Naan Therapy

Or should it be 'paratha' therapy …

Archive for the ‘North America’ Category

Couple of pies

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One is a pecan pie and another is an apple one. They are both great but they are not perfect yet. So watch this space ….

Pecan pie

Pecan pie

Apple pie

Apple pie

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Written by Som

February 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Posted in Cuisine, North America

A slice of lemon on your pizza?

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Lemon, salami, roasted heirloom tomatoes, arugula pesto and goat cheese

Lemon, salami, roasted heirloom tomatoes, arugula pesto and goat cheese

After years of trying out all sorts of techniques, I have converged on a few basic aspects in pizza making – a) a soft and stretchy dough that is not a rubber mat but has sufficient elasticity to be hand stretched into a thin base, b) a 500-600F oven, and c) minimal but flavorful topping. Result is a chewy crust with a crisp bottom and rich flavors in every bite.

Some say that we should always eat whole grains. I agree, whole heartedly.  I have gladly swapped out white bread for wheat bread – thanks to Acme. There is no better chappati than whole wheat one. I adore whole wheat or buckwheat parathas and puris. I have cheerfully replaced white flour with whole wheat pastry flour in cookies and cakes.  I have even grudgingly swapped out regular pasta and white rice for whole wheat pasta and brown rice. But no whole wheat pizza for me. I have tried to swap out regular flour with white whole wheat, part whole wheat, part whole wheat pastry flour and I have failed to like them. So, my compromise – I don’t make pizza often and when I do, I don’t eat too much of it. If, however, you have to have whole wheat pizza, then give Heidi’s recipe a try.

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Written by Som

August 31, 2010 at 8:05 am

Trio of preserves

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Jams and marmalades this season

Jams and marmalades this season

Black berry jam:
It is the end of the season here, and I picked up 2 lbs of blackberry at 1/2 the usual price!

Rinse, crush, and add 1 lb sugar. Add juice of 1 lemon reserving the zest. Cook on medium until candy thermometer reads 220 F. Switch off flame, add zest of the lemon and proceed to can.

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Written by Som

August 17, 2010 at 7:45 am

Homegrown la ratte potatoes

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Freshly harvested la ratte potatoes

Freshly harvested la ratte potatoes

This year’s potato crop is a bit of a disappointment. We got La Ratte seed potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange but the yield hasn’t been very encouraging. Perhaps the unusually cool weather is the culprit.

Slow cooked la ratte (serves 2-3)

  • 40-50 of the small potatoes (~ 1/2 lb) scrubbed clean but skin on
  • 2 Tbsp of European style unsalted butter
  • Fleur de Sel or other flake salt to taste

Melt butter in an omelette pan. Cover and cook the potatoes on lowest setting for 20-25 minutes. Pick up the potatoes with a slotted spoon and serve hot with sprinkling of salt. Typically, fleur de sel is used in this quintessential french recipe but I didn’t have it handy. The flesh is buttery and nutty. I found the skin a little peppery. Fantastic with a glass of chilled white wine.

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Written by Som

August 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Texas BBQ in San Francisco

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Brisket from Snow's BBQ

Brisket from Snow's BBQ

We figured that getting barbecue flown from Texas to California would be significantly cheaper than flying us from California to Texas. Voted the best BBQ by Texas Monthly Magazine in 2008 and written about in New Yorker, Snow’s BBQ, has been on our radar for a little over an year. We decided to get their customer favorite slow cooked brisket.

The 5-6 lb brisket arrived perfectly frozen with heating instructions and a bottle of their sauce. The very first thing I did was to thaw it partially, divide the meat into meal size portions and wrap each portion separately to store. Top flight barbecue is so rare in the Bay Area that this treat needed careful planning to get the last bit of chewy, meaty enjoyment from it. For the first batch, I followed heating instructions to the letter. But then proceeded to use my own technique. First I brought the meat to room temperature, and trimmed the fatty bits at the edges. I froze these bits for a use that I will get to later. I brushed the meat liberally with the sauce and broiled it briefly until a light glistening crust formed. And voilà, it was ready to eat.

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Taquerias – where vegetarians fear to tread

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Little Mexico in Bay Area

Little Mexico in Bay Area

Middlefield Road in Redwood city, somewhere between 5th Avenue and Douglas street is a little Mexican island. Unlike neighboring Palo Alto and Menlo Park,  here there are no cute million dollar homes. Instead, the street is barren of trees and populated by run down yet colorful stores, taquerias, roach coaches and body shops. There is never a lot of crowd on the street and on hot summer afternoons, the emptiness against the stark background is noticeable. When you do see people, you see teenage mothers pushing babies in carts, dilapidated older women in bling, and groups of men standing around in grimy T-shirts, chatting and visually undressing all women walking by.

What brings me here? Yes, the tacos. A plate of tacos is a small meal – it costs practically nothing and can slide in between your normal meals with perfect ease. The salsas excite your tongue, the fresh corn tortillas arrive charred and soft and, the meats here don’t stop at perfectly done carnitas and pastor. You can get tongue, head cheeese, brain, cheek, and tripe too.

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Written by Som

August 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Gingerbread cookies with an immaculate record

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Once upon a time, a batch of gingerbread cookies turned up perfect. So perfect were they that I ate those cookies by the handful – something I hadn’t done to cookies since college days.

This gingerbread cookie recipe was from NYT. We had replaced the ground ginger by twice the amount of freshly grated ginger. While melting the butter, we had added the aromatics (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves) to toast until the flavors were released. We had also replaced the regular molasses with mild flavored one and white sugar with dark brown sugar.

Since then, we have tried multiple other recipes but they never made it to our repertoire. No amount of fiddling with the amount of butter, varitey of spices, flours, and sugar could improve these light textured, wonderfully aromatic, perfectly sized cookies. Conclusion – the combination in the NYT recipe, originally published with FOOD; Cookies for Eating and Giving as Christmas Gifts By Moira Hodgson, is perfect.


Written by Som

June 21, 2010 at 7:31 am