Category Archives: OXO

Cherry O Cherry O Baby! – The 10 lb Cherry Challenge!

There is something about cherries that is utterly addictive. Its a combination of factors, the size – that enables you to scarf down a whole fruit at a time, The childish delight that invariably suffuses you when you sit outside on a balmy summer evening with a big bowl of freshly washed cherries spitting out the pits, one by one (Yes, its summer companion, the watermelon allows for that as well, but the seeds just do not have the size and shape that allows for a good projectile), and of course the fact that the season is so short and fleeting simply means that cherries get their rightful priority.

OXO and NorthWest Cherries sponsored a cherry challenge where they invited bloggers to host a Cherry party with friends and blog about the experience. Each participating blogger received a set of nested mixing bowls with colanders, a weighing scale & cherry pitters from OXO and 10 lbs of the best cherries that you could ever find from the cherry growers association. They were wonderfully accommodating in allowing me to do a solo cherry marathon and it was a wonderful experience indeed. In my true style, I could not decide on any one recipe to work on and before I knew it, the recipes began piling up.

Here’s the list.

1. Cherry Compote for an Indian style Cheesecake.


2. Basil infused Cherry-Lime Granita.

3. Summer veggie Cous cous  salad with a smoky Cherry Chipotle dressing.


4. Boozy Cherries!  (Cherries in Bourbon with basil simple syrup).

5. Cherry Buckle cake.


6. Cherry Jam with Lemon zest & Mace.


 
Just click on the Tab on the top of the page to access the recipes. Bon appetit!

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Validations, and a recipe for Berbere flavored Peas Pulao

 I’ve often been asked why I chose  into food blogging with a niche idea of redesigning and tweaking Indian dishes instead of plunging full fledged into classic recipes that I had grown up with. I had serendipitous stumble upon the best possible answer I’ll probably ever get, thanks to Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s new memoir ‘Yes Chef’.

There was one paragraph that practically leaped out of the book searing itself into my mind :


 Who lied? Who started the lie that France had the greatest food in the world? That question ran through my head every time I bit into something new and that changed my notions of what “good food” is. Then that question was replaced by a second: Who’s going to make the people realize that food dismissed as “ethnic” by the fine-dining world could be produced at the same level as their sacred bouillabaisses and veloutes” – Marcus Samuelsson, Yes, Chef!

I could not ask for a better validation beyond this paragraph. In time, I’ve come to realize that my kitchen truly represents ‘Panfusine’ a space where spices & ingredients from all over the world are crammed next to each other, giving me the absolute freedom to pick and choose, without the limitations that cultural biases impose. This freedom has also given me an increased appreciation for the classic dishes and ingredients I grew up with, whether it is to lovingly prepare a ‘Pongal’ the traditional slow cooked way (albeit in a Le Creuset Risotto pan), savoring the burst of aroma emitted by the crushed curry leaves, ginger, Cumin & Pepper tempered in ghee, or savor the musky heady aroma emanating from an old box that I use to store my blocks of asafetida.

Speaking of asafetida, One of the most spectacular dishes I’ve seen this pungent spice used in was in a pineapple salsa,  Ammini Ramachandran’s recipe in Zester Daily. Simply follow the link and give this a try, you’ll love it!

Sweet & Spicy Pineapple Salsa


The only hitch most people have with pineapples is the prepping. The cutting through the scaly peel and then scooping out all the ‘eyes’. Well, discovered that OXO has an answer to that. A nifty ratcheting pineapple slicer, As  someone who loves prepping difficult fruits, I was initially skeptical about how this implement was going to take care of peeling, coring AND slicing in one shot, but believe me, it does, and beautifully so. 




and if you still want further proof, just watch the video!


I paired the Salsa with a spiced rice that I put together a casual weekend dinner. The intention was to make a simple spiced Peas Pulao spiced with garam masala, but as is usually the case, I always end up including a spice blend from almost anywhere else in the world, and the result is always delighful. This time it was Berbere (bayr – beray) , the Ethiopian spice blend, an amalgam of over a dozen spices according to Marcus Samuelsson,  (Coriander, Cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, chile pepper, salt, peppercorn, allspice, garlic, cinnamon, fenugreek and ajwain).


 I deliberately kept the vegetable list confined to peas, in order to keep the dish simple.



Berbere flavored Peas Pulao:




You need:
2 cups fresh cooked Basmati rice
2 tablespoons Clarified butter (Ghee)
1 tablespoon Cumin seeds
4 whole cardamoms
6-8 cloves
1 2 inch stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 -2 tablespoon Berbere spice blend (depending upon how spicy you like it)
1 cup frozen peas
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro or Dill for garnishing

  • Add the cooked rice into a large mixing bowl and fluff to separate the grains.
  • In a skillet, heat the ghee until almost smoking and add the Cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf. 
  • When the Cumin seeds split, add the garlic and saute until it turns limp (you may choose to remove the garlic if you want a milder flavor at this point or let it be for a more pronounced garlic flavor).
  •  Turn the heat to medium low and introduce the Berbere spice blend to this mixture. allow the blend to ‘bloom’ in the oil until the aroma is released.
  • Add the peas along with the salt, cover and cook on low  until the peas are soft. 
  • Remove from heat and add this mix to the rice. 
  • Fold gently from the edges of the bowl to the center, taking care to coat each grain. 
  • Garnish with chopped Dill or cilantro and serve along with the Pineapple Salsa and toasted Papad.


 A big Thank You goes to OXO for letting me try their wonderful Pineapple slicer. I’ve had readers buying it even before I wrote up this post.

Bon appetit!