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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Having an Ina Moment

I know it's pedantic to talk about the weather, but I'm having an Ina moment, and I've got to express my astonishment and delight that we actually seem to be having a bit of a Spring here in Baltimore.

I'll admit it's even been a little chilly in the past week, but we have yet to succumb to to 95F+ days of 100% humidity that turn everyone in Baltimore to a sweaty, grumpy mess and for me, that's reason to party. In typical fashion, and as any Barefoot Contessa devotee would insist, we decided to celebrate the apparent return of Spring to Baltimore's seasonal rotation with a dinner al fresco.

We always try to plan our meals with the season in mind, and make an effort to get as much produce locally from the Farmer's market. Unfortunately, the demands of making a living and the horrifying suburban crowds have recently made the market visits more difficult.

That said, we decided on a dish that is versatile enough to be adapted to fit whatever one can find at the market, super market, or in the depths of the pantry.

This style of preparing the starch can be applied to pasta, risotto or even other grains like farrow. Using carrots, chicken stock, onion, and parmigiano as a base (always available) one can change the protein and additional veggies with abandon and not risk going off base. This dish is a particular household favorite as you should know by now, Harry is addicted to carrots, and we've always got to keep him happy.

We decided to take advantage of one recent warm (and slightly muggy) May evening and enjoy this disk in our increasingly verdant garden. P has a new found and rapidly progressing affinity for rosé, and this dinner offered the perfect opportunity to indulge him. As we marveled at the abundance of Jasmine on the brink of bloom, and lamented the inevitable explosion of our fountain's mosquito population that would soon put dinners like these to bed, we took a moment to enjoy the pleasures of Spring as it should be.

By the time you read this, you'll probably be changing your undershirts twice daily and cursing the utility company even more often, but at least we had this moment! Happy Spring (for now)!

The Wine: Arnot-Roberts, 2012 Rosé 
The Food: Gemelli - Risotto style with fresh sausage, carrots, spring peas, parmigiano & garden chive

  • 8 cups organic chicken stock
  • 5 tbsp. butter (I happened to make my own the other night with some excess cream I had hanging around, but go ahead and buy yours)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small shallot, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb. gemelli pasta (do not use fresh pasta, it will be soggy in no time and can't stand up to this cooking process)
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spring peas
  • 1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano (let's be real, it was a whole cup)
  • 1 pound Italian bulk sausage
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 fresh chive stems, chopped for garnish
  •  Bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low to keep stock hot.
  •  Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and sausage and cook until sausage begins to brown, then add uncooked pasta, cook stirring often, until pasta is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. If you are using larger pieces of carrots, you may want to start them with the onion. 
  • Add 1 cup of the hot stock at a time to the pasta, stirring constantly; wait until almost all the stock has been absorbed before adding more. Continue cooking and adding stock (you may have some stock left over) until pasta is tender but firm to the bite, 10–15 minutes. Add the peas, or whatever other fresh veggies you like about 5 mins before pasta is finished, that way they warm and bring out their flavor but they don't break down too far in the heat. Add slices of shallot toward the end so the retain a but of their bite and crunch.

  • Remove pot from heat and stir in the remaining 1 tbsp. butter and the parmigiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with chive and more cheese.

Saveur adapted this recipe from The Minimalist Cooks Dinner by Mark Bittman (Broadway Books, 2001)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Confessions of a Gyromaniac

Let me preface this post by saying that I may or may not have wrapped up my Saturday night eating French fries off P's plate at 2am in a place called Sip & Bite. Listen, we'd thrown a 12 hr brunch and hit up the bars afterwards, so I think I deserve a little slack. 

Reflecting on my gastronomic indiscretions the next morning, despite my overwhelming remorse, I couldn't stop thinking about the most hallowed of late binge food, and a Sip & Bite staple, the Gyro. 

I don’t care how you say it, the layers of meat, glistening on a spit, then falling light as a feather into warm pita just oozing with tangy tzatziki, oh it's enough to drive me to savagery! I have to admit, I am a gyromaniac.

This succulent sandwich sustained me as a poor college student living abroad in Europe and has stayed with me ever since. P is by no means immune, and the Gyro continues to tempt us from Baltimore diner booths like some kind of salty, greasy forbidden fruit, the power of which only truly reveals itself after midnight. 

