Thursday, July 29, 2010

Drugstore Goodies- Luminous Color Glaze by John Frieda

Are you surprised to see this post? Are you? Well...its not all about food ( not ALL the time, maybe most of the time.... oh well..nevermind). This blog is about Food , Beauty, Living, Restaurants, Bollywood (?) and anything that gets my attention. If this post is not to your interests, come back again and who knows what I will be rambling about next.

Its raining a LOT in Atlanta lately. And when it rains two things are certain, I-75 looks like a parking lot ( sheesh!) and my hair goes phoofff. Seriously, I look in the mirror and Mia Thermopolis before the make over from 'The Princess Diary', is looking right back at me. My dull hair just runs away from my scalp.

Enter, Luminous Color Glaze Clear by John Frieda. I used my usual anti frizz shampoo, conditioner and followed with this amazing gel creme formula. And oh my.... hair feels super smooth, shiny and easy to style. No drips. Lovely scent. Per JF, it contains shine Enhancers and Light Enhancers™ to enliven any hair color (Yeah!). No Amonia or Peroxide ( double yeah!)

For $10, this is definitely going to be my friend for a long time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My experiments with 'Naan'

For those who don't know what a Naan is (Where have you been living !). Its the quintessential bread in North Indian meal which is baked in a tandoor-clay oven. A soft buttery creation that looks so complex, you cannot imagine making it at home without the tandoor. Not true. Keep on reading and you'll see how you make this fluffy bread without a tandoor.

I had the best tasting Naans at two places so far. One, at a road side dhabba on our way to Agra ( no surprise !) and the other in an Indian restaurant in Pisa. Do you see the irony here? Eating Indian food 1000 miles away from the source and that too when I was in Italian food heaven. Its one of those silly things you do and then wonder why you did it anyways. The other compelling reasons were that back then, I was a new graduate on a tight budget backpacking through Northern Italy, it was very late and I could count on an Indian restaurant to serve me a decent meal ( even in Italy). Enough said that I had piping hot Naan slathered in butter with tangy chicken tikka masala while looking out in the distance at the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Coming back to my post, there are many Naan recipes out on the web and I am going to add mine to that list. Original recipe was from Sanjeev Kapoor, adapted by yours truly.


3 Cups Maida

1 tsp self raising Yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 cup of milk

1 tbsp oil

1 Egg Optional

Salt to taste

Butter per taste.

In warm water ( not Hot) add yeast, sugar, salt , milk, oil and beaten egg. Adding egg makes the Naan super moist and rich. You can also add beaten curd/yogurt to give a slight tart taste. Let the liquid mixture sit for couple minutes. Stir. Sieve maida. Slowly, add the liquid mixture to the maida to make soft dough. If you run out of the liquid mixture, just add milk. The dough should be VERY soft and sticky. Sticky dough will get you softer bread. Let it sit for 1 hour. Break of piece, the size of a medium potato, stretch it using your palms and dry flour to form the triangle shape.

To roast there are two methods

Oven: Preheat the oven to the highest temp. Keep the baking rack closer to the heat source. Spray baking sheet with Pam and place the stretched out naan on the pan. It should take 7-10 minutes, depending on the oven temp, for one side to cook completely. Flip the naan and cook the other side for couple minutes.

My preferred method -Stove top: I used the jaali that you get to roast papad. Spray it with Pam and place the triangular Naan dough on the jaali. Place the jaali with the dough directly on the flame. Carefully, without burning, cook one side just like you make phulkas. Flip and cook the other side.

Variations: Garlic naan, stuffed naan, the possibilities are endless.

Restaurant Review - Canoe ( Atlanta, GA)

If you are looking for a special place to celebrate with family or have a cozy date or perhaps meet friends for appetizers over drinks, head down to Canoe. This little gem is located right on the Chattahoochee River in a serene and breathtaking landscape. The food here is without doubt, a gastronomical delight. Service is impeccable and the ambiance is worthy of a restaurant that has won numerous prestigious national awards.
Menu is seasonal and the talented chef Carvel creates masterpieces using vegetables and herbs from the restaurant's garden or sources fresh produce from local farmers. Although the menu has more options for the carnivores, there are some good dishes for the vegetarians. Best, when you make reservations, request that the chef makes some thing vegetarian for you. I am sure they will create something phenomenal, just for you.

Word of caution: The amazing selection of flat breads, walnut cranberry bread, or the olive bread is VERY addictive. Pace yourself. You don't want to miss out on the desserts.
(Note to Myself-click pictures for the blog before you dig in. I promise to update this post with some food pictures soon.)

Must Try:
1) Even if you are not a salad kinda person , like me, get the Marinated Golden and Red Beet Salad with Whipped Vermont Goat’s Cheese, Candied Walnuts and Basil Oil. This will take you to cloud nine. One of the best tasting and superbly created salad ever!
2) If you want to impress your date go for the Canoe’s House Smoked Salmon with a Crispy Potato Cake and Vermont Goat’s Cheese. This appetizer makes you go...ahhhhh

3) The entrees keep changing with the seasons but are always very good. You cannot go wrong with anything that you choose at Canoe.

4) For the Winos, they have a superb selection of wines.

5) Being a foodie and dining with fellow foodies, I have tried all their desserts choices. Now, how many times can you say that! Butter pop ice cream -amazing, blueberry semi fredo -amazing, Pana Cotta with raspberries -amazing, Crème Brûlée - amazing.

Price: Splurge worthy
Dress Code: Business Casual

Here is the website:
Call: 770.432.2663

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sharing the Sweetness

This is my first blog post ever......woohooo!

In almost all cultures, everything begins with food and ends with food. So without being an exception, my first post is about, you guessed it, FOOD.

Last weekend I made these melt-in-your-mouth flaky white chocolate cheese tartlets to take to the Guru Purnima Satsang. Satsangs are sweet celebrations filled with songs, devotion and gratitude. Sharing these little yummy morsels made the moments sweeter.

The original recipe called for bunch of ingredients but I kept it to a few pantry staples. I made the pie crust from scratch, you don't have to do the same. Infact, the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust is so much better and so much easier. The tartlets look complicated but with the store bought crust and a mini muffin pan , you can whip out a batch in no time. If you are pressed for time, grab one of those graham cracker pie shell instead of the pie crust and it is still a winner.

White Chocolate Cheese Tartlets

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust-at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese softened
4 oz melted and cooled white chocolate
1/2 cup of sour cream

Berries of your choices
Melted jam/preserve

Unroll the pie crust and using a cookie cutter cut out circles of crust that you can line the mini muffin pans. Blind bake the crust at 450 degree for 4-5 minutes. Once cooled, take the tart shells out and set them on a wire rack.

For the Filing: beat the cream cheese lightly, add sour cream and slowly pour the cooled white chocolate. Mix well. Fill the little tart cups with the filling. DO NOT BAKE.

Top the tarts with berries or seasonal fresh fruit. Brush with melted jam of your choice. Refrigerate.

Is this easy or what!