Pretty much every bakery in Karachi sells Palmiers or French Hearts. They are one of those things that I can rarely resist picking up when I am back in Karachi, but am frequently disappointed by. The thing is they are just a little… boring you know?
In one of my recent nostalgic moods I pulled out a sheet of all butter puff pastry from my freezer and looked around for inspiration. It came quickly in the form of two lackluster oranges lying in my fruit bowl. Remember the citrus sugar I had made for beignets? I zested the oranges, rubbed the zest into some granulated sugar, added a teensy bit of salt and wow, these were really good. The orange zest brightens the flavor of these flaky petite puff pastry treats and transforms them into something extraordinary.
They’re also really pretty (if I do say so myself) and would make great hostess gifts or a very welcome addition to the usual smorgasbord of Christmas cookies.
I don’t know about you all, but we have been having a moody few days in Toronto. Dark skies, snow storms, rain, and then the one sunny/warm day we had was accompanied by forceful winds. My body is already craving summer. Since there is little I can do about the weather I decided to revisit a favorite in the form of these deeply chocolaty cookies with salty subtle pistachios and chocolate chips.
So. Freaking. Good.
I had my concerns you know – especially since I pretty much made these from memory. My recipes disappear on me sometimes. They’re sneaky like that. Fortunately, my memory hasn’t failed me entirely and these babies were pretty darn delicious.
They are also extremely customizable. With the Holidays upon us they would be a great hostess gift and you can make them more Christmas-y by using red/green M&Ms or white chocolate chips and mint extract. The possibilities are endless.
Hello people – do you know Indira? Of course you do, I just did a guest post over her at her blog in the form of an indulgent fajita pizza. Indira is bringing some class into our post exchange by making her spin on a much loved white pizza. You already know I think she’s cool and so less babbling from me and more talking from her… Indira you’re up :)
Today I’m excited to visit all of you Flour & Spice readers. I’m Indira over at I’ll Cook, You Wash and Sarah has become a pretty good blogging buddy of mine. We’ve been talking about guest posting for ages and I’m happy that we can finally do this.
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a super fancy and easy twist on comfort food. What’s more comforting than pizza? I mean, pizza comforts you when you don’t even need comforting…Pre-emptive comforting if you will.
In recent years, I’ve moved past the classic cheese and tomato sauce combo (don’t worry, that staple isn’t going anywhere) to experiment with different toppings and sauces. I’ve always found comfort in what I think are indulgent flavours – white wine, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, butter – and one day the thought to combine them all hit me. Hello inspiration! While I’ve been using this pizza as comfort food (i.e. cut haphazardly and inhale accordingly), I also feel that it will work very well at a dinner party or special occasion. You can also cut into smaller squares and serve as mini appetizers.
Granted, there are quite a few elements to putting together this pizza, but it’s very minimal prep and can be cooked simultaneously so that you can use the waiting time to take a bath, change into your comfortable clothes, set up a show you plan to binge watch, and close off all your other responsibilities for the night. By the way, I sincerely despise any sort of kneading, and making use of flatbread is one of the more genius ideas of mine *blows on fingernails & buffs them against shirt*
Important note: a bit of planning will cut your cooking time significantly. The garlic by far takes the longest to cook, so roast your garlic beforehand (up to a week & a half before you make the pizza) and store in the fridge. It will help you get to that first bite so much quicker.
I am having a social few weeks guys. First I visited Aruna at Aharam and shared a wonderful Thai noodle salad and now I am over at Indira’s blog “I’ll Cook, You Wash” sharing my recipe for a pizza I am basically obsessed with. It is so good.
Let’s just take a minute to look at it in it’s cheesy topping heavy goodness. Yum. Sigh. I wish I had pizza right now.
Okay *exhale*, focus Sarah focus.
Indira with the awesomely named blog cracks me up – she really does. Apart from being a fellow lover of avocados, Indira is also a lover of everyday food – you know the kind of food you look at and can make and eat without exhausting your annual grocery budget and two days worth of time. My kinda girl I tell you. I have tried her Foolproof Lime Cumin Quinoa salad (so yum) and now have my sights set on about a dozen other recipes at her blog. Visit her, follow her, and thank me later :)
So Indira and I have a bit of a pizza swap going. She is sending a scrumptious White Pizza – both my love and nemesis – my way and this week I have shared with her the recipe for my Fajita Pizza. You can read more about it over here, but for now imagine this – a thick crisp on the outside soft and chewy on the inside crust, topped with tangy salsa, beautiful melty cheese, sweet niblets of corn, feisty jalapenos, delicious black beans, diced bright red peppers and finally some spicy fajita chicken. Damnit. I am hungry again.
