spiced egg salad

spiced egg salad | A Brown Table

Egg salad is a tasty classic, in fact I think of it as comfort food. All you need are a couple of hard boiled eggs on hand to make this simple yet tasty salad. During grad school and especially during test season, I’d make a batch of egg salad almost once a week. I’d scoop out generous helpings to stuff between thick layers of toasted sourdough bread. It was my “test -time” meal, my go-to dish. This Indian-inspired egg salad version is quick and easy to make. There’s hint of garam masala and toasted coriander seeds to give it a spicy and mild smoky flavor.

spiced egg salad | A Brown Table
spiced egg salad | A Brown Table
spiced egg salad | A Brown Table
spiced egg salad | A Brown Table

The Best Food’s Organic Mayonnaise used in this recipe, has a crisp flavor and the texture is smooth. I’ve used the Original version but they also make a lot of other delicious flavors such as the Spicy Chipotle and Roasted Garlic which can also be used in this recipe. Just remember depending on the type of mayonnaise used the flavor of the final salad will change a little.

spiced egg salad | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this salad;

  • Always use chilled or room temperature hard boiled eggs or the mayonnaise will lose its texture if the eggs are hot.
  • If you like this a little hotter, you can add 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce or add a teaspoon of thinly sliced thai green chili peppers.
  • To prepare the coriander powder, toast 1 teaspoon of the seeds in a dry skillet until the seeds just start to brown and you can smell the fragrance of the seeds as they toast. This should take less than 60 to 90 seconds. Immediately transfer and grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle. Use as needed.

spiced egg salad

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled (cold or at room temperature)

1/2 cup Best Foods Organic Mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder

1/4 teaspoon toasted ground coriander seed powder

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts)

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped

1. Chop the peeled eggs and place them in a large mixing bowl.

2. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the thinly sliced sections of the green parts of the scallions. Add the rest of the scallions to the eggs and all the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Garnish with reserved scallions and serve.

Disclaimer: This blog post was created in partnership with Hellmann’s Best Mayonnaiseand FeedFeed. All opinions expressed are solely my own

chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding

chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table

I couldn't be happier, you guys! I found out last night that I'm nominated in the Best Photo based Food Blog category at the International Association of Culinary Professionals for the 2016 awards that are to be held this April in Los Angeles! The past four years have been a blessing. They've been an amazing journey filled with fun and growing pains. From starting this blog to talking about food and through it, my experiences as an immigrant, to learning about photography but also just learning more about myself. I'm thankful for this blog and grateful, that you've been a part of my journey sharing the ups and downs along the way. Thank you!

What better way to celebrate this moment than with a childhood favorite, bread pudding! It took me a while to fathom that bread puddings are usually baked in the United States since my mother always steamed them whenever she made them at home and this is one dish she made often. I love both versions for different reasons. The American version, has a delicious crispy crust while the steamed version is soft and comforting. No matter what you look at it, bread puddings are one of the tastiest ways to use up leftover bread. I think it's the simplicity that makes it so appealing, a few ingredients with endless possibilities. Mom always uses vanilla extract and raisins and slices of milk bread. Bread pudding is breakfast converted to dessert and it's all about comfort.

This version is infused with dried chamomile flowers and long black pepper (which look like little pine cones). There's a creamy sauce that's infused with the spices and a sneaky helping of raisins in that give a burst of sweetness in each and every bite. This is a very simple recipe and you could modify and bake it if you wanted to. I use the bundt pan to steam the pudding and give it a more cake like shape which makes it a little fancier but again it's all up to you. Make it the way you want to and make sure to enjoy it!

chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table

A couple of kitchen notes that you might find useful when preparing this pudding;

