lychee rose boba with pistachio jelly {a blogger collaboration}

dual work filtration

I had met Phi of the Princess Tofu blog online, (honestly, that's how many of my food blogger relationships begin). I lived in D.C. at the time and she, in San Francisco. We quickly became virtual friends and upon finding out that I would be moving to the S.F. Bay Area, I was super excited to finally have the opportunity to meet her. I have to say, Phi has been the sweetest host, we've geeked out over all things related to food blogging while eating pastries at some of her favorite bakeries in the city. She's taught me so much about fun things about the city that only a seasoned local would know! 

Phi had spoken of her friend, Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet before and already being a huge fan of Alanna's work, you can just imagine my excitement when they asked me to join them for a little session of pistachio milk jelly and rose boba making. 

pistachio milk making.gif

I took a bag of fresh lychees and some samplings of tea over to Alanna's house (Alanna makes the best drinks and snacks and Phi had these cute and tasty Mickey Mouse waffles) where I got to watch and learn from both of these extremely talented and wonderful people. It was so much fun working with them because for one, you get to watch each person in action and observe their different styles and work aesthetic and two, because action shots are much easier when more than one person is involved (I don't have to balance myself shooting and moving the subjects simultaneously with the risk of dropping or breaking something). 

pistachio nut milk

The process began with the grinding of some presoaked pistachio nuts in a blender to produce the nut milk which Phi then filtered through the nut sac ( The word "nut sac" sounds so inappropriately funny and yeah we were all pretty red, every time one of us mentioned it). Once that was complete, Phi prepared the pistachio milk jelly by adding agar agar which set pretty fast. Unfortunately by this time, I had to leave and meet M who was coming to pick me up for dinner but the girls went on and made a second batch because the felt the jelly was a bit too soft to use. 

sugar syrup

Unfortunately, I missed tasting Phi and Alanna's final concoction which looks amazing but I had such a blast spending the day with them. Please do go ahead and check out both their websites to see what we were up to that day.  The recipe is here at Phi's site and Alanna has more photographs on the drink preparation that I wasn't there for. 

pistachio milk jelly

chai stone fruit oat bran brown betty

chai stone fruit oat bran betty

I ate a lot of fruit as a kid, I would have gladly skipped a meal to eat fresh fruit. Not that I was a fussy kid when it came to food but I think it probably frustrated the heck out of my poor mother. In Bombay, the weather is generally warm year round and there is always an abundance of some delicious seasonal sort of fruit. Unfortunately, unless you had your own farm or your own fruit tree, you really didn't have much of an opportunity to pick fruit fresh of the tree. Believe me I tried, either the trees were to tall or too high to try partake in any such activities and my parents didn't trust me enough to climb up a tree and come down safely in one piece. 

stone fruit

To fill the void left behind by childhood, I started filling up my adulthood with trips to farms. So a couple of weekends ago, we took a trip to one of the farms up in Brentwood, CA to pick fruit. Here in California, stone fruit are currently in full swing, they're literally falling of the trees with no one to pick them up (especially when I look with envy at some of the gardens here).

These trips to the orchards have taught me a couple of things, one, we need to get one of those little wagon/trolleys to haul our stuff while we walk across the orchard and two, both M and I need to consider picking up less fruit. Though, one great outcome of having too much fruit, is the chance for me to can stuff which is fun but I honestly just don't want to can gallons. 

Snoopy fruit picking

We came across so many different varieties of plums, apricots, including pluots, that I was tempted to indulge in every possible shape and color available. Each and everyone of these varieties had a different taste and texture that made each one special (yes, I tried everything). At first, I thought perhaps, I should use one type of fruit in the recipe, in the end I decided that why not just mix things them all up and have some fun! 

I've made an apple brown betty redux before and this time I wanted to apply the same concept to the stone fruit we collected. I used oat bran for the base this time and flavored it with chai. This is my new summer breakfast pick-me-up and it's one of those easy recipes without any fuss. There just enough oat bran to balance the sweet and sour flavors of the stone fruit, I ate half of this directly from the pan but I also ended up topping some of it on top of plain Greek yogurt for a snack. Baking concentrates the flavors in the fruit so it's a burst of sweet and tart flavors against the background of the cardamom flavored chai oat bran. 

baked stone fruit oat bran betty1

chai stone fruit oat bran brown betty

yields: 2-4 servings

ingredients 

1 cup water

1 tablespoon black tea leaves (I used the Darjeeling variety)

1  1/2 lbs mixed stone fruit (I used plums, apricots, and pluots)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup (2 ounces) raw brown sugar 

1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom seeds

1 cup (5 3/4 ounces) oat bran 

1. Bring the water to a boil on a medium-high flame. Immediately add the tea leaves, allow to boil for 30 seconds and remove from the stove. Allow to sit aside for 2 minutes, pass the liquid through a strainer. Reserve the liquid, keep warm and discard the tea leaves.

2. Wash and wipe the stone fruit clean. Remove any stalks and slice each piece of fruit into half lengthwise. Remove the seed/stone in the center. Keep the fruit aside. 

3. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. In a square 9X9 baking pan, pour the warm tea prepared earlier. Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, cardamom and oat bran. Mix evenly with a fork or whisk. Place the stone fruit cut-side facing upwards over the oat bran mixture. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the oat bran is cooked. The stone fruit will brown a little. Once baked, cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Note: I recommend tasting the raw fruit first, if you find the fruit too tart then add a little more sugar to sweeten things. You could also sprinkle a little sugar before baking over the fruit.

cucumber cilantro mint raita

cucumber mint raita

Thank you so much for the feedback on the new look! I have to admit, having a blog teaches you all sorts of things that you never thought you would but as challenging as it can be, it's also a lot of fun. Speaking of fun things, this mention by Parade Magazine was exciting and I was very honored to be included in such an amazing list of creative and talented people. 

fresh mint
mint  chutney

Today, I have two recipes for you and I think they are perfect way to deal with all this hot weather that's coming our way here in California. There's a fresh cilantro and mint chutney which has a dash of fresh ginger root blended in. You can use this chutney as a dip, or spread it between slices of buttered bread or use it in this raita recipe that I've included in this post.

Raitas are a dish I make it at home a couple of times during the week and on hot summer days like the ones we are having right now, a refreshing and cooling cucumber and cilantro-mint raita hits the right spot. I've described two ways to prepare the raita but honestly, it's all up to you, present it the way you want to. Just have fun!  I do find that the "parfait" style makes for a good travel companion when it comes to packing lunches and a little more exciting because I like the personalized touch. 

I used Greek yogurt instead of the traditional method of using plain regular yogurt because I like my raitas a little creamy. A thicker yogurt base also makes it easy to layer and prepare the parfait.

grating cucumber for mint raita
fresh cucumber mint raita

cilantro-mint chutney

yields: approximately 1 cup

ingredients 

1 cup packed mint leaves, fresh

1 cup packed cilantro, leaves

1 inch piece ginger root, peeled, julienned

2 thai green chili peppers

1 lime

1/4 cup water, chilled

1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1.  Place the mint, cilantro, ginger, chili into a blender (or a jar if you're using an immersion blender), Squeeze the lime juice and add the water and salt. Blend until the ingredients for a smooth paste. You might need to add a little more water to the paste or occasionally stir the ingredients to get them moving in the blender. Once this chutney is prepared you can use it immediately or refrigerate it in an airtight container. You can also freeze this for for a few days. (Note: the vibrant color does tend to become a little darker after a few days of storage but the it is still good to use and eat)

cucumber mint raita

yields: approximately 4 cups

ingredients

2 cups plain Greek yogurt 

1/2 cup water, chilled (* if you want the raita thinner add more water but remember to adjust the salt and pepper according to your taste preferences)

1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

2 cups cucumber, peeled and grated

1 thai chili pepper, cut into thin slices for garnish

1. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, water, salt and pepper until the ingredients are completely combined. Keep this yogurt base aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. Squeeze the grated cucumber for any excess liquid. You can save the liquid and use it to for something else (I either drink it or use it in chilled juices).

3. There are two ways to prepare the raita. 

a) The first method is for the "parfait style". You can prepare about 4-6 (5-6 ounce) glass jars with this method. Layer the bottom of one jar, half-way with the yogurt base. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the grated cucumber above and layer with more yogurt base until you're about half an inch from the top of the jar. Layer with 2 generous tablespoons of the cilantro-mint chutney and garnish with a few of the sliced chilies and a little left over grated cucumber. Prepare the rest of the jars using this method. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

b)The second method is to mix 1/2 cup of the cilantro-mint chutney prepared earlier with the yogurt base and the cucumber in a large mixing bowl. Garnish with the thinly sliced chilies. You can serve it immediately or cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.