Leena Writes: For Chow.com

By on Jul 14, 2014 in The Gastronomical Leena | 0 comments

Hi guys! I wanted to let you know about a project I recently finished. I had the pleasure of writing articles for a few months at the site Chow.com. I wanted to show you some of my favorite articles I wrote for them, the ones I am most proud of. This is by no means an exhaustive list of my writing, but just a small taste. I wrote a series called “That Nagging Question”, where I got to answer common questions that people often have about food and cooking. A few of my favorites: “Can You Cook With Sprouted Garlic?” “Is A Food’s “Best Before” Date Technically an Expiration Date?” “Will Raw Milk Make You Sick?” I wrote a few articles about a topic near and dear to my heart, Indian food. “Dip Into These Essential Indian Condiments” “10 Must Try Regional Indian Dishes” The piece I am most proud of is a...

Family Food Photography in Oakland

By on Nov 22, 2013 in East Bay, Family, Food photography, Leena Eats, Leena Lives Life, Oakland, Pho, Pizza, The Gastronomical Leena | 0 comments

Food photography and family portraits don’t typically go together, and they sure as hell aren’t the most searched terms on Google. But if food is your life and you have a family, eating together is probably the one time that your family is the most themselves, the most comfortable. Capturing those moments on film are a no brainer for this food writer, and I have been incredibly lucky to stumble across an incredibly talented food and family photographer in Oakland. Guys, meet Mark Estes of Mark Estes Photography. We’ve been working with Mark for two years now, and he has been amazing. He is creative, fun, and always willing to tackle unique shooting locations. The shot above was done at a local pizza joint called Slicer, which just so happened to be empty on the day/time we went, and had perfect lighting. The pizza shop is the first venture for chef Colin Etezadi, who...

Gastro Fridays: Gotta Teach Them Young!

By on Oct 18, 2013 in Gastro Fridays, Leena Cooks, The Gastronomical Leena, With kids | 0 comments


Gastro Fridays: The great pb & j debate

By on Oct 11, 2013 in Essays, Gastro Fridays, The Gastronomical Leena | 0 comments

I love the tv show Parenthood. So funny, so true, so perfectly awkward at times and heart-wrenching at others. I was watching the season premiere a few weeks back, and a scene between Crosby and Jasmine (who had just had their second child) was so interesting it ACTUALLY grabbed my attention away from online clothes shopping. Spoiler alert: it has to do with food! So there they were, parents of a newborn, exhausted, cranky and ready to bite each other’s heads off, when Crosby started making Jasmine a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Because he burned the toasted bread, Jasmine’s faith in Crobsy’s pb&j skills was clearly shaken (gotta love those post birth hormones!). She gave Crosby strict instructions on how she preferred her peanut butter to be smoothly spread on the bread, not lumpy. Of course, this caused a fight, because which severely sleep-deprived person...

Leena Cooks: Dudhi Hulva

By on Aug 8, 2013 in Indian Food, Leena Cooks, Recipes, Spices, Sweet treats, The Gastronomical Leena, Vegetables | 0 comments

It’s no secret that even though I am half Indian, it took me a hot minute to actually enjoy eating Indian food (SO thankful I am out of that stage!). But like any sugar-addicted kid, Indian sweets were another story. They were my jam as a kid, pretty much the only thing I would eat regardless of their contents. And let me tell you, my Lila Khaki and Rajni Khaki (aunts for you non-dots) can cook up a STORM of Indian sweets. The colors are so fun–white and pink color block, pastel green, sometimes edible foil, a super-fun looking treat for kids. Funny story–both of my Khakis came to visit me for one of my birthdays, somewhere around age 10 or 11. My dad told them I really liked the Indian dessert gulab jamun (deep fried dumplings soaked in rose water syrup), which I did. He neglected to tell them that since they are basically donuts soaked in syrup, I could barely put...

Leena Eats: Just kidding…NOW I’m back! And with dinner party photos!

By on Dec 12, 2012 in Appetizers, Leena Cooks, Leena Eats, Mains, Meat, Parties, Pork, Sorbet, Soup/Salad, The Gastronomical Leena, Vegetables | 4 comments

So. I said I was back, and clearly, I lied. What I actually meant is, hi, see you again in four months or so. 🙂 I spent from mid-June through early October studying my ass off for a little test called the GRE, because I decided hey, wouldn’t it be fun to get a doctorate and research food and culture for a living? It paid off, because I didn’t completely fail the math, and I did ok in the verbal and kick-ass in the essay section. BUT. It also meant no brain energy was left at the end of day to cook, let alone blog about food. Or exercise. Or eat well. But I did occasionally bust out some winners, the cake above included. That bad-ass monstrosity was a chocolate chip cake layered with passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbles, and coffee buttercream frosting from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. More after the jump! I feel like I could probably create a nice big-ass cake like...