Matar Paneer by Weezie

Posted on 06-16-10 · Tags: , , , , ,

Mom's Matar Paneer

Last year was a bad year for peas in Simsbury. There was too much rain and the peas did nothing. Maybe I got one meal out of them. As the snow fell in January, Priscilla and I sat by the fire with a cup of tea and a basket full of seed catalogs. We browsed through the seed write-ups, dreaming about next year’s garden. We tried to imagine which peas, peppers, brussels sprouts, lettuces, or onions would do well in our Connecticut soil. We strategized on how to rotate our crops this year to defy the squash borers or the cabbage moths without using poison. We tried to guess how much of each vegetable our family would want to eat in 2010. Priscilla lives five minutes away and like me she has an organic garden. She spends every available moment during the school year and all summer amidst her tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries and her 1000 heads of garlic. She and I often plant different vegetables or different varieties and then share our harvests.

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Dandelion dal: Harvest your lawn by Anjuli

Posted on 04-22-10 · Tags: , , , ,

DSC_0805

I’ve been visiting my Mom in Connecticut. See, we’re enjoying the first crop of asparagus and writing a cookbook together. Yes, that’s right. We woke up one morning and this view came out of nowhere. What do you see when you look at this photo? A field of flowers, dandelions, perhaps? A mowed lawn in dire need of weeding? My Mom, well she sees food. On this particular morning she looked out over the dandelions, their bright yellow heads sprouting up through the freshly cut lawn and said, “Let’s make some dal.” This is my first spring outside of New York and I am just adjusting to pollen, let alone a garden and a lawn. Making a meal of this lawn… a dal at that, sounded like the best food idea I’d heard all year. So the following morning she headed out with a gardening fork and cut that first bed of dandelions and piled them into a basket. They were fresh, young, a bit sweet and wonderfully bitter – so far away from that summer bitterness that makes you gag, and nothing like the matured and metallic farmed variety you find in the store.

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Cashew burfi celebration by Anjuli

Posted on 12-25-08 · Tags: , ,

Cashew Barfi

Cashew burfi (बर्फ़ी) is a sweet Indian dessert made with cashews, ghee, and sugar. They are traditionally eaten during holiday, especially Divali, the Hindi festival of lights (actually meaning “row of lights”). Divali is celebrated the world over Amaavasya, the 15th night of the fortnight of the month of Kaartik in October/November.

Part of the reason must be due to the fact that you need a lot of people around to stir. We made these yesterday in celebration of another holiday. Everyone pitched in with the stirring (and eating). In stores, burfi’s commonly come with a piece of silver foil at the top. Ours our naked and better for it. They have a wonderfully rich and nutty flavor, and are incredibly smooth like fudge.

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Stained glass gingerbread by Anjuli

Posted on 12-01-08 · Tags: , , ,

Stained glass gingerbread cookies

CANDY. Yes it’s totally bad for you, addictive even, spikes your blood sugar, gives you diabetes, and has little other nutritional value. It makes for excellent stained glass when melted inside gingerbread cookies. My mother figured out this trick when we were kids, and we’ve been making them every year since.

Decorating the Christmas tree was a sweet task growing up. Christmas trees should be edible, minus the needles and trunk. We lade its branches with candy canes, cookies, and any other sugary treat that tastes good after being left out for 3 weeks at room temperature.

While we don the Susie Homemaker aprons for our slightly noxious baking spree, we realize, well, it’s fun to do this once a year. Gingerbread is one of my favorites. It’s spicy and used to make miniature edible Gretel houses. What’s not to like? Of course once you add on the finishing string of lights on your tree, these stained glass numbers really shine. This is about as close as I get to a church on Christmas. Ahem.

What’s your favorite Christmas music?
In the past I have avoided holiday music whenever possible. This year we’re making a point of playing it at home. I’m looking for input on favorite Christmas classics. What gets you in the mood?

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Cornbread stuffing with chestnuts, cranberries and onions by Anjuli

Posted on 11-27-08 · Tags: , , ,

Thanksgiving

Stuffing is one of those things that you wish you made more than once a year, but then you get around to baking the cornbread a day early, assembling the ingredients, and baking it in the oven for an hour. You realize it’s become a lengthy task to keep you busy while the turkey is cooking. Well, thanks for that. The time we take to make stuffing these days has graduated it to my favorite Thanksgiving dish.

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Chicken adobo: Make time for your guests by Anjuli

Posted on 11-03-08 · Tags: , , ,

Chicken adobo

When I think of dinner parties, I think of time I will be spending in the kitchen. My recent adventure actually left leisure time for relaxation and conversation BEFORE DINNER WAS SERVED. Shocker. There was exceptional kitchen help and there was also chicken adobo. Crowd pleaser. Leftover king. Low-key, accommodating, with some natural charisma and a lot of flavor.

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Baked Apples by Anjuli

Posted on 10-20-08 · Tags: ,

Baked apples

Everything you can do with apples is excellent, but mom knows best. This one is short and sweet, like the rest. Although, I have to admit coring the apple is a bitch. Could there be a special kitchen tool for this? The Empires we used a wonderful fluffy texture once out of the oven. Serve it a la mode and be impressed with your lack of effort.

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Peppery green beans with sage and Parmigiano Reggiano by Anjuli

Posted on 10-19-08 · Tags: , , ,

Pepper green beans with sage and parmigiano reggiano

The spice of the pepper, savory crunchy sage, and nutty Reggiano make this the perfect side dish for a soup. The key, my mother learned, is that you need to take the sage leaves off and place them in a bowl, uncovered, so they remain crisp.

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Boiling chicken and making stock by Anjuli

Posted on 10-18-08 · Tags: ,

Boiling chicken and making broth

Buying a chicken and processing it yourself is an excellent way to save money and introduce flavor into stocks and recipes. It’s easy to boil a chicken, and once done, the meat falls right off. Of course, it was only easy after my mother came for the weekend and showed me this technique and others.

There is never, ever, a good reason to buy a conventional chicken. Buy Organic, and find the best one you can. Don’t even get me started on the industry of chickens, or I will spam you with statistics and horrifying photos. Animal rights aside, you are what you eat. Who wants to be part broken-legged fat bird stuffed with antibiotics? OK, I’ll stop. This 3 pound youngin was $14.

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Pumpkin Bread Pudding by Anjuli

Posted on 10-13-08 · Tags: , , ,

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
There is never an excuse to throw away stale bread. Although breadcrumbs and croutons are the easiest ways to make use of an old loaf, bread putting is definitely the post satisfying. Matt and I headed to a pick-ur-own in upstate this weekend. In addition to scouring for the sweetest apples, pulling heads of cabbage from the ground with our bear hands, and trying to determine what a ripe eggplant looks like, we picked up a few small sugar pumpkins. Once baked, the skin turned an amazing orange-brown. With my slightly stale loaf of whole wheat and fresh pumpkin puree, I set out to make delectable peasant food. After weeding through some totally pretentious recipes, I gave a call to my mother, who reminded me of its simple roots. Pumpkin aside, I tried to stay true to what bread pudding should really be like: easy, comforting, and sweet.

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