Category: Food


MIA…

I started blogging regularly end of last year. With the Blog-A-Week challenge, I thought I would stick to the routine. But with the remodeling project, work and other things, the blog was relegated to things-we-never-get-around-to list. We started concentrating on the house again. So now that the renovating is almost close to the finish line, its back to blogging. What have we been upto in the meantime..

Cooking:

Tandoori chicken w/ mint chutney & charred veggies

Zulu trying his hand at Mediterranean food

Breakfast

Our take on sunnyside up

Andd… *drumroll* I tried my hand at Julia Child’s recipes!! And as expected, they turned out amazing!! (Credit to the recipe and clear instructions, than the cook aka me).. Buts that’s another post..

And house-stuff:

  • We now have a backyard!! Well, we always did but now its nicer.. We have grass! And  we cut down the huge mulberry and yucca trees.. So my wish of sitting in the backyard in the sun with a book in hand has finally come true.. 😀
  • Running across 3 different rooms every morning meant we had time to pay attention to how we can fix those rooms.. So look forward to more house posts..

But the main thing that has kept me away is whether I should get off wordpress and start hosting my own website. Have more control over the content and the look and feel of the blog.. So maybe my next post just might be the first post on my new blog.. Till then…

~Peetu

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Good Eats … I ummm so sad…

Now that good eats has been officially declared to be discontinued … I am really disappointed but at the same time excited about the new stuff from Alton Brown . So here’s a run down of all the episodes … yeah all 249 of them courtesy Chicago tribune. I am sure I will be using them and so sharing on this platform too.

Steak, potatoes, eggs, salad, roasted chicken, ice cream, biscuits, gravy/roux, onion soup, fish, pasta, pilaf, chocolate, roasted turkey, fruitcake, fondue, grilled cheese, apples, pie crust, sugar/caramel, canning, shrimp, coffee, corn, fish and chips, ground beef, tomato sauce, mushrooms, clarified butter, pork ribs, tofu, mussels, quiche/custard/flan, duck, chocolate chip cookies, grilling, pickling, butter, pancakes/maple syrup, cabbage, pizza, beans, poaching, turkey leftovers, smoking/smoked salmon, pressure cooking, fried chicken, lobster, ham, angel food cake, pot roast, honey, garlic, mayonnaise, puff pastry, tea, chili peppers, gelatin, oats/haggis, crepes, roast beef, bacon, eggplant, cheesecake, squid/wok cooking, cocoa powder/brownies, squash, macaroni and cheese, clams, potatoes, tuna, strawberries, artichokes, yogurt, souffle, tomato, home brewing, dip, pork chops, choux pastry, casseroles, ravioli/tortellini, slaw, yellow cake, buttercream frosting, beets, roulade, crab, pulled pork, french omelet, muffins, chicken stock, sausage, steak/fajita/sirloin, steaming, grains, candy, sweet potato, sugar cookie, herbs, spices, corn dogs/sliders, fudge, nuts/pesto, lemon meringue pie, bread toast, banana, hollandaise sauce, oysters, flattened meat, doughnuts, wonton, chili con carne, sandwiches, soup, cheese, chocolate, grits/polenta, stuffing, pudding, melon, myths, coq au vin, carrots, leeks, baking, gyros, greens, rice, peas, shish kebab, beef jerky, ice cream, energy bar, sushi, cobbler, vinegar, waffle, meatball, avocado, pocket pie, eggnog, vanilla, beef tenderloin, cocktails, flounder, pad thai, scallop, olives, tortillas, barley, sweet yeast breads, cube steak, water, peaches, okra, squid, calamari, popcorn, peppercorns, deep fried turkey, lentils, tortillas, gumbo, cornish game hen, pomegranate, corned beef, espresso, spinach salad, milk, pretzels, coconut cake, substitutions, whole fish, dried fruit, beef stew, dill pickles, peanuts, green bean casserole, blueberries, marshmallow, knives, buffalo wings, apple pie, broccoli, crown of lamb, cranberry, cupcakes, dutch ovens, popovers, celery, tuna, oils, preservations, mincemeat, edamame, graham crackers, creole-style beans and rice, baklava, ginger, brussels sprouts, oranges, molasses, salmon, crawfish, tamales, spaghetti, pork tenderloin, parsnip, punch, breakfast, cooking with beer and wine, pound cake, trout, Japanese ingredients, spirits,diets, cocktails, salt, chicken and dumplings, curry, catfish, paella, porterhouse steak, grilled chicken, asparagus, eggs benedict, wood-fired pizzas, banana pudding, tacos, tempura, oats, homemade candy, summer squash, pumpkin pie, meringue, hummus, devil’s food cake, chicken pot pie, lasagna, bouillabaisse, bread pudding, yeast rolls, cauliflower, Asian noodles.

