Tag Archives: Featured

Grilled Peaches w/ Balsamic Soy Ginger Glaze

One of my favorite things about summer is the variety of local fruit available in the farmer’s markets and grocery stores. I love them all from the berries, to plums to watermelons and beyond. But really great peaches are my favorite. I like nectarines too but there’s nothing like a perfectly ripe peach – a texture and flavor that nectarines just don’t ever achieve. So, why do I love peaches so much? There’s something about a peach that takes me back to my younger days of eating delicious mangoes in India in the month of May, and my nostalgia swings into full gear as I find there are many similarities in the two fruit. If you’ve ever had an Alfonso mango, you may understand what I mean.

In addition to enjoying peaches by just taking a bite out of them, I find this fruit extremely versatile in recipes too. Off season, I keep a bag of frozen peaches in the freezer at all times. Aside from the usual peach pie or cobbler, I’ve also used peaches in savory recipes like peach salsas to serve over grilled fish, or blended them into my chicken curry to add an interesting balance of flavors. I’ve added them to bread pudding and used less ripe peaches to add a crunch to salads. Yesterday, I was planning a quick and easy outdoors dinner for a friend who was dropping by and while driving to the grocery store, thought about making grilled peaches. By the time I arrived at the store, I had envisioned this recipe in my head based on what I knew I had in my pantry. All I needed to buy was the peaches.

I loved the way this recipe turned out – a great balance of sweet, acid & salt with a hint of heat from the ginger & cayenne. It was the perfect, summer, no fuss dessert that I was able to prep and serve outdoors to accommodate these days of social distancing.

Grilled Peaches with Soy Balsamic Ginger Glaze & Basil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For grilling, I like semi firm peaches as I find they taste better when you’re adding a sweet glaze on top. They’re also easier to work with on the grill. You can certainly make this recipe with ripe peaches too, but I usually prefer to eat those raw.

If you’d like to add another component, you can top the peaches with some goat cheese or blue cheese before adding the glaze.


    For the Glaze :
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • For the Peaches :

  • 4 Semi-firm Peaches – halved & pit removed
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 6 – 8 Fresh Basil leaves torn roughly with hands (do this just before you add to the top)


1. Make the glaze – add all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat over medium low heat to a boil stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has melted, continue to boil (stirring frequently) till liquid has halved and is thick enough to coat a spoon. Set aside until ready to use.

2. Prepare the peaches by rubbing the cut side with olive oil

3. Heat your grill with burners on medium low so it maintains a constant temperature of 400F.

4 . Once the grill is hot, place the peaches on the grill cut side down and close the cover. Allow to cook for 5 – 10 mins until you see the grill marks clearly, then turn them and cook another 5 mins. The peaches will have softened but still feel firm.

5. Remove peaches to a serving plate and drizzle with the glaze. If the glaze has hardened, you may need to reheat for a few minutes (I placed the sauce pan straight on the grill to do this) to loosen up.

6. Tear and sprinkle the fresh basil on top and serve warm.

A Weekend in Los Cabos

Brunch at the Beach

Recently, I was lucky enough to have to travel to Los Cabos Mexico for a business meeting. Unfortunately, it would be a very quick trip over a weekend with meetings all day Saturday. I had never been to Baja California before so I was excited nonetheless and vowed to have some fun.

Knowing someone locally who is as obsessed with food as I am, is always a welcome treat when traveling, and this was one of those destinations. Everything had been arranged for the weekend, which made it very efficient to pursue some foodie adventures in such a short time.

After a full day of flying through a connection in Houston, I landed at Los Cabos airport. A very long immigration line in a frigid airport later, I exited to sunshine and warmth and was greeted by my local collegue. When you exit the airport, you have the option of choosing the bar at the right or left for a little cerveza or tequila before heading to your destination. Since we had a short wait before another colleague landed, we chose the bar to the left for a bit of Don Julio. We were off to a good start.

I hadn’t eaten since early morning and needed food when we got to our hotel. Next to the hotel was El Mercato, a food hall with different vendors offering a variety of foods from pizza to gyros to Chinese. My philosophy of always eating local, took me to a small Mexican place called The Office where I enjoyed a delicious Vegetable Sope topped with mushrooms, squash blossoms, cabbage, and so much more.

A quick nap at the hotel later we took the scenic route to Metate in San Jose Del Cabo for dinner. Metate is a grinding stone used to grind things like corn for tortillas. The restaurant is off an unpaved road, and is primarily an outdoor space with a bar that has a screen behind it showing old movies, a water fountain and tables right on the ground. The tables are colorfully set with Mexican plates, runners and placemats. The menu is authentically Mexican. This is not your average American idea of Mexican with Burritos and Chimichangas. This is just incredibly good food prepared with a lot of pride and love. I started with a glass of mezcal which is always served with worm salt and orange wedges as I learned. One can also order their guacamole “crunchy” with insects and grasshoppers which our local colleagues indulged on while we watched without the nerve to try them. For my dinner, I opted for the Chicken Mole which was the best I’ve ever eaten. It was rich and flavorful made even better with the homemade corn tortillas which were incredible. I’ve eaten a lot of tortillas and none have compared to these made clearly with stone ground corn by hand. They were so good, I could have eaten them with the variety of salsas that were offered, as my meal and been very satisfied. A surprisingly good hibiscus margarita topped off the night.

The next day was spent in a conference room in meetings and by 5pm, we were all ready for a break from work. Our local hosts picked us up at 6:30 and drove us to Cabo San Lucas to a resort called Acre (pronounce AA-Kray in spanish) which is set amidst cactus and palm trees with paths that lead to individual guest rooms designed as tree houses. At the center is a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.

Upon arrival, we were asked if we were interested in a Mezcal tasting and we responded with an unanimous “yes”. In America, mezcal has a reputation of being a cheap tequila that doesn’t taste very good, but this is far from the truth. We tasted three different artisanal Mezcals, each very different from the other. I learned much including the various types of agave fruit used and how to actually taste the spirit without allowing the alcohol to overwhelm the tastebuds. I also learned that while all tequila is a type of mezcal, not all mezcal can be called tequila because tequila can only be made from the blue agave plant. The bowls used to taste are made of dried pomegranate skins and other similar fruits which allow the opening to be wide enough to allow for the aroma to penetrate properly. Orange slices dusted with a salt that is mixed with ground up worms are used to cleanse the palette between sips. What a fascinating experience!!

After our mezcal tasting, we were escorted to our dinner table. Our hosts know the owners and had requested a private table for our party. These tables are set in open spaces surrounded by greenery throughout the resort. It was a lovely setting and we felt pampered as the waiters took our order and the chef came out to greet us and make recommendations. We opted to share in a variety of foods including beet salad, grilled octopus, roasted suckling pig (Lechon) with warm tortillas, vegetables, green salad and hands down THE BEST cheddar biscuits I’ve ever eaten. We accompanied the meal with a delicious Mexican Nebbiolo. We lingered over conversation about food intermingled with talk of our earlier meeting, but felt very relaxed until we were ready to head back to the hotel for some sleep before our morning flights.

Everyone except me had early flights home the next day and so the day began with a dropoff to the airport. With a few more hours before my flight, we headed to brunch at Cabo Azul, a resort about 15 minutes from the airport. They serve a substantial buffet brunch on a terrace by the beach with live music for entertainment. The buffet consists of your usual fare of eggs & omelettes, baked goods, cheeses, fruit, cereal, etc., inside the restaurant, but outside there is a display of Mexican specialties like tamales, salsas, tortillas, beef roast. By the bar there is a variety of ceviches and seafood. I opted for a chicken tamal, mushroom quesadilla, lobster claw and a strawberry mimosa. I also went back for some mango and papaya that were incredibly ripe and sweet. I was quite content and later happy that I had indulged since I was unable to eat for the remainder of the day.

Brunch over and flight time drawing near, we made our way back to the airport. It had been a whirlwind weekend of 47 hours in Los Cabos, but we certainly made the best of it and did not starve.

Kimchi Fried Rice

My obsession with Kimchi Fried Rice began at the Departure Lounge in Portland, Oregon during one of my many business trips to that city.  I sat at the bar for one of my many dinners alone and started a conversation with the bartender around cocktails.  I explained that I don’t like cocktails that are too sweet or have too many different liquors in them and so he suggested the Tasho Macho which is made with chile infused vodka, thai basil, lime juice and a touch of simple syrup.  It was spicy and delicious! He then recommended that I try the kimchi fried rice since I liked spicy foods, and so I ordered it.  All I can say is I was addicted.  So much so that I would find some way to eat it at least once on nearly every trip to Portland, and there were many.

