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Chocolate Tasting Party

This is a plate of chocolate treats that a guest made up at my Chocolate Tasting Party on Dec. 7. From left is the Mardi Gras Cake, Valrhona Bites, Truffle Doughnut and Cappuccino Cake.

I usually do a holiday cookie basket for close friends and relatives. This year I couldn’t decide what my chocolate part of the basket would be so I decided to host a party where the guests would vote on which they prefer.

I made Thomas Keller’s Chocolate Bouchon which I called a Valhrona Bite; Sherry Yard’s Dark, Decadent Doughnut which I called a Truffle Doughnut; Jim Dodge’s Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Cake which I called a Mardi Gras Cake (since it’s a party in your mouth) and my sister, Suki, contributed her Cappuccino Cake which was a chocolate-espresso confection. Click the links for the recipe.

It was a fun afternoon full of chocolate and friends. In the end, the Truffle Doughnut narrowly edged out the Mardi Gras Cake. Unfortunately, since the Truffle Doughnut needs to be served hot it wasn’t the best choice for sending in the mail.

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Celebrating Holi

Just part of the Holi spread: Aloo Tikkis (potato pancakes), Gujiya (delicious Indian pastries), Somosas and Kurma (both savory and sweet fried Indian snacks).

The Swaroop family came together on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010 to celebrate Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors that is traditionally celebrated by splashing colored water and attacking each other with colored powder in a festive, fun celebration that includes a massive Indian spread. In our family, everyone gathered in Huntington Beach to celebrate.

However, we did not play colors. It was decided that nobody was up for the task of cleaning up the mess the colors leave. So sad, since it isn’t really Holi for me without the rambunctious glee of color but more of a food fest.

Nothing wrong with a food fest, though! Pictured above is our spread of the plethora of main courses: Hand-made sandwiches by Sujata; Fried Chicken, Chicken Soft Tacos and Potato Salad provided by Suki.

Fried Chicken

Here is a closer look at one of the staples of our Holi menu. It’s not exactly a traditional Indian item, but it is certainly a traditional Swaroop Holi item. The chicken and the potato salad behind it was picked up from a local deli. It looks good, doesn’t it? Well, you should’ve been there because the delicious aroma stayed in the house all day long tempting those of us there to devour some. We did.

And let’s not forget the massive chicken soft tacos. Above, Roshan enjoys a taco as he finishes up lunch. Actually, they were so good he had two!

The family: In this picture is Sunita, Ram, Karen, Shawn, Surabhi and Rita enjoy lunch in the California sunshine. There was a steady downpour the day before so we felt blessed for the balmy weather.