Tag Archives: Dinner

Pinch me and tell me this is for real!

If I rattle off the following words in no particular order – lucky, amazing, beautiful, incredible, unbelievable, memorable, special – does it conjure a certain visual imagery for you? For me, it is these words along with the Hindi word  “kismat” that sum up how I felt last Saturday night walking out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York City.  It was almost a “Cinderellaesque” moment, except I wanted the night to linger on as I descended the steps of the Met and got into my cab to head back home.

So what was it that led me to this happy, blissful state?  First and foremost it was clearing a wait list to take part in an event.  Not just any event, but one that brought together Madhur Jaffrey, the prolific actress, chef, and writer with Yotam Ottolenghi, the man whose recipes I’ve been creating joyfully in my kitchen since discovering him during our time in the UK.  These two stalwarts were coming together with Floyd Cardoz, yet another luminary on the Indian food scene to host a “Feast of India” at the Met.  Tickets had been sold out since April and yet through some magnificent stroke of luck, I cleared the waiting list a few days before the event.   Not only did I come beaming ear to ear, but lady luck blessed me with front row seats where I sat within arm’s length of my beloved chefs and next to their families and the curators of the event.  And that was just the kick off to a brilliant evening that had me pinching myself in disbelief at every turn.

Since the lavish evening banquet was in conjunction with the brilliant photography exhibit Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs, the event was kicked off by the talented Mia Fineman, Associate Curator in the Department of Photographs at the Met who spoke eloquently about Raghubir Singh’s talents, a topic that was deftly woven into the discussion on vibrant  food and flavors throughout the evening.

As dishes from the north, south, east and west of India were brought out family style and the audience dug in, Yotam embarked on a Q&A with Madhur, asking questions about each dish and Madhur waxing eloquence in fluid prose with a little story and factoid on each dish followed by a video that demonstrated the dish being prepared.  Periods of audience silence were followed by animated chatter where each of us tried to pick our favorites.  Over the course of two hours, Yotam and Madhur paired up playfully to take the audience on a beautiful journey through the tastes of the Indian landscape. From bhelpuri to aloo parathas, pesarattu to jhalmuri, the food straddled the line between familiar and unfamiliar tastes.

As someone who can talk, eat, dream and cook food around the clock, I was just latching on to every word that came from Yotam and Madhur and truly had my fangirl moment when I got to speak to each of them and take pictures too! Floyd Cardoz who supervised the kitchen and was the vision behind the food served talked at the end about his experience creating bolder flavors for the American palate.  He affirmed that the world of bold, bright, deep flavors is here to stay and the world has shifted to a more adventurous mood in terms of food and eating habits.

It is incredibly hard to take a country like India with its kaleidoscope of colors, emotions, people, and flavors and bottle it into a two-hour experience, but the event curators at the Met really did a beautiful job of making the most of this enriching, informative, delicious event.

I’m still basking in the glow of happiness, recreating the evening in my head and trying to source the perfect green chickpeas that as a seasoned Indian and a decent cook I had never tasted in my life till the Met opened my eyes!

!

 

 

Oranges and onions – Can they make a pre-workout snack?

By Lakshmi:

As I stand in front of my fridge eyeing the fruit options to have as a pre-workout snack, the jalapenos, mint and orange grab my attention.  I quickly pull them out along with a red onion from the pantry, some salt, pepper and olive oil and assemble the salad pictured above!

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The instructions are so simple.

  1. Peel the skin off an orange and slice into thin rounds.
  2. Peel the onion and cut about a 1/4 of the onion into thin slices.
  3. Chop half a jalapeno into thin slices.
  4. Chop a tbsp or two of mint leaves finely.
  5. Arrange the oranges, onion and jalapeno on a plate.  Garnish with mint leaves, sprinkle with salt and pepper and douse some extra virgin olive oil on top.
  6. Savor every bite

PS.  If headed to the gym, follow-up with mouth wash!  That red onion can be potent:)

A little twist yields a memorable gnocchi dinner!

By Lakshmi:

Last year, I was introduced by a mutual friend to a guy who was as obsessed with creating and eating good food as I was.  So it was natural that when this guy started a food blog, I turned to it for inspiration.  Recently, the team behind this food blog breakingnaan.com wrote about their success pairing fettuccini with fenugreek leaves (a leafy vegetable widely available at Indian grocery stores).  The minute I read this, I started thinking about my favorite Indian dish on cold winter days…aaloo methi or potatoes with fenugreek leaves.  And then the light bulb went off!  I could create an Italian version of this dish by pairing gnocchi with fenugreek leaves!

Here’s how you can create this dinner in under 30 minutes.  Start with the ingredients below.

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Clean the fenugreek leaves well to remove all sand and grit and chop finely.

Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package.

Heat some olive oil, add a teaspoon of crushed pepper flakes and two cloves of crushed garlic.

When the garlic sizzles, add the fenugreek leaves and cook for about five minutes till the leaves are wilted.

Now add the cooked gnocchi to the fenugreek leaves and toss till the gnocchi are coated with the leaves (about a minute).

Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the dish and serve hot!

Presto! Here’s the finished dish!  We did not have a morsel left over:)

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