Puff Pastry… (pause)…..PUFF PASTRY…..

From my 1st grade school cafeteria till yesterday, its one thing that has always been such a mystery to me, which I always loved to eat but somehow had this question too that how on earth do they make so many layers of crunch which taste so good, when will I be a citizen of the Puff Pastry world?  I still remember spending my collections of coins, (5th grade school) which I had collected over a period of 6 months for that  2min pleasure of a crunchy Rs2.5 veggie puff (and have no regrets too)

Well that mystery did let me in today, I finally did it, and I “MADE MY OWN VEGGIE PUFF”. I just cant believe, I made an egg puff, a veggie puff and now the flood gates have opened.

It was Thursday and we decided to take the surface road to home while picking up mince chicken at the “Halal Market”. I saw a pack of puff pastry sheets in the freezer, jumped through the thoughts starting from   “No” to “Will I be able to???” to “Can I?” and finally resting  on “Lets try it, how bad can it get” . Reached home, took the pack out and looked at it  again. And again, repeat “No”, “Will I be able to???” “Can I?”. But this time I was really tired to get to the “Lets try it, how bad can it get”  and Thursday became history soon. Friday went with the same pace too.

Saturday somehow comes with an amazing urge to cook some nice stuff and wallah, “we have puff pastry sheets” in the freezer. Enthusiasm is one thing but actually turning it into something that you have always enjoyed, not being on the spectator side in the stadium and now amongst the players of the game, is something totally different. I was actually nervous.

I looked on the Internet and remembered one episode by “Alton Brown” on the puff pastry. Jumped onto it and within 15mins I was ready to take on the challenge.

My First ever puff pastry filling: Boiled Eggs with Cilantro Mint chatni

Oven Check : 400deg

Pizza Stone: Hot and ready in the oven to take on the task.

And then thanks to “Alton Brown” and my super Oven, I made my very first Puff.

It felt like Tom Hanks in Cast away ” I have made fire. I HAVE …….MADE FIRE”

The only place I can imagine “Tsingtao meets corn tortillas meet indian chicken curry” ….

a BAY AREA KITCHEN 🙂

As promised, pics of tikka tacos. Made them once again yesterday and this time peetu did let me take a pic :)ï»ż.

Cooking & me

I love cooking. I come from a family who loves to cook and eat. We never think of food as a hobby or an interest, its just way of life. I remember how my dad used to get 3-4 kinds of seafood while coming back from work and insist that mom make one kind of fish for me, the other for my brother, one for curry.. you get the idea, right? So I always had this love for home cooked meals which I never realized till I came to US and started cooking my own meals. My start wasn’t that great. I couldn’t identify which dishes needed garlic, which required ginger and what dishes were incomplete without either of them. And if you are from India, not knowing this is like missing out on learning the alphabets.

Luckily for me, I met L (aka Zulu) here. One of our loves was food. Both of us loved home-cooked meals. 2 months into the relationship, he made the most life-changing statement ‘All your chicken dishes taste the same’… AWKWARD!! A statement like this is a absolute no-no according to all the relationship books out there. But, for a change, this was an my AHA moment. I finally realized that me dumping ingredients in the pan and ending up with something edible didn’t make me a cook. So I finally started taking cooking seriously. And let me say this, when they say ‘cook with your heart’, they aren’t kidding! When you start letting your heart decide which ingredients go in the pot, the food on the plate tastes exactly like what you imagined it would. Slowly the pieces started falling in place and I can proudly say that I’ve reached a point where my food tastes good. And L is happy 🙂 What more could a girl ask for …

The path to becoming a better cook is littered with many of the small wins that I’ll always cherish. It’s become a source of interesting conversation topics. Case in point, conversation on how to make Paleo cookies by substituting sugar & eggs with ripe bananas. Being a homebody has never been more fun when you are trying a new recipe or a previously unknown ingredient eg. Collard greens 🙂 And making new discoveries about myself. Me, a self professed seafood fan, am better at cooking vegetarian stuff as opposed to non-veg dishes. Who knew?!! It’s a stress buster, a routine, a habit. A welcome habit. What could underscore this more other than the topic that L wrote about while this current post was still a draft is about food 🙂 And the reason why this was a draft when he hit the publish button on his post?? I was devouring the tacos that he made B-)

Happy Cooking!!

Cheers \m/

Taco Truck

Taco Truck

Tikka Tacos was one thing I was planning on for so long and recently it became a reality. Food is one thing that really detoxifies me and it came once again to the rescue on a gloomy tiring/irritating Sunday evening. Didn’t have an awesome day and wanted to cook something for the evening to put a nice end to the weekend (funny concept ehh…END to a week-END(something like metabraces)?????). Well its about the tikka tacos and not the day so let me tell the taco tale.

