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An Artichoke Story of Second Chances

An Artichoke Story of Second Chances

Second chances.... How often do we get them? And, when we do, how different do we play the rerun? What do we learn from the first attempt? What would we not do again? What did we lose and what did we gain? Do we realise what felt right and what is right? 

How do artichokes fit into this series of existential questions? Well, the thing is, my experiences in life (full story inside) has made me dispositioned to give things a second chance. So, when, after being inspired by gorgeous photographs and gushing description, I picked up some artichokes for bit of play. I have never cooked them before because well, it seemed a lot of effort for little return (yes, this is the old numerical me!). 

The first attempt I made with these was ok, not great and I was left with a feeling of void where all those massive expectations had been. But, I was determined to give these chokes another try and that was fortified by the flood of suggestions I received when I wailed about my lackluster experience. So back to the kitchen it was with globes, shears and knife. 

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Yellow for LIVESTRONG Day - Saffron Aioli

Rosemary Roasted taters & Saffron aioli
Every year, October 2nd comes and goes... For most of my life, there was not much significance to this date, aside from me getting a day off, for the time that I was in India (It is Gandhi's birthday. As a Father of the Nation, one is expected to celebrate it... But, well, let's not go there. My views are anarchical on the subject!)

However, for the last four years, it carries a weight. The weight of unresolved loss. The burden of not understanding, Why?!.

Every year, this day, I am reminded of that fateful morning as I waited at a gate at JFK to board my flight to India to see my grandfather one last time before I lose him to the ravaging force of cancer.I was cheated off it. 15 minutes before boarding, I got the call. He had passed away.

Saffron Aioli

Yes, he did not suffer much in his last moments, they told me. It was better this way, everyone said. At least, he was not in too much pain. Dragging on would not have been good, after all, his fate was drawn. But, for me, the cruelty of the circumstance, still lingers... unaddressed....

That was when I lost faith. Twist of fate, perhaps. But, I am, unfortunately, too rational to swallow a line. I never made my peace. I don't think I can. I don't know how.

And, so, every year, this day, I relive the pain. That, which never goes away and overwhelms me at sudden, unexpected moments. That, which, I don't know how to control. That, which, tells me I am human, after all.

Kickass sandwich

Cancer runs in my family. One day, I may fall prey to it. I don't know. But, I do know, it is a disease that has touched too many people in the world and continues to prey on the younger every generation.

I have the misfortune of knowing many, fighting, and some losing the battle to, cancer. The need to find a cure only increases every day and I hope they do, soon.

In the mean time, we non-scientists can only show our support to the foundations that believe in the Hope of the Cure and pursue it with determination! And, as food bloggers, we come together, this day, to make something Yellow for the cause and in solidarity ...

Rosemary roasted potatoes with Saffron Aioli

This recipe is in honor of the man who lived for food! My grand-dad! Whose only motivation to fight the disease was for the chance of enjoying good food as he had his entire life. Today as always, I toast to his palate!




Garlic Aioli

3 egg yolks

3/4 cup good olive oil
1 T champagne vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
generous pinch of saffron

Warm the vinegar and lemon juice and soak saffron in it for 5 or so minutes until the color and aroma release.


In a processor, pulse together the yolks, saffron mixture and garlic. With the blade running, pour the oil in a steady stream until the mixture emulsifies.


Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate. Fresh aioli will last upto 4 days in the fridge.



Rosemary Roasted Baby Potatoes


Handful of baby red potatoes, halved (NOT peeled)

2 T rosemary leaves, torn
olive oil to drizzle
salt & pepper to taste

Toss all the ingredients together and bake for 20-25 minutes at 425 F until browned, crispy on the outside and soft inside!


Drizzle aioli generously and serve!

Spears....

The pen is mightier than the sword indeed...

Asparagus Spears


There comes a time in life when you actually realize the meaning of that. Times that tell you that it is better to not react but step back, collect your thoughts and just put them down..

Often times we run through life, acting and reacting from one situation to next.. rarely taking the break to look back, connect the dots and decide the way forward..

Yet, there are times, when you want to do just that but life forces you into a stand still with everyone and everything whirling about you, insisting that you catch your breath and look around and pick what, where and who and really understand the why....

Asparagus Tart


Questions that stay buried deep within because either you don't care or you are afraid. Questions that will never go away no matter what you do.. only when you find the answer...

Even then, the urge to lurch is so much stronger than it should for the sake of no regrets. At cross roads, it is indeed easy to walk the wrong way..

And so I write.. My thoughts, my emotions (changing as they may be), I seal my letters with a kiss and a wish that it will always makes you smile, to read and know that it is sent to you with love... nothing more, nothing less... :)

Garlic Sauteed Asparagus


Ah yes! It was the asparagus haze that made me devolve into this ramble! I blame it on that and the garlic!




Asparagus and Baby Arugula Tart
(makes one 5 inch tart)

1/2 tart crust dough
10 spears of asparagus
1/2 cup chopped baby arugula, blanched
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream
3 T fresh grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Roll out the tart dough and press into tart pan. Cool in fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the asparagus into thin slices on a bias, reserving the crown spears for decoration.

Whip together the egg and sour cream. Fold in the arugula and asparagus slices. Pour into prepared tart crust. Arrange the asparagus heads as spoke. Sprinkle the Parmesan over and bake in a preheated oven at 400F for 30 minutes, until the center is set.

Cool on rack for 5 minutes, unmold and serve immediately.

Home Cured Trout...


Home Cured Rainbow Trout


I am going to let the dish speak for me in this post! {yes, that my way of saying, I really nothing more worthwhile to say.. :)}


Molasses and cumin cured rainbow trout



Home Cured Rainbow Trout1




Molasses, Cumin and Tarragon Cured Rainbow Trout

1 lb fresh rainbow trout (not frozen) fillet, skin on
2 T molasses
1 T sea salt
1 T sugar
2 T tarragon, minced
1 T pepper
2 T cumin

Roughly grind together the spices. Combine all the curing ingredients and spread evenly all over the fillet on the skinless side. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 days until the fish feels firm to touch.

To serve, slice on a bias and peel away from skin.


Potato and Smoked Gouda Pancakes

1 cup russet potato, peeled and grated and water squeezed out
1/2 cup grated smoked gouda
3 T flour
salt and pepper to season
water or milk, just enough to make a thick batter

Mix all the ingredients. On a hot greased skillet, drop a generous dollop of the batter. Let sit on medium high heat until the pancake releases from the skillet easily. Flip over and cook until browned well on both sides.

Serve topped with sour cream, cured trout and blue berries to cut into the savory.

Pickled Pork Belly Steamed Buns

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Some weekends back, I had an epic baking session. I need to revisit that again. In the meantime, I promised a stream of recipes from that foodgasmic 48 hours. I have shared some already, of the Croissants and decadent Chocolate & Chestnut Pavlova.

Now, it time for some bread, but not baked.. Steamed. Chinese variety. With an Indian twist. Something like the Vindaloo but not quite.

Chinense-buns-collage


My fascination with steamed buns stems from my days living in Tokyo. The variety of fillings and flavors and the very convenience of them was thrilling to me. Yet, it has taken me so long to relive it at home.

When I finally decided to make them, I was struck with the sudden dilemma of which Asian inspiration to align with - the Japanese or Chinese. Finally, this mantou post swung the pendulum well in the "C" favor.

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So, I adapted the mantou recipe and filled it with the tangy, sour, sweet pickled pork belly, twisted each bag bag into a gift parcel and steamed it to a perfect lunch!
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