It’s a Love/Hate Thing

We say that we have relationships with food and with cooking.  A friend would say she has a complicated relationship with dairy; she loves ice cream and cheese, but almost never eats it, and yet she  is always tempted.   The brie lies there quietly, in the depths of her subconscious, and taunts her a little…

Accompaniment

The Bengali meal, when allowed to  showboat in all its unabated complexity, is a grandiose, multi-course affair.  For very special occasions, one might be served 12 to 15 courses.  But for the less spectacular, everyday meal, one would be served at least four courses, with rice holding court as the queen, without which the other…

Summer Stuffed Peppers

Why is it impossible to find a good stuffed pepper?  I’ve tried a few at some of the popular Greek or Mediterranean restaurants in Chicago, and all are a sad, bland mess.  Unseasoned, tinny, soggy peppers, even sadder fillings that seem to be a throwaway combination of either undercooked or overcooked rice and sour tomato…

Who Knew?

Who knew the ubiquitous and mild zucchini could be so versatile?  They are everywhere now, piled high and on sale, and much is possible with this simple summer squash.  Anyone who has ever grown zucchini knows the plant is energetic and boisterous, with leaves the size of dinner plates, tendrils and yellow flowers thrusting willy-nilly…

Summer Veggies

What is there to say?  Summer is upon us.  We are awash in the green, Midwestern heat and the farmer’s markets are in full swing.  This dish is simple.  Buy vegetables that you like to eat, those in their delectable summerific prime.  Wash veggies.  Cut veggies.  Sauté in canola oil with a dash of sesame…

Signatures

A close friend of the family insists that I post shrimp in coconut sauce.  He is right to insist upon this dish, which is a masterpiece.  If you like shrimp, it is a testament to the magnificence of Bengali cooking, and arguably, it is one of the best things one might ever eat.  He had…

Departures

I took an unplanned departure from my blog for several weeks, and it has unexpectedly thrown me off course.  I left home in late April to go to another home; that is, I went to Kolkata because my grandmother passed away after a long illness.  We loved her deeply, we are grateful for all that…

April

We are having warm weather all week.  I am excited by this.  I am excited because it is the second week of April, and it has been known to snow during the second week of April.  But this year, we’ve had some freakishly fine weather, and the tulips are up, the azaleas have buds, everything…

Expect the Unexpected

I serve cheese now because it’s easy and because it’s expected.  Cheese is simple.  Go to store.  Purchase cheese: some soft, some hard.  Unwrap.  Slice bread, arrange crackers, wash and slice fruit.  Use apples, pears, grapes.  Assemble.  Done.  For added fanciness, use marble serving board, add dried cherries and apricots, silver cheese knives.  Still very…

A Gradual Invention

The butternut squash is a winter staple for us, and I like the adaptability of its mild flavor.  This is a trickster vegetable, riotously bright with color but serene in taste and calm in texture.  The markets now carry squash that are manageable in size (i.e. smaller), with a dense upper cylinder and a smallish…