Maybe I was still reeling from Saturday night, or just extremely bored at work, but I decided today to try to turn this vice of ours into a virtue of sorts. I set my mind to turn the wanton harlot of the food world into a sophisticated lady, fit for dinner with a couple of discerning gays - Can you say thinly veiled Julia Roberts reference? Aren't you glad I didn't go the allegorical Nathaniel Hawthorn direction (yawn)?

As I am yet without an in-home spit, I settled with the idea of using the grill. Inspired by a recipe from Bon Appetit's Grilling Book I found online, I decided to use pork tenderloin as opposed to the more traditional lamb. I marinated the pork at lunch to coax as much flavor from the meat pre-grill and hit up Fleet Street Market (our local grocer) on the way home for the rest of the comestibles. 

The result?!?! 

Well, I doubt I'll ever really top the sinfully delicious Gyro found at Sip & Bite and the like, but as evidenced by the feverish pace with which we devoured our Pretty Woman version, I'll say we certainly had our Umami moment.
P&C Gyros
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  1 1-1 ½ lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1 cup reduced fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cucumber, finely chopped
Sandwich Fixins
  • 2 Medium tomatoes, large chunky pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pepperoncinos and some peppadews sliced thin (option, ours were leftover from a weekend party)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch watercress (we LOVE the spicy bite of this green)
  • 4 6-in whole wheat pitas
For Pork
  • Combine first 7 ingredients in large plastic bag, add pork, and shake it up – put in fridge to marinate as long as possible (overnight if you can)
  • Grill on med-high heat, 10 mins per side, basting with marinade carefully as it may flare up. Let rest 5 mins before slicing thin.
For Sauce
  • Mix yogurt, chopped cucumber, and minced garlic in small bowl
Sandwich Prep

Monday, May 13, 2013

Brunch - A Survival Guide

Smoked Salmon with Asparagus Ribbons, Radish, and Roe

 My partner P and I love to throw a party - what gay doesn't?! No surprises here, we always enjoy an intimate 3-course dinner with close friends, a costumed Halloween bash, even a bubbly holiday soiree, but what we live for is brunch.

Brunch presents its own unique set of challenges to hosts of any caliber or orientation. The day-time setting means a flexible time frame, so schedule wisely and watch the mimosa intake, you’ll need stamina. It also means no mood lighting or dark corners in which to hide, so don’t forget the BB cream and brush-up on current events. Then there’s the food, is it breakfast, lunch, some awkward straddle dish in between? do your guests have special dietary needs?and what on earth do you serve to keep all your foodie friends from throwing shade? Not least of these challenges is the pressure of expectation. As brunch is pretty much an institution in our culture, if you throw a bad one, they take away your gay card (not kidding)!

All this in mind, we set out last weekend to host our annual spring open house brunch. Through the trials tribulations, bumps, and bruises came many lessons learned and this post.

What follows is our 20-something-urban-proletariat Brunch - Survival Guide, if you will. These are the do’s and don’ts, a brief how-to for anyone hoping to host brunch and make it out alive.

Brunch - A Survival Guide

The Guest List

Brunch Flowers
Invite just anybody. Skip the friend who always bring 4 strangers who sit around, drink too much, talk only to each other and complain about the lack of salsa....we all know that girl....

Think outside the box. Do you have a hippie aunt who lives in town and would make great conversation after some Sangria? How about the neighbors with whom you rarely speak but look like they have some juicy off-color stories to tell? Everyone loves an invite and a group setting like brunch, fueled by food and drink, is a gentle way to expand everyone's' social circles. Choose wisely and you could end up with a stimulating social calendar for the rest of the year.

The Food

 Serve tired traditional brunch items - quiche is over, no one likes stuffed peppers, NEVER serve club crackers or anything that looks like cheese from a parent-teacher conference, and avoid the pre-packaged version of anything you can easily make from scratch. The only thing worse than having leftovers is the talk around town about your store-bought crescent rolls.

Choose your menu carefully and make it cohesive. We try to select items that are a nod to the season or a particular cultural culinary tradition, that way it doesn’t matter if they fall more into the breakfast or lunch bucket, they’re always relevant. This time we went with the following menu, think Spring in Italy and you'll get the drift...

