Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Food Talk: My Dining Experience;Rijsttafel

Our Signature Freshly Baked Mini Caneles
This year, I am featuring Rijsttafel for the holiday season for my friends and family gatherings and I hope for you too. It is the Dutch interpretation of exotic Indonesian cuisine eaten in a communal dinning.  Laced with unique, distinctive flavors including Asian herbs and spices, with beautiful presentation.

I spent a significant portion of a four year sabbatical in Asia searching Indonesia for old textiles with my Dutch godmother. Many times over the course of that search I sat down to delicious Rijsttafel meals in Java and one of the most memorable experiences was having multiple dishes in Bali and cooking with ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, candle nuts, and palm sugar.

When I returned from my sabbatical I was asked to cater a big 50th birthday bash in Holland, where I discovered that Rijsttafel is found everywhere, from the smallest hamlet to the largest city. Since my Indonesian Rijsttafel experiences were fresh in my mind, I was able to create a wonderful, authentic feast for the celebration.
Various Dishes from our Rijsttafel "Rice Table" Holiday Party
From our kitchen to your table:
Heirloom Squash/Pumpkin Ravioli with Coconut Kashmiri red curry dip
Lump Crabmeat Slaw with Mint Chutney and Mustard Seeds
Mekong Style Meatballs with coriander roots and minced spring onion
Indonesian origin Beef Rendang with spicy slow cooked beef stew
Roast Lemongrass Chicken with Caramelized Onion
Vegetable Ratatouille as featured on The Occasional Vegetarian
Our Signature Panthay Noodle with Vegetables  and red onion relish

Friday, October 18, 2013

Holiday: Diwali - A Festival of Lights

Preparation first day of Diwali/Photo by Irene K. Wong
Happy (almost) Diwali! Our Saffron 59 kitchen is busy with our own Diwali-fest with Indian inspired bites like Chicken Pakora with Bengali Style Chatni (Tender fritters served with coriander and green chili dip). So, meet our guest writer of the week; the fabulous Jay Dehejia!
The five-day festival of lights will be celebrated in early November this year. This celebration takes different forms in different parts of India.  In my community of Gujaratis, we would spend evenings getting dressed up in colorful clothes and organize folk dances.  This year, we will celebrate Diwali with friends and family on November 3rd.  This autumn festival brings back such wonderful childhood memories for me.

Diwali, for me started with ‘Dhanteras’, the 13th day of the waning moon. The day is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi to provide for the well being and prosperity for the family. That is the day we would light hundreds of oil lamps all around the house and the garden.

                                                                 Photo by Geof Wilson