Baked Butter-Lemon Salmon

 

Lemons

Lemons.
The taste is as bold as the brightly blazed blue Nile beneath a Harvest-Moon night.
The look is as lovely, glittery and gorgeous as your fondest gold jewelry.
The scent is intense, soft and soothing as the Salvation granted by God on the Judgement Day.

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Just a little squeeze of lemon can change it all. Blunt Carrot Soup bowl turns into a Lotus-lake in the Lilac covered Neverland.

Carrot Soup

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And the ordinary Butter baked Salmon achieves an extraordinarily serene scent should you choose to shower and serve the fish with fresh lemons….

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Baked Butter-Lemon Salmon

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Salmon cutlets or 1 fillet, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • Handful chopped Cilantro, Parsley or Dill
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Couple of pinchful red chili flakes
  • Lemon juice. Quantity and intensity up to you. Plus thin slices from 1 lemon for serving

Method:

  • Marinate pat dried fish into an ovenproof skillet or roasting pan with salt, pepper and lemon juice. 15-20 minutes. This first step brings forth a strikingly tasty result.
  • On medium heat, in a small skillet place the butter, red pepper flakes and half the herb. Wait until the butter melts and the herb begins to sizzle.
  • Pour that bubbling butte over the fish. Bake 4-6 minutes on preheated oven at 475 degrees.
  • Remove from the oven,  turn the fish over. Sprinkle butter again.
  • Roast 3 to 5 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the piece of the fish. Cut into serving portions, spoon a little of the butter over each and garnish with the remaining herb and lemon slices.

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Grow a lemon plant in your backyard and you will witness something marvelous: Moon beams weave fragrant dreams on the amber skin of lemons. Dancing Sun rays cast souls on the evergreen hues of lemon leaves. Suddenly your barren backyard turns Eldorado in search of which you’ve journeyed for so long!

 

 

 

Caramel Flan: Fabulous and filling

Uninvited, unwanted but that stubborn guest will still show up. Right in time. Though his estimated  time of arrival is unknown. Could be tonight, in the next hour, next minute. The moment you hear his fears footsteps at your doorstep, you’ll be ditched to the backside of the moon, six feet under; a place unreachable and silent as a dead shore where water never meets the land.

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Name of this inevitable, deadly guest is DEATH.

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His raven-black, voodoo presence will choke you, make you feel like a dead wood drifting downstream. He is like a treacherous chunk of cloud curtaining your windows from letting in rays of the sun. You’ll kneel down to God and pray hard for one last time for an exit as you are caught in a spider web; stuck, froze-up in a dark, dingy dungeon – your GRAVE, trapped in an unknown bottomless pit where there is no swimming forward or backward.

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But today you are still alive. Until your Guest arrives, celebrate life by doing good deeds, e.g. making Creamy Caramel Flan for family and friends.

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Caramel Flan. পুডিং

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, cook and stir sugar over medium-low heat until melted and golden, about 15 minutes. Quickly pour into a  2-qt. round non-stick baking dish, tilting to coat the bottom; let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour over caramelized sugar.
  3.  Pour boiling water into a large pan to a depth of 1 in. Now place the flan dish in it. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until center is just set (mixture will jiggle).
  4. Remove dish from the watery pan and cool it for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.
  5.  Run a plastic knife around edges and flip onto a large rimmed serving platter. Cut into wedges. Spoon sauce over each serving. 8-10 servings.

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Let the guest pop over in the Spring of hope or in the Winter of despair. Welcome him. Do not worry. Your Good Deeds  will make your final departure a grand, magnificent and memorable one.

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American Autumn :)

Sweet Chicken Curry

Tragically urban, rootless, ruthless civilization becomes breath-chocking, humans no longer taste the earth and the jungle. Kingfishers, glimmer of glow worms, Squirrels don’t fly in rhythm anymore.

We live in an age that holds our mind in a cage. This age calls darkness ‘Light’. We no longer hold the key. Our spirit never gets to set free.

TV turned our minds into a black mirror; black mirror knows no reflection. It is wrapped around with endless needs, wants, greed, pride, vanity, backstabbing, propaganda, bombarding, politics, hide-‘n-seek with the truth.

Life becomes a curse.

To break the curse, I’ve stopped watching TV. It’s been four years now. Friends, books, prayers, gardening and cooking replaced TV and LIFE is going as GOOD as it gets.

I always have time to create some hypnotizing alchemy in the pan ♥ I have time to make a meal for YOU that taste like a poem ♥ I have time to slowly, gently, unhurriedly drape myself with the twirling, swirling scent of  deep,  soul-soothing, passion-igniting chicken curry and steamed rice ♥

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Sweet Chicken Curry

That pulse-quickening intensity of irresistible smoothness! That bright-flavored lightness which you are going to remember the next day. And the day after. Forever.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 large Tomato, roughly chopped or paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil/olive oil/Ghee
  • 1 canned full-fat coconut milk 400mL {13.5 oz}
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 kg (1.5 lbs) FREE RANGE whole chicken cut into pieces

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry onions till golden brown. Add meat and first 5 ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir up.
  2. Add coconut milk. A pool of crimson gravy gathers around the pan, if you pour 1 cups of warm water at this point. Cover and cook for 1 hour in low heat until the meat surrenders into tender, juicy chunks.
  3. Add sugar. Let the sweetness swirl across the pot. Put the lid back on and cook for another 20 minutes, if necessary.
  4. Serve hot on Rice or Roti.

*Note: If you’re using store-bought, growth hormone injected fleshy, too much tender chicken, cooking time will be much shorter.

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 I always have time for preparing-cooking-presenting-eating-sharing-blogging-critiquing ancient, mythical desserts like Roshgolla. Because, home-cooked food’s presence is kind, gracious, as unconditional love always is ♥

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Roshogolla ... Rosgulla

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Let the Metropolitan clock stop ticking at your home. Don’t let TV, the Demon, be the key-holder of your soul.

