MADE A RECIPE FROM THE BLOG? Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK


Chasing the Sun.... Eggs Benedict

Late evening

Yesterday, I caught a bit of magic in the park...

I wanted to capture the beauty of the cherry blossoms that line the reservoir track in the soft glow of the evening sun. But, I did not manage to get to the park until 15 minutes before sunset. Yet, it was perfect timing.

As I walked around the reservoir track, I was able chase the setting sun and capture her various moods as reflected against the sky and over the water. It was nature at her best.

SunsetSunset by the railing - Midtown West to UWS skyline in the distance

Dusk Refracted hues of Dusk

Twilight Lights on twilight

Which one is your favorite?

Eggs Benedict

Also, this week I have the honor of guest posting on Prerna's blog, Indiansimmer. Prerna is a dear friend and I was so happy to share a piece of typical New York while she is away spending quality time in India. So, please head over to her blog to see my recipe for spending Sunday lazily perfect with Eggs Benedict at home made from scratch!

Eggs Benedict
(Homemade Thyme Biscuit, Asparagus, Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce)

For each sandwich:
1 thyme biscuit
1 egg, poached
2 spears of asparagus
3 T Julia Child's Hollandaise sauce
salt as needed
1 tsp butter, softened
Cut each biscuit in half horizontally. Spread butter on the bottom half. You can toast if you like. I just prefer fresh out of the oven biscuit as is. Place the asparagus spears on the biscuit. Gently

Thyme Biscuits

200 g flour
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
2 tsp thyme, finely minced
60 g cold butter, cubed
140 g buttermilk
1 yolk + 1 T cream for egg wash
Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together. Cut into the mixture the cold butter until they are no more than the size of peas. Stir in the thyme and mix well. Add the buttermilk and mix for form a dough. On a floured surface knead just a bit to make into a non-sticky dough ball.
Pat the dough out with your palms to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out scones and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush egg wash over the scones. Bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on rack.

Leek and Prosciutto Tart with Warm Apple Cider for Fall Brunch

Yay! I made it! You wondering what? Well, I have been planning this brunch for the past three weekends and something or other just kept pushing it on to the back burner. This weekend, I finally decided to tell my Google calender whoz boss! I put my foot down, cleaned out all the scribbles in my schedule and got down to the baking....

Now, you wonder, why all this fuss to get this done. After all, brunch is my favorite meal of the weekend especially because it has such a leisurely note to it! Well... the thing is, Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey is hosting a Brunch today and I don't want to be late for it. It isn't polite, is it?; to RSVP yes and then show up after the party! Very very not acceptable in my hostessing and guesting book....

Anyway, I do get like that when I have to host or cook something by a deadline. I frazzle about and worry till the table is all set and ready. Even then, I can think of just a few more garnishes and little stuff that would make it better and more so... The never ending quest for perfection, ain't it?! :)

Anyway, I have made the typical brunches / breakfasts at home; pancakes and bacon, over easy eggs with Mornay Sauce, Eggs on Toast with Fruit Sauce and more. I love brunching at home. It is my favorite meal, as I said, but I do not particularly relish standing in a line for hours to get it (as inevitably happens at any decent brunch place in the city on a weekend.. New Yorkers' discretionary patience just amazes me sometimes :)))..

This time, I wanted to make something different but still brunch-y. I wanted to play with eggs, cheese, ham and fresh fruit, all typical brunch items for me.

So I thought, why not bake? And, ofcourse, quiche immediately popped into my head. That's a bit more lunch-like for me and quite heavy. So I went with a lighter tart and to bring in that bacon/ham angle, I chose the delicate and flavorful prosciutto paired with mild leeks and goat cheese. And the fruit; well, it's Fall and you guessed it.. Apples!! I made fresh warm spiced apple cider with a hint of citrus...

So, that is the lovely brunch I plan to take to Meeta's - Leek & Prosciutto Tart with Arugula Salad and Warm Apple Cider....

Let's toast!

Leek & Prosciutto Tart
(makes 2 six inch individual tarts or 1 9inch tart)

1 butter crust (Recipe here)
4 oz goat cheese, room temperature
2 T sour cream
2 eggs, room temperature
1 small leeks, sliced fine
1/4 lb prosciutto
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp pimento sauce or other hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Chop the prosciutto into squares, reserving a slice or two for garnish. Cream goat cheese and sour cream together to get a smooth, creamy mixture (this is why, it is important to bring the cheese to room temperature). Add the eggs one at the time and whisk to incorporate fully. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

If you are making individual tarts, cut the tart crust accordingly. Blind bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool the tarts a little, so the eggs don't scramble. Fill and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until cooked and the center is set.

Rest for a few minutes till cool enough to handle. Serve the tarts, garnished with the reserved prosciutto and a few leek rings..

For the salad, I dressed the arugula simply with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and topped with toasted pignolis.

Fresh Spiced Apple Cider

4 Macintosh apples, cored, peeled, diced
1 tsp lemon juice
2 slices of lemon
1 tsp sugar
2 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
5 cloves
1 star anise
2 cloves cardamom

Puree the apples with the lemon juice to as fine a consistency as you can. Add a little water if needed to get the blades working. In a sauce pan, add the apple puree with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes with lid on. Cool for a few minutes and let the flavors steep. To serve, strain the cider through a fine sieve. Garnish with a slice of lemon or some mint.

Serving up nostalgia in a cup - Curried Egg Pastries

Growing up in India, one of my favorite snacks was puffs. The flaky pastry pockets with a spicy filling of vegetables, egg or chicken were the ultimate after-school/college comfort snacks. They are like the turnovers you get here in US, only savory. My mom would get them from my favorite bakery and it would be waiting, warm and delicious, along with my evening tea. Incidentally, it was also my grandad's favorite snack and tussle we did for the last one! LOL

When I first came across frozen puff pastry sheets at the grocery store, the first thing that popped into my head was "Puffs for tea time, Yipee!!". I think I made them with mushroom filling that time. Oh! were they satisfying?! Ever since, I have made many savory and sweet versions of them. By the way, you can fill them with berry jam and serve warm with a big scoop of ice cream and toasted nuts for a scrumptious dessert!

And, ofcourse, they make perfect finger food at parties. So, that is exactly what I did for a recent house party we hosted. I deconstructed the concept of the puff to make delicate pastry cups filled with curried egg and topped with a dollop of sour cream for a bit of fresh flavor. You can easily substitute the eggs with shredded cooked chicken or shrimps.

Its is just a fancy way of serving up the same childhood flavors that we grew up with and reliving those carefree memories .... :)

Curried Egg Cups
(makes 12)

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
3 eggs, hard boiled
1 medium onion, julienned
2 tomatoes, diced fine
1 T tomato paste
4 Indian green chillies or 1 jalapeno, diced fine
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 T spicy salsa
12 tsp sour cream
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
a bit of coriander/parsley for garnish
salt to taste
2 T oil
1 muffin pan

Saute the onions in oil until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a couple of minutes more. Add the turmeric, cumin, cayenne and season with salt as needed. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and 2 T of water and cook till fully done and the sauce is thick. Rough chop and toss in the eggs into the onion-tomato mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the over to 400 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to an approximate 9" x 12" size. Make 12 square pieces of the pastry. Line each muffin cup with a pastry and arrange so as to form a cup inside. Spoon in egg mixture into each cup.

Place the pan in oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until the sides are puffed and golden. Let the pastries cool for a few minutes. Top each cup with a teaspoon of sour cream and garnished with a spring of coriander/parsley.

Arrange on a decorative serving platter.

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK