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Mini Tomato-Basil Bread Puddings

9 Sep

Mini Tomato Basil Bread PuddingBread puddings are the epitome of warm, homey comfort food. We always remember all the delicious dessert bread puddings and often overlook that savory bread puddings are celebrated soul friendly brunch entrées or a dinner side dishes.

A few years ago I came across a remarkable Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding recipe created by Giada de Laurentiis. Over the years I have created several brunch versions of this and have enjoyed all of them. It’s a versatile recipe that can take on the addition of any favorite omelet ingredient – ham, mushrooms, green peppers etc. This version doesn’t deviate too far from the original recipe. I add in some Fontina cheese for extra creaminess and some hot sauce for an underlying kick. Creating individual portions in cupcake tins gives a little vigor to comfort classic. Individual Tomato Basil Bread Pudding

These mini tomato-basil bread puddings symbolize comfort food at its best – rustic, humble, inexpensive and heartwarming!  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

Asparagus & Couscous Salad

7 May

Asparagus & Couscous Salad

About a month ago a few of us got together to picnic and enjoy the Cherry Blossoms in DC. When a bunch of foodies and girls who love cooking get together we end up with a surfeit of delectable treats that are often even figure friendly. The cherry blossoms were not even in full bloom but the spread at our picnic more than made up for Mother Nature’s shortcomings!

I was especially mesmerized by my friend Alisha’s Couscous Salad as she managed to breathe new life into a dull and often flat tasting dish with fresh and bright flavors. Her tricks included cooking the couscous in chicken broth instead of water and adding a distinct aroma and tang with generous amounts of fresh dill. Asparagus, Couscous Salad

Alisha’s Couscous Salad is the inspiration behind this recipe. I marry tastes and tips from her recipe with my love for adding asparagus to everything this time of the year. This salad comes together in minutes and highlights the season’s best ingredients in a light, healthy and extremely satisfying dish! Continue reading

Chinese Dry-Cooked Haricots Verts

23 Apr

Dry-cooked Haricot Verts

Green Beans never really excited me. I never craved them and yet I ate them ungrudgingly when they were cooked.  That was until I met Haricots Verts – French green beans. These stringless green beans are longer and thinner than most American and Indian green bean varieties. They also have a more complex flavor and are tenderer than the other green beans I have encountered. These beauties had me yearning for them right after I tried them!

One of my favorite preparations of Haricots Verts is at Mumbai’s acclaimed Chinese restaurant – Golden Dragon. Golden Dragon specializes in both traditional Sichuan and Indian-Chinese dishes. I recently stumbled upon Golden Dragon’s Dry-Cooked Haricot Verts recipe in the “Vegetarian Fare at the Taj Cookbook” and am tremendously excited to share a slightly modified version on my blog.  Continue reading

Spinach & Pepper Jack Cheese Muffins

16 Apr

IMG_2632We live in a world filled with uncertainty and reoccurring horrific events that are so complicated to fathom. The news coverage of these recent tragic recent events – Boston and Baghdad bombings, fatal earthquake in Iran and the continuing Syrian Civil War send shivers down my spine.  The images depicting carnage of innocent citizens and widespread annihilation of their towns and cities reiterate the fragility of human lives and the world we live in. They are reminders that everyday is a gift and one must constantly cherish and love our family and friends.

The very ethos of this blog is to express your love and nurture by cooking for the special people in your life. Now more than ever, I must reiterate “Cook for someone you love”.  While we think and pray for all the families stricken by these ghastly events let’s also remember to articulate our love for the important people in our lives.  Continue reading

Roasted Radishes with a Lemon Dill Yogurt Dip

3 Apr

Roasted Radishes with Lemon Dill Yogurt Dip

I am elated to proclaim that spring is in the air and certainly in the grocery stores. The sight of pristine asparagus, bok choy, young green peas and radishes facilitates my shaking out off the winter blues and euphorically embracing  this new season.

I trot into this season with a novel discovery – roasted radishes! I grew up eating plenty of radishes, but they were always pickled or just served with salt and lemon juice.  I had never dreamt of cooking radishes, let alone roasting them until I recently stumbled upon a plethora of roasted radish recipes. I roasted up my first bunch of radishes and was amazed how roasting mellows the peppery flavor of the radish and transforms in into a whole new root vegetable.  Continue reading

Spring Fling: Edamame Chaat

26 Mar

Edamame ChaatIf you are an immigrant you know that “identity” is a loose and often elusive term. More that often you find yourself distanced from the ways of your birth country, and yet no matter how hard you try you may never completely belong in your adopted country.  Do not despair, because food often helps bridge the gap!

Food is an intrinsic part of our identities and for an immigrant easy access to childhood meals helps ease and speeds the process of settling into a new country.  This takes time and there’s certainly a learning curve. You will eventually know where to find obscure ingredients (that weren’t obscure where you came from), or discover the perfect substitutes for them.  Continue reading

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