Carrot Halwa

Summer evening is falling. A sapphire night is about to flare into fullness. An amber full moon is rising across the azure sky. The chirping and tweeting of birds are fading away. The rhythm of the clean, crisp evening breeze is meditative, an unhurried one. Euphoria of an evening meal is about to waltz in Bengali homes and hearts with a simple yet full of charm, delightfully spiced, luscious, velvet-textured dessert: Carrot Halwa.

Carrot Halwa is Bengalis’ usual way to whip up delight and a sense of luxury. A homage to purity, to pure sweets ripe with romanticism and infused with love.

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Carrot Halwa

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Ingredients:

  • 6 medium tender juicy carrots
  • 3 cups full fat milk (whole milk)
  • 10 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 6 tbsp sugar or as required
  •  ⅓ tsp cardamom powder
  • handful of golden raisins (optional)
  • 20-25 toasted crushed nuts. e.g cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios etc (optional)

Method:

  1. Rinse, peel the carrots. Cut them in small chunks.
  2. In a non-stick pan/pot combine milk and carrots. Simmer on medium heat . Keep on stirring in between.
  3. Carrot chunks will cook in the milk and the milk will start to reduce and evaporate.
  4. With a masher or wooden spoon mash the boiled chunks well.
  5. Now add ghee, sugar and powdered cardamom to the mixture. Stir well and continue to simmer and cook on a low flame till all the milk is evaporated and the Halwa looks/feels sticky, smooth, silky.
  6. Towards the end, add the nuts and raisins.
  7. Serve it hot, warm or cold. Refrigerate.
  8. Before adding nuts, raisins etc, if you wish, you can give the Halwa various shapes by using molds/cookie cutters.

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Carrot Halwa

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Carrot Halwas are as soft and snowy as the fondest dreams; an elixir, a cure for all ailment, like an answer to prayers. They are compelling in their plainness; fancy words don’t come into play.

Fish Fry

Fried Fish

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When whispering rainy days spill beauty like crystal confetti, rural people of beautiful Bangladesh dance tippy-toes between raindrops. To catch fish from seven hundred shimmering, sparkling, rigorous rivers. To pan-fry glistening, freshly caught fish; tender, gently spiced, gorgeously rich timeless taste.

They worship a happy dish like fried fish in their cold, blue, lonely, chilly days. Their damsels make this deliriously euphoric soul-food while dancing barefoot in the moonlit nights.

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Ingredients:

Your choice of fish fillets/cutlets: 4 pieces. I used a small size whole Pomfret.

Fresh or dried herbs: a handful. I used Cilantro & Parsley

Salt + crushed Pepper to taste

Lemon juice. 1 tbsp

Red chili flakes. 1 pinch (optional)

Vegetable/soybean oil for frying

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Method:

Make the pieces of the fish individual serving size. Wash gently and pat dry.

Marinate fish with all the ingredients for 15 minutes.

Fry each side on medium high heat for 4 minutes until they look golden brown.

Serve with steamed rice or as is with fresh garden salad.

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Salmon and frying ingredients

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 Rural Bengalis wear color, beauty and happiness: smooth black skin, Ruby Red Hibiscus tucked in the hair. Saffron shirts. Peacock Blue sarees. White hearts. They do not spend their income on war and guns. Only harvesting, hunting and survival tactics they practice which they inherited from their ancestors. They labor hard for peace and happy dishes. They are beautiful, mythical; straight out of a novel.

Strawberry Lemonade

When outside burdened world gets too much to take, to take a break, may your attacks withstood, storms endured knocked-off, pale, weary, fragile self celebrate the joy your heart yearns for;  respond to the holiest, purest call what your soul has longs for, quenches the thirst that your throat has been carrying around for years:

Strawberry Lemonade; luxurious with clean, crisp, clear and bright flavors.

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Strawberry Lemonade

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  • 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 liter sparkling water. Regular water would do too
  • Sugar/honey to your taste
  • Ice cubes
  • Thinly sliced lemon/lime & Sliced fresh strawberries (optional)

 

In a blender combine first four ingredients and blend until smooth. Strain and transfer to a pitcher.

Add lemon slices in pitcher. Chill for 4 to 24 hours or until very cold. Give the flavors some time to relax into each other.

Serve over ice. If desired, garnish with strawberry slices.

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May this drink see, hear, touch and feel the unchained melody coming deep down from your soul. May this drink paint your senses all over with joyful ruby red hue.

Cake

Winter evening shadows are creeping and deepening around your solitary soul. But baking a cake takes no time to unfold your soul.

This quietly beautiful cake, maintains a relaxed warmth whilst keeping in it satisfyingly minimalist ingredients. It makes an unbeatable visual impression ♥

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Chocolate cake

The cake is so fluffy, improbably airy that it looks like it’s ready to levitate.

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  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

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Preheat oven to 350 degree for metal/glass pans. 325 degree for dark/coated pans.

Grease sides and bottoms of the pan using softened unsalted butter.

Blend above ingredients at low-speed first and then at medium speed for 2 minutes using an electric hand-mixer.

Pour batter in the pan and bake for about 40 minutes (more or less).

Cake is done when it fluffs-up, shows a few cracks in the center of the surface and when inserted in the center a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack to allow the cake to cool completely. Remove cake from pan.

Sprinkle sweet and glossy flurries of powdered sugar.

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Chocolate Cake

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This cake, like a Nightingale, would sit in darkness and sing to cheer your solitude with sweet sounds. Just one bite and suddenly moonbeams will splash and spill wildly in the fog; from the deepest wells of silence you’ll hear its bubble of sound,”Stay Warm” ♥