Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blogger Appreciation: One Hot Stove

My interaction with the blogging community started when I decided to learn how to cook. As an undergraduate I survived on quesadillas, sandwiches, noodles, and of course my mother's frozen meals. When I decided to move across the country, I started missing Indian food. Unfortunately, Salt Lake City only does a decent job of Indian food. I also got bored of eating the same thing, so I needed to learn how to cook. Of course I love eating out, but graduate school income doesn't support that on a daily basis. Hence, on my quest of learning how to cook, Nupur from One Hot Stove played a vital role. Disclaimer: There are many others who inspire me, but this one is for Nupur. What primarily attracted me to her blog was learning how to cook Maharashritian food. I am acquainted with several people of that state, so I decided to learn more about their cuisine. Little did I know, Nupur's blog introduced me to broad collection of cuisines. So, I wanted to take the time and introduce the blogosphere to One Hot Stove. Nupur was kind enough to answer a few questions. Hope you enjoy reading through it, and do stop by her blog.   
Maharashtrian Thali
TFV:Cooking at home is important to many people for several reasons. What excites you about a home cooked meal? 
OHS: Being invited to a home cooked meal is exciting because it is a gesture of love and friendship and shows that someone is willing to spend time and effort for you. Cooking a home cooked meal is exciting because I can be creative while doing something practical - feeding myself and my family. "There are some things money can't buy" says the famous ad, and a home-cooked meal is one of those things.

TFV: What is the one decadent ingredient (cream, chocolate, cheese, etc) you thoroughly enjoy incorporating in your meals? 
OHS: Nuts- they are decadent both in terms of their price and their calorie counts! I love the rich taste and texture of nuts and they seem to be used in different ways in so many cuisines.

Amish Friendship Bread

TFV: Your A-Z series for Maharashtrian cuisine was what got me hooked on to your blog. What inspired you to document that series? Would you like to do another series with a different regional cuisine? 
OHS: It was simply a fun way to chronicle some of the favorite dishes that I grew up eating. These are homely, everyday recipes that are difficult to find in cookbooks and dishes that are not on restaurant menus so I wanted to give them some attention. Learning more about different Indian regional cuisines is my number one goal as far as cooking goes and I would love to do another series exploring other regional cuisines.

TFV: In your blog you talk about growing up with some classic Maharashtrian dishes. You also talk about your significant other who is South Indian. Have you ever tried a fusion recipe that incorporates the tastes of both regions?
OHS: It is not a fusion recipe per se, but I often serve idlis and dosas with the typical Maharashtrian dry peanut chutney that I grew up with, and my husband loves the combination.
Summer Squash Dosa Served With Dry Peanut Chutney
TFV: Do you have a particular chef who inspires your overall cooking style?
OHS: My overall cooking style is inspired by all the wonderful home cooks that I know- my mother, aunts, cousins, friends, fellow bloggers- who don't treat cooking as a boring chore but instead as an art and craft to be approached with joy and enthusiasm.

Switching Gears...
TFV: For someone who enjoys reading fiction, what food related book(s) would you suggest?
OHS: Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Perkins made me dream about baking layers of cake slathered in colorful icing. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel made me swoon with luscious descriptions of food. A Christmas Memory is an unforgettable short story by Truman Capote filled with food memories. Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories often have lush references to food. But I must say that for food-related reading, I lean more towards non-fiction books like memoirs.

TFV: I am a believer of exploring different cultures through the food and the cuisine they offer. What do you think? That being said, is there a country on your travel list that you would like to visit purely for the fascinating food?   
OHS: Yes, that country is India! Although I am Indian and grew up in India, I have barely explored the huge, diverse expanse of the Indian subcontinent. My dream vacation would be to travel through India eating my way through street food, restaurants (including the hole in the wall types that are hidden gems), and most importantly, to wrangle invitations to eat in people's homes so I can experience home cooking wherever I travel. Food is certainly my favorite way to learn about other cultures.

TFV: While eating out, what are the various facets that make up a satisfying meal?
OHS: While eating out, I love eating something that I can't make in my kitchen because I lack the skills or the equipment. For instance, this tiny Indian restaurant in St. Louis (now closed, alas) used to serve the most incredible tandoori rotis and stuffed parathas, which need a practiced hand and a sizzling tandoor oven to make. I also like eating at restaurants which feature flavors that I have tried to capture in my home kitchen without quite nailing it- Vietnamese and Thai cuisines come to mind, as well as Indian-Chinese!

TFV: Do you enjoy watching any food related TV shows? 
OHS: I occasionally watch Iron Chef America to see creative dishes that can spin off from one ingredient. I only watch when the ingredient is something I actually use in my cooking, though. Some of the cooking shows on PBS are wonderful to watch, hosted by chefs who truly love and respect food, such as Julie Childs and Jacques Pepin and Rick Bayless. Top Chef is entertaining because I enjoy the challenges and find myself thinking of what I would make if I were on the show.

Dale: The protagonist behind One Hot Stove :)
TVF: Finally, your pup Dale is awesome and I love the way you write about him. Do you have a quick recipe for doggy treats? What are your favorite "doggy treat" stores?
OHS: Thank you- I agree that Dale is awesome and we're lucky to have him in our life. I've tried making doggy treats at home but Dale refuses to eat them- he is a tough critic! He loves milkbones which you can find in just about any store (that's his 8 PM snack every day), and we occasionally buy dog treats from Trader Joe's.

NOTE: All pictures are taken from Nupur's Blog at One Hot Stove. Each picture has a link to the original post.


Snehal said...

That's a fantastic post! Nupur has been an inspiration to many of us. I bumped into her blog some 4 yrs ago while searching 'Imperial ice-cream' on google. Have been following her blog since then and never get tired of her writing/recipes. You did a great job with the questions!

Nupur said...

Sharan- you asked such interesting questions- you have a knack for interviewing :) Thanks SO much for the honor of being featured on your blog. Wishing you good eats always!

Jay said...

very interesting post...enjoyed..:)
Tasty Appetite

LV said...

I really enjoyed this post! I love cooking and "Like Water for Chocolate" is one of my favorite books and foreign films. I have both in my collection.


frenchleaveblog said...

Interesting. Although I seem to miss Indian food lesser than I could ! =/

Isabel said...

isnt blogging amazing! all the things we learn/ppl we "meet"

love it!

Gayatri said...

Nupur is my favorite food blogger. Not only are her recipes delicious (I've tried quite a few) but her personality shines through those little anecdotes before reach recipe. Great post :)


Johanna GGG said...

lovely post - I love nupur's blog and her recipes and reads - so it is great to hear a little more about her in this interview