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

Rava Idlis. Steamed Semolina Dumplings

There is something about eating hot-steamed idlis for brunch or lunch that just brings a smile to adults and kids alike in our family. Idlis are a staple in every South Indian home and made very often. The most common idlis are made by soaking lentils and rice together and blended into a batter, then fermented over night, and steamed into dumplings. These are called rice idlis.

There are easier versions of idlis to make in an instant however. My favorite idlis are rava idlis or semolina idlis. These idlis are made with roasted cream of wheat or semolina soaked in yogurt to form a thick batter, and then steamed.

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Humble Hwy 280

I know you are probably wondering who writes an article about a highway? And that too one that many of us in the Bay Area drive on every day to get to and back from work. But I tell you, I love Hwy 280! Stanford University has called Hwy 280 The Most Beautiful Urban Highway in America, and I concur.  Especially the stretch from Sunnyvale (right where Fwy 85 and Hwy 280 intersect) all the way up to San Francisco. This stretch of Hwy 280 is absolutely beautiful.

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Mushroom Quiche on Whole Wheat Crust

Mushroom Quiche on Whole Wheat Crust:
makes 3 quiche pies

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole-wheat frozen pie crusts
  • 6 cups finely chopped mushrooms
  • 5-6 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch chives finely cut about 2 -3 tbsp
  • 2 tsp dry herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • 8 small sage leaves (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups Swiss gruyere cheese shredded
  • Olive oil

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Brussel Sprouts, Baby Spinach & Sugar Snap Peas in Herbed Coconut Broth

Brussel Sprouts, Baby Spinach & Sugar Snap Peas in Herbed Coconut Broth
4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups finely cut brussel sprouts
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas cut in halves
  • 4 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 medium onion finely cut
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 red chili (optional)
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp dry garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 block extra firm tofu drained and cut into cubes
  • 1 can 15 oz coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp oil

Continue reading Brussel Sprouts, Baby Spinach & Sugar Snap Peas in Herbed Coconut Broth

recipes and stories from our home