Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wasabi Mayonnaise Salmon Recipe

Wasabi Mayo Salmon
There is an exchange that happens in my household. I ask "what should I make for dinner?" and I hear the refrain "Japanese food." The problem is many of the necessary fresh ingredients for the Japanese food in my repertoire, such as shiso, shiitake or enoki mushrooms, gyoza wrappers, mentaiko, udon, daikon and tuna, are not ingredients I typically have on hand. In fact, I need to go to an Asian specialty store to buy them. But I do have a few recipes that come from one of my favorite cookbooks, Let's Cook Japanese Food! that I can make at a moment's notice. And now I have a another one, salmon with wasabi mayonnaise.

The other day I was looking for Japanese salmon recipes and found one for Sake no Mayonnaisu. I didn't actually have any mayonnaise on hand, but I did have wasabi mayonnaise! Why not use it instead? It was perfect. The mayo protects the salmon from drying out and extends the flavor. I am going to give you the instructions for making it with salmon fillets but you can make it with steaks as well. The basic procedure is to broil it on both sides, then add some mayo--as much or as little as you like, then broil it again slightly and serve. I think you could use other flavored mayo too such as miso mayonnaise or Dijon mustard mayonnaise to good effect.

This is such an easy recipe for salmon, I hesitate to even call it a recipe. But the truth is, we all need a few dead simple options. It's not that cooking takes too much time, but it does take some thinking. This is a recipe for those days when you literally can't think straight.

Wasabi Mayo Salmon, adapted from Let's Cook Japanese Food!
serves 4

4 4-5 ounce fillets of salmon, I used Copper River Coho
1/4 cup wasabi mayonnaise (I like the Trader Joe's brand)

To prepare the fish, slice a few gashes in the skin, to allow it to crisp up nicely when broiled. Season the fish with salt and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before cooking.

Preheat your broiler, if necessary. Broil the fillets 4 minutes per 1/2 inch thick, starting skin side up, flipping the fish once during cooking. One to two minutes before the fish is done, top each serving with the mayonnaise and return to the broiler. Serve immediately.


Budding blogger : Preeti

Meet Preeti of Ising Cakes and More

She says -

I am a Marathi, living in UK, working in a school full time and mad about different kinds of arts. I am a mother of a lovely boy who loves food and interior designing, although he is just 11 years old.

I believe, seeking both my profession and my passion at the same time has enabled me to balance me in my life. I love my job working in a special needs school and learning new form of art is my passion .Cooking had never been a part of me until, the day I landed up in our England’s kitchen. Meeting my son’s demands and my hubby’s likings discovered a cook in me.My parent’s recent visit to UK helped me discover a bit more about cooking…especially the baking and the cake decorating part. I baked cakes, decorated cakes, served cakes, ate cakes, sang about cakes and now I love cakes…hence my blog…..isingcakes! This blog is a collection of my passion, my hobbies, my crazes and all my experiences as I learn and apply . I will be sharing all my culinary collections in Sweet n Savoury section of my blog. My artistic flair will be shared through Different Strokes and last but not the least all my baking and cake decoration will be in the Isingcakes section.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why do YOU bake, Kate McDermott?

Kate McDermott
Photo credit: Kelly Cline

Let me just say I am in awe of bakers. And pie? That's like the holy grail. There are so many opportunities for failure and I have personally experienced most of them. Kate McDermott is not only a pie goddess, but on her blog, The Art of the Pie, she shares the secrets of pie baking in a way that makes you feel like you can do it too! She's encouraging, detailed, warm and wise. Some day I hope to be in Seattle to take one of her award-winning classes.

I love to bake and can't remember a time in my life I didn’t.  As a little girl, I took great delight in making mud-pies in the backyard. This may have been the first step on the path to becoming a pie maker. 

I bake because I like to put simple ingredients in a beautiful bowl, turn them into something delicious, give it away and see the happy smile on someone else’s face. There’s nothing like sharing a freshly baked pie with friends and family. 

I bake when I am happy and I bake when I am sad.

I bake because when life gives you lemons, it’s a good idea to make a Shaker lemon pie.

