Archive for the ‘Narrative’ Category

Potatoes with Tart Lentils, Winter Greens and Controversy

Recipe: Potatoes with Tart Lentils and Winter Greens

My dog Max has a passionate love for seafood; salmon, trout, shrimp, lobster, and especially tuna.  The only time he indulges in countertop surfing is when we have fish on the menu. He once jumped into the back of fisherman’s truck parked on the street. When my cousin Mark made sushi in our kitchen a few years ago, Max was never far from his side.

I’m like that about Indian potato dishes; K.M.’s  black pepper potatoes, and the aloo dom (pressure cooked potatoes in yogurt sauce) I had in Darjeeling more than 10 years ago, and still dream of. The first time I made a successful aloo gobi (check out the video from Bend it Like Beckham), I felt like I had finally achieved novice status in Indian cooking.

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Valentine’s Day for many more than two: Red Velvet Cheesecake Layer Cake

Recipe: Red Velvet Cheesecake Layer Cake

Many things in life are a hassle: doctor’s appointments, any kind of encounter with government or corporate bureaucracy, opening plastic packaging. Making a cake shouldn’t fall into that category.

I don’t need it to be fast – or easy. Just not frustrating or aggravating. Many culinary tasks have a learning curve – boning a duck, stuffing a sausage, even chopping an onion. You won’t (or at least I didn’t) get it right the first time – but by the forth, you’re relaxed and confident. No more tears.

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Snow Days and Cheese Soup

Obatzda Beer Soup with Black Bread Croutons

Snow has mysterious power here in Seattle. Politicians panic. Kids of every age, dogs and TV weathermen rejoice. We don’t drive in it if we can possibly help it – in fact, some people actually abandon their cars on the road at the first sight of flakes. We usually don’t even have to shovel it – only once in 10 years does it stay on the ground that long. No one owns a snow shovel, anyway.

I was lucky enough to have a cheese soup planned for the first real winter day of 2012.

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Salad Days and Sustainable Seafood

Recipe: Lemon Shallot Shrimp Salad

Sometimes, nothing beats a salad for dinner; on hot days, in August for instance. Or in January. I love roast chicken, tagines, chili, lasagna and cheese, all the typical comfort foods as much as anyone – more, probably.  But I take comfort in salad, too.

We’re lucky here in the Puget Sound. Greens grow abundantly pretty much all year round. Last week I came home from the farmers market with a huge bag of arugula and bundles of kale and rainbow chard.

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Savoring the sour: Tamarind Tofu Noodles

Recipe: Tamarind Tofu Noodles

Last week it was lemon ice cream –  today it’s tamarind noodles, and Friday a post about a lemon shallot shrimp salad. Maybe it’s a salt hangover from Charcutepalooza. (Have you seen the contest winning post? It’s really something special.) All I know is that I’m all about sour flavors right now.

I love tanginess almost as much as I love the heat of chilies – which probably explains my strong attraction to South Asian food. Sour and hot? Hand it over, now.

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It all started with an Ice Cream Manifesto

Recipe: Tart Lemon Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream

After two full years of making my own ice cream, it’s become second nature; easy even. If I have eggs, sweetened condensed milk, half-half, and whole milk in the house, I can come up with almost any flavor, and end up with a creamy, yet firm texture.

I’m ridiculously proud of this skill. It’s a case where practice has made, if not perfect, at least a huge difference. I can look at the warm custard and tell if it is going to freeze properly – not too hard, not too chalky, but with just the right mouth feel.

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Seeking New Traditions: Indian Food

Recipe: Chicken with Red Chilies

K.M. and I tend to make the same few Indian favorites, over and over again. Chicken Rolls, Chicken with Almonds and Sultanas, and Shrimp in a Dark Sauce, (both from Madhur Jaffery’s Indian Cooking), and Alu Kabli. They are all spectacular dishes – but how did we end up reducing the cooking of one of the worlds’ most vibrant and interesting countries down to four dishes?

It’s not like K.M. grew up eating just these four dishes. Not one of them is even a Bengali recipe. So one of my goals for the New Year is to break out of the rut – use the cookbooks I have and look for some new ideas. I went to a food photography workshop back in November and was lucky enough to meet Sala – the talent behind the blog Veggie Belly. I was blown away by her photos and her Indian recipes – and I’m excited to start cooking from her blog.

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