After a more vigorous DDPYOGA workout (Double Black Diamond, Diamond Cutter) or dumbbell lifting at the gym, I'm RAVENOUS. It's also the perfect time to feed throbbing muscles which are desperately in want of a glucose hit. So I put this easy combination together for a recent recharge in between lunch and dinner. I've also used this as a breakfast. It's sooo good. Especially when I have a soft, spongey roll from my area gluten-free bakery on hand. If you don't live near Albany, N.Y. and can't get to Sherry Lynn's (http://www.sherrylynnsglutenfree.net) the Schar brand makes wonderful rolls and breads, from baguettes to ciabatta (http://www.schar.com/us/gluten-free-products).
Yesterday I was especially fortunate because the fruit spread used was from my friends Suvir Saran and Charlie Burd. My favorite gentlemen farmers lovingly handcrafted this glistening elixir in the Masala Farm kitchen with the help of Charlie's dear Grandmother who was visiting from West Virginia. If the words Masala Farm sound familiar, it's because Suvir is a renowned chef, lecturer, Celebrity Top Chef star, and cookbook author. His most recent cookbook is "Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes From An Uncommon Life In The Country." The book weaves a tapestry of recipes and farm anecdotes so enticing, you just might find yourself scouting the Washington County real estate ads.
Suvir also has two previous books to his credit: "Indian Home Cooking" and "American Masala." Both pay culinary homage to his Motherland of India as they inform a few American classics such as Suvir's succulent "Tamarind-Glazed Meatloaf" or his "Fried Chicken Masala," a creation accented by a buttermilk brining and a fragrant sprinkling of Garam Masala.
Suvir has not only given me wonderful recipes, his books impart a beautiful philosophy towards food and eating that had been sorely missing from my life for the majority of it. After reading his books and interviewing him on numerous occasions, I concluded that Suvir is indeed onto something: Kitchens are sacred territory and the central nerve of the home.
“In the Indian home, the kitchen is where we create magical tastes that have the power to heal the mind, body, and soul. All cultures that are a happy people meet in the kitchen,” he says. “I want to encourage people to go back to the kitchen and start nurturing. You are what you eat. And so my philosophy, and that of my parents and grandparents, is to cook, share, and eat with care and thought.”
Suvir and Charlie are big on sharing. They gifted me with this jam on a recent visit for some of Masala Farm's spectacular goose eggs. When I arrived Suvir, Charlie, and his grandmother were a three-person assemblyline, steadily cranking out little mountains of pitted cherries from a local farm. It was a mammoth task, but a labor of Love, Suvir assured me, as he place a jar of blackberry jam (they make several varieties) into my grateful hands.
I took it home and put it in safe keeping for the occasion when I truly craved it. Yesterday the occasion arose and I ate Suvir's labor of Love with unmitigated pleasure, and the awareness that sharing is an integral element of our sacred kitchens.
Perfect after a workout...or for breakfast
Charlie's lovely grandmother, Bernice Burd, cheerfully works the jam-making assembly line at Masala Farm. Behind her, Suvir doesn't let the pits get him down
The glorious fruits of Washington County
A tub full of cherries - a fantasy come true for me!
Let the alchemy begin. Eventually this morphs into....
...Divinity in a jar.
For more information on Suvir Saran's books or the farm, visit www.suvir.com .