It seemed that I blinked and it's already December. Time to celebrate our greatest moments over the year but more importantly, time for another International Incident Party! Penny of Jeroxie.com as our lovely host has wisely pronounced 'Colour' a.k.a. 'Color' as the theme of this month's party. What better way to see the year out than with a big bang, an explosion of culinary colors?
In the six months since I've embarked on this blogging journey (I'm a mere baby in the blogosphere!), my kitchen has seen its fair share of rainbow-like dishes gracing its countertop and table. I certainly like to play with the most vibrant colors naturally available - reds, greens, yellows - but there is one oddity and that is my predilection for purple and pink. Strange really, because I'm not terribly feminine in outlook or appearance (in fact, I often imagine myself as a tattoed-up Jesse James with boobies and a black leather apron, real baad, oh yeah!). All this time, my poor brain may possibly be rebelling against this constant desire to be a biker-foodie chick, resulting in recipes that manifest themselves as the girliest-looking concoctions, as you can witness below:
Anyway, back to this party. I was so excited to showcase more colors in my food that I ended up preparing a three-course meal bursting with flavors and vibrancy. I suggest you put your sunglasses on now as it's going to get crazy-bright in here ;-).
Appetizer: Colorific Salad-in-a-Sushi
A refeshing, colorful salad presented in sushi form! Slivers of red cabbage, cucumber, carrot, beetroot, yellow pepper and mango are encased in fried egg-sheets, which are again rolled within nori sheets. If you can roll sushi, you can definitely roll these. They're slightly larger versions of regular sushi but they look like pyschedelic babes on a plate! My heart hurt to have to eat these, but hey, someone's got to do it...
Main course: Mother-in-Law's Tongue Pasta (Lingua di Suocera)
I've been intrigued with these unbelievably stunning noodles for a while but when I googled it up, there was no information on how to actually make it. For now, it seems that the secret recipe and technique for producing this pasta will remain with the Marella family in Puglia, Italy who makes these by hand! Never one to give up, I bravely attempted my own version of Lingua di Suocera. However let me just put on record that my real-life mother-in-law's tongue was not the inspiration for this creation (in fact, I'd be worried if hers took on these hues!).
I experimented with 6 colors derived from carrot (orange), spinach (green), black sesame (black), blueberry jam! (blue), turmeric powder (yellow) and cocoa powder (brown), and left one plain. It was pretty tedious work lining up the linguine-sized noodles lengthwise against one another before rolling them flat to seal - and of course, they never do in the exact way you want them to - then trimming off the edges to form a wide, flat, stripey, colorful noodle.
It was a warm afternoon when I made this, and after painstakingly crafting a whole set of just 5 noodles, I gave up and jumped into the pool with the kids. The rest of the linguine was not wasted though, they were heaped together and cooked into a gorgeous multicolored pasta dish that my young housemates devoured after their swim. Luckily, I remembered to take a snapshot before it was all gone!
But here's the real star of the party, my version of Mother-in-Law's Tongue pasta accompanied by red cabbage, garlic and coriander (cilantro) sauteed in butter. Those Italians have totally got it sussed out, they know exactly what it takes to make food that take your breath away.
Hmm, I could stare at this the whole day.... if only I wasn't so hungry.
Dessert: Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Agar
This purplelicious layered agar is flavored with purple and orange sweet potatoes and coconut milk, two ingredients that go extremely well together. The topmost layer contains thin strands of purple sweet potatoes (achieved using a mandoline) encased in sweetened clear agar. For the opaque sweet potato layers, the potatoes are first steamed and then blended with hot agar liquid to form a puree. Despite its carb contents, this pretty layered dessert makes for a delicious and surprisingly light finisher!
I had fun creating these dishes, it felt as if the rainbow had somehow shone its way into my kitchen and inspired me to look closer at its spectrum for ways to brighten up the plain old plate. Now before you come here looking for that pot of gold, check out what colorful goodies the other participants came up with by clicking on the thumbnails below.
In the interest of maintaining a fun and light International Incident Party atmosphere, all recipes featured here will be posted separately in the coming few days. We wouldn't want to derive yawns resulting from a long-drawn out post now, do we? Haha, no we so wouldn't.
Don't forget to put some (natural) color in your lives and on your plates. Thanks for reading, and yes, you can take those sunglasses off now!