Friday, July 31, 2009

New Good Bite videos!

Hey guys! I made a simplified version of my Tiger vs. Dragon soup for Good Bite earlier this month and the video (called sweet corn and chicken soup) is up! Thanks Good Bite guys for making me look so good!!

I must say that there's a recipe for one pot bittersweet brownies by Jeanne Kelly (author of the gorgeously-titled Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes) on there that is making my mouth water. I'll have to try it.



Emails that make me smile

I just got this fantastic email from my friend Vivian -- she's a brand new mum (hi Tempest!) and she's experimenting over the stove between feedings and diaper changes. She tried my babaghanouj recipe after watching the very first episode of Aarti Paarti (wow, has our production value gotten better!!!) and she shot me this email after she made it. I can't stop smiling!

"I made your babganouj from the first episode. I've made it before using other recipes and I have to say from now on I will always use *your* recipe. Why? It's simple, easy, cheap and most of all cooking the eggplant directly on the burner gives it a smokey flavor that makes it absolutely super-yummy. In the episode you suggest that "you might want to try" cooking it that way, but other ways are okay too. NO!!! This is now the ONLY way to cook eggplant,at least for babaganouj! We both loved it - I put in extra lemon, which is so great with the smokey flavor! It got eaten up too fast. Next time I go to the store I'm getting ingredients to make it again!

My eggplant just disintegrated on the burner, that's how I knew it was ready, making it kinda hard to peel. Maybe I cooked it too long (was less than 15 min - mine was probably smaller or flame hotter).

Anyway, thanks!


Isn't that great?



Thursday, July 30, 2009

Aarti Paarti Ep. 21: Peanut Noodles for Miss Piggy!

When I was little, Dad called me Miss Piggy. I think there was something about her, um, "pleasantly plump" build, and her playful pride that reminded Dad of lil' ol' me. Somewhere around the age of 11, I lost that pride, and became painfully self-conscious, lacking a vat of self-esteem (a battle I still struggle through today I'm afraid). The pleasantly plump thing stuck around... the pride went out the window. Ugh! Ah, for a pubescant switch-a-roo!

Anyway, I digress. I have always had a soft spot for Miss Piggy. There's something about the way her snout moves, her fierce semi-obsessive love for Kermie, her ability to drop-kick anyone that gets in her way...

But, believe it or not, I had never seen the Muppet Movie. The one created in the year of my birth! And so we just HAD to get a bunch of friends together to go watch an outdoor screening of the Muppet Movie at Hollywood Forever, a famous LA cemetary where luminaries of old glam Hollywood (Cecil B. Demille, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks...) have been laid to rest. No, honestly, it's not creepy! The event is managed by Cinespia, and they show movies all summer long. So. cool.

I decided to make a big batch of peanut noodles to bring to the picnic -- a great option because it feeds a ton of people for just a few dollars. It's also great at any temperature, particularly when they're cold, which is great for a hot, summery day. And, with a bunch of raw veggies, and a crisp salty-sweet cucumber salad, you don't have to feel guilty about scarfing down noodles covered in peanut butter. I must say that I worked on this peanut sauce recipe over and over, until I managed to get one that packs a wallop; most recipes I've tried yield a sallow, wimpy sauce that gets even wimpier once you pour it over the noodles. This one is bold, fierce and unapologetic -- kinda like a certain porky heroine I love dearly.

Thanks to Bren for shooting everything so lovingly, and to every one of my friends who made it out. A special thankyou to those who tried to get in, but were turned away at the door, because the cemetary was filled to capacity. Sorry guys!

Peanut Noodles for Miss Piggy

With "pickled" cucumber salad and pan-fried sesame chicken

For cucumber salad:
1 large cucumber, sliced thin on a mandoline or by hand
Rice vinegar

For the chicken
2 chicken breasts (pounded thin)
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sriracha hot sauce
1 tbsp honey

For the peanut sauce:
1 cup chunky peanut butter (not the natural kind)
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
6 tbsp ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp brown sugar or honey
1 tsp sesame oil (plus more drizzling)
Handful cilantro
1 cup hot strong black tea
2 red bell peppers, sliced thinly
1 bunch thin asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
Juice from 1 lime
1lb thin spaghetti

1) The night before: Mix chicken marinade ingredients. Toss chicken in the marinade and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

2) The next day, set a big pot of water to boil. For cucumber salad: Sprinkle a little sugar and salt over the cucumbers. Drizzle with a little rice vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning as you like. Let it sit in the fridge while you prep the rest of it.

