Parade.com: Intimidated By Indian Cooking? Don’t Be

Rinku Bhattacharya’s "Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors" cookbook

We tend to think of most Indian meals as time-consuming because of the complex spice blends and rich buttery sauces. Challenging that preconception and expanding our knowledge about Indian cuisine is Rinku Bhattacharya’s new cookbook, Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors, which offers fast and fresh recipes for busy lifestyles.

Bhattacharya is a food blogger at Cooking in Westchester, a wife, a mother of two kids, a finance professional, an avid gardener, and a writer for local newspapers who understands the value of time. Her previous book, The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, was published in 2012.

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Parade.com: Snow Day? Get Cozy with this Hearty Celery Root and Ricotta Frittata

Celery Root and Ricotta Cheese Frittata

For those of us who live in the Northeast and other wintry areas, the year started out delicious… and frigid as we were hit with a snowstorm. The subways ran local (slow), schools closed, and most area businesses shut down. In our house, we had enough food from New Year’s Day (we enjoyed eating this Black-Eyed Pea and Kale Salad with Chickpea Vinaigrette) to have a relaxing, do nothing-type of day, in which no one had to cook. Read more

Parade.com: Spinach Fettuccine with Basil Pesto Shrimp

Spinach Fettuccine with Basil Pesto Shrimp

The weather is cooler, but there’s still plenty of green vegetables everywhere, especially summer squash, arugula and basil. Fresh spinach fettuccine pasta (find it at an Italian store or use dry pasta) is tossed with shaved zucchini, basil pesto shrimp and baby arugula. It’s a pasta dish for enjoying the last of summer’s vibrant vegetables.

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Parade Magazine: Heirloom Tomato and Green Beans with Ginger Vinaigrette

Heirloom Tomato and Green Beans with Ginger Vinaigrette

Photo by Bill Kontzias at http://www.billkphotography.com

Farmer’s markets have many varieties of heirloom tomatoes, and they’re expensive because of high demand. However, when I see them, they bring memories of tomatoes growing in my father’s backyard. Their irregular, bulbous shape with a fresh cut strong stem indicates a juicy tomato ready for picking. It didn’t matter if they were mild green for frying in cornmeal or fiery red for a garden salad. Today, those same type of tomatoes still grow in my father’s backyard for free. Since, he lives a few states away, I purchase them for too many dollars per pound at fancy markets in New York. Regardless of price, I continue to buy them, because their sweet taste reminds me of home. As a New Yorker, I’m influenced by diverse cultures, including adding tons of ginger, a hint of fresh mint, rice vinegar and a dash of sesame oil to a vinaigrette traditionally made with a no-frill oil, vinegar, salt and black pepper that is tossed with green beans and tomatoes. Since most of the ingredients are in my pantry, the vinaigrette is cheaper to make versus the price of a large heirloom tomato. Only in New York…  Read more