Parmesan Crusted Chicken

A few weeks ago G ad I went bowling with his sister and her friend Ron. As the husband and I arrived at the lanes first, we took the liberty of posting everyone’s name on the board… In hindsight, I’m sure Beena will tell you not to let us arrive earlier than anyone who bowls with us again, else suffer the consequences <insert sinister chuckle here>. Oh it wasn’t that bad, we have silly minds more than anything else, but G did come up with a gem for Ron. Just the night before he had been raving about a particular dish we had made, so it seemed quite apt that when his turn came up, instead of “Ron” the board read “Parmesan Chicken”.

It’s too bad those boards are limited in space, because Ron really deserved to be titled Parmesan Crusted Chicken, considering the rapturous praises he virtually sang. All he really needed was a heavenly choir floating down from the beaming skies. Am I being over dramatic? Perhaps. But this chicken was ridiculously tasty and simple. Also slightly unhealthy because of the butter, but that can be substituted with olive oil, Smart Balance, or whatever else. Of course the husband is very adamant about his daily butter intake, a habit I am TRYING so desperately to curb. So we did this the first time with butter, but after that the husband need not know I’ve since made the necessary substitutions. But the best thing, we baked!

Regardless, prepare your palette for parmesan-crusted pleasure! Continue reading

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The easiest chicken kabob EVER

Since I have started working, it would behoove me to concoct or search for recipes that are not as labor-inducing. Granted, if I have the inspiration and the inclination I will do whatever I want, though I have relegated myself to the truth that such magnificent enterprises will most likely take a hit and come around on the occasional weekend. But it’s okay. Now G has begun to cook more (he made the most delicious Pepper Chettinad Chicken the other day, and I can only hope he will write about it, because you all deserve to know what he has been up to) and I am learning to share my marked domain with him with more ease.

Because as much as I like to bother him that I do most of the cooking and he should take a bigger part in it, especially for someone who has such a flair for it, the truth is that cooking is not just a means of feeding our grumbly tummies for me. And recent discoveries have revealed that many of the authors I admire to the furthest reaches of my literary toes have also found peace, solace, inspiration, and fluidity of mind through cooking. Should I be worried that quite a few of these women also committed suicide? Well… perhaps I should be glad I’m not a genius published author like Virginia Woolf then.

Anyhoo, the kitchen has been my inner sanctum of control, but opening up more with my husband has blossomed into some really sensational new opportunities. For example, the first sampling of G’s Magical Masala Blends! He personally created his own spice blend, roasting cumin and coriander and some other stuff, in very specific quantities, to create this spice mixture that would knock Muhammad Ali out. It smells like a desert rose saturating the sunset air of a remote oasis. Tantalizing.

So I used it in these super quick kabobs. And we regaled in the glory of the perfect mini patty. Continue reading

East By Southwest: A Chicken Burger Experience

Ahh the incomprehensible has occurred—employment rates have skyrocketed in Alyaville, and I am actually working now. If you must know, I work just a short walk down from the husband, and I do mean that literally. I was recently offered a short term position in his department (the details of which are inconsequential; we need only know that while it is not an ideal position for the fruity artsy writer/food-experimenter with her head in the clouds that I am, nevertheless I am grateful for the position and thankfully surrounded by good folks).

I just started, so my initial fear was What will this do to my blog?!??! Trust me, G has heard soooo much about my fears and whininess on this part it’s a wonder he hasn’t tried to get me fired just to appease the foodie inside me. But we are managing, just finding a pace which enables us to get work done, relax a bit, and find time to cook most days. I think in a way this will challenge me as well, to concoct a more diverse array of dishes that aren’t always so time consuming and simply by using just about whatever the heck is in the pantry considering I won’t be running to the store at the drop of a hat.