Growing up in Karachi it seemed to me that all of my friends ate more or less the same food my family did. Except for one. My friend A has a Syrian grandmother and thanks to that influence the food at her house was always so different and so darned good. I shamelessly invited myself not only to her house, but to her grandmothers on more than one occasion because I simply could not get enough of the clean bright flavors. Everything was no muss no fuss delicious. I suspect the novelty of it made it seem even more delicious because once I was telling her something was really good and she said “it’s just aalu gosht with no masala for Godssake!”
Clearly she didn’t appreciate it as much as I did.
This warm spinach salad is one of her family recipes. The lemony garlicky spinach provides the perfect base for some lovely healthy winter flavors. The bright pomegranate seeds and the toasted walnuts provide flavor and crunch that is perfectly complemented by pieces of pan seared halloom (my addition). For those of you unfamiliar with it Halloom is a salty firm Arab cheese that lends itself well to grilling or searing as the insides melt, but the outside will turn a lovely crispy brown while still holding shape. It is now commonly available in most grocery stores in Toronto much to the delight of Zara, my 4 year old Halloom fiend.
This salad comes together quickly and is infinitely adaptable. Just use the spinach as a base and add whatsoever your heart desires. I imagine it would be equally good with some feta or goat cheese and I happen to know it is yummy without any cheese at all. We usually have prefried onions in the pantry (readily available and they keep well), but if you don’t then you are welcome to make your own or omit them entirely.
Happy Thursday everyone! Thanks for stopping by for today’s Three Things Thursday!
Thing One: The Pakistani Way
I was brought up to do things a certain way – to lay the table the night before a big dinner, to make menus extensive enough that your guests shouldn’t feel just satiated, but stuffed. This was how I believed things just are and to this day that is how I am.
Kofta Curry, Photo Credit: Shayma Sadaat from Spice Spoon, published in Edible Toronto Summer 2014
Now with two kids I find myself trying to make it all a little more manageable. My older daughters first birthday had no pizza, no catered food, and sixty people. My second’s first birthday will not be entirely home cooked and may not have sixty people. As we move away from our country of origin to one that is new and so different we all find ways to keep what is important to us alive and give way on things that are less so. A cousin (Hi Saman!) told me about this article by Shayma Saadat of the blog Spice Spoon and it is an absolute must read, especially for my non desi (South Asian) friends who probably don’t understand why we do what we do – “Isn’t a main, a salad, and a side enough?”
Thing Two: Picking on Pinterest
Okay people I know I am being a little persnickety here, but the pinterest pictures that are longer than the length of my screen are driving me crazy. It feels like my feed is flooded by them and while I get the objective (greater visibility) they are taking the fun out of pinning. I don’t need to see pictures of boiling water, the end product is enough. Thanks.
Thing Three: K for Karachi
I am incredibly sentimental, a trait that I blame wholly on my fathers side of the family. If I didn’t have my husband (not so sentimental) to curb me I would probably have a wall plastered with kitschy truck art to remind me of Karachi. Now thanks to Khaula Jamil “Documentary photographer | Photojournalist in the big bad awesome city of Karachi” there is another way for me to keep Karachi close to me. Her K for Karachi jewelry collection is pretty cool and worth checking out for my fellow sentimentalists. You can follow her on instagram as well @Khaula28 for some incredible Karachi shots.
I’ve been told that my family’s love for food is perhaps not entirely ‘normal’. What do I know – it’s normal for me ;)
I do know though that sometimes we can overdo it like the time my eldest brother and I decided to order food for sehri/suhoor from Barbq Tonite, a Karachi institution and home of some incredibly tasty prawn masala. The prawn masala was not the only dish we ordered – if memory serves correctly it was one of eight of which only the naan and half a kabab were left after the two of us were done with it. In our defense it was Ramadan – we were clearly internally stockpiling food… camel like and all…
I don’t know what it is that makes that prawn masala so good and I suspect I could spend endless hours in the kitchen and never achieve an exact copy, but man this one hits the spot. It is spicy and unctuous with it’s tender yet firm shrimp, the tomatoes that have been softened, but still hold their shape, the traditional karhai flavours slightly muted and loads of bright green cilantro and green chillies. The net result? Finger lickin’ good.
Oh and I usually use shrimp because I always have them handy, but you are welcome to use prawn.