Last week, I stared at a five-pound bag of Chickpea flour sitting in my baking cabinet. It cried to be opened. I immediately closed the cabinet, walked away, and within seconds, I ran back into our kitchen, opened the cabinet door, and grabbed the bag of flour off its shelf. I refused to ignore its cry. The first thing that came to my mind was Onion Pakoras with a two-second Ketchup Chutney.
Pakoras are something I grew up on. I love how how imperfect and rustic they are once out of the hot oil. And I love that they bring brightness to a dreary day. I also adore the sweet and spicy ketchup chutney served with them.
Often, on rainy days, I seek comfort food. I crave savory and sweet. And I adore quick and simple. Although I’ve held back on this onion pakora recipe for a week, when these were made, I was absolutely sure that it was Spring. With the small duvet of snow that blanketed the New Jersey area yesterday morning, I am now unsure of what season it is, but I am praying that the snow and rain are not a teaser to something worse. Imagine: snow in May. That’d be interesting. Wouldn’t it?
This morning, I walked outside to experience the magic of Spring. I looked up to see a sky nearly uninhabited by clouds. I heard birds sing an encouraging song to the trees they now call home. I closed my eyes to wallow in the gentle warmth of the sun and to feel the ever-so-slight breeze brush it’s cool hand against my face. Mother Nature, we welcome your magical season of rebirth, inspiration, and hope, with very open arms.
The cool warmth of spring inspired me to share a Middle Eastern-Inspired Couscous recipe with you on Tuesday. Nothing goes better with the couscous than than this recipe for Pistachio, Mint, and Spice Crusted Lamb Chops.
In my last post, I failed to mention that this entire meal took me only about half-an-hour to prepare. Although this meal requires quite a few ingredients, don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by the ingredients list- this recipe is very easy to put together. You’ll find yourself doing more chopping and mixing than anything else, which I think is quite therapeutic after a hectic day.
As I write this post, I am distracted by a beauteous scenery outside. There are patches of fluffed pillows scattered across an azzurro sky. The weather is slightly warmer; its soft voice is encouraging plants to sprout, birds to sing, and people to bask in the afternoon sun.
Mother Nature’s “perhaps hand”, as E.E. Cummings once wrote, “is arranging a window while people stare arranging and changing placing.” This time of the year reminds me of times spent walking through the farmers’ market to see what the season has to share. It reminds me of a perfect warmth found in foods we love. It, most of all, reminds me of this couscous.
Oh, yes- just a little plastic surgery. A nose job. A tummy tuck. And a few implants here-and-there… I’m not speaking about myself. The Sophisticated Gourmet got a little surgery earlier today.
Don’t worry, it’s still the same site. Nothing much has changed- just minor things (mostly internal). I’ve revamped the look of the sidebar, added a section in the sidebar for recipe categories, an entirely new section to the site- Kitchen Inquiries (more on that in a second), a Conversions page, and an Amazon Shop!
Okay, I know that you might be wondering what the heck Kitchen Inquiries is. It’s a new feature on the site that I figured would be helpful to everyone. I am constantly answering emails regarding the use of different ingredients in recipes, ingredient substitutions, baking tips, how certain ingredients work in a recipe, etc. So, I’ve decided that if more than one person is asking me the same question, I’m sure others would like to ask that question too. Kitchen Inquiries will be a place for all of that. Of course, it is no replacement for asking questions about certain recipes on the site- you can do that in the comments section of each post or if you prefer- via email. Kitchen Inquiries will be a place for everyone to get an answer to their cooking / baking-related questions.
So, if you’ve been curious about how a certain ingredient works, how to do something as basic as whipping egg whites, or if you’re looking for general kitchen tips, simply submit your question using the contact form on Kitchen Inquiries Submission page. Once your question is answered, it will be published on the Kitchen Inquiries section of the site (which will beup and running by this Friday). A personalized email including a response and a link to the published post will be sent to you.
If you have more of a suggestion, rather than a question- you can use the same form on the Kitchen Inquiries page…
Now, for the Amazon Shop! I am still adding more to the shop as I write this post, but if you head there right now- you’ll see that it does have quite a few items. And a lot of them are on sale! All of the items in the store are things that I own and love. Likethis silicone spatula. And these cookie sheets(Dare I say that I collect these things?). And these cookbooks. I’ve included a description with almost every item in the store.
Ah- I am working on updating the About page and the FAQs page. I’m also working on a visual recipe index. And I’ve been thinking- what do you think about me starting a TSG Recipe Photos Pool on Flickr?
In addition to all of the little updates- I have posts ready to go for the rest of the week. Aren’t you proud?
I’m sure that I’ve missed a few other things that I updated, but just click around, submit a question to Kitchen Inquiries, and if you happen to see anything wrong with the site, please let me know :)
Enjoy the updated site! A new post will be up by 1PM EST tomorrow.
At one point in my life, I spoke with a southern accent for two weeks. Why? Because I thought it was cool. I often try to convince myself that I was switched as a baby; and my real mother is from the South (I only do this because I have nothing better to do). Sadly, I burst my own bubble by staring in the mirror to always come to the same conclusion, “Eh, you couldn’t have been switched- you have a ‘Siddiqi’ nose!”
Although I may not be from the south (Hi, My Imaginary Southern Mom!), my appetite screams for southern cookin’, y’all (okay, I’ll stop). To me, southern food is pure American comfort food without a lot of fuss and a sink full of dishes.
At the center of it all are my favorite anytime-of-the-day quick breads- buttermilk biscuits. Soft, tender, buttery, and purely delicious. I may be a Yankee, but I think I know biscuits pretty darn well. I am a very picky biscuit eater and I only believe in soft-sided biscuits. Some southerners are either agreeing with me and some are probably saying, “What the heck? Crusties are where it’s at!” It’s your personal preference.