But most of all, I bake because it is a way for me to express love. 

This post is part of a series, to read the rest, click on the label marked "Why?"

Budding blogger: Shilpa

Meet Shilpa of Ruchi blog in Budding blogger segment today-

She says-

I am Shilpa and my blog is Ruchi.

I have gone through many blogs and was always thinking that I should create my own blog.
Well I think, this was the right time.

I have just started putting down the recipes which came out well, recipes inspired by online cooking blogs(like yours) or my friends or relatives (especially my mom).

Basically, I will be writing more on the Kerala recipes but ofcourse not limited to that.
I really love many other recipes (from north and south part of india).
I have tried many of those and will definitely continue to do so.

So please do visit my blog and let me know your comments and suggestions to improve my blog...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Budding blogger : Indian cookery

Meet the author of Indian cookery blog today in Budding blogger segment

I welcome you to my blog ! I am a happy Indian homemaker and just want to share some of the seemingly difficult recipes in cookery and certain tips that would help while working on intricate recipes. The *idea of creating a cookery blog* emerged from constant searches for Indian recipes over the internet for relatively easy-to-make dishes. As a teenager, I had constantly watched various cookery shows on television and was eager to try out them just after the show. I used to wait to hear comments on the dishes from my parents and brothers. Several years later (that is after I got married and had a kid), I still yearned to learn to cook new dishes and eventually comments from my husband and in-laws.

I would like to share the lessons that I learnt and how to make cooking somewhat simpler without compromising on nutrition and taste.

Also, over the years, it occurred to me that there needs to be at least an online scrap to look back and help re-inherit our culture. Our culture and various festivities had been the cause for celebration and interactions between people. I would also like to describe some of the food associated with various festivals and how to make them.

In short, this blog contains basic tips for food preparation which are required for a typical Indian Family. I look forward to have your support and wishes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumn Squashes ~ Linda Cummings

This little basket contains Turks Turban squashes, Sweet Dumplings & a Butternut Squash, all nestling in Turks Turban couldn't fit into the basket!

Placer County Real Food from Farmers Markets

Placer County Real FoodI used to say that self-publishing was not a good idea. But I'm holding my tongue. For the second time I've come across a fantastic cookbook that was self-published. The first you may remember was the Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook by Amelia Saltsman. It's filled with creative recipes that are inspiring and fresh. The second book to impress me is Placer County Real Food, recipes and menus for ever week of the year by Joanne Neft with Laura Kenny.

This is not a lightweight book written by amateurs. The book begins with Michael Pollan's "an Eater's Manifesto" and an introduction by none other than Deborah Madison! The photography is lovely, the recipes solid and the layout attractive and easy to use. True to its title the book has a year's worth of menus which are naturally in synch with the seasons. While created with the locals of Placer County in mind, certainly anyone on the West Coast will find great ideas for meals all year long. There are salads, side dishes, main dishes and desserts all using farm-fresh ingredients.

Neft, who opened the first Foothill Farmer's Market 20 years ago comes from a midwestern farming family and her food is straight-forward and not fussy. She worked with professional chef Laura Kenny to get the details just right. While there are no vegetarian menus per se, there are plenty of dishes that could be the focus of a vegetarian or even vegan meal.

I suggest skipping the dates in the book and going by what's in season near you. It's tomato season here in the Bay Area at the moment, and the Chilled Tomato Soup made by grating tomatoes with a box grater and adding balsamic vinegar, olive oil and basil with a swirl of creme fraiche sounds refreshing and the Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad Greek Style is a nice twist on the original. Often it's just subtle seasonings to already delicious ingredients that characterize the recipes. Side dishes like Corn with Cumin or Roasted Baby Carrots with Chard and Cilantro are dead simple to make. Not sure what to do with persimmons, pea shoots or pomegranates? WIth short ingredient lists and easy techniques, this is a fine choice for meat and potatoes types look to branch out with farmer's market produce.

More? Check out a selection of recipes on the cookbook website.

