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Showing posts from 2016

Aug 11 - Grilled corn, Paneer, black beans and blueberry salad

Grill baby grill is my motto during summer. (of course I can cheekily say so given that its in the comfort of my kitchen with the stove vent on at full blast.)
Uber simple to assemble, Grilled paneer slabs cut into cubes, Black beans from the can, corn off the cobs grilled on the stove top, and fresh blueberries. spiced with smoky ancho chile powder, and lime.
mmm... mmmm... Good!

Aug 10 - South Indian style Kimchi

This was an experiment done on a wing and a prayer, tried to satiate my deep craving for 'kadugu mangai' (baby mangoes in a mustard brine), a classic South Indian pickle that is a staple in my kitchen. Up until this year, these baby mangoes were simply unavailable.

Sooo, instead of the mangoes, I decided to look outside the crisper drawer and before I knew it, I was stuffing an entire head of Napa cabbage liberally sprinkled with kosher salt and turmeric into a large glass jar. A month later, poured out the brine, combined it with raw mustard seeds, asafetida and arbol chiles, and gave it a whirl in the smoothie blender. The net result, a delicious kimchi (a tad salty though), that paired well with the tambrahm favorite - Yogurt rice!

Aug 9 - Cauliflower Kolhapuri

I have a dear friend from school who lives in the City of Kolhapur in Maharashtra. When I visited her  at the gorgeous heritage resort she owns there en route to a holiday in Goa, she gifted me with a spice blend that I treasured to the last speck. It sat  at the bottom of my freezer and was doled out for special dishes just like Saffron is rationed out in many Indian homes. Its a lip smacking flaming  hot blend of onions, garlic and the famed Kolhapuri Mirch (red chili).

I marinaded cauliflower florets in a paste of this spice blend , salt and oil, and roasted it in a 450 F oven. Finished with a handful of green coriander berries, this was a fabulous treat paired with roomali roti.

Aug 8 - Cream of Broccoli and Green Pea soup.

This was originally intended for my main blog 3 years ago , but it got diverted as a contributed recipe to a very prominent Indian Newspaper based out of Chennai. Little did I realize at the time what a bunch of sub standard unprofessional freeloaders they'd turn out to be. This soup was inspired and adapted to Indian flavors from Ree Drummonds recipe but took on a marked South Indian tinge with the finishing touches of pickle oil and 'kadugu mangai sauce'. Copying and pasting the entire recipe since it was mine in the first place!

Cream of Broccoli & green pea soup (makes ~ 4 servings, Prep time: ~10 min, Cooking time: ~ 20 min) You need: • 1 1\2 cups Broccoli florets (no stalks) shredded through a grater • 1\2 cup fresh, frozen or dried green peas • 4 tablespoons Ghee • 2 medium sized onions finely diced

Aug 7 - Panzanella Caprese

Ever since I stopped buying the brand name wonder bread  type of loves at home, and switched to the artisan variety sold in the bakery section instead of the bread aisle, we seldom have slices that get the chance to go stale. The flip side - I keep having to visit the Grocery stores almost thrice a week.

It was purely by chance that i completely overlooked half a loaf of rosemary olive bread of the organic kind. Cut the slices into cubes and toasted it lightly and tossed it into a salad with fresh mozzarella heirloom tomatoes ans  freshly picked basil. A generous sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of EVOO and voila a delicious light lunch perfect for summer.

Unusual Ingredients - Unripe Blueberry Achar

T'was just another Summer afternoon, The kids were home for the summer holidays, getting bored, there's only so much summer reading you can force them to do, and the Indian mommy in me could no longer caution them against going out in the afternoon  (I've solemnly refused to use that horrid excuse of 'You'll get a dark tan if you stay out in the mid day sun'), and so we decided to head out to Terhune orchards for the blueberry picking. The kids never say no to outings to the orchard, they LOVE the trip there, the cute yellow dogs and the cats,  the chocolate crinkle and Snickerdoodle cookies, and they positively trip over grabbing buckets and heading joyfully towards the berry bushes...



... And there it ends, the younger one loses herself in her delightful imaginary worlds where she probably thinks she's hacking her way through virgin Amazon jungle, sighing at every branch that brushes against her legs, picks 2 or 3 berries as if they were a new as yet und…

Jul 30 - 'Amma' Subzi

This is a family recipe that owes its origin to my paternal Grandmother, who was an amazing culinary queen.  Her attention to detail and stickler for perfection is something I'll never be able to match.
This dish doesn't have a name, we've just always called it 'Amma Subzi'.
This particular stew includes a paste of coconut, coriander and dal, its very 'south Indian' in flavor and yet, when paired with plain roti, its a match made in food paradise.

