American Masala’s Sticky Toffee Cake!

Update 3/3/11 – Suvir Saran will be appearing on Top Chef Masters, April 6th on Bravo! I could not be more excited for him and for all of us to get the opportunity to watch him in action!

My ideal day consists of  walking around NYC, eating oysters, going to museums to see great quantities of art and then finishing with an incredible meal. This is precisely what I did with my family during our trip last month. My boys were fine until about hour 3 at the Met, when they just wanted to leave to grab a hot dog and run wild. They were fed up with all the talk of brush strokes, juxtapositions, impressionists and cubists. Yeah, it was a stretch for them, but I figure someday they will appreciate me for it, or not? We grabbed them a snack to take the edge off and then headed to dinner. I was so excited for this meal, not only because devi is the restaurant owned by my dear friend Suvir and his food always brings me joy. I was also thrilled to be sharing the evening with my family, including my mother and my aunt and uncle. My aunt Sally’s mother grew up in India and had introduced me to Indian cuisine when I was a kid, in fact, Sally introduced me to most foods when I was a kid. I knew she would fall quickly in love with devi.

(picture of Suvir by Charlie Burd, picture of devi by Ben Fink)

I met Suvir several years ago at a pastry conference hosted at the CIA. Suvir was one of the presenters. He talked about blending more flavors of the world into the palate of American desserts. He was confidence Americans want to experience flavors beyond vanilla and chocolate, I whole heartedly agree with him. His food at the conference was intense and fresh and clean. You could taste every spice and ingredient, it was unlike any other Indian food I’d ever eaten. I was in awe and have been ever since. He has become a mentor, a brother and a dear friend to me. His skills go way beyond the kitchen. He and his partner Charlie have established a farm where they raise animals and run the American Masala empire, they design kitchen accessories, write cookbooks and Suvir is on a team at Harvard to educate people on how to eat a healthier diet. Now you see why I am in awe. But, the reason I fell in love with this chef was only partly because of his food, it is also his generosity and heart. He and Charlie give back to their community and to society as a whole. They are the epitome of good people!

More about our meal at devi, a Sticky Toffee Cake with Nut Brittle Ice Cream recipe:

(more…)

Read More

Happy Thanksgiving and a couple of announcements!

Thank you for visiting Zoë Bakes! I wanted to write a short post to let you know how much your lovely comments of encouragement have meant to me. As many of you have noticed I’ve taken a sabbatical of sorts from blogging. I miss it and will be back soon. Jeff and I are working on our third book (Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day) together and it is due at the beginning of December. It is so exciting and tremendous fun, but it is like a child and has taken most of my time.

I have also been presented with an opportunity to work with one of my all time favorite Twin Cities chefs. Steven Brown, who I worked with many years ago is opening his own restaurant in Minneapolis called Tilia. I got down on my knees and begged him to let me be a part of it and help him with the desserts. What a crazy good time, playing with sugar in the presence of such an inspired chef. The picture above are just a few of the desserts I created for our first tasting together (sticky toffee cake, soaked in caramel and glazed with chocolate, a German Chocolate Cake and an apple-pear spice cake with orange cardamom glaze). It will be a menu of our interpretation of some classics, made with the best local ingredients and a whole lot of love. To find out more about Tilia and watch the process of opening a restaurant you can visit the Tilia facebook page.

and there are now gorgeous Tilia gift certificates for holiday giving. I hope you will come and visit.

I have so much to be thankful for this holiday season and I look forward to coming back to Zoë Bakes soon to blog about all that I have been working on.

Thanks, Zoë

Read More