Diwali always seems to come at the right time; I suppose this says something about the wisdom of ancient religious calendars and living in sync with the cycles of the moon. Initially, Diwali felt “early” to me this year–at least in part due to the unseasonably warm weather of Houston’s mid-October–the holiday did its job as always, serving as a point of reflection and an opportunity to regroup and start again.
For some time, I’ve gone back-and-forth about the viability of this blog; I post so infrequently these days, my life very different from when I began this project in 2009.
I am a parent now, of course. And for the past year-and-a-half, I’ve been intently focused on a book project, which will come to fruition next year. I still cook a lot, but the nature of that cooking has changed–gone are the days of elaborate, “just for the heck of it” recipes that require a trip to the specialty store for ingredients. Instead, I am all about the weekly meal plans, prepping weeknight dinners in advance, stocking the freezer with casserole, pastas, or enchiladas whenever I can. Most of my writing isn’t about food anymore.
At the same time, I know that many of my friends and acquaintances come to the blog to search for recipes, which makes me grin. In truth, I often cook out of my archives, too; I don’t want this site to go anywhere. I plan to maintain it, just not to update it anymore. This will be my last post.
I’m proud of this blog and forever grateful for all of the doors it opened for me, especially the connections and friendships I made because of it. But the time has come for something new, for transitioning into the next thing, scary and exciting as that is. I’ve got the very beginnings of a new website, which I intend to use as a platform to share not-necessarily-food-related writing and provide updates about the work I’m doing, including my new book and the occasional writing course. I’ll be posting about the first course in the coming week, so, if you’re interested, you can sign up for my mailing list here.
Like most changes, this one feels bittersweet. I can’t help but think about my students, seniors all on the precipice of major transitions, edgy with the thrill and the fear contained therein. It’s easy for me to speak to them about the importance of risk, the necessity of moving outside of a comfort zone–but it’s humbling and essential for me to stand inside this space and be viscerally reminded of what that feels like.
Thank you all, for being here and for reading. I’ll miss this little blog.
Wouldn’t seem right unless I shared a few of the most popular recipes from this year’s festivities:
Naan pizzas – I buy mini-naans at Costco and use them as crust. Since they’re small, I can cook them in batches on a baking sheet and serve them warm. They are crazy-popular, and this year, I made two variations:
Butternut squash & chicken: in lieu of “sauce,” I mashed up Indian-style sweet-and-sour butternut squash, then layered it with shredded mozzarella and handfuls of diced chicken which I’d made ahead using leftovers from this recipe. Once the pizzas came out of the oven, I showered them with fresh, chopped cilantro.
Saag paneer: having cooked the greens and paneer separately, I used the saag as “sauce,” topped with shredded mozzarella and also a few cubes of paneer. Once these came out of the oven, they got a drizzle of cilantro chutney.
Even though this party was basically a happy hour situation, I still decided to make four desserts, because of course I did:
Chai snickerdoodles – I skipped the frosting, which seemed like a bit much. I’d do it again, because these were delightful and disappeared quickly!
Mango tartlets – phyllo shells have become my fancy-dessert- secret-weapon. I’ve filled them in the past with Tartine’s lemon cream, this key lime curd, and this time, with Smitten Kitchen’s mango curd. Find the phyllo shells in the freezer section at the grocery store, crisp them up in the oven, then fill them with something delicious. People will rave, guaranteed.
Pear galette – Stella Parks has never, ever steered me wrong (if you enjoy baking, you should buy her new book!) and this recipe is no exception. It was so good that I’m planning to make it again for Thanksgiving.
Saffron pistachio financiers – while these tasted great, they were a pain to remove from the pans after baking, so I’ll use liners next time.
PAST DIWALI POSTS:
*We skipped a year because a bunch of our friends got married all at once! (It was the best possible reason.)