Sometimes the best laid plans are led astray. I meant to write a recipe post today. But as I’ve mentioned before, these past few days have been spectacular in terms of weather. There were any number of reasons to go out, visiting friends, running errands, but most importantly, it was just an entirely too beautiful day for us to spend indoors.
So step out we did, first stopping to check the backyard garden on the way. Last week’s ample rain had allowed us to neglect it a bit. Looks like most of the plants are doing just fine without our help.
There are brand new lavender blooms that had us puzzled. The unseasonably warm weather must be confusing the plants too.
The lavender had amethyst rose blooms to compete with. Look at this beauty. So gorgeous!
Happy Thanksgiving, you guys!
The most glorious sunshine is falling over this beautiful city and this may be our warmest Thanksgiving here yet. Yet, there is a crispness to the air. I love autumn sun. It is golden and warm and spills out all slanted at an angle, totally keeping in line with the pumpkin-yellow-orange Thanksgiving theme. Each and every one of the white and beige buildings opposite ours are gilded and warm. Don’t you just love it when nature decides to get all colour-coordinated? We’re off to enjoy the day but before we do, we wanted to wish anyone who stopped by to visit here today. Also, to bring you three wonderful San Francisco creators of baked goods.
I am always incredibly excited about new bakeries, far more so than any new restaurant. Back home, the Irani restaurants with their bun maska and delicious mutton and vegetable pattices were cool and inviting, fascinating to the child I was. Here, I get that from bakeries. There is always an element of excitement walking into a bakery, perusing what is on offer and then making your choice. And if I’m in luck and the bakery knows what it is doing, what is on offer is wonderful. It can make my entire day.
There are some famous bakeries out here in the Bay area. But everywhere you look there are wonderful small ones that are nourishing bodies and satisfying souls in their neighbourhood. These three that I’m going to tell you about here are exceptional.
It has been raining intermittently and the streets are slick and shiny, something I’m happy to be able to observe from the warmth of my home. My thoughts have turned towards the big holiday staring us in the face. Thanksgiving had rounded the corner and is hurtling towards us at breakneck speed. It is the season of gratitude and there are always reasons to be thankful and we are. Thankful for family & friends. For the roof over our head that keeps us out of the rain. For the food we eat that we cook in our warm kitchen. For the plants that grow in our backyard and instill a sense of wonderment for nature and her incredible workings each time we’re in there. For the seashore that is a stone’s throw away from where we live and that is my source of unending inspiration. For the ability to breathe in the warm fragrance that rises from the soil with the first rains.
Mostly this month, we’re grateful for this incredible opportunity to interact with you.
If we’ve gotten so far with this blog, it is only because of all the encouragement we have gotten along the way. Each and every one of all you fabulous readers, thank you so much for returning here and giving us a shout out when you have. To everyone who has said a kind word about this space or has taken the time to praise and appreciate our efforts, we are grateful you choose to spend time with us. We appreciate this opportunity of sharing our food with you. It is day 20 of NaBloPoMo and I have to admit to fatigue. I used to write posts that I could at least give an editing once-over to, but this month that hasn’t been possible. It has been a practice in speed writing with all these past month’s posts. With days spent at work, I seem to finish just before midnight every night. I’ve been cutting it close. Perhaps the pace is catching up with me, because I was staring at this blank space for the longest time before I got even these words down. I’m finding a way to power through, which is good because it is after all why I joined the challenge to begin with. This is not a sprint, it is a marathon. The point of a marathon, for me at least, is to finish, but finish well, still as eager about it as I was when I began, despite the tiredness. Your encouragement makes the late nights all worthwhile.
Today’s Thursday which means it’s time for the next installment of Thursday Three. Since spice has been a big part of this week’s focus, what with my first foray into making my own masalas, I thought I’d share my favourite three sources for spices with you today.
Your local Indian store is a powerhouse of a spice source. The usage of spices in Indian cooking is wide and varied. We’re talking about a country that boasts hundreds of different sorts of blends. This is logically the first place you should look. Your local Indian grocery store is where you can get reasonable amounts of spices without paying an arm and a leg for them. Since we love our spices and use them liberally, you can also be sure that they will be fresh on the shelf. There is however, a caveat. They will be fresh only if there is a flourishing Indian community where you live. It matters. I remember the local stores around my grad school. There were a lot of Indians around. They were all students. Everyone’s moms sent spice care packages. The spices in the shop? Can you say dust packets covered in dust bunnies? Trust me, you do not want two-year old cumin powder in your dal. I learned this the hard, miserable way.
The San Francisco Bay area is home to one of the largest Indian communities in the United States and pretty much anything Indian can be found here. It has been available outside the city of San Francisco for a long time. When I moved here ten years ago, this was useful but wasn’t helpful on a daily basis. We lived then, as we do now, in the city but most others lived in Silicon valley. As a result, there were only a couple of dusty shops up here which looked like they’d materialized straight out of a 60s movie, complete with grumpy men behind the counter with scary large mustaches.