Hummingbird Cake with Nasturtium Blossoms

I had this delicious piece of cake at Peets when I met my friend Roli for coffee one morning. ¬†Called Hummingbird Cake, it was moist and light, chock full of nuts, with a soft cream cheese frosting, and it was just perfect ūüėč.

I assumed it was called hummingbird cake because of all the nuts in the cake, because it reminded me of a birdseed mixture – you know what I mean? ¬†But as it turns out when I was looking for a recipe for hummingbird cake what I found out is that the reason it is called a hummingbird cake is because it tastes so good that it makes people hum – go figure ūü§Ē.

What got me motivated to make a hummingbird cake is the opportunity to decorate the cake with my spring blooming nasturtiums. These nasturtium blooms were looking so glorious in my springtime garden that I wanted to show them off in a beautiful dessert.  The hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting made the perfect backdrop for these lovely nasturtium blossoms.

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Lemon Rice

I was swimming in lemons a few weeks ago Рover 275 lemons.  I posted a recipe for lemonade syrup that used up almost all of them. Guess what? I got another 100 more lemons just last week! Of course I made more lemonade syrup, but I still have a bunch of lemons sitting in my basket.

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So I thought let me make a lemon recipe that I grew up with – lemon rice. ¬†Mind you, this recipe doesn’t use a lot of lemon – just three in fact, but it’s a great way to make a lemon flavored main dish. Continue reading Lemon Rice

Saag Sabjee. Greens Curry

Hitesh’s big birthday was back in end of February, and he¬†didn’t want any celebration of any kind for this milestone birthday. Which meant that I had to celebrate it ūüėÄ We had a surprise party for him and as a few of you may know, pulling off a surprise party is tough. But somehow we managed it with the help of our dear friends¬†Swati and Tarak who hosted the birthday celebration at their home.

To make this party a very personal and heartfelt celebration for Hitesh, I asked all our friends (the ladies in the bunch) to bring their favorite dish that they knew he liked. Continue reading Saag Sabjee. Greens Curry

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden. Old Palo Alto, California

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden is a historic home and garden located in old Palo Alto, California. The story of how this lovely home became a historic home and garden can be credited to Ms. Elizabeth Gamble who lived in Palo Alto with her family.

Elizabeth’s family – the Gamble family moved to Palo Alto back in 1902 and had four children: ¬†James, George, Elizabeth Frances, and Launcelot. ¬†Palo Alto at that time was a little town with a population of a mere 3000. ¬†One of the kids Elizabeth, decided after college to spend the remainder of her life in the Gamble family home on Waverley Street in Palo Alto.

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Veena’s Tomato and Caramelized Onion Chutney

My friend Veena is an outstanding South Indian cook.  Anything and everything Veena makes is delicious. Her vegetarian dishes are in a league of their own. Chutneys, appetizers, idlis, curries, sweets, you name any Tamil food and Veena can make it taste amazing. Here I have chosen to share with you her Tomato and Caramelized Onion chutney that she served with some idlis when I visited her one day.
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Padmini’s Red Bell Pepper Chutney with Roasted Peanuts

If you like peanut butter and bell peppers like I do, you will love this chutney. The red bell peppers in this chutney give it a nice sweetness, while the roasted peanuts add a nutty fragrance and creamy texture.¬†My friend Padmini made this red bell pepper¬†chutney when my Dad and I went to her place for lunch one day. She¬†served this chutney with some idlis, and it was so unique and delicious that¬†I asked Padmini for the recipe to share and she passed it on. Try this chutney with idlis, zucchini fritters, carrot fritters, black-eyed pea fritters, or you can have it as a dip with fresh veggies and crackers. ¬†Here is the recipe. Continue reading Padmini’s Red Bell Pepper Chutney with Roasted Peanuts

Devi’s Carrot Chutney

My friend Devi is an amazing cook. She has to be, since she has been cooking her entire life for her family, extended family, and friends for more than 50 years. There are so many recipes she shares with me, but most of them go over my head, as I’m usually not writing them down.¬†But this carrot chutney recipe I did write down, that’s because I’ve been having it at her place for years now whenever she invites me over for lunch. The menu is almost always the same – her fluffy idlis, delicious lentil sambhar, and her two chutneys – coconut chutney and carrot chutney. ¬†Everything is as expected scrumptious, but her carrot chutney is always the star of the meal.

It’s hard to describe the taste of Devi’s carrot chutney, let me just say that when you have it you can’t stop eating it. You can have it¬†with toast, with crackers, mix it into rice, have it over chicken or fish, on a burger, and of course with idli or dosa; any way you eat it, it will be delicious. Here is the recipe. Continue reading Devi’s Carrot Chutney

recipes and stories from our home