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I love you, Mom!

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“There is way too much food.”

– Ram Swaroop, 82

For our annual Mother’s Day Brunch, we always gather at my parents house to celebrate all the Moms in our family including my mom, my aunts and sisters-in-law.

This year I organized it with my sister Suki. We decided to have all the people who aren’t parents to contribute to the potluck. Even my teen-age nephews and nieces. We have a family full of incredible chefs and I wanted to taste something from all the age groups from 12 to 45.

As a result, we had a ton of food including Mexican quiche, veggie quiche, crab quiche, rosemary potatoes, macaroni cole slaw,
veggie kabobs, turkey tacos, fajitas, salsa, guacamole, chips, quinoa salad, fruit salad, bagels, lemon tiramasu trifle, Dinesh‘s chocolate cheesecake bars and cookies.

Everyone brought their A-game and everything was delicious. It was a tasty way to show how much we care about the Moms in our family.

Thanks to all our Moms especially my beautiful, smart, encouraging, loving Mom for making the choice to take on the most challenging and rewarding job on the planet. You make the world a better place.

Below, one of the earliest pictures i have of me and Mom. I love you Mom!

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All-American Super Bowl fiesta

spread

“The sauce is so good you could use it as a spread.”

Shailesh Swaroop, as he quickly put some of Sangeeta’s Zesty Sauce on his burger in place of ketchup

We all gathered at my brother, Shailesh’s, house in Carlsbad to watch the big name pitting the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco Forty-Niners in New Orleans. Of course, in our family the main event is always food so we brought our A game and made this spread.

The cooks included my sister, Suki, brother Shailesh, myself, my nieces Sangeeta and even Maya and her boyfriend Aidan Keefe cooked up the bacon for the sliders. The spread included bacon cheeseburger sliders, garlic fries, hummus, guacamole, shrimp, cocktail sauce and cupcakes.

The food was all great with Sangeeta’s tasty cocktail sauce getting delighted nods all around. Click here for her cocktail sauce recipe.

The game has been great with Ravens dominating the Super Bowl. Beginning with Raven QB Joe Flacco set the tone for the game with an early touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin to Ed Reed’s interception of Forty-Niners QB Colin Kaepernick pass in the second quarter to Jones touchdown at the end of the second quarter. Hopefully they will be able to hold on to their lead. The score was 21-3 Ravens at the end of the first quarter.

Tasty tart, souffle & galette

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I started off the day with a bang with a cooking class at Sur La Table in South Coast Plaza on Fresh French Fruit Dessert. My sister, Suki, and I were part of a 12-person class taught by Chef Katie Torres and her trio of assistants.

We made a Plum and Raspberry Tart, above. Chef Katie showed us how to place the fruit in the tart and then pour the cream in in top of it before cooking. Way easier than the way I’ve always done!

Next, we learned how to make Apricot and Blueberry Galette. We started off making the Sweet Pie or Tart Dough. I learned that you don’t want to overmix dough in a food processor which I had been doing. The result was a much more tasty crust than I had ever made.

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And then we learned how to make Lemon Souffle with Strawberry Sauce, below. I was tasked with separating egg whites from the egg yolks with a Sur La Table egg separator which leached the yolks into the whites ruining the whole batch.

Tip: A fancy Sur La Table cooking tool isn’t necessary or even productive in some cases. When we went back to doing it the old-fashioned way it worked!

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The desserts were all delicious. Especially with a steaming cup of cappuccino.

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Souffles: Easy and delicious

“It was delicious. I could tell you worked hard on it.”

– Krishna Swaroop

My sister was in the mood to make souffle when the latest Cooking Light magazine came out with a whole section of recipes on the French delicacy.

She had made souffles before and knew what to expect. I had not and was doubtful that I could pull it off. She let me help and I was astounded at how delicious and easy this treat ended up being. My uncle, Krishna Swaroop, was visiting from Colorado and seemed to enjoy eating

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.

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.

Raksha Bandan

I made these ice cream sandwiches from molasses spice cookies and mint chocolate chip, butter pecan and chocolate ice creams. Click the Recipe Index tab for the recipe.

I made these ice cream sandwiches from molasses spice cookies and mint chocolate chip, butter pecan and chocolate ice creams. Click the Recipe Index tab for the recipe.

The family gathered to celebrate Raksha Bandan in Huntington Beach. For those of you that don’t know: Raksha Bandan in an Indian holiday that celebrates the bond between sisters and brothers. The sisters all make some sort of dish for their brothers and tie a rakhi around their brothers’ (and their wives) wrists. For that they are rewarded with a gift, but more often cash. It is a great time.

This year Suki hosted the festivities in the sunny garden with a menu that included quiche, berry salad, pasta salad, tater tots, buttermilk biscuits, mango, strawberries, tea, water, lemonade and juices. Surabhi brought Desi turkey sliders (the hit of the meal!) and potato salad. Sujata contributed samosas with accompanying chutneys.

For dessert there were ice cream sandwiches, brownies, cupcakes, tollhouse cookies, ras malai, assorted pastries.

Everyone enjoyed the festivities and visiting with those who attending including: Dad, Mom, Vijay Chachi, Surabhi, Subodh, Sujata, Sunil, Bansi Dada, Karen, Sunjay, Dinesh, Serena, Murli Dada, Sangeeta, Maya, Suki, myself and special surprise guest my cousin, Vishnupriya Saksena from India who happened to be in California on business.