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Archive for December, 2009

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Hrishikesh and I visited the Panorama Hotel for lunch after spending our morning on an arduous two-hour walk along the quiet trails and smaller roads in Mahabaleshwar. Visible from the sunny street that leads to Mahabaleshwar’s market, Panorama’s restaurant looks dreary, cluttered with faded orange table-chair units clumped under lazy fans. On my own, I doubt I would have picked it from the hundreds of similar hotel restaurants in the hill station, but Hrishikesh recalled that he enjoyed their South Indian food as a child. So in we went to try it, that first time, and on many visits since then, walking through the maze of plastic chairs on swivels and peering through the darkness at our reflections in the large mirrors that cover one wall. We walked through the gloom to the outdoor balcony, where the plastic seats looked more appropriate, overlooking the bright, empty pool and small lawn where plump children scattered like stubby bushes.

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of course I said yes

Some of you might know that Hrishikesh proposed by hiding my ring in a mass of cookie dough (!). He thought of this because my favorite cookie dough recipe (which ran in the Times last year) calls for the prepared dough to chill in the fridge for 24-36 hours before baking- enough time for my creative husband to break the cold dough apart, nestle the ring box box in the depths of its sweetness, and reseal the dough to its hulking, spotted state.

He proposed after we made the truffled egg toast from ‘ino and had a few glasses of watermelon-champagne cocktails. We took the dough out of the fridge, and I began forming pieces of it into little balls. All of a sudden, I saw the edge of something white and distinctly plastic. “Ah!” I shrieked. “Why is there a plug in the cookie dough?!” (I meant an adapter…don’t ask why this is the first thing I thought of). Hrishikesh didn’t expect that reaction but, smiling, he said, “A plug? See what it is.” Then I caught on. We hugged and kissed and I couldn’t stop laughing at his ingenuity, not even when his mom, knowing the plan, called at 11:15 “to say hi.” I was giggling too much to speak.

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Let’s just say I’m the least timely person ever. I know Thanksgiving was almost two weeks ago but between my brother-in-law getting engaged and Bombay life in general, plus my knack for procrastination, this post comes late. But better late than never, right?

I was missing Thanksgiving at home and I wanted to do something to celebrate it here in Bombay. We had a bit of pumpkin lying in our fridge- not enough to make a pie, but after I boiled it and gave it a whir in the mixer, I had about 3/4 cup of puree*. I decided to make Rice’s mom’s squash rolls- these heavenly, buttery, barely sweet rolls that I used to inhale when at Rice’s house on the day after Thanksgiving. I had asked for the recipe two years ago but somehow never made these until yesterday- and I can’t believe I waited so long. I let the dough pouf up enormously, punched it a bit, shaped the rolls, brushed them with butter, let them rise once more, baked them until golden, and brushed them with butter once again. Warm, airy and meltingly soft, they were everything I remembered and more, which made them perfect for my first Bombay Thanksgiving.

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