SWEET SHELLS

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It's Diwali frenzy time again and every corner of the house seems to be engulfed in the heady aroma of cardamom and saffron, and rose water and deep-frying.   This after I made lists of recipes old and new and brought my favorite mithai-making tools out of the drawer, holding each in my hand and remembering how they came to me.......most of them as gifts from friends and family, some special family heirlooms and my heart gets full.
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PEAR, PECAN & GINGER PANCAKES

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Whenever I go through a pantry-cleaning spree, I come across packets of flours or ingredients that were bought in a particularly inspired moment but have never been opened, or used just once and then relegated to the back shelves.   The exceptions are staples like all-purpose and whole wheat flours, beans and lentils and a large Ball jar of my homemmade pancake mix.
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VEGETABLE PHYLLO PUFFS

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I often wonder if its the same for everyone else.  That inspite of cooking everyday for many years, there is a certain mealtime that always has you flummoxed.  For me its the after-school snack time for my son.  When he comes home hungry after a full day of school and some sports, and often for just long enough to change and head for tennis lessons, I am always looking for something that is filling yet healthy for him.  Often its summer rolls or a variation on the more classic Indian snacks like chaat, bhel or samosas.  All without deep-frying, relying more on baking with a light brush of oil and always with some vegetables weaved in.
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