It was about 6 months ago when I heard our old friend, Young Paras, was looking for a place to stay in Dallas for his summer internship.

I met him long ago when I was in my mid-twenties, single, and member of an urban tribe at The Village, which is a neighborhood of 10-12 apartment complexes near a major university.  We said the urban tribe was like college, except we had money.  We were SINRs (single income, no responsibilities) and meanwhile we all pursued our silent search for a/the significant other.  At the end of perhaps a Wednesday evening, we would gather at someone’s apartment and play poker.

Sarah and I, being the few ladies at the poker table got annoyed with the serious tone at the table. So to resolve that matter, we would spontaneously speak in British accents.  My English name was Fiona and hers was Matilda.   And not one person was entertained…except Young Paras, the baby at the table.  At a young 20, just shearing past his teen years, he laughed at our accents and jokes, and didn’t know any better – that his laughing would only encourage us to continue.

After a 7 year hiatus, Paras returned to Dallas for a summer intership.  And he’s still Young. 

You can imagine my husband’s reaction when I asked him if Young Paras could live in our house for the summer.  “You want another man, who I have never met, to live with us?”

Young Paras was a perfect match for my husband and I from the start.  You see, he is OBSESSED with food.  And as I blog, photograph, cook, fail or succeed, he takes GREAT interest.  This was so contrasting to my husband who only eats to survive.  Meanwhile, he LOVES sports and is fluent in dude-speak, so now my husband could actually discuss sports with someone who cares. 

Every day, Young Paras would come home through the front door and yell from the hallway, “Hey! how was your day?” quickly followed by finding me in the kitchen and extend a “Can-I-help?”  We would talk food/photos for an hour with food network on in the background, until my husband walked in through the back door and we would greet him in chorus “Hey, how was your day?”  While Young Paras was busy with making wedding plans and decisions, he always made time to have dinner with us at the dinner table.  We were a family. 

Paras tasted and analyzed my food and would finish his plate and kindly commented with “Best ____ Yet”:  Best Italian Yet, Best Salad Yet, … I even made a gross hodgepodge of stuff one day from leftovers and he said “Best Hodgepodge Yet”.  And it wasn’t long before my husband and Paras developed a budding bromance and started playing words with friends on their smart phones with each other, while sitting next to each other in the living room.

Then summer came to a close so quickly and Paras had to go back to finish his last year of school.  I didn’t even get to say goodbye.  When he left, my husband and I felt like our son left for college.  The house was empty.  We were empty nesters.   🙁

Cheers and congratulations to Young Paras, who is getting married this weekend.  Paras, we miss you dearly and wish you the best, and hope you return to Dallas with your wife!


The following is a concept he and I came up with while watching Cupcake Wars, Bollywood episode.

Farewell Mango Cupcakes (with Srikhand Frosting/Icing)

(eggless)

Make these to say goodbye.  These might be good enough to convince them to come back.  Srikhand is a sweet and rich mango-cardamom custard, a very popular dessert in India.  It can be made with thickened yogurt (greek yogurt) or cream cheese.  I’ve never seen it used as an “icing” but it works PERFECTLY here.
Mango Cupcake Recipe from Holy Cow Vegan (makes 12 cupcakes)

Followed her recipe exactly, except I omitted the ground cardamom in her recipe because it’s already in the Srikhand Icing

Srikhand Frosting/Icing (inspired by Showmethecurry.com  See their original recipe here)

Ingredients
1 8-oz package cream cheese (do NOT get reduced fat for this)
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 oz plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of saffron
Chopped pistachios
Directions:
1. Pulse 8 oz cream cheese in a food processor a few times.  Add sugar, cardamom, and greek yogurt. Process until completely smooth.  Add pinch of saffron and pulse again, until fully combined.  Scrape the sides of the work bowl as needed.  Allow to sit for an hour at room temperature.  Saffron threads will release some color.
2. Put cream cheese mixture into a piping bag.  I used tip #32.  If you don’t use a tip, no worries. It will still look great.  Use the back of a spatula to spread cream cheese on each cupcake.
3. Garnish with chopped pistachios