Welcome to the adventures of a Culinary explorer...

Welcome to the adventures of a Culinary explorer...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Café del Hidalgo

Café del Hidalgo

35 Hypolita Street, Saint Augustine FL 32084

On 28th of December, 2009, my family and I went to Café del Hidalgo in the famous Main Street of Saint Augustine, for a celebration of my parents' 19th wedding anniversary (which was really on the 26th, they were just not in the mood for it then).

Let me tell you, when you enter Main St., it's like stepping into a time machine that takes you almost a century back in time. Walking down that street on a December evening, with the sun slouching to a set behind the warmth of my beret, I could smell a crisp scent of chocolate and cigars sprinkled in the air. You really have to be there to see the homeless guitar player that tickles you for some change with a pathetic original song in praise of Angelina Jolie. And believe it or not, you laugh.

We passed "Ye Old Drug Store" (with every flavor of tea you can imagine), pottery craft stores, a barrel fruit wine store (my parents had fun here, acting like wine tasters, sloshing tester sips in their mouths as though in France), many many chocolateries (chocolate stores), and finally couldn’t resist the aroma inviting us into the Café del Hidalgo.

Turns out we weren’t the only ones the aroma had captured with its tantalizing whiffs of freshly brewed coffee. The place was packed.

Now I’ll skip the whole part about finding a table (they don’t take you to one), blah blah blah, and come straight to the arrival of the steaming food. I envy you reader, this is too easy for you…

But as we sat down on a big mahogany table, with vintage European paintings on the wall (we had a bull fighting poster painting by our table which I wasn’t too happy about. Bull fighting isn’t cool… but that’s a rant for another day), my brother, Aakash’s, Meatball Parmesan arrived first. Here’s the description of his Panini: Italian meatballs, celery, tomatoes, onions, provolone and parmesan.

Know, my brother was never (NEVER) the food experimental kind. He’s the whiney little brat who picks the tomatoes, lettuce… well all vegetables out of his sandwich, the kind who won’t eat a meat dish if it looks merely close to its original form, like chicken legs or much seafood. So, as soon as he saw meatballs, and minimal vegetables to pick out, he knew he was getting that. And for some weird reason, he liked meatballs in bread, not in pasta. But anyway, Aakash offered me a bite, and in all truth, it wasn’t so bad. Actually it was the best meatball sub/sandwich/Panini I’d ever had. The cheeses blended so well together, and oozed out on the sides with hints of meat. The meatballs were promised “Italian recipe”, and I couldn’t disagree.

Next came mom’s “The Mediterranean Panini”. And my mother loved it, which comes rarely because she’s an Indian vegetarian and nothing, I say NOTHING, satisfies her as much as a good home-cooked Indian meal. But this she simply loved. I mean who wouldn’t chow down a hummus, provolone cheese, field greens, feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, and onion Panini? I simply love the risk they take with the combination of cheeses. Provolone and subtle feta here, and provolone and parmesan in the last meatball one. To be honest, I couldn’t identify which cheese is which just by tasting/sniffing it (come on, I’ve just begun. I’ll get there), but I sure can tell when flavors blend. Well.

Then came the last Panini. My Panini! (Now you’re wondering, hey Henna, what about your dad? Did you just let him starve and stare at you as you pigged through your delicious food? The answer is no, I did no such thing. Our Panini’s were cut into two giant halves that none of us could finish on our own. They were also all served with tons of chips and pickle. Dad’s like me, wanting a bite of everything. And that’s what he did. Had the half of every Panini. A platter… smart man) But anyway, my “Sicilian Tuna Panini” arrived, incasing albacore tuna, tomato, red onion, celery, lemon, salt & pepper, olive oil, and light Swiss cheese. Those of you who think I’m a freak for remembering every single ingredient, or am an insane genius Sherlock Holmes for recognizing ingredients from a single bite, then nay. I have their take out menu in my hand for reference.

The Sicilian tuna was warm, not just in temperature, but still warm after I ate it. I know this will sound a little absurd, but it was like having a cozy heat-pack snuggling the insides of my tummy. And this helped quite a bit because of the dropping evening temperatures on the now brightly lit-up Main St (Holiday lights… if you’re wondering). But, the tuna Panini was pure bliss. I could have more lemon though… the tuna was finely chopped, so it wasn’t awfully chewy like the canned ones you can find at a local mart. The onions made it crunchier, I love onions. (Yes, I carry mint)

To keep warm we also ordered dark chocolate mint coffee and macadamia nut coffee. They were good too.

