Friday, December 30, 2011

Pakistani cooking lesson

In November, we had a friend over at our place and I learned how to cook some Pakistani dishes from her. She is a wonderful cook and I always love her food. I have learned from her how to make Shrimp Briyani and Chicken curry before.

This time, I wanted to learn some new dishes so I asked her to teach me how to make Bhindi Masala (Okura dish), Palak Paneer (Spinach Curry) and fish curry.

I prepared Fish and Spinach then our friend brought all the other ingredients including Paneer.

Paneer is cheese which is in Spinach curry. I only saw this cheese in Indian grocery store so when I talked to her before hand, I told her that I don't know where I can get Paneer so we can either not use it or use tofu instead. But my friend told me that it is super easy to make it at home and she will make it at home and bring it with her 

I was so surprised I had no idea that you can make your own paneer at home with just whole milk and lemon!!! This is a great information. This is great to know. 

Anyway, the dish I love and always wanted to learn was this Bhindi Masala. It is now easy to find good looking fresh okura in regular supermarket around here but if I find some, this is the dish I want to make. I love this dish. I order this at restaurants all the time but never really know how to make it at home.

This one came out really good. I think the point is to cook the onion really well until its kind of crispy and sweet. I love this dish. 

Then, Palak Paneer was easier than I thought. Well, my friend already made paneer and we used frozen spinach. We boiled spinach and sauted them with some spices and pureed. Then added some heavy cream. That's basically it. 

Then, fish curry. I used to eat fish curry when I was living with an indian lady in California. She makes a killer fish curry. She always used salmon and we used salmon this time also. The result was wonderful. It really reminded me of her fish curry. I hadn't had fish curry for so long. It brought back all the memory and it kind of made me nostalgic. This is something I would love to cook again and again. The julienned ginger made it taste even better!
For dessert, I made banana cream pie but it didn't looks so great so I didn't take any photos. 

Anyway, it was so much fun and educational to learn some Pakistani dishes from her. I love learning how to cook new dishes especially when they are my favorite food! I always think that Indian and Pakistani food are too complicated to make but once you have all the spices and how it works, it is not too difficult. I am so fortunate to be able to learn those dishes from some one who is originally from there. She is such a wonderful person and she always give a lot to others. I wish I could do something for her. I think she should be spoiled once in a while. I think I should invite her again and I should cook for her! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Two days trip to Upstate NY (Hudson Valley Area)

In mid November, we went for one night trip to Hudson Valley area. We went to Hudson Valley last year also. (Click here for the post of last year Hudson Valley visit. Hudson Valley 1. Hudson Valley 2)

We ate lots of great food and enjoyed out trip last year and we also had a great trip this year. I planned this trip and decide where to stay, where to eat and stuff. My husband loved everything I planned so I was very happy :-)

First of all, before we go to the hotel, we stopped at a town called New Paltz and had lunch at this restaurant called "The Village Tearoom".

I ordered smoked salmon salad which was really good.

My husband ordered "Mushroom bread pudding". Ever since he had mushroom bread pudding at the Standard Hotel in Manhattan last year (Click here for that post) he order this dish every chance he gets.

I forgot to take some pictures but they also have many different kind of baked goods and I ordered scone. They also had clotted cream which I have been looking around for a long time. Since I can not find them anywhere, I asked them if they can sell clotted cream. They told me that they can sell it for $8.00 per jar. It is quite expensive but I know I can not find it anywhere so I bought it! Now, I can make scone at home and eat it with clotted cream and have a proper afternoon tea! I am so happy :-)

After the lunch we ordered tea and chocolate cake.

By the way, there was a nice park close to this restaurant. Everything was made of woods and lots of kids and parents were playing. We played there also with our son and had a great time. I wish we had something like this close to our place.

Then, we head to the hotel. The hotel we stayed was a lodge and it had two stories. The bed was in upstairs and there was fireplace downstair. Also there was a river running right in front of our room and it was really nice and relaxing though it was right by a main street. It was quiet and nice.

Next day, we stopped by Culinary Institute of America for lunch. We came here last year also. This is a school where people learn how to cook and be trained. They have many restaurants inside of this school. Since we have a small child, we went to the casual restaurant called "Apple Bakery Cafe".

I ordered hanger stake with leek and potato. It was great. The plate was beautiful.

My husband ordered truffle grilled cheese and kale chips.
I never had kale chips before but this kale chips were super good. We couldn't stop eating this chips.

And, this is our main reason we came here. The truffle french fries.
We had this last time we were here and loved it so we ordered again. Well, it was good but I guess we were more impressed first time around.

I wanted to have dessert here but I was full so I bought a cake to take out.

When we got home at night, I had this cake which I bought. This was HudsonValley Apple Butter Cake. Isn't it pretty?

And it tasted wonderful! I loved it. I wished I bought more than one. I can easily eat 5 of them at once. Well, I guess it was good that I bought only one ;-)

Well, this trip was great. It was just a few hours away from home but we got to experience different things and eat lots of different stuff. My son loved playing in the fallen leaves. We all had a great time. Especially my husband and I was very happy that I was able to make him happy :-) We will definitely do this again!