Friday, August 27, 2010


iPoo -- yup it's exactly as the name, not a term of endearment or a sigh of exhaustion, it's simply poop. AND SIMPLY HILARIOUS!

So what are the miraculous wonders of this app....(drumroll and in the wheel of fortune announcers tone) Your boring pooing days are over Alex. Now while you poo Alex, you can instantly connect to other users who are pooing at the VERY SAME TIMEEE!!!! 

I'd also like to dedicate this post to The Suitor  =P
...I simply had to!

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Another Week. Gone.

Another week coming to an end. When did it begin? Where did it go? I simply cant keep up!

It's finals week and all that's going through my head are bond and equity jargon, really not the most stimulating of topics, but I am happy to report that I now fully understand the bond market as well as can deconstruct almost all aspects of financial statements. Anyway so what do I do to tear myself away and take a breather...create a medley of food of course! On the menu this week was roasted eggplant & yogurt w/ chopped veggies, Boter salad (just can seem to get enough of this salad), summer zucchini-squash salad, and pickled jalapenos. By the way if anyone is in the Philly region, I have a fridge full of yummies for you!

Being Indian, I have grew up loving anything spicy, especially jalapenos. And pre-siriacha sauce, I put jalapenos on everything and I mean everything! They were even my favorite snack, I would eat them right out of a jar. My mother always bought a pre-made jar of jalapenos and never made them at home so I never really grasped how simple the concept of pickling is until now.  I think I may have unleased a monster because I am on already planning my next pickling eventSpickled beets, pickled carrots, picked endives!!! Just writing about them is making my mouth salivate. Seriously! 

Pickled Jalapenos
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup water
2 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp red peppercorn
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic

To start, cut the jalapenos however you want, discs, length wise or even leave them whole (if you're going to leave them whole, make sure to cut a 1 slit to allow the mixture to engulf the jalapeno inside and out) and place the jalapenos in a jar.

In a pot combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture over the jalapenos and seal the lid. Shake the jar around, making sure to evenly distribute the peppercorns and garlic. The jalapenos should be ready to eat in about 5 hours but longer you wait the more intense the flavor becomes.

15 minutes later

24 hrs and ready to eat!!!

Summer Zucchini-Squash Salad
1 Squash
2 Zucchini
1/3 cup of fresh dill (based upon preference, I'm not fond of dill so always use half the recommended amount)
1 garlic clove
1 shallot
Crumbled feta
1 tbsp Lemon juice and zest of 1/2 of the lemon
2.5 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper 

Cut the squash and zucchini length-wise into thin discs and toss in the salt and coat evenly. Place in a strainer for 20 minutes, I find this softens and evenly disburses the salt. Next, mince shallots, garlic and dill and combine with lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, feta and pepper. Mix everything together and toss evenly over the zucchini and squash.

Bon Appetite!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Simple Joys of Summer

I love meeting new people, especially new people who are fellow foodies!  I also love dinner parties. I don't know what it is about food but it has the ability to instantly melt away the strangeness and formalities and turn strangers into lifelong friends. But what I love more are weddings!!! Weddings create this cloud of warmth and joy, which no matter how special, no dinner party can recreate. =) 

This past weekend in DC was paragon. It started off with a night at the theatre Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, people watching at Tryst, dinner party at the Boter-Kang residence, biking through Georgetown with The Suitor and his parents, followed by the most satisfying brunch at Peacock Cafe, and an evening unraveled by a warm and touching wedding. And to tie the weekend together, a Sunday funday brunch at Clyde's with both the bride and groom's families. 

Boter-Kang Dinner (recipes below)
Boter Salad: This salad, so simple, so easy, and BIG delivery.  There's no dressing required, just let the sauteed onions and melted feta do all the work.
Yogurt-Basil Chicken: Another quick and simple recipe guarantees you'll be licking your plate dry.

Peacock Cafe: This beautiful cafe in the heart of Georgetown offers an extensive menu guaranteeing to please all. From your typical brunch offerings of eggs and pancakes, to heartier options like sandwich and soup.  The golden child of the menu being the sandwiches, which employ equally charming names after famous stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Paul Newman (my personal fav!)

