Archive for June 16, 2006

Ten Things I Miss Most ~ meme

Nabeela of Trial and Error tagged me for this meme ~ thanks Nabeela! ๐Ÿ™‚

I love my Mom and Dad, don’t get me wrong ~ but they are not blessed with cooking skill. I learned more about food from my maternal grandmother, with whom we always spent our summers. I hope it’s ok to offer up this little list of mostly childhood, mostly summertime memories in Nana’s memory.

Ten Things I Miss Most From Mom’s (and Nana’s) Cooking

Finding fresh-caught bluefish on the front lawn, left by the neighbors who had a boat. The fish was cleaned and wrapped in newsprint. We removed the paper, wrapped the fish in foil, and dotted with butter and fresh lemon, or sometimes mustard. We cooked on a charcoal grill.

Eating fresh green corn right off the stalks, husked, of course. It was so sweet it needed no cooking.

Picking raspberries and blackberries off the brambles, warm from sun, and bringing them to Nana ~ watching us from her chair in the shade.

Picking rhubarb from the rhubarb patch by the back fence. Washed, topped, and dipped in sugar, it was better than sweet-tarts candy.
We ate sitting at the wooden picnic table in the backyard.

Going to the bakery for hot Portugese sweet bread, then bringing it home to eat, toasted and dripping melted butter. We always snuck some on the way!

Early mornings when I was a young teenager, when my cousins and I picked fresh green beans, peas, and berries from the garden. We’d take them down the street to the beach and munch on them all day, thinking we were on a ‘diet’.

My first cooking lesson, at about age 16. Nana made a white sauce (just butter and flour roux with hot milk stirred in) with scallions in it. We ate it over potatoes.

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And of course I can’t leave mom out ~ she does have a few specialties ๐Ÿ™‚ Her potato salad ~ with grated onion and potatoes cut fine, can’t be beat. She insists on Cains brand mayonnaise, which I don’t love. But I love that salad!

Mom’s apricot thumbprint cookies ~ if I could learn to bake one thing well, this would be my item of choice.

Mom’s version of my paternal grandmother’s noodle kugel. It’s such a simple dish ~ mostly noodles and egg, but was a staple for us when we were kids, and my kids enjoy it now.

Dad and Mom may not have taught a lot in the way of home cooking, but they did instill a deep sense of appreciation for the diversity of the world around us, a fun spirit of adventure, and a great excitement in learning. For all that and more, I am eternally grateful.

Thank you Nabeela, for including me in this meme. I had alot of fun tripping down memory lane.

I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t been tagged, so I will bow out here with thanks for your indulgence ๐Ÿ™‚

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My New Kitchen Toy and Rasam Powder

Ingredients for Rasam Powder

Ingredients for rasam powder, roasted, cooled, and ready to grind

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I have a new toy. Browsing in Home Goods one day, I found this nifty little KitchenAid grinder for only $12. It’s larger than the coffee grinder I had pressed into service, but not so large that the tiny seeds and dals get lost when grinding. It’s also made of metal where the old one was plastic. I have been waiting for an excuse to use it and tonight I found one. A recipe I want to try tomorrow calls for rasam powder, and I don’t have any. Decided to try making some using whole spices.

I’m hoping I didn’t ruin this by altering it slightly (mostly reduced the amt of chilies). Original recipe is from Hermant Trivedi’s Cookery Corner.

Rasam Powder (made about 3/4 c)

4 large dried red chilies
1/4 c coriander seed
1 TB black peppercorns
1 TB chana dal
1 TB toor dal
1/2 TB urad dal
1 TB mustard seed
1 1/2 TB cumin seed
2 tsp methi/fenugreek seed
3 sprigs curry leaves (mine were drying out so I used more than called for, about 20 leaves or so)

asafoetida

Dry roast chilies, dals, and whole spices separately and set aside to cool. Dry roast curry leaves and remove them to cool, then add whole spices back into the pan and cover surface with asafoetida. Stir well over medium heat for a minute or two, then take out onto a plate to cool again.

When all is cool, pulse a few times in your new grinder until you have a fine powder. Admire the ease, the look, and the aroma of fresh
ground spices before sealing up in an airtight container.

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Rasam Powder

Homemade rasam powder ~ mmmmmmmm ๐Ÿ™‚

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