Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring - Cherimoya Lassi

Balancing the Egg
Today is the first day of Spring...also known as the Vernal Equinox. Equinox means equal day and equal night; the Earth is not tilted toward nor away from the Sun, it is completely vertical meaning the Sun is directly over the Equator.
Every year for the equinox, Dad takes out an Egg and balances it on the rug. As kids we would try repeatedly, but only Dad had the magic touch. This year however, after being given the secret...I tried and the egg balanced easily heralding Spring!
That being said.....
I'm so excited that Spring is here! As much as I like winter and snow, I've been yearning for sunshine and warmer weather, and anything that reminds me of it. So as excited as I was about the date, I was even more excited that the Chinese supermarket had Cherimoya! It's a tangible sign of Spring's return. :)

Cherimoya (Custard Apple, Shalki) is a fruit originating from Central and South America, though it is also cultivated in Southern California, Southern Italy, Southern Spain, Portugal and South Asia. It has overlapping green scales and resembles Soursop/Sitafal, but it is much tastier. It has a soft sweet custard-like texture with flavor hints of banana and pear. Cherimoya is usually available throughout Early Spring, it was extremely fortuitious that they should arrive on the very First Day! 
Its light flavor and creamy texture make it perfect for a variety of dessert dishes.
One of my favorites is a mix of South American and Indian Culinary items; Cherimoya Lassi. The sweet custardy fruit mixed with the tang of yogurt makes a refreshingly light Springtime dessert drink.

Here is my recipe for a Creamy Cherimoya Lassi:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day - Grandma Walsh's Irish Soda Bread

"I'll sing you a song, of days long ago,
When the people from Galway and County Mayo,
from all over Ireland came here to stay and take up a new life in Americay.
They were ever so happy, they were ever so sad. 
To grow old in a New World, through good times and bad. 
All the parties and weddings; the Ceilis and Wakes.
 When New York was Irish, full of joy and heartache."

That Paddy Reilly song gets to me every time. While it is a bittersweet song, I do have good memories of hearing it every Sunday on the radio in our apartment and in Grandma Walsh's apartment on WFUV Fordham University's "Music of the Irish" Program. Every Sunday we would go to Grandma's apartment for dinner. Her apartment always smelled so good. Warm, inviting, and enticing scents of roasted potatoes, meatloaf, and of course Irish Soda Bread. This was every Sunday, you could imagine St. Patrick's Day!
St. Patrick's Day holds a special place in my heart, I have so many good memories...Proudly wearing my Kilt and my Grandparents' "Erin Go Bragh" pin! If you don't know, 'Erin Go Bragh' means 'Ireland Forever!'
Look at this Kilt wearing, Shillelagh wielding trouble maker.
But what made it really special was that it was a day for me and Grandma. I got to stay up late, past my bed time, because she would take me to the Céili at the local Church. Those were true St. Patrick's Day Parties....Irish Music, Irish Accents, Soda Bread, and Céili dancing!
She would bring her Irish Soda Bread, which received many compliments and was always eaten and finished before those rock hard doorstoppers they sell at the supermarket.
So what exactly is it that makes Grandma's Soda Bread Different? In a word, Love.
She loved to make it and she loved to see our reaction to eating it. To this day if we mention her soda bread, Dad starts Mmmm-ing and dreaming about it. It was soft and flavorful, and you didn't have to fight anyone for a raisin! 
I miss my Grandma Walsh very much, and I miss those times... 
"I look at the photographs all riddled with time, of the people I cherished...
Oh how I love those radiant smiles, how I long for the days when we danced in the aisles."
But I know she's there smiling every time her recipes are shared and enjoyed with family and friends.
So here is her Outstanding Irish Soda Bread Recipe:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Kishore's Birthday Dinner - Goan Shrimp Curry

This past week was Kishore's birthday! 
When I was growing up my Mom would make our favorite dishes on our birthday. I decided to keep this tradition going so that of course means I HAD to make Kishore a special birthday dinner! This year his birthday theme was, 'Fish'. 
Kishore loves the ocean, in an aquarium, or on a plate! Since we started dating we've been talking about going snorkeling and learning to scuba dive, but we haven't had a chance yet. I decided that the perfect gift would be a chance to fulfill that...A Swim with the Sharks Adventure! 
He spent 2 hours in the Shark tank and after his dip we spent the better part of the day at the Adventure Aquarium...Watching the Fish, touching the Rays, walking through the Shark Tunnel, it was a great day. :)

And for dinner, his favorite...Shrimp. More specifically Goan Shrimp Curry... Tasty shrimp in a rich and creamy coconut curry sauce, It was a hit! And of course the cherry on top; a Birthday Cake with Family and Friends singing "Happy Birthday' in a slightly off-key chorus!

Here is my recipe for this delicious coconut-based curry:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Honey Wheat Cheddar Muffins

I've never been a fan of breakfast...weekend brunch: yes, leisurely breakfast: yes, rushed workday breakfast: not so much. In order to combat that rushed feeling, I decided to bring together two things I like.
Cheese and Muffins!
I love Cheese...I mean I LOVE cheese. As much as I like to cook; I'm completely content with eating some good cheese with crackers and some fruit for dinner... Or any other meal for that matter. To tell you the truth sometimes the crackers are just a vehicle for cheese consumption. 
Family and friends don't call me a mouse for no reason!
Emily's Late night Cheese eating :)
Now... one of my favorite types of cheeses is Aged Sharp Cheddar. I love that salty tang, and that full flavor, yum.
As for the muffins...who doesn't like muffins!? 
These muffins are a perfect balance of salty aged cheeses, mixed with a hint of honey, and the earthiness of whole wheat. They are the perfect quick on-the-go breakfast or as a tasty afternoon snack!
Palm-sized Cheesy goodness!

Here's my recipe for these tasty breakfast muffins:

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