Friday, December 31, 2010

Potluck Posts 12/31

Persimmon tree at Jordan Winery
December started out chilly with a quick weekend in Montreal and ended back in San Francisco after a glorious week on Oahu. There was lots of good food in both places, stay tuned for more details!

Some of my favorite posts on the Epicurious blog were about cognac and brilliant (non-alcoholic) bubbly beverages. I also ran an interview with Elizabeth Andoh, author of the gorgeous book Kansha. One of my more popular posts was my best tips for making macaroni and cheese.

Speaking of tips, my somewhat controversial post on travel tips ran on Between Bites, there was also Dorie Greenspan's shopping guide to Paris (you'll want to bookmark it for your next trip!). Last but not least I also had a piece about the sweet treats you can eat in Louisville.

Finally I have some big news to share, as of January I will be the San Francisco editor of I hope you will poke around the site and sign up for great restaurant deals in Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco as well as the "everywhere" edition. I will continue blogging here and there.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oats kesari


1 cup oats 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
3 tbsp ghee
Few cashews and raisins
Pinch of red orange colour

Heat 2 tbsp of ghee and roast the oats well. Keep aside and heat the rest of the ghee. Add cashews and roast till golden brown. Add 2 1/2 cups of water and allow it to boil. Add the roasted oats and cook well. Add sugar and mix well. When it starts getting thick add the cardamom powder and the red orange colour. Mix well..Add raisins and mix again.

Serve hot.
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

2011 Food & Dining Trends

2011 Food Trends
I love reading trend reports and like a horoscope I scan to see what I agree with and what I don't. I hope you enjoy my predictions for what and how we will be eating and drinking in 2011! Agree or disagree, let me know your predictions and opinions in the comments section.

1. Farmers and other producers are stepping further into the limelight as we grow weary of celebrity chefs. Did I just say that? Without naming any names, let's just say some chefs seem a bit overexposed. Lots of cookbooks in 2010 featured farmers, farms and locally grown produce. Farmers markets and eating local continued to grow in popularity as people discovered how good truly fresh produce tastes. Some of the best cookbooks featuring farmers this year were Growing Roots: The New Generation of Sustainable Farmers, Cooks, and Food Activists, Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods, Eating Local:The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers and my favorite, Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America's Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans.

2. Wild ingredients. This might be the next big thing after eating "local." Some are calling it "forest to table." Foraging won't be limited to mushrooms, but will include all kinds of unfamiliar ingredients from sea rocket to miner's lettuce and cucumber root. Haut cuisine chefs are already seeking out obscure but local wild ingredients. Daniel Patterson and Noma chef Rene Redzepi captivated their audience in San Francisco earlier this year when they spoke on the subject and handed out samples. Look for classes on wild ingredients and foraging expeditions.

unorthodox dining
3. Unorthodox dining options. Pop ups, food trucks, market stalls, underground supper clubs. It's not new, but the phenomenon just keeps growing. The difficult economy has inspired great creativity when it comes to tweaking traditional food business models. In San Francisco the restaurant within a restaurant took hold in the form of Mission Chinese Food, in residence at Lung Shan. Both entities seem to be thriving under the new arrangement. And pastry chefs have been branching out beyond restaurants to offer all kinds of exciting treats including ice cream, candy and cookies, find them at farmer's markets, pop ups, ice cream shops and more. A good example? William Werner's Tell Tale Society that offers a CSA-like monthly package of assorted sweets.

4. More interesting cocktails, beyond just vodka drinks. I think whisky and gin will continue to gain in popularity, but also the full range of browns--bourbon, rum, rye, tequila, and cognac. Rum in particular seems poised for a revival, punches and Tiki bars and tropical drinks are definitely back in vogue, examples include Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco and The Hurricane Club in NYC. Now will someone please let Miami know? Drinks there are stuck in the 80's!

5. Technology is making inroads into the dining room. Some examples include Qsine the Celebrity cruise line restaurant where iPads are used as menus for food and wine, location aware check-ins and online dining discounts being offered by start-ups like Groupon and BlackboardEats, and an OpenTable iPhone app for making restaurant reservations on the fly.

6. Fusion is back! Actually I'm not sure it ever went away, but right now, it's not a dirty word. It's not just high end cuisine that is combining French and Japanese, you'll also find it often with street food, and in more everyday restaurants too. David Chang makes bacon dashi and Dennis Lee of Namu makes Gamja fries with kimchee relish, teriyaki, and chopped short ribs. Other favorite bites in this category include Korean tacos, mole duck sliders, Japanese ceviche, ube red velvet cupcakes, Indian pizza.

7. Offshoots, gastropubs and burgers. Even the most high end restaurants need something to appeal to the masses. Look for more big name chefs and restaurants to open accessible restaurants, cafes and even airport kiosks. The tastiest food I bought in an airport this year came from Icebox Cafe in Miami, a trendy Lincoln Road favorite.

8. More ethnic fast casual. Call them chains or just multiple outlets, these restaurants have hit on a formula that resonates. Local examples include Out the Door, King of Thai Noodles, Papalote and Pica Pica. I can only hope we will see more Japan-based high quality ramen shops open up as they have in places in Honolulu.

savory sweets
9. Savory sweets. I'd love to tell you that cupcakes are going away. But they aren't. However they are morphing as are other trendy desserts, and taking on adult and savory profiles. Butch Bakery makes cupcakes flecked with bacon, and infused with everything from beer to brandy. Foie gras ice cream has appeared in San Francisco, LA and in Montreal, meanwhile soft serve vanilla ice cream topped with olive oil and salt is becoming a dessert menu standard. At last year's Winter Fancy Food Show Fabrique Delices was sampling savory macarons then at Boutique Point G. in Montreal I discovered crazy but delicious flavors including white truffle, parmesan and green olive. New York based Little Oven sells olive oil and balsamic macarons.

