Picture, if you will, a gorgeous relaxed weekend. The day is warm without being hot, breezy and sparkling with sunshine. The skies are blue with sprinkles of puffy cottony clouds. In short, the perfect day for a picnic.
The time is 11 AM, and long tables have been set out in the grass. Bloggers from all over the world have been magically transported to the scene and they come laden with dishes of food, all recipes inspired by other blogs.
So please grab a reusable plate and cloth napkin from one of the tables, and help yourself to brunch, lunch and desserts. This is what you will find on the buffet table-
For brunch, we have many interesting variations on popular Southern Indian breakfast foods, with sago rava idlis that look like they would absolutely melt in the mouth, lacy rice coconut kallappams that have been fermented with yeast and nutritious carrot oats dosai. Seasonal tomatoes go into this beautiful tomato dosa. To accompany all of these, a simply yet tasty onion chutney is just the thing, while those with fond memories of Udipi restaurants can dip into the hotel style sambar. To add a little spice, sprinkle the idlis and dosas with coriander chutney powder or horsegram lentil powder.
The other Indian breakfast favorite is parathas, and we have a choice of two: hara bhara paratha with spinach and paneer, and a cheesy oats paratha. One the side, try this green chilli pickle. In the spirit of minimizing waste, leftovers have been transformed into masala idli and phodanichi poli.
If you like sweet breakfast treats, there is a choice of maple pecan muffins or eggless cardamom muffins, tasty cranberry granola bars and a papaya banana smoothie to wash it down.
If you want appetizers and light meals to nibble on while you socialize, try the onion dip with potato chips or some muhammara and tabbouleh. Fresh summer corn is the star of corn patties, and you must try one of these green peas coracles that are almost too cute to eat. For something more substantial, help yourself to pasta in vodka sauce, or a slice of gourmet tile-baked pizza, or this portable treat called masala pav or perhaps one of these tasty roasted vegetable paninis.
On the salad table, we have some unusual combinations: tomatoes and peaches come together in a twisted caprese salad, grains, fruits, nuts and beans all get their chance to shine in this Turkish bulgur salad, and these pickled beets are bathed in vinegar and spices.
Then there is a whole large table devoted to Indian food.
It is a lucky day if you love potatoes, because you can choose it in all these different ways: in a simple eggplant and potato curry, paired with tomatoes in aloo tamatar curry, in a tasty sesame flax potato fry, and these spicy stir-fried potatoes.
Other vegetables are represented too, with cabbage in sesame curry paste, chow chow sukhi bhaji, eggplant bell pepper curry and a traditional Andhra plantain mustard curry.
There is a great selection of curries too, with minty peas and pineapple korma and a vegan take on a classic Bengali curry- tempeh malaikari. Chickpeas are cooked in two different ways- black chickpeas in gravy with a side of spicy stuffed peppers and chana palak. Paneer is a popular party food, cooked in rich curries for special occasions, and here we have three- paneer in a fennel-tomato curry, paneer dhaniya and paneer Nargisi. To sop up the curries, choose between these different breads, Goan specialty named poee, dinner rolls, and these beautiful garlic rolls.
If rice is more your thing, there are plenty of options here. Rice is paired with beans, vegetables and lentils respectively in chana pulav, soy nuggets and green pea pulao and bisibele bhath. if you like rice in its sweeter avatar, try this dish of meethe chawal. To satisfy a biryani craving, tuck into this everyday chicken biryani, a tasty 30 minute pressure cooker biryani, and a biryani "side-dish" to complete the meal.
Finally, it is time for dessert.
If you are too full and only want a bite or two, try these dark, raw but lovable cocoa mint nibbles, cute little candies called brigadeiros, sweet sticky banana halva, luscious kaala jamuns, sugar-soaked jamun or rugelach pinwheels that look too pretty to eat.
If you want to celebrate with cake, choose between cheerful cake pops, whole-wheat and vegan chocolate cupcakes, chocolate tahini gooey cakes, pistachio cupcakes with chocolate ganache or a thick slice of this cherry-studded cake.
Or you might want to cool off in the afternoon heat with almond pista kulfi or kesar pista coconut ice cream. If you dare, try some of this creamy and very unusual cabbage payasam.
Every party needs a show-stopping dessert and this is ours: strawberry mirror cake.
I want to thank everyone who brought these dishes to the potluck- I only wish I could wave a wand and make this potluck happen in real life. If you would like to participate in the next edition of Blog Bites, check back in 2 days to see what the next theme is.