Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Sagie יום הולדת שמח שגיא

There are a few reasons behind this post, one is a tattoo of a Jewish proverb, 'The only truly dead are those who have been forgotten', that someone might, or might not, get. Another reason is challenges Sagie has been facing for the last couple of years. Equally important reason is the fact that this blog was encouraged by my son, Sagie, and was started as a documentation of heirloom and other recipes for him and generations to come. As Sagie was heading off to college, I inaugurated this site with one of his favorites Shakshuka, for every college kid's hot plate. I meant to bake a chocolate cake for his birthday today but he wanted me to make one of his favorites, a no-bake dessert Petit Beurre, Cocoa and Coconut Chocolate Balls. This time I didn't have Manischewitz so for the first time ever I used Zinfandel, and surprisingly enough, it still tasted great.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Of Trains, Time-Pass And Pazham Pori (Ripe Plantain Fritters) Guest Post by My Diverse Kitchen

Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen is not only my fourth guest in the India series but also my first one in the series out of India, living in Goa, in Southern India, on a beautiful coast on the Indian Ocean. One day I hope to visit Aparna and these coconut palm tree strewn legendary beaches. Aparna much like myself has one child, her's a 14 year old daughter, who is the mastermind behind the name of her site.

When I bought my new camera I made sure to read carefully her well written and explained Photography series. Her photography is very refined, in focus and romantic, evokes tales and legends, and lets your imagination run with her images. True to the name of her blog, Aparna will bring you diverse recipes like the Chakkara Pongal (South Indian Rice And Lentil Pudding With Jaggery), a taste of Southern Indian Palakkad Iyers cuisine from her native Kerala as well as a Daring Bakers Challenge, Cardamom Flavoured White Chocolate and pistachio Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies. Make sure to follow @aprna on twitter and here she is with her recipe and tale:

Of Trains, Time-Pass And Pazham Pori (Ripe Plantain Fritters) by Aparna

These past 3 years of blogging, Facebook and Twitter have introduced me to many food bloggers and their blogs. Most of these bloggers live in different countries, even continents and come from culturally diverse and different backgrounds from mine. However our love for good food and desire to explore and discover this beyond our comfort zones and cultural boundaries is what keeps us cooking and blogging.

Some of these bloggers have become good friends of mine and though we haven’t met (yet) we often have long virtual conversations, mostly centred on food, and many a time beyond that. It’s fun to log into Twitter (and Facebook), even after a short break and take up conversations with friends, from where we had last left off.

Shulie Madnick of Food Wanderings is one such friend I met on Twitter. I don’t remember how we first got talking but we did and I found that apart from our love for food we had India in common. Shulie can trace her roots to the Indian Jewish community though she grew up in Israel and now lives in the US. This shows up in her blog where her posts are an interesting mix of the East and the West, accompanied by her beautiful food photography.

So when she asked me to do a guest post for her as part of her India series, I jumped up and said “Yes!” Then came the matter as to what to write about. After some discussion with Shulie, I decided to post about Pazham Pori, a dish of batter fried ripe plantains that are somehow very quintessentially Kerala (the southern Indian state that I belong to). Even today, it is usual to find at least a couple of banana plants (along with a couple of coconut trees) behind most houses in Kerala. And just in case you don’t have the fruit in your back yard, there is always the corner store to supply you with some. It is not really surprising that in Kerala plantains and bananas feature in many of our dishes. We use the raw fruit, the ripe fruit, the banana flowers, the stem of the banana plant and the leaves make for eco-friendly and disposable plates!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Purple Pixie Eggplants - Sabich, An Israeli Street Food Sandwich

August 14, 2011
Good Morning everyone, I couldn't wait to share with you all these gorgeous purple Pixie eggplants. They are so petite and pretty I am going to go and get some more at Wegman's, but first things first....I already pickled a small batch of them in leftover brine from Red Wine Vinegar Heirloom Green Tomato Pickles, and we love having eggplants simply roasted with olive oil and salt, maybe a touch of parsley as a garnish, now and then. Question is can you share in the comment section ideas, recipes for these beauties? Also, if you know anything about these Pixies I would love to learn. Thank you and excited to hear your suggestions and information.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Papri Chaat - Indian Street Food Treat a Guest Post by Sunshine and Smile

This India series organically evolved, to my delight, into an Indian street food and snack series. First was Kulsum's delciious Lentil Samosas, then Prerna's uber healthy, fermented Dosas and now Kankana's (@kankanasaxena) wildly popular Indian street food the Papri Chat. You girls ROCK! As I was browsing around Kankana's site the first image that popped and mesmerized my senses was Chicken Wonton Soup. Maybe the similarity to a comforting Jewish chicken soup and Kankana's vivid imagery made me yearn for it at lunch time today. Kankana, out of the beautiful Sunshine and Smile food blog, is a newly married Indian ex-pat, living now in Santa Clara,California. She incorporates ingredients into some sort of fusion as in this tantalizing Rasam with Pear post. So happy to have Kankana on board sharing this fantastic recipe with us all & follow her on Facebook and at the twitter link above.

