These days, my attention span at work is pretty short. I think I’ve got senioritis. I’m leaving in a few days, and with all the exciting stuff ahead of me, it’s hard to stay focused. But I’m trying, damn it. Yes I am. This morning I noticed a wonderful post from Jenifer on Nectar and Light that I’m trying, for the sake of my job, to pretend I didn’t see (at least till I get home!). Not only is her blog fabulous, she listed a bunch of her favorite blogs, many of which I have never seen before, so I’m SO excited to check them out. I did a quick peek, and let me tell you, she’s hip to some incredible-looking blogs. Go check out her post here, that is, if you’ve got time to spare. If not, stay far, far away from that link.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
I’ve got all this beautiful basil and thyme and need ideas of what to do with it! I’ll make a pesto for sure, but outside of that, any suggestions?
So I can’t believe that this has taken so long, but I’ve finally put together the roundup and picked a winner (by random draw). Here’s the list of all the entries. I enjoyed reading these so much.
It was such a treat to read all of your memories. I loved getting reminded of memories that I had forgotten about, and hearing about experiences that I never could have imagined. You guys made my month! So spread the word, I’ll be continuing this event each month, and I’d love to get more people involved! Stay tuned for the next installment!
Oh, and how could I forget?? The winner! This month’s winner is Audrey of Superfine Spot! I’ll be contacting you about your prize :)
Here’s another wonderful list of top ten food-related memories from Plutosangel at One of a Grind. I love envisioning the “dal” in number 3. I had so many failed cooking experiments as a kid, so I love stories like that. Enjoy! And thanks to Plutosangel!
1. My late grandmother once bought a miniature ceramic tea set for me. I would drink cups and cups of ”tea” (read: water) from it and offer everyone their cups. My sister and grandmother would play along for hours with me.
2. My kiddie battery operated Kitchen Set. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it. There was a 75% discount sale in that store, and you wont believe it but I actually pushed everyone and bought it before anyone could even read the carton.
3. My first attempt at Dal. I was 7 I had seen my mum make dal and assumed it was really easy. I filled a glass with water and mixed turmeric, salt and (a tablespoon of) asafoetidia. Then I stirred it and took a sip. I almost threw up.
4. The first time I made Chocolate chip cookies with my sister. Sis started getting bored of making multiple batches and suggested that we make one chocolate chip cookie with all the batter rather than many.
I didn’t understand what she meant by that so she explained, “I mean instead of many chocolate chip cookies lets make one CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE” she said that in a hoarse voice and a really distorted expression to emphasise the size. I almost died by laughter that day. :D
5. On our Holiday in Dubai we went on the Desert Safari and ate the most exotic kababs on earth. I did a foolish thing I thought I was being greedy and left one skewer which turned out to be the best one. (I stole a couple of pieces from my sisters plate- So I was greedy anyway
6. Once on a holiday to a hill-station during the monsoon we bought some of the freshest, most delicious radish, the sweetest corn and the juiciest carrots. I don’t think I’d ever eaten vegetables that tasted so good
7. Id- Ul-Fitr every year is the most awesome time (probably the only real festival we have anyway) Sheer Kurma and Qurbaani Mutton Biryani just gets better every year
8. I love getting assorted chocolate boxes as gifts. My sister and I would read the label and the description of each type of chocolate and rate them according to preference.
9. Samosa Pav at my School Cafeteria and Chinese Bhel at my College Cafeteria. Not to forget the Paneer Schezwan Frankie outside school. The Mix Fountain Soda was another School favourite. It’s a unique combination of Sprite, Pepsi and Fanta. Too bad they stopped it because it was unhealthy for the kids (Spoilsports)
10. My first experience with Chello Kabab at Blue Nile in Pune. Its flavoured rice with Seekh Kababs. The dish looks dull and flavourless but the minute you mouth a spoonful, you’re in Heaven. We always eat there when in Pune.
Directions: 1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention; add a question of your own. 2. Tag eight other un-tagged people.
//what is your current obsession// secretly learning to finger pick (on the guitar) late at night so no one can hear me practicing ;)
//good coffee place// Satellite on 50th. And my kitchen.
//do you nap a lot// hahah yeaaaaah.
//who was the last person you hugged// Emery aka DJ Ill-literate
//what was the last thing you bought// sushi
//what is your favorite line from your favorite movie// Dr. Peter Flynn: “These are scrubs.” Max Fischer: “O-R they?” (Rushmore)
//what are you listening to right now// the Donovan radio station on Pandora, also Bob Dylan
//what is your favorite weather// 70, sunny, little bit of a breeze, OR… about 65, coolish but not cool enough to need a jacket, gray and kinda rainy.
//what’s on your bedside table// Coffee cup, statistics textbook, 6 books I’m meaning to read, phone, matches, and some seashells I found at the beach last summer.
//say something to the person who tagged you// dear Kyle, I’m in a sentimental mood, so here we go: After all these years, I continue to be thrilled that we’re still friends. You’re one of the most unique and awesome people I’ve ever met and you NEVER fail to crack me up. Go Kyle.
//if you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you want it be// Yes please. I’d like a rustic cabin in a beautiful wooded area that is somehow deceptively close to either NYC or Philadelphia.
//favorite vacation spot// Corsica and Italy, but Bermuda is pretty incredible too.
//name the things you cannot live without// friends, family, music, fresh air and open space, my favorite knives and pans.
//what would you like to have in your hands right now// My dog. Damnit Brillo I miss you! (she’s on a mini vacation at my parents’ house)
//what is your favorite tea flavor// Rooibos with a little bit of milk.
//what did you want to become as a child// A doctor. Of course. Apparently I used to ride around the neighborhood on my tricycle with a fanny pack full of band-aids and hydrocortisone in case someone got hurt. Also I carried little prizes to give my “patients” if they were well behaved.
//what style trend is the hardest one for you to adopt// Umm.. not wearing sweatpants out in public.. since we’re being honest.
//if you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour where would you go// the beach. a nice one with clear blue water (sorry Jones, your green-brown water is keeping you off my top ten list).
//what is your favorite scent; perfume// fresh cut grass/after the rain OR the smell of people’s fireplaces when I’m walking around the neighborhood in the winter.
So here we go. I’m gonna tag a couple of people I know and then go out on a limb and tag some people that I would like to be blog-friends with. Soon. For now I just wanna get this up! Stay tuned for tagging.
Wow. I’m amazed. I haven’t posted in SO LONG, and yet I just checked my blog traffic, and apparently some of you are still peeking every now and then. I’m flattered. So now I’m motivated to post again, thank you! But I want to do something that I haven’t done yet… I want to reach out to you readers. What would you like to see on this blog? Do you have any favorite recipes? Anything you want to see more of? Any cooking/baking questions you want answered? So leave me a comment, let me know! I’m totally open to suggestions.
Hope to hear from you all soon!
p.s. as you can see above, I’ve included a totally gratuitous picture of my dog. Her name is Brillo, and as you can see, it’s not much of a stretch.
So right now there is a baby lying on my chest. Yep, you heard me right. On Thursdays I nanny for the cutest little guy that I’ve ever met. He’s sixteen months old and doesn’t have tantrums. Enough said. That’s right, I get to play mom for one glorious day, and then give the kid back to his real mom and go on with my life. Not a bad deal, huh?
The only problem (and it’s really only a problem sometimes) is that this guy is super cuddly. Normally I’m flattered, I mean, who’s going to refuse baby hugs? However, he takes a nap every afternoon, and he likes to sleep on my chest. And when I say “likes”, I really mean that he must sleep on my chest with his little fists cliniging to my shoulders, and his little head nestled in the nook right between my shoulder and collarbone. Now for the most part, this is great, I mean, it’s completely adorable. But it becomes a bit of a problem if, say, I have to go to the bathroom, or if, perhaps, I’ve become hungry and am starting to develop a major craving for the incredible chocolate cake I made the other day.
Who am I kidding? The overwhelming cuteness more than makes up for having to hold it, or, in today’s case, having to wait an extra couple of hours to get a piece of that cake. Oh, life is tough.
As much as I’d like to keep gushing about this baby (and I could, believe me) I’ll get back to the cake- eventually. The other night my friend Julia came over for dinner, which was less of a dinner and more of an over-ambitious and completely awesome dumpling party. We made three kinds of dumplings, all of which were delicious, none of which I took pictures of. Ah well. Maybe next time. I also made this cake. Unfortunately, by the time we had made and feasted on the dumplings, we were way too full to even think about dessert. So dutifully, we all shared a tiny sliver of the cake, taking about a half a forkful each. It was good. Very good. Delicious, even. But it was not the right time for cake. So the cake went back into the fridge to rest until another day when we would be less full and more ready for dessert.
