mini recipe

CLE Cooks: A taste of Mumbai

Yesterday, I finally pulled the trigger on something I've been thinking about for a few years.

I've always wanted to have a retail store, and yesterday, I finally founded my business, Bombay Taxi. Bombay Taxi will offer a selection of apparel and accessories, curated by me. And everything will have a little sparkle, because everyone should Sparkle Every Day.

Over the next few months you will notice a few changes to this page -- this site is in the process of being re-designed, and of course, Bombay Taxi will be launched too, so many exiting things in the pipeline here.

In the mean time, I wanted to take a step back and get a little nostalgic. It is the monsoon season in Mumbai, and given how wet and stormy its been here in Cleveland, its felt a lot like a monsoon here too! Anyway, one of my favorite things about the monsoon is eating grilled corn (bhutta) from the sidewalk stands in Mumbai---- Mumbai street food! Mumbai grilled corn is actually really easy to make, and while they usually use white corn in Mumbai, our more traditional yellow corn will do just fine.

Here's what you do: Mix equal parts salt and paprika (or red chili powder if you're feeling adventurous) on a plate. Slice a lemon into 4 quarters. Turn your grill on high, and de-husk your corn, but leave the stalk on as a little handle. You want naked corn on your grill. Now, grill your corn, making sure to give  it a little char on all sides. You may hear it pop- this is totally fine and normal. Once you have the char you like, take it off the grill. Use the lemon to grab some salt and lemon and rub it on the corn while you give the lemon a little squeeze. Enjoy and get messy corn-face! Its spicy and lemony and absolutely delicious!!!

So there you have it! A little taste from Mumbai for the next time you bust out your grill! Enjoy!

Try It: Steamed Artichoke

I had no idea that I like steamed artichoke until I ate my first one at L'Albatros a few weeks ago, and subsequently couldn't stop thinking of it. Problem is, I was terrified of cooking artichokes, until I watched this video:

Its easier than you think!!! I steamed an artichoke earlier this week (and ate the whole thing), and it was absolutely delicious. You could make your own lemon aioli, or you can go the super lazy route and just buy Annie's Lemon & Chive Vinaigrette. Either way, super easy, mostly healthy, and super delicious. Don't forget to squeeze some lemon over the artichoke before you eat it!

Happy eating!

Farm Fresh

So a couple of weeks ago, a signed up to participate in Fresh Fork's CSA. If you're unfamiliar with how CSA's work, essentially you "subscribe" to receive a package of locally farmed groceries. Pickups (at multiple locations across Cleveland) are usually every week in the summer, slowing to every two weeks in the winter. I missed the opportunity to participate this summer (boo procrastination), but I got my act together for the winter season.

I picked up my "basket" this Saturday, and was greeted with this:

Amongst other things, the basket contained 1lb nitrate-free bacon, 1 whole chicken, brussel sprouts, beets, roma tomatoes, gouda cheese (YUM!), green cauliflower (never seen that before), apples, and miscellaneous other veggies. I am SO excited to make it through the basket. I've already decided that I'm making the brussel sprouts with bacon, and doing a whole rosemary-lemon roasted chicken. I don't know what I'm going to do about the beets (do I even like beets?), but I'm sure I will come up with something!

So far, I made roasted cauliflower (OMG! So delicious!! Toss cauliflower in olive oil, with garlic, salt and pepper. Bake in a covered pan for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and broil for 5 minutes), and a tomato salad (sliced thick with seasoned salt, drizzle of olive oil, parmesan, let sit for atleast 5 minutes), and maybe its all in my head, but I swear that locally farmed, minimally processed produce tastes better than the stuff at grocery stores! Even N, who doesn't care for cauliflower or raw tomatoes, enjoyed both!!

The good news is there are still a few CSA spots available, so sign up soon!! The next pickup is the week of Thanksgiving, and I absolutely can't wait!!!


I was so excited today!! Why, you ask? NIGELLA LAWSON HAS AN iPHONE APP ($7.99) !! I luuuurve her; she's my favorite celebrity chef/ food personality. And for the record, I liked her way before she was on the Food Network; my lurve goes back to her early days on E! and The Style Network. Post-Great Fire of 2009, I went out and bought two of her books : Nigella Express and Forever Summer.

Recipes from these books are in heavy rotation in the CLEshopaholic household. What's so great about Nigella, you ask?
1. I don't know how she does it, but she makes her food look soooooo sensual! And not just in the pictures, it looks fantastic in real life!
2. Her recipes stand up really well to modifications (sidebar: I can't follow a recipe exactly; its why I'm a terrible baker and had a complete meltdown the night before a cookie exchange last year. Seriously, I messed up scoop and bake cookies)
3. Every recipe is FULL of flavor (you should try my adaptation below)
4. She has a British accent. Enough said.

So, here's my adaptation of Nigella's Spinach and Bacon Salad (I wish I could give you the real version, but N has packed up the study and now I don't know where he put the book).

1 cup chopped cooked chicken (if you don't have leftovers, you could use rotisserie chicken)
1 bag baby spinach
6 slices bacon, chopped (I think Nigella used 1 lb in her original recipe; put in as much as you want)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (I strongly recommend getting a good one; it make a HUGE difference)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional : goat cheese (as much as you want)
Optional : Crutons (you can make your own or use store bought; you could also use a chopped up baguette)

Put bag of spinach in a salad bowl. Put cooled cooked chicken in same salad bowl.
In a skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil and fry up bacon.
Fish out crispy bacon with a slotted spoon: DO NOT drain bacon grease. Turn off burner
Quickly pour the red wine vinegar into the skillet; the red wine-bacon grease mixture will bubble.
Once the bubbling dies down, quickly pour over salad mixture. Add bacon, goat cheese, and crutons.
Mix up and serve immediately.

The spinach may wilt slightly, but that's to be expected. So obviously, this recipe is not the healthiest, but it is super quick and easy and ridiculously yummy. ENJOY!!

Try a little Greek

I'm luuurve breakfast! I love everything about breakfast. Eggs, toast, breakfast pastry, cereal, hash browns, pancakes, crepes.....EVERYTHING!! Unfortunately, I can never get it together enough in the morning to make a real breakfast, so I have to either make do with cereal or take something into the office. I have a tendency to go through "breakfast phases" where I pretty much eat the same thing for a month straight.

My new obsession is Greek yogurt. In an attempt to lower my intake of added sugar (including artificial) I've been sticking with the plain yogurt (with a teaspoon of honey and pecans) and the Oikos vanilla (only 4 g of added sugar). And then, I found this fabulous recipe:

6 oz plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage non-fat)
1 teaspoon lemon curd (you could make your own, but I'm not motivated enough; its a little sweet, tangy, lemony, and overall YUMMY)
Optional: nuts (I like slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, and pecans)
Optional: lemon zest

Mix it all together and enjoy.

Here's the part I luuuuurve most:
Nutrition Facts (not including the nuts)
Calories: 150
Sugar: 13 g (of which 9 are natural sugars in the yogurt)
Protein: 15 g
Fat: 1 g

So, what's your "breakfast of champions"?