3) Warm a cast iron skillet over medium heat, swirling a tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil in the pan. When it's shimmering, add the chicken breasts, and don't move them. Let them cook about 5 minutes, then flip and turn the heat down. Cook until thermometer registers 160 degrees. (If this takes too long, throw a lid on the pan for a couple of minutes. They should cook faster this way).

3) Drop spaghetti into boiling water, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Meanwhile, throw peanut butter, sesame seeds (reserve 1 tbsp for garnish), ginger, garlic, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, sriracha, brown sugar/honey, sesame oil, cliantro and tea into a big food processor. Whiz 'em up until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.

4) Toss veggies with a little sauce in a separate bowl. Drain cooked pasta, and then drizzle with a little sesame oil. Toss with a pair of tongs. This will help keep the pasta from sticking.

5) Slice chicken thinly. In a big bowl, toss pasta, veggies, reserved sesame seeds, freshly squeezed lime juice and sauce together. Serve with chicken and cucumber salad on the side, alongside with a full serving of the Muppet Movie!



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mutter, whine, sneak peek

I'm kinda up to my eyeballs in stuff to do -- it's all good stuff, all related to what I want to be doing with my life, but of course, all at once. When this kind of thing happens, rather than thank my stars for having so many wonderful opportunities, I resort to the trademark "mutter and whine" routine.

First I'll whine about how much there is to do, and how overwhelmed I am, and how I don't think I can handle it.

Then, when I don't find a sympathetic audience in Bren, I'll turn to the most sympathetic audience I know: me! Cue the crazy-guy muttering wheel: "I don't know how in the world I'm going to finish everything in time..." or "I'll NEVER finish everything in time"... or, worst of all, "Ugh, this blows".


As gently as he can, Bren's been reminding me to take joy in the fact that my plate is full with so many blessed opportunities, that when I feel overwhelmed, that moment is a great opportunity to take a deep breath, get really quiet, whisper a prayer of strength, surrender and peace to my Father, and then dive back into it with gusto and focus. The other morning, my reading included this little gem from Psalm 61:

"From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

I'll be doing that today -- I'm shopping and prepping for another Good Bite shoot (wheeee!) tomorrow, cleaning up the kitchen so that I look like a put-together cook (ha!), doing my nails (um, for the afore-mentioned fakery reason)... oh and, oh yeah, EDITING the season-3 opener of Aarti Paarti!


So rather than invite another back spasm, I'm going to try letting go, looking up and cracking a smile today. I'll let you know if it helps!

In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at what to expect from the show... thanks Kat for the photo and the excellent company!



Friday, July 24, 2009

Foodie Fanatics?

I love food just as much as the next one, but I don't think I'd ever get foodstuffs tattoo'd on my body. Not even ice-cream, and you all know how ridiculously obsessed I am with it. I have always loved the idea of getting a big chef's knife on one forearm, and a whisk on the other... but I know I must have stolen that idea from somebody.

However, after looking at this page of collected food-related tattoos, I might be changing my mind. Never before had a I considered that a Kitchenaid mixer could look so... bad-ass!



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quick Shot

Ok, I'm feeling better... not totally un-knotted but better. I'm following Bren's lead and trying to release attachment through joyful praise. Oof!

So, because I'm guessing you're just as in love with the gift of food as I am, here's a list of food things I'm singing His praises for! Holy muffin, these are good!

1) Thai iced tea.
I'm always annoyed that the Thai restaurants always plunk such a small glass down on the table when I order it -- especially when they charge nearly $3 for it. Thanks to Bren's mum, who gave us a packet of the loose tea a few Christmases ago... we polished it off last week when summer finally arrived (woohoo!), and I procured another bag from the Thai market. When I bought it, the Thai security guard pointed to what looked like a giant sock with a handle on it -- I should have bought that too. It is indeed, a tea sock. You spoon the tea into it, then dunk it into a vessel of hot water -- once it's steeped, just pull the sock out! Bren said I could use one of his. Hmmm. Thankyou God for Thai tea.