I have to admit, at most weddings, often times the food is so neglected and mistreated that I want to cry. But the wedding I went to this weekend (The Suitor's cousin) the dinner again left me in tears, this time happy tears! My fav were the risotto and sea food stations.   
Fabulous Risotto Station: For anyone who knows me, they know risotto is so very, VERY, VERY dear to my heart. I love a creamy light risotto and part of the dinner menu included a make your own risotto station!!!! You had an extensive list of options to choose from, my personal risotto consisted of sun-dried tomato, asparagus, and caramelized onions. 
Creamy Sea Bass: The sea bass was well prepared, a little over-cooked but not dry. Draped with the most creamiest sauce, which enhanced the delicate flavor of the fish while being too over-powering.

Sunday Funday Brunch
Clydes: Funday brunch was the perfect wrap to a weekend of celebrations. I had a Maryland benedict,  but not impressed, but I couldn't leave Maryland without having crab. The pancakes however, executed the perfect wrap to seal the weekend, and the syrup tied the a perfect bow to safeguard the memories for the future.  

Boter Salad 
Cherry tomatoes
White Onion - They tend to be sweeter so additions necessary.

Julienne the onion and garlic and sauté in a skillet without any oil or butter. The juices of the onion provide the perfect sauté base. While the onions sauté, dice the avocado and combine with spinach and tomatoes in a salad bowl. 

Sauté until tender and remove from heat. Combine with feta and let the heat from the onions melt the feta into oozy goodness! Serve the salad and top with the onion feta mix. 

Yogurt-Basil Chicken
3 Chicken Breast
1.5 Cups Greek Yogurt 
3 cloves Garlic 
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon
1 bunch Basil

Season the chicken with olive oil, salt & pepper and set aside.  In a food processor combine the basil, yogurt, garlic, lemon zest and juice of half a lemon and puree.  Line a roasting pan or baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Combine the chicken and yogurt mixture in the baking dish and bake for 30-45 minutes on 375 degrees.  

I threw this recipe together on a whim will minimal expectation but boy did this sauce deliver!!! Make sure to have a baguette handy for sauce!!!!

Bon Appetite!!! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wintery Delight

I woke up this morning craving the winter air -- savoring the artificial warmth in the air from the radiator, the warmth of the sun on your face, escaping the sting of the winter air resting on the opposite pane of glass.  Even though I am a summer girl, I love the feeling of winter. Maybe it's because all the holidays (rosh hashana, navratri, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, MY BIRTHDAY..the list is endless)  or maybe its just an excuse to eat. More! 

It's no secret your appetite increases during the winter, maybe because your body just needs to churn that extra mile to keep you warm or maybe it's a mind game...the thought of fitting into a bikini flips a silent switch which makes you gravitate towards light airy salads rather than a hearty bowl of pasta.

Anyway, I sense of winter send through me the most content, delightful warm fuzzy feeling and a smirk I could feel stretched out ear to ear...but it all vanished the instant I took off my eye mask. The cold sting has instantaneously morphed into a discomforting muggy swamp. It just ignited the urge to crawl back into bed a thousand times more but eventually I surrendered but only after my fav winter breakfast - vanilla spiced oatmeal w/ carmalized bananas!!!!

Vanilla Spiced Oatmeal w/ Carmalized Bananas
1.5 cups Oatmeal
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups low fat milk (I prefer to cook my oats in milk rather than water. I find it add a more creamier wholesome texture, just what your body craves during those cold months) (REDUCE THE AMOUNT IF USING INSTANT OATS)
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
pinch of nutmeg & cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 Banana

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and salt to a boil. Stir in the oats and raisins, reduce the heat to low and simmer while stirring occasionally for  5 minutes. In the meantime, place nuts, if using, in a dry skillet over a medium-high flame, and toast, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside. 

In the same pan melt a little butter and brown sugar adding diced banana and cook on medium-low heat until caramelized.

When the oats are cooked remove pan from the flame and stir in the vanilla and nutmeg. Swirl in the banana mixture and place the oatmeal in serving bowls and top with toasted nuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Dab on a little extra milk & brown sugar on top if you desire a sweeter runnier oatmeal!

Bon Appetite! 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Soaking up summer fun!