  • My recipe is loosely adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe in the New York Times. His recipe is baked while this is steamed. 
  • If you can't find long black pepper, you can easily sub 1/4 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper for the pudding and sauce, each. 
  • I use this bundt cake pan which is also a great pudding basin and you can order the cooling rack and steamer rack to go with it. I just use the cooling rack as the steamer rack all the time and it works perfectly. Another option is to use an English pudding basin like one of those pretty Mason Cash bowls but this bundt pan and it's lid remove all the extra work from making a good seal to prevent water from entering the pan. 
  • I don't use too much sugar in this recipe, as challah is pretty sweet to begin with and too much sugar masks the flavor of the chamomile and black pepper.
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding | A Brown Table

chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding

yields: 6 to 8 servings

ingredients

for the bread pudding

2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter + extra for greasing the pan

1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers

4 long black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

4 tablespoons sugar

6 cups challah bread cut into 2 inch cubes (an entire challah loaf)

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons raisins or sultanas

for the sauce

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers

2 long black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

for the bread pudding

1. Place the milk, butter, chamomile, peppercorns and sugar in a thick bottomed medium-sized saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes until the butter melts, then increase heat to medium-high and bring the contents to boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled strain the liquid and discard the solids using a fine mesh sieve.

2. While the milk is cooling, grease a 2 quart bundt pan with a little butter.  Then place a layer of challah cubes and sprinkle a tablespoon of the raisins. Add another layer of bread and sprinkle the raisins. Repeat until you reach the top. 

3. Lightly whisk the eggs into the cooled and strained milk mixture. Pour this liquid over the bread in the bundt pan. Cover the bundt pan with its lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place a plate or a round cooling rack into a large stockpot,  place the sealed bundt pan on top of the plate/rack. Pour enough tap water (at room temperature) to about 1 inch less than the height of the bundt pan. Place a heavy weight such as a bowl or plate over the bundt pan, cover the stockpot with a lid and heat the stockpot on medium-high heat until the water begins to boil. Continue to boil for another 1 minute and remove from stove. Allow the bundt pan to stay in the stockpot for another 5 minutes before removing from the stockpot. Remove the lid and run a butterknife between the edges of the pan and the pudding. Invert the bundt pan over a serving plate and allow to sit for 10 minutes to release. (If it doesn't release using the flat end of the butter knife to loosen the sides). 

To prepare the sauce

4. Place the milk, chamomile, peppercorns, and sugar in a medium-sized thick bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally until the milk just starts to boil. In the meantime, make a slurry of the water and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl. Vigorously whisk the cornstarch slurry into boiling milk and continue to cook until it thickens. Remove the saucepan from the stove and strain the solids and discard the solids using a fine mesh sieve. Pour about 1/2 cup of this warm sauce over the pudding just before serving with a little extra on the side. 

kale and sausage bread pudding

kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table

Visiting M's parent's on their little farm out in Virigina, is always a treat! It's quiet, the internet is slow so you're basically cut off from the world but in many ways it's a blessing. You get to disconnect from everything else that's going on and you're forced to relax. You get to appreciate everything you have in your life a little more and start to pay attention to things around you. In many ways it's the best gift we could give ourselves. A brief respite from our lives. 

For some reason, it was apparently colder in CA than it was here on the East Coast, this Christmas. It's been raining like crazy, the fields were soaked in water and there were many moments that I almost slipped and broke my behind in the muck when I went to visit the mules and animals on the farm. M's mom loves her animals and raises goats that she milks herself to make goat milk soap. A couple of years ago, she taught me how to milk a goat, it's an interesting experience! I don't even know how to describe it. They now have two donkeys and they protect the goats from coyotes! I had no idea donkeys could scare coyotes off. 

Christmas morning, I baked a batch of popovers from Bon Appetit Christmas issue and some cheddar biscuits with herbs. Basically, we've been eating constantly every day. There is no rest for the tummy when we go to visit family. I think it is the general theme of our family vacations for both of us as we don't visit that them often so our trip transforms into a daily request of all our favorite dishes that we've missed.  