I no longer travel to Portland for work and miss so many things about the city, including this wonderful bowl of spicy goodness.  But while you can’t duplicate the people in your life, a plate of food is certainly something I can work with.  And so, I’ve been on a mission – to learn to make great kimchi fried rice.  My favorite so far is the Francis Lam recipe published in the  NY Times (https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018097-kimchi-fried-rice) which has been a hit at several parties.

The below recipe I made up in my head yesterday while walking through Whole Foods trying to figure out what to make for dinner based on what I had at home and could make quickly.  I must say it came out quite delicious and I would definitely make it again.  Traditionally it is made with ham or spam but with tofu substitute, it’s a great option for vegetarians too.

Kimchi Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A great side or weekday dinner


  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion – chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 Thai green chiles – finely chopped
  • 5 stalks fresh asparagus – trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal
  • 1/2 Cup grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 Cups extra firm tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Cup chopped kimchi
  • 2 Tbsp kimchi juice
  • 2 Cups cooked rice (I used basmati)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Black sesame seeds for garnich


Heat a large saute pan or wok on medium heat.  Add the oil.  Once the oil has heated thru (test by adding a small piece of onion – it should sizzle), add the onion, garlic and green chiles.  Stir and cook for 1 minute.  Then add the asparagus and carrots stirring to combine.  Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally.  Then add the kimchi, kimchi juice and tofu.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes until heated through.  Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 3 minutes or until the asparagus is crisp tender.  Add the rice and turn up the heat to medium high.  Stir to combine and continue stirring for 4 – 5 minutes until rice is hot and has soaked up the flavors.  Add salt as needed (I didn’t add any) and stir.  Turn off heat, add lime juice and cilantro.  Serve in a bowl garnished with a sprig of cilantro and black sesame seeds.

Optionally you may add a fried egg on top and/or drizzle some sesame oil.   

Orange-Cardamom Panna Cotta

Last weekend, I invited a couple of friends over for a last minute dinner.  With my travels, I don’t get much time to entertain any more so spur of the moment plans are easier.

I wasn’t sure I would make a dessert but then thought of Panna Cotta since it’s a fairly easy and quick dessert to make.  As I started pulling out the ingredients, I decided to put a twist on the classic recipe. The end result was a huge success and got rave reviews from my guests and my son, who ate it a day later.  I hope you will try and make this one and let me know how it turns out in comments below.



Orange-Cardamom Panna Cotta

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A light and refreshing dessert that requires no baking.


2 Cups Heavy Cream 1 Cup Coconut Milk 1/3 Cup Sugar Grated Zest of 1 Orange Juice of 1 Orange 1 Tbsp unflavored Gelatin 6-8 pods Cardamom – slightly smashed to open 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder 1 tsp Vanilla


In a heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the heavy cream, coconut milk and sugar until just hot (do not bring to a boil) stirring often.  Add orange zest and cardamom pods and allow to steep for about 20-30 minutes.  In a small heat proof pan, add the juice from the orange and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over it.  Allow to stand for 1 to 2 minutes.  Heat the pan over a low flame constantly moving the liquid until the gelatin has melted.  Do not allow to boil or overheat.  Set aside.  Reheat the cream mixture on medium high to just under a boil stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Add the gelatin mixture to the cream and stir well to combine.  Strain into a large measuring cup through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pods and zest.  Add cardamom powder and vanilla and stir well.  Divide evenly into 8 ramekins and chill for at least 4 hours.  When ready to serve, you can certainly eat right out of the ramekin but for a great presentation and to show the flecks of orange & cardamon as in the above photo, place each ramekin into a larger bowl of hot water for 30-45 seconds.  Invert onto a serving plate to un-mold the Panna Cotta.


To Ski or Après Ski – Adventures in Whistler BC

Blackcomb Glacier
I fell in love with skiing many years ago after a week of lessons in Canada at a resort called Gray Rocks and have enjoyed the sport more and more each year.  I am not a “lay on the beach person” and don’t find it at all relaxing and thus opt for more active vacations.  Much of my vacation time is used up each year at ski resorts.  There is something very satisfying at the end of the ski day where one has conquered a challenge or two never before undertaken such as a particularly difficult run or interesting new terrain.  Even more fun, after a tough day on the slopes, is the concept of après ski which basically involves food and drinks and fun (three of my favorite things), preferably with a group of friends in a slope side bar, restaurant, or your own condo.
Whistler Village
This past week, I went skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia with some friends.  My last trip to Whistler was more of a family trip with my son, and two other families who joined us.  It was equally fun but very different than this trip which was adults only.  This time I had the chance to après in a very different way, stopping for a beer or a drink and some light snacks before heading back to the condo; sometimes alone and sometimes with others.  I didn’t have to rush or worry about meeting someone or finding my son.  We each had our independent days and met up if we could without pressure.  My daily life revolves so much around a tight schedule that not being on a schedule is a wonderful treat.  That is when I feel like I’m on vacation – something I really haven’t had time to do for over a year between work and a construction project.
Whistler has a lovely village at the base with many restaurants and bars from casual food to upscale establishments.  The nice thing is, one can walk into most of them with ski boots on.  In fact, one evening, we didn’t leave the mountain until after dinner still in our ski clothes.  The base of Blackcomb is a bit quieter if you prefer to be away from the hub bub, with a few restaurant options and base area bars of its own.


We started our vacation by meeting in Vancouver arriving at the Pinnacle Marriott at different times and met up at breakfast the next morning.  After some smoked salmon on English muffin and tea – so very Pacific Northwest – I went for a walk along Vancouver harbor to take in the beautiful morning sunshine.  We picked up our rental car, stopped at Whole Foods for some provisions for the week and then headed to Whistler which is about a 2.5 hour drive from Vancouver.


Vancouver Harbor


Nita Lake
We arrived in the early afternoon and since our condo was not yet ready, wound up at Nita Lake Lodge on the recommendation of the front desk for some lunch.  Though their restaurant was not open, we got a nice table overlooking the lake in their lounge and ordered some sandwiches and beer.  I opted for a grilled chicken with a side salad and a local lager which was simple and yet everything seems to taste better on vacation in beautiful surroundings.  We took our time with our meals and then went for a walk along the lake enjoying views of the mountains and the beautiful houses built along the water’s edge.  After checking in and unpacking, we set off to collect our ski passes and rental equipment before settling down for the evening.  Still full from our late lunch, we opted to snack on some cheese and bread with some local wine and skipped dinner.


Our first day on the slopes was challenging but fun with poor visibility on the mountain which did not stop us from having a full day of playing in the snow.  We ventured all over Blackcomb mountain that day, stopping for breakfast at Glacier Creek lodge and lunch at the Roundhouse lodge, and wrapped up our day around 3:30pm when our legs were feeling tired.  Choices for breakfast and lunch on the mountain are far better at Whistler than what I’m used to at other ski resorts and go beyond the usual burgers, fries and chicken fingers.  Most of the lodges offer Noodle bowls, Pasta, Soups, and more.  The first full day on the slopes is always tiring and even more so if it’s in challenging conditions, and so we decided to cook in that evening.  We had picked up some beautiful halibut in Vancouver and decided to make Thai green curry along with some Jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk and a salad.  I wouldn’t say it was my best effort but it wasn’t bad considering I had to make do with minimal ingredients, an electric stove, and basic cooking vessels.  Sadly, in my rushed packing efforts, I forgot to include my normal stash of spices and other ingredients that I like to carry along on most trips.  But we were so hungry after our day on the slopes that we managed to finish it all any way along with a bottle of wine.
Skiing the Bowls
Made it through these trees
The next day, we signed up for “The Camp” at Whistler which is a ski coaching program that breaks you up into groups according to your ski level and provides a coach for four days.  I can ski quite well on groomed trails but don’t have much experience off-piste (ungroomed terrain).  So I was placed in a more advanced group at first, but after a very humbling day of skiing on very steep slopes and through trees, I was moved to a group more my speed the next day, though I must say I was proud to have conquered the trees for the first time.  The next four days were grueling, challenging, exhausting and the most fun I’ve had in a very long time.  I skied on a glacier, rode a T-bar without falling, skied in fresh powder as deep as my waist and became a better skier thanks to my coach, Kim.  We worked hard but also played hard.  We made new friends and après’d with them to discuss the day on the mountain, later meeting up with our own group for dinner.  Each day was a new adventure on and off the mountain.  Here are some of our après highlights including some amazing meals.
At the top of Blackcomb Glacier


Après Ski

View from Black’s Pub
Manhattan at Milestones
I don’t drink beer very often, but something about a nice cold one just hits the spot after skiing.  Black’s Pub, GLC and the Brewhouse are all great places to get some good local brew.  The younger crowd tends to favor the Longhorn Saloon at the base of Whistler with its heat lamps, hip vibe and music playing all day long.  Milestones at the base of Blackcomb is a bit more refined and good for cocktails and some interesting snacks too like the warm goat cheese with roasted garlic served with grilled flat bread. I accompanied it with a Manhattan while sitting under a heat lamp and watching the skiers come down the slope in front of me.   One evening we continued the fun in the condo and my friend made a baked brie with garlic and white wine which we scooped up with pieces of baguette.