After heating ourselves up with Panini’s and coffee, looking like lazy bulls after a good meal in the pasture, we still couldn’t keep our noses from lingering over to the smell of fresh Gelatos (Italian ice-cream made from fresh milk every day, instead of artificial flavors and preservatives).

To be honest, I have never liked ice-cream. OK, stop gasping, freaks like us do exist. Ice-cream always managed to seep into the core of my teeth and poke the pulpy center. Ugh the feeling is pure pain. But a Gelato… Oh a Gelato is DIVINE! (From now on, I will be using the word “divine” to describe edible wonders of the world)

We had six kinds. No we’re not fattys, there were about 20 kinds, so we did good. Here are the flavors we got: cheesecake, mango, pistachio, oreo, toblerone, and amaretto.

Pop quiz: what’s my favorite kind of nut? A pistachio! What did I just call divine? A Gelato, bravo! Now put the two together… HEAVEN! Heaven like you’ve never had. Silky, creamy, divine heaven…

And that’s all I remember floating back home from Café del Hidalgo… a place to gather.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas stash!

This Christmas I got every non-living thing on my list and more! I say non-living because a kitty (I was going to name Brie or Scones) was also on my list, but I guess Santa doesn't make kitties in his workshop. But what he does make is:
-Julie and Julia book by Julie Powell
-The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten
-Are you really going to eat that? Reflections of a culinary thrill seeker by Robb Walsh
-Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
-Garlic and Sapphires, a secret life of a critic in disguise by Ruth Reichl again
-Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West
-Shaheed Bhagat Singh a biography by Gurdev Singh Deol (For people wondering why such a random book, know I'm a die hard fan of Bhagat Singh--a freedom fighter from India during British rule. He's "the bomb"! Those who get the reference, bravo.)
-A Paris journal (Sometimes I ask why I wasn't actually born there...)
-A Juicy Couture perfume set
-A lovely pair of shoes
-some pretty clothes
-A bicycle
-Movies: Bhagat Singh, Rang De Basanti, and Inglorious Bastards

What a loot huh? Especially with all the food writing books! I really don't know where to begin and end. For now, I've started Julie and Julia to compare it with the movie. And let me tell you, reading this book after seeing the movie, is like having an insider peek at Julie's life. I'm on Day 23 Recipe 34. The sad part is the book doesn't come with Julia's recipes. Although, Julie does explain how to make some of her favorites like the Potage Parmentier and the famous Boeuf Bourguignon. I will write about every food writing book I finish, and let you know my recommendations.
Remember my Sushi blog from two months ago? I said I'd be venturing for some more seafood, and as promised I am. Soon I will be visiting Gene's Seafood Restaurant on Beach Blvd to review their food. I'm Not sure of what to get, I've had (love) salmon (again, if you get the reference, bravo!), and I had mahi at Mimi's Cafe at Town Center... Tuna is one recommendation. Any more for a tropical newbie?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Guess who e-mailed me?

Let's play a round of Can you guess who e-mailed me?
Your hints:
1. This person is serving as an inspiration
2. He (yes, a man) is linked to Liz Van Hooser
3. Therefore, he is linked to The Florida Times Union
4. He is also linked to food writing

Guesses? Nope, not him.
It was Coulter Kirkpatrick! I believe he is still the Editor of The Florida Times, but he is applying for Liz's food writer position (I mean, who wouldn't?). He'd heard about me from Liz, and she'd told me to e-mail him. I did, months ago, and finally got a reply. He was busy blah blah blah... but I got a reply and if I may-- I am psyched!
From his e-mail, I know that he has great knowledge about Indian food (despite being non-Indian). He talked about his favorite Indian desserts, ingredients for making them at home, and some more food writer talk. :p
But, I replied, and I hope to receive a reply again. Maybe I can go meet him just like Liz! *fingers crossed*

P.S. If Coulter Kirkpatrick is reading this, I just google imaged your name and chose the first one that popped up. I'm pretty sure this is you, and not the guy with the snake in his mouth... Maybe.

The Holiday Food Competition

I am so sorry I have taken this long to write about The Holiday Food Competition. Things came up, got sick, blah blah blah... but now here's the story just for you!
On 14th of December, I woke up thinking: I am about to do something I hope to do for the rest of my life. EAT.
We all eat, but this was a different kind of eating. I would get to have good food and judge it along the way...!
All this and more came true in the next few hours. At school, I had one of the lunch tables in the cafeteria dolled up with a crisp white table cloth, flowers, and best of all, prizes. There were signs up, onlookers wondering what in the world was going on (even after the gazillion morning announcements about the upcoming event), and all I had to do was wait for the bell to ring for lunch to start.
Riiiiing!!! And A-lunch came rolling in. I was astonished by the turn-out. My fellow judges: Ms.Dvorak (Don't try pronouncing/butchering that if you don't know french. I call her Ms.D), Ms.Harbin, and Mr.Allen-Black, all showed up with their assigned score sheets and notepads. The tasting began (I'll just let you look at the pictures and let them speak instead of me babbling on about every dish. Note: Some dishes in the pictures are missing, my camera died by the last lunch :( ).
After all the tasting was done, the judges sat down to collaborate scores. Ms.Harbin described the discussion similar to an American Idol judge panel. Haha
After much "discussion" and great judging, we came in agreement with the following winners:
Brandon Edwards for his crab rock-a-feller (very daring!)
Song Naber for her breakfast French muffins (can somebody say...Yum!)
Brittany Stephenson for her rum cake (before pressing charges, alcohol consistency vanishes when cooked. I got your back girl)
Callie Dixon for her ooie gooie pumpkin butter cake with home-made whipped creme (tasted just as good as it sounds)
Amber Cresgy for her beautiful apple pie (the crust on this beauty was a new shade of gold)
Honorable mentions:
Erin Reifsneider for her brilliant broccoli casserole topped with cheese crackers
Casey Hewitt for her gorgeous carrot cake

The event was a major success. Even our Principal came by to visit. There might be another food competition coming up, this time with a mandatory secret ingredient.
I am so thankful for everybody's support in keeping The Skillet sizzling. Stay tuned for more inside stories. =]

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Xmas List

Here's some food related goodies I would like for Xmas:
1. A cute apron
2. Julie and Julia DVD (and cookbook)
3. A mustache cup
4. A tea set

I bet there's more, but I simply can't remember right now. I'll add to the list as I remember... =p

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Xmas/House Warming Party

Today was quite a wonderful day (not literally mind me. Forecast: Rain. All day...). I had friends over in the occasion of showing them our new house. The party went exactly as I had planned, house tours, laughs, games, and best of all, the food.
On the menu we had an entree of herb chicken stuffing deep fried in egg roll wraps. The crispy treat with the warm stuffing in the middle went very well with our famous "Indian Sauce" (that's what my friends call the Maggi Hot and Sweet ketchup, a rare find in the US. My mom wishes to get my friends that for Xmas. They are excited. (??)Haha).
For the main course we had (nope, not any curry) gourmet Mexican tacos. Or that's at least what everybody said. My mom and I set up the kitchen island to mimic a Moe's restaurant. We had tons of bowls, all lined up, filled with fresh ingredients: a salad (made from shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and onions, topped with cilantro, salt and pepper, and lemon juice), grated three cheese, soft and hard tortillas, sour creme, guacamole, and hot salsa. The main big bowl had chicken in it, cooked with tomatoes, onions and Indian spices. And that's what made all the difference. The tacos were enjoyed by everybody, I couldn't get over the fact the meal was so extremely easy to put together (cheap too), and yet it gave off the grandest look on the table.
For dessert we had different flavored donuts (I just had the chocolate covered coconut topping donut. Calories are OK during this time, just trust me, we can shed them off in a zap). There was also wonderful pie, brought in by Tyler Gordon.
Other than that, there was an intense air hockey tournament in my backyard. Let me tell you, Rebecca Stark does not differentiate air hockey from football. When she's on the field, she's there for the kill. Very literally. I was her kill (AGAIN!), which means her puck came flying my way and as I tried to block it from smashing into my eye, it hit my fingers like I'd just gotten shot by a bazooka. (OK, fine, yes this is hyperbole. But oh well, it hurt.) Last time, she slit my fingers with the puck to the point they started to bleed. No lie.
Haha on that note, I have left-over chicken from today's lunch left in the refrigerator and I think I will snack on some of that yummy goodness.
Goodnight y'all. (Or to whoever that is reading this. Anybody?)