Jul 25 - Pan fried potatoes and peppers

Summertime means a myriad variety of peppers in the market, Just take a stroll along the Union  square market to see what I mean. I tend to go overboard whenever I visit and these peppers were quite a revelation, I had a batch roasted and scarfed down as is and it was delicious. so I used the rest in this dish, and my ears exploded - turns out there was one devious pepper in that lot that completely ruined me for this gorgeous looking platter. (I salvaged it by slathering it with yogurt, chat masala & Tamarind - date chutney)

Jul 19 - Banana Stem 'Kootu'

Banana plants (technically they're grasses, which makes your breakfast staple a cereal of sorts) are the classic case of being edible from stem to seed. First, obviously the fruit, and the green version is also used as a vegetable and as a dietary starch staple. The blossoms are cleaned and cooked up into curries and the core can be treated the same way as an artichoke, the leaves are used as thatch and as disposable plates, the central veins of the leaf and the outer layers of the stem are a useful source for ropes and twine. That leaves the core stem and the underground Corm. The corm regenerates into a new plant so I guess humans will want to leave it alone, but the core has a mild vegetal grassy flavor that pairs beautifully with coconut, the texture and crunch is similar to Jicama, but with a certain directionality' (kinda like a steak).. The diced core is boiled in water along with turmeric and salt. and a blend of fresh coconut, cumin and arbol chiles is added to it. L…

Jul 18 - Green Curry with Home made Seitan

My kid loves Seitan / Wheat gluten in his bowl of Thai green curry, until a couple of months ago he just happened to read the list of ingredients, replete with a cornucopia of preservatives that positively made him gag. After a couple of Seitan deprived green curries, he mustered up the courage to suggest that we make our own, and I had no clue about how to execute on that request, except that one needed Wheat gluten. That I had plenty of , a couple of boxes to be precise and they even had directions. In the next half hour, I had this stretchy mass of protein all set to be grilled. and a Iphone shot even had some of my Instagram buddies wondering when I'd started making Chicken at home.

Jul 16 - Starfruit Liqueur

Yet another one of my successes that I never got around to blogging..Probably because as fun as it is to steep & infuse your own, I'm not a fan of liqueurs by a long shot. I just serve it up to guests.
making these is easy enough, thinly slice a ripe starfruit, place in a tall weck jar with one cup of vodka. Let it steep for 2 weeks, then strain through a coffee filter. Combine with an your specific preferred volume of simple syrup. Add about 1/3rd cup and thereafter keep adding by the tablespoon until the sweetness is to your liking. Of course discretion is called for while testing/tasting. Allow the liqueur to rest for about 3 weeks before serving it.

Jul 15 - Lime rice noodles with toasted Pecans

Aaah, whats an Indian pantry in the US of A to do without a stash of rice noodles. It occupies the same level of stock up priority as pasta in its myriad shapes. Chow fun, Mei fun, every shape & size. Its handy for Thai, Chinese as well as the classic Indian Sevai.

As with the great triumvirate of rice dishes in the Tambrahm kitchen, they all have a rice noodle (Sevai) equivalent, this version of rice noodles was seasoned with lime and toasted pecans instead of the traditional peanuts.

Jul 13 - Home made Pizza with sweet peppers

Making Pizza has ceased to be a recipe for me, thanks to Jim Lahey's no knead Pizza dough. its a sure fire winner and all that limits me is the ready availability of ingredients like fresh Mozzarella on hand. Beyond this, your imagination sets your limits.

This version was made with home made Pasta sauce that was canned last year. A fine julienne of sweet peppers in different colors and a sprinkling of herbes de Provence. Baked at 450 F for about 10 minutes.

Jul 12 - Strawberries in Champagne

Ever wonder what happens to the  scraps & dregs left behind after freshly churned ice cream or sorbet is transferred to a container and allowed to claim its place in the freezer. In real life I take a silicone spatula and scrape every extra bit from the frozen ice cream bowl, no tossing it into the sink to get washed and cleaned up. that kind of waste is OK for the small screen, I'm brazen enough to say that I'm capable of licking the bowl clean, but will not because I do not want to rip out my taste buds. I'd posted the strawberry sorbet recipe yesterday and got about a quarter cup of extra puree that wouldn't fit in the freezer, and plus, it had melted down by the time I was done. So that evening, it was a fabulous cocktail made with this very leftover.

A tablespoon of Strawberry kumquat puree, topped up with chilled Brut (dry) Sparkling wine / Champagne.
Cheers!

Jul 11 - River Cafe's Strawberry Sorbet - A kumquat variant.

Fresh strawberries personally handpicked, the inherent pride ensures that you want to showcase the berries at their purest. This recipe is nothing short of genius, and is included as part of Kirsten Miglore's book 'Genius recipes' . I did play around with the ingredients. Instead of using lemons, I preferred kumquats (cut and de seeded).

