2012 Wrap Up (and yes, I’m Still Here)

Oh my! How many months have gone by! Ay, I really did begin a few posts in October… and November… but fine, perhaps not in December. I just suppose my follow-through hinges were a tad rusty (*sigh* my old tennis coaches would be ashamed to hear that). I also had a bit of a balancing act to contend with. Oh but guess who survived her first semester of graduate school?? Sweet bubbly goblets of Martinelli’s! Oh wait, that’s my new year’s treat. Still, I did manage to trespass into the academic world once more and not only emerge unscathed, but with a banner of flying colors undulating behind me. Another time I’ll share details about some of my most interesting projects, but for now let’s just raise our voices in a collective “Huzzah!” that 2012 culminated in good vibes, despite all the heaviness of personal and national calamities that may and have befallen many. A new year emerges, not that I really buy into the “new year” mantra of resolutions and whatnot. I don’t deny that it’s an astronomical miracle of science to behold the world completing another revolution around the Sun, but… well, if it lends a sense of motivation and control over the limitless track of time and circularity for the greater population, then so be it. How about we all endeavor to make 2013 a wee bit more consistent in all our pursuits then? I for one have epic visions of “litereature” posts galore (since I basically read nonstop now, much to my glorious delight). Let’s see if I can maintain an evenly scheduled serving of these posts for you in general, sprinkled with recipes, stories, and reviews.

Now that 2013 is well upon us, I do want to move forward afresh and new, focusing on upcoming recipes and exploits, but I would also like to recap the last few months with a sampling of the goings on down here in San Diego. Admittedly I fell off the virtual map because of academic commitments and personal events that elicited monumental distraction and required a steely grasp on focus–occasionally the hand does slip from sweaty beads of nerves and anxiety, but so it goes. Amidst all that, I did remind myself to cook well, eat well, and try to live well. I wonder why that has to be such a struggle; for something that brings so much harmony, it is painfully difficult to maintain isn’t it?? Don’t digress, Alya! The point is, I did some fun little concoctions, culminating in a swirly cake of fruitastic proportions. So for now, let me hearken back to those simpler times, when the raw pulse of 2013 did not beat upon my weathered head with demands for more work, more stress, more pursuits, more projects, and hopefully more accomplishments! Continue reading

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Sesame Sauteed Asparagus

Next up in our quest of the quick and easy, I bring you Sesame Sautéed Asparagus! Things are starting to get wild and crazy ’round these here parts, so I haven’t had the time to write up anything. Expect some (relative) brevity from yours truly until she finds routine again. Once I’ve settled good and proper, I can update you on all the goings-on of our current existence.

Being that I had some asparagus remaining after my foray into the land of the Quiche, I could not let that go to waste, especially that of the fresh organic variety. The taste speaks volumes… nay, Epics! And considering the husband did not run from their sight upon his discovery within aforementioned quiche, I knew I had a winning ingredient. I cannot stress enough how difficult it has been in the past year and a half to solve the riddle evoked from his tongue—mysterious oft-times vegetarian with a penchant for the shrimpies and the roost, prithee tell me for what purpose you run from the green goodies lest they are diced up tiny tiny bit style? I don’t give him enough credit—G does eat a lot of veggies, just in a particular fashion. But I would not be overcome by this obstacle; I would have my asparagus (as I wanted it) and eat it too! And I like mine Long! Stalky! With a fresh crunch! YUM!

I came across a recipe that called for simply frying the asparagus and then adding some final touches, but I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted not only to tame the wild stalker but reinvent it in the husband’s eyes. So I dredged up the Asian flavors and pounded in some spice. This was served with some super duper marvelous accompaniments, and when I have the chance you’ll be soon hearing about those too. For now, green is a go. Continue reading

Blazing Brussel Sprouts

soft little cabbagesHave you ever seen brussel sprouts on a stalk? Months ago my sister in law gave me one long stalk and I instantly fell in love with the sight. I, never having eaten one before, could not immediately understand why these cute little round cabbages could be the bane of so many a child’s existence.  Instantly I developed the simplest (and ridiculously tasty) method to cooking them: roasted in the oven.  Are you surprised? Most of my go-to quick veg meals involve the oven and no work.

I have since learned that overcooking can lead to an unappealing color and aftertaste, but in my short experience with them, such a result is rarely achieved by a simple roast so I implore you to try it out and cook them this way.  If you have developed a hatred for them, I would suggest that it is merely conditioning from childhood complaints from peers and possibly one bad foray.  So just try it. Plus, I just decided to read up on them a bit and learned they have a reputation for having potent anti-cancer properties as well as DNA rebuilding properties. An expert could share more insight on that though. They are also high in protein (when coupled with whole grains, the amino acid spectrum is complete) and fiber; all good things in my book. Continue reading

Stuffed Roasted Anaheim Peppers

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Did you even realize you can find us on Facebook?!? You should consider checking Coriander Dreams out there (and even Liking us) for video highlights, random anecdotes and such treats as the Daily Tasty! It’s also a fun and easy way to reach out and share your thoughts about recipes, recommendations, and even requests.  Just throwing it out there for all you crazy FB lurkers.  Might as well look at something delectable too.