Quick & Easy Fried Cheese Balls


As soon as the weather turns a bit chilly or humid, everyone at our home starts craving fried food! Bhajiyas (Fritters) are a hot favorite in pretty much any Indian household during rainy cold days. But you don't really need an excuse to enjoy fried food. It is extremely comforting, and that is enough reason to indulge, at least once in a while!
This weekend we went for a new recipe for fritters. I had to use up the Artisan garlic flavored cheese lying in my refrigerator, so this Fried Cheese Balls recipe caught my eye. Photo by boo_licious. My friend Lisa has another interesting version with Smoked Gouda cheese that she calls Smoked Gouda Cheese Puffs, in case you'd like to try that out.

These cheese fritters are so easy to make, and they are so tasty, you'll be eating away the entire bowl in no time! The crispy exterior with the soft gooey cheesy interior make them perfect finger food, and your kids would especially like them a lot. You can jazz it up by adding chopped onions, maybe some cilantro or basil, even chopped spinach would be great with cheese. Remember to serve them hot, with a side of Ketchup or some dipping sauce, but make sure you leave a generous amount on the side for yourself, or you'll never even get to taste one!

1 cup grated mild cheese or flavored cheese (Gouda works too)
2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
3/4 cup fine cracker crumbs or bred crumbs
vegetable oil - for frying

Combine the cheese, flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in one bowl and mix well.

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl; beat until they are stiff, holding peaks, about 2 minutes by spoon and hand.

Now gently add the flour mixture to the egg whites base. Pat the mixture into small balls and roll them in cracker crumbs until thoroughly coated.

Refrigerate these cheese balls for at least 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok. When it is hot enough (drop a small piece of bread and it should float up to the top immediately), you are ready to fry the cheese balls.

Put 3 balls in the hot oil at a time, taking care not to crowd the wok. Fry them over medium-heat until they are evenly golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain them on paper towels.

The cheese will become nice and gooey but due to the egg whites and the cracker crumbs, the Cheese Balls will still hold their shape. Serve them immediately with some Dipping Sauce on the side.

Related Recipes
Khasta Kachori Chaat
Methi Pakodas (Fenugreek Fritters)
Vegetable Samosas with Mozarella & Basil

Monday, September 20, 2010

Can I be the Next Food Blog Star?

YES, I CAN! I say this not because it sounds cool, but because I truly believe in myself and my cooking skills. Cooking needs passion, and blogging needs writing skills, and thanks to Almighty, I have both! I started this blog in 2006, when blogging wasn't such a great activity, social networking still meant calling a bunch of friends home for snacks, and spending a 1000 bucks on DSLR's to take food photos was unheard of. But now we are in 2010, where food blogs have replaced famous cooking sites and bloggers have a credibility and a following that is unmatched by others.

I started cooking at the age of 12, and like most other girls, I was influenced by the delicious family meals that my Mom cooked for us at home. My food career started with Indian cooking, but then I went to undergrad school, away from comforting home-cooked meals, which helped me develop my taste-buds further, getting exposed to different cuisines and styles of cooking. A few years down the lane I came to US for grad school, and food and cooking took an entirely new meaning for me altogether. I now had to cook large meals that fed at least 6-8 roommates, but even more challenging was the fact that the food should be delicious enough to satiate foodies from several nationalities. A couple years down the road, I married someone who is no less than a food critic, and I knew I could depend on him to critique my skills and honer them. Thanks to all these diverse experiences, I found myself evolving into a passionate cook!

Why Should I be the Next Food Blog Star?
When I try to think of a Food Blog Star, I imagine a person who can turn ordinary food into something extraordinary and exotic. Most of the people who read food blogs are simple men and women with no formal culinary training. They are just looking for inspiration to make a memorable meal for their family or friends, and need a recipe that is easy to follow. Also, the style of blogging is important - it should be simple and personal, and some delicious food photos to showcase your recipes goes a long way in convincing someone that they too can create the same kind of magic in their kitchen!

I believe I have all these qualities as a cook and blogger. Being a vegetarian all my life, my food blog only showcases vegetarian recipes, but they are tasty enough to lure even meat-lovers alike! I love fusion cooking, where I can experiment to my heart's content with ingredients, herbs and flavors of different cuisines and varieties. But yes, the recipes would definitely have a touch of Indian influence that will linger on your minds long after the food is gone!

