Friday, July 18, 2014

Mysore Masala Dosa

So many memories are flooding in as I write this post. Our home was the official headquarters of dosa, or should I call it the dosa factory. All my friends will vouch for that and to many of them my mom was a friend and a confidante more than a mere ‘aunty’. In India we do not call elders by their name, so every friend’s mom is an aunty. Now that I think of it, I would always bring in friends from school and it was understood that they would be having lunch at my place. When I turned 16, my mom threw me a surprise party,  she invited all my friends and had a huge poster of sweet sixteen up in the living room - which she painted herself.  We must have been some 20 kids - dosas for 20 giggly teens is not an easy task. Can you imagine, I do not have a single photograph from it, but everything is crystal clear in my mind…I remember it like yesterday.  A baby pink poster with a pink rose (hand painted) and sweet sixteen painted on it. My teen turns sixteen next year, am not sure if anything can top what mom did for me…life is such a full circle. I can’t imagine that so much time has gone by. As I make dosas for my teen and her friends, I always think of my mom and her kitchen, her 1000 watt smile, that can light up a room even today - she has never frowned, it’s always smiles, in good times and otherwise. She did have her share of anger - but frown, hardly.  Life has always smiled back at her. Her smile is still as young as probably when she was sixteen. 

To me dosa is not a mere south Indian delicacy, it’s memories, it’s soul food ….it’s the key to Indian hospitality. Probably that is why my family thinks  it’s one of the things I make best. (if I may say so myself). Probably some where I feel the need to keep up with my mother’s standards of not only making perfect dosas but of hospitality, of  serving food with a smile, that shines from within. 

I have tried to capture dosa so many times but I have never really been  satisfied, am not as happy… I might redo the post with better pictures. I don’t think it is even possible to capture this amazing delicacy. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, when you bite into it, you can taste the crunch, the sweet-sourness of the fermented lentils, the rich aromatic flavor of ghee (clarified butter). Close your eyes, use your hands to break into the dosa and feel the texture, put it into your mouth, the crisp crunchy dosa, the sweet and spicy chutney, the potato filling….culinary ecstasy! I can be really dramatic :)

#MysoreMasalaDosa #HomeMadeDosa #ButterDosa #Recipe


#MysoreMasalaDosa #HomeMadeDosa #ButterDosa #Recipe


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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chipotle Mozzarella Sticks (It’s baked!)

There has been a lot of action in the Jois kitchen: crowded counter tops, dishes piled up in the sink and the aroma of freshly cooked food lingering around the household. Finally teen is often (very often) seen lurking in the kitchen trying out her culinary experiments.  In three years she will be off to college and it goes without saying I will miss her a lot. I have tons of time to clean up then, now is the time to enjoy and make messes. My friends who know me well will be quite shocked to read this. I am not only embracing the mess around me but even enjoying the hustle and bustle that goes with a messy kitchen. Well, this post is really about finally teen, and not the mess in our kitchen.   She has show her displeasure that I have not been speaking much about her on the blog. Even though she has now become an almost regular contributor to TnS.

Someone is really fond of cheese and when we are at the deli section, I see her spend a lot of time at the cheese bar. She picked up some fresh mozzarella, a few weeks ago, I had no idea about the plans and in a couple of days I saw her working with it. She made the mozzarella sticks and froze them for almost 2 days, then one weekend evening, when I had my feet up ready to watch some mindless telly, I was asked to take pictures - and it was now or never. So out came the camera, no thinking, no planning and I was given twenty minutes, 15 images later I came down to crumbs of half eaten mozzarella and a plate with hot mozzarella sticks and marinara for me. (awww moment). 

Finally teen has not only been busy in the kitchen but she and her friends have developed an app (available on google play). It is an app that monitors your calories and includes social media to motivate you, pretty cool app, here is the link if you want to download Fittastick. Version 3.0 is currently in the works.  

#MozzarellaSticks #BakedMozzarellaSticks #ChipotleMozzarellaSticks


#MozzarellaSticks #BakedMozzarellaSticks #ChipotleMozzarellaSticks
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Monday, July 7, 2014

365 days of Photography - June, 2014

Am back with 365 days of photography, for the month of June. It has been an exceptional month in terms of photography, I seriously did not know which images to include, had so many. When I started out the challenge, I was really not sure if I could make it thru the year. With each passing month I am getting more and more immersed into photography. A lot of people believe, photography is all about owning a good camera and tons of post processing - it’s far from it. It’s like telling a baker - your cakes are amazing, you must have a great oven. Tools can only help you improve your skills, but good ingredients necessarily don’t make great art. 

