Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep

It is very surprising to me that Thanksgiving is becoming a more integral part of my life - it is home coming, especially with A in school and T not around. This means that it provides me a bigger excuse to cook with no holds barred and really enjoy the whole process. For me, the prep generally starts a day ahead, especially, because I want to get as many things out of the way before A gets here. A hot cup of chai, with some khichdi bhajiyas and my favorite playlist on the iPod make the cooking prep very very enjoyable.

Today's agenda involved prepping the chicken (yes, I do not like turkey and prefer chicken). The chicken this year is more Indian-style than it ever was with lots of tandoori masala and curd. Allowing it to marinate over night will let the flavor mature before it roasts tomorrow.

I also like making the dessert a day ahead to ensure that it comes out as it is supposed to and if it does not, it gives me enough time to redo or change my plan, because just imagine what would happen with a sub-par dessert :D. This year it is the Chocolate bourbon pecan pie, a recipe i have been wanting to try out since a couple of years but for some reason never got around to. And it has come out well...yipee!

Over the last couple of months a lot of food bloggers have been raving about the flavor of roasted garlic in mashed potatoes, so this time, I will experiment with the flavor, which called for roasting the garlic today - just butter and garlic in the oven - it does smell fabulous.

Can't wait to get to tomorrow .... Happy Thanksgiving folks!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If you have multiple blogs to write about different things that capture your interest, what would you do if either the topics sort of overlap or if you want to write about things that do not fall in any category? Just thinking.

Anyway, after realizing all of a sudden that I have not spent enough time cooking (or goofing off) I decided to finally use up all the veggies in my fridge, down to the last one. Unfortunately for me the only one in a substantial quantity was a brinjal or an egg plant - the one veggie I dislike the most! Well, when I was young, as a rule I hated all veggies, except maybe potatoes, but left to my own devices in the US, I had to eat whatever I could get my hands on and over the last few years I have tried and grudgingly admitted that I like most of them, except for the king of vegetables - the royal brinjal (remember the TV serial on Doordashan back home?). So finding one in my fridge I had to stick to my resolve of using it up. So I dumped it in the oven and decided to use it as my base. Now those of you who have tried making baingan ka bharta the non-traditional way (which is to not roast the brinjal over the fire but instead to use the oven) will know what the insides of the brinjal look like. I have never seen the outside of an alien, and definitely not the insides, but if I did, I bet it would resemble a roasted egg plant (see picture above).It could be the brains but I bet on the intestines.

Anyway, accompanying my extra terrestrial looking brinjal mush, was an orange capsicum that somehow escaped its fate of being a part of my halloween pepper biscuits and desperately cried 'now or never', a handful of frost bitten mixed veggies and some really sad mushrooms (another food item that I vehemently dislike - I cannot even call it a veggie, it is after all a fungus :D ). Well, with these lost and unwanted items in there, I must say that I did not expect much out of the dish (what can you expect from healthy stuff?) but it was surprisingly interesting and I had to document the procedure, which is why I came up with the dilemma in the first sentence.

I hope someday you have a fridge of veggies and want to go on a rampage to demolish all of them, maybe you can use my recipe then.
Enjoy cooking :D

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What do you do when you are under the weather? I am not sure if this trend works for people all around the world but we Indians need our own home meds when illness strikes. Right now, with cold, all I can think of is Turmeric milk. Does it really help? I don't know. Of course, turmeric has anti biotic properties, so it may be good for a sore throat but will it work as a cure for common cold - maybe not! But it reminds me of home and all the attention, thus making me feel better. What about pepper when you are itching? Again, I know some people (including me) would swear by it, but again who knows? The properties of neem are now touted and published but what about eucalyptus - cannot go through a head or body ache without it. And the queen of them all - cinnamon? I cannot list out all of it's greatness. I wonder if other Indians of my age group remember these home made treatments suggested by grand moms and use them actively...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

On the joy of drinking tea...

While traveling down route 3 to Cape Cod, A decided to just pull over at a parking lot that had a lot of cars. Turns out that we were at Dunbar tea room in Sandwich, MA. This quaint little place was filled with cute tea sets from Victorian era and a tea room that catered about 20 kinds of teas. We decided to try out the Icewine tea and the apricot tea ... yumm! The guests here all seemed to belong to the English era that encouraged the practice of hot tea, buttered scones, cucumber sandwiches and long conversations with family and friends. What an afternoon!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When the road calls what can you do but answer? I think somewhere long ago some ancestor of mine must have been a nomad/wanderer/explorer/gypsy(?) 'coz the wanderlust level in my blood is very high. I find myself on days like today getting lost in the pages of national geographic overlapped by my dream world, wishing to escape to some forgotten destination. Not a busy, must see place, mind you, but some lost, dusty road to nowhere. Some place that once was a bustling intersection, where people and civilizations thrived but now is abandoned for 'greener pastures'. A place where basic worries in life do not bother you, where you really do not care if the answer to your next statistics question is obtained from calculating the mean or the median, and somewhere where just you and your dream world exists without the harsh realities of the real world. The urge is stronger especially when I come across a link like this . So tell me, when can I go wandering again?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Riddle time...

Sala salanguthu oru kuruvi
salorunguthu oru kuruvi
kothikodukkuthu oru kuruvi
konduttoeduthu oru kuruvi

Ans : Kuli paniyaram

I got the plate from India this time...all set to make some soon. Yipee!!!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lehigh Valley wine tour - PA

Ever since I came to US, I fell in love with traveling, especially being on the road. From our first year itself, we went on all sorts of road trips though out the year. What we never appreciated was that, being a student we had the luxury of time and company to just wander around for days and find new places. With work and school and all other commitments, road trips have nor become a luxury - few and far between. But the good news is that we are 5 days away from a weekend trip. Although a short one this time, I am nevertheless excited to go back to PA for the millionth time and experience the rural country side roads and explore some wineries. to celebrate A's bday this year, we are going through the Lehigh valley wine trail. The wine trail has about 6 wineries, and we are thinking of going to maybe 4 of them that have their own vineyards. Along the way, we plan to follow the Dutch Hex highway and find some old-time painted barns with hex signs as well as drive through a few of the famous covered bridges in PA. Pennsylvania is filled with small motels and bed and breakfast kind of inns - just the kind we love and we will be staying at the Barnhouse Village in lehigh valley - which looks sweet and quaint and I hope is true to its name :). I am truly excited to try out some homestyle dutch food and maybe pick up some jams and candles at the local farmer's market. I know that this next sentence should probably come after the trip, but knowing PA, I would definitely recommend people who like the country-side to try out this trip. Happy Traveling!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Incredible idea

AT recently posted an article on the Das Park Hotel in Austria. The idea seems purposing old drainage pipes to build a small functional hotel room with a personal key code that keeps your belonging safe and the use of public infrastructure for utilities such as phones, bathrooms and toilets. The best part about this experiment is that the users can pay whatever amount they think they need to - to support this experiment. This idea seems like a very innovative, cost effective utility for low-budget tourists and young couples/friends who want to hang out at the park all night. It also seems to work well in this travel-adverse economy. So the question is - would you like to spend a night in this decently furnished drainage pipe?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The joke is on who?

This morning on my way to work, the local radio channel RJ revealed his daily 'dummy of the day' pick. Apparently a groom-to-be in the St. Louis airport joked to a flight attendant about a shoe bomb. The Fed agents immediately swooped in on him and he was held for three days in solitary confinement at the local prison. The RJ picked him as his dummy of the day. I am in a great doubt as to who the real dummy is in this case. Is the american public so overcome with fear and paranoia that they cannot take a joke? And does it take Fed agents three days to discover that a simple bomb-related statement does not make one a terrorist? What happened to freedom of speech? You decide...
Read the news article here.