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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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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.

Fourth festivities

The highly anticipated Tres Leches cake brought to us by Shelley, Gabbi's daughter. A Tres leches cake, or Pastel de Tres leches (Spanish, "Three milk cake"), is a sponge cake,—in some recipes, a butter cake—soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.

The highly anticipated Tres Leches cake brought to us by Shelley, Gabbi’s daughter. A Tres leches cake, or Pastel de Tres leches (Spanish, “Three milk cake”), is a sponge cake,—in some recipes, a butter cake—soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.

The whole family gathered at the home of Vijay Chachi, Subodh and Surabhi to celebrate Independence Day with a BBQ.

We got there around 3 p.m. and were treated to chicken, kebobs, turkey burgers, hot dogs, grilled veggies and veggie burgers all made by Subodh. Surabhi was the other half of Team BBQ and made us salsa, guacamole, green salad, chips, potato salad, chutney and the burger trimmings. Karen brought her famous brownies, Bansi Dada brought cantaloupe, strawberries and watermelon. Suki brought some decadent lime-coconut cupcakes. And, of course, there was ice cream sundaes and the highly-anticipated Tres Leches cake by Shelley.

It was a decadent day where we got to bask in the beautiful California sunshine, eat lots of great food and watch a James Bond movie marathon.

Mother’s Day brunch

The buffet included quiches, bread platter, muffins, scones, fruit, grilled veggies and two decadent desserts (not pictured)

The buffet included quiches, bread platter, muffins, scones, fruit, grilled veggies and two decadent desserts (not pictured)

I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch for the family. Attendees included: Dad, Mom, Suki, Vimlesh Chachi, Sujata, Vijay Chachi, Surabhi, Subodh, Rita, Sitara and Roshan. The Menu included: Turkey and Veggie quiches by Shraddha, Hash Browns by Roshan, Fruit Platter by Sitara, Bread Sampler by Suki, Grilled Vegetables by Subodh, Berry Trifle and Espresso Cheesecake by Surabhi (sadly there are no pix of those!) Coffee, Tea, Apple Juice and fresh-squeezed OJ Thanks to all who contributed!! See the slideshow

The best burger, ever!

This massive burger at about 8 ounces of ground sirloin, cheese, onions and a specially made Bobby Flay sauce was gobbled up at the Mesa Grill in Vegas.

This massive burger at about 8 ounces of ground sirloin, cheese, onions and a specially made Bobby Flay sauce was gobbled up at the Mesa Grill in Vegas.

The last stop on the grand trek from Norfolk to Southern California was Vegas. We met up with one of Suki’s best friends, Dawn Dean. We did all the usual Vegas stuff but I think the highlight for me was having the Mesa Burger at Bobby Flay‘s Mesa Grill inside of Caesar’s Palace. It has double cheddar cheese, grilled Vidalia onions and horseradish mustard. And, of course, it comes with these delicious steak fries. Truly a wonder for your taste buds.

Suki brought home some Vosges truffles from the Vegas trip. Surabhi eventually decided they were too pretty to eat.

Suki brought home some Vosges truffles from the Vegas trip. Surabhi eventually decided they were too pretty to eat.