25 May 2012

Foodspotting Brings the Game Changers Into High Tech Featuring Herb Crusted Paneer with Indian Risotto

Herb Crusted Paneer with Risotto from 
Carvers, Inn at Big White as seen on Foodspotting

One of my favourite past times on a cool evening is to sit curled up by the fireplace with a good cookbook. It is a valid form of reading that I know you will understand with plenty of dreaming and planning involved.  These days there are two criteria for adding a cookbook to my collection. It has to be filled with mouthwatering photographs and it must be a good read. If my daughter and her friends were sitting next to me they would whip out their iPhones and enjoy on-line versions of the same. There comes a time when you just have to give up the feel and smell of a good book in your hands and Foodspotting indulges those passions. 

Welcome to this century. By collecting 1 million photos in two years, Foodspotting has proved that some people really do want to share what they had for lunch other than on Twitter or Facebook. Today, the latest Internet food craze starts with the camera on your iPhone and the food on your plate. 

Foodspotting is an application and website that allows users to post and discover local restaurant dish recommendations through photographs. lf you order an item that looks tasty, you share it on the social network. Foodspotting allows  your fellow diners to update and share on-the-spot reviews and photos of every restaurant they hit. That information becomes accessible to everyone.

Alexa Andrzejewski returned to San Francisco from a vacation to Japan with an idea. She met Ted Grubb at a happy hour who is a tech start-up veteran programmer who advised her to steer her 20th-Century project into the smart phone era. The idea soon morphed into a photo-sharing location-aware app that amplified a phenomenon they'd already observed happening. "People love to photograph their food, and share their great meals with friends," Alexa says. "So we put a name on that phenomenon... Foodspotting."

They added New York media darling Soraya Darabi, a former social media manager for The New York Times and current digital strategist for ABC News, to their founder roster, and scored $3 million in angel funding.

Currently, Foodspotting is developing partnerships with companies, such as The Travel Channel and Zagat, which uses Foodspotting photos on its website and has compiled guides.

Our group began this journey of chronicling recipes from the Gourmet Live's list of 50 Women Game Changers back in June. The end is drawing near as we have reached #49 on the list!! Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty on the list of 50 Women Game Changers and their order it has been an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters and those we admire with a group of dedicated ladies. There have even been a few successful bloggers on "the list". We have checked out books from the library, borrowed cookbooks from friends, surfed the Internet and browsed our own cookbook collections seeking that one recipe that will highlight that weeks outstanding woman. This group has been spearheaded by my favourite well-travelled blogger Mary of One Perfect Bite who invited bloggers to travel along on this culinary journey throughout the year.

What have we been up to with our 49th Game Changer in Food.....

Mary of One Perfect Bite - Phillipes French Dip Sandwich
Val of More Than Burnt Toast - Herb Crusted Paneer with Risotto
Susan of The Spice Garden - Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
Heather of Girlichef - Angelo's Greek Skillet
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - Cha Cha Bowl
Kathleen Van Bruinisse at Bake Away with Me - Watermelon Tomato Salad
Linda of There and Back Again - Grilled Cheese Sandwich from the Mirth CafĂ© in Lawrence, KS, 
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Gingerbread Trifle from Cafe Maxx in Pompano Beach
Kathleen of Gonna Want Seconds
Nancy of Picadillo -Cuban Sandwich from Latin American Restaurant in West Miami.
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits - Taboulleh
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen - Breakfast Ice Cream
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook - Caramelized Red Onions and Goat Cheese Bruschetta from Bar La Grassa in Minneapolis
Alyce of More Time at The Table - Barbecued Chicken Pizza
Jill at Saucy Cooks - Chef Jennifer Jasinski's Lemon Mascarpone-Stuffed Dates
Sarah at Everything in the Kitchen Sink -  Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake from Good Stuff Eater

Although there are no recipes from one of our final Women Game Changers it was easy to whip out the iPhone and graze through the Foodspotting app for restaurants in my area. A dish that caught my eye was from Carvers a restaurant at Inn at Big White one of our local ski resorts. I contacted the restaurant and they were happy to divulge the recipe but it did not arrive in time for this segment. When in doubt I turned once again to the Internet and developed my own version of the recipe.

I have always been a huge fan of risotto. I love the unctuous, creamy texture, the slight crunch of the al dente rice and the huge depth of flavour that this way of cooking rice provides. It works seductively with any number of different flavour combinations, including spices. The delicate flavour of the paneer is beautifully enhanced by the risotto, without overpowering it. I found this recipe for risotto that had those complex Indian flavours on Sugar Street Review. The risotto has a wonderful creaminess with a bit of heat from the ginger and the chili powder with a subtle and complex combination of spices.

**Herb Crusted Paneer with Indian Risotto **

  • 75 g risotto rice
  • 75 g basmati rice
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, crushed into a paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 900 ml stock
  • Good glug of white wine
  • 6 cloves
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Good pinch turmeric for colour
  • Pinch of hot chilli powder
  • 1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes with the juice strained
  • Sprinkling of kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 sea bass fillets (about 150g each), marinated in olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper for about half an hour
  • Good knob of butter
  • 1 package of paneer
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (use the recipe below)

In a shallow bowl combine the gram masala and the breadcrumbs. Slice the paneer lengthwise. Dip each slice into breadcrumb mixture and see aside. 