On one morning, I baked a kale and sausage bread pudding with M's mom. So here she is cooking with me in the kitchen and we're cooking a savory bread pudding (in many ways this is also a casserole). 

I'm also giving away this gorgeous baking dish from Le Creuset! All you need to do is a leave a comment and tell me what you want to cook in it and I will pick a randomwinner! The contest is only open to legal US residents and ends on January 3rd 2016 at 12 pm. Have an amazing New Year friends!!!

Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Goats and Sheep, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mules at Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mules at Mouth of Wilson, Virginia | A Brown Table
Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Christmas at the Farm Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
Christmas Day Breakfast Scene | A Brown Table
Jersey Cows and a Donkey, Mouth of Wilson, VA | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
kale and sausage bread pudding| A Brown Table
DSC_4377 - Version 2.jpg

Here are some kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dish;

  • I added less salt than I normally would since the sausage I used was heavily seasoned. Adjust your salt amounts if you know that how the sausage will taste. I prefer to stick to the lower amount because you can always sprinkle a little salt later over the pudding when serving.
  • Use whatever type of kale or bread you like. Mustard greens and chard leaves will also work well in this recipe. 
kale and sausage bread pudding | A Brown Table
Peacock in Virginia | A Brown Table

kale and sausage bread pudding

yields: 2 servings

ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat or rye bread country style, diced into 1" cubes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup cooked Italian breakfast sausage (I used spicy pork)

2 cups whole milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 cup packed kale leaves, torn (midrib discarded)

5 fresh sage leaves, julienned

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 375F. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Mix the cubes pieces of bread along with the olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Spread this out on the lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the bread is browned and crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

2. Take a medium-sized skillet and heat on medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage and cook until the sausage is completely cooked and lightly browned.  Drain the fat and keep the sausage aside. 

3. Lightly butter a 1 quart oval baking dish and keep aside. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Fold in the kale, sage, and sausage. Carefully fold in the toasted croutons. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, lightly wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

4. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 400F. Remove the cling film and bake the pudding for 30 to 35 minutes until the center is firm to touch. A knife should come out clean from the center of the bread pudding. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Le Creuset for sponsoring this giveaway. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

homemade egg pasta dough

Homemade Egg Pasta | A Brown Table

Every year on my birthday, I treat myself to something fun. This year, I got myself a pasta maker, a hand cranked one and not the one that's a stand-mixer attachment. It's rather easy to use and all you need is a the outer edge of a table to attach the pasta maker. Some people like to roll out the dough by hand but the machine gives the dough a nice uniform thickness and makes it easier and I am not an expert at pasta making, so I'll happily accept help! Now, come to think of it, I might have got myself some kitchen appliance or camera related thing every birthday!

Making pasta is an art, it's also relaxing and fun. There are so many different types, flavors, shapes, sizes, colors etc., it's a palette with a unlimited variety of ideas to play with. But my experience in pasta making is limited so I decided to turn to the experts when it came to the dough and details of pasta. Over the next couple of weeks, I will share one recipe from one of my favorite local restaurants and what better way than to kick of this series than with homemade pasta. One of the best local pasta restaurants (and one of my top favorites) in San Francisco is Flour and Water, they have a gorgeous book of the same name where Chef Thomas McNaughton talks about his love for pasta along with an equally interesting and wonderful collection of recipes to cook.

Homemade Egg Pasta |A Brown Table
Homemade Egg Pasta |A Brown Table
Homemade Egg Pasta |A Brown Table
Homemade Egg Pasta |A Brown Table
Homemade Egg Pasta |A Brown Table
Homemade Egg Pasta |A Brown Table
homemade egg pasta | A Brown Table

Here are some of my tips that you might find useful when preparing this pasta at home,

  • Though the book recommends using this dough for hand-cut noodles such as tagliatelle, farfalle, garganelli among others, I did use a little left over dough on the spaghetti blades of my machine to see how it would work. The taste and texture were great! Though for spaghetti you should use the semolina extrusion dough as the book recommends.I don't own an extruder so I didn't try this dough.
  • The number of yolks might seem intimidating (use the leftover egg whites to make egg drop soups or omelettes or scrambled eggs or meringues or macaroons etc.) but it was worth it. You can try and halve the recipe (I didn't do that but I think it should work).
  • Kneading the dough by hand for 15 minutes was probably the most tedious part but it was also exciting to watch the dough transition from dry to extremely soft and pliable.
  • This is a fresh pasta dough. I left half of the unused dough wrapped in the refrigerator overnight. I noticed the exterior surface developed very tiny black dots which I suspect is due to some oxidation effects from the air with the natural sulphur present in egg yolks. Just before I worked with the dough, I warmed it to room temperature for 45 minutes and then kneaded it for 1 to 2 minutes. The black dots will be diluted out by the rest of the dough which is bright yellow and it will not be noticeable. The book does mention not storing this dough for more than 2 days due to the discoloration effect.
  • Work fast with this dough because it dehydrates quickly as it is being worked on. It will become stiff quickly as it is rolled out as evaporation will increase as it gets thinner.
  • I bought this pasta maker which is really easy to use and assemble. Just don't get it wet or wash it or it will rust (as per the manufacturer's instructions) just brush off the flour in the blades to clean.
  • Follow your pasta machine's manufacturer's instructions for more specific notes on rolling out the past dough. I've shared a few tips from the book that I found helpful in the recipe at the end.
Homemade Egg Pasta |A Brown Table

homemade egg pasta 

from Flour and Water: Pasta Cookbook by Thomas McNaughton 

yields: 22.7 ounces of dough

ingredients 

2 packed (12.7 ounces/360grams) cups of all-purpose flour 

1 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

18 (1 1/4 cups/ 10.6 ounces/300 grams) large egg yolks 

1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

a spray bottle with clean tap water at room temperature

1. Place the flour in the shape of a mound on a clean and dry surface. Using your hand make a deep well in the center of the flour and sprinkle the salt in the well. 

2. Carefully pour the egg yolks and olive oil into the well and then using a fork, gently mix the egg yolks by stirring and scraping from the bottom to the work surface as you proceed. Avoid touching the "walls" of the flour during this stage. 

3. Once the yolks are mixed, start to slowly incorporate the walls of the flour, gradually working your way outwards and thereby incorporating more and more flour as you proceed. If the yolk mixture spills out of the walls, push them back in reform the "walls" using your hands.

4. Once the mixture starts to acquire a more solid texture, remove any material that is attached to the fork. Then using a bench scraper, release the wet dough that is attached to the work surface and using your hands start to bring the dough together to form a single mass. While working the dough, mist the dough liberally with water to moisten and bring the dough together. The dough will dry at first and as you spritz with water it will start to get wet and eventually all the flour will be incorporated into the ball of dough. 

5. Knead the dry dough by hand for 10 to 15 minutes. It will transition into a smooth pliable and flexible dough with a bright shiny yellow texture. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before using. Do not store for more than 2 days as the yolks will oxidize with time (see notes above).

6. To roll out out the dough, unwrap the dough and divide it into 4 equal parts. You can use the manufacturer's instructions of your machine or form one part into a ball. Place it on a clean, very lightly floured surface and roll out the dough to a thickness that will just fit into the widest setting of your pasta machine. As the dough is dry there is no need to add any extra flour while rolling it into the machine. Start with the widest setting on the flat rollers and pass the dough through the machine 3 times. It will double in length. Then decrease the width on the flat rollers and repeat the same process. The ideal width of the pasta sheet should allow you to have a finger's length space on each side, so there is plenty of room in the machine. Keep the speed consistent when you roll out the dough. As the dough gets thinner, it will dry faster and will get stiff easily. So cut it immediately as soon as it forms and use it to cook.