Here's the link to the recipe, use a cup of de seeded kumquats instead of the 2 - 3 lemons for this particular version.

Jul 7 - Foraged greens rice with Fresh Black eyed peas.

I have lettuce and curly mustard growing sporadically on my back lawn and at some point of time really felt that I should use it in food, since my yard is completely pesticide free. there was a mix of spinach, chard, sorrel, curly mustard and lettuce.



Sauteed the Green Black eyed peas (I know it sounds like a color clash, doesn't it?) with sliced onions along with some plain garam masala.




Then steamed the greens, pureed it and stir fried it into some cooked rice along with spiced Green black eyed peas. The end result? an incredibly flavorful lunch offering. straight up from Nature.

Jul 6 - Barebones Rasam with Rice noodles

My 7 year old's most favorite food in the world is a simple broth seasoned with cumin, coriander, curry leaves and tomato. I expressly hesitate calling this 'Rasam' as refers to the traditional South Indian dish, since this was a quick hack version I could whip up in the time it takes to boil water. I add ingredients as I go along if they're within reach, slivers of ginger on one day, crushed peppercorns on some days, a couple of cherry tomatoes. but the barebones recipe is always the same: a mix of cumin, coriander, tuvar dal and arbol chiles prepared every week and left in the coffee grinder. just add it to water, a knob of tamarind , tomato paste, salt, turmeric and a pinch of asafetida. I love adding readymade rice noodles to the mix similar to a Pho, My kid prefers rice.

Jul 4 - Roasted beets and Sunflower sprouts salad.

I prefer salads with body any day to those 85% lettuce offerings, no matter what exotic greens you added to the mix, I still don't find those leaf  heavy bowls filling.
When I make my salads its usually filled with a lot of the toothier, chunky vegetables, nuts and cheese. I love adding sunflower sprouts , since the tiny leaves are almost cactus like in thickness and have a fantastic burst of flavor. A generous sprinkle of crumbled Feta and avocado slices dispenses the need for adding any added oils to the salad as a dressing. Simply drizzle with honey, a crack of salt and pepper does the trick.

Jul 2 - NY Dosas

I doubt whether I've ever had a vending cart lunch that was so sublimely delicious. you may expect this in every street corner in Indian cities, but this is the Big Apple, A.k.a New York city I'm referring to, and right in the heart of the campus of my Alma Mater NYU.

The NY dosa vending cart is operated by Mr. Thiru Kumar, A Sri Lankan Chef right in the middle of Washington square Park, The menu items are simple - Dosa or Uthappams, with multiple variations. The quality of the dishes is amazing, the dosas are perfect, not a spot of extra oil, the right amount of crispness yielding to a mild flavorful potato filling mixed with dry coconut chutney and a mix of fresh greens, bell peppers and carrots. Truly a comfort treat in the middle of Manhattan.

I'm going to stop at this point since I'm on the verge of drooling over the laptop and refer you to this article for further details!

Jul 1 - Skillet Cheese toast.

Sometimes the best dishes are those that require no recipe. I make this cheese toast on a skillet set on low heat just add the toppings to a good sturdy slice of bread, like a Tuscan or multigrain loaf (none of those assembly line preservative foam blocks of bread please), microwave just enough to melt the cheese and then let it sit on the cast iron skillet with a lid on. When the bottom is crisp and golden, your toast is ready.

Jun 30 - Avocado, Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Summer time is Salad time.. and I''m not a fan of putting salads together, or maybe I like the way it sounds being called a 'Salsa' (invokes savory spicy visions) I made this over a year ago, and it qualifies enough to be called semi home made, canned corn & beans, with fresh avocado mashed in. spiced with finely minced green chilies, shallots, cilantro & lime.

Jun 29 - Fava Bean tempura

Whenever the craving strikes for deep fried food, I always try and maximize by trying out new ingredients to fry up, and whatever is sitting in my pantry/ fridge is fair game. This time around it was Fava beans freshly shucked from the pod, mixed with a chickpea batter infused generously with fresh thyme, and fried up.

June 27 - Dry Garlic and Coconut chutney.

Pulling out one of my older recipes I'd posted on Food 52 (shoring up all the dishes I made in June for July  posts!
This dry chutney is a staple condiment for classic Indian street foods like Vada Pao, & bhajias (tempura made with almost any vegetatable coated with a spiced chickpea batter . 2 tablespoons shredded fresh coconut (OR) 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper powder1teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes1 clove garlicSea Salt to tasteIn a Mortar, combine all the ingredients & pound till the garlic has completely been minced & incorporated into the powder.