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Holiday Food Competition

This for all those attending DASOTA.
Dec 14th, Monday, is The Holiday Food Competition! You may cook and bring holiday foods from home and have them judged by a panel of faculty judges and myself. The categories you can enter are: breakfast, lunch/dinner, and sweet treats. Sign up outside of room 110 in the English building (Ms. Dvorak's room). You can enter more than one category.
There will be exciting prizes, and tons of fun! So get your skillets burning for a holiday food extravaganza-- a first at DA!

Henna Bakshi
Your food columnist

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tea Etiquette Quiz

If you read the previous blog, I promised to present you with an etiquette quiz. Test your manners on www.quizmoz.com/quizzes/...Etiquette-Quizzes/.../Tea-Etiquette-Quiz.asp - and tell me what score you got.

Good Luck!

My Cup of Tea

I do not recall ever waking up without the aroma of fresh tea brewing on the stove. Tea-time is a great way to socialize with friends and family, though beware my fellow tea-drinkers, this social indulgence doesn’t follow the average lemonade informality. The Skillet can help you achieve proper etiquette one sip-tip at a time.
Top Ten Commandments from The Skillet’s Tea Bible:
· First and foremost, NO pinkies out during tea! Sorry pinkies, but the act is now considered outdated and ill mannered. People only did this when teacups did not have handles. The pinky goes underneath the cup or straddles the side of the cup.
· The spout of the teapot/kettle faces the host, letting us know who’s in charge.
· Teaspoons aren’t just used for stirring sugar. Place the spoon across the cup, or beside the cup on the saucer if the cup is too big, to let the pourer know you’ve had enough.
· Do not, I repeat do not, sip from or lick the teaspoon. Yuck.
· Add sugar cubes with a tong, but don’t let the cubes slosh tea. Be careful not to dip the tong in the tea either.
· Place little tea snacks on a tea plate, with the cup on the side.
· Hold the cup in your right hand, saucer in your left. If seated, don’t lift the saucer while taking sips. If standing, lift saucer up to the chest. Be careful not to spill! (Tea stains are a pain.)
· Now as for the drinking, don’t chug, slurp (I frown, wrinkle my nose, and stick my tongue out while typing this word), or throw back tea as if it were a shot. Gently sip—this keeps the tongue from burning.
· Men can try drinking from a moustache cup (pictured above). Invented by Harvey Adams in the nineteenth century, this cup has a ledge in the shape of a moustache on the side of the cup, letting the gentleman’s moustache remain dry while he sips his tea.
· Respect your guests, indulge in intelligent conversation, and enjoy.

If tea had a best friend, “Scones” would be her name. Here is a simple, classic recipe I found on http://www.greatpartyrecipes.com/sconerecipes.html.
Basic Scone Recipe: 2 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon baking powder2 tablespoons sugar1/2 teaspoon salt3 tablespoons butter1 egg, beaten3/4 cup milk (approx.)
1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add butter and stir until the mixture resembles crumbs. Stir in the egg (this is a good point to add nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, cheese, etc. if desired).
2. Gradually add the milk until a thick dough is formed. (It may take more or less than 3/4 cup.)
3. Turn out the mixture onto a floured board and knead lightly. Roll out the dough to 3/4" thickness and cut into rounds with a 2" cookie cutter. Gather the trimmings and lightly knead, roll, and cut them as well.
4. Place the rounds about 1" apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg or milk. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 12 to 16 scones.

