Panditji used to make this dish for my mother’s very fancy, annual dinner parties when I was a child. I loved those parties: the table would be lavishly set with our best china, silverware and linens and we all feasted on a vast array of exquisite foods complemented by Panditji’s best pickles. I make this now for special occasions because it never fails to impress.
After our delicious meal at the Chocolate Mill, (click here if you missed that post, you should go see it even if you've already read it, as I've updated it a little bit), it was time for the main event of the day: Lake George.
This photo is taken from the internet. I would love to give credit but the photograph had none. I know Michael would appreciate me being concerned about this detail. A month has passed since Michael passed, and yet, Michael lives and lives fully and wholly in the hearts, minds, work and passion of those whose lives he touched. Michael, you are not present with us in the form you were before, but many of us still celebrate you daily and perhaps even more often than that - through our work, our lives and in ways people that never knew you may never know. Ariane and you led exemplary lives that magically changed the lives of many. Thanks for being you and thanks for having given me all you did. May your legacy enrich many as you did in your own lifetime.
This week at the 16th Annual Chef Culinary Conference at UMass - Amherst, I tasted several bites of heaven-on-earth. They came mostly from one dish. The Mujadarrah (traditionally made with rice and lentils) made by a university chef using a recipe provided by the uber-talented and mega-brilliant and one-and-only, Joyce Goldstein. I could not help meddling in the preparation and ended up stirring, sauteing and frying the onions and chickpeas. But that was not the reason the recipe was so great.
Charlie always makes a big deal about how animals around the farm, wait for my arrival to do what is expected of them, and makes logical sense. Sometimes I have wondered if he thinks that their waiting is a way of making me feel special. And that it is frustrating for Mark, Austin and him to be doing all the chores, and I get to relish the good stuff of farming. Well, as Charlie and I arrived at the farm shortly after 12 noon today, within seconds of us getting out of the car, I was admiring the chickens and calling out for Charlie. Charlie was distracted by the chickens and a car pulling into the driveway. He was also paying attention to the goats. He noted that one of them was looking towards him rather intently and blatting at the same time. He knew instantly that something was the matter.
For 50 cents or less a day, you can make and bake your own bread. You have total control over ingredients, and who can resist fresh bread? Had too many pumpkins in the garden? The above pumpkin brioche is yours to make and share. Easy, made in minutes (well 5 minutes a day to be exact) and delicious too.
The Lake Biwa pearls that Sachiko Yagi (Sachiko San) was wearing, caught my eye at first glance. But soon after, it was her spirit, the soul that drove her aura to be what it is, and the ability she has to be able to communicate just by smile, gesture and body language, is what had me smitten. Little did I know that this meeting would change me. Thanks Sachiko San. Thanks Saori San for making this happen.
Mona Ahmed singing, Aao Kee Ham Tumko, Batayen Kyaa Cheez Mohabbat Hotee Hai (Come so I can tell you what love is really about) for Kaka (Sardar Mahijit Singh), Deborah (a friend visiting Delhi from Wales), Charlie and some other friends of ours. Mona Ahmed is considered one of the jewels of the Hijras of Delhi. A visit to her home is like a pilgrimage. This time around, it was late at night, after a meal in Old Delhi, and upon our arrival, we realized there was no light at her house. And that she and her gang of homeless, who she gives shelter to, were all asleep did nothing to alter our plans. Of course they woke up (such is Indian hospitality), and Mona sang a few songs for us and charmed all present.Welcome to India!
On the morning of January 1st, our table seemed festive and special. After a painful end to 2009, since my maternal grandfather left us for his heavenly abode on the 28th, Charlie and I canceled the party we had organized for the 31st, and felt like doing nothing. Hiroko Shimbo and her husband James "Buzz" Beitchman arrived on the 30th as planned, and with them brought some unexpected but solemn cheer.