Naan Therapy

Or should it be 'paratha' therapy …

Homemade pomegranate seeds

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Dried pomegranate seeds are excellent in salads or in soups or pancakes where the crunch from the seed or the sourness can be pleasing. The seeds can also be crushed and added to dishes to lend sourness.

On the right, in the picture above, are store bought seeds. They are sour but don’t have a whole lot of taste. The one on the left of the picture are dried at home in a food dryer per recommendation. It took what seemed like forever but the result is gorgeous. The seeds retain the lovely pomegranate color and are intensely flavorful. The seeds are crunchier as well and perhaps not as sour as the store bought variety.

I think I am going to additionally try my seeds as toppings on ice cream and homemade bars.

Written by Som

October 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Food, Fruit

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Mamey, another tropical fruit

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Pouteria sapota, mamey sapote, is native to Central America, naturally ranging from southern Mexico to southern Costa Rica.

Wait for the fruit to get slightly soft to touch. Cut open, get rid of the fat black seed, scoop the flesh out an eat. In taste, this is like the chikoo fruit in India, but somewhat fibrous. These fruits are very expensive in Bay Area but if I get it again, I will try milkshake, which is apparently a Cuban favorite.

Written by Som

October 11, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Posted in Food, Fruit

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Prickly Pear jelly

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These are from Mexico, and pretty expensive at the local market. On the plus side, they are cleaned of the larger prickly thorns.

To eat, cut open and scoop out the flesh and eat. The color can vary, deep orange, purple or watermelon and matches the color of the fruit on the outside. Flesh is not too sweet, is subtly flavored and juicy. There are lots of small seeds that make for a nice texture – mouthfeel is like eating raspberries.

A dear neighbor recently gave us a large pail of prickly pear. He has the deep orange variety. These of course had the thorns unlike the ones from the store. I held each fruit using a tong, gave it a quick rinse in the kitchen basin to get rid of cobwebs and spiders, cut the fruit in half with a sharp knife on a cutting board, scooped the flesh out with a butter spoon and dumped the rest in my compost bin – assembly line style. I got about 6 cups from ~20 fruits.

I cooked the resulting flesh for about 45 minutes to release the juices, added a cinnamon stick at the end and let cool. Strained the resulting mass through a steel strainer to get rid of the seeds – if you just let the liquid drip, you will get a clearer jel but I let the pulp through. Finally, followed a low sugar jelly following instructions on Pomona pectin package for strawberries.

Made exactly 3 mason jars worth of jelly. Two of these will go to my neighbor who has a lot of grandchildren to share fruits of his labor with.

Enjoy with some plain yogurt.

Written by Som

October 11, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Posted in Food, Fruit, Recipe

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Pineapple guava, a tropical fruit

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Pineapple guava at my local market, Sigona.

Small fruits, smaller than your typical guava.

These are pineapple guavas from my tree. To eat, wait until they are a little soft to touch. They will continue to look green.

Although edible, the outside part is too tart to be fun. Inside is soft and sweet and a blast of flavor. When ripe, the inside portion starts to look translucent. I scoop the insides out using a spoon. Right now, the fruits are ripening and they fall from the tree making a nice “tup” sound on the patio wood.

Written by Som

October 11, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Food, Fruit

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Frangipane tart

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This is based on David Lebovitz’s french tart dough recipe. The ratio of liquid to dough is critical in this one. After several failed attempts, the one that worked as advertised was where our chef didn’t really wait for the butter to brown at the edges – just enough for it to bubble.

After the tart is partially baked and cooled, add a layer of fresh made frangipane and add sliced figs on top. Let bake for another 30-40 minutes – during this time, frangipane puffs up and encases the figs. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. And Voila!

Frangipane tart with figs

The tart shell is delicate and buttery and holds up well to cutting and transfer to plate. Flavor of almonds becomes a lot more pronounced upon cooking. This has so much butter that the gluten molecules pass unnoticed through your system!

Written by Som

September 24, 2014 at 7:25 am

Posted in Dessert, Food, Recipe

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Chromatic coffee

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Chromatic’s cafe is located in Santa Clara. All their coffees are excellent but Keynote is our regular go to coffee. Their cold brew can’t be improved upon. For those who love coffee flavored sweet drinks, their latte with coconut milk is richly delicious. Currently I am trying their coffee with a very playful chocolate called “Pop Corn Pop” by Chuao. Chef Michael Antonorsi is a Venezuelan chocolatier based in San Diego. Chuao (pronounced chew-WOW) is named after the legendary cacao-producing region of Venezuela.

Chuao’s mik chocolate with popping candy, puffed amaranth and sea salt.

Written by Som

September 22, 2014 at 8:57 am

Same to same?

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Several meat and lentil dishes served together on an injira, a fermented and steamed crepe. Fundamental flavors are surprisingly similar to Indian food – just imagine this served thali style. Overall tastes were sufficiently different to make it interesting.

Also served with injira on the side. Injira can potentially be made with teff alone but these at Asmara had wheat (gluten) in them. Sigh! Taste and texture wise, these are perfect to mop up curries. I like the fact that they hold up well at room temperature. I am on a quest to replicate these …

If you are going towards Asmara in Temescal, consider checking out Doughnut Dolly nearby. They do run out of doughtnuts and close shop – so adjust your expectations accordingly.

Written by Som

September 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Africa, Cuisine

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