It’s hilarious how sometimes I get the reaction, “ So you take pictures of your food and post it, that’s all” Well, my usual response, “yes, that is all” - well, not really. Photography is an art form. It’s an expression, an extension, an emotion - it’s poetry with colors and light not words - just like a painting….

 Previous month’s work 





Simi Jois Photography

Simi Jois Photography

Simi Jois Photography
Simi Jois Photography
Simi Jois Photography


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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Triple Berry popsicles - 2 ways

This post reminds me of my love affair with water color painting. A few years back, when I was trying to get in touch with my artistic side, I took some water class lessons. I don’t think it was an absolute disaster, but it was really not my thing. I learnt a technique called ‘wet on wet’ : when u add two colors to a wet paper, they tend to have a mind of their own and blend to create something absolutely stunning. When I mixed the berries with vanilla ice-cream,  I loved the way the rich pink blended into the white, creating swirls and patterns - each popsicles was different from the other. We loved the flavors and the rich patters it created. No artificial color or flavors used. Edible art :)

This is going to be a pix heavy post as I am sharing 2 recipes: creamy vanilla-berry pop and the other one plain berry pops. Summer is all about ice-creams, fruit pops, bbq, picnics, finger foods. Am always looking for something EASY and quick, I really do not want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and at the same time I want to create something that looks and tastes good. If it is healthy, a big thumbs up! I love pops and this one is guilt-free and I did eat multiples of them ;) The best part, it has real fruit - not from some concentrate with tons of food color,  If you are looking for something rich and creamy, you have these tiny vanilla-berry pops. I love the size, it’s really so cute. I loved both and it is hard for me to pick one over the other. There is nothing much to it. They looked so bright and summery and tasted so delicious, I just had to share it on the blog. 

Hope you guys have a wonderful long weekend, here in the US. Happy 4th of July and can’t wait to bloghop to see some amazing grilling recipes. 

I had some questions about my gear - I use Sony Nex-6 ( mirror less camera), lens 16-50mm and 50mm, that’s all, nothing fancy. For post processing I use photoshop elements - since am not so tech savvy, am not that good with post processing, something I need to work on.  Any questions, inputs, email me or just leave a comment. 

#Berries, #Popsicle, #SummerFood, #4ofJuly #, #FrozenTrests # Homemade, #recipe

#Berries, #Popsicle, #SummerFood, #4ofJuly #, #FrozenTrests # Homemade, #recipe

#Berries, #Popsicle, #SummerFood, #4ofJuly #, #FrozenTrests # Homemade, #recipe

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Mango ginger lemonade

We were at the grocery store and finally teen picked up a bottle of mango lemonade, I said, we can make this at home…,”it’s not the same” was her response. At first I said fine and we got the lemonade and moved on,  as we sat in the car I asked her, Why not…! “It will not taste like this, this is so yummy.” Well,  this to me is an open challenge. Lol! jokes apart, I did make my own version of lemonade. Made from real lemons and mangoes. No guesses for which one was guzzled,  the branded is still in the refrigerator and am very sure it will be enjoyed and it does have a longer shelf life. But I was told mine had a richer, color, flavor and more body from the mango. We all agreed that made from fresh ingredients is always a winner hands down. Did I say I just loved the bright color. 

Am so glad we bought the mango lemonade, I would have never thought of trying this, it’s definitely on my menu for the next outdoor party. I love sipping lemonade, green teas and prefer to make my own. My latest passion is  genmaicha - Japanese green tea. Am going to be posting a fruity chilled version of that soon, still trying to perfect the recipe. I can guzzle gallons of it, and it is great for your skin, so am really not complaining. 

My Raspberry sangria got featured on Brit + Co, some amazing cocktails to enjoy at the pool side, you might want to check it out.  I love pool parties but unfortunately I cannot swim, but I can surely enjoy the cocktails. ;)

Thanks to Daily Meal for featuring my strawberry shortcake in a shot glass, again many versions of shortcake in that post too. 

I must warn you that this is a picture heavy post, got kind of carried away with the lovely colors. 

Lemonade, Mango lemonade, Mango ginger lemonade, recipe, fresh lemonade


Flower, lemonade, spring

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