2) Iced coffee essence.
I know. Sense a trend here?!
I made the Splendid Table coffee essence last week. With 11 cups of concentrated coffee chilling in the fridge, I thought we'd be bathing in iced coffee for weeks! Alas, it was gone in just a few days. I blame Bren. Thankyou God for iced coffee (and a working fridge to chill it in!)

3) Cinnamon-raisin Ezekiel Bread
I don't know why I never grabbed this loaf before. I get heartburn if I eat too much wheat in one day, but sometimes the easiest snack to grab is a slice of bread. I love this stuff because it toasts up wonderfully, it's full of protein and with those sweet little bursts of raisin, it totally satisfies my salty-sweet cravings. And heck, it's God's recipe! Thankyou God for being a good baker!

4) Lemon cucumbers
Lemon cucumbers are this year's fad vegetable, or at least it seems that way. A lot of people are growing the happy yellow orbs in their vegetable gardens. I love how crunchy they are, with just a hint of cucumber flavour. Thankyou God for yummy cucumbers!

5) Cheater's Indian BBQ chicken
Now that it's summer, I really don't feel much like cooking. I've made a cheater's version of Indian BBQ chicken a couple of nights now -- it comes together quickly, and alongside a salad, makes a quick, healthy dinner. I mix some store-bought BBQ sauce with a few tablespoons of lime or mango pickle, pour it over a packet of cleaned chicken thighs, bake for 20-30 minutes at 400, then put the pieces under the broiler for about 5 minutes, basted with a little more BBQ sauce. Yum! Thankyou Lord for barbeque sauce!

Huh. I feel better. Your turn! What foodstuffs are you thankful for?



Thursday, July 16, 2009


Ever have those days where there's a knot in the pit of your stomach and you're not sure why?

Today's one of those days.

Ah well.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Non-snooze-worthy Squash!

I went to the farmers market yesterday, but alas, I only get there about 10 minutes before they shut down. Anyone else think it's weird that a weekday farmers market shuts down at 7pm? Aren't people just getting out of work at that hour?

Anyway. I digress.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I love summer produce: tomatoes of every colour and goofy shape, peaches and nectarines, green beans and cucumbers. It's all quite lovely. But there is one incredibly bountiful product of summer that I just can't get excited about: squash.


Huh-wha? Sorry, the very thought of squash kinda puts me to sleep. It's just so bland, so sponge-y, so... ubiquitous. I'm not a fan of ratatouille, and they're alright on the grill, and my smoky squash recipe is pretty good because it loads the squash up with tons of spices but.. on it's own? zzzz- oh you get my drift.

But yesterday, having gotten to the market so late, that was all that was available. So I grabbed 4 or 5 small crookneck squash, and a bunch of basil and decided to make the best of it. I had grabbed a ham steak earlier that day (what a cheap source of protein! $6 for a thick steak at Trader Joes that would easily feed 3!).

Suddenly a vision of squash, artichokes and basil, in a buttery-mustardy sauce came to me. Something decidedly simple, French -- basically, something SO not me!

At home, I bent my knees and picked up my cast iron skillet (seriously, why does my back hurt so much?!), and let it warm up over a medium flame. After dousing it with some good olive oil, I chucked some sliced garlic in there for 30 seconds until it started to smell oh-so good. Meanwhile, I sliced my squash on a diagonal, and drained my can of artichoke hearts. After sauteeing the squash until slightly browned but still tender-crisp, I added the artichoke hearts, tossed them around, then moved them to the outside of the pan. A little butter in the middle, a teaspoon or so of turmeric and grainy mustard, wait for the turmeric to bloom, toss together, finish with a flourish of fresh basil and... taa-daa!

So easy and actually, fantastically interesting! Snooze no more summer squash -- I think I'll make this all summer. It'll go really well with all manner of grilled meats. I'm especially surprised I liked this combo because I'm not that big a fan of mustard.

I know the measurements aren't specific, but you can figure it out. It's really very easy and fool-proof. Even my darling husby, he of the hating-veggies variety, he who turns his nose up at artichokes and mustard (unless it's French's yellow -- blech!) loved it. Yippee-kazooo!


Spaghetti Squash on Foodista

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Playing Dress Up!

A few weeks ago, my talented friend Kat asked Bren and myself to be part of her photoshoot, "Carnivale". Kat was inspired after reading Water for Elephants, a fantastic book set against the backdrop of a depression-era circus.

