Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Santa baby, just slip a sable under the tree, for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa baby so hurry down the chimney tonight
Think of all the fun I've missed,
Think of all the fellows that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be just as good
If you check off my christmas list

Happy Holidays folks. Will be back in full swing once the Xmas fruitcake is all gone ;o)

“I know you little libertine, I know you're a cannonball”

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In the shade, in the shade
Want you coocoo cannonball
Want you coocoo cannonball
Spitting in a wishing well
Blown to hell
I'm the last splash

Is it the weekend yet? Time has (on purpose I think) slowed itself down in an attempt to torture us with anticipation for the upcoming very long weekend. I recently found out that we get Dec 24th off as a paid holiday as well…soooooo its going to be a 4 day long weekend! Bhatji and I are going to be in Houston starting this Friday until Dec 25th. I am looking forward to the warm weather (its going to be in the early 60’s to 70’s!!) and quality time with lots of Bhatji’s friends. Also I will be trying my hand at some new dishes once there….probably something in the appetizer genre for an Xmas party.
Speaking of appetizers, have I ever told yall how much I love love love Tapas. I know I have mentioned my love for little things and Tapas fall under this category….that and they are an amazing concept because you get try different dishes and not feel like a fat cow! When I was younger growing up in India, my mom had a bought a mini kitchen set for me and my sister. This kitchen set included a small gas cylinder, little plates and cups, little cooking spoons, spatulas and steel cookware. I was never much into playing with the set because I was such a tom boy. My sister however convinced me a few times to play “house” with her and we would cook real rice with salty water (we would call it daal) and serve dinner to all our friends. When I tried my first Tapas restaurant called Jaleo, all those childhood memories of little plates and food came flooding back. Although the food wasn’t served in plates like the ones we used to play with, the quantity of the food was similar. I managed to get Bhatji hooked on to Tapas as well and we would enjoy a good round of Tapas alongside some Sangria. Our favorite dish at any good Tapas place is Patatas Bravas literally meaning Brave potatoes. It’s a basic recipe of roasted potatoes topped with strong garlic flavored sauce called Allioli. It makes for an amazing appetizer/finger food and recently I tried my hand at making this dish. Bhatji was surprised how close the taste of my version was to that of Jaleo or La Tasca. I think its going to be one of those repeated dishes in our household :o) so this is the recipe for Patatas Bravas adapted from here with a few tweaks:

Ingredients for the roasted potatoes:
3 large potatoes
1 ½ tabl spn olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Allioli:
1 egg yolk
½ tbl spn vinegar
1/3 cup of olive
¼ cup peanut oil
3 tbl spns garlic paste
Salt and pepper to taste
Warm water as needed

To Make:
Preheat you over to 375°F. Halve and then quarter the potatoes and place them on an aluminum foil sheet in a baking pan. Spread the oil, slat and pepper on the potatoes and mix with hands to make sure that the oil, salt and pepper is evenly covered on all the potatoes. Arrange in a single layer and bake in the oven for 45-50 mins until the potatoes are brown.
Now for the Allioli, add the oils in a bowl and mix well. Separate the yolk from an egg (I saved the white for next day’s breakfast) and add to the bowl. Whisk until the yolk is completely mixed in with the oils. Add the garlic paste, vinegar and salt and pepper and whisk it some more. Add warm water to liquefy but keep in mind this is supposed to be a thick milk shake like consistency.
One the potatoes are done, add them on individual serving plate and drizzle the Allioli on top of the potatoes. Or you can serve the sauce on the side and serve potatoes in small bowl with tooth picks.

It’s a very simple recipe and very popular with most folks who like potatoes and garlic. I was tempted to serve Sangria along with this but didn’t have the right ingredients for it. Bhatji enjoyed the dish with beer and the game while I nibbled away enjoying a good book on a cold Sunday afternoon. Definitely give this recipe a try. Until the next blogging inspiration…..Stay warm :o)
Just entered this in the THINK SPICE - THINK GARLIC event promoted by Sunita :)

“All hot gals put your hands up and say, Om Shanti Om”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dilbar hai dilkash hai dildaar nazare hain
Aaj zameen per utre kitne sitare hai
Atlo hosh na mi danam, hum hai dil hai aur janam
Bas deewangi deewangi deewangi hai
Na koi rahe sam rahe per, yeh ilzaam lage kisper
Bas deewangi deewangi deewangi hai

Ahh yes the FOB in me is bursting and all out! I’ve been meaning to write my review for the new Hindi movie Om Shanti Om for a while now. Last month on one of my many long weekends in NJ with Bhatji, I was able to convince him to check out this new Hindi movie that was all the rave. I wanted to see and support the hot new actress, Deepika Padukone, who just happens to be KONKANI!! Bhatji was a lil apprehensive at first…Hindi movies aren’t really his thing although he grew up watching a few classic Hindi films…but after much coaxing and promises to make his favorite dishes, he agreed. One of the good things about our move to NJ is that if we ever crave anything Indian…anything…including Hindi movies, it’s all a hop, skip and 3 exits away. So no excuses, we were going to the matinee show on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The movie itself was entertaining…definitely not the best movie I have seen but not bad for mindless amusement. The dances sequences were interesting representing choreography from English and Hindi movies circa 1960's. Shah Rukh Khan….well he sucked! True he built up this macho body for some top less scenes but he couldn’t hide his age and actually looked ridiculous playing opposite someone so young as his leading lady. Deepika Padukone looked amazing portraying a 1960’s-1970’s era Hindi actress. However she looked a lil too ditsy as a current actress wanna be but still not too bad for a new actress. My favorite feature of the whole movie was definitely the costumes, hair and jewelry. They definitely captured the feel of the 60-70’s hair and outfits and Deepika carried it all beautifully. The songs were pretty good too…so all in all not a total loss of a Sunday afternoon. Bhatji was happy with his eye candy…I wish we women had more to see :o( I am just glad to see Konkani folks doing it big in Bollywood.

“If they can't raise my interest then I have to let them be; Coz every body’s….”

Monday, December 10, 2007

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

It feels odd to be back in the MD/DC area again since pretty much all of last week I was in NJ. All the road trips back and forth have lead to lots of cd collections…and this weekend’s drive down included Madonna’s all time hits…hence the blog song ;o)
In more news my parents got back from India this past weekend and brought back tons of goodies like Indian snacks and desserts, clothing (for all the weddings I have to attend next year) and lots of old school Hindi dvds and cds. Yay for trips to the mother land! My folks have already got back into the groove of life….they unpacked, cooked huge meals and pretty much are back at work like they never left. I wonder if I’ll have as much energy as they do at any point of my life. I mean after driving 3 hours for NJ…all I wanna do is lay on my bed and wind down. Ahh I guess I’m ok with my lazy right now :o)
As I have mentioned in my previous posts that this winter is too cold too soon. It snowed a bit last week and the temperatures have been low since the start of Nov. With the arrival for winter not only do we dress accordingly but we also start to cook and eat accordingly. Soups, hot drinks, hot and spicy entrees and sides are just some of the many dishes I crave…so last week I made piping cauliflower pakoras or as us konkani’s call it, cauliflower bajho (fritters). Along with tea this appetizer is sure to be a pleaser during the short winter days. Here is my recipe for Cauliflower fritters:

A small head of cauliflower
1 cup of besan
1 tbl spn of corn flour
½ tbl spn of green chilli paste
2 tbl spn of garlic & ginger paste
1/3 – ½ cup of Canola oil
Salt to taste
Water as needed

To Make:
Make a paste of the besan, corn flour and salt using water. Make sure this paste is not too thick or too thin. If it is either just add more water or besan. Add the 2 tbl spn of ginger and garlic paste and mix well. Add the green chilli paste and more water if needed. Mix well and set aside. Break the cauliflower head into smaller florets (you can make these as small or big as you’d like) In a deep frying pan heat the 1/3 to ½ cup of oil. Dip the florets into the besan paste and fry till browned well. You will have to work in batches and make sure the oil does not splatter while you drop the florets into the hot oil. Serve hot with hot and sweet sauce and tea :o)

This is perfect for the winter weather and a great snack for a day of movie marathon, cuddling with your better half under the blanket. Maybe winter isn’t such a bad time after all ;o) Until the next blog entry…anticipate the holidays!