Well-made scones are flaky, sort of like slightly hard biscuits, and are eaten with butter and/or jam. I usually add slices of strawberries to my scones.
Like treating yourself to tea often? Try different flavors from Teavana at the Avenues Mall. Earl Grey and Darjeeling are my personal favorites. Brittany Stevenson, senior, sent us a recipe for a snack she enjoys with her tea. I made this many times, and it’s one of favorites.
Boisjolie Brie Cheese
1 wheel of Brie cheese
Chopped almonds
Raspberry preserves
Jam of choice
French bread

1. Preheat oven to 400˚
2. Peel rind off from the wheel of cheese
3. Slice wheel of cheese in half
4. Spread jam lavishly
5. Put wheel back together
6. Bake for 4 to7 minutes
7. Sprinkles almonds over the melted cheese.
8. Enjoy with a fresh loaf of buttered French bread and your favorite tea.

This recipe quick and easy recipe will please anybody who likes cheese. I replace the almonds in this recipe with apricots; they flavor the brie well. Never tasted brie before? Try refrigerated brie, cut into little pieces, and enjoy with fresh fruit.
Don’t forget to email your original recipes to theskilletda@yahoo.com. In our next issue, look for a review on Alex Stafford’s S’mores cake recipe. The Skillet will also be hosting a holiday food competition on Dec. 12 during lunch! Bring your favorite holiday food for tasting by selected teacher judges. Listen up for updates on the announcements.
Now readers can follow The Skillet on http://www.theskilletda.blogspot.com/, where you can try taking the Tea Etiquette quiz to see if you have the sip tips down.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bye Bye Liz

Elizabeth Van Hooser, former food writer for The Florida Times Union, resigned on Nov. 13, 2009, Friday. Call it a bogus myth, or just coincidence, but this Friday the thirteenth was most certainly an un-fortunate day for me.

Elizabeth, or "Liz" as she liked to be called, was the closest person I met to work a job I wish to own someday. I met her through Denise Dvorak, my jounalism teacher. Liz was most inviting when I first contacted her by email. We scheduled an appointment for meeting at The Times Union office, and there I was, dressed as what-a-visitor-should-dress-like-entering-the-Times-building, in black high heels and a dress.

Upon reaching, Liz had me tour the building. From the photography hall, ancient records library, meeting Ross Well, to dun-dun-dun... the buturing editing table. Their massive printing mashine was said to shake the building when it vomited many (I forgot the exact statistic) per minute.

I could totally imagine myself working there. The rush of writing was crawling over every carpet thread that covered the place. After the tour, Liz and I lunched at the office cafeteria and talked about... well food. Laughs, stories, advice, and encouragement filled our conversation. A week or so later, I modelled for one of Liz' articles for a picture. She also sent me cookbook review project, which was published by Bal Arneson, the cookbook author. The Skillet as a column followed, and now I took her advice to start a blog too.

Liz has a year old daughter, Amelia, and she is her currant everything. Liz wants her daughter experiencing her growing up, her Christmas', Thanksgiving, Birthdays, with her family. Amelia's grandparents live in Columbia, and that is where Liz is moving to. As much as I am happy for Liz and her daighter, I will miss her dearly.

Liz moving away is not budging my ambition to become a food writer. I will always remember her as one of my guides and inspirations.

Thanks Liz, and good luck.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Let It Snow... in Florida

Ever wondered how snow tasted? Cool crystals melting on tongues, giving winter just the right flavor. So what if it doesn’t snow in our Sunshine state, we can eat blizzards of snow even in the Sahara, with a help from a refrigerator.
Here is a recipe by David Lebovitz from his book The Perfect Scoop, which combines freezing temperatures with a tropical coconut twist.

Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron

2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
2 ounces (60 g) palm sugar, or 1/4 cup white or unrefined cane sugar
scant 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and chill the mixture thoroughly.
3. Once chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker. Once churned, be sure to scrape any saffron threads clinging to the dasher back in to the ice cream.

Review from The Skillet: The combination of saffron and coconut milk not only tasted delectable, the red and white colors added a dash of holiday cheer. And those who are afraid of trying saffron in their ice cream, note that saffron is a topping delicacy, originally only used in foods prepared for kings as a symbol of royalty and delicate flavor. I love saffron on my custard too, the French use the ingredient in many of their desserts.
Try adding dry-fruit to the ice-cream if you enjoy crunch like me. Pistachios were my pick, but their flavor was too strong against the coconut. (Although pistachios in vanilla ice-cream work really well.) Cashews would enhance taste, or even shreds of coconut before serving.
Serve three little scoops topped on one another and surprise your guests with a coconut snowman dessert.
And trust me, snow doesn’t even taste this good.

