James Shea, Amit Gulati, and Raj Bhattacharya are three guys with a dream. A dream of creating food that is “fresh, creative, and fun,” and their catering business, Spilled Milk Catering, is one of D.C.’s best kept secrets. We were lucky enough to get a few lessons on good food, and an original recipe, from these adorable cooks.
Where do you get inspiration for your dishes?
James: I love looking at old cookbooks and re-imagining an antiquated recipe for today’s kitchen.Â I also get inspired by my travels- the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of another culture can really get my imagination running on how to take those cultural elements and re-interpret them into a dish.
Raj: Iâ€™llÂ admit, since Iâ€™ve never cooked professionally; a lot of what comes along with working with Spilled Milk is new to me. But I like experimenting and challenging myself to stretch my cooking skills, so when itâ€™s my turn to come up with a dish, I try to think of something I havenâ€™t done before. Something with new flavors and ingredients that will (hopefully!) be delicious.
Amit: This is where I try to be as creative as possible.Â I am always reading different food blogs, cookbooks, websites to getÂ a better feel on how we can take our cooking to the next level.Â I always tell people that I like to cook as if I was cooking for myself and my tastes, hopefully people will agree with my palette!
If the ideal woman was a meal, what meal would she be and why?
James:Â The ideal woman is one who plays many roles – seductress, comforter, muse, sparring partner.Â So if the ideal woman was a meal, that meal would play all those parts.Â She would be a sexy starter of ripe figs with prosciutto; she would inspire you as a main course of wild salmon topped with tomato beurre blanc and then she would comfort you as a side of creamy polenta scented with rosemary.Â Finally, she would challenge you as a chocolate cake spiced with red chili pepper.Â A woman … or meal … like that would keep me coming back for more.
Raj: Iâ€™d say something thatâ€™s not too over the top or fancy. Something lighthearted and fun, but that has complex enough flavors to hold your attention. A meal that goes just as well with a dinner right before a night out as it does with staying in on a Friday and watching some TV. So whatâ€™s like thatâ€¦ I donâ€™t know, maybe a Happy Meal?
Amit: Oysters, Champagne, Chocolate!Â OK that was too easy, the meal has to be light on its feet without loosing its richness and sensuality.Â I would say a sweet but spicy Amaretto Almond Crusted Rack of Lamb with a richÂ Wild Asparagus Risotto all topped with a beautifulÂ and complex Red Wine Sauce.Â That sounds typical but put those flavors together and to me you have the perfect meal or woman!
Curried Onion Rings with Tamarind Dipping Sauce
1. 2 Large Vidalia onions
2. 1.5 Cups of Flour
3. 2 teaspoons of baking powder
4. 5 Tablespoons Curry Powder
6. 2 Eggs
7. 1.5 cups milk
8. .5 teaspoons white wine vinegar
10. 1 clove garlic
11. .5 finely minced ginger root
12. Tamarind and Date Chutney (from any Indian grocery store)
13. Chopped cilantro
1. Cut the onions into quarter inch slices and separate into rings, set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, curry powder, and salt. In a separate bowl mix eggs, milk, and vinegar. Mix the liquid in the flour mixture using a whisk to make the batter.
3. Marinate the cut onion rings in the batter for an hour in the fridge.
4. Heat Vegetable Oil to 365 degrees.
5. Deep fry until golden brown and season with salt and cilantro while still hot.
6. Serve with Tamarind and Date Chutney.
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