Call it childish, but the sensation of squirming with excitement as only a 6 year old is, in someways
one of the best states to be in occasionally. The feeling of 'OH MY GOD, this can't be happening to me, (but it is)'.. I went though one such 'aha' moment a fortnight ago, thanks to Cooking Channels Recipe Contest for their 'The Perfect 3' show.
The category was 'Indian', the show focuses on three 'perfect dishes in each category made by three of the celebrity chefs from the Food Network/ Cooking channel family and the fourth, a winning original entry from amateur home cooks (such as yours truly), vetted & tested by the professionals at Food Network at their Kitchens. (The same stoves on which Iron Chef Bobby Flay tests his throw down recipes with his assistants Miriam & Stephanie).
|The Hallowed Food Network Kitchens!
The taping sessions were a model of perfect efficiency. The associate producer, Natasza Fontaine had taken care of every detail one could think of. The winning contestants were flown to New York City (In my case, I just hopped onto a North East Corridor train on NJ Transit), with a comfortable hotel stay at the boutique, nautically themed, Maritime Hotel for 2 nights. Also included was a guided tour of the Food Network studios, where hardcore Food Network fans such as myself could find out all that we've always wanted to know, but never got the chance to ask. ( My question of choice.. What happens to all the extra food & ingredients?.. Answer: Food Network donates all extra produce & groceries (other than proteins) to City Harvest, close to 2200 lbs every year).
The taping session was organized like clockwork by the production company, Working Dog Productions. At 9.15 a.m Sharp on the day of taping, I was picked up in a SUV with a large sign that read 'Food Network Contest Winners'. (my head promptly began to cook up visions of cheesy Hindi 'Fillum' shots.. "Hallo ji, myself, Food Natwork competisson winner" AARRGH!)
They had everything ready for the taping session at the studio, from hair & make up touch ups & picking out my outfit ( settled on a deep blue tussar silk 'kurti' that my late mother had gifted me 7 yrs ago. My way of remembering her & keeping her close. That sentiment completely overrode any fashion preferences). Kelsey Nixon, the host of the show, breezed in with her cheerful smile & completely set me at ease.
A huge batch of my blondie bars, looking oh so delish, perfectly arranged greeted me on the set.
They had a 'rehearsal, followed by 3 final takes, and added bits with the close ups. The attention to detail simply blew me away. So much to learn from that!
This was clearly one of my highlights from my life as a food blogger and needless to say, this was my general state of mind when I got back home!
As I get ready for my Big 100th blog post next week, (no clue yet as to what I'm going to create), This weeks recipe is one that has been a staple at home for a couple of months now. The last time I took photographs of the process, they got 'swallowed up' by my old laptop that croaked on me. I'm pretty sure that Rosemary has been incorporated into Parathas way before I stumbled on to the idea, but one thing is for certain, the taste is unforgettably delicious.
Rosemary Potato Paratha: (makes ~ 6 parathas)
For the Dough:
2 cups whole wheat flour (preferably Roti Atta Flour)
a pinch of salt
~ 6 oz water.
Combine the flour & salt, add the water in increments & knead to make a firm ball of dough. Divide into six and cover with a wet towel until ready to roll into parathas.
For the Filling:
2 large Yukon gold or Idaho potatoes
1 large sprig Fresh Rosemary (leaves stripped off the twig)
1-2 small fresh green chili. (adjust as per your taste)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (adjust up or down as per your preference)
Juice of 1/2 a lime.
Melted ghee for brushing the paratha.
Finely chop the chili and Rosemary leaves almost to a minced consistency.
Wash & cut the potatoes into half & boil till a knife slips through with little resistance through the cooked tuber.
Drain excess water, peel the potatoes and place in a mixing bowl along with the salt, lime juice and finely chopped rosemary & green chili blend.
Break the hot potatoes so that the steam is released. This helps the filling to be as dry as possible. Mash the potatoes to crush any lumps to get a smooth filling. Shape the filling into spheres, approximately the size of ping pong balls.
Roll a portion of dough into a 6 inch flat tortilla. (use a generous amount of extra flour to ensure that the dough does not stick to the surface or rolling pin.).
Place a ball of filling and roll the dough around like you would do for an enchilada. Pinch the ends & fold over so that the filling is evenly enclosed within the dough.
Flour the board & gently roll out the the potato filled dough into a 5 inch circle.
Heat a flat griddle and add place the paratha on it. Brush liberally with ghee, after two minutes flip to the other side and brush the other side with ghee as well. The paratha is done when both sides have turned a golden brown with tiny black spots. Serve with a Raita of your choice and Indian Mango or lime Pickle.