I add a personal touch to my recipes, no matter whether they are original or adapted. You'll find several flavor twists and recipe variations in most of my recipe posts, so my readers can adapt them to suit their own taste-buds. Also, I love sweets & desserts, especially baked goodies, so you'll find a lot of sweet treats on my blog. This blog is the reason I learned to Make my own Fondant Icing, or make a Layered Chocolate Cake for someone's birthday! But as a mom of a growing toddler, I know how important it is for our food to be healthy, so I try to incorporate healthy into my recipes as best as I can, as well as add ideas and suggestions to make them more kid-friendly. But the most important thing, you will find a lovely picture of the finished recipe in every post, inviting you to take a spoon and grab a bite right off the screen, at the same time enabling you to believe in yourself as a chef and recreate the recipe in your own kitchen. And food looks inviting only if it is presented in a beautiful way, so I try to add tips on how to plate your food beautifully, so you can score accolades for both, the look and the flavor of your food.

Cooking is a skill to be developed, just like any other skill, and it needs vision, passion and commitment from the artist, the chef. Not everyone is born with it, but it is definitely a skill you can cultivate and enhance, and I would love to help in my own small way. As a food blogger, it is my responsibility to share my knowledge and skills with my readers, and I will always deliver it in the form of delicious home-cooked recipes tried-and-tested in my kitchen, along with equally delicious photos as proof that you can do this too! Every note of acknowledgment that I receive re-instates my belief in myself and my skills as a cook. And this is the reason I have decided to participate in Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog, their latest venture of crowning the Next Food Blog Star, And each one of you can help me achieve this goal by voting for my blog as I try to encompass each challenge (Voting badge is on the left sidebar, top of the page).

Remember, good food is the key to win every human's heart, and its not difficult to create good healthy food at home. A little skill, a good recipe, and some easy presentation skills can make you a beloved chef in no time!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


View Larger Map

Just a head's up, I'll be in Switzerland until September 20th. In the meantime, feel free to check out my posts on Epicurious, where there will be something new each Wednesday and Friday and also on Between Bites at where you should find a new post on Thursday. Also on Between Bites, don't miss Amy Zavatto's posts, I think you'll enjoy them too!

Wishing you peace, love, cheese & chocolate,


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer Eats in San Francisco

If you've never been to San Francisco you need to know our Summer starts NOW. Yes, in September. Not only is it pretty and warm and sunny but Summer produce--tomatoes, corn, pepper, and peaches are all ripe and delicious at the moment. It's easy to roll your eyes at our "sustainable, local, organic" mantra, but while you're here, be sure to try some of these bites of Summer.

Heirloom Tomato Salad
Around this time of year just about everyone makes a tomato salad, but one that sticks out in my mind as particularly fabulous, is the Heirloom Tomato Salad with mozzarella di bufala, olio verde, basil and olive oil croutons at Scala's Bistro, which is attached to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel at Union Square. It's the variety of tomatoes which are the star of the show, but they share the stage with the milkiest, creamy and moist mozzarella. An interesting addition too is the olive oil croutons which obviously add crunch and body to the salad.

Hapa Ramen
Hapa Ramen isn't exactly like any ramen I have had before. The Slow Cooked Ramen with seasonal vegetables is the one to seek out. The broth is layered with richness and the bits of pork make it a meal. The broth is a little bit sweet and a little bit salty. But it's the fresh and super sweet crunch of corn that really makes this ramen something special. You can find it at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market on Thursdays or at Off the Grid on Fridays.

Shishito Peppers
I don't know exactly when shishito peppers started showing up at farmer's markets but I think I first saw them about 2 or 3 years ago. I had tried them in Japan and was thrilled to see them not just in markets, but on restaurant menus as well. They are typically quickly fried then sprinkled with salt. But at Hog & Rocks in the Mission District they go one step further and add a squeeze of lime. The result is bright and lively, the perfect bar snack. Mostly these peppers are mild and sweet with an earthy green flavor, but every once in a while you will get a spicy one!

Scream Sorbet
My last Summer pick is the sorbet from Scream Sorbet. These surprisingly creamy, dairy-free sorbets made from Summer fruit are an intense blast of flavor. Despite not having a retail location yet, they made 7x7's recent The Big Sweet SF: 50 Treats to eat before you die. Fortunately you can find the sorbet at many farmer's markets around the Bay Area including the San Francisco Ferry Plaza on Thursdays. Try the seasonal fruit flavors like Flavorosa pluot, peach, raspberry and August Fire nectarine. They are not sickly sweet but tangy and juicy in a way that "screams" Summer. And what could be better than that?

Scala's Bistro
432 Powell Street
San Francisco
(415) 395-8555

Hog & Rocks
3431 19th Street
San Francisco
(415) 550-8627

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco

Off the Grid
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Red rice pal payasam and 3rd Blog Anniversary

Thanks a lot to all readers and friends to have helped me reach this milestone..

Here is a special sweet on this occassion-


1 cup red rice soaked for 2 hours
1/2 cup condensed milk
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar (adjust according to taste)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp ghee
Few cashews and raisins

Pressure cook the rice till soft. Heat ghee and add the cashews and raisins. When golden brown, add the cooked rice and milk and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and mix well. Finally add the condensed milk and cardamom powder.

Serve hot or cold.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Budding blogger: Gayathri

Meet Gayathri of Everyday Living blog in Budding blogger segment

She says-

Meet Gayathri I am Gayathri,mother to 2 year old Meghana.I have recently started blogging.My blog is all about cooking along with few other things.I entered kitchen for cooking only after marriage.Now I love cooking and try to experiment with it.Thanks to my husband, whom I feel is one of the best food critic in the world(Though he denies it) and has made my cooking better and better. My blog will have recipes that I have learnt from my mom,some are my experiments and some are from cook books and internet.

Every one is welcome to my blog.

Hope you will enjoy it.

The Keys To Good Cooking by Harold McGee

Harold McGee

You may be familiar with Harold McGee from the monthly "The Curious Cook" column he writes for the New York Times, that looks at the science behind cooking. He has explained why adding water adds flavor to coffee and cocktails, why cilantro tastes like soap, for some and how to prolong the life of berries.

Harold McGee's book, On Food and Cooking is a classic reference and quite wonderful, but frankly a bit geeky. I've been fortunate to hear McGee speak a few times and I've always learned a lot. Last time he mentioned his upcoming book, The Keys to Good Cooking, and told the audience that it would help answer the questions home cooks have about the practical side of kitchen science.

I'll be reviewing the book when it comes out in October but in the meantime I got a peek at a few pages and gleaned these wonderful tips to help you succeed with braising:

Beware of recipes that call for an oven temperature over 180°F/80°C. Never let a braise or stew get hot enough to bubble when the meat is cooking. A closed pot in an oven at any temperature above the boiling point will come to the boil. At oven temperatures above 180°F/80°C, leave the pot open to allow evaporative cooling and produce a lower cooking temperature.

To braise or stew tough cuts of meat in a few hours, heat them at 180°F/80°C. They will develop the dry tenderness of standard braises and stews.

To braise or stew tender cuts quickly, or tough cuts over a day or more to keep them especially moist, heat them at 140-150°F/60-65°C°.

Here are links to my past posts on Harold McGee:

Gastronomic turns 10 with Harold McGee

Harold McGee & Shirley Corriher

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm writing for Epicurious again!

I am very happy to be writing for the Epicurious blog, Epilog again. I'm writing twice a week, and will be sharing some posts on intriguing flavor combinations. I hope you will check out my posts and please do leave comments and tell me what you think of my combos and how you would suggest using them. My first post is on the combination of rhubarb, cinnamon and rosewater. Coincidentally, the New York Times published a story about rosewater just yesterday.

I've been very busy lately writing posts for Epilog and for Amy & Amy Between Bites as well as pieces for Cheers magazine and Gastronomica, so hopefully that explains why it's been a little quiet around here lately. I am traveling quite a bit this month, but hope to post here again soon....



Wonky Cake ~ Ella Rose Miniatures

For more minis by Kerry of Ella Rose Miniatures, visit: