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)

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