- Parmigiano, pancetta, and broccoli raab savory bread pudding
- Polenta cakes & mozzarella w/ rosemary brown butter 
- Arugula, fennel, and orange salad w/ ricotta salata
- Spring pea & spicy lemon spread over grilled crostini
- Smoked Salmon w/ asparagus ribbons, shaved radishes, and roe on pumpernickel points
- P's famous charcuterie and cheese plate (bresaola and a buttery prosciutto always in attendance)
- Grilled cilantro-chimichurri beef tips with Siracha aioli

P's Charcuterie

The Drink:

Give your guests free reign in your liquor cabinet. Your less inhibited friends will end up making a scene, or worse a mess, and you will run out of provisions before you know it - The ultimate sin for a brunch host.

Choose signature cocktail offerings intentionally. This limits the risk of over indulgence due to heavy handed refills, and gives you better inventory control. While we always offer the basic spirits and mixers to more traditional drinkers, this time we chose to start the day with a Bloody Mary bar featuring home made mix (obviously) and various accoutrements including Old Bay shrimp, Seaside cheddar, candied cayenne bacon, and cornichons. For the latter part of the day we changed it up, and switched to mint tea vodka spiked Arnold Palmers. As long as you refrain from going too highbrow or exotic with your ingredients, you will avoid offending anyone’s taste or sensibilities.

Garden Table

The Setting

Put everything in one place. Drinks, food, flatware, and linens all in one place equal one thing - cattle call, ain't nobody got time for that. 

Position hors d’oeurves, cocktails, and hot items in various locations throughout your home. Especially if you live in a small urban space like ours, it’s important to keep people moving and avoid congestion. Placing seating away from food sources encourages guests to explore your space and keeps the conversation fresh with the natural to and fro between refills.  

This technique also allows you to play more freely with decor. Whether it be peonies and hydrangeas in rustic table top flower arrangements, mismatched serving vessels, or vintage ombre-silver glassware and art deco linens, distributing them around the home instantly expands the opportunity for creativity beyond a single tablescape and can allow you to highlight multiple pieces that might not otherwise look great together.

We even like to separate cocktails from bottled beverage choices and tend to put wine and beer outside when the weather permits. It draws people into our garden, providing an additional setting, and gives people a reason to linger outdoors.

Parmigiano Pancetta Bread Pudding with Broccoli Raab

The Execution:

Do it all alone. You will get sucked into cleaning up spills and refreshing olive trays. You will ignore your guests and resent your co-hosts if you let the upkeep get the best of you. Remember, nobody likes a host stomping around with b*tch face.

Hire help ($100 on Craigslist will get a slew of willing responses) or designate a friend willing to assist and help spread the serving and maintenance duties - After all you need to enjoy yourself.

Bloody Mary Garnish Bar - Candied Bacon, Cornichon, Seaside Cheddar, and Old Bay Shrimp


We may be only budding lifestyle authors, but our friends will attest we throw a brunch on par with the experts (just make sure they've had a few mojitos when you inquire). 

We hope you found our "Rules " helpful and perhaps a little more practical than from others more seasoned or broadly published in the field (side-eye to you Martha, Giada, Ina and Nate). 

No matter the scale nor the budget, a successful host is smart about planning and the guest list, makes intentional food, beverage, and decor choices, and always keeps in mind the ultimate goal, to have a good time!

As you might expect, we have an opinion on everything from etiquette to Étouffée. So if you have any questions or want more info, don't hesitate to ask -

The Menu in Detail

still to come....I'm barely recovered as it is...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Like a Virgin!

I consider myself a relatively good cook, with an emphasis on cook, because as P will tell you I really cannot bake to save my life….or so I thought.

There have been several rather harrowing baking experiences over the years, they have shaken my confidence, bruised my ego, and left a bad taste in more than a few mouths. P shudders at the mention of the apple/sausage/blue cheese Galette I attempted a few months ago; imagine a stinky (putrid really), tooth-chippingly hard pastry that more closely resembled an infected boil than anything edible. I think the issue stems from my aversion to measuring, or following a recipe at all, two things that are essentially make-or-break when it comes to baking. So, in general, I tend avoid this realm of the culinary world at all costs.

Now P always impresses with his endeavors as a baker, every Autumn he makes the most delightful Pumpkin Bran muffins I’ve ever had, he just seems to really have a knack for it. I defer to him, or a retail outlet, anytime we need to serve a dessert or crave baked goods...that is until this past weekend.

