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Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Food For Thought"- What's your shopping style?

How do you shop? Make a list first or shop for things that look good and fresh???
By shopping style.....I of course mean Food shopping style here....
For me....I have a list ready, based on what I want to make over the whole week and buy veggies and other ingredients accordingly....
I never thought too much about this...But just last week...I was watching Ina Garten (on Food Network)...and she came up with this issue.
She herself accepted that she is a 'list' person and decides her menu before she shops.
She mentioned that when she visited France, there were these Open Street markets and people shopped for 'what looked fresh that day'...and designed there meal based on that. They look for fresh ingredients and that’s what makes their food better.
Similarly, a contestant on 'Next Iron Chef' was poorly judged by the judges, because she shopped for poor quality Shrimp and that reflected in her dish.

I do not of course buy things, which look poor quality obviously or things that are rotten or decayed.....but here in USA there are hardly any veggies that don't look fresh. Their produce always looks fresh.
Back in India, I never remember my mom making a list before she goes to get vegetables. She will always buy what looks fresh that day and shop accordingly....like in 'France'. And I think same was the case with everyone back there....
So...why has it changed for me here? Why do I have to decide everything in advance? Is it because life is busier here? Grocery shopping is a 'chore' and to be done just 1-2 times a week.....not everyday?

Just some thoughts..... wanted to share with you guys....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slow on Blogging this week....

Exams This Week:
I don't remember if I mentioned to you guys, that I am taking some courses in 'Food Science' through Ohio State University.It is a year long program and the courses are online.I have to complete 5 courses overall to complete this program.I am on my 4th course now. Every 5 weeks we have an exam to submit.
This week is my 'exam' week and I am going to be working on that.
And yes....that's the reason I am going to have very little time to cook and blog.
Just wanted to let you guys know that I will be slow on blogging this week...but next week as soon as I submit my exams...I will be back in full spirit again!
Hope you guys will come back with me!

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Around The World in 30 Weekends"- Weekend 5= Thailand

Dish Name: Sangkaya mapraw (Thai Coconut Custard)

Saturday had a great time with some friends in Syracuse.They bought this 'huge' house in suburb of Syracuse and had invited us and few other friends for a dinner party/house warming party. It was great to meet everyone and toast for our friends new house.My friend 'O' had made yummy Gujju (Gujrati) food and had quite a spread...as she always does- Undhiyo,Pooris,Fried Potato, Shrikhand, Khandvi, Rice, Daal, Papad, different kinds of chutneys and pickles...etc etc.I am going to make some on these soon and blog about them too.

But today's blog is about my 'Weekend culinary travel around the world'.Last week was Diwali...and I missed making food for this segment.Today I thought about traveling to Thailand.What do you first think of ....when you think of Thai food? For me..its the Spicyness, the coconout milk and the peanut sauce in the dishes.
Whenever we go to Thai restaurants, we order the Tom Yum/Tom Kha soup and the spring rolls as appetizers. We are half full there itself.Then 'M's favorite main course is 'Pad Thai' (he never even wants to look at the menu card and orders the same everytime! ) and I go with anything that has peanut sauce...I like the Rama noodles,the cashews tofu/chicken and ofcourse all the curries.By the time we finish with this...there is hardly any room for dessert! So,believe it or not....I have never had Thai dessert before! And so, I decided to make one myself for this segment.
This one seems pretty easy and I had all the ingredients to make it.Lets see how it comes out ....and tastes!
It came out well,nicely set and tender. I did have problems flipping it out on a plate and actually one of them broke in the ramekin. So I did not try stunts with the other one!
It definately tasted like our known egg pudding....but ofcourse with 'coconutty' taste from the coconut milk.The green lime zest gave a nice aroma to the whole dish.

3 eggs
3/4 cup Coconut milk
1/3 cup white sugar
1tbsp light brown sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
1/2tsp Lemon zest for garnishing

1) Blend together eggs,sugar, vanilla,coconut milk.Do not beat.Just mix till well blended
2) Boil water in a pan and pour it in a oven safe baking dish till about 1/3 full.
3) Preheat oven to 300F
4) Pour the egg-coconut milk mixture into oven safe ramekins till 3/4 full.
5) Place the ramekins with egg-coconut milk mixture into the baking dish with hot water.
6) Place in oven and bake about 35-45 mins till the custard sets.
7) Garnish with lemon zest.
8) Chill and serve cold.