Did you know that I have a bucket list? Yes, it’s true. I have a bucket list of things that I want to cook by the end of 2011.
One item on the list is a layered cake. I’m terrified of making one, because, until recently, I wasn’t much of a baker. The idea of not only having to make the layers and the icing… but then actually ICE THE CAKE… well, it still makes me a bit nervous. But I’m going to do it! I promise!
Another item on the list is Indian food. I want to make one authentic Indian dish before 2012 rolls around. It could be matar paneer masala or fish with a traditional curry sauce, but I want to make something that is up there with some of the best Indian restaurants I’ve eaten at. Again, the idea of this scares me. But gosh darn it, I’m going to do it!
In the meantime, however, I am bringing you a guest post from my dear friend and talented food blogger, Prerna of Indian Simmer, who, as you can tell from looking at her beautiful blog, cooks only Indian recipes. Her photographs are nothing short of stunning and her posts are always so informative.
So now I leave you in Prerna’s very reliable hands. Enjoy!
I don’t remember how Brian and I got to know each other. I came across his blog first or he came across mine. But something I clearly remember is that as soon as I saw the gorgeous work he was doing on his website, I was hooked! Every few days I had to get my dose of A Thought For Food. I went back again to look at his photography and go, “Gosh, I wanna take that shot!” To read his stories and think, “Yes, that’s exactly what happened to me.” And today here I am, back on A Thought For Food, but this time I’m the one talking. Brian, thanks for the honor!
It’s the 4th of July and you must either be on a vacation with the family, out having a picnic or back in your backyard firing up the grill. This is when you can steal some time and enjoy it with people you love and care about. I too am celebrating with the tiny little family of mine. And while climbing the tree with your little one or chasing her in an open field, come pouring the memories of childhood.
I remember as children we did not have the luxury of getting away every long weekend. We had to wait the whole year for the summers to come until there were summer vacations. Every summer vacation our parents would take us to a new place. A new city every summer. India is a country of diverse cultures and one part of the country is so different from the other. So every trip used to be a new experience. Every summer used to be different from the previous. This one summer we went to Bombay (now Mumbai), the big city with the ocean, local trains, bustling streets and vada pav! Vada Pav was the first thing that we ate at the train station as soon as we stepped into the city. I remember me and my dad loving it so much that we ate just vada pav for the next three days! A fried potato dumpling sandwiched between two pieces of a pav (bread). It was good and its taste lasted long – until today!
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Three summers ago, I fell in love with a girl. It was pretty much love at first sight. Within moments of talking to her, I knew that we were meant to be friends. And, despite living rather far away from one another and not being phone people, our relationship has remained intact.
The girl… ok, woman… I am referring to is my friend Jessica. We met on a trip to Israel a few years ago and, thankfully, have kept in touch. Jessica was one of only a couple of individuals from that trip that I invited to our wedding. There are few people I’ve felt such a strong connection to, but the bond we have is something that I hold close to my heart.
Part of what has kept our friendship so strong are our yearly visits. Jessica has business conferences up in Boston around our wedding anniversary and she always extends her trip to spend some time with us on the Cape. During these weekends together, we lounge on the deck, drinking mimosas while we talk about everything that happened the previous year. Conversations range from movies to politics, social media and blogging to music from our childhood (and beyond… we’re both huge Van Morrison fans).
But what we love to talk about the most is food. We’re both adventurous pescatarians, unfazed by strange sea creatures, and we will try just about anything once.
On these visits to the Cape, Jessica and I will spend hours in the kitchen, talking about our favorite herbs and our various foodie philosophies, while I work on a batch of fresh blueberry scones or the fixin’s for that night’s dinner. We geek over cookbooks, freaking over Amanda Hesser’s books and Heidi Swanson’s latest. She shows me how to make her favorite salad dressing (a paste made out of garlic, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice) and I show her mine (dijon mustard, sugar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and dill).
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What comes to mind when you think of skewers? Beef kabobs, corn dogs, chocolate dipped bananas? Yup, that’s about as far as I could go with my list. That is, of course, before I got a look at Matt Armendariz‘s new book, On A Stick!, a collection of recipes and perfectly stylized (by his partner, Adam Pearson) and photographed dishes that are all prepared, that’s right, on a stick. I must admit that I had no idea that this was the focus of Matt’s book until he sent me a copy to preview.
Flipping through, I was struck by the diversity of the book’s contents, which ranges from the simple (Caprese Sticks, comprised of cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella, all of which is brought together by a piece of sun-dried tomato) to the elegant (the Son-in-Law Eggs, a whole egg that has been deep fried and is paired with a tamarind sauce) to the creative (Chicken and Waffles?). There’s something in this book for everyone, which is part of the reason why I featured one of the easiest recipes from the collection.
Because, the fact is, even though something is easy to prepare, doesn’t make it any less delicious. And, really, who isn’t craving a wonderfully sweet hunk of fresh mango right now? I know I am!
Last weekend, our friends Cori (pictured above… I swear that she just happened to be wearing her LSU sweatshirt. How perfect is that?) and Dan came to the Cape with us and were generous enough to be my models. Of course, I did feed them yummy food so they weren’t going to complain too much about doing some work.
And, now, on to the giveaway!
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There’s something wonderfully exciting about seeing a recipe that completely changes the way you think about food. This doesn’t mean that the dish has been deconstructed nor has it gone through a molecular-gastronomical transformation. What I’m talking about are modifications to a recipe that give you a new perspective on what that dish can be.
This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I turn into an excited little boy. I read quite a few food blogs and it tends to be where I get my inspiration from. A few weeks ago, stumbling around my favorite sites, I came across a recipe on Sassy Radish (cute name, right) for Asparagus Caesar Salad.
At first glance, I expected this to be a lettuce-based salad with some chopped up asparagus on top. But as I read through the recipe, I realized this was something different. No greens, no croutons. Just the raw asparagus, peeled into ribbons, tossed with a classic Caesar dressing.
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By now I’m sure many of you are aware that Eric and I took a week long trip to Northern California. And, as promised, I’m sharing pictures from our journey… sans photos from our meal at The French Laundry. Instead of talking about each place (we did a lot of boppin’ around), I’m just going to put little labels throughout the post to explain where the photos were taken. We start off in Carmel-by-the-Sea:
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There’s no denying the fact that I’ve missed all of you. This past week was the first time in over a year that I didn’t write a post (thanks again to all of the wonderful bloggers who wrote beautiful guest posts for the site), and it took me a couple of days to get used to the idea that I wouldn’t always have access to Twitter or Facebook or WordPress (where I create all of these entries). I must admit that I didn’t stay away the whole trip (thanks iPhone!), but there were plenty of days where there were long stretches without internet or cell phone service. And, I have to say, I quite enjoyed that time.
But now we’re back, having done our job of eating our way through Northern California. I’ll put up a post later with pictures from our trip, but I do want to prepare those of you who are looking forward to a gallery of shots from our dinner at The French Laundry. Not only did I not take any photos during our meal, but I didn’t even bring my camera with me. And I’m so glad I didn’t. My time with my husband, and the incredibly memorable meal that we shared together, can’t be captured in a picture. No photograph could ever do it justice.
Coming back from vacation can be a bit jarring. I particularly miss the long, leisurely breakfasts Eric and I would have together, gorging on baked goods and sipping coffee. But just because we’re back to reality doesn’t mean we can’t find time for such simple pleasures as a relaxing weekend morning breakfast. And there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a stack of plump blueberry pancakes.
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