Archive for June 2013
It sometimes feels as if David Lebovitz is an integral part of our kitchen curriculum. These Baci di Dama cookies are via him except we substituted almond flour for hazelnut flour. Whatever you do, don’t substitute the rice flour out. They imparted a nutty flavor that held up against the vast amounts of butter, chocolate and nuts in this cookie.
I wish we still had the batch of hazelnuts a good friend got us from Oregon. But those hazelnuts had participated in making of homemade nutella based on yet another of David’s recipes. Instead of chocolate, we used the nutella as filling.
Even without the filling, the cookies are amazing. With the filling, the cookies are superlative. If you are facing a weekend where your choice is between home improvement and making cookies, go for these please and I promise you that you will gain an year of life.
I think I am one of those who buy bananas hoping that no one would eat them so I could make banana bread later. My go to recipes for banana bread these days is David Lebovitz’s site. He seems to have a tropical appreciation for this particular fruit. This time, starting with David Lebovitz’s recipe, I made following modifications:
- Whole wheat flour
- Yogurt instead of sour cream
- Ginger syrup instead of sugar from “the ginger people” brand
- Guittard’s white chocolate chips
- Crushed kernels of allspice instead of cinnamon
Needed to be baked for 60 minutes but the result is again a super moist banana bread with overtones of ginger and allspice. Next time, I have to try the upside down banana cake.
Fish fry continues to be part of Bengali “afternoon/low tea”. The type and style of fry depends really on the season and availability. Bigger pieces are typically fried lightly coated in turmeric and salt and served with a dash of lime. Smaller fish are dunked in a a spicy wheat flour or besan (can be substituted with garbanzo bean flour) batter before frying.
My father’s generation can perhaps tell the taste and texture difference between 30-50 different varieties of fish. Most of these varieties have now disappeared from the local markets. Now when I visit Kolkata, there is at least a once a week story about the good old days when fish were plentiful in the rivers.
To be honest, I like the ritual more than anything else. Family gathers at the table waiting for freshly fried fish to be served. My mother’s kitchen is only a few feet from the dinner table so we eagerly watch her as she heats up the mustard oil and fries for a good few minutes until the outside is fried crisp but the flesh is flaky. The pungent aroma of mustard oil mixed with the fresh fish oils is perhaps the best pick me up even on a muggy summer day.
I have developed a fondness for Kentucky bourbon and I think it goes really well with family and fried fish. And my family agrees one hundred percent.
The fish disappears rapidly leaving behind folks licking fingers. A few fish bones on the plate and aroma of fish and bourbon is all that is left behind.