Wanted to get some chiken drumsticks (started to dislike boneless stuff now) and wanted to make something not tandoori. Even though it tastes awesome, I am feeling kinda monotonous about it now. I always tell my friends about how I will start my taco truck and still  not for once did I try making a single taco , and voila there came the recipe, “I should make tacos. Lets make tacos“.

I headed straight to the mexican aisle and saw the small pack corn tortillas. Off-late  my buddies at work have taken me to different taco places and I loved all of them expect for the fact that nowhere I was able to find a nice blend of  indian curry meat and the mexican taco delight. Yeah, I had tikka bites once…they were alright…to be honest did not like their food and it was not cheap either.

So now for the recipe, I started with the chicken first and fried some cumin, cinnamon and a big black cardamom. When smelt the goodness and heard the cumins, threw in a big onion for the saute. Added big pieces of garlic and not that much ginger to the party to deepen the flavor. Sauted it for a while before adding two big tomatoes. Now comes the fun part when you get to the spices. These indian spices are like colors , they leave their unique mark on whichever painting they are used on and leave you with a very different thought even if you see a same color on a different painting .

My colors were salt,corriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala (dont ask me what goes in it. Its called garam masala and one more thing, MDH garam massala and not MTR), roasted fennel, roasted green cardamom and the star of the painting, the final sparkle, my favorite of all spices, Nutmeg. Gave it a mix till everything became a bit darker and came to a paste consistency. Added the chicken drumsticks and mixed it for a while before adding a cup of water and pressure cooked it for about 15 minutes. I did let the pressure release by itself and take its own sweet time. This ensured a nice penetration of the flavors and for me, some time to rest and prepare the salsa for the tacos

As I was doing this salsa stuff, I did not tell peetu about the tacos. She kind of knew that I was making chicken but totally voted for the indian meal when  asked  for a choice between tortillas and chapati.  Of-course who would experiment on a tiring/irritating/gloomy sunday evening? “Just gimmie something nice” was the feeling, and tacos?, no tacos was the call. Somehow I asked her to taste one taco and she reluctantly agreed. Immediately I chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, pickled jalapeño and mixed it with some salt, cayenne pepper (pinch) and lime juice. De-boned and chopped the meat and made a taco for her to taste topping it with the gravy of blended goodness.

Boy !! the sheer feel of satisfaction and that smile, the moment after that first bite, sucked all that bad stuff out of me. Sunday started feeling sunny even though it was 7 in the evening and monday was approaching, I felt awesome again. Had a bite from peetu and let the chicken rest for the night for a taco meal the next day.

After that I was sitting on my couch just thinking about how food is such an important part of our lives. It treats people in so many different ways. Some de-stress themselves by eating a lot of food, some by cooking a lot of food, but in the end its the food and the love of it which makes us all work 9-5 Mon-Fri so that we all can have that awesome sat-sun COOKING session that we have earned through the week.

~cheers

zulu

P.S: We ended up having chapati for the dinner on sunday and tacos were on the menu for the monday meal. I did not take a picture of the tacos this time. They really tasted awesome and looked even more delightful. Will post just the pictures next time on Tikka Tacos…cont…

Mitsuwa….

Yesterday was my first dive into the Japanese culinary galaxy. I tried my luck on making the Miso soup and sushi for my wife on her birthday and combining it with the Valentine’s Day. (I thought I was smart :p)

We ended up having an amazing plate of hand rolled sushi, California style sushi rolls and a flavorful bowl of miso soup but  there is a confession that I can only make through this post. In the process of preparation for such an ambitious step,  I lost track of everything else.  I forgot the reasons and was totally controlled by the fragrance that the open simmering pot of konbu sea weed and wakame seeds was doing to my senses.

Making the miso soup was kind of an education to me. How different flavors can gel so well and create a real symphony of flavors.The kind of flavors extracted from  the preparation were so off the charts (read my first time use of such ingredients ever); I don’t know what’s in-store if one gets  it  from the masters themselves.
I salute the ingredients, the thinkers, the makers and the ones who have mastered this art  where you walk on this thin line,  and the result is either a ‘0’ or a ‘1’ (I had to get in binary somehow).I don’t know if there exists something like an edible miso soup. It’s good, awesome, great or BAD.
I will try to learn more from this experience, study the flavor profile of the bonitos, the wakames and the konbus a bit more and will get back with my  new dives.

I have to, I have to.

So stay tuned

I would like to thank the saleswoman at the Japanese grocery store who literally took my list of ingredients, changed it a bit on what could make the recipe taste better than what I had and handpicked it for me.

Thanks.

Thanks a lot, for you really made our evening, but most importantly you held my hand when I just decided to jump in the ocean without the safety gear.

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