On the other hand, when I do run to the store, I tend to stock up. This blog entry: case in point. I don’t usually have avocados and wheat buns all the time, but I had a vision a while back so I decided to load on them. Plus the avocados were supposed to be for a literEature post which I haven’t had an opportunity to do yet, so more will have to be bought now. Alas. 🙂

Anyway, this burger turned out to be absolutely scrumptious (despite forgetting salt in my chicken marinade!!! Who does that??!?). A bit high maintenance but cooking is also my way of finding peace and sanity, even when the kitchen is a chaotic whirlwind of fright. Besides, homemade guacamole is a million times better (especially with green chillies chopped in!) and roasted peppers become so sweet and melty, the perfect complement to asian fusion chicken… but enough talk, let’s cook! Continue reading

SerenDIPity!

I went to a local market and came across a delectable loaf of fluffy garlic-infused bread (not to be confused with buttery cheesy greasy garlic bread) and thought to myself, what oh what oh whaaaat can I do with this? I could make paninis, or serve it up with a nice omelet. Maybe make bruschetta or another delectable hors d’oeuvre… Hmm. I had been having a strange hankering lately. My funky little taste buds have been dreaming up dips, yes dips, of all things, ever since I made those fusion wraps. I had used a store-bought pepper eggplant dip, and wanted to make my own for a long while. Unfortunately I couldn’t find eggplant that day for some reason. No matter, we improvise!

And so I decided to try something fresh and new, with bell peppers and zucchini, as well as some guacamole and simple lime-zesty chicken. It turned out to be a light, bright, and dipped up delight of a night! And by slicing the bread very thin, I could toast them lightly in the oven drizzled with olive oil and serve them up as the perfect dipper. We had lots of fun that night, to be sure. Continue reading

Beyond the Blog: February 2011

Because I haven’t had time (or the longevity of a properly functioning memory) to write up posts for every single dish I have made, or at least the ones I photographed, I thought I might make a habit of sharing, every month, the missed opportunities that befell the four prior weeks.  In doing so, I get to share some of my other exploits with you simply for the joy of loving food.  And perhaps you may find inspiration in my simple endeavors.  Feel free to ask for recipes on any of them; I may or may not remember exactly, but I can share broadly my experiences at the very least.  And at the very most, you might hit the jackpot on a stellar super feasting idea.  Probably not though, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Soooooo… off we go into the Smoky tendrils of Alya’s kitchen…. Continue reading

Fusion Wraps

A few years ago I was a chubby chubster.  That’s what I like to call myself.  And even though I’ve slimmed down since then, I’m still just a chubby kid at heart who loves food, craves for all things sweet and succulent, and just simply adores experiencing through her taste buds.  That said, it’s quite hard to find the balance between enjoying life and enjoying health.  Actually no, that’s a lie—I’ve done quite well in discovering what foods are healthy and delicious to eat, and combining that with proper exercise.  And that’s really the entire formula, plus a major control over my eternal longing for all things bready, but we all have our vices.

And yet, every day I mentally struggle with it all.  Is this the same for other people, or have I just been programmed through my life experiences?  Why do I let these thoughts burrow into my brain with such unrelenting ferocity?  Living in a constant state of worry about gaining even a few pounds now has me on edge more than I’d like to admit, and according to my friends is liable to give me an ulcer one day.  Perhaps not, but still—I’ve been fretting too much lately against my better judgment, and now G has to tell me a thousand times that there’s more to life than all this worry.  What’s the point of cooking if you won’t let yourself really enjoy it??

Sorry for the little emotional reveal here, but I figure if I get it out there then I’m more likely to stand by my oath now to keep my pessimism in check and just continue a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle without regret and anxiety.  There it is folks!  Alya vows not to let it get the better of her!

And that is partially why I created Fusion Wraps (as dubbed by the illustrious G)! By combining Asian flair with Mediterranean pizazz, I wanted to create something fun and zesty, a celebration of the spice of life! Hahaa, what a cheeseball am I. Continue reading

Festive Chicken and Paneer

I recently stumbled entirely by chance on a writing competition—a short story challenge—held by a creative writing organization called NYC Midnight.  A tiny spark of excitement flashed in my tired little brain but I let it runs its course because who am I kidding, right? I couldn’t possibly compete against practicing, aspiring, more well prepared and well-versed writers from across the globe (the competition is open to the world, to the universe even, I bet!).  I wrote it off, pun intended, as a nice dream seriously what’s the point of trying? Continue reading