Sunday, January 31, 2010


A blender should be used for, if nothing else, smoothies (cheers, Valerie). Now, smoothies and I go way back. My household went through about seven years during which making fresh fruit smoothies was a twice a day occurrence. Our blender and a pack of bananas also traveled with us on vacation all over the country. Therefore, it is only fitting that my first blender post should be about smoothies.

By smoothies, though, I do
not mean ice cream or sorbet with a couple cuts of fruit. No, by my definition that would be a milkshake or a freeze. There is a reason that smoothies are marketed as healthy things, even if a lot of the time the commercial versions are not. In a very simple form smoothies are healthy.

So for this post I have three smoothie recipes: the classic apple, banana, carrot, and orange, the mango lassi, and the (ok, a little less healthy, but great for after workouts) chocolate banana smoothie.

Apple, Banana, Carrot, and Orange (or the ABC ..O)
  • 2 medium sized carrots washed or peeled with the ends removed
  • 1 sweeter apple like a fuji
  • 1 banana
  • about 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
  • about 3/4 cup of orange juice
The instructions for smoothies is really part of their beauty: put everything in the blender, put on the cap, blend until liquefied. If you live in a place like a dorm where the walls are practically nonexistent, try putting a thick blanket or towel around the base of the blender to muffle the sound somewhat.

Mango Lassi
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and pitted
  • sugar to taste
  • about 1 cup plain yogurt
  • milk or water until desired thickness
  • cardamom (if you have any) to taste
Those of you who read this blog often know I really dislike adding sugar to things, but when you are dealing with plain yogurt it's sometimes necessary. So...yep, put it all in the blender and go.

Chocolate and Bananananana
  • 1 banana
  • 1 packet of hot chocolate mix
  • 1 cup of milk
  • some ice cubes if it's warm was 19 degrees today, so no ice cubes.

Anyone else have favorite smoothies?
Omnom! and yay for blenders!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Philly Foods: Square 1682

It's Restaurant Week here in Philadelphia. Some of the people in my dorm and I went out for brunch at Square 1682, a new restaurant on 17th street. The Restaurant Week "deal" was two courses: either breakfast or lunch course and a dessert. I use the sarcasm of quotation marks because the only person who saved money on the Restaurant Week offer was the girl who got the steak. So, get the steak or don't get the deal.

I got the Poached Eggs with Truffle
Oil "atop brioche toast, wild mushrooms, and guanciale sauce." I didn't know what guanciale was, so I have looked it up: Guanciale is bacon from a pigs cheek. Yum. Actually, the dish was really good (especially the bites with all the truffle oil). It was in the plainest of terms, good bread with a poached egg and the typically delicious mushrooms in butter and some herbs, chopped bacon, cream sauce, and parsley. Oh and of course truffle oil. How could one complain?

My dining compatriots enjoyed the French Toast with bananas, pecans, and good old Pennsylvanian maple syrup, the blackened chicken sandwich with bacon, pesto aioli, pepper jack cheese and house-made fingerling potato chips (pictured), and the Texas Longhorn burger with blue cheese. From what I heard, all dishes were highly satisfying. After some sneaking of potato chips, I can personally vouch for their deliciousness.

Next up, dessert. Chocolate tart with ginger and orange ganache. Reportedly very good but very, very chocolatey. Others had apple tart with cinnamon ice cream. Also, said to be sensational, but the ice cream is for cinnamon lovers only. I then had the vanilla ice cream cream puff with caramel and pecans. It was very nice. The caramel was warm, but freezing on the ice cream, and the puff was crispy in just the right places.

Overall, the consensus was that the brunch wasn't bad. However, it was far from sensational. If we had the choice to try somewhere new, we probably would. If you are looking for a solidly vogue and stylish place with food certain to be good with decent presentation, then head on over to Square 1682.


121 South 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tel: 215.563.5008


Has anyone else tried some memorable meals during Restaurant Week?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gajar Ka Halwa (and India)

I'm back! India was fascinating, beautiful. The food was delicious, not actually that spicy, and replete with butter. French cuisine has nothing on that of the Indians. Also, Valerie, I'm glad you got to drink chai. Go to India and you will consume gallons just from casual visits. I was staying with my friend's family members (and in India it seems as if everyone's a family member), so I didn't get too many photos of food. However, what I took, I'll post as I get them from my friend.

While maybe not providing many food photos, India did offer many ideas for Mini and Micro. For instance, the first dessert I had while in India was Gajar Ka Halwa. According to my friend, "halwa" applies to anything (usually a dessert) that is small bits, like a porridge . Gajar Ka Halwa uses carrot strips as these small pieces. Like most Indian desserts the basis is milk, butter, sugar, nuts, and cardamom.

Now as a caveat that the idea of making an Indian dish, something fairly revered, in the microwave is highly unorthodox. One can reheat in the microwave, but cooking in the microwave? near heresy.

Alright, so roughly off the recipe found at India Food Forever, I have put together a pretty decent Gajar KaHalwa recipe.
For two to three servings, you will need:
- two carrots
- a handful of pistachios, shelled, and cut up
- a handful of raisins
- pat of butter about 1"x1"x3/8"
- two tablespoons of sugar/to taste
- 4-6 cardamom seed pods
- milk enough to cover the carrots

First, soak the raisins in water, set them to the side for about 20 minutes. Now, after you peel the carrots, you're supposed to grate them. However, being with a grater in college, I got to cut up the carrots. If you're also in this position try to cut them very thinly; the thinner the slices the more delicate and flavorful the dessert will be.

Put the carrots in a bowl and pour the milk over it, OR, you can add some milk and some sweetened condensed milk (though, you may want to skimp on the sugar later). Microwave the carrots on high for 5 minutes or until the carrots are completely tender. Add the sugar, raisins, and pistachios. Microwave the mixture for another 2 minutes.

Crush the cardamom pods with the flat of a knife and add them to the bowl. Mix and let sit for about 10-15 minutes or until the flavor is as intense as desired. Take out the cardamom and drain any excess milk. If the carrots are still hot then add the butter and sugar to taste. Otherwise microwave and then add. Serve warm and omnom!!!

Oh! for Christmas I got a blender, so will be looking into recipes for that. Any ideas?

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Hey everyone.

Sorry I have not been updating, but at the moment I am in India! Internet has been kind of hard to find. However, I will be back and ready for updates in about a week. I hope everyone's winter breaks are going well. Have there been any to-die-for foods this season?