She cast me as a dancer, and she cast Bren as, what else, the bearded lady. Bren actually made a quite handsome bearded lady. He managed to capture that fine line between masculinity and femininity perfectly... and what does it say about me that I found him strangely attractive in a long gown and fake boobies?!

To be honest, I had a hard time embracing the sex appeal aspect of the dancer, becuase I don't ever think of myself that way. After a little while though, I started to realise that there's nothing a girl enjoys more than feeling pretty and glamourous -- in fact, doesn't every girl spend some childhood playtime hours imagining she's a gorgeous model at a photoshoot? After a few clicks, and a few whispered words of direction from Kat, I found myself relaxing, and really enjoying the red lipstick and ostrich feathers!

Kat's boyfriend Zach shot some footage that day, and Kat just cut it together -- see if you can spot all the characters!

Carnivale from Kat P on Vimeo.

Oh, and if you want to see the final photos, check 'em out on Kat's website!

Thanks Kat! I loved playing dress up!



Friday, July 10, 2009

Cake Wisdom

Earlier today, I was whining about how sometimes everything seems futile and pointless, and that I'd rather be done here, and moved onto being in heaven, thankyou very much. I know, I'm so overly dramatic. But I'm sick and I'm PMS'ing. Makes sense now, doesn't it?

B: "Well, no, because we're exactly where we're meant to be right now, ba."

A: "Yeah?"

B: "Yeah. Every moment has a purpose to nourish us. Sometimes it's fun and cake. Sometimes, it's nutritious but not very yummy."


A: "Thanks for putting that in terms I'd understand, ba."

B: "Sure."

Isn't he a smartie?



Have You Ever Been Fronted?

Last night, Bren's improv group, Suddenly Dapper, performed their monthly show at the Falcon. It's hard to describe, but it's a vaudevillian type thing, with improv, music, spoken word and dancing. It was great!

My friend Karen and I performed a ukulele duet, entitled "Have you ever been fronted", about two girls who are best friends -- drinking tea, painting our nails, just generally being cute. I don't have the entire thing on video but you can catch a snippet in this little video put together by my friend Smitty!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Aarti Paarti Ep. 20: Guacamole!

There are few things that say party more than guacamole. It comes together in minutes, and alongside a handful of tortilla chips and a cold beer, summer is complete.

But oh, how often have you had BAD guacamole? Or even worse, the store-bought kind that's so runny that it looks like bile? Blech!

Make your own! You can't say you don't know how now. Plus, it's handy when you're about to say a naughty word and the kiddies are around. Holy guacamole!

You'll need:
1 small shallot, minced
Juice of 1-2 limes
3 avocados, 2 mashed and 1 chopped up
1 garlic clove, minced
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Dash of cumin
Dash of garam masala or curry powder
1 tomato, seeded and diced (optional; I didn't have any and it was still good!)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Answered Prayers

A little while ago, I posted a request: for a donation of an old working computer to us, Studio Baba, because our older laptop (from 2000!) appeared to have kicked the proverbial bucket.

I've literally been praying for another computer for months. Literally. It's been so frustrating trying to get two person's worth of stuff done, on one laptop.

A couple of weeks ago -- prayers answered!

Our friends Matt and Joanna called us, and said they had replaced their computer, and when they were wondering what to do with the other one, they remembered us. Aren't they amazing? This is exactly the kind of computer Bren and I were talking about wanting THE DAY BEFORE THEY CALLED. Seriously.

Now finally, Bren and I can work simultaneously -- editing, writing, researching, bringing you more giggles, cooking and food for thought!

I have no words except that God is good. And so are Matt and Joanna. THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU GUYS!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Chocolate-Candied Bacon Ice Cream

The story of my friend Mandi perhaps best conveys the power of bacon. A number of years ago, Mandi decided to eschew meat completely, and adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. If I remember correctly, she didn't like the idea of eating anything with a face.

Except for bacon. Sweet sweet bacon still occupied a place in her heart that no amount of celery could replace.

I remember cooking for her and my other girls, Joo and Elizabeth one day, and I made a salad topped with slices of bacon. I was about to make some separately for her, and she said, "Oh no, no. I STILL eat bacon."


Happily, Mandi is back to meat now, and I like to think that the piggy goodness talked her back into it.

In recent years, it seems that turning bacon into dessert has become a national pastime. Here in LA, the wine bar, Lou, serves candied bacon. Scoops, an experimental ice-cream parlour (whose brown bread ice-cream sells out like that, and whose strawberry-black pepper ice cream inspired one of my lassi concoctions), made a legendary maple-bacon ice cream. Vosges makes a (slightly disappointing) bacon chocolate bar. Apparently Animal's is better, and you can watch 'em make it here.

And heck, it's not just the States that's into it. This whole obsession may have started in England, where Heston Blumenthal, the "culinary alchemist" behind Fat Duck, voted one of the world's best restaurants, makes an eggs and bacon ice-cream.

Bren and I decided that this 4th of July was our cheat day (the first in about 2 months). This was a day to eat whatever we wanted, and of course, ice-cream was on the menu. So, I decided to attempt to make candied bacon ice-cream. Bren, a firm believer in there's-no-such-thing-as-overdoing-things, said, "what, no chocolate?".

Note to you and myself, dear hearts: always throw your canister or bowl or whatever your ice cream maker uses, into the freezer the night before. Heck, just leave it in the there for the summer, just in case you're struck by the spontaneous need for fresh, homemade ice cream.

Why? Because there are few things more disappointing than waiting two months to make ice-cream, choosing In-dependence Day as the chosen day, and then realising that you are hopelessly dependant on physics... hence, no ice-cream for me.

Sigh. I did make it the next day though.

I adapted a recipe by David Lebovitz, my Good Bite buddy (woohoo!), who adapted a Michael Ruhlman recipe. In the end, I like it well enough, but it wasn't the oral explosion I expected it to be; perhaps I should have used better bacon?

I'd much rather eat the candied bacon by itself, and for this I thank Mr. Lebovitz. I doubt my life will ever be the same. In fact, if you don't make the ice-cream, just make the candied bacon. And make a lot of it, because this is the kind of stuff you'll want to nibble on alongside a glass of wine, especially when you're nursing a broken heart. Well, it's good for celebrating a victory too, now I think about it. This stuff is world-peace worthy.

The ice-cream base itself has no bacon flavouring in it (and I'm not sure how you'd do that other than steeping the warm custard with some bacon? Thoughts?) so it's basically great ice-cream with bacon bits. Actually, that's given me an idea. Next time, I'll just make a batch of regular ice-cream and serve the candied bacon bits on the side, to be sprinkled (liberally!) on top. Freezing the bacon in the ice-cream transformed the gorgeously-sticky and tender bacon into hard and chewy bits.

Let me just make this clear though. I ate this ice-cream. With vim and vigour. It's still WICKED good and worthy of a trial, especially with better bacon than I had on hand. In fact, I woke up this morning wondering whether I should have a bowl for breakfast (given that I seem to have gained a sore throat overnight. Ugh!). It's good people. Just not what I had expected.

In case you'd like to try it, here's what I did.

Chocolate-Bacon Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz and Michael Ruhlman recipes
Candied bacon:
6 strips thickly-sliced bacon
Light brown sugar

8 oz good dark chocolate (I used Callebaut), chopped up
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 3/4 cup half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
2 tsp whiskey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1) Candy the bacon:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
  • Lay strips on a cooling rack over a foil-lined half sheet pan (big cookie sheet), and sprinkle with brown sugar. Sprinkle pretty liberally, because some of it will melt off. (David says about 1 1/2-2 tsp per strip, but I ended up using more!)
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Check to make sure that brown sugar has melted and caramelized.
  • Remove bacon from the rack. Toss the rack aside. Return bacon to the sheet pan, dragging the un-caramelized side through all the sugary goodness that's accumulated on the foil.
  • Bake again, with the un-caramelized side up, about 5-8 minutes, until dark mahogany colour. Don't let it burn!
  • Remove from the pan, put 'em back on the cooling rack, and let them sit until cool.
  • WARNING: you will want to eat all of 'em. Step. Away. From. The bacon.
  • Chop into little pieces -- I cut them into varying sizes so that when you eat the ice-cream, you'll never know what you're going to get: a subtle bit of smokiness, or a big smack-you-in-the-face salty-sweetness!

2) Make the ice-cream. Make sure your canister is frozen solid and ready to go.

3) Melt the chocolate; throw the chocolate in a bowl, and place it over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally, and let it sit until the chocolate is good and melted. Turn the heat off, but leave the bowl over the water.

