Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sunset Dinner Cruise

Last weekend a few friends and I went on this dinner cruise called Sunset Dinner Cruise, run by  Waterways Cruises and it was quite a lovely experience. The weather was surprisingly good. It was overcast and cold, with intermittent drizzling. The sun had probably not even risen that day to really "set," BUT it was good weather. If you are a Seattleite, you'd understand!

The Meal: 

It was a four-course plated meal, which included corn chowder, salad, entrée and dessert. Also included was a complimentary glass of champagne or sparkling cider. I went with zero expectations. Because frankly, the menu sounded like a typical affair. The choices were steak, chicken, salmon, and vegetarian. I picked salmon because I like salmon. 

First the chowder arrived. Took one spoonful of it and I thought, hmm, okay, at least it was hot temperature-wise. I like my food not just hot, as in spicy hot, but also hot, as in temperature hot. It was just low on salt, and my Indian taste buds were crying out for some kick. Thankfully they had kept salt and pepper on the table, which I added in ample amount to the chowder. 

Next came the salad. It looked unassuming in the form of a bed of standard greens. But as I dug that fork into the salad, I found underneath the bed of greens tiny bits of sweet pear, gorgonzola cheese, candied pecans, and the star ingredient was this light and refreshing vinaigrette dressing. It was simply delicious! 

And then came the main dish- a good portion of grilled salmon drizzled with a beautiful mustard sauce, garnished with micro greens, a side of pearl couscous, and sautéed veggies. The presentation was inviting. I took one bite of the salmon, and was impressed! Very delicious! The couscous, with capers mixed in, was cooked to perfection. The sautéed veggies added a nice bite to the dish. The salt was perfect, and surprisingly my spice-loving Indian taste buds actually were happy- the flavors were on the spot. And well, the food was chomped down in no time.


Salmon drizzled with mustard vinaigrette, pearl couscous, and sautéed veggies


Finally dessert arrived. Looked okay- you know, strawberry over whipped cream, a wafer stuck on top. Didn't look very crème brûlée-ee to me, really. But one spoonful into my mouth, and I couldn't stop until everything was gone! Super delicious end to the four-course dinner!


Crème Brûlée

I thoroughly enjoyed the dinner cruise. I went there with no expectations, and came out feeling very content. It sounded like a typical affair in the beginning, but it sure was a tasty one! *SLURP*

Aparna's Quote: 

Never judge a salad by it's greens, for underneath that modesty you might find candied pecans! 





Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Raw Mango Relish

Not sure what the real name of this dish is, because some call it aam ki sabzi, some aam ki chutney, some aam ka achaar, and therefore I'll just call it raw mango relish. I mean, I could possibly call it A's Amazing Aout Auf Azis Aworld.... okay, okay, let's just stick with raw mango relish. It's easy, quick, tasty, and has a decent shelf life of about 7-10 days in the refrigerator. It can be eaten with rotis, chapatis, parathas, bread, or even on the side with some rice and lentils. It is hot, sweet, as well as sour, and perfect for these still-chilly January days.  

Ingredients: 

1. Unripe (raw) mango (available in Indian Store): 2, chopped into bite sized pieces. 

Note: Some recipes call for the mango be peeled. I think that's such a waste of the beautiful fruit. I also save the mango pits for later. I use them in rasam.   

2. Cumin Seeds: 1-2 tsp

3. Fennel Seeds: 1-2 tsp

4. Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp

5. Nigella Seeds: 1 tsp

6. Fenugreek Seeds: 1 tsp 

Note: Can use the Bengali panch-phoron if you happen to have it in your pantry

7. Red Chili powder: 2-4 tsp (or according to your liking)

8. Turmeric powder: a pinch

9. Salt to taste

10. Jaggery (grated): 2-4 tsp. Again, this is more of a personal taste. So adjust accordingly. 

Alternatives to jaggery: Sugar, brown sugar, or agave syrup 

11. Cooking oil: 2 tsp 

12. Water: Just enough to cover the mango

Method: 

1. Splutter cumin, fennel, mustard, nigella, and fenugreek seeds in oil, and throw in the chopped raw mango, followed by salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and jaggery. Stir for about a minute or so. Then add water just enough to cover the mango. Bring it to a boil, cover, simmer for 7-10 minutes. 



Unripe Mango

Mango, Spices and Water


2. At the end of 10 minutes, uncover. The mango will have softened up nicely, and the sauce will have thickened up a bit. Gently smash some of the cooked mango with a spoon, so that there's whole pieces, as well as smushed up mango. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and the hot, sweet, and sour mango relish is ready to be err, relished. Come on now, that's chuckle-worthy!! ;)  


Ready! 

Delicious!