An apple cake that is not too sweet, not too dry, but just right? This recipe is the one. This apple cake is the perfect balance of sweet with a little kick of spices, all mixed together with grated fresh apples and fresh ginger. I am loving fresh ginger in sweets and treats lately. I find it adds a nice spicy fragrant kick and especially balances the sweetness of cakes really well.
Our friends Veena and Mani have a gorgeous home right here in the South Bay. They moved into their new home a few years ago, and though their home went through a major renovation right before they moved in, the previous owners left the backyard untouched. Their landscape is huge. It has a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a very large circular driveway at the entrance.
However this landscape was lacking in character. It needed a personal touch, a gardener’s personal touch that is. And that is exactly what Veena and Mani did. Give this large expanse of a garden their own unique perspective. This massive re-landscaping of their outdoor space took more than a year to accomplish, and the end result is something spectacular.
My friend Iya brought this delicious and refreshing coleslaw style of salad to our garden party a while back that was enjoyed by all. It was crunchy, sweet and salty, with an Asian inspired dressing. Part of the beauty of this salad is the gorgeous, thinly cut, colourful vegetables. When cut in this way, the veggie flavors come out perfectly in this delicious salad. I asked Iya for the recipe and also invited her to come over and show me how to make her salad. Here is the recipe.
Okra also called ladies fingers is an interesting vegetable. Growing up my Mom made okra quiet a lot, but I wasn’t always a big fan of this vegetable mainly because I didn’t like the texture of okra. It’s slimy when cut and that’s what turns many people off. But my Mom very often made an okra stir-fry in a well-seasoned old wok that got rid of the sliminess, and to get us kids to eat this very unusual vegetable she would tell us okra is good for the brain, that it makes us smarter, so we ate it slimy or not.
Okra provides about 22% of RDA per 100g of okra (which is about 3/4 cup of okra). RDA is short for Recommended Dietary Allowances that the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences puts out every few years. There is an RDA value attached to each food item. Think about it, 3/4 cup of okra has 22% of a person’s daily-recommended allowance of nutrients – that is pretty high! The many health benefits of okra Continue reading Roasted Pan Sautéed Okra
Our friends Swati and Tarak have a beautiful home with an amazing Italian inspired hillside garden right here in the South Bay. This graceful terraced back yard is a wonderful representation of how you can transform a steep hill into a lovely lush green landscape filled with flowers, greenery, trees, and a fruit orchard.
When was the last time you stopped by a plant nursery with soft classical music playing in the background? A nursery where during the holidays there is hot apple cider waiting to be sipped by their customers. A nursery that is more of an experience than a functional errand to purchase some plants. Half Moon Bay Nursery in Half Moon Bay, California is one of those places which is a destination rather than just a plant nursery where one goes to, to just buy a few garden plants.
You will find this recipe is not your traditional way of making risotto. I’ve tried the authentic Italian way of making risotto, and let me tell you, it’s a time consuming recipe. Every time I have followed a risotto recipe I have had to stand over the stove and stir the risotto rice with broth in batches until the rice is cooked. This takes at least 30 – 45 minutes. 45 minutes of standing and stirring, sometimes even longer. I started to dread making risotto when the kids wanted it.
Then one day I decided to try an alternative way of making risotto. I wondered how is it that in restaurants risotto is at our table within minutes. It occurred to me that they must cook the Arborio rice in advance, and just add the veggies or seafood when we order. I thought let me give that a try.
The next time I made risotto, I cooked the Arborio rice in broth in a pressure cooker – no stirring involved. Then when I was ready to make my risotto, in a separate pot I sautéed vegetables and just added them to the already cooked Arborio rice and mixed it all together. The risotto turned out awesome. Because the rice is already cooked, the whole process of making risotto goes by much faster. Try my recipe for a quicker vegetable risotto and see if you like it as much as I do.
There is nothing like the aroma of cooking vegetables, fish, chicken or meats in homemade ghee. Ghee, also known as clarified butter gives any food that you add ghee to an invigorating aroma that has a wonderful feel good effect on our senses. Ghee can be used to cook eggs, vegetables, meat, fish, or even just to add in a warm dish as a flavor enhancer. Sometimes I even toast bread on the pan with some ghee and it tastes amazing.
Health Benefits of Ghee:
Ghee has been used for thousands of years in India for it’s healthy virtues. Some of the many natural ways ghee can be used range from curing sores, to aid in preventing allergies, and to help decrease inflammation, just to name a few. Continue reading The Feel Good Essence of Homemade Ghee
For her birthday Rani wanted to hang out with her friends in our garden. The timing was perfect, as I had just attended a book-signing event from authors Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis on their new book Harvest. I was eager to try something from the book and Rani’s birthday picnic became the perfect opportunity to make a goat cheese recipe with edible flowers and herbs for this soiree.
Growing herbs at home is one of the most satisfying gardening tasks there is, and it’s extremely easy too. As beneficial as herbs are for all of us, what is many times overlooked is the joy that herb gardening brings even before we harvest these herbs for all their healthful uses. Within the large realm of gardening, herb gardening has its own therapeutic effects.
When you are outdoors working in the dirt taking care of herbs, planting, weeding and watching all the bugs, butterflies, and hummingbirds – any stress you have will seep away, even if it’s just for a few minutes you are one with nature.