Search this blog


Thursday, March 28, 2013


Dosas are a typical south Indian breakfast.  Luckily, you can get them almost anywhere in India.  They are basically savory pancake type things made from rice and lentil flour and then stuffed with a variety of things you can choose from: potatoes, spinach, paneer, onions... It goes on and on.  Then the best part is the addition of different chutneys to each bite. The mix of colors in your morning plate just makes a fabulous start of a new energized day.  The dosas must of course be washed down with a traditional exquisite mango lassi.
Just lovely.

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sugar Cane (Ganna) Juice

Don't drink it.
It will taste great, but you will regret it.
It goes without saying that you should not drink the water in India, but when you're with family who wants you to discover all the wonderful natural and pure things you can get on the street in in India, and they insist and insist and won't take no for an answer... You end up with 5 minutes of pleasure, and several days of pain.  I'm talking about excrutiating, braveheart gut ripping pain.  I'm on my 2nd day of this and hoping it will end soon so I can actually enjoy this vacation.
It is a crazy life here...
It must be the juice extractor (pictured above) that taints the pureness of the juice.
After 3 days it gets better, but always keep emergency restroom items on hand for any unexpected spontaneous action.

Print Friendly and PDF

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I know I'm supposed to do as the romans do when in Dubai, but there are just so many American chains here I wasn't quite sure what to look for in terms of "local" food. They have Chili's, Fridays, Cheesecake factory, tony Romas, PF Changs... all the burger joints too, even Fatburger!  There was one little jewel nestled in the Dubai Mall food court.  I had to give in when I saw my beloved Baja Fresh salsa bar from afar... Crispy fish tacos, I had missed you so!
They also feel good going down during the nap on the beach near Burj Al Arab.
I am pleasantly surprised with this destination.  It's definately worth more than a pit stop. 

Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cheesy Jalapeño Muffins

My baking urges are flaring up again.  This time I'm going the savory route.  I'm really not used to eating that much sugar and I've been overdosing lately.  Instead of making a spicy sweet cookie, I'm making a spicy savory muffin.  Besides, I finished all my mango slices and I can't turn back time.  I'm thinking these will be fun alongside a soup or even as a munchie.  If it's "too spicy" I may even get to have them all to myself.  Is that evil of me?
Yield 17
2 cups (240g) whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups shredded swiss or cheddar (oh dear I wish I had cheddar on hand)
2 Tbsp dried onion
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup (56g) melted butter
2 eggs
1 whole Moroccan chili, diced (or 2 large Tbsp)
squeeze of 1/2 a lemon
 1.  In one bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and add the cheese and onion.
2.  In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and add the chili.
3.  Gently add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until incorporated.
4.  Grease and flour your muffin tins and fill them up.
5.  Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 15-17 minutes.

The result is an extremely pleasant, not too spicy, moist, melt in your mouth, almost creamy "muffin."  At this point, it is more like a bread roll than a muffin for its fluffiness.  I inadvertantly closed my eyes during my first bite.   Mmmmmmm!!!
I had fun with the last batch and added a piece of sundried tomato on top.
I know I named these "jalapeño" muffins, but we don't have that variety of chilis here in France.  The closest I can find is a Moroccan chili.  If you can pick them by smell, you can hit the jackpot with a spicy one.  With that said, I'd probably add another one next time I make these.

These are heavenly slightly warmed alongside some Fish Chowder!

* I made these again with half cornmeal/half whole wheat flour, and actual cheddar.
Wow.. double mind blowing.  Perfect with some chili!!

Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Prepping for India

 Not that I'm going to be cooking there (although that would be nice), but with take-off in less than a week, I just can't wait to get my hands on the real stuff.  What I'm doing is giving memory injections to my tastebuds so they will naturally analyze and compare, so that my Post-India cooking will be slightly enhanced.  I know good Indian food.  I've had it in good homes and restaurants, but what I haven't had is Indian food in India made by Indians with 100% Indian spices purchased at the market in town and stored in little jars and without having to substitute ingredients because I can't find them.
Excuse me, do you have curry leaves?  Of course.
Kaffir lime leaves? Why yes.
Garam masala, chat masala, tandoori masala, amchur, asofetida, kokum, vathals, turmeric root, kala jeera, black onion and mustard seeds?  No problem, follow me.
 Kadhai Chicken, Palak Paneer with Basmati rice garnished with Cilantro and eaten by hand with tortillas (didn't have enough time to make rotis).
Coconut Cardamom Burfi

I even put dried mango with lemon + cayenne pepper in my oats this morning, just to get my motor running.  I didn't photograph that, but it was lovely.

I cannot wait to get my hands on some notorious Indian street samosas, dosas, pakoras, lassis.  Oooo lassis!!  If it gets hot enough I will be pouring some cardamom mango lassi all over my face.

I also have a confession to make.  While checking out places in Dubai for the layover, I saw they have a Baja Fresh in at least 2 foodcourts.  Will I succumb to this temptation or eat locally?  It is going to be an extremely tough decision.

Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, March 10, 2013

May I Date you, Cookie?

99% of dates produced in the US come from the Palm Springs area.  Dates being the fruits of paradise implies that I was born in heaven.  I like that.
Dates are one of those superfoods.  High in fiber, full of antioxidants, vitamins, iron, and potassium.  There is a very well known belief that 7 dates a day is enough to keep you healthy and disease free.  These cookies are a blessing, so make them and enjoy.  
I basically used the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and swapped out a few ingredients.  I had a tube of condesed milk I'd been eating by the fingerful so I decided to use that too.
Yield 40 cookies
1/2 cup softened butter (114g)
3/8 cup packed brown sugar (I used 75g cassonade)
45g sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg
1 tsp maple syrup
3/4 cup flour (I used 90g whole wheat)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 1/2 cups organic oats
5 oz (125g) pitted and chopped dates
1 cup more or less crushed pine nuts
1.  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
2.  Add the egg, condensed milk, and maple syrup and beat until incorporated.
3.  Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together.  Add this mixture little by little while continually mixing to the egg butter sugar mixture.
4.  Stir in the oats, then the chopped dates, then the pine nuts.  Have I ever mentioned how amazing pine nuts are?
Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C.
5.  On a cookie sheet, make tablespoon sized balls spaced out at least 2 inches apart.  Bake for 9 minutes or until lightly golden.  Quickly transfer to a wire rack to let cool.

These are a very nice twist on the classic chocolat chip or oatmeal raisin.  The result is a perfectly chewy yet structured cookie.  I'd date myself anytime of day.
The pine nuts make it an extra special experience.  Excellent fusion material.

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Things that make me wild

Shrimp.  Naked cold, naked hot, lemon buttered, skewered, bbqed, sweet, savory, spicy hot, floating in soup, with fruits, with vegetables, on a steak.  I'd even eat the live thing off the hook.  I don't even mind peeling them all day...

Oysters.  Naked with lemon.
O my the aura they leave me in...  I'll do cooked, but nothing beats a fresh raw one full of ocean.

Mussels.  Naked, steamed, baked, raw, grilled...and always always eaten with my bare hands.  I think there is a recurring theme involving food nudity.
Mangos.  Ripe, still hard and green, in a lassi, ice cream, smoothie, salad, naked, with chicken or seafood, spicy, rubbed all over me so it can seep into my skin.
Yes that is how I feel.

Eggplant.  Roasted or grilled, as chips, as a container, layered, peeled, unpeeled, with garlic, with fried mustard anything purple that goodness can get.  It's so sophisticated with it's roundness...

Cilantro.  Strong aroma, full of flavor, will transform anything into something 10x better.  I'd even be willing to try it in one of my desserts.  Ooh what a great idea!

Chilis.  Thai, jalapeño, serrano, habanero, oiseau, espelette, morrocan, hot ones, fresh ones, frozen ones, dried ones, stuffed ones, fried, ones that make you cough when you heat them.  I like them just like that, raw, in salsa, salad, pasta.  I like to rub them on my gums like a drug addict until a bead of sweat forms on my forehead.  I like to feel the heat go through my entire body.  I have yet to try it in ice cream, but this is giving me another idea for a cookie.

And one other thing....

Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's that time of the week again.  I'm getting my Cookie on...
It has been a long time since I've eaten peanut butter with sweetness.  I usually just use it as a thickener for thai dishes.  But it can be much more than that.  I'd say peanut butter is to Americans as Nutella is to French or Tahini is to the Eastern Med.  With that said, quality peanut butter is nothing more than mashed peanuts.  There is no reasonable substitute for Nutella,  meaning that for once, the American choice is healthier than the French one which is loaded with palm oil.
Yield 56 cookies
3/4 cup butter (170g)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (I just used 160g total cassonade)
3/4 cup peanut butter (195g)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour (180g)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup oats
6 oz chocolate chips (I used 100g chunky)
1.  Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg, vanilla, and peanut butter and beat until smooth.
2.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add a little at a time to the mixture, continually mixing to keep it smooth.
3.  Fold in the oats, then the chocolate chips.  At this point, I decided that the dough was not thick enough and would be hard to handle, so I refridgerated for about 30 minutes.  I was careful not to leave my brand new wooden spoon in it this time.
Heat oven to 350°F (175°C)
4.  On a cookie sheet, make tablespoon sized balls 2 inches apart.
5.  Bake for 12 minutes.

I have to admit I was unsure about the texture of the dough.  It is one peanut buttery mess all over my hands and face.  I've already fingerswiped it and o mon dieu it is good.  I might just keep it raw and eat it throughout the week.  It DOES have protein with the peanuts and all the goodness of oats, right?
But now that I'm all cleaned up, I'm quite pleased at how light and fluffy these are.  I thought they would feel heavier going down.  It's like eating a peanut buttery cloud with a little chocolate chunk surprise inside.  I think next time I'll perfect these with less butter, more oats, and a little more chocolate.  Now that they've cooled, they can easily replace crack.

Print Friendly and PDF