Monday, October 10, 2011

October----All for Baking!

Since I started writing this blog, I was constantly torn between the Simplicity and novelty of baking and the comfortable familiarity of Indian cuisine. So finally when the Summer disappeared and the chill in the air became a little too obvious, I decided I had enough with blogging of Nostalgic food.
October is the month when the leaves here change to a beautiful yellow, orange, brown and the Holiday season  starts in earnest with Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. Halloween is the starter course of the treats that drives the kids crazy and keeps them in that perpetual sugar-high well until the New Year. Costumes, Trick-or-treating and the sights of carved Pumpkins, just adds more fun to this celebration.
I love the smells that waft around on a good fall evening, of  that newly crisp air, the occasional aroma of cinnamon from a neighbor's kitchen, the savory dinners baking away with a vengeance in ovens....well you get the picture!
That brings me to my theme for the Month! Baking. I started with baking when I got over my shyness with the landlord's oven in our first apartment. I remember the first thing I ever baked was an Orange Pound Cake. Pound Cakes are pretty much any beginners' confidence builder. There's a very low margin for error. But even then, my first attempt rose up like a dome, and collapsed the minute it came out of the oven, leaving a sagged, cracked surface, I sulked over for hours.
But a taste test by my brave man, proved, that we wont die if we eat it and, it was tasty! And then I stuck to cake mixes from the Grocery store for awhile until we moved. My baby had grown into a toddler who loved his Public television and his naps. He was also a picky eater, which meant I could experiment with creating the stuff he liked, while he napped away for 2 golden hours in the noon. And thus I actually started baking. It started with cookies, then cakes (no more cake mixes....Yay!) and finally baked dinners like Whole chicken, part chicken, Fish in Foil and various kind of Roast vegetables. Some went horribly wrong and had to be marked HAZMAT and thrown away (Ok I exaggerate, but you get the idea!) while others were gobbled in even before it cooled down. Small batches were never my strong suite so I was lucky enough to get some good feedback and tips from the ones I shared them with.
And thus were born this month's featuring recipes. I never could stick to a particular recipe without altering and making it personal (unless it was desserts from Mama Paula Deen or Amazing Italian grub from Chef Nick Stellino)

Mama Paula Deen: I want to be her when I grow up!

I grew addicted to Paula Deen, after living in Atlanta for some years and loving the warmth and wholesomeness of the South. Her recipes on Food TV gave me the courage to try those and raise confidence levels in my baking. A lot of the cookie recipes I make (but I don't post) comes from her. Well, I want to be her when I grow up! :-)

Nick Stellino: Pretty easy to look at too! :-P

And when it comes to Italian Food, you know passion has gotta do a lot with it. One cool, blue eyed chef who is very passionate about his Cooking took my heart away with the sweet simplicity and rusticity of his dishes. And that was Nick Stellino! And nope, I wouldn't change a single ingredient from what he makes!
Anyways, I do have a wide group of chefs I love and get inspired from, varied in my range of Fanaticism (Anthony Bourdain, Sanjeev Kapoor, Emeril etc etc who have influenced me in some major way) but in the end, Mamma's gotta cook her own grub, to write her own Blog!

Yep, the guy I envy with all my heart, love and adore! Anthony Bourdain.

And this month I will be posting step by step recipe of a yummy simple buttery sugar cookie, a wholesome filling Shepherd's Pie, Pizza's more silent sibling Calzone and for dessert, a cake that can be decked up to be a Gorgeous birthday cake or will be still delicious when you serve it as a simple unadorned dessert or coffee-mate. So stay tuned, Keep your eyes open for the lovely fall colors and Bon Appetite! 

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