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Showing posts from January, 2012

Carrot Halwa Blondie Bars - an Update..

This has been one of my all time favorite recipes that I had created when I began writing this blog.. Just as a child who's distinguished him/herself and making a parent proud, Today, I'm so humbled & proud that my recipe for Carrot Halwa Blondie Bars has been picked by Cooking Channel as the  winner in the Indian Category. The show is called 'The Perfect 3' and I've been invited to tape a webisode at the Food Network Studios in New York City in February with Kelsey Nixon, the host of the show.

Thanks so much for the support & encouragement from all of you readers!

Taste from Waste II - Pumpkin 'Brain' Chutney

Yeah OK, we're at the end of pumpkin season, waiting anxiously for that yoda like rodent, that prognosticating groundhog from Gobbler's Knob, Punxsutawney, PA to announce to the world about when spring 2012 will be here (sheesh!, the best weather predicting satellites & software & we still defer to the groundhog!).
Well, as long as the cold weather is here, we'll be making do with potatoes, pumpkins, and greens from the Brassica family such as cabbage, cauliflower & kale, not there is anything to complain. In fact, personally, I could live on potatoes alone!
Having said that, the topic of food waste still buzzes within the cranium and a pumpkin is one example of multiple components of the vegetable used up. The flesh needs no introduction, its baked, roasted boiled & pureed (thats 4 potential recipes for the future right there), the toasted seeds are used for stadium snacks, an aromatic gourmet oil & in granolas & topped over muffins. All that is d…

Taste from Waste - Cauliflower stem relish!

In the interest of full disclosure, I missed watching Food Networks special show 'The Big Waste' and am scrambling to catch it in bits and pieces via YouTube.. Its shameful the amount of food that is discarded in what can only be described as cavalier. I remember getting quite shocked when watching Rachael Ray's show 30 minute meals & seeing her rrriiiip out 2 layers of onion before dicing.  and Iron Chef America... don't even get me started!

Blame it on my Indian sense of thrift, but I'd always seen the papery layer peeled out carefully to retain the fleshy parts and just the bare minimum of the root end gouged out. Ditto with a multitude of other produce put to completely full use, peels, seeds, shoots, even the occasional coconut 'going south',  you name it, there is quite possibly a wonderful dish centered around it.

Given the shocking statistics regarding food waste, I was quite curious to find out how my local grocey store Wegmans dealt with prod…

Heralding the Sun God - Sankranti

With the advent of the New year as per the Gregorian calendar, comes the first wave of festivals celebrated throughout India (We Indians simply LOVE to get the day off, celebrating festivals, religious as well as social, Heck, when no religious conforming to our personal faith is in sight, We'll happily participate in other festivals from other religions and I'm not joking). Christmas morning at home would be heralded by my dad playing 'Mary's Boy child' & Silent Night (the only Christmas related songs we had on a cassette tape at home).
Fifteen days into the year arrives the first Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving known in Tamil Nadu as 'Pongal' ( Literally translated as 'bubbling over). It marks the end of the month of Margazi (generally considered a non auspicious month where everything is left dormant, perhaps because it fall during the winter solstice).  The advent of Sankranti marks a new beginning, old stuff is tossed out to make way for the …

Stairway to Heaven - South Indian Style Kale stir fry

The 5th of January marked the auspicious day (according to the Hindu Calendar) of  'Vaikunth Ekadashi' (Vaikunth - Paradise, ekadashi.. The 11th day of the lunar cycle). As per Hindu tradition, this day signifies 'open house' in the Lord's abode when anyone leaving the mortal world to meet their Maker is assured of salvation, free of the cycle of birth & death.
The day is marked by prayer and fasting. Perhaps the best way to explain the significance of this tradition is to refer to Devdutt Pattanaik's article on the topic. But unlike other occasions, the fast is not broken by decadent culinary offerings  but with a simple pepper flavored gravy, plain rice and a stir fry made with the leaves of the hummingbird tree (Sesbania grandiflora). Known as 'Agathi Keerai' in the Tamil language, it finds applications in Southern Indian & Thai cuisine.


The texture of the leaves is somewhat leathery and to be frank, it is an acquired taste, almost eaten bec…