Whistler Dining

We dined in twice – once on the Halibut curry mentioned earlier and another night I cooked chicken with maitake mushrooms and white wine served over a rice pilaf with steamed asparagus.  I find cooking very relaxing after a long day and enjoyed preparing both meals.  We had two very memorable dinners at Elements and Trattoria di Umberto and one not so memorable one at Legs Diamond.
Pork Belly on Bacon & Rosemary Bread Pudding
Elements is an urban tapas restaurant serving nothing like your typical Spanish or Mediterranean style tapas.  The food is very good and while there isn’t much of a wine selection, there are some interesting cocktails on the list.  We shared Duck Confit Sliders, Seared Scallops, Bruschetta, and an amazing slow cooked Pork Belly served over Bacon & Rosemary Bread Pudding with a Maple Glaze and Apple Butter. For dessert we ordered Sticky Toffee Pudding and the Peach Cobbler.  At the end of this very satisfying meal, we unanimously decided that we would have all been perfectly content with one order of the Pork Belly and one of the Sticky Toffee Pudding each.  That is how much we enjoyed these two very memorable dishes.  So much so that we went back on my last evening for the Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert in an effort to try to coax the recipe out of the chef. We did not succeed and so I will now be on a mission to experiment with it on my own.


Sticky Toffee Pudding


Kitchen at Trattoria di Umberto
Trattoria di Umberto is the less formal cousin of Il Caminetto di Umberto.  If this is on a lower scale, I’d love to see what the more formal restaurant is like because this was a very nice experience in terms of ambiance, wine list, food and service.  The Sommelier recommended a nice Cabernet Sauvignon from the Okanagan region of British Columbia which was more fruit forward than most cabs I’m used to, but very good nonetheless.  I ordered a Caesar Salad and the Roasted Half Chicken which were both excellent.  My friends ordered a Tiramisu for dessert of which I tried a spoonful and can honestly say it was one of the best I have ever eaten.



Roasted Chicken with Veggies and Demi Glace


Albacore Tuna Carpaccio
On my last day, the weather was wet, the snow difficult to traverse and my legs were tired.  After a couple of runs my non-waterproof ski jacket had allowed water to permeate to the inner layers and I was no longer a happy skier.  So, I decided to head back to the condo, changed and went for a walk in the Village.  I’m not much of a shopper but sometimes it’s fun to browse around for interesting items that you wouldn’t find in your day to day life.  After a stop to pick up some Aero bars for my son (he recently discovered how awesome they are) and a few browsing stops, I was hungry for lunch.  I walked around to check out all the options and wound up finding a recently opened wine bar.  Basalt Wine & Charcuterie is a small but inviting space with a long bar in the front and about a dozen tables.  I took a seat at the bar and the bartender, Gil, immediately greeted me with a friendly smile.  After some conversation around the food options and trying a few different wines, I ordered the Albacore Tuna Carpaccio to start, paired with a Marsanne from New Zealand.  The tuna was presented beautifully over arugula & avocado puree, and topped with roasted peppers, pickled red onion and fried capers. It was so good that I finished it in about five minutes.  Still hungry, I ordered the chicken liver mousse to follow which was served with toasted bread and mustard and topped with a berry jam.  This too was absolutely delicious and I was glad that one of my friends had joined me part way into the meal because I was full and hated to see it go to waste.  I paired the mousse with a Nero d’Avola which was a light refreshing red that worked perfectly with the dish.
Chicken Liver Mousse


The food at Legs Diamond, which is at the base of Blackcomb, was not bad but it wasn’t great either.  My salad was overdressed and nothing special, my one friend’s fish was way undercooked and the Beef Wellington was not quite what we expected – slices of beef with a biscuit on the side.  It was a bit underwhelming compared to the other restaurants we ate at and not one that I would likely revisit.
Overall this is was an amazing and memorable trip from all aspects – phenomenal ski conditions & experience, meeting new friends, wonderful food and a truly relaxing vacation.


So the next time you’re faced with the dilemma of “To Ski or Après Ski”, just do both!!
%d bloggers like this: