A couple of months ago, this girl I know, reached out to see if I was up for teaching a cooking classes! More than teaching the class, I was just excited to get an opportunity to share my passion for cooking. We set up a date and then my days were filled prepping for my first ever cooking class! I decided to keep it simple, making it a stress-free learning experience, adding fun twists to the menu and the recipes. I wanted to show that just by switching a few ingredients here and there or using a different culinary techniques, we can put a wonderful spin on everyday cooking, taking it to the next level and relishing the flavors ourselves or impressing our guests.
And there she was, my first student, standing at the door holding bags filled with ingredients and smile on her face, ready to take on the kitchen stadium! It was certainly not the first time Nupur had stepped into a kitchen. She had tried her hand at cooking several times but needed a crash course on fine cooking. She was aware of the mistakes she made and simply wanted to know how to fix them. She shared some of her cooking disasters and I remembered mine! We talked about all kinds of things and then started cooking together, having fun in the kitchen as we chopped, sautéed and plated simple, yummy dishes.
Together, we reinvented Indian vegetarian classics by using different techniques and incorporating non-Indian ingredients. In about 5 hours, we made about 8-9 different dishes including Baingan Bharta with Roasted Red Peppers & Goat Cheese on Bruschetta, Sev Potato Dahi Puri Chaat on Puff Pastry tarts, Gobi-Fennel Raita Slaw, Roasted Aloo Methi, Light Paneer Makhani, Jeera Rice Pilaf with Fresh Herbs, Moong Dal Stew with wilted Spinach, Lentils Soup with Green Masala…just to name a few.
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10 days of Ganesh Utsav are now over. In the state of Maharashtra, where I am from, it is the most popular festival and the celebrations are indeed grandiose! The highlight of the festivities is, without a doubt, Ganpati Bappa’s favorite – steamed modak! Everyone simply loves this Maharashtrian delicacy that’s made with the soft, white steamed outer covering and the delicately spiced jaggery and coconut filling inside! While I ate yummy mom-made modak, some of my friends dared to make their own, like my friend, Soni. Her perfectly shaped decadent modak look so tempting!
During the Ganesh festival, other than the “modak“, there are a few other Maharashtrian sweet dishes like Sheera (Cardamom-saffron Semolina with Almonds), Shrikhand (Cardamom-Saffron spiced Yogurt) and Basundi (Creamy Milk Pudding) that I made and offered to Ganpati Bappa.
Now, you don’t have to wait for Ganesh festival to come back next year! Give these recipes a try the next time you are in the mood for something sweet!
Coming up next in the series of things I learnt at school, are tarts. I love both kinds – savory & sweet. A savory tart filled with cheese and all kinds of meats and veggies is great as an elegant hors d’oeuvre, appetizer or light main course and a sweet tart for dessert, filled with fresh fruits, rich nuts, irresistible chocolate or smooth ‘n’ silky cream….sounds yum . They make an elegant impression, showing off their outer beauty by revealing the fillings that go inside the shell. I believe serving a narrow slice of tart or a little tartlet is a stylish way to add finesse to any occasion. (Alright…I think you got the point?!)
While, I have acquired the skill of making the pastry dough for the tart shell after going to culinary school, I have to say that it’s not that easy if you wanna try it, just for kicks. It’s also not something for the weak at heart or if you are obsessive compulsive about a clean kitchen . It will get dirty, it will be a royal mess and it will take time to clean up. Steel yourself!!! Just go to the store and grab frozen pastry dough or a few tart shells and fill’em up with the most amazing things!
Read on … »
Welcome to Foster City, my new neighborhood. As I walked around the city, I found myself in the “fish street” neighborhood one day, where streets are named after different types of fish! And there, I stood under a sign that read …
…when an idea popped in my head! I thought it would be cool if I blogged about it by creating a couple of concoctions using “Halibut” as the star ingredient.
Halibut is one of my favorite fish to cook or eat. Like most of the fish you find here in the US, it’s low fat, heart-healthy and doesn’t smell fishy at all! With its delicate sweet flavor, snow-white color and firm flaky meat, there are endless possibilities to using this versatile fish in the kitchen, be it baking, broiling, pan-frying, deep-frying, poaching or barbecuing. I decided to make two dishes that are a world apart to showcase the wonderful flavor and the firm texture of the fish - one, a Ceviche using the raw meat of the fish and the other, a grilled fillet marinated with freshly grated ginger, garlic and an Indian favorite, the”Tandoori” spice.
So, come down to Foster City and join me on the “Halibut St.”
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After a long eventful break, I’m back with my signature concoctions with a twist of California! Well, sort of…
The boxes have gone out of sight; we cheated at unpacking and I have a ton of stuff in the garage! But the useful things are out which make our new house, a cozy home. Most importantly, the kitchen is back in business and I’m also back to blogging from the other coast of the country. In the upcoming posts, I promise to bring you California-inspired concoctions, as I explore my new neighborhood and my new state!
In the first few weeks as we were settling in, I made some simple but unusual jhatpat subzis for lunch and dinner. When it comes to cooking day-to-day food, I like to play with the ingredients once in a while and make something different, for a change. It certainly adds fun to my cooking and a pizazz to the everyday dishes!
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Yes it is here… and about time too!
And with it comes all that is bright, fresh and yummy. Walking through the aisles of Montclair’s weekend farmer’s market, it was very exciting to see the spring in full bloom with vibrant vegetables and fruits. I was like a kid in a candy store – grabbed a huge bunch of things – fresh snow peas, bundles of asparagus, strawberries and much more!
With a creative spirit and my seasonal discoveries at the market, a beautiful menu came together. Check out my inspirations from Spring!
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There are two kinds of roasts. One happens on Comedy Central and the other in my oven. Let’s talk about the one that tastes better!
Since I have been taking classes at ICE, many have been kind enough to offer encouragement and also have asked me to share what I learn. Perfect thing for a food blogger! So I have decided to write a “techniques series”. I have been learning so many new things at school that I thought I will try to write a little bit about the technique and how I applied it to creating my very own signature recipes. Seriously, school never tasted so good!
Roasting may be one of the easiest of all cooking techniques. My oven does all the work while I can chill. Simply put, roasting is nothing but cooking food in an uncovered pan in the oven. It is a dry cooking technique, as opposed to wet techniques like stewing or braising. The concept is that the dry, hot air surrounds the food and cooks it evenly on all sides. Large cuts of meat usually work best; whole turkeys or chickens or large cuts of tenderloins are good candidates. Roasting also works well for certain vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, beets, and winter squash, as it concentrates their natural sugars and intensifies their flavor. Depending on the food you’re preparing, you can roast at low, moderate, or high temperatures. One important tip: Always allow for 10 to 20 mins of resting time before serving. Large cuts of meat tend to retain enough internal heat and they continue to cook out of the oven, up to an added 8 to 10 degrees. Smaller cuts that do not have enough mass will only cook more by a couple of degrees. Either way, the main reason that meats should rest is to allow the juices to redistribute. If you slice into a roast chicken or beef roast immediately upon pulling it out of the oven, all the juices would pour out onto the platter and the resulting meat would be dry.
So while, roasting itself is quite easy (and there are a ton of recipes out there to roast whatever you want!), I decided to try something “signature” with the leftovers from my roast chicken. Diced or shredded, tender juicy roast chicken is perfect in these concoctions that take it to the next level!
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Bringing in the new year with the most popular posts of 2009!
(Click on the images to go to the posts)
Please keep reading, commenting and giving me feedback, it keeps me cooking, clicking and concocting!