Saturday, we were slated to attend the birthday celebration of one of our closest friends in DC. P was working all weekend, leaving Harry and I to our own devices. I had run out of household chores and grown weary of my half-hearted attempts at in-home exercise, so I figured why not try to make something for our dear friend’s birthday? I didn’t want to scare P with visions of the ‘galette that shall not be named’ so I didn’t share my plans with him. Nor did I want to get anyone’s hopes up considering I might easily be arriving with semi-sweet briquettes, something offensive to the eyes, or nothing at all. So as a self-anointed Virgin Baker, my 1st tip for anyone making their first attempt or considering a return after failure or trauma; Keep it a secret, at least until you know you’re going to deliver something edible.

My virginal trepidation in check, I threw caution to the wind, intent on baking with abandon. Harry watched warily from the sofa, he’s all too familiar with the smoke-filled panic that ensues when I pull out the flour and start up the oven. A quick check in the pantry and a run to Whole Foods, and I was off!

Throughout the process I consulted countless websites, but disclosed my secret to just two souls - my sister, a pastry chef herself, and Erin, our best friend and cookie guru - in order to get late stage advice on batter texture and frosting technique. 2nd  baking tip; leverage your resources, do your research, and get informed, the recipe and measurements actually matter. From my research I gathered what I thought would be the right ratio of dry and wet ingredients, and started thinking about my flavor profile.

P’s favorite cake combo is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. We also share a penchant for salted caramel ANYTHING. I love subtle spice notes in dessert, specifically cardamom. With those preferences in mind, I decided to make Vanilla Cardamom Cupcakes with Chocolate-Salted Caramel frosting.

The batter came together rather easily, despite mixing by hand, I had something cohesive and was only partially covered in flour in only but a few minutes. I will say that butter takes an awful long time to soften after it’s been in the fridge so my 3rd tip; take the butter out early (and avoid using the microwave). I know that seems silly, but it’s crucial for texture and to avoid lag time.

The wet and dry ingredients combined, I was faced with the textural conundrum, is my moisture level correct? My 4th tip, by way of my sister’s advice; judge your finished batter texture based on your recipe’s language. In other words, if the recipe says “pour” into the pan, then make sure your batter is liquid enough to pour. If it says “scoop” into the forms, then make sure it can be scooped. Problem was, I had been consulting recipes that said both. I had no choice, I went with what I had, and decided to bake in two batches, I would add whatever liquid content I might need based on the outcome of the first batch.
With my first set in the oven, I started off with the frosting. My caramel came together with such ease that we have a potentially dangerous coronary situation on our hands in my ability to make large quantities on a whim….whups! The chocolate frosting was another story. I had heard that cocoa powder was the key to the chocolate flavor in frosting. Turns out, the powder I chose lent no discernable chocolate notes, and made the texture grainy. Faced with the possibility of failure, I called in my problem solving skills. Using 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 table spoons Glarus “Trinken Schokolade (dark cocoa drinking chocolate mix), and a touch of warm cream, I made an extremely potent and smooth addition to my existing lack luster frosting. The color and flavor were perfect, and I just needed some time in the fridge to counter the additional oil and moisture content and get the texture just right.

Frosting crisis averted, I returned to the oven, to find my first batch rising beautifully in their forms. I was over the moon! There was always the chance that they weren’t going to taste right or the texture was completely off, but at least they looked good.

A few minutes later, the knife came out clean and I took my first bite. SUCCESS! Sweet, spiced, moist, airy, wonderful SUCCESS! I really couldn’t believe it, I nearly group texted my entire family. The top was light and chewy and the body was perfectly cakey, a mid point between angel food and pound cake, PERFECT!

While the second batch baked and the frosting set, I pondered instagramming my process and expressing my joy at success, but I really didn’t want to gloat (a lie) and decided to keep the cupcakes as a surprise for P and eventually our friends in DC.

I timed it perfectly, I was putting the finishing touches on the last cupcake when P walked in the door from work. After the initial panic seeing me standing there, kitchen covered in flour, he made his way cautiously to my side. No sooner had he taken his first finger-tip taste of the frosting, than he was elbow deep in the sink scraping every last bit from the mixing bowl. Assured of my overall success, and on the verge of a diabetic episode, he was happy to wait for the evening to taste the finished product.

Needless to say, the cupcakes were a hit. The only gripe anyone had was that I didn’t bring more (maybe that was the cocktails talking). This leads me to my 5th and final tip for bakers; Take a chance! You will never taste sweet vanilla cardamom salted caramel success without first taking the risk of failure.

Tips for Virgin Baker:

  1. Keep it a secret, do not disclose your baking plans, at least until you know you’re going to deliver something edible.
  2. Leverage your resources, do your research, and get informed, the recipe and measurements actually matter.
  3. Take the butter out early
  4. Judge your finished batter texture based on your recipe’s language (pour vs. scoop).
  5. Take a chance! You can’t taste sweet success without risking failure.

The recipes:

Vanilla Cardamom Cupcakes

  • 3 cups cake flour sifted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom (+ more to taste)
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
Makes: About 12 standard cupcakes.
·         Preheat oven to 350°F.
·         Line muffin tray with parchment liner
·         Sift together flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt; set aside.
·         Cream sugar and butter together until light.
·         Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed.
·         Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Continue beating one minute.
·         Scoop into prepared tray
·         Bake 25-30 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.
·         Cool 10 minutes in tray; remove and cool completely before decorating.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons dark cocao (+more to taste)
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (+ 2 table spoons melted and warm)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Sea Salt for garnish

  • Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add in cream and vanilla gradually, stirring with a rubber heat resistant spoon until smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch
  • Combine room temp butter and salt in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy
  •  Add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.
  • Combine cocoa with warm melted butter, and mix until smooth (you can add warm cream if needed)
  • Add cocoa mixture to butter/sugar bowl and mix until smooth
  • Refrigerate until it reaches desired spreadable texture.
  • Frost cupcakes and top with Sea Salt


Friday, May 3, 2013

A Passage Through India aka Bank Street Goes Bollywood

I am no culinary ignoramus, and certainly not one to think that Indian cuisine is limited to the curries and masalas us westerners are used to. In fact, I am both inspired and overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of the cuisine, depth of flavor, and diversity of origin of the food of the Indian subcontinent. I employ this disclaimer so as to explain my thinking heading into my first formal endeavor into the realm.

First inspired by an April 2013 Bon Appetit article detailing a complete take on Indian 'take-out' then egged on by article in May 2013 Saveur on Sindhi traditions, I decided to create my version of a few Indian staples entirely from scratch. This also happened to offer a convenient segue for this blog from BA magazine to Saveur for May.

I began this journey with only my taste buds and a few magazine suggestions as a guide, but soon found another, even better companion for my journey into this complex and mysterious world.

With an appetite like a wolverine and an adventurous palate to match, P is the perfect side-kick, no co-pilot, for this uncharted South Asian territory.

P is willing to try anything, but with a strong sense of what's good and frankly what isn't, he's quick to give valuable feedback and is always a clutch contributor along the way. I would recommend a partner like this, anytime you try something new in the kitchen.

My affinity for Indian food is fueled by my adolescent love affair with Imperial era novels, poetry and really any literature touched by Indian culture. Not that tyrannical rule and subjugation are appealing subject matter (shhh P) but instead I am drawn to the detail with which authors like LaPierre, Forster, and Kipling capture beauty, simultaneously sultry and vibrant, of the countryside, the cities, and the people despite the often dire circumstances surrounding their prose. It must be my desire to experience that beauty, in a sensory way, that draws me to the food....or maybe it's just the salty, creamy, spicy goodness...does it really matter?

Armed with a deep rooted desire, an able companion, and ‘Tyger Tyger' playing in my head, I embarked on our version of an Indian Feast, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

I apologize in advance that there was no story about me breaking into joyful dance as the naan sizzled or P wearing a bedazzled Sari, you'll have to use your imagination or wait for the next time we go Indian for that kind of excitement....

P & C Lamb Masala

  • This is a hybrid of BA’s Chicken Tikka Masala (April ’13 page 34) and Food Network's Aarti Sequeira’s “Night Night Curry” – but our heavy handed seasoning really makes this our own
  • Tip – Chicken is fine to substitute, and you can add really any vegetable like cauliflower or edamame to the dish for a little more color and flavor


  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 teaspoons finely minced peeled ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ cups yogurt (not Greek)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb (cut into 2”x2” cubes)
  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • ½ pound fresh or frozen peas
  • Steamed basmati rice (for serving)


  • Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of all spices in a medium bowl; add lamb and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours.
  • Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and tomato paste, cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add lamb, yogurt marinade, and remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Add cream, Simmer, stirring occasionally, until completely mixed, 2 mins
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Pour lamb sauce mixture into small baking dish, cover with foil, and roast for 35 mins.
  • After 35 mins lamb should be tender and slightly pink, reduce heat to 250, add peas (mixing them in thoroughly) and roast for another 30 mins uncovered allowing the sauce to brown a bit on top.
  • Serve over rice.

Jalapeno-Apple-Ginger Chutney
“you should can this stuff”


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green apple, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper minced
  • ½ cup dried apricots, diced
  •  (2-inch thumb) fresh ginger, peeled, minced.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the canola oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When simmering, add the fennel seeds-they should sizzle upon contact. If they don't, turn the heat up a little. Cook about 30 seconds.
  • Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions turn golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the apples, ginger, jalapeno, sugar, apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper; stir and cook until the sugar melts.
  • Keep cooking, stirring often, until the sugar thickens and caramelizes, and the apples soften, about 15 minutes.
  • Taste for seasonings and serve.

Curry Onion Naan


  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 table spoon mochi curry
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  • 4 tablespoons ghee + some high heat vegetable oil


  • In a large glass, dissolve the dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar with 3/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees F). Let it sit on your counter until it's frothy, about 10 minutes
  • Meanwhile, sift the flour, salt, curry, and remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder into a large, deep bowl.
  • Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt, olive oil, and onion into the glass, and stir to combine.
  • Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix the ingredients together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use a wide rubber spoon (or your hands) to mix. It will feel gloppy, like there isn't enough flour, but keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky and pliable dough. (you will most likely need to add a bit more flour, as the onion has a high moisture content – this gets messy)
  • As soon as it starts to feel like dough, stop kneading. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 2 to 4 hours.
  • When you're ready to roll set out another bowl with flour in it. The dough will be extremely soft and sticky. Separate out dough, portion sizing to about that of a small onion, and lightly roll each one in the bowl of extra flour to keep them from sticking to each other.
  • Shape the naan. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape, narrower at the top than at the bottom. It should be 8 to 9-inches long, 4-inches wide at its widest point and about 1/4-inch thick. Once you've formed the general shape, you can also pick it up by one end and wiggle it; the dough's own weight will stretch it out a little. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough
  • Warm ghee in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it's nearly smoking. Have extra high-heat oil on the side to add if the ghee burns off.
  • Gently lay each portion of naan in the skillet and let it “fry” for about a minute until it bubbles.
  • After about 1 minute, flip the naan. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened, let it continue for the same time on the other side. They should be crispy but chewy and have a nice yellow hue.
  • Place on plate, sprinkle with salt, and put in the oven with the lamb to keep warm until serving

Spicy Mustard Saag

  • This recipe is totally our own, we subsitute yogurt for the normal paneer cheese, and mix up the ingredients depending on our mood – really one of our healthy favorites
  • Tip – Always chop your greens and remove thicker stems


  • 1 pound baby kale greens, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound mustard greens, roughly chopped (these are quite the find, so spicy, they taste almost like horseradish)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ cup dijon mustard
  • ½ whole grain mustard


  • In a large non-stick pot (one you might use for pasta) heat ghee until melted.
  • Place onions in oil and cook until transluscent
  • Place greens in pot, cover, and let cook until completely wilted (a lot of water will come out, it should look soupy)
  • Un-cover, add yogurt, all three types of mustard and stir.
  • Cook until all ingredients are combined, water content is cooked off, greens are tender, and a creamy texture has been achieved

Cilantro Yogurt Raita

·         Tip: with all the heat at play, it’s good to have a cooling accoutrement to offset the spice, we love the creaminess of Greek yogurt and it’s the perfect vehicle for this herbaceous condiment.


  • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons (1 lemon) fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper


  • Combine onion, cilantro, yogurt, mint, coriander, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a medium bowl. Season sauce with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Throw in fridge to chill until you’re ready to serve