Thursday, September 29, 2011

Daily Dinner (10):Another Fasting Thali; and 3 recipes in one!

It's that time of the year again. 

Six months ago, on this very space, I'd ranted about how fasting during Navratris makes me fixated about food. Now, you're going to hear some more of the same :-)). And before you judge me, I don't fast out of coercion. I do believe in all that Navratris stand for. Plus I also feel like, in terms of science, these twice-yearly fasts are a good cleansing for your system. Religion and science put together are a very forceful impact on my mind. 

But then again; this entire universe conspires against me when I'm fasting. How else would you explain that the morning of my first day of fast; my eyes get drawn to a box of gol -gappas that A had bought ages ago? And why did these gol-gappas chose this morning to make my mouth drool? As if this wasn't all that bad, a colleague at work brought in munchkins at 9am; another one brought in some absolutely yum looking chocolate chip cookie bars at 11am and the noon seminar had an array of delicious sandwiches. At the seminar, they never have enough vegetarian options to choose from; but yesterday.....someone was trying real hard to tempt me - is all I can say! That's my rant of the day....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mix it up: Black Bean Salsa

I find entertaining to be very stressful. Don't get me wrong- I love  company. I just hate the little jiggles of worry that come with planned partying.  I worry about the house not being clean, about things not being right before the guests arrive. Most of all, I worry about not having enough food on my table. With that in mind, chips and store bought salsa and/ or a staple, as well as an emergency go to, for my entertaining.  Then last year, a dear friend introduced me to her black bean salsa....and I fell in love. When I asked her what went in the salsa, her response was very characteristic of her - "beans, and corn; then keep tasting and adding things till it tastes right...."! Knowing her, this is probably what she does. And actually, the first couple of times I made it, that was the approach I took. Lately though, my right brain has been niggling at me to standardize the recipe - that's my training in science; sometimes it interferes at home. As a result of this cross-boundary interference, the last couple of times I made this salad/salsa; I actually noted down what I put in there. And as with any good standardization that I do at work, today I figured it was time to document a protocol for this :-)) Here goes....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Black & White Wednesday: Ceramic jug

I like souvenirs- just about as much as A hates them. I love exploring the little trinket stores on the boardwalk, antique stores in little towns along the route as we drive to our destination and even the touristy, brightly lit stores designated as "Souvenir stores". A will go to great lengths to avoid my souvenir shopping. An exception to this was his trip to Miami and Key West, right after Anya was born. I asked him to get me a souvenir from there; and he obliged by bringing me this ceramic jug....

Ceramic Jug's a beautiful jug; with yellow-beaked black birds and shining green leaves. Yellow-green vines make it's spout and handle. I just haven't figured out what it's meant for. There are no marks to show where it is from. A was prudent enough to throw out the packing before giving it to me, so I don't even know if it's supposed to be used or not. The spout is closed off, so it can't be used for pouring liquids - that I tried. As a result, it's sat there in my kitchen cabinet, the lone shot of color amidst my stark white dishes - and a reminder of the time when A went shopping for my souvenir.

Today, I've decided to show it to you via Susan's Black & White Wednesday. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on what it could be used for...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tried and conquered! Besan ka Dhokla

It isn't easy for me to tell you this. Actually, the confession downright hurts. The recipe that you are going to read about here; is as basic as it gets. However, it has taken me years to get it to work. The fact of the matter is that I am not very kitchen savvy (here is your cue to humor me and insist that I am.....)! What I am, is tenacious. Sometimes I can make things work - like the dhokla below- and then I get to show you a pretty picture and gloat about it through your words. Often times, things don't go as expected, and I just hush  the matter up and you go on thinking that I'm a genius at work.Which I totally am. I insist you to go on believing that and reaffirming it to me. But let's come back to this later. First the dhokla story.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baingan-ka- bharta: Bring on Brinjals!!

It took me a while to start calling a baingan; an eggplant. Back in India it was always Brinjal in English. My dad was actually pretty convinced that the English derived the word Brinjal from Hindi baingan. Knowing my dad, he probably made up that assumption. But he sure believed it. When I told him that Americans called baingan an eggplant because it sort of looks like an egg; he dismissed it with his typical 'oh what do you know voice'.  His arguement; 'baingan may be long, or short,  skinny or fat, round or egg shaped; BUT they're PURPLE. Hence, they don't look like eggs!' Sometimes, I wish I'd had a chance to show him the white eggplant that I used for my stuffed roundels recipe. That would have scored with him somewhat...I think....!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Once upon a vacation.....and an open palm chair for B & W Wednesday

We've had quite a slow summer this year. Being sick and recuperating took away most of the season. The girls have been pretty forgiving most of the time. But when Anya saw summer slowly ticking away, she asked to go to the beach 'just one time before school'. Thanks to Irene and a last minute cancellation,  we found a 4-day rental in Ocean City, Maryland. I wasn't completely convinced of getting good beach weather so soon after the hurricane, but we took our chance. The ocean was surprisingly calm, and blue skies dotted with kites.