10. Sustainable meat. While offal has been trendy there often isn't that much of it available. With the concern over health, safety and the general nightmare that is concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), I think there will be renewed interest in rabbit, animals that graze such as pasture raised lamb, bison, venison and goats as well as organic and grass-fed beef. I also think less used cuts will be more popular such as veal breast and lamb riblets.

Super blogger Sunday: Lata Raja of Flavours and Tastes

This week's featured Super blogger is Lata of Flavours and Tastes blog. In almost one and half years of blogging, she managed to post recipes steadily without any break and has more than 200 of them on her blog. She couldnt post anything since the past two months as she has been waiting for her things to be shifted to her new place. She is very active on facebook as well..Hats off to her enthusiasm..

EC: Tell us something about yourself

Lata: I can happily call myself a foodie…so long as it is vegetarian, I do not fuss about food. I used to be ‘a just cook and eat’ person for many years. Later when friends found my recipes interesting and appreciated, my cooking took a different dimension. My blog is just about two years old. It started from the point where I was sent the link to Laavanya’s Cookery Corner.

Around the same time, my daughter and her friends were planning to cook for themselves in University. Thus, as a means of giving them recipes, I started blogging. Then for a few days it was an addiction. Currently, I have enough free time, that I can dedicate to cook and write what I cook.

Initially, I posted almost every day, then slowed down. Currently it is on hold and have not posted anything in the past two months. The recipes are usually regular ones, but I do cook sometimes with a post in mind.

EC: Who and what inspired you to start food blogging

Lata: My husband was and is, the one who inspires me to do this. It was him who went about shaping the blog. Then, my daughter, who is game to try any recipe. I must acknowledge other food enthusiasts who cook and share their recipes. They are the best source of inspiration. Due credit is to Laavanya, who introduced this activity through her blog.

EC: Do you think blogging has widened your perspective and exposure

Lata: Most certainly, it has. Cooking was just about a regular day-to-day activity until I started writing and sharing recipes. Now I take due care about measurements and procedures. I try to concentrate on small details lest I misguide someone who is hoping to try my recipe. And even my everyday cooking has evolved inspired by many other bloggers. Even small changes to certain recipes bring about variety.

EC: How much technical knowledge does one need for successful blogging

Lata: I think if you have basic knowledge, it is fine. All these sites are mostly user -friendly. The best thing is you can ask a fellow blogger to help out and get things in place. Yet, if you possess additional skills, it is so much more fun.

EC: You have baked a variety of bread and cookies ...Any tips on blogging and the recipe you will suggest to a first timer….

Lata: I try to follow the given recipe and go about it when it comes to baking. I hardly try making changes on my own. Once, you are confident, you may try to make slight changes .

EC: Your views on plagiarism and how can we fight it

Lata: It is seriously an offense to simply copy and take credit for what is not your work. If someone can go to lengths of copying posts and pictures, it takes just about an extra minute to credit the source.

As far as food is concerned, many recipes are handed down or tried from other sources. So there may be similarities. But copying right off someone’s pages and taking all credit is quite unpleasant.

EC: Your favourite vegetarian recipe

Lata: Thanks EC for giving me this opportunity.
I would like to share Aval Laddoo with readers of this post.


1 cup thick beaten rice/aval/poha
2/3rds of a cup powdered sugar
¼ cup ghee
3 pinches of powdered cardamom


Toss the beaten rice in a large flat plate and remove scum and dust.
Place a heavy rounded pan on the stove. Add few drops of the ghee and a hand ful of the beaten rice.
On a low to moderate heat toss it around until they puff slightly.
Do this in small batches to evenly puff the entire quantity.
Once all of the beaten rice has been puffed, allow to cool. Then pulse it to a coarse powder as in semolina consistency.
In a bowl mix the sugar, cardamom powder and the pulsed poha. Mix well to blend evenly.
Heat the ghee until warm and mix it to the powdered ingredients. Quickly shape balls.
It would be easy to shape while the ghee is warm. So if making larger quantities, it is advisable to do in batches.
I have used the red poha for more fibre content.
You may make the same using part beaten rice and part ground almond powder.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Budding blogger : Ila

Meet Ila of Cookery point blog in the Budding blogger series..

She says - I am Ila , currently living in UK. I am full time home maker now. I got married before a year and came to UK. I dint get time to learn cooking coz I was working in India before marriage. The first day in my kitchen was really difficult for me as i dono cooking. My hubby taught me the basics and i started exploring the world of Indian Cooking. Thanks to my hubby for his patience in my initial days of cooking.

I love cooking now and love to prepare recipes for my friends and relatives and got good feedback too.. hahaha:)

My blog contains general Indian recipes from both Northern and Southern parts of India. It is purely vegetarian and eggetarian blog. All the recipes are tried and tested in my kitchen. Most of the recipes are from my mom and learnt through my own experience and internet. All are welcome to my blog and expecting ur comments to improve my culinary skills.

Meet You guys in my blog :)

Have a happy cooking and eating :)

Gingerbread House ~ Stephanie Kilgast

For more minis by St├ęphanie Kilgast, visit: