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Showing posts from June, 2012

Sitar Indian Restaurant

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This week we went to Sitar Indian Restaurant, and I really enjoyed myself. Indian food is my favorite. We thought about going here when we first moved here, but it seemed a bit more expensive than other Indian restaurants in the area. When I was out of town last week, Scott went there (because the Garden Bistro was closed). He reported back that while it is more expensive, the price includes naan or rice (some of the dishes also include a vegetable). He also reported back that it was really good.

There are quite a bit of Indian people in surburban Detroit (where I am from) mostly because of engineering opportunities in the auto industry. I worked at a Blimpie sandwich shop throughout college, and it was owned by an Indian couple. To this day it remains the longest period of time I have ever worked anywhere. The owners were really great to my ex-boyfriend and I. The whole family was very much like the family in Jhumpa Lahiri's novel "The Namesake" (the father was a scie…

The Broccoli Mandate

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I was told John Roberts would force me to do this:


Fortunately, broccoli stir-frys are terrific.   Adam Gopnik has more tips to deal with our scary new constitutional era.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

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My sister made me some bacon wrapped asparagus. Here is the approximate recipe. She mixed together some brown sugar, olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, jalapeno, salt and pepper, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds and brushed that all on the asparagus. Then, she wrapped the asparagus in bacon, and I am pretty sure she sprinkled on a little more brown sugar before putting it in the oven for 400 degrees and 30 minutes. Delicious! It has some Asian flair and a nice sweet and salty mix. Well played sister of mine, well played.

Dining Note: Mingle in Albany

Since it was pushing 100 today, I was compelled to return to All Good Bakers for some of the gazpacho I discussed last week, which was equally good the second time around.  While I was there one of the owners from AGB's well-regarded DelSo neighbor Mingle came in, which reminded me that we had never tried it.   With Ms. Garlic out of town and me not really wanting the stove or oven on in the heat and having exhausted the weekend's leftovers, I decided tonight was as good a night to try Mingle as any.

Chef Un-Hui Filomeno's menu is what could be called, to use that now virtually meaningless term, "fusion," with Korean cuisine as the starting point.  Since I wanted to try something from Filomeno's Korean wheelhouse but didn't feel like Kimchi Jigae, I chose the Yakimandu as an appetizer. The dumplings were stuffed with an interesting mixture of chicken, ricotta, Napa cabbage, and scallions. The texture, with its contrast of soft and crisp, was perfect, a…

Big Boy, Walled Lake, MI

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Am I going to go ahead and talk about the Walled LakeBig Boy? Yes, yes I am. So I am in Michigan on a professional development trip. I took the train from Albany to Toledo on Friday night. Who takes the train from Albany to Toledo on a Friday night, you ask? Many people who are from Detroit originally and live out east, but are going to weddings and funerals. It felt we were all kindred spirits. There is something vaguely comforting about overhearing that a bunch of people are from the place you are from and don't live there anymore, but have to go back because of various important relationships. Also, there is something weird about the overnight train in terms of a bunch of strangers who don't know each other at all falling asleep in close proximity. You all feel like you are getting through some long journey together. There is a strong element of trust involved. Will the guy who is yelling at the all the people in his phone in colorful language do anything to me if I fall as…

TWD, Baking with Julia: French Strawberry Cake

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As part of Tuesdays with Dorie using the book Baking with Julia, I made the French Strawberry Cake. Check out the discussion about the recipe here.  Check out all the other bakers here. You can read the recipe on Sophia's Sweets.

Check out mine:



My thoughts:

This is a great summer dessert. The cake is easy, tasty, and has a great spongy texture that holds up nicely against the juicy strawberries. It is not as tough as a biscuit for strawberry shortcake, but absorbs liquid better than airy angel food cake. There is something very luxurious about desserts with contrasting multiple layers. Light and refreshing, this recipe would be great to take to a summer BBQ. Overall, from husband and coworkers rave reviews!

A Brief Local Dining Note

If you like gazpacho, you have to try the gazpacho at All Good Bakers.    For that matter, if you think you don't like gazpacho, you should try it anyway.  Even though it's not peak season yet, it had a beautiful, tangy flavor, with a nice sharpness that if my palate is to be trusted came in part from garlic scapes.   Strongly recommended.

Fun weekend, fancy brunch, PolishFest

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What a nice weekend! There was beautiful weather. There's Wachusett Summer, and the crazies are on Bridezillas. Also - "Mad Men" finale (What?!).  First off, I decided to take advantage of the skills I learned at my ravioli class. I sauteed some shallots and added mushrooms. Then, I mixed in some salt and pepper, chives, ricotta, a little bit Adams Reserve cheddar and a couple of eggs.



 I spotted some Hodgson Mill pasta flour on Friday afternoon, and when I made that into ravioli it really created a different texture than just using regular flour. I think half semolina and half regular flour might give the best texture though. I'll have to do some experimenting.


The pasta was great. It felt like a very fancy dinner. Problem was, I totally overestimated the amount of filling I would need, and ended up with a whole big bowl of mushroom filling. I woke up the next day not wanting it to go to waste. I tried my hand at making crepes from the Silver Spoon Cookbook. Making…

Endless Summer

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I've never been a big fan of summer. Last summer was pretty great, but some of my favorite things are fall things like tweed, tea, a roasting chicken, argyle, and acorn squash. I was really into swimming in the Great Lakes as a child, but at age 18, I developed a weird allergy to cold water and pretty much developed hobbies like reading and watching movies to accommodate that allergy. That all being said, here are some cool summer links:
Desserts that look like summer foods. And also, how to make a watermelon cake.Fruit infused ice cubes that could be great for cocktails.Oatmeal you don't have to cook. (Wow.)

 My plans for the summer include:

I'd like to find a new hobby since I am finishing up watching the entire season of "Beverly Hills, 90210". Briefly, a few months ago, I thought my new hobby could be jello. But then the actual logistics of having that much jello around doesn't work that well. Can you call up your friend and say "Want to come help me…

The Tailored Tea, Latham

How often do you go to a new place and love it so much you can't wait to go back? Not too often, but I did feel that way about The Merry Monk. The past weekend my friend Jessica and I went to The Tailored Tea in Latham. Now, I am a fan of the whole ordeal of tea and specifically the Whistling Kettle, but the truth is I only seem to make it up to Ballston Spa about twice a year. I usually buy enough tea to last me until the next visit. I've long wished for a place like this closer to Albany, so much so that I usually say if I were wealthy I would open a place like this. I basically just want to eat something adorable and feminine like these Joy the Baker cupcakes, wear a cheery floral, poofy dress, maybe a hat, some white gloves (or at least be in a place where such a get up wouldn't be so out of place) and talk about very classy things like ex-boyfriends who liked Gwar, fighting with your sister when you were 14 years old about silly things, food swaps, and taking over the…

TWD, Baking with Julia: Oasis Naan

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As part of Tuesdays with Dorie using the book Baking with Julia, I made the Oasis Naan. I've made naan before, and this recipe is better. You can find the recipe at Always Add More Butter and at Of Cabbages and King Cakes. Check out all the other bakers here!

My thoughts:

We served it with lamb with vinegar and mint, and that worked out great. I thought the dough was very pliable and easy to work with, much like a pizza crust. I loved how pricking the dough with a fork creates some areas with a texture that is sponge-like and other areas with a crispier texture. It was a nice contrast. I also really liked the addition of the scallions. I think this could also be great with some garlic, ginger, or jalapenos sprinkled on top before baking. Overall, definitely a keeper. This recipe is so easy (you don't even need to get out a mixer or food processor) and delicious, that I think it will encourage us to cook more Indian food in the future.

Lamb With Vinegar and Mint

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Since the lovely and talented Ms. Garlic was making Indian flatbread, I needed a good match for an entree. So I went with lamb with vinegar, slightly modified from Madhur Jaffrey's indispensable An Invatation to Indian Cooking.

 It's a fairly straightforward recipe if you have the Indian spices on hand:

 Brown lamb in a little canola oil, and remove it with tongs or a slotted spoon and rest it on a platter (covered with foil if you wish.)  Pour off any excess fat and brown sliced onions. Meanwhile, blend a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar with cumin, coriander, mustard seed, cloves, cinnamon, 6-8 cloves of garlic, and 1-2 hot peppers of your choice in a food processor. Cover the onions with the mixture and cook for a few minutes. Add a cup of stock or water (I prefer the former), bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the lamb (and any accumulated juices.) Add mint or parsley and (if not using stock) salt. Cook covered for 45 minutes. Then uncover, bring t…

Pioneer Woman's Coffee Cake

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Last night, we had over our new friend and her husband, of JessJamesJake fame, who I met at the All Over Albany party. I thought it would be a good time to use our pasta machine and I totally pimped out my husband's cooking skills ("Do you guys want to come over and eat his pasta sauce?" "Scott, you are going to make some pasta sauce for some people who live around the corner from us!").  The good thing about having people over is you can make desserts that you wanted to make, but thought were too decadent for a house with two people in it. I bought the new Pioneer Woman cookbook when I went and saw her speak in NYC in March. We wanted to make the coffee cake, and this one she posted in 2009 is pretty similar to the one in the book except you'd swap out the instant coffee crystals in the filling for cream cheese, and put a different icing on top (more of a ganache), but the cake is the same. I made some doughnuts from that book back in March. Anyways, check…