Melt the butter on a gentle heat and then add the whole spices. Add the onions and soften, then add ginger, garlic and ground spices and cook for another few minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the stock to a gentle simmer. When the garlic smell has started to mellow, add the rice, turn the heat up quite high and stir, coating the grains in the butter, spices and onions. Continue to cook for a good two or three minutes, stirring to make sure that it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan. Then, add the wine, continuing to stir until all the liquid has almost evaporated. Then, add the stock, a ladle at a time; again, stirring continuously. Each ladle should be added after most of the liquid has been either absorbed or evaporated, although at no point should the risotto be dry. Just before all the stock is finished or the rice is cooked (it should be al dente. In my experience these two events generally occur concurrently), add the chopped tomatoes. The finally stirring process should be really vigorous as this will create the most unctuous texture.
When the risotto is finished, melt some more butter into a hot frying pan and, when it starts to foam, add the herb crusted paneer. After about three minutes, flip them over and cook for another two minutes or so.  Plate up the risotto onto plates, sprinkle over a small handful of the kasoori methi, and place the paneer on top.

**Garam Masala**

1 cup coriander seeds
3/4 cup cumin seeds
1/4 cup dried hot red pepper flakes
1 -1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 cardamon pods
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 1-inch piece cinnamon stick

Preheat the oven to 350F.

 In a shallow baking pan roast coriander and cumin seeds in middle of oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. In a bowl combine roasted seeds and remaining ingredients and in batches in a clean coffee/spice grinder grind sides to a powder. 

Masala keeps in an airtight container for 6 months.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. A fabulous meal! I really have to make my own paneer... Garam masala is such a wonderful spice mix.



  2. Wow! You have truly outdone yourself, Val. I love the flavors in your dish...many layers and the results look fabulous. So creative of you to make your own version of a Foodspotted dish. It's difficult to get the chefs to part with a recipe....I'd love to know how it differs from yours. I bet yours is better! :)

  3. I love Risotto! yours looks wonderful. What depth of flavor.

  4. I really love the look of that dish Val and it is well worth it's own spot on tastespotting :)

  5. Oh my goodness - that Paneer! It looks absolutely fabulous.

  6. What nice recipe Val. Look amazing!!

  7. AnonymousMay 25, 2012

    What a great post Val!! Love the back story as to how Foodspotting came to be and your recipe is so complex and multi-layered. The recipe looks and sounds so wonderful and I am especially grateful for the Garam Masala recipe. I have been buying mine at Penzey's and when this jar is finished I will try yours! Thanks!


  8. This dish looks so packed with flavor that I can almost smell it and taste it. What a great post!

    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits

  9. I love risotto too and it's so much fun to play with flavors. An Indian version is very original and certainly hits the spot!

  10. I am going to play around with Foodspotting. Meanwhile, I really like this herb crusted paneer recipe!

  11. I totally agree about cookbooks Val - great photos and a good read.

    Love your risotto. Such a great photo and full of flavor.

  12. I love that you read cookbooks like novels!

  13. The fireside cook: I know her!
    Interesting and fun vegetarian meal. Enjoy the holiday.

  14. This is a wonderfully unique dish of flavor and texture. Risotto goes Indian! Loving it. The photo beckons and you always know how to please. I don't think I will be a foodspotter but I have much respect for these three who found a perfect niche in a digital world.

  15. I have to get with it and look at Foodspotting! I haven't delved into Indian food much but this looks excellent.

  16. Wow ... an incredible dish on so many levels ...

    Foodspotting has surely played to a social trend that smartphone users have picked up on ... answering the age-old question, "What should we have for dinner?"

  17. I admire that you've spent almost a year sharing recipes along with Mary and other fantastic food bloggers. What a commitment! As for reading... I'm an audio book reader. I put on my iPod and listen to books, while cooking, baking and cleaning. It makes the time fly, and immerse myself into stories. Unfortunately that can't happen with cookbooks. That's where I'm with you-- show me mouth-watering photos, share some interesting stories and I'll buy it. As for Garam Masala, I love that spice blend. I have a bottle of it, but when it runs out, I'll try mixing up my own. So fragrant and versatile, and this recipe sounds perfect.

  18. Val, Such a wonderful post to feature Foodspotting…and a very interesting risotto! Love that you sent this dish in such a different direction!

  19. Paneer...and an Indian-flavored risotto. I'm so in love with this!

  20. I loved this post! The flow of the narrative, the backstory of foodspotting and the very unique recipe. All delicious!

  21. I love paneer and haven't had it in ages. This looks wonderful. I think I would enjoy the paneer all by itself!

  22. Thank you for introducing me to Foodspotting. I just downloaded it on my Galaxy; what a fun app. That Indian Risotto looks wonderful that will sure try. Like you, i truly enjoy curling up with a cookbook. Great post!

  23. I so admire people who come up with a simple idea that is not so simple to execute and then they do it. That was interesting and the photo did grab me too.


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