Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cobbled Together

Traditionally, a cobbler is a shoemaker and sole-repairman, with, I like to imagine, a brown leather apron and a pair of glasses sitting just so on the edge of his nose.

My kind of cobbler, the fruit kind, fixes things too. It fixes the fact that you haven’t had much of a life for a few months straight. It fixes the fact you haven’t seen your family since Christmas. It fixes all the stress by relaxing you with the lovely job of pitting stone fruits, squeezing a lemon, and mixing together a crumbly topping. My kind of a cobbler is the soul-repairman, summer-fruit version.

From The Vagabond Table

For my mom’s birthday, I gave her David Lebovitz’s delicious book, Ready for Dessert, a book that offers everything from pies and cakes to tarts and ice creams. For the past month or so we’ve discussed baking one of his recipes together, and upon my return home, we decided on the Cherry-Almond Cobbler, a relatively simple and delicious-sounding dessert that we chose to serve at a brunch later in the weekend.

You pit a pound of cherries (luckily my mom had a cherry-pitter. Unluckily, I suck at using it and she had to go back through and remove all the seeds that I missed.) You mix sugar and lemon juice with the cherries (with your cherry-juice stained arms), then mix a simple topping of flour, marzipan, butter, milk, and sugar until fluffy and spoon over the cherries. The dish smells heavenly when baking, toasted and almond-y with a ripe layer of summer fruit at its peak.

From The Vagabond Table

This Cherry-Almond Cobbler is easy to assemble, and just as easy to disassemble, as noted by my lack of any photos of an actual serving of it. The whole dish was gone within twenty minutes, so I know I'm not the only one who loves summer-fruit cobblers! The almond topping complimented the cherries perfectly, and really, such a dessert is the only reason you should even turn your oven on in these swelteringly hot days of summer.

From The Vagabond Table

Guys, this cobbler was a hit. And, like I mentioned earlier, it tends to be a fixer-upper of things, and I’m a-hankerin' to keep it around for a while.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My People

Guys, I’ve been all UP in my Indian-ness recently. My naani should be proud.

Over Memorial Day, I went to NYC where I visited my friend Lucy, who in turn took me to the Alvin Ailey Dance Studo (!) where we took a Masala Bhangra class (!!) from Sarina Jain herself, and proceeded to get No joke. For like 5 days afterwards my calves groaned and stretched and ached, and by the end of the recovery period, I had somewhat-well-defined calf muscles on my skinny chicken legs! Most importantly, though, I had a blast…it was full of heart. Full of drama and passion and strength. It was so much fun. I felt like I’d directly bonded with my people. Shabad, my 100% Indian friend who I grabbed breakfast with that same weekend, welcomed me into the Bhangra-loving-Indian-fold. It was a good weekend.

I’d like to note I haven’t made Indian food since the Vegetable Pulau episode which kicked off this whole blog a year and a half ago. It’s so strange. I’ll delve into Vietnamese, South American, Mexican, Italian, German…but I’m nervous to cook anything Indian. It's almost as if I can’t cook it, because it won’t ever be like home. Does that even make sense? Either way, my trusty roomie Roni was pushing me to make something Indian recently and I finally said okay then.

From The Vagabond Table

I searched all day online for something simple, vegetarian, and Indian. I couldn’t remember my G-ma ever making Chole Palak (Chickpeas and Spinach) so I didn’t feel too nervous. I even decided to make Parathas (minus, of course, the right kind of atta or flour my naani uses, but a girl has to make do with what she and the Whole Foods has, you know.)

From The Vagabond Table

So I came home and I made Indian food. My parathas were wheatier and heavier than my G-Ma’s, but that’s okay. They still tasted good. The Chole Palak was delicious and did what any good Indian dish does…makes your clothes and kitchen smell like spice for 2 days straight. It was a tiny personal triumph, and while a small thing, it was a big thing.

Sorry I've been gone for a minute...a work conference I've been helping to plan for the better part of a year just finished in San Antonio (great city!) and I'm resting for a few days in Phoenix before heading back. Joy to being home with my people, and more recipes to follow.