This weekend, like most weekends as of late, flew right on by.  We were suppose to go camping from Thursday through Sunday at a beautiful national park in Maryland with free roaming wild horses but mother nature had other plans.  After following the weather by the second on Thursday, we decided to nix the camping plans and drive out to Ocean City Saturday, since our friend pulled some strings and delivered a breath taking suite at the Hilton.  So that leaves my Friday free. Freeing particularly inspired I decide to have a micro mini dinner party, consisting of The Suitor and his friend. So what's on the menu?
Mint & Pea Soup
Roasted Beets & Arugula Salad w/ Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
Grilled Cherry Tomatoes with Basil
Braised Pork Chops in a Dijon Apple Sauce

Ocean City Maryland was great. We got to soak some sun, learn how to pick apart and eat Maryland crabs (can cross that one off my bucket list) and explore local eateries. Unfortunately I don't have pictures. :(  We were too busy getting our hand dirty picking apart and eating crab.  Crabs I feel are like artichokes. There's a lot of waste but once that part is over with, you are left with the most beautiful, tender sweetest meat, that your mouth will be performing somersaults. 

Aside from that we also took a tour of what would have been our camping grounds. I have to admit, it was truly an amazing spot. Not at all like your traditional camping trips, you are out on a beach surrounded by the finest, almost powder like sand and wild horses.  (Scroll below for pics) 

We also somehow also managed to squeeze in another trip before the summer is over. This time to MIAMI!  So here is how the rest of my summer into early fall look: 

Aug 19 - 22: DC
Sept 3 - 6: Maine
Sept 17 - 19: NY
Sept 24 - 26: Miami
Oct 1 - 4: Ft. Lauderdale


Grilled Cherry Tomatoes with Basil
There's nothing I love more in the summer than roasted or grilled tomatoes. Tomatoes are at their peak this time of the season and grilling them for a few minutes just elevates the natural juices within to perfection! And sprinkling a few pieces of sweet basil guarantees an operatic moment!

1 medium shallot diced 
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil and sauté the shallots  until tender (3-4 minutes). Add tomatoes and cook mildly on low to medium heat. Salt & pepper to taste add couple of leaves of basil.  Garnish with additional basil prior to serving. Can be served chilled or straight off the grill.

Mint & Pea Soup

2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil 
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
3 cups frozen peas
1 bunch of mint
3 cups veggie broth
salt & pepper
heavy cream (optional)

1) Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pot and sautee onions and garlic until tender. Add the 3/4 of the peas, stock and couple of sprigs of mint and salt & pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
2) Pour the soup into a blender or food processor and add remaining peas as well as a sprig of mint.  Puree the mixture until velvety smooth.  
3) soup can be served chilled or warm. Prior to serving, garnish the soup with a table spoon of heavy cream and olive oil!

Picture prior to puree!

Roasted Beets & Arugula Salad w/ Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

Red onion

1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 cup EVOO
salt & pepper to taste

Combine the mustard, honey, vinegar and salt & pepper in a blender or whisk together by hand. While whisking or blending slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue whisking until the vinaigrette is thoroughly combined.

Roasted Beets:
To roast beets, combine them in a casserole dish with salted water filled 3/4 of the way and roaste on 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Allow the beets to cool completely and peel prior to assembling the salad.

Combine the arugula with thinly sliced onions, cubed beets and drizzle with the dijon mustard dressing prior to serving.

Braised Pork Chops in a Dijon Apple Sauce
This recipe is far simpler than it sounds and is sure to be a crowd pleaser! It's a quick protein dish for a dinner party any size!

3 Pork Chops
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp Dried Rosemary
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1/4 plus 1/3 cup Apple Cider
Salt & Pepper

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and season the chops with salt and pepper generously.
2) In an oven safe skillet add olive oil and the seasoned chops. Sauté 4 minutes on each side and remove.
3) In the same skillet combine the apple cider, rosemary, dijon, brown sugar and soy sauce. Reduce the mixture and re-introduce the chops to the skillet, covering generously with the glaze.
4) Transfer the chops to the oven for 15 minutes. The salt will thicken further and enhance the flavor of the chops.
5) Let the chops rest for 3-4 minutes prior to serving, allowing the juices within to settle.

Picture - prior to the time the finished product rolled around, we were too hungry...even for a quick snapshot   =P  

Wild pony blocking traffic

Park ranger trying to get the pony off the road...quite unsuccessful!