The next morning I emerged from my dumpling coma hungry. I fully intended to have a responsible breakfast but, well, it was Saturday, and that cake was just sitting in the fridge. Just sitting! So yes, it became breakfast, and it was worth it.
I have to say, I was pretty excited about this cake. Lately I haven’t been the most adventurous (or the most prolific, for that matter) baker. I’ve been short on time and have been sticking to the tried and true recipes. But this time I felt like trying something new, and I’m glad I did. The cake is kind of a coming-together of three of my favorite things: Clotilde’s Melt in Your Mouth Chocolate Cake, pistachios, and pears. I made a half recipe of a variation of the chocolate cake, improvised on a pistachio frangipane, and added sliced pears, sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar. It sounds pretty simple, and it was, but when baked together it became something more. The saltiness of the pistachios played perfectly against the dark chocolate, and the nuttiness gently permeated the rest of the cake. The pears added some necessary lightness to the otherwise rich dessert, and leant a subtle fruitiness to each bite.
As easy as this cake was, it looked and tasted pretty impressive, which is why I highly recommend that you make the next time you’re looking to get some oohs and ahs. I’m sure it would be adorable in the form of mini cakes, too. The bonus? It stores really well, and arguably tastes better on the second or even third day.
Pear Pistachio Frangipane Cake
Serves at least 8
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 1 stick minus 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 100g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate (use the best you can find)
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon of flour
For the pistachio frangipane:
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup ground pistachios (a slightly rounded ½ Cup unground)
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
For the pears:
- 2 pears (Bosc or Anjou are fine)
- A few teaspoons white sugar and some cinnamon
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper (I like to butter the pan, then butter the parchment paper).
In a mini food processor, grind the pistachios and the flour to a fine meal. Set aside. With an electric mixer (or, I imagine, even in the mini food processor), cream the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the ground pistachios (which already have the flour added) and beat until it forms a smooth paste. Transfer to a piping bag or a ziploc.
In a double boiler over just-simmering water, melt the chocolate and the butter. Remove from the heat (you can transfer the chocolate-butter to a mixing bowl, but I prefer to keep it all in one bowl and just put the top half of the double boiler on a kitchen towel). Add in the sugar, stir with a wooden spoon and let cool a little. Add in the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Finally, sift in the flour, ginger, and cinnamon.
Pour the chocolate batter into the pan, tapping the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Snip a corner off the Ziploc bag holding the frangipane, and pipe a spiral over the chocolate cake, leaving a border of at least an inch. It’s OK if it’s not perfect! Peel the pears and then halve and core them. Slice the pears at a 45 degree angle towards the stem end, and then press to spread the slices slightly. Using a knife or a spatula, transfer the sliced pear halves to the top of the cake, arranging them as you like. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Put the cake into the oven to bake for 30 minutes, although you should check at about 25 minutes. Turn the oven off but leave the cake inside for another ten minutes, then put the pan on a cooling rack on the counter to cool completely.
You can store the cake in the fridge and serve chilled, although I prefer to let it come to room temperature before serving. Store the cake covered in the fridge for up to four days.
OK. So it has been 22 whole days since my last post. Pathetic, I know! But January is for hibernating and drinking tea and curling up under down blankets. And my kitchen is cold! Enough with the excuses. I can’t take back the last 22 days, but what I can do is offer you these cookies. I know, I know, they’ve been everywhere. But I couldn’t help myself. I thought, for a moment, about not posting these since they are literally all over the blog world, but you know what? If even one person has somehow missed these cookies and finds them on my blog, it’ll all be worth it. They are that good.
Here’s the deal. These cookies don’t differ too much from your average chocolate chip cookie except for one essential secret. You give the dough a little vacation (or maybe even a weekend getaway) in your fridge before it goes in the oven. Why, you ask? Yes, I know, it’s hard be patient while such promising (and delicious) cookie dough just sits, but I swear, you will reap the benefits. Letting the dough chill over night or, preferably, over two nights, allows the dry ingredients to absorb the wet, yielding a cookie with an infinitely better texture and more complex, caramelly flavor. So don’t skimp on the chilling! I suggest giving the dough at least 36 hours, and if you can handle it, 48. Here’s the recipe, as well as the link to the original NY Times story on these babies.
NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note) (I just used ghiradelli chocolate chips)
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.
Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.