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Sunday Toast - Buttermilk Chickpea Loaf

Sunday Toast - Buttermilk Chickpea Loaf

This loaf is a variation of a flavor version I had made earlier. As it is made with 100% bean flour, I lightened it with buttermilk to add airiness and make it not so dense. Yet, because of the very weight of the protein pack chickpea, it behaves much more dependably than other bean flours and stays whole when sliced thin. It is really good toasted with a little salted butter and piled with scrambled eggs. Plus it takes all of 30 minutes from start to finish!

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Me(al) Time: Caramelised Mushroom Omelette

Caramelised Mushroom Omelette

Summer has been good and as always too short. Only a month ago, I was still

looking into my plans

of making the most of the warm weather with long list of things to do. At that time, it was still sticky and barmy outside. I half lamented that but yet was hopeful that these days would go on for longer. Almost immediately, the weather turned and assuredly we are in the grip of Fall. Decorative and edible pumpkins are flooding the market and I hear much chatter about Halloween plans already.

Some spots

in NYC have insane celebrations planned. It is still a bit of transition and I love the array of colors coexisting in the markets, the hotheaded yellows and greens of Summer with the cool minded oranges and purples of the Autumn.

Last weekend I was upstate. The story behind it is simply that I needed to practice driving for an upcoming test {wish me luck!!}. Being the Asian that I am (not stereotyping at all!), I had to make the most of the day's worth of rental car. So, an itinerary was born that involved visiting a couple of upstate towns and a leisure walk through Woodstock. Ah! Even the best laid plans do not stand up to the eccentricities of a novice driver. I missed a few exits and landed in another town. It was all fun nevertheless! New places, nature walks and hey! I drove rather decently. So, well worth it. Anyway, my point of bringing this up is that I noticed that the leaves were already turning colors in abundance. There is the overriding green of course but there was also much yellows and even vibrant fall red, that curious balance of orange and red that sets the stage for 'flaming'.

Bear Creek Trail, NY
collage-1

If there is one thing that I did not get to do as much and less than usual this Summer, it was getting out in nature. I love hiking and it was an escape from the city that I often crave; to be outdoors without distractions and 4G network, to be within yourself, or with whoever the company is, wholly and entirely, to have the feeling of largeness surrounding me. As much as the city is a concrete jungle or a hell hole sometimes, only an hour or so away, you have amazing ways of reconnecting. I don't mean the much hyped retreats, which, I have nothing against, but I think is counterproductive to being present because they still have rules - structure and time constructs. For me, orchestrated mediums don't allow me to let go. The point is, you can simply drive/ride an hour away and you will be surprised by the abundance of naturalness you can find. The Hudson is a stunning waterbody that snakes a long way and bordering it are amazingly well-kept forests, that are not quite challenging as an activity but nevertheless liberating.

Bear Creek Trail, NY
Bear Creek Trail, NY

This time, I did only a tiny hike, because I had places to go and roads to drive. But even that short hour into the woods and playing by the lapping waters was rejuvenating. The hike was the Bear Creek trail off New Paltz and it brings you bang on the tiny shale shore of the Hudson. Perfect for playing skipping stones. Have you ever done that? I had not in years and had forgotten how much fun it is to figure out how to make the stone jump and hop multiple times off the surface of the water. Very transportive. Makes one a child again. Removes years of 'mature' glaze from the mind and eyes and seriously lets you be present in the moment. Wonderful in all. I highly recommend it. Try it in any gently stirring body of water, just not still. If you have never done it, this is

super cute 'tutorial'

! Also, I just found out that have a stone skipping championship in the US. Sigh! The tranquility of innocent games ripped!

mushroom omelette ingredients

Anyhow, back in the city and cooling temperatures, it is beginning to be time for warm and warming meals. The one ingredient, to the best of my recollection, I did not use all of Summer was mushroom. Mostly you don't get foraged ones here (illegal in NYC. sigh!) and there were so many other vegetables in the farmers' market that I did not quite miss them. But, almost, like an internal clock, as soon as the weather cools, mushrooms decide to occupy a large part of my mind space. I think about it in many ways, soups, risottos, toasts, simply curried or sautéed as a side. They take over and do not stop until something gives. Usually, making something off them.

There was a day I wanted wholesome chicken soup. The kind that glides into your soul and tells you it is all going to be ok. This chill is just a passing thing. I make a darn good chicken soup. It is easy really. You start and end with good chicken that wasn't reared in a box. This time, for some odd reason, I also wanted mushrooms in that soup. Well, what can I say. So, it was to be. I picked up one of those variety packs and used up the smaller Asian varieties in the soup. Darn good, I say.

Caramelised Mushroom Omelette

Happily, I had some of the fatter ones you see in the photo (I have not an idea what variety they are called) left over for lunch. So, it was to be an omelette. A pancake like one rather than the fluffy French ones. But, no skipping the butter. Oodles of it, please. Deeply caramelized onions and mushrooms for a richly aromatic earthy note and the eggs poured through and snuggling amidst the pieces; it is certainly a coddling meal! Of course a hint of citrus brightened it all up just like you would want. While we are at it, let's have some fat in the diet. We need the support for the chill, after all. So some avocado to finish with relish. Now, that is a meal worthy of cooking for one!

Caramelised Mushroom Omelette

Since it is Friday, here are some interesting links from around the web

Esopus golf range

One Year Ago:

Vegan Breakfast Oats

Two Years Ago:

Budapest

travelogue

Four Years Ago:

Sicilian Caponata

Five Years Ago:

Dates and Nuts Spice Cake


Caramelised Mushroom Omelette

2 eggs

1/2 small onion, julienned

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

handful of mushroom, sliced thin

1/4 cup grated gruyere + more for finish

2 T butter

2 T whole milk

1 tsp dijon mustard

salt, pepper as needed

In a heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter. When it starts sizzling add the onions and then the garlic. Add a pinch of salt and cook on slow till caramelized.

Add the mushroom slices and continue sautéing till browned. Spread the mixture evenly around the pan.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and mustard until evenly mixed. Spread the cheese atop the mushroom layer.

The just as the cheese is melting, pour the egg mixture evenly over the pan.

Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. It will start puffing up at which point, remove from heat and rest for 2 minutes.

Gently ease out of pan and flip onto a plate.

Serve with more cheese, parsley, and a squeeze of lemon.

Pile it on!

Stacked French Toast

Does it, sometimes, feel like there is a huge mountain to get across and it seems to only get bigger and harder every time you find a small crack to squeeze through? There is a saying in Hindi which loosely translates to -

When god gives something, you recieve it in spades

. It tends to work both ways. Sometimes life tends to pile on, stack up.. odds and evens and all that fun stuff.

I am reminded of a saying in Sanskrit -

Yad bhavam tad bhavati

, which loosely means

You are what you believe

.. :) Essentially, the adaptation of it is that the mind can step in and out of any emotional state if it only chooses to do so. Snap out of it, so to speak when the road becomes hard or snap into it when it is good and indulgent. Those guys back then had some very deep insights that spans across contexts :)

Banana Stuffed Chocolate French toast

The point of me saying all this is that Life may be whatever you choose it to be, but you can definitely make it sweeter by piling on those things that comfort you and make you happy, when there is need for it. Like, go make this

Banana and Chocolate Stacked French Toast

and feel the joy coursing through you. I guarantee you will have a more blissful outlook than before you licked your plate clean!

I like my french toast crisp on the outside yet custardy in the center. The way to get this texture play is by being very patient and not skipping two very important steps. First, you have to let the bread soak in the egg mixture so it seeps into the center. Second, you must finish the toast in the oven so it cooks like pudding. Follow both steps and it is a classic french toast that will make any day a Sunday!

Bring it on, then!


Banana and Chocolate Stacked French Toast

{for 2}

Banana Stuffed Chocolate Brioche French Toast

1 ripe banana, sliced

4 oz dark chocolate

3 T cream

4 eggs

1/3 cup whole milk

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 T honey

4 T butter

4 thick slices of brioche or challah

Whisk together the eggs, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and honey. Pour at the bottom of shallow baking dish. Place the brioche slices in one layer. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Flip over the slices and soak for atleast 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

When ready, heat a heavy bottom pan and on low heat melt the butter. Place all the slices in one layer and fry to get a brown crust. Flip over and fry the other side.

Wash the pan you soaked the bread in and place the slices in one layer. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

While the toast finishes cooking, melt the chocolate and cream over a double boiler. Allow to just cool.

Once the toast is ready, spread the chocolate sauce generously over each slice. Arrange banana slices on top. Stack one slice over another for each plate.

Serve garnished with toasted nuts, coconut flakes, mint or berries. You can also drizzle warm honey over, if you like it sweeter.


Good Morning Weekend!

Baked eggs - ham, yellow beets, spinach


Ah yes! It's here again. Finally. Thank ye Lord... Yes, the weekend!!

After 5 days of stress, tension, hard work, doing things one doesn't really enjoy, facing life, facing the realities... it's finally time for a release, an escape, enjoying life, living the fantasies....

Egg sandwich - chives scrambled egg, spinach on scone


The dual life indeed. We all live it; To varying degrees. Sometimes its a duet, sometimes a gamble. Which will win, who will survive the game? That life's constant score..

We change, we live, we choose, we move on... nothing is constant, everything has a place, and all is never lost... It's a cycle and it isn't how fast you get around but how much you enjoy it and live in it..

scrambled eggs in pan


And, that depends on where and how you start the circle... I say, put your best foot forward and start with an awesome breakfast! Of farm fresh eggs... some fresh greens.. a touch of ham perhaps... a sprinkle of herbs or the kiss of spice ... the day's bread..

Shirred or Stirred - the eggs are the star of the meal and the way to get a healthy start for all that the weekend has in store and the week after has to bore...

baked eggs1

Continue for the recipes...



Shirred Eggs over Yellow Beets, Spinach and Ham


For each individual serving:
1 egg
1-2 yellow beet sliced thin (using a mandolin), depending on slice
1 cup raw spinach, loosely filled
4 thick-ish slices of German ham
1/2 tsp dukka
salt as needed
1 T butter, melted
 
Preheat the oven to 400F.
 
Blanch the beet slices in boiling water and set aside. Butter the individual bowls. Arrange a layer of beet slices, slightly overlapping them. Brush with melted butter and season with salt and dukka. Place 2 slices of ham, top with spinach. Sprinkle some dukka. Repeat the ham and beet layer, brush with more butter and sprinkle the remaining dukka. Crack the egg over the arrangement.
 
Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 3 more minutes until the whites are fully cooked yet the yolk is runny. Sprinkle with z'atar and serve immediately.



Slow Scrambled Eggs

5 eggs
1/4 cup light cream
2 T fresh herbs
2 T melted butter

I strongly recommend a cast iron pan to make scrambled eggs. The slow heat makes for the creamiest, soft cooked eggs.

Brush the pan with the butter. Break the eggs into a cold pan and pour half the cream. Switch the heat on to low. Gently stir the eggs and cream together. Never beat the eggs and let it cook real slow. Patience is indeed a virtue on this one.

Continually stir the eggs till they are custard like in texture. This takes about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the herbs. The eggs will continue cooking from the heat. Gently stir the remaining cream into the scrambled eggs when it reaches the consistency you want. The cream will stop the cooking.

Serve immediately.


The color of my life...

Sweet Potato & Fennel Frittata


What is the color of your life? Yes, it changes often but there is usually a palate scheme that stays constant beneath it all, don't you think?

And do you think, it manifests in the way you see life around you? The food you eat? The colors of your wardrobe? The styling of your photographs?

It suddenly struck me today. Why did I choose that particular plate or background for that particular food item. Is it just pure physics of light and dark and the interplay of ranges of primary colors or is there an overlay of your mood and internal color palate?

Sweet Potato & Fennel Frittata whole pie


I have been thinking about it for sometime and trying to figure out what my life color is. I know I like Black, Red and Blue. I am not much of a Grey person and I do struggle with the shades between black and white in life. Browns are warming and inviting but not intense or individual enough, I think. Yellows are too much of a falsetto. Orange is my color for a punch. Pink is a definite overdose of questionable feminity. White is great but too virgin and stifling for me..

So what am I? What are you? Do you know?



Sweet Potato & Fennel Frittata
(one 8 inch omelette)

This frittata is an easy breakfast or brunch dish that works great when it’s just your family or when hosting a casual get-together.

Sweet Potato & Fennel Frittata whole pie pre bake


4 eggs
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large sweet potato (peeled and sliced really thin with a mandolin
1 large fennel bulb (cored, and sliced thin)
1/4 cup fresh grated Pecorino cheese
1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or oregano)
salt and pepper as needed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Whisk together the eggs, mascarpone and milk together. Season with salt and set aside. Brush the bottom of your tart pan with butter. Arrange one-third of the sweet potato slices in a single layer on the base slightly overlapping the slices. Sprinkle a third of the fennel slices evenly. Season with salt, pepper and a third of the thyme. Pour a third of the egg mixture over the veggies. Sprinkle some of the Pecorino cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers ending by sprinkling all the remaining Pecorino on top.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until the center is set. Remove to rack and serve immediately.
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Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK