Gluten-Free Strawberry Cupcakes

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I wrote about my first day at the culinary school here a few months ago. By the fifth month at the school, me and my fellow wanna-be-chefs had gotten used to the routine of waking up early and dressing up in all whites every day. Our brand new knife bags and crisp recipe books were stained with sauces, and in some cases, with our own blood. Band-aids were to be found in our pockets and on our fingers. Most of us had also started working outside the school to get more practical experience. We were allowed zero creativity at these restaurants and working 8 to 10 hours outside of the school was the new normal. While the TV shows might have you believe that the kitchen is a place where chefs … [Read more...]

Nettle and Cauliflower Soup

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It has been almost two weeks since I have posted on the blog! Ever since I started the blog last September, it has been a big part of my regular routine. The way I cook for myself and my lover is worlds apart from the way I cook for the blog. Oh, did I just call him my lover? Well okay then, we will go with that! So yes, cooking for the blog involves getting inspired by something or someone to create a new recipe, researching and gathering the ingredients, taking about 100 photos to select the final 4, and then creating the blog post to glue it all together! Once I post a recipe on the blog, the real work begins - submitting the recipe to a bunch of sites and promoting the post on social … [Read more...]

Vegetable Stew with Black Soybeans

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"Hunger is the best sauce." - English proverb I have been fortunate to have had many inspirational figures around me while growing up. Many of them have taught me invaluable life lessons that have made me the person I am today. One such person who has taught me the simplest of all lessons, is Anup's grandma, Elizabeth. The lesson she taught me was something she mentioned in passing, and yet, it has had a profound impact on me! Elizabeth is in her late seventies, and is in great health for her age. The small house she lives in is in the middle of a vadi, a small garden, that she maintains herself. Her home looks like it just jumped out of a story book! It's surrounded by varieties of … [Read more...]

Raw Protein Bar

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Anup and I love road trips and we have been lucky to have made a few of them together! Looking back, each trip has memorialized the way we were back in those days! Our first road trip was when we moved from San Jose to Dallas. In fact we had bought our first car, a used Toyota corolla, just so that we could make that road trip! Call it a bold move or sheer stupidity, but we thought that an 1800 mile road trip would be the best way for us to get some driving practice! So we bought our car 10 days before the road trip, and every evening, Anup and I would go out driving. We only practiced on the bus route 81, which was the bus ride Anup used to take every day to get to his job. This was our way … [Read more...]

Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

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Guys, it's the first day of spring! Last night laying in bed, Anup and I gave each other props for surviving another winter here in Canada. A random memory from India comes to mind. Unlike in the western world, we don't get running water all day long in India. The municipality gives running water about one hour a day, and in this window of time, people have to save up water they might need during the day. Most homes build a water tank that can store up the water for later use. My grandma, who lived with us and was always home, was in charge of this task. All she had to do was turn on the switch for the motor to fill up the tank. She would turn on the switch, and then sit out on the … [Read more...]

Easy Dessert Recipe – Yogurt Cardamom Tart

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Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around. - Anna Quindlen I compare creative cooking to painting. If you give a blank canvas and paint to a few different people, the end result is certainly going to look different for everyone. The same applies to cooking; all of us at the culinary school would start with the same ingredients, but the final dishes we all came up with reflected who we were as individuals. Towards the end of the program, we could tell who had cooked what just by looking at the plate! Isn't it beautiful that we all get to express ourselves in a creative way everyday, and put ourselves on a plate? All cooks are like kids with crayons! Traditional Indian … [Read more...]

Turmeric Pickle

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May be it was because I was so little, but while growing up in India our small house looked like an ever-expanding empire to me. From the backyard garden where my dad carefully tended to the flower plants to the terrace with a swing that made a unique sound when more than two people sat on it - there are so many little memories scattered all around that place I called home not too long ago. I have spent many afternoons in India cooking and eating some amazing homemade food with my family. Our kitchen was about a hundred square feet, but oh did we create some wonders in that little space! The thing I remember the most is making mango pickle with my sister and my parents! Making pickle was … [Read more...]

Orange Marmalade Hand Pies

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“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” ― Aristotle I envy the people who are not afraid of looking like a fool. Anup is one of those people. If he has a new thought or idea, the first thing he wants to do is share it with people. He can take rejection in a stride. It's not that he is just unafraid of rejection, it is as if he is not even aware that he is being rejected. That to me is a blissful state of mind. I have seen him celebrate his failures. "Remember that time I wanted to buy a yacht, hire doctors to work on it and market the service as a vacation at a hospital? Remember that?" I on the other hand, have struggled with fear of rejection for as long as I … [Read more...]

Falafel – Healthy Baked Millet Falafel

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In my last post, I wrote about how my mom is a regular reader of my blog. She even has a dictionary to look up the meanings of certain words and ingredients which have different names in India. After I post a new recipe on the blog, my mom and I invariably get on the phone and discuss the recipe. We have made an intriguing discovery through these discussions - most of the ingredients I use are what we would consider "poor man's food" in India. Millet, Barley, Flaxseed - all these grains were considered to be "inferior" to the more polished or processed grains like Basmati rice. Back in India, "rich" ingredients like Basmati rice were reserved for special days or when a guest was dining … [Read more...]

Vegetable Stew

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“Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to a healthy relationship: it takes two wholes.” - Patricia Fry, author. While this quote was meant for an intimate relationship, I think it applies to all relationships - friends, siblings and parents. My relationship with my parents has evolved into something beautiful as I have matured. It wasn't always the case. I was a typical teenager - a little rebellious, demanding and full of strong opinions about anything and everything. I was always a daddy's girl, so my mom, Vishakha, bore the brunt of my teenage years. My parents are opposites of each other in many ways. For one, my dad dislikes change. He is one of those … [Read more...]