Nutella Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s a saying –  “There are the families that we are born into, and there are the families that we choose; our circle of friends“. Every time I think of this saying, I think of my friend Hannah who lives in my hometown of Austin, Texas. I think of her as my sister, and her family as my family.

In the many years that I’ve known Hannah, she has always been a strong woman with a generous heart, and an unmatched resilience and sense of humor that gets her through tough times. So, when she told me that her sister, Holly, was recently diagnosed with cancer, I knew I had to be there for them anyway I could even though I’m miles and miles away.

It’s no surprise that the first thing I think of when trying to take care of the people I love is food. I am, after all, my parents’ daughter. I remembered that Hannah had shared a recipe on Holly’s Facebook page, to cheer her up, of the “Best Cookies” – Nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies made with brown butter. Can you get more decadent than that? These two sisters are very precious to me and they indeed deserve the best. And they most certainly deserve the best chocolate chip cookie. Read more →

White Bean Rosemary Soup

What do you do when Olivia Pope walks into your kitchen, hands you her gorgeous designer handbag that you’ve been coveting, and asks you to cook a soup in it for the president of the United States? You put the bag on the stove, turn the heat on, and say “I’m a gladiator in the kitchen. I’ll handle it.”

You then spend the next few minutes making a soup of white beans and the bunches of rosemary that she keeps handing you as she whispers “Lots of rosemary. Fitz loves lots of rosemary.”

You do this without asking any questions since… it’s all a dream. Read more →

Apple Tart: A Love Story

February 12, 2014

in Recipe, Story

Apple Tart: A Love Story

Love inspires us to do great things. It motivates us to summon up all our strength and creativity to make the world a better place and to make the lives of the ones we love more fulfilling.

I recently learned of the love story of Sam Farber and his wife Betsey, which inspired me to write this blog post and to make an apple tart for my apple-loving husband.  Read more →

Bountiful Cookbook Giveaway

Behold my latest obsession - Todd Porter and Diane Cu‘s first cookbook, Bountiful: Recipes Inspired by Our Garden. It’s filled with wonderful photographs, recipes and stories. I’m giving away a copy since I think everyone should own it. And here’s why: Read more →

Meyer Lemon-Iced Brown Butter Madeleines from the Bountiful Cookbook

I’ve been taking stock of the incredible roller-coaster that was my 2013 and, in a brand new book with brand new pen, I’ve been jotting down how I want my 2014 to take shape. And what better way to start the year than with a recipe of the quintessential perfect morsel, the madeleine.

Madeleines are small French teacakes with a distinctive shell-like shape. They’re like miniature sponge cakes but better. Made right, they have wonderfully crisp edges that lead to buttery, moist and tender cake. They were made famous in literature by the early 20th century French novelist Marcel Proust when he wrote of a forgotten childhood memory that was triggered by biting into one. As someone who recreates food memories through my family recipes, I immediately connected to his writing and have wanted to bake madeleines ever since. Even though I didn’t grow up with them, I wanted to be transported to Proust’s French countryside and savor each bite as I dipped my madeleines in tea just as he did.

I recently stumbled across a wonderful recipe for Meyer Lemon-Iced Brown Butter Madeleines in the Bountiful Cookbook by Diane Cu & Todd Porter. Meyer lemons are just as citrusy as a regular lemons but are a little sweeter. They have hints of mandarin orange and they make these madeleines extra special. I like to serve these madeleines with homemade chai. Read more →

Roasted Cornish Game with Bacon & Thyme

“I don’t like turkey”, he said. And I fell in love just a little bit more.

You know that part of a new relationship when you whisper your likes and dislikes to each other, looking for similarities and ways to connect? Eagerly clambering all over each other when you discover these similarities, which all feel like “signs”, more reasons to be together?

Well, that was Tarah and I at the beginning of our relationship. We produced short films, we worked at law firms, we loved sushi and we did NOT like turkey. You know, the important things.