June 23 - Harappan eggplant curry (the worlds FIRST curry recipe)

This recipe was all over the news yesterday, thanks to BBC. a recipe recreated from remnants of food found in pot shards at Farmana in Harappa. Using spices common 3000 years ago on the Indian sub continent. The original called for cumin, which wasn't part of Indian cuisine up until the 3 rd century AD (it was a Mediterranean influence, brought in by Phoenician traders).
I replaced the cumin with long pepper (aka Thippili / pippili). and used thin baby eggplants similar to the Japapnese eggplants that are more common to the region rather than the regular ones available in the market.
The dis is simple to make. make a paste of fresh ginger, fresh turmeric and long pepper, saute it with sesame oil, add salt and the eggplants. Cover to cook. add grated green mango when the eggplants are halfway cooked. Finish with a garnish of holy basil.
I served it up with a traditional pongal.

June 22 - Carrots and red currant salad

Pomegranates are out of season in Summer, just when they are most needed to fill that niche of colorful, delicious and healthy salad ingredients. But then currants fill in that niche beautifully, ruby like spherical pearls, they're perfect for this traditional South Indian Kosmalli/Koshimbir salad. Sweet tart and bursting with Juicy flavor.

June 19 - Saffron infused Sweet Pongal

As far as comfort foods go, Sweet Pongal is right up there on top of the list. A mix of Mung dal  and short grained rice cooked to a mush and sweetened with unrefined sugar. This version surprisingly  does not have any Cardamom to flavor it as is the case with many many South Indian desserts. Instead  it has a micro pinch of edible Camphor along with Saffron for the flavor and color. The taste.. Priceless.

Jun 17 - Jackfruit seed stew

Given that Jackfruits are by definition such huge specimens and it takes a labor of love to prep them, It only makes sense that one tends to want to use up every bit of the fruit. The matted fibers in between the arils are rather inedible and tough. That leaves the seeds. They have a texture and flavor similar to chestnuts and they're traditionally roasted or cooked into stews.

This particular version has the jack-fruit seeds boiled with turmeric and then cooked down with a spice blend consisting of fresh coconut, cumin and arbol chiles. Finished off with a seasoning of tempered mustard seeds and curry leaves.




June 16 - Jackfruit Tamales

Around the time that I was on a high after discovering whole Jackfruits for sale at my local Whole Foods, I also discovered a tiny grocery / cafe in my neck of the woods that stocked up on Mexican foods & ingredients, Armed with a BIG bag of Corn husks and cornmeal readily on hand. Whats a girl to do? Make Jackfruit tamales of course.
As nonchalant as this sounds, I don't think these ingredients have been combined together. The recipe is accurately written down in my little notebook and plenty of photographs clicked, so I guess this is a teaser/trailer for a recipe to be posted on the main blog.

Jun 15 - Pav Bhaji in Puff Pastry

As you know, Pav bhaji can never be made in small quantities. I have a 5 qt cast iron braising pan exclusively for the dish and the vegetable still overflows while cooking, because I don't think Le Creuset makes a larger braiser. But it seldom goes waste at home. the leftovers are scooped up with toast the next day or eaten straight up cold as is. (All ye who love day old cold pizza, you know what I mean!)

These were the leftovers from making a calabaza squash Pav bhaji. The puff pastry is store bought from Wegmans, just prep the pastry as per the package directions and spoon the warmed up pav bhaji into the cups prior to serving. Top with bits of pickled onion and cilantro.

Street food never looked so chic!

June 14 - Thai Moscow Mule

Did I mention that I have a stash of Vodkas infused with various Herbs & spices? they sit in my bar cabinet, rather like bottles from a Zoology lab, with specimens of the flora variety floating in clear alcohol (that may or may not have imbibed color from the leaves & fruits they're steeped with.
One such bottle has an infusion of Galangal, Lemongrass and Thai basil. its rather strong, since the infusion is over a year old and yours truly is kind of conducting a long term storage taste  experiment.

This particular concoction is a combination of that infused vodka, juice of half a lemon and topped off with Fever tree Ginger beer.
Cheers!

Potato Lasagna with OXO bakeware

In the 20 plus years that I have been using OXO, I've seen the product range expand from the traditional Kitchen gadgets (like the peeler I've held on to since 1996) to small appliances to baking equipment. I have been fortunate to test many of these appliances and they've been a firm and permanent fixture in my kitchen.
The latest from OXO product line is a fantastic set of bakeware and glass storage bowls with airtight lids. The first feature that grabs your eyeballs is the weight of the pans ans you carefully pull it out of the packaging. Like it or not, glass bakeware has a tendency to make food stick to the bottom. (just think of how many dish cleaning products base their ads on this one fact), and my first instinct as my arms adjusted to the weight of the baking dish was 'I wonder if the heavy base will minimize the scrubbing afterward'.

 I did a test run with the 9 inch square baking dish using a ready made brownie package and it aced the test. once the brow…