Author Archives: Sara

I have a passion for Food & Travel which I want to share in this Blog!

~Fresh Bufala di Mozzarella, Tomato & Strawberry Salad~Recipe Inspired by Dorie Greenspan~

I’m loving Dorie Greenspan’s new book, Around My French Table. It’s a gorgeous book with the most mouthwatering recipes. My book was waiting for me at my doorstep when I got home today, I could not wait to open the box and go through the book! Dorie’s book has the most scrumptious recipes with gorgeous photography, talk about Ahem..Food Porn!

As soon as I saw this recipe, I thought what a genius idea to pair tomatoes & strawberries with fresh mozzarella. Dorie talks about the success of this salad depends entirely on the quality of the ingredients. I know its fall and this salad is a summery one but I found the most gorgeous, sweet & ripe looking strawberries & grape tomatoes at my local farmers market. I used fresh basil growing in a cute little terra-cotta pot near a sunny window in my kitchen which I enjoy most of the year.

Dorie prefers fresh mozzarella di bufala. I’m a huge fan of mozzarella di bufala, it is the most creamiest & tastiest mozzarella cheese I have ever tasted. It’s made with the milk of water buffalo found in Italy rather than cow’s milk which is found in US. I remember tasting this delicious mozzarella cheese all over Italy especially in Napoli & the most gorgeous place on earth, the Amalfi Coast!  I love melting mozzarella di buffala on my pasta dishes, especially on Gnocchi a la Neopolitana!

Serving Ideas for this salad is simple, it needs nothing more than a basket of baguettes slices on the table so the last little bit of juice can be sopped up and enjoyed!

~BUFALA DI MOZZARELLA, TOMATO, & STRAWBERRY SALAD~

ADAPTED & INSPIRED BY DORIE GREENSPAN'S BOOK~ AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

INGREDIENTS:

Serves 4

1/2 lb of fresh mozzarella, I used bufala di mozzarella from Italy from Wegmans

16 small sweet strawberries, hulled

16 grape tomatoes, halved

Salt to taste, I used fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

4 fresh basil leaves, shredded

METHOD:

1. Drain the mozzarella & cut into 8 round slices.

2. Cut the strawberries & tomatoes in halves and place them in a bowl.

3. Season lightly with salt & pepper.

4. Add extra virgin olive oil.

5. Mix the salad gently.

6. Serve the salad with freshly cracked pepper & drizzle the olive oil on top of the mozzarella cheese.

7. Garnish with fresh basil.

8. Enjoy with a French baguette.

~Pissaladière w/ Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms~

There is something special about Autumn!  When it’s a bit nippy outside and I can hear the children playing in the colorful leaves, I just love to hang out in my kitchen!  I especially love to bake savory tarts  or roast a  chicken for dinner. Pissaladière is a savory, Provencal onion tart layered with olives, anchovies, and herbs. Serve it cut into little rectangles for a delightful & crowd pleasing  party appetizer. Pair it with a salad and soup for a healthy lunch or light main course.

I sauteed sweet Vidalia onions until golden brown in French butter called President & some extra virgin olive oil. I just love  the rich  taste of this butter, reminds me of France, it especially gives the tart it’s ooh la la flavor!  Once the onions were golden brown I added  a medley of mushrooms like Shitake & baby portobellas. Fresh herbs like thyme & rosemary were added during sauteing of the onions & mushrooms. For the crust I  used a ready made frozen pastry dough which is so much easier & quicker! Grape tomatoes & niçoise olives added to the complex flavors of this Pissalade’re.

Recipe inspired by Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter~ I used French President Butter.
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced~ Vidalia Onions
  • 1 packet of sliced Medley of Mushrooms { Shitake & Baby Portobello}
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 10 pitted small niçoise olives, halved lengthwise
  • 15 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat & add the olive oil. Now add the onions, mushrooms, garlic, thyme and rosemary sprigs; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and browned, about 25 minutes. Discard the Sprigs of thyme & rosemary.
  2. Place the puff pastry on a 1-foot-long sheet of parchment paper and roll out to form a 10 1/2-inch rectangular pastry. Transfer to a baking pan. Using a fork, prick the pastry all over, leaving a 1-inch border. Refrigerate until ready to assemble
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. Brush the pastry border with the egg wash. Spread the onions evenly over the center of the pastry and sprinkle with the olives and tomatoes. Bake until the edges are golden and the bottom is browned, about 20 minutes. Slice into quarters; serve warm or at room temperature.

~Bangladeshi Style Creamy Chicken Korma w/ Crispy Shallots, Almonds & Golden Raisins~

Good friends are a rare commodity these days. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful & caring dear friends all of my life! I have learned a wealth of knowledge from my friends, who are from various different backgrounds.

Chicken Korma recipe comes from a dear friend of mine who’s American as Apple Pie but has not forgotten her Bangladeshi roots. My friend  grew up in New Jersey and also lived many years in France & Switzerland. She has vastly traveled the world , yet she is a humble & kind soul. I am thankful to her for teaching me such a festive Bangladeshi dish!

