Monday, November 29, 2010

Last Cookout in New York

A few days before I left my life in America forever, I decided to cook one last extravagant meal for my more-than-hospitable hosts. After all, I owed them this. For all the times they housed me at their quintessential New England home in Ridgefield, Connecticut. All the times they drove all the way to Hyde Park and back to transport me to and from the CIA. For making me feel at home during Christmas and Thanksgiving. For giving me tips on how to fit into an American lifestyle and most of all, for just being them.

The Sankars could best be labeled a foodie family. Their vacation albums are always brimming with pictures of food, markets, and restaurants. They most definitely know what they eat and can appreciate a good meal. For me to cook for them was not just a pleasure but often a challenge as well.  They always had an appetite for my dishes and were more than happy to eat the dubious results of my cooking experiments. In fact, they encouraged it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Party Appetizers To Please

Most of us love to throw a party and apart from the liquor, one thing that people really look forward to is the grub. Great food can elevate the quality and the guest's appreciation of a party many fold. 

We often get intimidated by fancy recipes for party appetizers and ultimately simply serve chips or fry up some French fries or sauté sausages to save on time and effort. For the less lazy among you, here are some tips and recipes on making party appetizers that are easy but impressive at the same time.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Looks Like a Winner

At a buffet, presentation is almost as important as taste. The idea is to make the dish look at least as appetizing as it actually is while at the same time restraining yourself from overdoing it. The main guidelines to keep in mind are balance, unity, focal point, and flow.

The dish above is a Cold Artichoke Salad I made for a graduation Grand Buffet at the CIA in January 2008 . All the credit for this presentation goes to the artichoke itself, my source of inspiration for this plate.

The dish appears balanced and comes through as a single unit rather than an assortment of disconnected pieces of food. There is a clear focal point at the center of the salad, and the flow is comfortable and not constricted. The height gives it character and the intense hue of green is easy on the eyes but appealing at the same time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pure Indulgence

I just stumbled upon this piece I wrote as a Writing Class assignment on October 8, 2007 .

Just a whiff of its intoxicating aroma could paralyze anyone worthy of its opulence. A good brew reminds you of that cold winter morning when you were tightly snuggled up in bed and the only reason you wanted to get up was to taste its sumptuous glory. This unassumingly boring looking dark brown grind is anything but dreary. The delicate but strong fragrance it emanates never fails to dance in tune to the energy it stirs up within you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Graduation Speech at the CIA

Funny yet provocative, this is the speech I spent weeks working on and am quite proud of.

The text version can be found at the link below;

How I Ended Up at the James Beard Awards 2010

The clock read quarter past six. Work had been crazy the previous week and I was feeling so down that I found myself sitting in a Subway sandwich shop ready to order their nasty five-dollar-footlong, Italian B.M.T no less. We all stoop really low at some point.

Just as I take the first bite, I get a text from a close CIA friend, almost as though the culinary gods sent it personally, reminding me about a $500-a-ticket culinary event that any gastronomically inclined gentile would kill to attend. I definitely couldn't afford it and it was too late to buy tickets anyway. At this point, I thought to myself, I would have to crash the party to get in. No harm trying.