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Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pound Cake

26 Aug

Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pound Cake

It’s really hard to accept that schools and colleges have reopened and Labor Day is exactly a week away. As always, summer months have just flown by. While summer produce and sometimes the weather lingers into late September, Labor Day marks the official end of summer. This weekend is the last official summer hoorah characterized by barbecues, picnics, beach time, road trips and several parties. In short it’s another long weekend to celebrate with some fantastic food. Sliced Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

To pay homage to my favorite season and all the wonderful memories of this summer I have developed this Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pound Cake recipe. The lemon and blueberries in this cake reflect the bright flavors and colors of summer while the ricotta adds a tang and richness to a simple pound cake. When you bite into this light and moist cake, you taste the brilliance of each ingredient and relish how well they all come together. While this recipe is a wonderful addition to any Labor Day picnic or barbecue you can impress your loved ones with this at any brunch or tea party! Continue reading

Grilled Avocado with Wasabi Ponzu

20 Aug

Grilled Avocado with Wasabi Ponzu

 “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” – William Golding

One of the most exciting aspects of trying new restaurants is stumbling upon an uncomplicated dish that blows your mind away. Every once in a while we encounter a dish that so simple and yet so gratifying. It’s astounding how a combination of a few simple ingredients unite to create a huge wow factor.

I had one of these moments when I ate a Grilled Avocado with housemade ponzu, fresh wasabi and nori salt at Daikaya Izakaya in DC.  A buttery avocado had been transformed into a grilled delight seasoned with earthy Asian flavors.  One taste and I knew a grilled avocado just can’t get better that this.

My recipe variation attempts to further simplify the dish.  I use widely available, store bought wasabi paste and ponzu. I add some green onions for brightness and substitute sea salt for nori salt. This unique recipe idea attests to the fact that the greatest ideas are the simplest. So for when you do try this – bon appétit or rather as the Japanese would say “itadakimasu”.  Continue reading

Grilled Peaches with Burrata & Honey

8 Aug

Grilled Peaches with Burrata and Honey

August is National Peach month and hence it’s only appropriate to pay homage with at least one peach recipe. And why shouldn’t I? Peaches really are a universally loved fruit and just happen to be my favorite stone fruit. There is nothing quite like biting into a sweet, juicy and fleshy peach in the heart of summer. While peaches taste great in their natural form, grilling them turns them into something quite magnificent. It takes a peach from being just a fruit to a versatile ingredient that can be used in an appetizer, a salad, a main course, a side dish and most certainly a dessert.

Last summer I tasted a really scrumptious appetizer of Grilled Peaches with Burrata and Honey at Acqua Al 2 in DC. It was a flavor and Grilled Peach Crostinitexture explosion of warm, sweet grilled peaches complemented by rich, creamy and savory Burrata cheese on a bed of crusty bread, finished with a drizzle of honey.  It was so simple and yet so spectacular. Regardless to say this is now a summer favorite in my kitchen. The recipe below is my rendition of AcquA Al 2’s masterpiece.  It’s an intimate appetizer for date night and yet elegant enough to impress the most discerning foodies. Continue reading

Bacon & Chive Yogurt Dip

1 Aug

Bacon and Chive Yogurt DipI recently ate a scrumptious but rather unhealthy Roasted Garlic and Bacon Dip. The base of this dip was mayonnaise and hence the fat content was off the charts. My father recommended that I test making something similar with hung yogurt.

Yogurt dips are a wonderful light and figure-friendly appetizer for the warmer summer months. Since yogurt is so versatile there’s a multitude of yogurt dip recipes available. Despite yogurt being the common denominator you can always find a way to switch things up by playing around with the additional flavor elements.

This recipe eliminates the mayonnaise to reduce an overabundance of fat. I also use a lower fat cut of bacon. The bacon specks running Bacon & Chive Dipthroughout the dip provide a fantastic smokiness and textural crunch. The chives add an aromatic and visual brightness that’s imperative in any brilliant summer appetizer. I use just a hint of roasted garlic to let the main stars of this yogurt dip – the bacon and the chives shine bright.  Continue reading

Goat Cheese & Scallion Parcels

22 Jun

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After the scorching Mumbai summers everyone impatiently awaits overcast skies and blustery rain showers. And fickle Mother Nature is typically generous with her annual torrential downpours in Mumbai. The cloudy skies cast an enchanting spell on the city drenching the parched ground and uplifting residents’ spirits.

The Mumbai monsoons play a bewitching role on an onset of my hankerings for deep-fried food.  In my mind, crunchy pakoras (various vegetables dipped in a gram-flour batter and deep-fried) and samosas (fried pastry with a savory meat or vegetable filling) along with aromatic cups of steaming ginger tea are part and parcel of a rainy day. A quintessential monsoon day had me dreaming of a cheese samosa and led to the development of these Goat Cheese and Scallion Parcels.

This recipe uses a few straightforward ingredients to create a scrumptious miniature treat of scallion specked creamy goat cheese in a crispy wonton parcel.  The dipping sauce provides the perfect piquant tang to the simple wonton parcels. These little munchies are a perfect rainy day treat for the family and yet graceful enough to serve at your next cocktail party. Continue reading

Raspberry & Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Cake

10 Jun

Raspberry & Chocolate Chip Buttermilk CakeI was in love with Betty Crocker and Ducan Hines and then I cheated on them and hardly ever looked back, when I baked my very first cake from scratch. That cake was Deb Perelman’s (author of Smitten Kitchen) Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. Her straightforward recipe and the resulting moist, light and slightly fluffy cake was the catalyst to my love for home baking. Raspberry Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Cake

In the last 2 years (yes that was the first time I baked a cake from scratch), I have tested several variations of this cake using various fruits and berries and also just using chocolate chips. My favorite version – this Raspberry and Chocolate-Chip Buttermilk Cake does not deviate too far from the original recipe. I reduce the fat content by using low-fat buttermilk and add a little more verve to the classic recipe by adding semi-sweet chocolate chips. This is a swift, easy and light cake for the summer months when raspberries are at their prime and occasions to entertain and impress are plenty! Continue reading

Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tartines

14 May

Wild mushroom and goat cheese tartines

I recently read an interesting perspective that Crostini’s are so 2012! What’s trending in the world of crusty bread based appetizers are Tartines. For me either of these are just different names for petite open faced sandwiches topped with anything you can dream off. And the possibilities really are endless! Mushroom Tartines

My mother has been making mushroom toasts – toasts topped with diced and cooked white button mushrooms with parsley for years. My Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tartine recipe is a more refined (French Tartine worthy) and amplified version of her idea. And I call it a Tartine – because as a writer I need to stay current by embracing whatever is trending! Continue reading

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