Thursday, September 20, 2012

Black pepper-sesame paste


So, it's been about 10 days since my last post...To tell you the truth, blogging hasn't been at the top of my priority list lately. I'm still cooking a lot, but I haven't felt like taking the time to measure all my ingredients, take notes as I cook, and prep photos. I guess I've just been wanting to cook in a more casual way recently. I don't want to post recipes unless I know for sure that they are reliable, so my throw-together meals never end up on the blog, even if they taste awesome.

Another aspect to my blogging less often is this: when I was in grad school, I was feeling a lot of uncertainty about my career path, along with a bit of unhappiness about my research job, and I think that blogging helped me to find the satisfaction that I wasn't getting from my job. And now...I love my new job, I really do. I'm very happy and my life in general has been feeling very fulfilling, and my priorities have shifted.

I've been thinking a lot about the role this blog plays in my life, and the bottom line is that it's supposed to be fun. So, I have decided that I am going to continue blogging, but I'm only going to post when I really feel like it - I'm not going to worry about whether I'm posting regularly or often, I'm just going to do it when I want to. I really hope you'll still read the new posts, whenever they end up happening...

And I do have a recipe for you today. I've been loving the flavor of black pepper lately and have been really amping up how much I use in my cooking. I created this particular paste with some inspiration from Hot Sour Salty Sweet, and some inspiration from Heidi Swanson. It's got a deep toasty flavor from the sesame seeds and aromatic notes as well as heat from the black pepper. Garlic, cilantro, and soy sauce round out the flavors. I think this would make a great sauce for almost any stir fry, and would also be a nice rub for meat.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Creamed corn with garam masala butter


You guys. Between my recent hummus post and this one, I have come to a very important conclusion - everything tastes better when spiced butter is poured on top. That might sound obvious to you, but if you need some convincing, I highly encourage you to try this recipe. Now, I tend to think that fresh summer corn is perfection all on its own, but it turns out that it's even better with garam masala butter. This recipe is perfect for September, when fresh corn is still in season but temperatures are cooling off a bit. The creamy corn and Indian spices are comforting and warming, exactly right for fall.

p.s. It just occurred to me after publishing this post that the garam masala butter would be amazing on mashed potatoes. I'll try it and report back!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tomato chutney


The last couple weekends have been filled with family time - Andrew and I spent last weekend at the Cape with some of my family, and we were at my cousin's wedding last night in Boston. My family is a lot of fun, so I'm always happy to have the chance to spend time with them. Getting to eat homemade Indian food makes it all the better. Family recipes are one of my favorite sources for blog inspiration. I love trying new recipes in general, but it's extra special to learn how to make a family favorite. When we were at the Cape, my mom made a batch of her tomato chutney one day. After snacking on it all afternoon, I decided that I needed to learn how to make it, and that I had to do it while tomatoes were still in season. My parents were staying at our apartment this past weekend because of the wedding, so I had the chance to go to the farmers' market with my mom and pick out some gorgeous tomatoes for this dish. She taught me how to make it, and the batch she made disappeared pretty fast! Good thing I know how to make it myself now so I can whip it up whenever I want. This chutney is absolutely addictive with bread, crackers, and cheese, and as my mom says, a glass of wine makes it even better!