Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Communicooking Salad- with love to Feta

One year.
I didn’t realize that my blog has turned one.
I missed a True Anniversary. That ought to have been celebrated.

My first post was on August 22 last year, when after a late night baking session, and many conversations about why I should have a blog, Ak decided to not wait for a yes from me, but instead go ahead and just do it. Yes, he thought of the name (of course, we discussed it), setup the blog, and even clicked the photographs, while I was baking. All I had to do was to write, and of course, cook. Those were the good old days! Sigh.
I have come a long way since then. Today, I cook, and then suddenly remember that I want to click as well. I rush to get my camera, and then realize it’s late.  I am a true believer in ‘process’ and then, I realize that I had to shoot before the last mixing step. Or had to capture a shot of the fancy ingredient before I decided to add it to the bowl. Or that I had to capture it without mixing it with another ingredient etc. And then there are times when I realize after the complete documentation of the process, that I have served the dish without documenting the ‘final product’. Yes, it has been a learning all the way, and yes, I am still discovering.

Since the inception of the blog, I have almost always, been sheepish about it. Including the times when someone at work told me of a moment when they discovered me/the blog on Google images- accidently, or each time, when someone much older/experienced appreciates my cooking skills, when I become a part of the Bloggers Table or the fact that I get called to judge a cooking competition at a school. I am still very shy- yes, and each time I wonder, Really? Me? So much so, that I only updated the 'Me' section very recently. 

But with any luck, I will learn.

Parenting, we all know is a tough job, and this blog baby was not planned. Hopefully, I will get better at it, and with all the late nights and the managing with work life balance, I hope to not disappoint you Communicooking in its growing up years. Thank you Ak- for being the Guinea pig to all my experiments, for always encouraging me, for withstanding all my anxiety about this blog and making me take that one extra step- forward. For making me do this.

A celebratory recipe is due.

This recipe was yet another test that Ak was subjected to- with my love for Feta, this is my version of a Twisted Greek Salad, inspired by one of Martha Stewarts' here. I am sure like all mothers, both of ours  would think of him as  a tormented child, being fed something that doesn’t quite suffice as a meal- He as usual was a sport, and his love for salads was hopefully not compromised. I served it with Special Seekh Kebabs and bread. Given the occasion, all that was missing was some wine J

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bloggers Table Review- Italia, New Delhi

Life has a brilliant way to demonstrate some action in one’s life. Sometimes, one fails to see the signals, while, on other occasions, they hit you- bang- in your face. If you read my recent post (about almost giving up on the blog!), this one may come as a shocker; I have decided not to- at least not just yet. Ironically, while I had just finished posting a recent post, I got invited to be a part of the Blogger’s Table, and well, after much resistance from my confused inner self, I decided to go ahead, not give up just yet. And I am quite glad, I didn’t. This is my first post as a part of the Blogger’s Table; thank you all for having me as a part of this.
The event was the launch of a summer menu at Italia, DLF Promenade, New Delhi and they were kind enough to host a table for the big, chatty bunch of us as part of their upcoming Olive Festival. Italia is an extremely warm and cosy, Italian restaurant by the Park Group, amidst the very busy mall. In my daily life, it actually holds a very special place in my heart, with some fond memories. Being close to home, me and Ak actually frequent it quite often. The evenings are usually, simple, with excellent, luscious food and a classic ambience.  Their outdoor terrace is perfect for winter evenings, and the interiors are elegantly done- great to celebrate pleasurable occasions. Hence, to be invited for a special tasting menu, was an opportunity I grabbed.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crostini with Caramelized Onion, Feta and Rocket

It’s amazing how versatile the onion is. Or rather I should specify- the Red Onion. Yes, the epitome of Stink-The wonderful red onion. I never knew the concept of Red Onion, until my stint in the UK a few years ago. In our part of the world, Onions were always red or green, aren’t they?
Yes, they make you cry, but what the heck- the flavor I have discovered over time, is surely worth it. The tangy flavor, which I sometimes remove (by soaking cut onion in water for about 10 minutes), is in essence quite wonderful, and for those who despise it, there is news- Onions are good cures for colds (Wikipedia) and are quite useful as flavoring agents.

Well, it was only once I started to cook Indian food often enough, I discovered the difference between the varieties of onion, except just red and green. I figured, how some traditional Indian dishes cannot just be made, using anything else except for red onions. The white onion simply isn’t flavorful enough for its usage in traditional Indian cooking. It was tough, (and expensive) to find good red onions in the heart of where I stayed, but soon enough we realized that food such as the traditional dal with tadka or baingan ka bharta just wouldn’t be the same without the beloved red onion. And therefore, we would stash bags of onions at our home and use them all the time, everywhere. Initially, when I started cooking, I would keep the red onion away from international cuisines, but as I started to experiment, I soon realized that I just needed to pair it well. This dish is my favorite form of the Red Onion – in a cuisine other than Indian. An interesting twist is the caramelization, which adds to the colour as well. I had always thought that caramelized onions are tough to do, but as I learnt from Martha Stewart, the trick really is to cook them slowly. The icing on the cake for this dish is its pairing with 2 of my other favorite ingredients- Feta and Rocket. Am not sure if it is unique, but what I do know is that the blend is absolutely harmonious- I usually drool at the thought of either of these 2 ingredients, and paired together, surely results in bliss. Try at your own risk.

p.s. RB, if you are reading this, for the love of Onions-  this post is for you.
p.p.s. Totally directed by a whim of mine, I’m glad my audience@ 261 enjoyed these as much as I did.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Baked Broccoli and Babycorn

Its unfathomable, how my mind flutters so much. Sometimes I truly believe in my ‘dual zodiac nature’ that describes me as a person getting bored quickly, of anything and everything. I think I have more often posted about how I don’t know where this blog is headed, than posted about real blog stuff. Yes, one can easily predict that the reason I haven’t posted in the last few weeks (despite having a ready documented dish in drafts), is because I have been thinking and re-thinking the blog. Honestly, despite my resolutions to write more, I struggle to stay convinced. Yes, I have been caught up with work, family and so much stuff happening, but I know that’s hardly reason enough to not do this. Today, as I write this, I am almost feeling guilty for not wanting to do this at all. Am not 100% there yet, but I think I am going to try.
This post is about some of the cooking that took place at our abode, in the last month; some of it extremely simple at the end of a hard day, some of it quite “ironchefy” (I quote the 13 year old RB) such as the fancy lemonade (recipe coming soon, courtesy RB), some to remind us of the good things we enjoyed as kids (and don’t indulge in anymore as adults) - such as Jello, which I re-discovered is an art in itself, especially, to remove from the cases, and some to purely enjoy good food. The Baked broccoli and corn dish is one of my all-time favourite- its simplicity is what makes it a pleasure, to cook and eat as well.

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