Many a year ago I discovered something that would completely upend the way I looked at a pepper–the art of skinning it. You’d do well not to dwell on the exhilaration I glean from such an activity; certainly I’d only apply such tactics to veggies after all. I was first exposed to this while studying in Mexico (For a whole 5 months afterwards my Spanish skills were quite exceptional. Now, 5 years later, I’m like any other gringa. Que Oso!). During my month long stint that summer, I partook not only in strictly language classes, but also dance, music, and cooking.  I also make a super easy, super tasty and super unhealthy flan if you’re interested. And I was dubbed the most dangerous one on the dance floor. My moves are lethal! 😉

Experiences like that truly are invaluable; exposure to another culture fosters mental and personal development, and the chance to get your hands literally dirty in the process of submerging into it… well, nothing beats that in my book. So I learned the way of the pepper. The stuffed pepper. The charred and peeled stuffed pepper. The amazingly sweet, smoky, succulent pepper. Continue reading

Baked Broccoli Crisps

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Another quick treat for you, for those days you want to pretend you are cooking and still come out with something exquisite. This recipe is part of my unofficial series of ‘no work, just bake’ recipes, wherein I literally toss random spices together to zest up a vegetable and let the oven do the work. What? Have I never shared my fall back recipes with you? Sumptuous cauliflower? Melty garlic? Succulent brussel sprouts? Yes indeed, brussel sprouts are actually in my top 5 list here folks, completely eradicating years of conditioning hearing young ignorant children harp on their fear and loathing of the cute little cabbage thingies.

Anyway, for today’s special, we are offering baked broccoli to a crisp, utterly divine and un-broccoli-ish by the end of it all. I had to do something as my sister in law gave us a beautiful bunch of fresh broccoli, but the challenge fell on the fact that the husband more or less can’t stand it most times. Great. Baked it is then!

Ingredients

  • one large bunch of broccoli florets, stemmed and chopped in half if needed (don’t want them to be too large)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Amazing curry powder husband made (Roasted coriander, curry leaves, a little cumin and lord knows what else)
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease it with olive oil. Rinse the broccoli (goes without saying, right?) and drizzle some olive oil until the are fairly coated. Then add the curry powder. Now I used some crazy concoction the husband made, and once I know what it is I will share with you. But you can use a standard curry powder, or just some coriander and cumin powders. Better yet, experiment with flavors. I didn’t use any garlic for example, but you might.

Anyhoo, lightly sprinkle with salt and add the chili powder if you like. Spread on the baking sheet (i sprinkled a little more salt for good measure because I’m notorious for never putting enough to be honest, although I like it that way. Its a touchy subject in this household. Some people tend to overdo it. Just sayin’.

Loosely cover the pan with foil and bake for about 20 min. Once the broccoli have darkened considerably and have a lovely crisp, you’re done. Remove and eat quickly before the husband nabs it and eats the whole bowl. Fatty, Yeesh.

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French Onion Eggplant

Does this happen to you? Do you stare into the fridge thinking you’ll make some simply fun dish—Spanish rice maybe, or shrimp curry, maybe a sweet and spicy dressing for salad even—only to discover one key ingredient is missing? Just one! Not even two or three, but the one single item that means everything. You figure, Ok fine! I’ll just run to the store get that single item (and maybe a few other things, since of course I’m making the trip). And just as it happened before and will happen for the rest of time, you walk into the market with 4 things in mind and walk out with 40. There must be some law of physics for this type of phenomenon. You may happily name it after me, if you so choose, as I’ve lived it for years now.

I’m trying to rein in my spending habits, though I’m no frenzied shopper to be sure. I don’t care about shoes, I don’t get carried away with clothes, I have a decent amount of self discipline with accessories. I’m working on the books addiction I have, but aside from that I’m a good girl. Except for food. New spices, fresh veggies, yummy breads breads breads galore! I love food! But like I said, trying to quell the spending. We needs to be savin’ some money yo, we gots plans, big plans! If such plans come to fruition, then you get to hear about it. For now, we continue to dream our illustrious dreams (I mean, this is Coriander Dreams, so that’s fitting). Continue reading

Mushroom Tibs

Pardon me while I gloss over what is considered the biggest meal in American culture to focus on… fungus. Oh sure, said like that one might cry rivers of misery at the thought of eating mushrooms (but in a psychedelic twist, you might consider swimming down that river in a rainbow colored wetsuit—that is, if you were delving into those mushrooms, which I do not advocate). But in recent times I have turned to the remarkable assortment of questionable vegetation to get my husband to eat something that isn’t rice.

I certainly am not knocking the grand tradition that is our Thanksgiving Rituals (distrustful as I am about the origins of such appreciative holidays). I could eat sage-onion stuffing (recipe courtesy of my friend Z) for eons, and never let us forget the accolades I bestow on the greatest gourd of all, the pumpkin! And let it be known, I did confront and beat into submission a Thanksgiving dinner fit for 6 hungry palates (Alya cooked a turkey ALL-BY-HER-SELF… her FIRST-TURKEY-EVER, mind you! Nerves were scattered like spilt salt by the end of it all). But that will have to wait until another post, another time, hopefully in the month of December because I know I have been egregiously lagging with my posts.

And that is another Reason why I share with you my mushroom exploits—I have reverted to them multiple times in the past few weeks, it felt wrong not to share. It all began with a country called Ethiopia… and the fabulous culinary establishments in DC whose purpose is to bring this great cuisine to my salivating tongue all the curious society.

On our anniversary weekend we made n excursion to an Ethiopian restaurant, and during that experience fell absolutely in love with the divine gift that is Mushroom tibs. Naturally, once I returned home I had to do some research on it, and while I am sorely lacking in the department of traditional Ethiopian spices, I did find a recipe that called for a fair substitution/alteration of flavor, coming remarkably close to the glory of the sautéed delicacy. And so the Mushroom has become a fairly regular guest at our dinner table—which is no problem for me since he’s such a fun guy (Ohhh insert catcalls for lame jokes here). Continue reading