Not an ice-cream person? A holiday slushy punch should ice up the day.

Florida Fun Slushy Punch

Country Time lemonade (12 scoops of canned mix with water as per directions on can)
1 lg. can pineapple juice
1 lg. frozen orange juice with water as per can directions
2-3 c. sugar

Mix all together until sugar is dissolved, and store in a large container. (Don't use glass jars, the mix can be a pain to get out.) Put in freezer, and stir occasionally while it is freezing, to keep juices from settling. After about 8 to 10 hours, serve after crushing any big chunks of ice.
Some advice: To decorate, slice some fresh pineapple, or separate orange slices, cut half-way through the middle and place on the glass line.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My First with Sushi

Ever since I threw up after eating shrimp for the first time, I've suffered a horrible case of seafood phobia. I am fascinated with ocean life (my favorite biome), but the ocean on my plate was always controversial in my head. Living in north India most of my life didn't exactly provide an array of great seafood either.
Come Florida, a whole different story. I live in Jacksonville by the beach now, and not having eaten sushi was probably the biggest sin a Floridian can commit. 6th of Nov, 2009, Friday, about 5:30 pm, was the first time sushi touched my tongue.
I have to give it to Tyler Norris for being my encouragement and guide. The Sushi place in Five Points was where the tasting began. For a starter I tried the California roll which was basic uncooked salmon and asparagus, layered with tiny orange fish eggs. I have to say, the first bite is definitely a shock. Then you get over the texture and start enjoying the flavor. There was nothing uncooked about it, not like uncooked land-roaming-meat by any means.
My fumbling chopsticks then trooped their way to the "Dynamite". This roll was cooked, prepared with salmon, asparagus, and a step further--crab. And let me tell you, this roll was quite dynamite alright, my favorite of the four I tried. Probably because of the tangy sauce they had on top. The roll was fried, so the texture was crispy rather than soft.
The third roll was an uncooked salmon and cheese roll (Yes, by this time I was in love with salmon), which sadly wasn't the greatest. Stickier than the rest, I am more of a crunch-in-my-bite kind of person. This was more like a sushi flavored marsh-mellow so to speak.
Becoming more daring, the fourth was my bravest attempt. This roll was called... "The Green Dragon". Sound scary already? Exciting is the better word. This beautifully arranged sushi roll was made with uncooked (nope, not salmon) eel! Why I think this was brave because I used to own a pet eel. I won't go into any cheesy sentimental details, because I am about to tell you how I ate one. But I tried to keep my former pet feeling away and took a bite of The Dragon. And the dragon bit me back. For all those people who think they've had it all, oh you are so in the dark. I loved the taste of this ocean meat, it was just the texture I couldn't get over. Let's see... uncooked eel is like chewing a gummy bear steak. Appetizing?
I didn't even get close to finishing The Dragon, but I am sure to give the beast another try. Oh and if a sushi restaurant asks you to choose between soup or salad for the beginning, choose the clear soup! A salty watery sip of goodness.
I am falling in love with the ocean, so much I could eat it.
(P.S. Next on my list of adventures are shellfish. Suggestions for a tropical newbie?)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Welcome to The Skillet

I'm very excited for starting this blog about my new column called The Skillet in the Improviser, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts newspaper. The column addresses the exploration of the culinary arts, and encourages experimentation with food.
From here on out I will be posting the columns that get into the paper, as well as some of the recipes I try on my own. theskilletda@yahoo.com is the email where anybody can send me their original recipes for a star rating review. I will keep my readers updated with the experiences I go through while trying to cook the recipes sent, visiting different restaurants, some cookbook reviews, and all that yummy stuff.
Ok now that we have the basics covered, let me tell you about my first mission. I was checking my email and found a message with the subject line: S'mores cake recipe, sent in by Alex Stafford (Thank you Alex!). I am not much of a baker, but when you put s'mores and cake in your subject line, there's not much of a choice but to give in.
There are many stories coming up, like how I had Sushi for the first time only yesterday, what eel tastes like, how many stars Alex's cake received, and many more.
Tune in again for a fresh bite from The Skillet!

Henna Bakshi
Food Columnist