4) Set up an ice-bath: throw some ice-cubes into a large bowl and pour in some cold water. Then put a smaller (but not too small) bowl in the water. Pour 1/2 of the half-and-half into the bowl, and set a mesh strainer in the bowl too.

5) In another bowl (yes you'll need another one!!), stir together your egg yolks.

6) In a heavy, medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the brown sugar and the rest of the half-and-half. Stir until the ingredients come together.

7) Gradually add some of the brown sugar mixture to the egg yolks, whisking as you pour. Pour it back into the saucepan and whisk together.

8) Add the melted chocolate and a pinch of salt. Turn on the heat to moderately low, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula, or registers 180F on a thermometer.

9) Pour the custard through the strainer into the cool half-and-half. Stir until cool. Add the whiskey and the vanilla. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, until thoroughly chilled. Then prepare ice-cream according to your machine's instructions.

10) Once it's churned, spoon into your container, and sprinkle bacon bits between the layers, finishing with a flourish on top. (Alternatively, don't add the bacon now. Set it aside in an air-tight container, and serve alongside the ice-cream as a topping). Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and freeze for a couple of hours, until it's to your desired consistency. If you wanted to gild the lily even further, I think it might be nice with a drizzle of warm maple syrup on top too!



Friday, July 3, 2009

Aarti Paarti Ep. 19: Lassi!

You guys have had lassi right? At the Indian restaurants around me, they offer mango lassi and the plain sweet kind, but the prices astound me! I don't think people realise how easy they are to make at home, and since it only costs about a dollar to make, why not? Don't let those restaurants bilk you! Stand up for your lassi rights!!!

Plus, it's a great opportunity to experiment with different flavours.

This fresh yogurt "smoothie" is also a wonderful way to sneak some fresh fruit into your diet, and my favorite meal or snack alternative when it's hot outside. Plus, thanks to all that digestive bacteria in the yogurt, it will make quick work of a heavy meal.

I made three different kinds: strawberry-basil-black pepper, mango-chile-lime and my absolute favorite forever and ever, rosewater-cardamon-pistachio. Most excellent. Check it.

And yes, BTW, it's pronounced LU-see... not like Lassie, the famous hero dog. :)

The recipe is mostly up to you, but here's a guideline for the basic lassi. It tastes pretty darned good just like this:
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water
  • pinch of salt

For the strawberry version, I added:
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 2 big basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or so)

Mango version:
  • 2 mangos, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Pinch of cayenne

And the princess of the party, the Rosewater version (although it's very good with just rosewater if that's all you have):
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater
  • Small handful, shelled pistachios
  • Seeds of 1 cardamon pod

One note: I didn't make the mango one watery enough. They're not meant to very thick, so add more water so they suck up through a straw easily. These are meant to sit lightly in your tum-tum, not like a sack of rocks!

Improvise! Tell me what combinations you came up with!!



Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Time for Iced Coffee!

When I lived in New York, this was the time of year when a massive iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts became part of my wardrobe.


Alas, here I waste away in LA, where this warm, breezy, sunshine-y weather just BEGS for a DD V-IC with H&H and 2 S's (Dunkin Donuts Vanilla Iced Coffee with half and half and 2 splendas). But there are no DDs to be found here.

Yeah, I know I can make my own. But when it isn't handed to me grumpily by an Indian lady who is a bit heavy-handed with the cream, it's just not the same.

However, I'm wicked excited to try making some after listening to my favorite food-related radio show, The Splendid Table. The velvet-toned Lynne Rossetto Kasper talked about her fail-safe technique for making coffee essence, a magical elixir that can be transformed into iced coffee, hot coffee or even a cafe au lait!

It couldn't be much easier:
  • Take a pound of coffee (ground, I assume), and cover it with 11 cups of water.
  • Let it sit overnight or 11 hours, then in the morning, strain.
  • Throw it in the fridge, where it'll keep for two weeks. Bob's your uncle.
UPDATE: Official recipe is up here.

The cold, slow-motion brew apparently makes for a cuppa joe with only traces of acidity, which is great because I hate getting heartburn. The only thing I'm wondering is whether I'll be able to finish 11 cups in two weeks. Oh well. I suppose for YOUR SAKES, dear readers, I shall suffer the luxury of having as much iced coffee as I please.


I'll let you know how it turns out.


all text and photographs on aartilla the fun © 2005-2009 Aarti Sequeira unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.