“Tujhase naaraaz nahi zindagi, hairaan hoon main”

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tere masoom savalon se pareshaan hoon main
o pareshaan hoon main…..

Nothing like soft slow old school Hindi music while packing to India; I have hit a few glitches with this trip. Last minute changes and some gifts are taking way to long to get here before we leave. Lately I find my self overwhelmed easily. I have always considered myself a very strong individual with a very “take the bull by the horn” kind of mentality. But lately every small hitch feels like a gigantic problem. Ever feel like everything you do requires a phone call or email to confirm, cancel or re-order. I feel like I have been on hold for different customer service for every item imaginable; Phone company, credit card company, gift orders, postal service etc. UGH it’s very frustrating. And dealing with so many kinds of customer service reps has caused me to lose my temper more than once. Why can’t things just happen more smoothly…especially before a big trip? Oh and Air India has the worst customer service ever. Bhatji and I usually avoid Air India at all costs but this year they were the cheapest ticket we could find and man let me tell you it has been infuriating dealing with them. They have 3 services for booking a ticket! You call one number for booking, someone else sends you an email confirmation and if you want to change something in you itinerary, you have to call someone else! Is this a means of providing people with jobs or just a way to confuse and frustrate their customers? To top it all none of the customer service reps are any help at all. It took me 8 phone calls to find out one piece of information and every time it was different answer. I finally had to use the most commonly used to answer as the right one! I am still not sure if it is the right one but God knows if I am on the phone one more time I will throw a fit and break something.
So I end this entry with a quote from Home Alone (when Kevin applies the after shave lotion):
Until the next entry…pray that I stay calm and things work out.

“Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements even if it leads nowhere”

Thursday, December 4, 2008

But if I tell the world I'll never say enough 'cause it was not said to you
And that’s exactly what I need to do if I end up with you

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere or would it be a waste
Even if I knew my place should I leave it there
Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere

Its amazing how music always interprets our moods. And Adele’s lyrics hits home right now; not so much that I am planning on giving up anything but I just feel frustrated like I am going nowhere with this job hunt. It’s been 4 months since we moved here and no one is hiring….in fact people are losing jobs left and right. Ugh I feel like my brain is turning to mush!! I read, I clean, I cook, I surf the net and I watch TV. I know to some this may seem like a relaxing vacation but when you’ve done it for 3-4 months straight it gets to you. Ahh what ya gonna do??
Now on to the cheerful part of this blog; Bhatji and I are really looking forward to our trip to India! YAY. I can’t wait and its happening soooo soon. We leave in less than 2 weeks and there’s much to be done. I have some serious shopping to do for gifts and also pack saris galore for 3 weddings!! I am also excited because this is the first time I am going to Pune, which is Bhatji’s family is from. I get to see where he spent his summers eating pav bhaji and batata vadas hehe. Oh and Im most excited about the food! Hmmm foooooooood! Of course after the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai most of my friends and family are worried about our trip since we are planning on staying in Mumbai. All you can do is keep your ears and eyes open for suspicious activity.
Speaking of the attacks, the thanksgiving Wednesday that Bhatji and I got so busy with last minute packing and driving the 7 hours to DC that we had no idea that the India was dealing with the terrorist attacks. The minute we reached my parents home the first thing my dad said was “Bhatji call your family in India right now and make sure they are all safe” we were quickly updated with the horrors of the attacks and the rest of Wednesday night was spent in front of the TV watching CNN and BBC and calling family in India to make sure they were all safe. It was painful to watch and how the media was scrutinizing the situation. The attacks definitely gave the holiday weekend a somber feel but being with family cheered our spirits. My mom made an amazing spread for thanksgiving spread and we went to see Slum Dog Millionaire, which is truly a spectacular film. I urge you all to go and watch it. I had a very low key birthday celebration at home with family this year. It’s curious how age sneaks up on you….I feel a year older. At a very dear friends wedding that we attended just before thanksgiving….I could barely keep my eyes open past 2.00 am and drinking more than 1 or 2 drinks made me feel sleepy hehe. Gone are the days of bar hopping with friends till 4 am and dancing the night away. Bhatji and I are creatures of habit. We like to sleep at a certain time….eat at a certain time and enjoy quiet time at home. Sheet…if this is how I feel now I wonder how life is going to be at 50!! Not that there’s anything wrong with having a low key life style hehe. Well I think I’ve gone on and on about anything and everything….more updates to follow. Ohhh and guess what?? We bought a new a camera during thanks giving weekend….so my recipes with pics will be back soon!! Until the next entry….stay healthy and safe :o)

PS(Excited that Arches has rejoined the blogging world:)

“I’m trying to change the rules; you deserve something good in your life”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We’ve waited for far too long so come get your blessing tonight baby
Wont you come over love, so I can show you love
Promise I got enough to give you all that you need baby
So many search to find, love that is good as mine
I will not waste your time so bring it all to me baby

Isn’t odd how even when you are unemployed you’re “to do list” seems long? Or is it possible that just because you are unemployed, you keep yourself busy and get more done? Hmm I guess that’s like the chicken or the egg question…but either way I’ve been busy. Mostly in the kitchen of course :o) But with so many new recipes also comes errors. Yep Bhatji has had to deal with some pretty inedible meals…hehe. He has started a “never repeat” pile again heh. I just have to make sure that pile doesn’t get too big ;o) Anyway after a lot of recent experimentation I decided that both our belly’s needed something a bit more homey. And the last 2 night I made simple bhajis, upkaris and dhaals. There’s nothing like simple food to comfort you.
The fact that I am jobless has given me an opportunity that I have dreamt about for years; to start my own dance school. The Indian community in Charlotte is fairly large and there aren’t too many Indian dance schools out here so there isn’t much competition. I haven't advertised much lately but I have decided in the New Year the new business plan will move full speed ahead. Its kind of exciting to think of working for yourself and doing what you love but at the same time it’s a bit nerve racking. Until then I am enjoying the few students I have :o)
In other news….Top Chef has started up again; that is one of the shows that always inspires me to cook new dishes. And this season the show is based in NYC. How perfect to have a foodie show in the foodiest city possible hehe. Every authentic ethnic food styles under one big umbrella. NYC is truly a foodie heaven. Sigh I can’t help but miss the city sometimes. And all this talk of food is making me hungry. Alright that’s enough yammering for one day. I’m off to get more stuff done and at some point start on dinner. So until the next entry….here’s some foodie love your way!!

“The sky's blue….just us two side by side; we'll see the world that surrounds us”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hey, seize the day
into a beautiful life
'Cause it's a beautiful world
and it's a beautiful time
to be here, to be here

Hey guys!! I know I’ve been gone for a while….I guess it took me a while to reload and get motivated to start up again. It’s great to be writing again….I forgot how therapeutic blogging can be :o) I figured to celebrate my return I would try a new blogger layout. Its so clean and fresh….motivation indeed!
So let’s get right to it. The move to Charlotte has been wonderful! I must say that I was very apprehensive about the move especially since I had never been to Charlotte. I was also a bit sad that we wouldn’t be near my family and friends anymore. But we have truly been blessed to be in such a beautiful city. It is a great mix of the North East and Southern life. People are much nicer and have time to be friendly. For instance our neighbors actually came by the day we moved in to welcome us and ask if we needed anything. Our apt is soooo comfortable and roomy for half the rent we were paying in NJ hehe. The weather has been warm and the fall colors are just incredible. Bhatji loves his new team and he is home by 6.00 pretty much everyday :o) we live about 3 miles from uptown Charlotte so his commute is 15 mins door to door. The city is easy to navigate around unlike NJ….also since the population is a bit low traffic is never a problem and drivers here aren’t as aggressive as the North East. We went to a Network of Indian professional’s event recently and within the first happy hour we were invited to people house for dinner over the next few weekends! The first week we were here at a bar and some random guy was chit chatting with us and giving us scoop on good eateries in Charlotte and he added something so true about the people here “People are genuinely nice here. So you know stop and say hello as well” When Bhatji and I visit our new friends over the weekend, its interesting to see families out and about waving as your car drives by. It took a few days to get used to, but we love the warmth of the city. My parents have also come down visited us and they too loved Charlotte. However my job search has been really disheartening. I know the economy is doing very badly right now so my job search is taking place at a bad time. But I still gotta keep at it. Let’s see what else? Oh I have been very busy in the kitchen since I have so much time during the day now but unfortunately we have not bought a new camera yet so I am unable to share any pics with you. That’s something that’ll probably have to wait till this year’s black Friday. Well that’s all for now folks…I’ve got a few errands to run. But before I forget a very happy belated Diwali and it’s wonderful to be back. Here’s some Love dust for you all!! Muuuahh.

“Keep embracing each day, keep on yearning; you just try….just try”

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Keep on making mistakes just to keep on learning
Keep on giving, you keep on wanting
Keep on fighting, just get up every morning
you just try...try....just try

Maybe your world shakes
you try to hold on
maybe your heart breaks
just keep on loving
maybe you'll find out
it's meant to be this way
maybe you'll learn this
or maybe we'll learn this

Nothing like a soothing jazz song on a hot August day to give you some inspiration :o) How I missed writing…but NYC has kept me busy. Mainly because another change is coming our way; hehe seems like every other blog entry of mine is some big announcement. Ahhh but such is life…. if it wasn’t for these changes…..life would be dull. So here goes: Bhatji got a promotion within his company and the new job is going to be in Charlotte, NC. That’s right folks… Bhatji and I are moving to Charlotte, NC in a few weeks. I’ve never been to Charlotte so I don’t know what to expect but most people who have been there seem to love it. Bhatji’s super excited since he gets to move back down to the south and the work opportunity seems really great. I think we are moving to Charlotte at the perfect time in our lives. I am looking forward to bigger houses, surrounded by lots of mountains and beaches and awesome weather since winters are less harsh. As they say “change is always a constant” so I am embracing this change with a positive outlook on life :o)
Needless to say because of the upcoming move Bhatji and I are taking full advantage of our last few weeks in NYC. We have been trying different cuisines like German fare at this awesome restaurant called HalloBerlin; lots of different kinds of beer, wursts and sauerkraut galore at a cheap price. We also tried a Venezuelan restaurant called Caracas Arepas bar; Arepas are similar to tacos with different kinds of fillings and soooo yummy again at a reasonable price! I also stood in line at the discount Broadway ticket line at times square and scored cheap front row tickets to see the popular Broadway show Avenue Q. It was hilarious and I will suggest that if you are ever in the city and have time you should totally watch this show; it’s the Muppet show for adult’s hehe. I feel like there’s so much more to do before we leave but that’s NYC. You can never fully do everything and see everything that the city has to offer but you can certainly have fun trying :o) I never considered myself a true NYC girl but spending my days in the city sitting in a park…people watching, reading a book, eating pie and drinking ice tea has been pure bliss. And even though I would never actually live in the city….I must say that I will sure miss this city and its vibrant energy. I’ll be back with some recipes in my next entry so until then….enjoy the sun kissed days out :o)
Ahhh to be on the beach in Bahamas again :o)

“I think about you in the summertime, and all the good times we had baby”

Friday, July 25, 2008

Been a few years and I can’t deny,
The thought of you still makes me crazy,
I think about you in the summertime,
I’m sittin’ here in the sun with you on my mind.
You’re my, my summertime

Ahhh who knew that New kids on the block would ever come back? Lol I didn’t and that darn song is everywhere. Anyway after an awesome vacation in the Bahamas with the girls what a crappy last day on the island to end it :o( Sigh I wasn’t going to moan and complain about this but I need to vent. So the last night in Nassau I lost my beautiful white clutch which had my wallet and my camera :o( Yes my beautiful, sleek camera that I used like crazy for the last 2 years. A camera that was a gift from my in laws and is not sold for cheap in the US. To add to that stress, I had to call Bhatji in the US to call and cancel all my credit cards and needless to say he was not happy to receive a frantic call at 8 am on Sunday morning. On top of it all US airways screwed us over my canceling our flight from Philly to New York so I had to take the train. For someone who hasn’t even lost a credit card or keys….this was a pretty big deal. I mean all of last week I just wallowed in misery and Bhatji had to take serious measures to make me smile. All in all what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation ended in a stressful nightmare. I guess the only positive aspect of it all was that my passport was safe and sound in my bigger purse and everything that was lost was replaceable. It’s hard though at times to look at the positive you know….we take lil joys for granted. I am glad I was able to take such a beautiful vacation and enjoy my time on the beach. So no more sadness :o)
On to the foodie portion of this blog; I had mentioned in my last entry that I cooked a lot when my mother in law was visiting me and one of the dishes that she taught me was Bhoplache raita. It’s a simple Marathi side dish that goes perfectly with hot rotis. It has turned out to be one of my fav recipes. So here is my mother in laws recipe form Bhopla/pumpkin raita:

About ¼ of a pumpkin slice de-seeded
¾ cup of yogurt
2 cups of water
1 tspn of sugar
1 tblspn of oil
1 tspn of cumin seeds
½ tspn of heeng
2 green chillies chopped
Cilantro for garnish
Salt as per taste

To make:

Cut the pumpkin into small pieces, about an inch or so since the skin is tough to remove, this is an easier way to peel it off. Heat the 2 cups of water and add the pumpkin pieces to it and let it come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook further for about 15 mins. Drain the water into another bowl…do not throw the water because it filled with nutrients and you can use it later. The pumpkin peels will come off easily with a knife and mash the pumpkin pieces unevenly. In a separate bowl with the yogurt in it add the boiled water for thinning it to a raita consistency. Add the salt and sugar and mix well. Add the mashed pumpkin pieces and stir well. Now in a small saucepan heat the oil and add the cumin, heeng and chillies and stir well. Once the cumin seeds start spluttering, take off the heat and add to the yogurt mixture. Add chopped cilantro and stir well. And serve with rotis.

This has turned out to be a comfort food for me because it is sooooo easy to make and it tastes really yummy. I am trying my hardest to make more yellow foods at home since they are full of nutritional value. Give this recipe a try and let me know how it turns out. Well that’s all for now folks…have a wonderful weekend and stay cool :o)

“Speak low when you speak love, our summer day withers away too soon, too soon”

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Speak low when you speak, love
Our moment is swift, like ships adrift,
Love is a spark, lost in the dark too soon, too soon
I feel wherever I go that tomorrow is near,
tomorrow is here and always too soon
Time is so old and love so brief

It has been crazy long since I last blogged. I know…I know…but moves are not easy. So forgive me blogsphere for my absence. But let me get right to the point of ramping you up to speed with my life thus far. I am now officially all moved in NJ and the work hunt has come to a halt. Why…well because it hit me that I actually could do with a mini vacation where I don’t have to log into work email or worry about clients and bosses. Bhatji was supportive of the idea as well….so yes I am playing house wife for a few weeks and enjoying it. Just because I took a break from blogging does not mean that I have taken a break from cooking. Actually this mini vacation means I am cooking more than ever :o) so yes I will be blogging about the new recipes in the near future. I am also taking full advantage of summer in NYC. Meeting up with friends, catching up on movies and lots of quality time with Bhatji not just for 2 weeks. I love summers. I love sitting out on my balcony reading a good book, walking up to the local farmers market and taking in the fresh summer air. It has rained quite a bit too but I love summer rains!
So last time I wrote, my in laws over visiting. The house was sooo full of activity. My nephew and niece have grown so much and they kept us all on our toes. Well they came, we enjoyed and they left. Here are the things I have been busy with ever since the last week of May to current day:
•My mother in law and I tried out a Top Chef recipe for Chiles Relenos (stuffed poblano pepper) and it turned out amazing!
•My in laws left and I left to go to DC for my last 3 weeks at work. I trained a new person in my place and my coworkers threw me an awesome going away lunch :o) When I gave my badge away to HR is when I realized that I no longer have a job :o( It was bitter sweet.
•My lap top crashed and its pretty much hanging on to its last breath so I am waiting to buy a laptop soon.
•Bhatji and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary together :o) 2 years!! I can’t believe how quickly time has flown.
•Bhatji and I went to Houston to attend a wedding of a lifetime. It was a lavish wedding and a mini konk convention. Bhatji and I had a blast spending time with konks whom we rarely see and reconnection with some family too. Good times!
•I made a decision that I am going to take time off for about a month before I start looking for a job…..So all of July I am spending time in NYC reading a good book, going to museums, cooking a lot and trying new foods
•I put together a happy hour that had an amazing turn out in the city
•I roasted a whole chicken by myself for the first time!! (I feel more confident that I would be able host a thanksgiving meal!!)
•Bhatji and I attended a salsa class together with another couple which was oh so much fun
•I have started a good work out routine and lost 2 lbs :o)
•I bought some new cooks books that I pour over everyday :o)
•We had an awesome July 4th together!
•I am looking forwards to a girl’s trip to Bahamas next weekend!! HOORAY!

And if all that wasn’t enough there is more excitement planned in the future. I will be blogging and keeping you posted on all the fun :o) But for now……all I got to say is I missed you guys and ITS GOOD TO BE BACK!

Awwww my 2 fav people. Anshul and Rhea :o)

Konkani group toasting to the wonderful couple in Houston!

“No me ames, porque pienses que parezco diferente”

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No me ames, porque pienses que
parezco diferente
Tú no piensas que es lo justo,
ver pasar el tiempo juntos
No me ames, que comprendo,
la mentira que sería.
Si tu amor no merezco, no me ames,
mas quédate otro día

It finally feels like spring! And all I want to do is sit out under a tree and take in the cool breezes. Alas I have some job searching to do so no real free time. Anyway I have a recipe to enter for Dhivya’s AWED Mexican Food. So without further ado I am going to get right down to the foodie portion of this blog.

I tired out a recipe for a simple Burrito recipe from the Williams and Sonoma collection called “Savoring Mexico” Here is the recipe for a healthy Mexican Bean Burrito:
1 whole wheat tortilla
½ cup of refried beans
½ of a red and green bell pepper diced
3 tbl spns of salsa
3 tbls spns of yogurt (substitute for sour cream)
A few jalapenos
2 tspns of olive oil
1 ½ tspn of cumin
½ tsp of chives

To make:
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the bell peppers and the cumin and make sure that the spice integrates into the meat and veggies well. Add the chives and heat for a 2 mins and take off heat. Heat the tortilla wrapped in a paper towel for about 35 secs. Apply the refried beans on one side of the tortilla. Lay the peppers in the center of the tortilla. Mix the salsa and yogurt in a bowl and lay that mixture on top of the peppers. Add the jalapenos and wrap the tortilla around the mixture. Serve immediately.

Taking the rice and sour cream out of the burrito makes for a healthier version of the typical burrito which is loaded with calories. This version is perfect if you are craving a quick Mexican meal and if you are watching your weight.

Sorry for making this a short entry but my in laws are visiting me for a week and I have to get this place spotless before they get here but if things don’t get too busy I will definitely be back next week with a proper entry :o) So until then soak this gorgeous spring weather!

“Nothing can compare to when you roll the dice and swear your love's for me”

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I was crying over you
I am smiling I think of you
Misty morning and water falls
Breathe in the air if you care, you compare, don't say farewell
Nothing can compare
To when you roll the dice and swear your love's for me

Start Rant< I’ve been in an odd mood the last few days. I go from happy to sad to angry within minutes. I think my analytical mind is to blame for this temper variation. Just writing about this makes me laugh at how silly I have been. Good news/advice makes me happy and then I analyze the heck out of it and MAKE myself sad by flipping the news to dreadful tidings and then this sadness progresses to anger like “how dare they/he/she say that”. Then I have to calm down and ask myself “whats wrong with you!! That wasn’t what the person meant” To top it off I feel like I have started sifting my feelings and opinions while conversing with people. Why? Because of how my mood changes and how people may react to me. Maybe it’s because I am scared of leaving my job and the fact that I still do not have a job offer. All the initial excitement of starting over has worn off and now I am worried. I am trying my best to be positive... >End Rant

All these mood changes haven’t really affected my hunger or curiosity in the kitchen. So I will stay true to my foodie nature and share a new recipe that I tried out recently. I rarely come up with recipes on my own. I rely heavily on my fellow foodie bloggers and cook books and prepare food according to directions. But sometimes if I know that certain flavors will make for an awesome dish then I start the experimentation. Of course I’m not brave enough to have Bhatji as the guinea pig because I like being absolutely certain before feeding people new dishes. I mean I don’t even take people to restaurants unless I am positive that the food is worth trying…so my kitchen and cooking is no different. Anyway a few days ago I bought some brie and was thinking of how to use it in anything other than fondue. I know that the salty flavors of the cheese works well with sweet flavors of fruits. So I thought of trying out a sandwich of pears and brie. And the result was YUMMMM! Here is the recipe for Pear and Brie Sandwich:

1 Pear long and thinly sliced
Slices of brie
2-4 slices of Bread (I used wheat)

To Make:
Toast the bread in a toaster over or toaster. Lay the slices of brie on top both the slices of bread and head in the toaster oven till the cheese melt. If you do not have a toaster oven heat in the microwave oven till the cheese melts. Spread the cheese evenly on the bread. Lay the slices of pear on the bread and voila! Sandwich is done.

The cool thing about this sandwich is that you can cut them each sandwich into 4 small pieces and serve as appetizers for a small gathering or just make it a grab and go snack. You can also make it a part of a healthy lunch along with a salad or soup. Anyway you slice it….its a delicious sammich ;o) I am sending this recipe over to Anupama's Sandwich Festival.

Until the next blog entry…stay positive and keep rolling the dice :o)

“Stop and stare...I think I'm moving but I go nowhere”

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yeah I know that everyone gets scared
But I've become what I can't be
Stop and stare
You start to wonder why you're 'here' not there
And you'd give anything to get what's fair
But fair ain't what you really need
Oh, can u see what I see

This town is colder now, I think it's sick of us
It's time to make our move, I'm shakin off the rust
I've got my heart set on anywhere but here
I'm staring down myself, counting up the years
Steady hands, just take the wheel...

The lyrics to One Republic’s new song “stop and stare” are mirroring my current feelings about the “big” move and change. I am leaving what I know (DC, my family, my job) but I guess what One Republic says is true “Its time to make our move, I’m shaking off the rust. I’ve got my heart set on anywhere but here” The formidable conversation of me leaving took place between me and my clients, boss and co-workers yesterday. And man was I surprised of how well they took it and how much they care for me. Their reaction was totally unexpected, instead of moaning about how they’ll need to find someone new and train them….they said that it was about time that Bhatji and I decided to cut out the distance and be together :o) I am truly lucky to have been surrounded by such warm and kind people. It makes it worse that I am leaving the company and clients….sigh…well the next job I get, I hope to luck with just as kind coworkers.

I have been trying my hand at several foodie events such Easy Crafts – Fun ‘n’ sun event. Although we are the very beginning stages of spring….certain warm days call for a cooling meal or drink. I always think back to the hot summers in Mysore…where my mom would give us buttermilk or honey dew juice to beat the heat. I know I wanted to attempt a new recipe so I flipped through the many cook books my mom have given me and I like a simple Mint & lemon soda from my Costco cook book. This entry goes out to Easy Crafts Fun n sun event. Here is the recipe for Mint & Lemon Crush:
¼ cup of mint leaves
2-3 tsp of sugar
Juice from a fresh lemon (as per your taste)
1 cup of cold water
¼ cup of club soda
Fresh mint for garnish

To make:
Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a small pitcher, add the sugar and crush with a pestle or use the back of a wooden roller. Crush until it’s a smooth mixture. Add the lemon juice, cold water and club soda mix well either in a blender or just stir. Add the mint leaves for garnish and serve in a glass with crushed ice.

The flavors of mint and lemon make for a harmonious taste. It is a perfect spring or summer drink. Well until the next entry enjoy the spring weather!

“There’s nothing like you and I……..So why do I even try?”

Monday, April 28, 2008

We spent some time together walking
Spent some time just talking
About who we were
You held my hand so very tightly
And told me what we could be dreaming of
There’s nothing like you and I
Nothing like you and I

Hello Beautiful people! I know I’ve been gone for a minute but I’m back. I was on a mini vacation in Houston for a wedding and getting back to reality has sucked all the energy of writing a blog entry. On top of it all….I’m making a big change in my life. After months of back and forth between DC-NJ, Bhatji and I have decided that the distance thing isn’t really working out. So this May will be my last month at my project in DC and the job hunt in NJ has officially begun! I am excited, nervous and scared because I don’t have a job offer in hand, but looking for a job IS a full time job so it’s kinda hard to look while working for a busy client. The current US economy is terrible and this means that the job market is definitely at its worst but since I am close to a thriving metropolis like NYC it shouldn’t be too bad. Well we’ll see how it all pans out. If you are in the NJ/NY area and know of companies hiring….please keep me in mind ;o)

That’s it for personal updates and on to the foodie portion on the blog. Well in my short time in NJ this past week…even though I kept busy by pretty much by surfing through monster and career builder, I did manage to try out a few new recipes and try my hand at the Jaibee’s click event. So here is my entry for the Click event-Au natural.

Brown Eggs in a Nest

“So just take me home where the mood is mellow and the roses are grown, M&Ms are yellow”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

If you are what you say you are, a superstar
Then have no fear, the camera's is here
And the microphone's
And they wanna' know oh oh oh oh

As foodies we not only cook different varieties of meals that range from many ethnic backgrounds we also love trying new foods…..be it vegetarians or non. And if the fare smells and looks good and the restaurant is surrounded by rave reviews then it’s the perfect combination for foodie heaven. I am very much into trying new foods…..especially Asian foods. I can honestly say that I have NOT tried every single type of Indian food….I mean every state has a very particular way or preparing their food and the dishes also vary in taste…so I got to keep searching for these authentic Indian state restaurants. India’s neighboring countries also have foods with Indian influences in them. I think most Indian folks love Thai food for this reason. The curries, the spice and the flavors…all remind us of Indian fare but with a twist. But have you ever tried Burmese food? Well what do we know of Burma?

In current times we hear of the political upheaval caused by the country’s military dictatorship. People are not allowed to express themselves through religion and the corruption is rampant. So who would have guessed that this country neighboring India and Thailand with all its political and religious turmoil has some of the most amazing food!? I sure didn’t. There was a little Burmese hole in the wall restaurant called Mandalay, outside the university gates run by a Burmese family. My friends and I used to go there sometimes if we were sick of the usual Chinese and Thai food. It was love at first bite! I was sad to hear that they decided to move their restaurant because of their booming business to a location further from school. I recently found out that Mandalay expanded into a bigger restaurant in the Silver Spring area (suburb of DC) closer to my parent’s home. So on Saturday my family (minus Bhatji) decided to get a taste of Burma. And the food did not fail me again. So what does Burmese food taste like? Well it’s the perfect blend of Indian and Thai food. So you get your curries and such but with a hint of basil. But since Burmese food is heavily influenced by Bengali cuisine they have a lot of dishes made with mustard. So if you ever miss or want to try Bengali sea food dishes and don’t know where to go…..Burmese cuisine can fill that void. We ordered a fish dish, a chicken dish and a pork dish. All 3 with different sauces and we ordered it spicy. When Burmese say spicy….they mean SPICY!! I mean its perfect for us Indian folk who love the green and red chilies galore :o) So be warned do not say Extra spicy because there is a chance you will be drinking more water then eating the delicious food. They serve the curries along with rice. There are tons of vegetarian options as well. If you are ever in DC then definitely give this authentic Burmese restaurant - Mandalay restaurant a try. Its metro accessible (downtown Silver Spring metro stop) so don’t need a car to get there. If there are any authentic Burmese restaurant around your neck of the woods then definitely let me know….if ever I visit the area then I wouldn’t mind trying it out ;o)

“Time is waiting. We only got 4 minutes to save the world!”

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The road to heaven, paved with good intentions, yeah
But if I got a night
At least I can say I did what I wanted to do
Tell me, how bout you?
If you want it, You already got it
If you've thought it, It better be what you want
If you feel it, It must be real just...
Say the word, and I will give you what you want

I am big fan of almost all songs produced by Timbaland and it seems like he is everywhere! I’m in hip hop heaven :o) that and the gorgeous weather are keeping me happy in DC this week. Work has been busy as usual and I can’t wait for next week when I’m done with the 2 weeks and sneak in a mini vacation with Bhatji. Well technically it won’t be a vacation since we are going to one his best friend’s wedding where both of us are going to be busy working away……but ya know anything is a vacation if you are breaking the monotony.
When Bhatji and I visited India en route to our honey moon, we had a 2 day visit planned in Delhi. My father in law’s friend was showing us around and for lunch one day he suggested pizza hut. At first both Bhatji and I were thinking why would we try pizza hut, I mean we get Pizza hut at home. I wanted some serious Moghali khana, Delhi chaat, falooda’s, Kulfi’s and any authentic cuisine that Delhi had to offer. So needless to say I was lil disappointed that we were going to Pizza hut. But both Bhatji and I didn’t want to be rude so we agreed to go for a late lunch…and boy were we happy that we went! The Pizza hut menu in India is unlike the one in the US. In fact if I dare say it….its better! It’s spicier and has more options then the American menu. I got the Paneer Tikka pizza and Bhatji ordered the Chicken Tikka Pizza and we wanted more!! Why hasn’t US Pizza Hut added these to their menu so that the desi’s and non desi’s into Indian food can indulge! The next time we go to India, we are definitely getting some more Pizza hut….YUMM. Ok enough drooling. Since we don’t get that kind of pizza here…I decided to attempt a recipe for Paneer Tikka Pizza. I used several recipes to make it my own but it turned out amazing! In fact Bhatji keeps asking me when I’m going to make it again….you know when you’re hubby is asking for more, the recipe is a success. So here is the recipe for Spicy Paneer Tikka Pizza:

1 large store bought pizza crust (I bought mine with cheese on it)
1 ½ cup paneer cubed
1 green bell pepper cut into long pieces
1 red bell pepper cut into long pieces
1 red onion cut into long pieces
½ cup of yogurt
2 tsp of red chilli powder
3 tsp of garlic paste
1 tsp of ginger paste
1 tsp of green chilli paste
1 tsp of garam masala
2 tsp of tandoori masala
1 tsp chaat masala
2-3 tbl spn oil
Shredded mozzarella to top the pizza as per your taste
Salt to taste

To Make:
Combine the yogurt with the garlic, ginger and green chilli paste. Add the tandoori masala, and the paneer and then add salt to taste and set the mixture aside for 30 mins. Pre heat the over to 300 degrees and cook the paneer on a baking sheet for 30 mins. In the mean time prep the vegetables. Heat the oil, add the onions and cook until translucent; add the bell peppers stir for a few mins. Add the chilli powder, garam masala and chaat masala. cook until the veggies are well integrated with the spices and cooked then set aside. Add the paneer and the veggie toppings on to the pizza crust. Add more cheese as needed. Pre heat the oven for 350 degrees and cook the pizza for 20 mins or so until the cheese melts and you are done! Serve hot.

It was spicy and soooo delish! I mean I added more red chilli flakes on it hehe but man it was tasty!! Come to think about it maybe it isn’t just Bhatji that wants me to make it again hehe. The best thing about this recipe is that you can play with it…like add more veggies, add other spices…experiment away!! Give this recipe a try and let me know of other versions floating out there. Alright you beautiful people….until the next entry....enjoy the weather. Oh anyone know what Madonna means by “you only got 4 mins to save the world” ;o)

“This is right where we belong. Turn up the music”

Monday, April 7, 2008

Oh oh oh oh
This is the dance for all the lovers
Takin' a chance for one another
Finally it's our time now
These are the times that we'll remember
Breaking the city's heart together
Finally it's our time now
It's our time now

I am trying very hard to recuperate from a fantastic weekend! As I had mentioned my best friend was visiting and we partied like we were back in college; only we got tired much sooner, and weren’t as crazy as the college years. So I guess not really like we were in college hehe. But it was soo much fun to see the gang back together again. Luckily it was a beautiful warm weekend in NYC. We shopped all day; ate dinner at Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles restaurant and went bar hopping and ended up in a club where we ran into more DC folks! What are the chances that you would run into someone you know in a big city like NYC but clearly the chances are pretty good :o) All in all a wonderful weekend. I miss being around these wonderful people already. But it’s the distance that makes these meet ups all the more special.
Its spring time and time for new changes so in honor of this wonderful season I am thinking of changing my blog name. I know Anuzi is unique….especially since the name was bestowed upon me by my old dance crew. But I figured since I do have a foodie blog maybe I should gear the blog name towards a more food related term…..what do you guys think? Or do you like Anuzi…since it provides some ambiguity…where it could be a foodie blog or just a blog for my thoughts. What say you folks?

“Dreams are nothing more than wishes”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

And a wish is just a dream you wish to come true
If only I could have a friend
Who sticks with me until the end
And walk along beside the sea
To share a bit of moon with me
I'd take my friend most everywhere

There are times when I feel like I do more for people around me than they do for me. And let me tell ya its infuriating! Ok enough whining.

I am super excited about this weekend. My best friend is coming into town and we have a full packed weekend ahead. Secrets will be shared, gossip (the good kind) is inevitable and good times will be had by all :o) I am also a bit sad that my time in NJ is almost coming to end for now and I will have to go back to DC for a week and a half. I know it’s not that long, but I am not really excited about going back to DC. I like it here in NJ, I love my own kitchen, I love my own bed and I love my hubby. I am beginning to cherish our time together…even if it’s us just vegging out on the couch :o) sigh. I am starting the job hunt so I can be in NJ permanently. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Pray for me people and wish me luck.
Ok now on to the foodie part of this blog. Well I am not really sharing a recipe but I wanted to share my fav wine with you guys. Bhatji and I have started getting into wine…we aren’t really connoisseurs but we enjoy good wines. So here’s a dessert wine that is Bhatji and my favorite: Sutter Home’s Moscato. It’s the perfect light wine for after dinner and great for chilling out on the balcony during good weather. It isn’t expensive but the taste is definitely rich! Give it a try and let me know what you guys think :o)

“Some things you can invent. Some get made, and some get sent”

Sunday, March 30, 2008

All that noise, and all that sound,
all those places I got found.
And birds go flying at the speed of sound,
to show you how it all began.
Birds came flying from the underground;
if you could see it then you'd understand?

What a weekend! We did so much and still I found time to blog hehe. I wish they had awards for persistence….not sure if I would win but I definitely would be nominated hehe. I actually tried out a new recipe for Mansi’s Weekend Balanced Breakfast today and I wanted to share it. It’s also the last day for the entry so here goes. I tried out Heidi's recipe from 101 cookbook’s curried egg salad recipe. I changed it to my taste but I used her recipe for a base to start off with. The great thing about this dish was it covers what Mansi’s considers a balanced meal:
Fruits or vegetables (dried fruits are fine too)
Grains and Cereals (whole grains, oats, high-fiber foods)
Dairy (skim milk, low-fat yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese (paneer)
Proteins (eggs/egg whites, peanut butter, beans, nuts, sprouts, protein isolates)
So here is the recipe for Curried Egg Salad on toast:

2 eggs
½ tsp curry powder
2 tbl spns yogurt
1 tbl spn mayonnaise
¼ small onion, chopped
¼ pieces of apple chopped
1 tbl spns of Dijon mustard
½ tsp of chilli powder
2 slices of toasted bread
Salt and pepper to taste

To Make:
Boil the eggs. Add all the ingredients and mix well. Add the boiled eggs to it and mash it so its well integrated into the yogurt mixture. Add as much of the salad on to the toast and you are set for a yummy lunch/brunch.

This recipe goes out to Mansi's WBB#20 event.
I made this for myself as a quick afternoon lunch and it hit the spot. Best of all I did not felt like one of those healthy meals where its not overpoweringly filling and it tastes great. Alright people I will be back during the week. I hope all of you had a fun filled weekend :o)

“You're the only reason I keep on coming home”

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sweet pea
Apple of my eye
Don't know when and I don't know why
You're the only reason I keep on coming home
Sweet pea
Keeper of my soul
I know sometimes I'm out of control
You're the only reason I keep on coming home

Hola to everyone out in the blogger world. This entry’s song is dedicated to Bhatji :o) I know I tend to get mushy for no reason….well when you love some one you don’t need a reason to be mushy hehe.
I’m at home in NJ this week and next. I have had quite a bit of work but more than anything else I managed to rest and relax…you can never have enough R&R. Last weekend we went out to a new hot spot in DC called Park, where I met up with what seemed like my entire college. It was a throwback weekend like whoa! It’s always good to see dear friends who you just fit in with….like you never really parted ways. Good times :o) I am looking forward to this weekend with old friends visiting and plans partying NYC style!
I know I’ve slacked a bit with recipes and especially because I’m participating in so many foodie events. So without much ado here is my entry for Sig’s Mixed Drink Event. After scouring all my fav foodie blogger sites I decided to follow a popular Indian drink: Mango Lassi. I am picky about lassi's….they’re often a hit or miss at Indian restaurants. So I was thrilled to see Shilpa from aayis recipes sharing her recipe for this drink. I know mango lassi’s are considered a summer treat but I couldn’t help myself….I had to make this shake right away. So here is Shilpa’s recipe for Mango Lassi with a lil addition of my own:

Mango pulp 1/4 cup (I used tinned mango pulp)
Curd/yogurt 1/2 cup
Milk 1/4 cup
Sugar 2 tea spns
¼ tsp of Elaichi powder (my addition)

To make:
Mix all the ingredients in a blender until it is the thick liquid consistency you want it to be. If you like it real liquidy, add more milk and if you like it thick like a milk shake then add more yogurt and mango pulp. Serve chilled.
This recipe goes to Sig’s Monthly Blog Patrol – Mixed drinks.

This is a super simple recipe from Shilpa. Thanks Shilpa hehe….you made my tummy very happy. Well that’s all for now folks…I really need to get a lot of cleaning done. I will be back very soon with more yummy recipes :o) Happy Friday to you!

रंग बरसे भीगी चुनार वाली रंग बरसे

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Holi to all my desis!

Holi is a 3 day Indian celebration of the upcoming spring and harvest season. In India we would all wear white, get together and play with colors. I remember coming home looking like a kid dipped in colord paints. It would take 3-4 washes before the colors would come off of my hair. Schools would be closed and the kids with colors would run rampant! In north India they would drink "bhaang" and then have a huge fire on the 3rd day of Holi. Its cool how Holi coincides with first day of Spring according to the western calendar. So lets celebrate the onset of Spring....with lots colors, yummy food, family and friends. Happy Holi!!!!

Soooo many engagements soooo many good wishes:
Congrats to Megs and Umma :o)
Congrats to Ranju and Reena :o)
Congrats to VA and SS :o)
Wooooo hooo let the wedding season begin!!

“I'll stop the world and melt with you”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You've seen the difference and
It's getting better all the time
There's nothing you and I won't do
I'll stop the world and melt with you
The future's open wide…..

To the sweetest husband in the world, wishing my Bhatji, a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I know I’m not physically there to celebrate this occasion with you but I promise I’ll make it up this weekend :o) True to his Piscean nature Bhatji is very charming, flexible, emotional and playful. He manages to make me laugh even during the hard times and supports me in all my interests. Maybe a lil too much support….up to the point of harassment hehe (I will one day open my own dance school damn it!!) And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is definitely more interesting with a better half like Bhatji on my side. So here’s to many more years of love, life and happiness Bhatji…..Happy Birthday.

I have mentioned in my previous posts that Bhatji isn’t really a fan of chocolate. So many of my favorite desserts (anything with chocolate) I usually end up eating alone. I have to be more creative while making desserts in our house. Recently while watching Giada’s “Every day Italian” I was inspired to re-create her min Italian doughnuts for dessert. The recipe seemed simple and I had most of the ingredients. I also liked that it wasn’t too sweet….both Bhatji and I don’t like anything too overtly sweet. Here is the recipe for Mini Italian doughnuts:

1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of olive oil
½ lb of prepared pizza dough
¼ cup of sugar
2 tsp of cinnamon powder
2 inch cookie cutter
1 inch cookie cutter
Flour to roll the dough out

To make:
Pour both the oils in a deep frying pan and heat on medium high for about 7-8 mins. Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface till it’s about 1 ½ inches thick. With the 2 inch cookie cuter cut out a doughnut round and then with a 1 inch cookie cutter, make a hole in each of the 1 ½ inch doughnut round. Make as many doughnut rounds as you can with the remaining dough. Working in batches, deep fry the doughnuts for about a min until they puff up and rise to the top of the frying pan. After the frying let the doughnuts rest on a paper towel so all the extra oil is drained. In the mean time mix the cinnamon powder and sugar in a bowl and set aside. Add the doughnuts to the bowl and make sure all the doughnuts are coated with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve while still warm.

Bhatji said that it was tasty but a lil doughy….which I agreed with. As per Giada’s instructions she wants the pizza dough rolled out to 2 inch thickness but I think if it’s a lil thinner than that (1 ½ inch) it would be perfect. It’s a tasty treat and the sugaring is up to you. So you can make it sweeter or not as per your taste. This dessert goes great with Chai or hot chocolate. Until the next yummy entry….celebrate your near and dear ones :o)

“Kho Na Jaaye Ye Taare Zameen Par”

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jaise Aankhon Ki Dibiya Mein Nindiya
Aur Nindiya Mein Meetha Sa Sapna
Aur Sapne Mein Mil Jaaye Farishta Sa Koi
Jaise Rangon Bhari Pichkari
Jaise Titliyan Phoolon Ki Kyari
Jaise Bina Matlab Ka Pyara Rishta Ho Koi

Yeh To Aasha Ki Lehar Hain
Yeh To Ummeed Ki Sehar Hain
Khusiyon Ki Nehar Hain

Over the weekend I finally got to watch the Hindi movie, Taare Zameen Par. It was directed by Aamir Khan and although he is in the movie….the protagonist is a little boy, Darsheel Safary. The storyline revolves around a boy whose world is full of imagination, colors and stories. However he is failing in school and is unable to comprehend simple instructions from teachers or peers. His family isn’t able to help him and decides to send him to boarding school. Still it seems no one is able to gage his problem and he starts to sink into depression. The new art teacher (Aamir Khan) realizes that the child is dyslexic and starts helping him cope with this learning disability and brings him back to life. Let me start off by saying…not many Hindi movies can move me like this movie has. Sure most movies portray the typical family melodrama or unrequited love etc. But Taare Zameen Par brings to light how fragile childhood can be…especially if the child does not have a strong support system, like a caring family. The movie also explains a learning disability like dyslexia. In an educationally competitive country like India where it seems that every kid is trying to rank #1 and thinking outside the box is not an option….its truly commendable that Aamir Khan decided to shed light on a much needed topic like dyslexia. I also noticed that although the movie is directed by Aamir Khan and he has a role in the movie…I loved that the focus was not on the big name star. It was all about the little kid who is a newcomer to Bollywood and he stole the screen :o) Aamir Khans direction was definitely phenomenal! Seriously this is a must see movie. Even if you are not really a Hindi movie fan...I really hope that you rent the movie (with subtitles if needed) and watch it!! In fact I made a copy of the DVD so Bhatji can watch it too. It’s a great family movie too…so feel free to watch it with the kids. Let me know what you thought of the movie or comment once you do watch it…which is soon I hope ;o)

“Freedom…You've gotta give for what you take”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

All we have to do now
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see
Is that I don't belong to you
And you don't belong to me
You've gotta give for what you take

I’m Back!! I know I was gone a while but work life has been ridiculously busy. I mean I was in NJ last week…working from home and I barely got time to make dinner or spend time with Bhatji. This week I am back in DC and I was finally able to finish a big project…well at least for now so I decided to blog a lil. I missed it so…..and I love my new foodie bloggers world for leaving concerned comments/emails regarding my whereabouts. I am doing well folks just been crazy busy at work.
This past weekend Bhatji was in Houston for a bachelor party and I was left home by myself. I decided to venture out into NYC to meet up with a friend for dinner and a movie. Boy did I pick a crappy weekend to make plans in the city. It was raining cats and dogs and my friend was caught up with work for longer than she had planned. I think NYC is fun but a lil chaotic at times…and let me tell you, adding rain to that equation means more chaos. First she was at a different theater than I was…which meant that one of us had to walk to the other theater. And I noticed that the movie we wanted to see had already started at the theater I was in so I had to walk 11 blocks to meet her. Generally I love walking…especially in NYC where blocks mean nothing because you are surrounded by tons of people doing the same thing. But in the heavy rain 11 blocks felt like miles and miles. Anyways I made it in time to catch the next showing of Step up 2. Adi and I loved the movie…not because of the story line (yea don’t expect plots from dance movies) but purely because of the dance sequences in the movie. Adi and I are both dancers and after the movie, we even contemplated going out to a club. But that idea went out the window when we realized that it had not stopped raining. So we just grabbed dinner and went home. On Saturday I cleaned the apt and cooked up 5-6 meals for Bhatji’s week. I made the usual dhal, beans upkari, saru upkari and even made a pasta dish. Then I remembered Sia’s ode to potato event that I have yet to send an entry for. I had 4 large potatoes remaining so I decided to make my moms recipe of a simple spicy potato bhaji. Bhatji has mentioned in the past how much he loves that dish so I called up my mom and got the recipe for Spicy Batata Bhatji:

4 or 5 medium/large potatoes
4-5 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp sambhar powder
2 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder
Salt to taste
2 tbl spn olive oil

To make:
Boil the potatoes till soft. I made slits in the potatoes and placed them a large microwavable bowl filled with water and heated in the microwave for 10-12 minutes. Let it cool, then peel and set aside. While the potatoes are cooling, in another bowl add all the powders: sambhar powder, chilli powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, garam masala, curry powder and salt as per taste. Once you peel the potatoes, quarter them and throw in the bowl with all the masalas and mix. Make sure the potatoes are coated well with the masala mixture. In a large pan heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and heat until they splutter. Add the curry leaves and heat for a few. Add the potatoes and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are completely cooked and softened. Serve with rotis or a side dish with rice and dhaal.

This recipe is going to Sia’s ode to a potato event
Well I am not in NJ to eat alongside Bhatji this week but I hope that he is happy with the fridge full of goodies :o) Oh and can we say SPRING IS IN THE AIR!! Woohoo….I can feel the days getting warmer and my winter blues melting away. Until the next recipe…keep smiling :o)

“Well I’m not paralyzed but, I seem to be struck by you”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I want to make you move
Because you’re standing still
If your body matches
What your eyes can do
You’ll probably move right through
Me on my way to you

I am back in NJ with Bhatji and it feels good to be back to being a homemaker and working from home. This means that I will be spending some quality time in my kitchen. I just wish it was a lil warmer. I am officially sick of my coat and this never ending winter. I can’t wait till its summer again. I am afraid I’m suffering from a bit of the winter blues….luckily the many foodie events out there has been keeping me a bit busy and motivated to try new things out in the kitchen. Last month I wanted to participate in Jugalbandi’s click event but Bhatji got sick and then I
got sick and by the time I recovered….the event date had passed me by. But this month when the announcement came on that the click event was going to be flour….I knew I had to come up with an interesting pic idea. So I started racking my brain through out the month and then finally while listening to some old Hindi songs from Mr. India….this really cool concept hit me. Mr. India was invisible so I got this story of an invisible person making a mess with the flour and leaving my kitchen in disarray. So here is my entry to Jugalbandi’s click flour event.
The messy invisible person with my flour

Here are additional pix for the click flour.

“All the boys think she's a spy she's got Bette Davis eyes”

Thursday, February 21, 2008

She's ferocious and she knows just what it takes to make a pro blush
She's got Greta Garbo stand-off sighs
She's got Bette Davis eyes

Can you believe my lil sis is turning 24 today!! When I was 4 ½ years old, I vaguely remember my pregnant mom asking me if I wanted a brother or a sister. And I specifically remember demanding a brother. When asked why, I said “I don’t want to share my clothes with a lil sister”. Well my mom didn’t agree with my reasoning and I was forced to the idea of a lil sis who cried all night, craved my moms’ attention 24/7 and only wanted to play with dolls and make believe house. I on the other hand was a pure Tomboy. Today all our differences has not only made us good sisters but best friends as well. I have never been ashamed to admit that my younger sis has always been the more mature one out of the two of us. She is always the one with a strong head on her shoulders, the one who is always neutral during any family feud and absolutely loyal to her friends and family. She never makes hasty decisions, incredibly patient and is unbelievably talented!! I am almost envious of her genius and yet shamelessly advertise her forte everywhere :o) I have always felt that I can be myself around her without worrying about her judging me or criticizing me… unless I’m making dreadful choices in my life….then she will never hesitate to whack me on the head and tell it as is. So cheers to you Mzswats….HAPPY BIRTHDAY sweetie! I will try my hardest to be the “bestest big sister” possible ;o) “try” being the operative word hehe.

Ahh Typical swats. Would you trust a baby sitter sippin beer while playing with the kids? hehe

Now on to the foodie portion of this blog entry. Bhatji and I love spicy food. The more green and red chilies in a dish, the better. If you love hot and spicy food like we do and live or visited NYC then you probably have heard/tried the food at Kati Roll Company or Mamoun’s Falafel. Kati Roll is known for its Frankie style wraps where they make it spicy as per your taste and Mamoun’s makes yummy Falafel sandwiches but it’s their kick ass hot sauce that makes them stand out from other Falafel vendors. We don’t really go to NYC once Bhatji gets home from work unless we have plans to meet up with friends or a show to catch etc. So this past weekend when Bhatji had a hankering for Kati Roll, I decided to make our own version at home. In the past I have made Kati roll combining 3 different recipes but I wanted to try a new version of the recipe with Shrimp. So here is my recipe for Spicy Garlic & Ginger Shrimp Roll.

½ lb of shrimp (peeled and deveined)
2 tbl spn of olive oil
3-4 medium sized wheat tortillas or rotis
1 small onion diced
1 tbl spn ginger paste
3 cloves of garlic finely diced
½ tsp of turmeric powder
½ tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of chili powder
3 tbl spn of soy sauce
Salt to taste
A few drops of lemon juice (garnish)
½ tsp of red chili pepper flakes (garnish)
A few chopped scallions (garnish)

To make:
Marinate the shrimp in the chili powder, turmeric powder and garlic powder in the fridge for about 30 mins. Heat 1 tbl spn of oil and on med heat fry the shrimp until it is well cooked in the marinate juice and set aside. Heat another tbl spn of oil and fry the onions until it is browned. Add the ginger and garlic and mix well into the onions, fry for about 3-4 mins. Add the cooked shrimp and soy sauce to the pan and blend well. Cook for about 4 mins and take off heat. Add the lemon juice on to the shrimp mixture as per your taste. On a flat tortilla, place the cooked shrimp mixture in a straight line in the center of the tortilla. Garnish the shrimp with a few chopped scallions, red chili pepper flakes and more lemon juice if you want and it is ready to be devoured!

This dish satisfied both our cravings for spicy Kati roll without actually travelling into the city. It makes for a great dinner or a filling snack. And it goes great with a cold beer :o) Well until the next scrumptious blog entry…..eat, drink and……umm celebrate birthday’s ;o)
PS (Mzswats. The song is dedicated to your compulsive love for this record when you were a kid hehe. Enjoy!)
PPS (Swats...plz dont kill me for using the pic. I know we were at a party and you weren't really baby sitting but its a funny thought and I couldn't help myself hehe)

“Love's a shoulder to lean on; love is you….”

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What's your definition of it?
How does it make you feel?
Tell me what you say that truly makes it real
Kings and Queens, Philosophers have tried so hard to find
Tell me what it means to you dear, never mind
Love is kind when the world is cold
Love stays strong when the fight gets old

What a splendid weekend! I wish I could do it all over again. Here is recap of Bhatji’s most romantic v-day weekend plans! He told me that he had it all planned 2 months ago since everything in NYC gets booked pretty quickly. On Saturday we had reservations at a pre-theater restaurant called The District. I had never been to a pre theater restaurant so it was exciting to try out my first one with Bhatji. Both of us have lately been trying out different wines so he decided that we should do the wine pairing with each course. And the food was amazing!! I mean we eat out quite a bit but this place is definitely is up there in terms of the food quality and ambience. The wine pairing was picked for each entrée so we got to try 5 different types of wine. MMMM man I will be having dreams about this dinner hehe. After the yummy meal we headed over to watch the new Broadway musical Curtains (I had been hinting about wanting to see it for a while) it was pretty good.

There was humor, drama and tons of dancing. The best part was seeing David Hyde Pierce on stage. I have always been a big fan of the series Frasier. Partially because I was raised on Britcoms and even though Frasier isn’t really one….the humor is very similar to British wit. So to see “Niles” again on stage…was a thrill! We both enjoyed it very much. On Sunday, Bhatji took me to see the new Hindi movie: Jodhaa Akbar.

I have been a huge fan of Ashutosh Gowrikar’s after his master piece - Lagaan. I knew I was in for a feast for the eyes…since Gowrikar’s known for his cinematography. And with the addition of A.R Rahman’s musical score…how could it not be a feast for the ears? Aishwarya Rai looked good and acted well…but Hrithik stole the show! He was a very believable Mughal emperor, Akbar...and it also helped that he is gorgeous ;o) I gotta admit that before this movie, Hrithik didn’t really do it for me; I mean he is a good actor but his movie choices are a hit or miss. But in this movie, he is a hit! The outfits and jewelries in the movie were absolutely stunning! The scenes with the war and fighting made Bhatji happy. For me the romance and storyline were points of interest. The plot flowed well and the cinematography was truly breathtaking. I wish I could take a trip to Rajasthan!! The movie is a bit long just like Lagaan…but I think Gowrikar is a great story teller…weaving in the history of the Mughal empire in India and details of the Rajput rule in Rajasthan. He has shown the correlation between religion, politics and power. All in all an entertaining film filled with grandeur, romance and history. If you get the chance to see the movie…definitely see it and let me know what you thought of the movie :o)
Will be back soon with recipes to share with you…until then stay warm.

“Mil jaaye is tarah, do leharen jis tarah . kabhi ho na juda haan ye vaada raha”

Thursday, February 14, 2008

tu tu hai vohi dil ne jise apna kaha ...
tu hai jahaan main hoon vahaan
ab to jeena tere bin hain saza

kisi mod pe bhi na ye saath chute
mere haath se tera daaman na chhute ...
kabhi khwaab main bhi tu mujhse na ruthe
mere pyaar ki koi khushiyaan na lute
ho mil jaaye ...

kabhi zindagi mein pade mushkilein to
mujhe tu sambhaale tujhe main sambhaalu
ho mil jaaye is tarah ...

I am all smiles today!! Bhatji sent me the most beautiful surprise as a Valentines day gift. FLOWERS!! 2 dozen roses….and the cutest note that made me tear up a lil and laugh a lot :o) Even though I am going up to NJ to be with him tomorrow he still sent me flowers to sweeten my day. I am the luckiest girl I tell ya! Bhatji scored some major points for this weekend ;o) I hope the rest of you celebrate such sweet moments with your better half or family. Muuuuuahhh Bhatji ;o)
Oooh btw for those of you who remember this song…..they don’t make tunes like this anymore huh??

“That’s the way love goes. Like a moth to a flame burned by the fire…”

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My love is blind
Can't you see my desire
That's the way love goes
I'm gonna take you places
You've never been before and
You'll be so happy that you came
That's the way love goes
That's the way love goes

This week is for the lovers….yep its Valentines day and there are flowers and red hearts everywhere :o) Unfortunately I will not be with Bhatji until the weekend...but I know he has a very romantic valentines day/weekend planned for us :o) I’m so excited!! He was able to make a short trip down to DC this weekend, so we got in lots of quality family time. We played cards, made plans for the future, Mzswats, Bhatji and I also managed to do a chill night out in DC with friends. All in all a good weekend I must say.
Creative Pooja is hosting a valentine’s day foodie event and I had to come up with a romantic meal/dessert idea as an entry. I was scratching my head for a while but finally came up with the perfect concept for my entry. Usually I would go all out and make a 3-4 course meal but this year I decided to tickle our sweet tooth. Baking isn’t really something I’m good at….I know I know…I need to start venturing into more baking so I can be a versatile cook. But past experience of burnt cookies and flat cakes have left a bit jaded and unmotivated. I need to get over myself and just do it! One of these days, I’m sure to get around to it. This weekend my family was going to be hanging out at home and it was going to be ridiculously cold. So I thought what would be a fun way of getting the whole family together and enjoying a warm dessert together. So my recipe idea for a valentines day with your loved one or your family night in is…..Hot Fondue! Just the thought of hot dark chocolate along with the sweetness of yummy fruits and cake got me drooling. I didn’t have a fondue pot at my parent’s home but I knew a saucepan would do the trick. I couldn’t wait to get home and start on the dessert. So on my way home from work on Friday, I made a quick stop at the grocery store and picked up all the ingredients and after dinner got started on a delectable Chocolate fondue with cake and fruits recipe.
This is also my entry for Pooja’s theme of the week – Valentines day entry

Source: Food and wine magazine Dec 2007
8 oz. of semi sweet chocolate or bitter sweet chocolate
½ cup of heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
15/20 strawberries rinsed (optional)
2 bananas cut in 1 inch pieces (optional)
¼ piece of pound cake cut in cubes (optional. bake if you got time. I went the store bought route)

To make:
In a saucepan warm the cream on medium for about 6-7 mins. Remove the saucepan from heat and add the chocolate and stir in all is melted in a thick sauce. Add the vanilla essence and mix well. In a separate plate arrange the strawberries, bananas and the cakes. Using fondue forks or regular forks dip into the heavenly chocolate sauce and indulge!!

Bhatji isn’t really a fan of chocolate but the Shenoy family loves their chocolate. So while the non chocolate lovers can enjoy their fruits….the chocolate lovers can go all out :o) It’s a super easy recipe that gets you and your loved one to huddle over a hot pot of chocolate…and that my friends, can make any night a valentines night ;o) Happy fondue making!!

“Whoop whoop! When you run come around, cuz I know you’re the talk of the town yea”

Friday, February 8, 2008

Easy now no need fi go down
Just walk it gently and no break nah bone,
Cool end-it-ly, you have a style of your own,
Me never know you saw ya master the saxophone
easy now no need fi go down,
easy now no need fi go down,
walk it gently and no break nah bone

How I love this song!! If you haven’t heard it….click on the play button on my seeqpod player on the top left of my blog. Most dance hall tunes invoke the dancer in me. I’m so excited that the weekend is finally here….there is new recipes to try out this weekend. I am planning ahead creating a brilliant recipe for Creative Pooja’s upcoming V day entry :o) Depending on his work schedule, Bhatji may come down to DC and I really pray he does.
Bhatji and I are both non-vegetarians….but for some reason lately both of us prefer consuming vegetarian meals. Indian vegetarian food is awesome. The use of all those yummy spices, masalas, onions & garlic adds flavor to vegetables and in turn makes it a feast. But there are times when Bhatji and I crave my mom’s chicken biryani or fish fry. Well I can’t just go visit my mom when I’m in NJ or attempt making any of her famous dishes. I know that I cant out cook my mom …so I don’t try hehe. Instead I try out new recipes from food network chefs or from the bazillion foodie blogs and cook books at my disposal. On a lazy Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago…while laying on the couch watching a marathon of food network shows…we happened to catch an episode of Guy Fieri’s Guy’s big bite show. He was preparing a Cuban feast with Pork Chops with mojo, Sofrito mashed potatoes and a Double apple mojito. Bhatji started salivating and looked at my pleadingly with those light brown puppy eyes to recreate the dish for him. I agreed and so grocery shopping during the week, I bought 2 pork chops and white wine as per Guy’s recipe. I decided that instead of making mashed potatoes (although they looked divine!) I was going to make a simple Spinach salad. The results were phenomenal! I followed Guy’s recipe but added and substituted some of my own ingredients. So here is the recipe for Cuban pork chops with Spinach Salad:
Recipe source: Guy's big bite, a Cuban meal
2 bone in pork chops
1 small red onion finely minced
2 cloves of garlic finely diced
1/4 cup of white wine
1 cup orange juice
½ cup lemon juice divided into 2
A little less ¼ cup of vinegar (eyeball it)
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 tbl spn of garlic powder
1 tbl spn of onion powder
2 tsp of dried oregano
1 ½ tbl spn of olive oil
1 tsp spn of pepper
½ tsp of red chili powder
Salt as needed

To make:
In a large Ziploc bag combine the orange juice, ¼ cup of lime juice, vinegar and pork and marinate in the fridge for about an hour. After an hour take the chops out of the Ziploc bag and set aside. In a small bow add the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and chili powder and mix until all the spices are blended well. Rub the dry spice mixture evenly on the chops. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan on high heat and sear the chops well on both sides for a few minutes. Bring the heat down to a medium and add the onions for a few minutes. Then add the garlic and cook until brown. Add only half of the marinate mixture of OJ, lime juice and vinegar. Then add the white wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced and thickened. Make sure the chops are cooked through. Take out the chops and continue to cook the liquid until it further reduces. Pour the cooked liquid on the chops and serve.

Spinach Salad Ingredients:
A bag of baby spinach
One small onion diced
1 tbl spn of olive oil
2 tbl spns of vinegar
Raspberry walnut vinegar dressing as needed

To make:
Wash the Spinach thoroughly. In a pan heat the oil and cook the onions until browned. Add the spinach and cook until they wilt on low heat (for about 3-4 mins) Add the vinegar and mix in well. Take of heat and place on a plate or bowl. Add the Raspberry Walnut dressing as much as you like.

The combination was too good. The salad itself was bursting with flavor and the pork chops turned out very well :o) All in all, there was a satisfied hubby and a cheery cook. What’s even better was that my mom called me last weekend to get this recipe from me. Dare I say it…Have I joined the big leagues. Hehe hardly! But it was indeed a proud moment when the best chef ever called lil ole me asking for a recipe ;o) until the next entry…Have a wonderful weekend folks!

“Habibi, ya nour el ain, ya saakin khayali”

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Habibi, ya nour el ain,
Ya saakin khayali.
Aashek bakali sneen,
Wala ghayraak fibali.
Agmaal eyoun fil koon,
Ana shoftaha
- Amr Diab
Translation: My darling, the glow in my eyes is my fantasy of you. I’ve loved you for years; No one else is on my mind

Reading has always been one of passions. My mom used to tell me that when I was very young and growing up in Nigeria, before my sis was born…I was displaying “only child” characteristics. I would talk to myself, dress up in my mom’s clothes, sing and dance in front of the mirror but most of all I used to read a lot. My mom encouraged this habit by buying me tons of books. I used to read the Dick and Jane series by Dr. William S. Gray, Mr. Men series by R. Hargreaves. My mom also bought a lot of classic books by Mark Twain. Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott etc. At a very young age I was able to quote dialogues from David Copperfield and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and 20,000 leagues under the sea by Jules Verne. I’ve continued reading literary works by new and old authors. Last year I fell in love with Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. The book is about 2 best friends with different backgrounds, growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan before the Russian invasion and the Taliban rule. A life changing incidents separates the 2 friends….one moves to the US and the other stays in Afghanistan. The book follows the protagonist’s life….through his decisions, his ups and downs and finally his atonement for his past mistakes. The Kite Runner instantly became one of my favorite books. I loved Hosseini’s writing style.....he is great with descriptions and you cant help but immerse yourself in his rich story of friendship, loyalty, salvation and a country ravaged by war and religious hypocrites. I was ecstatic when I found out that the book was going to be made into a movie!!

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Kite_Runner_film.jpg
I started looking up the release dates and theater showings. I wasn’t sure that it would hit mainstream theaters but I figured I would be able to catch it in certain theaters in DC or NYC. I was glad to find out that the movie would be shown at mainstream theaters and I made plans to watch it with my folks. Unfortunately Bhatji got sick and then I got sick and our plans for watching the movie were pushed back. My sis and my parents saw it and raved about how good it was. Luckily the movie wasn’t completely out of the theaters so this past weekend Bhatji and I finally got to see the movie. It was incredible!! I mean the book is good but the movie was well done and was almost as good as the book. There were scenes in the movie that tugged at my heart and soooo much of the old Afghanistan reminded me of India. The street vendors, the kite flying contests etc. We couldn’t help but be nostalgic. The other interesting tidbit was that their language (Pashto) had similar words to modern day Hindi. So Bhatji and I sat picking out those words hehe. I really hope all of you get to see the movie and definitely go grab the book: The Kite Runner

“And I, in time, will come around, come around. I always do for you”

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Suppose I said
you’re my saving grace?
Would you want me when I'm not myself?
Wait it out while I am someone else?

Yes I am back…with a looming cough but doing much better. No fever or weakness. I am also back in DC for some work this week. I miss Bhatji. I know I just got here last night and I am probably going to be seeing him this weekend…but still you can’t help missing your better half at any given point when he/she isn’t with you. I am however glad to see my folks again and get some much needed mommy time in :o) Yea that’s right I’m an overgrown kid and I am proud of it hehe. By the way did you all catch the super bowl game on Sunday? I’m not really a football fan but the game was soooo good that I found myself cheering for the Giants. It also helped that Bhatji and I were surrounded by 15 other Giants fans at an awesome super bowl house party at one of our friends places in NJ…so you couldn’t help but get into the game <- more on that later.
Last week I had updated my blog with the Indian republic day foodie event sponsored by Creative Pooja but due to my illness, I was not able to elaborate on the recipe or my memories of Indian Republic day when I was in India. So I guess today’s entry is a part deux of the previous post and more. I went to a Catholic Convent school in Mysore and even though we would technically had the day off in celebration of Indian Republic day, our school would have a mini parade where there would marching competitions…..yes that right…marching competitions. Not fun! But then we would have volley ball tournaments, An Indian game called coco (sp?) involving a lot of running and then we would be released early from school :o) My friends and I would go to the near by street vendors and gorge on samosas, spicy toast or sour gooseberries. Ahhhh the sweet, innocent days of childhood. Well anyway this year with all the love and encouragement from my new foodie community, I was to recollect those days and come up with an orange, white and green foodie blog entry. I had written about the spicy rasam, okra bhaji and rice as my entry. Here is the recipe for the simple okra bhaji/upkari:

5-6 okra cut in small pieces
1 tsp of mustard seeds
3 dried red chilies
3-4 tbl spns of water
3 tsp of cooking oil
Salt to taste

To make:
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter add the red chilies and cook for about a minute. Throw in the okra and cook stirring occasionally. When the okras start giving off the gummy consistency, add the 3 or more tbl spns of water, cover and cook for about 5-6 mins. Add the salt and stir in well and serve hot with rotis or rice.

Okra isn’t really my favorite veggie but it’s very healthy and so I try to include it into our dinner plans often. This is such a simple and quick dish and Bhatji seems to enjoy it. Give it a try and as always…let me know what you think. Until the next blog entry…keep warm.

PS (Ms. Pooja…I hope you are doing well. I’m sorry to have sent you the “sick bug” through the net ;o)
PPS (Congratulations to Ms. Shenoy on her engagement and upcoming wedding. Can’t wait to celebrate with you this summer)

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