door for a shopping spree.
What's really getting my knickers in a twist is this bit - the homemade toffee, dulce de leche which is essential as the filling.
How to make home made dulce de leche a.k.a toffee filling?
It involves these steps to be followed meticulously - The evening before fixing the pie, roughly 3 hours before going to bed:
1) Use 2 unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk
2) Use a large stock pot and immerse the 2 unopened cans of condensed milk in water. Make sure there is 9 inches of water above the surface of the cans. Cover the stockpot with a tight fitting lid.
3) On medium high heat, simmer the cans for 3 hours. Use a timer to keep track.
4) On the hour, every hour, keep checking to ensure there is at least 6 inches of water above the top of the cans. Replace with hot water as needed.
It is absolutely vital to top up the pot of boiling water as needed during the cooking process. 3 hours is a long time and if allowed to boil dry, the cans will explode guaranteeing a trip to E.R. with risk to life, limbs and kitchen ceilings!
5) After 3 hours, turn the stove off, leave well alone and go to bed.
6) Remove the cans from the water the next morning, open and what you will end up with is this -
And this dearies is step uno to this ~
Absolutely decadent & Utterly Delicious Banoffee Pie
Invented in East Sussex, England at the Hungry Monk in 1972, Banoffee Pie is even rumored to be Margaret Thatcher’s favourite pudding. The recipe followed in this post is based on the original recipe from the publication ‘The Deeper Secrets of the Hungry Monk’ in 1974.
There are cooks who advocate cooking the condensed milk in a pyrex dish for hours in the oven but in my experience it results in a tough and hard toffee filling that is impossible to cut through once the pie is chilled and at the risk of your teeth falling out of your head.
The 'cooked can' method used here to make the toffee is widely used all over the U.K and is original to the 'Hungry Monk' recipe.
Cook's Note - The toffee, dulce de leche can be made a week in advance and stored in a airtight plastic container in the refrigerator till ready to use. Unopened cans of toffee (the cooked cans) can be stored in the pantry cabinet for upto 3 months and is a great way to always have the fixings of Banoffee pie at hand for that last minute craving or unannounced company.
In fact it gets much much worse. Tonight's forecast reads verbatum from the National Weather Service is as follows....
.........WINTRY MIX OF RAIN AND SLEET CHANGING OVER TO SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS... 2 TO 5 INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET.
So you see, pakoras it is! Pakoras and rain (or sleet) go together like Jack and Jill, cucumber and dill, Lewis and Clarke....you get the drift.
Growing up in India, I urge you to find me one family that didn't wake up on a cold rainy morning to the words "Pakora aur chai ho jaaye" which loosely translates into " Pakoras and tea it is!". Call it cultural, I call it utterly delicious.
What's not to love of besan, a chickpea batter flavored with whole spices like coriander and carom seeds, red chillies and turmeric into which is nestled fresh spinach leaves, fresh ginger and onions, globs of which are dropped into hot oil just so they rise to the surface all light and airy?
Now imagine eating these hot off the stove with piping hot chai ~ see what I mean? Some traditions are just meant to be.
So why not I give you one of mine and you give me one of yours?
As people we have always been told that fear is at the root of all evil and this is almost always true. However, I confess that fear is at the heart of this recipe. You see I am what you call a 'strudel wimp'.
I don't mean strudel made out of pre-packaged pastry bits found in the freezer section of ones supermarket. I refer to the traditional method. If you've been reading this blog long enough you know by now that for most part I am a stickler for the authentic especially when it comes to traditional recipes that have been part of a culture for hundreds of years.
So I refer to the traditional method of 18th century strudel making that entails stretching the dough to the size of ones dining table and then folding over and over, repeating the process countless number of times. First of all, Lord knows how many laws of physics the dough is breaking to achieve this - not to mention the thought of my 5 year old grubby fingers poking and prodding the dough joined only by our Golden retriever and his propensity to stick his tongue at anything and everything remotely akin to food.
Needless to say - I am ways away from making traditional strudel at home. Having said that I love German cakes - especially the ones that have all those wonderful fresh fruits and dry fruits soaked in booze. Traditionally, Gugelhupf is a dry- fruit filled yeast cake which is then folded over into a log and baked. It's part cake and part bread and delicious.
So I decided to combine my yearning for apple strudel (the filling at least) and Gugelhupf making some major changes which makes life a whole lot easier -
1) instead of dealing with the rolling etc, I simply use the dough as dumplings which is easy peesy.
2) Serving this with an apple cream sauce takes from delish to decadent. Yumm....
In fact so easy is this to fix, not to mention delicious that it's a piece of cake...err...bread!
It's official! I am suffering from PTGS - Post Traumatic Guest Syndrome
We've had a houseful of friends Thanksgiving week and what a blast it's been! 6 growns-ups, 4 kids and 1 very big dog - 'nuf said. But after a week of laughter, gossip, tall tales and avoidable ones, brunches, large Thanksgiving feasts, meals, meals and more meals, hours of sightseeing, hot cups of chai, beer and wine flowing at the rate of our very own personal river and whining kids, the last of the guests have gone.
And that leaves me with the dirties - dishes, laundry, you name it and it needs washing, a refrigerator filled with useless sugary delights and a mound of turkey - none of which can be put together to make one decent meal.
So what do I do? I bury my head in my goose-down and go for a zzz.....a long 12 hour zzz...wake up and do some more zzz....ing. It has now been 48 hours and even I am running out of excuses for not creating a hot dinner. If it were up to me, I'll keep eating that cold turkey and stay in bed for another week. But it's not! I have a hubby who got up and went to work and kids that went to school and so I too must do just that - get up!
And what's on the menu tonight? Chinese.
Not the 'authentic' Chinese but the anglicized, take-away China King type grub - homemade.Delicious, somewhat greasy and always comforting, on such evenings, I turn towards my roots and my love for dhaaba or roadside eats and whip this up in jiffy. Recognizable in its Chinese roots, I would draw the line authenticity there and no further. This one is all about a little bit of this and a little bit of that and full on flavor.
On days like tonight, this hits the spot. It's either this or cold turkey!
National defrost day in the US was over the weekend. I refer to the turkeys that are defrosting in millions of refrigerators around the US in anticipation of being roasted on Thursday Thanksgiving Day. Now here's a celebration that is one of the biggest holiday's in the US larger somewhat than even Christmas!
Most of us are anticipating the arrival of family in friends and with most of the grocery shopping out of the way, it's time to clean house, fluff pillow, polish the silver and wash the crystal to sparkling clarity.
Needless to say I will be MIA this week! My kitchen however will be seeing more action than it's seen all year! With guests arriving before the D-day, it's great to have easy to put together, blow them away meals that will basically cook themselves while you're getting laundry done and running around with last minute errands.
So when Ananda at Pinch of Love asked me to do a guest post I was thrilled to prepare my Cantina Carnitas, Mexican pork with soft tacos and Pico de Gallo. A staple around here and my go-to, save-me dinner of choice, please head over to Ananda's corner and read the post, here.
Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'all!
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most of us have already spit & polished our menus. And even though I am just on the verge of being happily inundated, some things in life are good enough to break into a song and dance about. The fact that it is over a vegetable and that too one that almost always cooks with a slightly bitter undertone, should have your attention.
I have had brussel sprouts all the usual ways - steamed, buttered, shredded and coated in maple syrup - just anything to take away that bitterness and have the kiddies eat it too.
And for most part, its been a compromise. Well those day are over...over.
You know how in biology we learning about symbiosis where one organism or plant life depends upon the other for its survival.....does that also sound like marriage...hmm?
Well, brussel sprouts and grapes may not depend on each other for their survival biologically speaking but in the culinary world, they do or they ought to.
I never would have believed it until I tasted these for the first time - the brussel sprouts borrows the subtle sweetness from the grapes and changes itself - for the better. It's a win win!
I am so glad I came across this recipe flipping pages of Real Simple at the grocery store, remembered the salient features of the mag enough to recreate it and now it's making an appearance for everything from holiday dinners, boring wednesday dinners to 'Guess-who's-coming-to-dinner?' dinners.
Fix this and change your brussel sprout universe forever!
I have been guilty of this as much as the next person. These past few months however as I have been passing the tray of fresh squid in my Asian store there has been whispers of longing in my heart as I have scurried past the aisle.
Had I acted on these whispers in a timely fashion this post would have come to you a lot sooner. The final straw was when my boys this past week took the tongs in their hand, lifted up the beady eyed squid and gleefuly asked me to take some home.
Let me be honest, when it comes to food Mr. Hubby and I believe that since the boys are en route to becoming men, they must have a palete that grows with them and so they must be adventurous and open to food from all cultures.
It should therefore come as no surprise that at 6 months, the first solid food in the mouth of my older babe was Spanish Paella. And yet as adventurous as my boys are, the parent in me had an incling that the boys may be more enamored by the tenatales than the actual taste of these deep sea creatures.
Needless to say, I made a mental note to keep a side of whole grain toast and jam for them - just in case. The idea of a warm salad was appealing to me because I heart the thought of quick stir-fried squid on a bed of crispy tender summer veggies.
The end result thankfully left us all speechless - in a good way.