More wild horses...and me!
Why did the horse cross the road?

To get to The Suitor! He's hard to keep your hands off of!  :D

Camping grounds

The Suitor and I on the camp grounds looking onto the view!

Sunset on the ground!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rants and Rants!

Sometimes you find that you need a good vent followed by a good cry...I don't know what it is with me these days, I find that the tiniest fraction of responsibility has be blazing up the wall!!!! Hormones, stress, I don't know...I just simply want to lay in bed with a box of kleenex and let all stream out. And of course to top it off, google has gone and changed the template on gmail once again!!!!! Not that it isn't easy to navigate, but why..why the change? Yes I know, as a profit seeking corporation you must enhance gmail to remain competitive amongst your peers but can't you do that without altering the basic template??? I mean seriously, who cares, we will continue to read and compose our messages the same we need to alter the template? I HATE THE NEW TEMPLATE!!! I HATE HATE HATE THE NEW TEMPLATE!!!!!!!  As you can tell I'm incredibly flustered by this and if this change were to be brought about at any other time, it probably would have been a much easier transition...but right now it's just another thing in my life that needs to go on and change...

I think I'll now grab that box of kleenex and move onto part II!


A Little One on One with Mama Nature

I am off to camping for the next 4 days with The Suitor and some friends at a national park in Maryland. To be honest, the last time I recall going camping was Sunday school, which like anything at that age was highly drama filled weekend full of pre-menstrual girls asking for it and by it I mean "IT"! I think back to what I was doing at that age and all that comes to mind is wrestling with my guy cousins, pretending we were part of the WWF or WWE, whatever was the fad during those days!!  It goes without saying that I had a bit of what you would call a tomboy fad.  I think I would have to attribute it to my sister, who was a true girly girl. One of those girls you catch severing a flower under the false pretense of the infamous girly-girl game "he loves me, he loves me not." I was always shunned from hanging out with her and her friends, leaving me with no other option but my male cousins, and in no way am I complaining!   :-P

Anyway steering back to camping, and what is the first thought to enter my mind, aside from the whole shower situation, because I am a shower snob and need a long luke warm shower in the guessed it....WHAT THE HECK ARE WE GOING TO EAT??? Now I know the guys won't be hunting and roasting a boar fireside (and thank god for that) but what else do you eat while camping? S'mores..yeah ok, blah...all you s'mores lovers don't get me wrong I adore s'mores, but I'm more savory than sweet. ;-) 

I've asked The Suitor to figure this out with our friends, just so I can craft a grocery list, but as tradition goes with any man (and to those of you who are the exception, apologies ahead of time) it's one of the last things on their list of priorities. 

So in true 'dhara' form, I take the initiative. I've already baked some brownies and am planning a menu of chilled mint & pea soup (recipes & pics which I promise to post tomorrow), cooler with some brie, gorgonzola, salami, prosciutto and it goes without saying few bottles of wine to bring with. Not entire certain if alcohol is frowned upon, but ehh, what the hay, I feel the inner Julia coming out in me and I'll take my chances! 

So I'll leave you with Bon nuit mes amis et BON APPETIT!!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fun Filled Weekends!

***I need to preface this blog with a few explanatory words. I thought I posted this blog about 2 weeks ago, but I guess not...Somehow I recall having technical difficulties, then receiving an enticing phone call and POOF I somehow this post got lost in the pre-blogging world :(  **

So I'm back in Philly after what may have been the most exhausting 5 days ever! However I must admit the BlogHer '10 conference was every bit amazing as I had anticipated! Met some wonderful women, got some great advice/tips/suggestions and swag, but now I'm let playing hookie, too drained to even throw together a salad, sitting on my couch flipping through the latest issue of Food & Wine.

Highlights of the weekend:

Thursday: BlogHer: White House Project - Lea Webb: got to chat and connect with Lea Webb. A truly inspirational woman. She is the youngest and first colored Council woman in Binghamton, who fought to build the first grocery store in a town, where occupants had to travel 15 miles to find the closest grocery store.

Friday: Live blogged for 2 events. The first was Gen Y Passionistas and got to meet "Eating Bender", someone whose blog I have been following for years. It was quite a surprise and when I met her...I felt as though I had known her forever! And she's every bit down to earth as she emanates through her blog! I just wish I had more time to blog talk with her in person...but I suppose email will have to suffice!

Saturday: Live blogged for another 2 events. Got to meet Jessica Bern from bernthisAwesomely Luvvie and Lizz Winstead who is one of the co-creators of The Daily Show! These women are truly hilarious and this was probably one of my favorite panels!

Saturday evening consisted of dinner and drinks with The Suitors parents. We started off at La Bottega, the outdoor bar of the Maritime Hotel, which has amazing drinks and some of the trendiest NYC crowds during the evening hours. Then we made out way over to Chelsea Market and had dinner at The Green Table, which is a farm to table restaurant and may I say not a single dish was disappointing. Even the burgers looked astounding, and I'm not one to rave about beef!

Sunday: The Suitor, his parents and I went biking down the West Side Highway and per tradition making our ritualistic stop at The Fairway market. Every time I go inside, no matter how many times I've already been there, I am mesmerized! For those of you who live in NYC, please please please do yourself a favor and check out the Fairway market. I hear if you have a group of 10 people anywhere in the City, they will provide door to door service for FREE!

We ended the evening restaurant hopping along the UWS. We went from mediterranean to mexican to oysters on the half shell and back mediterranean. Truly a memorable weekend, but by the time it was over I was ready for Monday.

I wish I had pics from this weekend for you but true to tardy self...forgot my camera!

Oh BTW - for those of you who live for celebrity news ---- during the conference I was at the "Got Milk" booth and guess who comes up behind me asking what this stuff is???  None other than Padma Lakshmi! I have to say she has the most beautiful velvety caramel skin I've ever seen!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Case of....

This morning has just been an a disaster of epic proportions!
First, I wake up in a cold sweat at 4:30, no idea why since the ac is on 64.  Next, I decide to clean out my fridge and flush some leftovers down the toilet. I know what you're thinking...Who does that? It's a habit, perhaps it's the green/neat freak in me.  I hate keeping trash in the apt past a day (only if it's food) and therefore I feel as tough flushing it down the toilet helps me cut down the amount of my trash output, hence minimizing waste! Anyway, enough sidetracking and back to the story. So I flush leftovers down the toilet and naturally it results in a clog...and as mother nature would have it, within 10 minutes I need to use the bathroom! Now this wouldn't be so catastrophic if I owned a plunger, but guess what, I don't own a plunger! Maintenance requests take at least a day and my digestive track is showing no signs of mercy! With high hopes, I race down to the doorman, and high hopes alright because he had a plunger!!!  I try to race upstairs, but as luck would have it the elevator gets stuck.  Fast forwards 15 minutes, because that's how long it took to get the elevator up and running, toilet is unclogged, bathroom situation appeased, coffee brewing...things are picking up...or are they?  I'm trying to print out 5 years of financial statements to complete a class project when my printer decides to die on me!!!! I just got this printer 7 months ago!!!!  After spending 45 minutes trying to resurrect this useless piece of technology, here I am coffee in hand and all I can think about is making truffle brownies! Or should I reconsider, given my track record this morning?

If I do, I'll post pics and the recipe soon, but for now I'll leave you with last nights dinner -- spaghetti with roasted tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and prosciutto, with a side of roasted carrots! I picked up some beautiful cherry tomatoes and basil at the farmers market and there's nothing I love more than roasted tomatoes!  So I decided to roast some tomatoes and carrots, because I love how the tomato juices run while roasting and combine with the earthy sweetness of carrots!

Roasted Tomato-Basil Spaghetti

Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Carrots (optional)
Parmesan Cheese

Combine the carrots and tomatoes on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper (makes cleaning so much easier). Drizzle with EVOO and salt and pepper for seasoning.  Roast at 350, for about 45 minutes.  Remove and let cool. I like to roast the tomatoes and let them cool for about 2 hours so they retain their shape and don't break apart in the hot spaghetti.  Once cool, separate the carrots and tomatoes.

Boil spaghetti until tender. In a skillet sauté some garlic in olive oil and butter until golden. Add spaghetti and toss until the spaghetti is covered evenly.  Add in the roasted tomatoes and heat for about 5 minutes and salt and pepper according to taste.  Remove from heat and prior to serving mix in chopped prosciutto and top with fresh basil.

Bon Appetit!