Below: History of the dish & Recipe is from my dear friend.
Photographed by: OneTribeGourmet

Bangladeshis are known for hosting “dawats”, that is, lavish dinner parties where every  square inch of the table is filled with rich, mouth-watering dishes.  The expression “pulao- korma” is used to signify the special meal prepared for the guests.  Literally, “pulao-korma” translates to, pulao, a fragrant rice pilaf and korma, creamy, aromatic chicken.

Instead of being hit with the expected bold, heady spices such as chile powder or cumin, this dish gives its depth of flavor and subtle fragrance from whole ‘garam masala’ spices such as cinnamon and cardamom, its creaminess  from yogurt and almond powder, and its sweetness from sugar, caramelized onion and golden raisins.

The Bangladeshi version of korma closely adheres to the refined culinary traditions of the Mughal Empire of South Asia- reminiscent of its Persian roots using nuts, dried fruit and cream, in this case tangy yogurt to balance the sweetness. There are whole spices and whole green chiles, which lend great layers of flavor without the heat of traditional curries. People who are hesitant with South Asian food and even the pickiest of children tend to adore this dish. Dazzle your family and friends with this scrumptious recipe that harkens the royal culinary history of Bangladesh.

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole skinless chicken (about 2 lb), cut into about 10 pieces

Slivered or sliced almonds

5 TBS canola or vegetable oil

3 TBS clarified butter (ghee) or regular butter
2 medium-large onions, sliced thin
1 TBS ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt,  or plain yogurt, beaten well

-2 large cinnamon sticks
4-6 cardamom pods -smashed with mortar and pestle till seeds are visible
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt or to taste
1 TBS sugar or to taste

1 TBS lemon juice

Boiling hot water
4 small whole green chiles (ie. Thai bird or Serrano)
2 TBS ground almonds
2 TBS golden raisins

Optional garnishes:
A few drops Kewra essence water (found in Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi stores)
Crispy fried sliced onions or shallots

METHOD:

1.  Trim and wash chicken pieces well and drain thoroughly. Add yogurt, garlic, ginger, and mix thoroughly. Marinate for an hour up to one day.

2.  Saute onion on medium heat in oil and ghee/butter until golden brown.  Add cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaf, stirring until fragrant.

3.  Add marinated chicken and salt, raising the temperature to medium high. Stir frequently until water and juices separate from the chicken creating a gravy. Consistently monitor that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan or gets brown, about 10 minutes. Once the liquid has reduced, add a few tablespoons of hot water slowly (maintaining the bubbling of gravy) until chicken is partially submerged. The amount of water will vary because some chickens naturally give off more liquid than others. Bring to a boil and then lower to medium heat so that the gravy is at a heavy simmer but not boiling.

4.  Cover and stir occasionally.  Once oil droplets start to rise to the surface (about 20-30 minutes) and the gravy is reducing, add lemon juice, ground almonds, sugar, raisins and green chiles.  Check to see if sugar has balanced out the tartness of the yogurt. Cover and cook another 5 minutes on medium-low and remove from the heat.

Optional:  Sprinkle with kewra water. Garnish with almonds, more raisins and fried, sliced onion.

Serve with plain pulao, biriyani or steamed basmati or jasmine rice. Serves 4-6

Note:  More butter can be used and less oil if one needs the dish to be even more rich and buttery. If so, omit the green chile to preserve the buttery aroma.

~French Madeleines~Petits Gâteaux E’légante~ Little Elegant Cakes~

First time I tasted these delicious petite cakes was in Paris! I fell in love with Madeleines on the spot! I love how small & cute they are and just enough sweetness to satisfy my cravings. Madeline’s are Petite French cakes with distinctive shell shapes. Rich and buttery that are soft and moist with lightly crisped edge.

I have always been intrigued by these petits gâteaux élégante- tiny elegant cakes. After some research I learned the rich History and was inspired by folk legends and romance of Madeleines. In France, they are most often linked to the town of Commercy, in the region of Lorraine. A legend suggests King Stanislas Leszczynska sent the recipe for Madeleine to his daughter Maria following her marriage to Louis XV at Versailles. She named it for her father’s French cook, Madeleine.

And in Spain, the magdalenas, resemblance to the Madeleines, are created to mark the Christian pilgrimage route that ends in Santiago de Compostela, in which sea scallops are the symbol most closely associated with this journey.

Wow who knew that these elegant petite cakes had such a rich History !

~Recipe for French Madeleines~Petits Gâteaux E’légante~ Little Elegant Cakes~


Recipe Adapted from: BBC Good Food Magazine

INGREDIENTS:

4 Room Temperature Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cup of Melted Butter

A Pinch of Salt
1 tbsp. vanilla
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

METHOD:

1. Stir eggs and sugar into top of double boiler until creamy and lukewarm.

2. Remove from heat and beat until cool; add flour gradually, mixing well.

3. Fold in butter and vanilla.

4. Use special shell-shaped Madeline molds that have been buttered and floured. Fill molds with a teaspoon. * See Pic Above)*

5. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 8- 10 minutes or until lightly browned. You can also dust cooled Madeleine’s with powdered sugar.

*1 Dozen Madeleines from this recipe*

~A Pictorial of The Spice Bazaar in Istanbul & The Delectable Turkish Delights~