In other news front, I have written recently and in the process of writing couple more features for Jewish and other publications. You might have already caught, my post on my Indian and Israeli inspired, four recipes and photographs, with a fun Q and A, titled 'A Little Bit of Cardamon', at Whisk magazine. This week an article of mine bridging the Indian and Jewish cultures and food, was published at a smart blog column, I absolutely adore, 'The Jew and the Carrot' at The Jewish Daily Forward. The entry is titled 'Ancient Rice Offering Is the Heart of India's Jewish Community'.

If you didn't know Food Wanderings has a FB page and would LOVE the LIKES. I am also on twitter @foodwanderings so we can chat.

Kankana:
There are emails which makes you smile, emails which makes you go aww and then there are emails which makes you jump from your seat and go OMG..and you keep saying to yourself am I reading it correctly! 
Yes, that's exactly how I reacted when Shulie wrote to me that she was planning an Indian Theme and asked if I could do a guest post. It was a special moment for me.. excited, happy and felt SO honored

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Red Wine Vinegar Heirloom Green Tomato Pickles

I know this is a way overdue recipe but to compensate I bring you two. I was so giddy with excitement as I am getting the hang on my camera that I published the photos without a recipe. Meanwhile, I managed to make a roasted salsa with both red and green tomatoes inspired by a Tomatillo Salsa Verde I saw months ago at Barb's Creative Culinary site. It obviously left and impression. I pretty much followed the recipe with one exception, I charred the vegetables on the grill, can be done on broiler mode in the oven, to get that further smoky flavor. I made the green and red separately and then decided to combine both.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Art of Making a Crisp Dosa a Guest Post by Indian Simmer

As the response to my first guest Kulsum, with her delicious Lentil Stuffed Samosas, was so overwhelming, I am so happy to introduce you to my second guest in the India Series, the lovely Prerna. She brings one of our, especially Jonathan's, all time favorite snacks, the dosa. The talented Prerna a stay at home mom to a little toddler girl, has an excellent eye for photography and food styling. You might remember me singing her praises in my Spelt Challah Dough Rolls and Chocolate babka guest post I did not long ago on her Indian Simmer site. Although dosa is a south Indian specialty, I never made it before, but that is about to change thanks to Prerna soon!

I remember moving to DC some 20 odd years back and finding this little place at The Old Post House Pavilion downtown on Pennsylvania Ave., literally a few paces, a short walk away from the White House, and it's still there. A super casual incy wincy counter called Indian Delight, at the bottom food court level of the pavillion with their reasonably priced, delicious dosas. We don't go as often as we used to when Jonathan was studying for his masters at Georgetown, but when we do, we relish every crispy bit of it with the spiced potato filling and green chutney for that extra bite.

Prerna:
Shulie and I were talking a while back. It all started with a casual conversation and like with all the food lovers, it ended up being about food. I told her about my lack of ability to cook a beautiful loaf of bread and she empathized with me. She told me how her family, especially her better half, loves dosa and I shared how easy it is to make. The conversation went on and by the end of it somehow we were deciding on dates when we should share those recipes with each other. What better way to share a recipe with a food blogger than through the blogs. So for you fabulous readers and for a bit of our own selfish need we thought lets guest post on each other’s blog and share the recipes we both love so much. Last week Shulie came as a guest on my blog Indian Simmer to share her recipe of a perfect and ah so gorgeous Challah. Today she very generously invited me over to her space to share my recipe for a crisp, golden brown and comforting dosa. Thanks Shulie for the honor, I am stoked!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Strawberries & Cream Cake - Twin Post, The Sequel

Do you have a food memory or sensation from childhood you wish to replicate? While I love savory, there are some old time sweets I will forever crave. For this twin post sequel collaboration with Anuradha @bakerstreet29bakerstreet29), my twitter daughter, we exchanged a myriad of emails, went through countless frustrations as we were looking for recipes, emailing and dm'ing links back and forth. I even went on a spying (that is where the wandering part of food wanderings plays a part) mission to Whole Foods as I thought their version was probably closest to what I was looking for. I googled two other European bakeries in Arlington, VA to see if they had images online I could study, but life is so hectic I never made that excursion to Randolph and Heidelberg bakeries. It was more of a chemist, engineer and architect hybrid mission as I was interested in the design, construction and ingredient balance and ratios of the recipe. Ratios I never got, but found out Whole Foods had almonds in theirs so I never ended up buying it to dissect in my cramped up kitchen 'laboratory' quarters.