Soon after this confession of our mutual dislike, Fall arrived and turkey seemed like it was on every menu or in every magazine I flipped through, and I became determined to find a recipe with a replacement that would still retain the decadent holiday spirit. That’s when I started to make this one-pot meal of crispy cornish game hen cooked with bacon, bacon fat, buttery fingerling potatoes, juicy cherry tomatoes, and a lemon-thyme marinade. And 6 years later, it’s still one of our favorites.  Read more →

Mussels & Cayenne Pepper

As a creature of habit, I love our Saturday morning ritual.  We roll out of bed, feed our pup, Taj, and stroll down to our neighborhood farmers’ market in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, all 3 of us eager to see what the season has in store for us. As Taj nibbles on pieces of vegetables and fruits fallen from the stalls, I start putting together a mental list of all the ingredients I want for our next couple of meals.

Inspired by the fair amount of reality cooking shows that I watch, I’ve been toying with the idea of adding “limitations” to my own kitchen to nudge a little more creativity into my meals. So last weekend, I decided to make dinner with ingredients bought almost entirely from our farmers’ market. And as I walked around, I added another stipulation: The meal had to take no longer than 30 minutes to cook. Can you tell I was feeling confident and competitive?

A glistening heap of fresh mussels and a basket of gorgeous cayenne peppers caught my eye, and a recipe for stir-fried mussels took shape. Read more →

Spaghettini with Clams, Bacon & Ramps

“Capiche?”

That’s how my father would end almost every talking-to when I was a kid. Capiche – the Italian saying for “Do you understand?” It was his way of adding a little levity to our talk, while channeling his version of The Godfather.

See, my father was more than intrigued with all things Italian. He’d tell me stories of his visits to Rome, including the time he honeymooned there with my mother. He’d eagerly watch Italian movies with famous actors like Marcello Mastroianni and every Italian-American movie with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. He’d play cassettes of Italian, not Indian, music in his car as he drove us to school. And most of all, he loved Italian food: salami, mozzarella, calamari, pizza, and spaghetti bolognese.

So, it’s not surprising that I too am obsessed with Italian food, especially a dish called spaghettini alle vongole. Read more →

Seduced By Sunflower Sprouts in a Spring Salad

I fell madly in love while strolling through my neighborhood farmer’s market last weekend. Sitting right next to the ramps was a basket brimming with sunflower sprouts. I was drawn to how wild and unruly they looked and, with my affinity for all things small, I couldn’t pass them up. I’ve been obsessed ever since and have been adding them to almost everything I eat, including my favorite spring salad. Read more →

Soft Shell Crab Pakora Po Boy

What’s wrong with a crispy, battered, golden-fried soft shell crab served between warm buttery bread with a creamy dressing and slices of fresh tomato, lettuce, onion and pickles?

Abso-lute-ly nothing.

But that’s not what I thought the first time I heard of a po’ boy – the traditional sandwich from New Orleans, Louisiana – which I recently recreated with spices used in one of my favorite fried Indian snacks, called pakora. Read more →

Harissa Spaghettini with Kale & Shrimp

My sister-in-law, Jane, is the busy mother of four kids who shares my curiosity for food, and whenever she visits she comes bearing the most delectable, edible gifts. On a recent visit, she brought me a jar of harissa – the North African, mildly spicy, roasted hot pepper paste, which is often eaten as a condiment or used in stews and marinades to add a smoky, roasted flavor.

I usually serve harissa with sandwiches or as part of a cheese platter. This time, I wanted to find a recipe that Jane would appreciate. I know she rarely gets to indulge herself, so I wanted something decadent, seriously flavorful, pampering and quick. I also wanted something healthy and nurturing that she could share with the whole family. While looking for such a recipe, I stumbled across one for Harissa Spaghettini with Kale from one of my favorite blogs. And as I’m prone to do, I added my own twist to make it even more scrumptious: grilled shrimp. Read more →