Archive for August 2011
This is one of the great street foods of Delhi – daal pakodas (fried lentil balls) served with grated radish and carrot and topped with chutneys. Like a small plate of chaat, this is a multi-dimensional exploration of tastes and textures. The pakodas are crunchy and the lentil is tangy. The pakodas are neither too dense nor too fluffy and provides a nice bite. Grated radish and carrot adds a refreshing crispness. Horseradish overtones and bitterness of radish and sweetness of carrots adds to the dimensions of taste. Coriander/mint chutneys are savory, tart, and gingery. Tamarind chutneys bring the taste of molasses, and dates.
Our local pastry shop, “Sugar Butter Flour” serves up excellent pastries. Here is a loot from a recent trip – tiramisu, chocolate hazelnut, flourless chocolate and a key lime mousse.
Following recipe serves two –
- Start with a dozen tender okra. Wash and dry thoroughly.
- Slit open with a paring knife and stuff a pinch of the following spice mixture – 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder), 1 tsp anardana (dry pomegranate seeds), 1 tsp toasted and crushed cumin, 1 tsp red pepper powder
- Prepare a thin cake like batter by mixing 1 cup of besan (bengal gram flour) or chickpea flour with sufficient water, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp cracked pepper, 1/2 tsp anardana, 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp nigella seeds, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp of red pepper powder/flakes
- Prepare a mustard oil bath for frying – 1-2 cups depending on your fryer.
- Heat mustard oil to smoking.
- Coat the okra in batter, a few at a time, and fry until golden.
- Drain on a paper towel and serve with chutney.
Aside from several batches of microgreens and salad greens, the bounty this summer has been quite varied.
Washington Street in Yountville has been taken over by Thomas Keller. So, holding your own out here has perhaps been fun for the rest of the great chefs in Napa. Nearly a decade ago, we ate our first lamb tongue dish at Bistro Jeanty and instantly fell in love. Now that we have been to Paris pilgrimage, we can safely assert that the food here is authentic French bistro cooking. Ambiance is Californian, with golden sun, crisp air, and spacious seating. On a summer day, sitting out on the patio, sipping one of the local Napa wines is a delight. Here is what we ordered this time around: Warm lamb tongue salad, pigs feet, duck and goat cheese pate’, butter cooked snails, a bottle of their table red and a plate of cheese for dessert.
Lamb tongue is mellower and sweeter meat compared to rest of the lamb and was served the same way as we ate a decade ago, with warm potatoes and salad greens, a light and delightful dish. Pigs feet was slow braised, the fork tender meat was shaped into pig feet shaped log, coated with flour and deep fried – a bit on the heavy side. Rillettes was rich but it was mellow and sweet on the nose. Snail came with a lot of heavenly butter. I unloaded each snail on a slice of baguette, perhaps 1/2 a teasoon of butter per snail. Yummy. A light red wine and my better half provided delightful accompaniment to the meal.
Balancing hazelnut and chocolate can be tricky. My better half has been wanting to take a crack at making a chocolate hazelnut spread. He eventually will, but for now, after some suitable procrastination, he surprised me with mail order from Askinosie, a chocolatier we have grown fond of over weekly doses of Scream sorbet. With chocolate as good as Askinosie, you don’t want the chocolate flavor overpowered, even with something as good as hazelnut. This spread is nearly perfect and since its arrival, has made its way on our home made biscotti, and crepes. A more recent guilty pleasure is with s’mores (marshmallows and graham crackers).
I am mulling over the thought of crepes, chocolate hazelnut spread and marshmallows a la Breizh.