“Work it harder make it better, do it faster makes us stronger”

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Now that that don't kill me
Can only make me stronger
I need you to hurry up now
Cause I can't wait much longer
I know I got to be right now
Cause I can't get much wronger
Man I been waitin' all night now
That's how long I've been on ya
I need ya right now

I am sitting in my jammies all day and working from home! I am in NJ with Bhatji since my work from home finally came through. I have to be in DC every other week but this is still better nothing. So this whole week I have been working away and getting some much cleaning done around the apt. I have also been cooking up a storm because Bhatji has been pretty much fending for himself the last 2 months and I knew he would love to come home to some real home cooking :o) Obviously this means that I have some new recipes to share with you guys.
Growing up in Mysore, India I was very used to my mom preparing authentic Indian meals that wowed us. One such dish was Stuffed Bell peppers, which is typically a very Marathi dish but I know many other Indian communities make their own, as did my mom. After I married Bhatji, I learned his likes and dislikes in cooking and one day while I was reading some recipes for Marathi dishes I saw Nupur’s recipe for Bharli Mirchi which is stuffed bell pepper. I asked Bhatji if he liked stuffed bell pepper and he immediately responded with a big yes and that he hadn’t eaten it a long time. So of course I took it on as a challenge and looked up my mom’s recipe. I was very nervous since I have never made anything stuffed…..and it looked complicated; but to my surprise it was actually easy and it came out quite well and Bhatji liked it a lot. So I think I will be making it more often now. Here is my recipe for Stuffed bell peppers:

3 large green bell peppers
1 medium onion chopped
4 tbl spn of besan
½ tspn of sugar
½ tspn of turmeric powder
½ tspn of chilli powder
1 tspn of cumin powder
1 tspn of coriander powder
A pinch of hing
2 tbl spn of olive oil
Water as needed

To Make:
Cut each large bell pepper in 2 equal halves so it shapes like a cup for the stuffing and keep aside. In a saucepan add the besan and “roast” it on low heat for about 5 mins to get rid of the rawness…do not add oil or water. In another pan, add a 1 tbls spn of oil and cook the onions for a few mins add the roasted besan to this and mix well. Add the sugar, turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, hing and salt and make sure all ingredients are mixed in well. Add a little less than ¼ cup of water and make sure that the mixture is not too liquidy (if it is add more besan). Mix well so it would make a good stuffing. Add lime juice to the mix and set aside. Take a big spoon full of the stuffing and stuff into each half of the bell pepper. Do not over stuff as the bell pepper when cooked is going to soften and break. Just one table spoon full should do. In a deep pan add one tblspn of oil and add the 6 half pieces of the stuffed bell pepper and cook them on medium heat with the lid on for about 15 mins. If the bell pepper browns and softens, then the dish is done!

Needless to say Bhatji will be asking for more. Now that I have mastered bell peppers I think I am going to try eggplants, okra etc. and of course I am going to share those recipes as well…..but for now definitely try this recipe out. Until the next blog entry….enjoy the almost holiday season ;o)

“Right across from where I'm standing, on the dance floor she was landing”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

She's just a cosmic girl
From another galaxy
My heart's at zero gravity
She's from a cosmic world
I need you, I want you to be my cosmic girl
For the rest of time

Another year has come and gone. I don’t feel like I am 28 today. Life is good though…no complaints other than the distance thing with the hubby which will end soon. I’m happy to have another year of good health, a wonderful husband, great friends and family and hope that it continues. Hopefully I will be dancing the floor off for the bday celebrations ;o)

Thanks to everyone who remembered and called/emailed with all the heartfelt bday wishes. You are all so…..cosmic!!

“We do what we do and we do what we live”

Monday, November 26, 2007

The scent of a room that reminds me of u
A hint of perfume it remind me of u
Take a look at the moon it remind me of u
Hope the stars and the gods
Align me and you

Happy post Thanksgiving! I hope that all of you had a wonderful, safe and food filled thanksgiving. I am currently reeling from a 4 day food comatose and missing a house filled with kids. Sigh. After every Chicago trip…I miss my niece and nephew like crazy. I sometimes think I hear my 3 month old niece crying or my 3 year old nephew knocking on our door around 9.00 AM asking us to play with him. Ahhh I love kids! Although I am not ready to have my own just yet, it’s good to know that I will enjoy parenthood when the time comes. But as of right now I am enjoying just being a couple.
Recently I was looking at my group of young friends and family that have moved for college and Post College for jobs. I must say that I give all of them credit for building a new life in a new place. Some have friends in the areas they end up moving to, but some actually know no one and start a new social life. I have realized that building a new social scene is very tough….especially because you don’t know venues to meet new people or are afraid of being the new face trying to break through in an already existing clique. Most of all it is hard to find one or two like minded people who you can go out with and expand from there. Bhatji and I were thinking recently that we are lucky that we have each other….we can chance going to a happy hour or to a bar and even if we don’t meet a group, we look at it as time well spent together. So far Bhatji and I have a few couple friends in the NY/NJ area that we know from each others past. But I can see the challenge in meeting new people if we moved to some random place like Ohio, Georgia etc. I think it’s hard to meet couples but it’s definitely harder for single people in new areas to meet other singles. Is internet the only way to connect with folks? Or are you doomed to the option of finding someone in college to date and marry? Or is the ever popular bar scene still a venue to meet young interesting people? When I was single…I was always out and about. Every opportunity I got to go out, I would. I would be the event planner of my group. Even if it was me and one person I would make the best of it. I would look at every outing as a possibility to grow in to a group or meet someone. I have a few good friends that are single and well….a little bitter. Past dating experiences have left them jilted and or they have given up all hope of trying to go out of their way to meet new folks. Some also feel that their friends don’t take the initiative to go out either. I have thought about setting them up with groups or some potential dates but…I myself don’t have a big single group to dip into. So here is my question to everyone who had the fortitude and energy to move to a new city, new coast or a country: How do you get out and meet new people? Where do you start…especially if you don’t know anyone in your new surroundings? Are joining new activities and clubs the way to go?

“Oooh what’s the fun in playing it safe? Oooh I think I'd rather misbehave”

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've got a bad boy and that's alright with me
His dirty laundry is nothing that I can't keep clean
And when he needs an alibi
He can use me all night

Where the heck did fall go? I mean we had a gorgeous summer and then an abrupt onset of winter! Its 40 degrees every morning when I leave for work; I feel unprepared for the frosty winds. Most of my sweaters and winter wear are in NJ…so I keep borrowing long sleeved shirts and sweaters from my sis. Luckily we fit into each others clothes for most part…but I am sure she’ll start getting sick of me going through her closet. Damn you winter! I guess on a more positive note…winter also means the beginning of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is this week and by the time you finish basting that turkey and gorge on all that wonderful thanksgiving sides and desserts, its time for Christmas. Usually my mom would host thanksgiving but my folks are attending weddings and enjoying a much needed vacation in India. So this thanksgiving Bhatji, Mswats and I are all going to Chicago to spend time with my sister in law and her 2 lil ones. I sometimes wonder…if I’ll ever grow up and host thanksgiving dinners myself. I really doubt it though…my mom and my sister in law are fabulous cooks, so I actually enjoy doing the eating rather than the cooking. I play a pretty good chef’s helper :o)

What do you guys think of the new blog design? My sis was gracious enough to take an hour of her time and redo it for me. She thought it would be neat to go with a foodie style theme to match my foodie style blogging personality ;o) I am really envious of her talent…this probably would have taken me weeks. But she sat down and typed up a whole bunch of code gibberish and voila!! A new foodie blog is created. God, I love being connected ;o) Let us know what you guys think.
Now on to our recipe corner of this blog.
Bhatji loves Garbanzo beans…..he loves any kind of beans but I have noticed that Garbanzo/Chickpeas are by far his favorite. Garbanzo beans are a great source of proteins so I try to make as many dishes as possible with Garbanzo…especially if I am not preparing any meat dishes. One such simple yet an Indian favorite recipe is Channa Chole. Chole is very popular in Punjab, India and is actually consumed as a breakfast with Bhatura and lassi. Although we never eat it as a breakfast since it’s a lil heavier for our taste….we still enjoy this dish for lunch or dinner. Here is a simple Chole recipe that my mom gave me. It’s quick and absolutely delectable.

1 canned garbanzo beans
1canned tomato
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 ½ tsp of Shaan Punjabi Chole Masala
1 tbl spn olive oil
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

To make:
Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the onions. Sauté until the onions are a little browned. Add the canned tomato and sauté until the juices start to let out for about 5-6 minutes. Add the Garbanzo beans and fill the empty garbanzo beans can with water about ¾ ways and add to the pan. Add the Punjabi Chole Masala and stir until the Masala is mixed in will all the ingredients. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes. Add salt to taste. Take off the heat and garnish with coriander. Serve with rotis or toasted bread. You can also make channa chat but I’ll save that for another post.
Try this yummy recipe out! That’s all for this blog entry; till the next time, bundle up!

PS (Love this band called Bitter::Sweet. And its founded by a fellow desi who also plays the keyboards and electronic instruments for all the songs. Check them out!)

“I feel like I’m drowning in the ocean, somebody come and take me away”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Uh uh uh uh oh ooh
why’d you have to go-oh
away from home
me love

I figured that since its Diwali and all, it would be a good time to jump start my blog again. Also some of you have emailed and Imed me to check and see where I am and what I’ve been up to. First of all thank you for all those who were inquisitive enough to motivate me and tell you about my whereabouts and such.
Before I left on vacation I had told everyone how I was going to be moving to NJ with Bhatji in Oct and that I would be able to work from home. Well after we came back from vacation I was sad to hear that the project that my team was supposed to start on was given to another group. My boss basically said that there was no chance that I was going to be able to work from home. Instead he said that I might have to stay for a while in the DC area and finish off a project before I moved anywhere. After some discussion with Bhatji, we decided that I would stay back in DC with my folks….temporarily…until the end of Nov and he would move to NJ. I will be joining him in NJ in early Dec but as of right now we are doing the distance thing again! All through summer I was miserable because of the distance and I can’t believe that I am going through it all over again. The only solace is that I am not living by myself this time around. I am surrounded by family and I don’t really feel the loneliness that I felt during the summer. This also means that I have been spending tons of time with my sis and my folks until they left for India this past weekend. So it’s not all bad. However it’s Bhatji who is feeling lonely in a new city…all by himself. Every other weekend he comes down to visit and I go up weekends as well. But no matter how wonderful each weekend is….come Sunday, both of us are miserable knowing that we will be away from each other for a full week until the following weekend. I am counting days when I will complete my project here and head up north. In other news…I am working on a project in Germantown which cuts down on my commute time immensely. There is nothing like getting to and back from work in 10 mins and going against traffic each time :o)
I will be writing another entry soon containing recipes and such but for now I had promised that I would share pics from my Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand vacation; I have finally uploaded my pics from Singapore. I will post the pics one country at a time…so for now check out the pics from our Singapore vacation. Enjoy!

PS (I know the pictures are kinda small and fast so just double click on the slideshow to see the pictures in a larger format and slower speed)

Happy Diwali to all my fellow Desi's!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram
Patita Pavan Sita Ram

I pray that this new year bring you all prosperity, knowledge, good health and peace. Happy Diwali!

“Yehi sach hai shaayad maine pyaar kiya”

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Aate jaate hanste gaate
Socha tha maine mann mein kai baar
Tum kaun ho batla to do
Kyon karne lagi main tumpe aitbaar

HELLO WORLD!! How have you all been?? I Just got back from my wonderful vacation from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. I have a few pictures to share and lots and lots of recipes :o) In fact most of my pictures will be of food! The food in all three countries was fantastic…but Bhatji and I hands down loved Singapore food and culture. The country is so modern and well maintained that we didn’t miss the US once through our 5 days there. It’s so clean that everyone eats at hawker stalls because they’re cheaper and offer authentic Malay food. Singaporeans rarely go to restaurants unless it is to celebrate something. And eating out at a decent restaurant is ridiculously expensive. Fortunately we had a wonderful driver who showed us all that we needed to see in Singapore and we ate at the most authentic Malay food stalls ever. Bhatji and I were in foodie heaven. Singapore’s night life is hoppin poppin with lots of beautiful people and interesting bars and clubs. Alcohol is expensive in comparison to the US…for example a bottle of the local beer called Tiger about 10-15 Singaporean dollars = US$ 7-10. But it’s still worth checking out the night life especially in the area called Clark Quay. I recommend Singapore highly as a fun travel spot.
Malaysia was fun as well. Kuala Lumpur is definitely a must see for the majestic PETRONAS towers and Genting highlands. We had heard in Singapore that Malaysia is not as clean as Singapore and to avoid eating at the hawker stalls, so Bhatji and I were a bit weary to trying the local foods at smaller stalls. However we still enjoyed some good food at decent restaurants that weren’t too pricey. And we also checked out the night life since there was a row of restaurants, pubs and clubs right across the street from our hotel. Again all the young Malaysian know how to have a great time and the music was awesome! Malaysia and Singapore has a big South Indian population that are settled there for years so we also indulged in some super authentic south Indian food such as enormous paper dosas and the softest idlis that you can probably only get in Chennai. I know you can get these even in the US but trust me when I say that you cannot compare the tastes at all! The Tamil population there know how to make their dosas :o)
Thailand was the least of our favorites. Probably because it was over populated with horrific traffic and the dirtiest out of the 3 countries and because I was comparing it to Singapore and Malaysia (I know it’s a completely different country with a different culture but I couldn’t help it!) Nevertheless, the people are kind, the country is brimming with culture and the food is amazing. But you can get really great Thai food here in the US as well. The only difference was that there were things on the menus there that I hadn’t seen in the US. I tried a few new things and they were delicious! However the curries are pretty much the same here. The other thing that wasn’t tourist friendly was that everything in Bangkok is a 3 hour drive away. In one day we spent almost 6 hours total in a car, getting to the floating market, river Kwai, elephant trekking and the tiger temple and getting back to the hotel. Also we made the mistake of booking a one day flight to Phuket and back to Bangkok. Phuket is experiencing the monsoon season right now so when we got to the hotel we only got a few hours on the beach before it started pouring rain but Bhatji and I made the most of it and relaxed in our amazing hotel room. And yes we had taken the One Two Go airlines to Phuket the day before the dreadful crash! In fact I believe it was the same plan that had brought us to Bangkok that crashed on its way back to Phuket. Bhatji and I were definitely shaken up a little and we vowed never to take discount flights again…..well at least for right now.
All in our entire trip was marvelous and I am really glad that we took the time to make such an incredible trip before Bhatji begins his busy work life. There is lots more I would like to share but I just wanted to pen some quick thoughts into my blog…just so that people knew that I am alive and and sound :o) Keep an eye for some pictures that I will posting soon. That’s all for now folks….Happy autumn.

“Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it's all right”

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Love this Beatles song posted on my blog “Here comes the sun”
Ahhh…I can’t hold it in any longer….now that everything is confirmed I am finally able to share our wonderful “secret” that I have been eluding to in most of my blog entries the last few weeks. Bhatji and I are about to experience a huge change….actually it’s more of a huge change for me. So drum roll please!! Bhatji and I are moving to NYC area this Oct! :o)
Yea, yea I know that most of you must have thought that I must be pregnant…especially with the opening sentences of this blog entry. But no babies until Bhatji and I are growed up our selves.
So here are more details about the move: Bhatji accepted an offer with the company where he was doing his summer internship. The offer was too good to give up because the experience at such a huge financial firm will only open up more future career opportunities for Bhatji and the pay is great as well! Now most of you know that I am not the biggest of fan of NYC. Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting it every chance I get; the people are busy but nice, the food and shopping is awesome! But living in the city is not really something Bhatji and I want to do….especially not for the ridiculous high rents for the smallest apartments. So after doing some serious apt hunting we decided on living in Rutherford, NJ. It’s a cute suburban town about 8 miles outside NYC and the apt we found is right across the street from public transportation so the commute to the city will be about 20 mins. For an added bonus we already know some friends who live in the building. Our one bedroom apt's rent is definitely much cheaper than a small studio or one bedroom in the city. And it has all the amenities such as parking included, washer dryer in the unit and a gym in the I guess a luxury apt if you will with the added benefit that we can go into the city whenever we want. We are very happy with our decision. This way we also save some money for some major traveling we are planning on doing in the coming year. I am excited!! This will be my first big move within the US. When we moved from India we moved to Maryland and I have been here ever since. I was never averse to the thought of moving but never really needed to. So moving to NJ which is only a 3 ½ drive from Maryland is still a pretty big deal….for me. I also lucked out because my company is allowing me to work from home and to commute back to DC every other week and work on site for 2-3 days! The pressure to find a new job (at least for now) is off and I am happy that I am able to stay home for the majority of the working month.
Our upcoming vacation is fully planned out, our hotels are booked and I am contacting guides in various areas. Our first stop is Singapore, where we are spending 4 days at my father in law’s banks guest house. Then we are going to take a fun train trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and stay downtown for 3 days. I did some research on what places to see and the best restaurants etc. We will then be taking a flight into Bangkok and staying downtown for 2 days and then one day in Phuket, Thailand. I have read reviews on how beautiful Phuket is and that this lil beach town is a honeymooner’s favorite spot in Thailand. What I am truly excited about this vacation is not just the culture filled countries endowed with natural beauty but the FOOD! I love Singaporean, Malay and Thai food! I have full intentions to consume as much food in all three countries as I possibly can. Even if this means that I will be gaining tons of weight…although I hear the food there is like eating in India….you can eat in plenty and not gain an ounce. We leave next Wednesday and get back on the 19th. 2 Weeks of awesome vacation time with Bhatji…it’s been a long time coming.
Whew….so glad that I was finally able to share all the good news. The future calls for new adventures and I for one am getting in the front seat to see what life will throw my way.

“Summer rain whispers me to sleep and wakes me up again”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Storming outside, rain
She keeps me home
Quiet conversation makes me warm
Summer rain
Whispers me to sleep
And wakes me up again
Sometimes I swear I hear her call my name
To wash away the pain
My summer rain

Did yall miss me :o)?? I am super busy with….well life! Bhatji and I have been taking full advantage of his time at home with no school and no work. He is soooo different. He’s more playful, fun, sweet, and just an absolute pleasure to be around. He drops me off and picks me up from work. When I get home, the house is spotless and sometimes even plans for dinner have been made. Best of all he sleeps in with me since he has nothing to worry about….no school work. Sigh…I love being married to him.
It’s been raining this whole week….its sooo gloomy but Bhatji and I spend most of our time lying on our futon. I am so glad that Bhatji and I decided to grill last week. Our apt comes with an awesome state of the art grill that we can use as residents anytime. So last week Bhatji decided to make his famous Turkey burgers. Now Bhatji can’t really cook. I mean he can do the whole microwave thing but cooking….where you need to cut veggies and pick out spices….yea that’s not really his thing. But his burgers are phenomenal!! I mean they are by far the best burgers I have ever eaten…and I am not being partial. Best of all he enjoys making them; maybe because he’s working meat and usually he uses his George foremen grill. So he was super excited to use the grill and play with fire. I don’t know what it is about men with meat and fire…but they love grilling! Anyway here is the recipe for Bhatji style burgers:
3 lbs of ground turkey
Cajun seasoning
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Chili powder
Mince Garlic paste
Garlic seasoning
Season all salt
Lemon Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Worcester sauce

To make:
In a big bowl empty out the 3 lbs of ground turkey. Pat and knead the meat like you would dough. Then on the top of the meat start adding each spice until it covers the top layer of the meat. For example, spread the Cajun seasoning on the top layer of the meat until it is fully covered with the seasoning. Then add the black pepper until it fully covers the meat followed by cayenne pepper and so on and so forth. Save the Worcester sauce till he end. And go easy on the chili powder and crushed red pepper. Also feel free to add extra minced garlic paste. One you have added all the spices, mix and knead the meat so all the spices get integrated well into the meat. Then pat the meat again and start the process again. Add each spice again and then mix and knead. After the second round of spice adding, mixing and kneading…you can start making the patties. Take the meat and ball it up into any size you would like your burgers to be and then pat to make the patties. If they are a decent size you should be able to make 4-5 burgers with 3 lbs of meat.Keep in mind not to make the patties too small because when you cook them they shrink.

They were sooo good. I bought wheat buns, cut tomatoes and onions. For the condiments I had ketchup, hot mustard and Bhatji loves his A1 sauce.
Try this recipe out and tell me what you think. Of course wait till it’s a beautiful sunny day...until then enjoy the summer rain.

Happy Indian Independence day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Independence day to all my fellow Indians :o)

“Summertime, and the livin' is easy”

Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky
But till that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With daddy and mamma standing by

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high
Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

I know I have been gone too long but I have been way too busy these days. Bhatji is home full time now but the decision making and work load has not reduced. If anything it is the busiest we have ever been! I have lots to share but unfortunately everything is up in the air right now so until things are solidified. Just like the adage “don’t count your eggs” Id rather not write about something then have to retract it.
The best news that I would like to share is that I am now a new aunt of a beautiful baby girl. Rhea Ganpule was born on Aug 4th at 12.05 pm. My sister in law and the baby are doing well. Our upcoming trip to Chicago should be so much fun! My mom and I have been shopping for lil baby clothes and baby goodies. Awww I love babies!!
I know short blog entry but soon I will be sharing several pieces of good news!! Until then have an easy summertime :o)

Anshul and his new lil sister, Rhea
PS (I love Fantasia’s version of the “Porgy and Bess” summertime song. It’s so hopeful…which is what I am feeling right now. It fits Rhea’s birth announcement too:o)

“Summer came like cinnamon, so sweet”

Friday, August 3, 2007

Maybe sometimes, we've got it wrong, but it's alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don't you hesitate.
Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.
You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

I really have nothing to share other than the pure fact that I am looking forward to planning out our Pan Asian trip coming up this September. We have a few more hotels to book in Thailand and I need to do some serious research as to what are all places I should see when I am there. I also need to talk to a few folks to plan out our trip in Singapore and Malaysia. Once we get it all done I will update my blog with all the juicy details :o) So yes this is a really short entry but I wanted to wish you all a wonderful and relaxing summer weekend.

A beach in Patay...Thailand!! WOOT WOOT!

“In the summertime when the weather's high”

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

You can stretch right up and touch the sky,
When the weather's fine,
We go fishing or go swimming in the sea.
We're always happy,
Life's for living, yeah, that's our philosophy

Its amazing how my days are going by so fast…even if it means spending time lazing outside :o) Bhatji is back! And needless to say life has resumed itself as if he had never left. This also means that I am cooking again and busy spending time with him. It is super hot during the days but in the evenings you can catch me and Bhatji lounging in our balconies with a beer or lemonade. Ahh there’s nothing like lounging on your papasan, enjoying a warm evening breeze while the sun is setting. I am super excited because today Bhatji is making his famous turkey burgers and we are actually gonna grill outdoors! Of course I will blog this event so you won’t miss on the juicy recipe. Men get so excited when it comes to grilling and it will be interesting to see him cook something without any help from me :o)
Last night all Bhatji was craving was soup and salad. Basically one thing that I have noticed that the summer weather makes you crave lighter meals and cool drinks. So I made a very summer salad. Here are the ingredients I chose that will guarantee a perfect meal to enjoy out on your balcony.
A Salad bag from your grocery store (Fresh express salads have lettuce, carrots and radishes)
1 medium cucumber thinly sliced (farmers market product)
1 small red onion cut thin and long
1 small banana pepper cut thin (farmers market product)
2 tbl spn of olive oil
1 tbl spn vinegar
1 can of garbanzo beans or red kidney beans
Parmesan cheese as needed to sprinkle on top
Salt and pepper to taste
And any dressing you like. I love the red vinaigrette and Bhatji loves Italian dressing

To Make:
In a big bowl mix all ingredients listed above except the banana pepper, cheese and dressing. One all the veggies blend well you serve the salad in a bowl. Add the banana pepper if you like some kick to your salad and sprinkle cheese according to taste. Finally add the dressing of your preference and enjoy.

You can also add pickled jalapeno or banana peppers for a sourish tinge but personally I prefer a spicy kick to my salad. It goes perfect with the sweet red vinaigrette. You can also throw a few pieces of apples and walnuts for a sweeter taste. There’s nothing like a sweet and tangy salad and a cold glass of beer or buttermilk to create a seamless summer evening. Until the next spicy blog entry…indulge in a perfect summer meal :o)

“In the summertime girls got it going on, shake and wiggle to a hip hop song”

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Kids On The block, had a bunch of hits
Chinese food makes me sick.
And I think its fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer
I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch,
I'd take her if I had one wish,
But she's been gone since that summer
Since that summer

I am so happy that it is finally Friday!! Bhatji will be home soon and for good, 2 of my favorite lil girls, Sumi and Tina are staying with me and I love my dance class students! Whew…I am not sure how I have been able to contain all this excitement but I think that the summer sun has also put me in an extremely good mood. It’s very hot outside but I love it! I just went to the farmers market right outside my building and bought plums, cucumbers and banana peppers and it cost me only $3! Can you believe it? I mean I know farmers markets usually are a lil on the pricier end compared to super markets but you know you are getting quality veggies and fruits and you also know you are doing a small but very valuable contribution in saving the environment. Most supermarkets ship their produce from all parts of the country and import from other countries as well. These ships require tons of gas and also they emit masses of terrible waste and gaseous matter that pollute our environment. Also by the time the super markets get these products, a lot of them loose their freshness and some go bad. The local farmers usually drive no more than an hour to set up shop in your neighborhood which means they are using less petroleum and you are getting fresh quality products that have been picked out just the day before. These products taste yummy and they last longer in your refrigerator as well. Also at the farmers market you will see a lot of the local farmers with signs that say “no Pesticides” which means that their veggies and fruits are healthier for your body and for the Earth :o) I know its hard to shop at Farmers Markets all the time….especially if you live in a city where the colder months are long and Farmers markets can be a little harder on your wallet. But even if you buy a few fruits, flowers, veggies or even their baked goods you can be healthier while going green. So visit your local farmers market today!
Ok enough commercials about bettering your self and the environment and on to the foodie section of the blog. This past week I went out to lots of social dinners but on Wednesday all I wanted to do was to eat an easy and homemade meal. I noticed that I have some left over pasta (no sauces) and I thought I might make an indo Chinese version of the fried rice and substitute the rice with pasta. It came excellent and I think I am going to have make some more for Bhatji. I am sure it will be a hit with him! So here is the recipe for Spicy curry pasta:
2 cups cooked pasta (any kind will do. I used farfelle)
1 cup frozen peas, carrots or veggies of choice
1 medium onion chopped
1 ½ tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp light Soya sauce
2 tbl spn of chicken or veggie flavoring
1 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste

To Make:
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions till transparent. Add vegetables and cook for a minute or two. Add salt, pepper, curry powder, chili powder, haldi powder and chicken flavoring and cook till all ingredients are mixed in well together. Add pasta and Soya sauce and stir fry for 2-3 minutes and make sure everything is blended well.

I also added some extra red pepper flakes for added spice and it was excellent. I had it for dinner and I packed the left over’s for lunch the next day. Definitely try this easy and spicy dish! It is a great one pot meal. Until the next delectable blog entry…have a wonderful summery Friday!

PS (I know this LFO song is absolutely stupid, but you gotta admit it you love to hate this song)

“This just can't be summer love, you'll see”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I can't wait to fall in love with you
You can't wait to fall in love with me

Ross: According to Chandler, what phenomenon scares the bejesus out of him?
Monica: Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance!
Ross: That is correct.
Joey: The Irish jig guy?
Chandler: His legs flay about as if independent from his body!

I love that dialogue from friends!! Speaking of dances….I wanted to share some exciting news. A local cable tv channel taped my dance class for a segment about Indian culture in mainstream America this past Thursday. I was interviewed and so were my students and then my class was taped for a few minutes. I am so thrilled that my class was picked for this opportunity. I will post a blog on timings and such once they decide on the date and time.
This past weekend was a Shenoy style NYC weekend with my sis and it was wonderful! We shopped, ate at our favorite Thai restaurant and indulged in new restaurants. We took naps, got all dolled up, hung out with fellow konks and ended the night with some hard core dancing! In the midst of all this we also managed to pack some of her stuff so she could get a head start for her move back home. While all that packing and moving, I realized that it was the end of an era for Mzswats. She loved, hated and assimilated into a very NYC lifestyle during her 4 years in college. I must say that it was the city that helped her become a confident, smart, social butterfly and a fashionista that she is today. I am sure that she will miss NYC and NYC will miss her as well :o) But the selfish side of me is also very glad that she will be home in DC…where she can spend more time with me! So once she moves back home this upcoming weekend, all I can say is DC better be ready for the Shenoy sister reunion DC style ;o)!!
More exciting news….Bhatji is also coming home this weekend for good. No more 4.00 am Monday morning drop offs to Union station, No more long train rides to NYC, no more sleeping alone for the both of us and no more lonely days and nights!! Yay!!
Expect a foodie blog entry soon and until then dance your summer nights away!!

“Summer, summer, summertime…time to sit back and unwind”

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Here it is the groove slightly transformed
just a bit of a break from the norm
just a little somethin' to break the monotony
of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be
a little bit out of control it's cool to dance
but what about the groove that soothes that moves romance

Work has been too busy and the office politics has gotten way outta hand. Its times like this I was 10 again and enjoying my summer vacation at home. Ahh well…the best thing about summer so far is all the social get-togethers I have been busy with. I guess the summer weather is a good enough reason for people to call each other and hang out. I have been steadily hanging out with a new fun group of friends that I met at a random happy hour, I have also been keeping in touch with the dance instructors from my new dance company and a lot of my old friends are making time and efforts to meet up….even if it’s for a drink. Last night I hung out with Ms. Pai and talked about her upcoming wedding. We had dinner at Tandoori Nights in Clarendon and the food and décor were superb! I have eaten at the Tandoori Nights in Germanton, MD but the food and décor at the Clarendon location was way better. Definitely give this place a try. It looks like this weekend I am making a trip to NYC to visit my sister. I am excited because the last time I went was for her graduation and I didn’t really get a chance to hang out with my sis and do our usual NYC stuff since it was short and our parents were with us. But this weekend….we will paint NYC red…Shenoy style ;o)
Now on to the foodie part of this blog. My mother in law and I made this simple potato dish last week and we then turned the leftover into a raita (yogurt dish) both the dishes were excellent. Here is the dry version of Garlic potatoes:
4 small potatoes
4 tblsp olive oil
1 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tspn chopped thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

To Make:
Boil the potatoes and peel off skin. Cut the potatoes in quarters. Pour the olive oil into a roasting pan heat on medium heat for 5-6 minutes before adding the potatoes.
Roast the potatoes 30 minutes, until crisp. Shake the pan several times during cooking, so that the potatoes roll around to brown evenly. Remove from the oven. Drain the potatoes on paper towels or a cloth to absorb the excess oil, and then place in a serving dish.
In a sauté pan, melt the butter, and then add the garlic and sauté until light golden brown. Add the chopped herbs to the garlic butter, stir together quickly, and remove from the heat. Pour the garlic-herb butter over the potatoes, season with the salt and pepper, and serve.

This was an easy and yummy dish. We had some leftover garlic potatoes which my mother in law turned into a raita. For this, you just add the potatoes in a little bit of yogurt add some salt and you are done. I loved the raita so much that I didn’t even wait to take the picture….it was all gone within a matter of seconds. This could be used as an appetizer or even as a side dish.
I can’t wait till dance class tonight….I am so excited because some of my coworkers have decided to attend :o) Well that’s all for now…until the next mouth-watering blog….enjoy your summer, summer, summer time ;o)

“It's a cruel, cruel summer leaving me here on my own”

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's a cruel, cruel summer
Now you're gone
The city is crowded
My friends are away
And I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle
So I’ve got to get up and go

"Waiting for her love to return"
- ©Linda Bergkvist -

You know the worse part of being away from your better half… not being able to share in their joys or sorrows. Usually when Bhatji calls me from NYC he is either super happy about a successful project or dejected about a project gone awry or stressed about the upcoming job hunt. And me being here…I feel…helpless. I can’t celebrate the good times with him or comfort him during his rough times. But the positive event that I am looking forward to is the last day of his internship which is next Friday and he will be finally home with me :o)
This past weekend my mother in law left for Chicago to spend the new few months with my sister in law and my apt is empty again. I immediately made plans so my mind wouldn’t focus on the loneliness. Last night me my coworker and his gf went to see Spiderman 3. I know it’s a lil late…but I really didn’t get a chance to watch it when it first came out and then I heard a lot of negative reviews so I decided to wait till it came on DVD. Well yesterday it was showing at the Arlington draft house for the Monday $1 special so I decided to see it. I agreed with the negative reviews…the story line was a bit choppy and it felt a lil melodramatic (almost like a Hindi movie...where the bad guy “suddenly” decides that he is gonna help out the hero after all) And every time they portrayed a villainous Spider man, it was foolish that they had him wear eyeliner and bangs so the audience could distinguish between evil and good. But the positive highlights were the superb action sequences and the graphics were mind-blowing. It also made me wonder how I never noticed James Franco before…I mean yes he was in both Spider man 1 and 2 but it wasn’t until the 3rd that I actually thought he was cute. Maybe because in this movie he actually had scenes where he was a good guy portraying kind of a renaissance man, who paints and cooks (yes he’s only making an omelet but still!) a good listener and a fun loving normal guy. He seemed to be great boy friend material. In any case I am glad that I finally got to see the 3rd and possibly the last installment of the Spider Man. Also this past weekend I saw a very entertaining Hindi movie (paradox?) called Honeymoon travels Pvt. ltd. It was a comedy with some serious points about 6 couples that are traveling on a bus for their Honeymoon destination, Goa. The storyline revolves around how these 6 couples interact and deal with problems, solutions, secrets and revelations. Unlike the old school candied Hindi movies…this movie actually illustrates real problems that young couples who have met their better halves through various situations, endure in a new marriage. I highly recommend this movie!
I will be back with my foodie blog soon…since my mother in law is gone and I will have to start cooking again. So until my next entry….enjoy the weather :o)

Add on:
Happy Birthday to the best Mommy in the whole world! You are truly the rock of our family. I hope you have a very very very wonderful birthday!

“This ain't nothin but a summer jam”

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bronze skin and cinnamon tans, woah
This ain't nothin but a summer jam
We're gonna party as much as we can
Hey, woah woah, hey
Summer jam alright

I was really sad mid week when I realized that I will not be able to attend the Konkani Youth Convention this year taking place in San Francisco :o( I am going to be missing out on one of the most anticipated weekends this year but my life around that time is going to be far too busy. So before I get lots of comments as to why I am not going, scoldings and advices galore….I want to share reasoning as to why I can’t make it. First and foremost, my sister in law who lives in Chicago is due the first weekend in August which coincides with the konk youth convention. Although Bhatji and I are not going that very first weekend since the new baby could come early or later….we are going for a long weekend at the end of August. It is top priority for me to see my new niece/nephew. Secondly, my parents have never been in the city of Chicago so Bhatji and I are surprising them with tickets for that end of August Chicago trip. Sure my parents have driven through the city and we even attended the konk convention a few years ago which was held in Elgin (outskirts of Chicago and quite a distance from the city itself) but they haven’t actually seen the downtown area, the beach, Michigan Avenue or any of the fun sights. So for all the nice things that my parents have done for me and Bhatji, we decided to buy tickets to a well deserved trip to see the city and see the new baby :o) thirdly, the prices for airfare to San Francisco is ridamndiculous! I mean right now flying from Washington Dc to San Fran, San Jose or Oakland is going to cost $400!! I was able to buy 4 tickets to Chicago for less than that!! And finally Bhatji and I have booked tickets to an awesome vacation to Singapore, Malaysia and Bangkok in early Sept (More on this later) Seeing how we have these 2 big upcoming trips…I will not be able to add another trip to my itinerary. I am sad that I will not be seeing my konk friends and family or party it up San Fran style but I am sure I will be seeing them at other gatherings throughout the year. And I guess a trip to San Fran will have to wait. To all my konk friends going to the event….please take a moment of silence to show how much yall will miss me and follow it up with a shot ;o)
On to the foodie part of this blog. My mother in law loves pasta so I thought I would make a simple one pot Italian/Indian pasta dish from Meenas blog that I knew she would love. My mom used to use noodles in this recipe but I used bow tie pasta. You can use any pasta you have and it will turn out just fine. So here is the recipe for Spicy Veggie one pot Pasta:
2 cups bowtie pasta (or any pasta) cooked and strained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp of garam masala
¼ tsp of turmeric
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
To Make:
Heat oil in a deep pan and sauté garlic and onion till fragrant and browned. Add in tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oregano cook till tomatoes begin to pulp and turn liquidy. Add turmeric powder, garam masala, chili powder, peas, carrots and macaroni and mix to coat well with sauce. Cover cook for 5-7 minutes. Take off heat and serve.

This dish was a huge hit with mother in law since it was an Italian dish with an Indian twist. It’s the perfectly spicy and hearty weekday meal and very healthy.
This weekend promises to be a beautiful summer weekend and I am super excited to do some outdoor activities! So until the next blog entry…have a safe and warm weekend :o)

“Summer days driftin' away to uh-oh those summer nights”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer lovin' had me a blast
Summer lovin', happened so fast
I met a girl crazy for me
I met a boy, cute as can be

Summer dreams ripped at the seams,
But oh, those summer nights

It’s truly funny how the weather affects our daily lives. I have noticed that I actually feel like getting out of bed when I see the sun light through my window. If it isn’t too humid outside I love walking to run my errands, even if it is a 15 minute walk vs. a 5 minute drive. Can you tell its summer? The warm sun beating down, birds chirping, flowers in full bloom, people hanging out poolside, bbq parties, kids out of school enjoying their summer vacations and of course a lot of the bloggers taking a break from blogging…coz most of us either on vacation, have guests visiting or just spending more time outdoors. Well as of right now summer is my excuse for being a lax blogger lately :o) I cook very minimal for just moi and the most interesting thing that I am doing right now is choreographing for my dance classes. I know I promised to give more info on where I am working so here it is: I am an instructor for Dhoonya Dance and I teach a walk in/session Bollywood/Bhangra class on Thursday nights at 8.30-9.30 PM in Chinatown, Washington DC. So if you are ever in the area and want to learn a new dance or just want to get some fun exercise…just drop on by!
My mother in law is visiting me and Bhatji so we have been seeing a lot of family members who have invited us to dinner. This past Sunday we were at my Mama’s (Mother’s brother) house in VA and we played carrom! If you grew up in India then I am sure that you have played this game. It is similar to pool but instead of the pool balls you have black and white flat coins, a red coin which is the 8 ball. And instead of a pool table you play it on a flat board and you use your fingers instead of sticks. It was tons of fun!
I recently took my lil cousins to see the new Disney cartoon Ratatouille...if you love Disney movies then you’ll definitely enjoy it!
OK enough blabber..I am going to eat lunch under a tree with my coworker. And for our viewing pleasure we have the monument on the left and the DC Capital on the right and tons of tourists. Ahhh Summer days…

PS (For the next few days…all the songs on my blog are going to be summer related. Mzswats and I love this song from Grease…so here’s to you Mzswats ;o)

“Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind”

Thursday, July 5, 2007

See the smile a waiting in the kitchen
Food cooking and the plates for two
Feel the arms that reach out to hold me
In the evening when the day is through

Ahh summer is in full swing and the remake of the Seals and Croft song by Jason Mraz summarizes Bhatji’s and my summer perfectly! Usually our Friday nights consist of me picking him up from his class and then bringing him home for a hot home cooked meal :o) followed by cuddling up on the couch for a movie. Sigh I truly look forward to Fridays. But this week Bhatji is coming home tonight! My mother in law is visiting us this week….so he wants to spend some extra time with his mommy. This means that there will be some serious Marathi home cooked meals and lots of mother in law and daughter in law bonding time ;o)
Unfortunately I am going to have to make this a really short blog since I have to rush home to teach my first class dance class today! So here’s a recipe I wanted to share for Meena’s Pepper chicken:
2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
7-8 curry leaves
3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, crushed
1 tbsp soya sauce
salt, to taste
½ tsp crushed black pepper
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp light cooking oil

To make:
Mix chicken pieces with salt, turmeric and chilli powder and set aside to marinate for about an hour. In a non-stick pan, heat oil and fry chicken till brown and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add more oil if necessary, and sauté curry leaves, green chillies, garlic till fragrant. Add sliced onions and fry till lightly transparent. Add green pepper, salt, and pepper, a fry for another minute or two.
Add fried chicken pieces and soya sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes, allowing flavors to blend well.

It was excellent! Try it and let me know how it goes…until the next yummy blog…enjoy the summer breeze!

“Hey- I had no choice but to get down, down, down, down”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dance, nothing left for me to do but dance,
Off these bad times I’m going through just dance
Got canned heat in my heals tonight baby

So to bring everyone up to speed on some fantastic news that makes me smile from ear to ear….I am officially a dance instructor for an amazing dance company! I can’t believe I got it...especially after that miserable audition! But I guess they liked whatever they saw and said that I had great talent so yes folks…the Dance Nazi is back! I am also excited because the new team of instructors seem like amazing dancers and wonderful people; possibly a group that I could see myself hanging out with during the weekends. I’ll give more details on the dance company and where and what time are my classes once I get all the details tonight. I also wanna make sure I can advertise their name and class details on my blog since I know they would love to have more people show up for these dance classes ;o) I believe Jamiroquai says it best “ There’s nothing left for me to do but dance!”

PS (T minus one day for Bhatji’s arrival!!)

“Aaja Sohneya…Ghar Aaja Sohneya”

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tere Baajon Jee Nain Lagda
Main Tay Marr Gai Thaan
Aaja Sohneya
Ghar Aaja Sohneya

I know I know I have been awful about updating the blog but I can’t help it! I have been busy at work and then I have been booked with social engagements. Yes that’s right! After all the moaning and complaining that I don’t have a core group around…I have made efforts to meet new folks and then try to go out as often as possible. Bhatji isn’t home during the week and so I have nothing else to do but be a social butterfly. In other news, I auditioned for a Bollywood dance teacher’s position, and I am pretty sure that I screwed up! I can’t fathom why I was so nervous and why I messed up so badly in front of 2 girls. I love to dance and perform. Crowds have never made me nervous but I guess I have been out of touch with dance and it took me forever to choreograph a one minute piece :o( By the time I got in and out…I pretty much knew I lost my shot at it. Ahh but it felt good to get back into the groove of dancing. I miss my dance crew soo much. If I could I would love to gather those girls together and have one big reunion performance…but for now I guess I have to keep trying out. I’m used to trying out girls to join my team and not me trying out for another dance team. Let me tell you it’s a nerve racking experience. I even replayed the dance sequence in my head and was disappointed at how many mistakes I made. Sigh.
Well on to the foodie part of this blog. My mom had given me this dry spicy potato dish that goes perfectly with roti or yogurt rice. I had this idea of making a wrap with some leftover rotis, cheese and onions and it turned out superb! It made a perfect meal for just lil ole me :o) So here is the recipe for spicy potato wrap:

4 medium size potatoes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp ginger paste
¼ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
Lemon juice
1-2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
2 rotis
One small red onion chopped
Shredded cheese as needed
2 green chilies chopped

To Make:
Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into wedges or large cubes and boil them in salted water until tender. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter add cumin and sesame seeds. Add ginger paste, turmeric and red chili powder and sauté for a few minutes. Add potatoes and season to taste. Stir until they are well coated with spices. Sprinkle lemon juice and serve hot.
Take a roti and add the potatoes in the center of the roti. Top the potatoes with onions and then cheese and a few green chilies. Use a sandwich maker to heat the wrap in it and it will turn out to look like an empanada. MMMM soo good!

Try this recipe and let me know how it turns out for you. So until the next yummy recipe… Happy Blogging!

P.S (I can’t wait till Bhatji comes home this weekend so I can cook up a storm. I miss him too much :o( Hence the song on my blog)

“Hey hey hey, I’m losing you yeah, ain't love the sweetest thing”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Baby’s got blue skies up ahead
But in this I’m a rain cloud
You know she likes a dry kind of love
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing

Yea I know it has been long…but what to do? sometimes work life is not so easy. On a happier note Mzswats is staying with me for the next 3 days before she goes back to NYC. She has had a lot of decisions to make but whatever she decides I will support. Its what makes her happy :o) I have decided to cheer her up by taking her out to dinner and getting her a lil drunk at happy hours. Nothing like sisterly bonding over some liquor!
Last weekend my parents hosted a graduation celebration picnic for Bhatji and Mzswats. Lots of good family, friends, food and beautiful weather made the picnic successful. We played bingo, balancing a lemon on a spoon game. For one day we were all big kids running around not worrying about the real world. Ahh good times!
Last Friday, I made one of Bhatji’s favorite dishes, Hakka noodles. I had bought some pork chops a while ago hoping for a bbq. Since that hasn’t happened yet, I decided to make Indo Asian style pork chops and mint yogurt chutney to go along with the Hakka noodles. It was soooo good! I don’t usually prepare pork so this dish turned out to be a success and Bhatji was inhaling it! I have shared recipe for Hakka noodles in the past so here is the recipe for Asian Grilled Pork chops.

Ingredients for broiled Pork Chops:
2 lean Pork chops
3 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of veg.oil
1 tablespoon of dry rosemary
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp of dry Thyme
Salt to taste
To Make:
Combine soy sauce, mustard, Wostershire sauce, veg. oil, pepper, rosemary, thyme into a ziplock bag. Add the pork to the bag. After squeezing the air out, seal the bag and make sure the meat is well coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 2 hours (the longer the better or even 30 mins could work for quick marinade) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the chops from the marinade. Pan sear the chops on a pan for 3 mins on each side. Place the chops in an oven safe pan and add the extra marinade on top. Season the chops with salt and pepper. Broil the chops for about 7-8 mins on each side until done. Remove and cool for a few min before serving.

Ingredients for Mint yogurt chutney:
½ cup fresh mint leaves, well rinsed
½ cup cilantro leaves, well rinsed
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup plain yogurt
Salt to taste
Water as needed
To Make:
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Add water to liquefy if needed. Serve with chops.

You can also cook the chops on an outdoor grill. It will add smoky flavors to the meat. Hopefully one these days Bhatji and I will get some time to grill outdoors. The weathers too nice these days and there’s nothing like the summer breeze and yummy bbq! That’s all for this entry…until the next delectable entry…Happy Eating!

“I guess if I can let the night just drift away so baby whatcha gon' do?”

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cause I don't wanna lose it
come on keep it movin
All I really want is
for you to back it up
go on and put your weight on it
cause it's alright
do what you wanna
make me believe ya
ooh I wanna see ya
Get it shawty, get it shawty

I am too excited about this weekend! Of course Bhatji is coming home today and also my lil Tina is coming to visit! I haven’t seen her since a short dinner in April so needless to say there will tons of fun with the family and good friends. Also this weekend we are having a family picnic celebrating Bhatji and Mzswats graduation and just enjoy the summer sun. There will be plenty of food, drinks and games. I haven’t seen some of the folks that are coming to the picnic for a while now so it should be fun catching up with everyone.
Ahh I love picnics! In my younger days in Mysore, summer meant a lot of picnics and game time with the family. Mysore was a beautiful city with lots of greenery and the surrounding villages and towns were just as beautiful. We used to drive to different villages and towns and stop at a quiet corner near a lake or a pond, eat mom’s yummy food under a tree, and then play Frisbee or card games. Often my cousins would visit us or our family friends would bring their kids for their summer holidays. Those were some good times. No worries, no stress, summer was full of innocent fun, imagination and adventure.
Bhatji and I love indo Chinese food. I know I have already posted my recipe for Gobi Manchurian, sweet corn soup and Hakka noodles. Another favorite of ours is Chili chicken. This simple and spicy recipe for will definitely satisfy. I referenced Meena's recipe for Chili chicken and just added extra veggies. Here is the recipe:
2 chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium-sized onion, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2-3 green chilies, finely chopped
2 stalks of green onion, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp crushed black pepper
1 tsp red chili powder
1 cup water
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp of corn flour mixed with 2 table spoon water
Salt, to taste

To Make:
Heat oil in a non-stick pan and sauté chopped green chilies, chopped onions and fry till lightly brown. Add the red bell pepper, ginger and garlic paste and cook till fragrant. Add chicken pieces and cook on medium heat. Once the chicken looks cooked add salt, pepper, chili powder and Soya sauce and cook for a minute. Add water and let it come to a boil. Add corn flour mixture and stir till sauce thickens. Cover cook for a few minutes and garnish with chopped green onions.

It was so good that Bhatji keeps asking me to make this dish over and over again. Also you can throw in mushrooms if you like. Even though this is a spicy dish, Bhatji and I always add extra hot sauce on top of the rice…its not spicy if you aren’t tearing up a lil ;o) Well until the next lip-smacking blog…have a great weekend everyone!

“I know it's up for me, if you steal my sunshine”

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Making sure I'm not in too deep
If you steal my sunshine
Keeping versed and on my feet

It is incredible how attached you get once you are married! I mean you live, breathe, eat and sleep with one person by your side so it’s natural to feel attached. Anyway I know I have harped on how much I miss Bhatji during the week but I can’t help it and I can’t wait till the last day of his internship hehe. I know I am being selfish but I don’t care….I want him home and with me :o)
Ok enough of my sappy blabber. This past weekend was a lil rough. Bhatji and I had some major decisions to make…. our apt lease is ending and we weren’t sure what our future holds for us. We decided to resign our lease and take it one day at a time. If we move (depending on our jobs) then our landlords have asked to find them tenants who will take over our lease and we should be good to go. But for a short while there it didn’t look like our landlords would negotiate a deal where we could be released from our lease if we needed to move. I was really worried…especially because I am such a planner. In college I had to know well in advance which dorm I was going to stay at and which one of my friends was going to my roomie. I had a friend who would wait till the very last minute and people would plan for her! I can’t imagine being that way; it would irritate me to no end. Regardless of all the weekend stress, I am very happy that Bhatji and I will continue in our fabulous apt :o)
On Sunday Bhatji and I finally hung out in old town Alexandria. A lot of my coworkers are amazed that we have been living in the DC area and not visited Alexandria. And so Bhatji and I decided to see if it lived to all the hype. And it did! It was beautiful…reminded me of a typical European town with outdoor cafes, cobble stone roads and a gorgeous water front. The weather was also absolutely perfect. We sat outside and enjoyed a very tasty Thai meal. I can’t wait to go back again one of these days; I am probably going to be taking my parents, sister and my mother in law when she visits. Fun times!
Also this past weekend I had bought a honeydew melon thinking that it would make for a morning snack, but instead I decided to make honeydew juice. During the rough summer months in India, my mom used to make cantaloupe juice which was soooo yummy and refreshing….perfect during the unbearable heat. My mom told me that melons produce a cooling effect within our bodies when we eat them. This is probably why we love watermelons, cantaloupes and honey dew melons during the summer. The honeydew juice turned out very good! It took me back to my summers in India….yes the summers were brutal but my mom, my sister and I used to play cards and consume tons and tons of melon juice to cool down :o) Bhatji too loved it and it was all gone within the weekend! I am going to have make some more. Here is the recipe for a refreshing honeydew juice.

1 honeydew melon
½ cup of lemon juice
½ cup sugar
¼ cup of honey
2 cups sparkling or plain water, chilled
Ice cubes as needed
Couple of crushed mint leaves
4 slices of lemon for garnish
To Make:
Cut the honeydew melons in half and remove and discard the seeds. Working in batches, puree the honeydew melon, mint leaves in a blender. As each batch is finished, transfer it to a bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar, honey, water and ice cubes to the puree and mix in a blender to combine until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours to blend the flavors. When it is ready to be served add some sliced lemons to the juice.

Definitely give this juice a try! It is worth the work :o) and perfect for summer outdoors gatherings or while you laze away a summer afternoon. Yay! Mzswats is coming into town tonight and we are doing dinner with my favorite kind of Brownman Neil ;o) Summer is pretty good so far…only wish Bhatji was here! Until the next delicious blog entry...celebrate the sunshine!

PS (the Len song makes absolutely no sense! But it’s catchy none the less)

“You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em”

Thursday, June 7, 2007

There's somethin' irresistabullish about 'em.
We grin and bear it 'cause the nights are long.
I hope that somethin' better comes along

I love summer! Its perfect weather right now and I am spending as much time on my balcony as possible. Yep you can catch me with a book or laptop and a glass of wine lounging on the papasan. Of course Bhatji is away during the weekdays and I have nothing but time. I am looking forward to the next few weekends….I am going to have lots of people visit me and I can’t wait!
So on to the foodie segment of my blog. This past Sunday when Bhatji was home…it was raining so we decided to eat at home. My mom had bought me some ready made puris from the Indian store and so we decided to enjoy a pani puri evening :o) Pani puris have several fillings depending on the different regions of India. But since we decided last minute we sorta made our own version of Pani puri fillings. I didn’t have to make puris so that was helpful.
Fillings for the Pani puri:
1) mashed potato with salt and pepper
2) a can of garbanzo beans
3) chopped onions (well I like it with onions :o)
4) Pani – jaljeera mixed in water

Ingredients for Tamarind Chutney:
6 tbl spns of Tamarind pulp
3 tbl spns of Jaggery/sugar
½ tsp of Red chilli powder
¼ tsp of Black pepper powder
1 tsp of Roasted cumin powder
1 ½ cups of Warm water
Salt to taste
To make:
Mix the tamarind pulp with the warm water and let it sit for about 10 mins. Add sugar, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, roasted cumin powder, and salt. Cook the tamarind mixture for 5 minutes on medium heat. Cool and serve.

Ingredients for Green chutney:
½ bunch ( 8 to 9 leaves) Mint Leaves
½ bunch of cilantro
4 cups of Cold Water
3 teaspoons Black pepper powder
3 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Cumin powder
1 inch piece of Fresh Ginger
1 ½ tspns of Lemon juice
To make:
Wash the mint and cilantro leaves and grind all of the above ingredients in a blender with the cold water and serve.

Well Bhatji and I gobbled down as many puris as humanly possible. MMMHMM we love chaat and if I had it my way (and chaat was healthy) I would eat pani puris every day. Well since I am able to make the chutneys by myself, I guess we will be eating chaat more often :o) until the next blog, Happy Eating!

PS (The muppets song is dedicated to Bhatji hehe)

“Cause in my head there’s a greyhound station where I send my thoughts to far off destinations”

Monday, June 4, 2007

I do believe it’s true
that there are roads left in both of our shoes
if the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too
so brown eyes I hold you near
cause you’re the only song I want to hear
a melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
where soul meets body

It’s raining and will continue raining this whole week. But because of the rain Bhatji and I had a much needed relaxing Sunday. In fact this whole past weekend was relaxing for the both of us. Especially since the 2 weekends before this one was absolute traveling madness. I cant believe that 2 weeks of his 10 week internship are up! Yep time is flying. Bhatji and I went to Bebo Trattoria for a good Italian dinner on Saturday, followed by the movie, Shrek the Third and it was really good :o) Well we liked it because we are 2 big kids at heart. I had originally planned to do something outdoorsy on Sunday but unfortunately when we woke up it was grey and raining. So we decided to do a big brunch at Whitlows on Wilson and then settled onto our cozy futon for an afternoon of Entourage marathon. This past Friday I picked Bhatji up from the train station and took him directly to school. I was soooo happy to see him. I really wanted to make a dish that was super yummy and would remind him of his I decided to make one of his favorite Marathi dishes: Pav Bhaji. I didn’t have any Pav so we had to make do with toasted bread. It was my first time making it and I was a little nervous because there are several steps to making it but it really wasn’t as hard as I expected. The Bhaji turned out fantastic and Bhatji chowed down like he had never before. So I am sharing the Pav Bhaji recipe with you folks :o)
1 small head of cauliflower or half a head of large cauliflower cut into florets
2 Large potatoes
1 medium onion chopped
3 large tomatoes chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
3 tbsp pav-bhaji masala (you might need more)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
To Make:
Boil the cauliflower and potatoes in a pressure cooker until they are soft. You can also throw the cauliflower in a big pot of water and boil until soft. You can throw the potatoes in a large microwavable bowl filled with water and heat for about 8-10 mins. One they are boiled and soft. In a big pot heat oil in and add the onion and cook until slightly brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and tomatoes mix well and cook until the tomatoes are turn into a pulp. Add turmeric powder, chili powder, salt (and peas if you are using them) and sauté for a few mins. Add the boiled potatoes and cauliflower, pav-bhaji masala and make sure it all mixes well. Add about ½ cup of water and keep mixing and cook for about 8-10 mins. Then take this mixture from the pot and put into a food processor and “grind” or “mix”. Make sure that it is not a complete paste because then it will be too liquidy for the bread. I only mixed for about 30-40 secs. I could still see some solid potato and cauliflower pieces. I took this mixture and put into back into the pot. I added about 1 tsp of pav bhaji masala and ¼ cup of water. Cook on Medium heat for 15 minutes and keep mixing so the masala is blended into the veggies. Keep tasting and adjusting salt, masala until it tastes like its well balanced flavor of the masala and the tomatoes. Serve with Pav.
I didn’t have the typical burger buns so I used the regular wheat bread. I applied butter on both sides of the bread and toasted it on a pan for 2 mins on both sides. Do not use a toaster. When you toast it on the pan you can really taste the butter. I served the Bhaji on top of the bread with some raw red onions and a small dollop of butter for Bhatji; this is the typical way most Marathi folks like their Pav Bhaji. I however like my bhaji on the side with all the toppings and dip my pav into it. Needless to say Bhatji came home from his long class and gobbled down lots and lots of the bhaji. Even I was surprised at how good it turned out! Nothing compared to my mom’s but still a close second :o)

More recipes to come, maybe not a feat like the Pav bhaji since I am alone during the week but small, one pot meals that will get me through the week. So until then, Happy Eating!

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