Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus

I feel I’ve been a little unfair and mysterious about the reason behind my hiatus.  I did of course allude to an injury of sorts, but let me shed light on that before moving further—namely so you may refrain from being as stupid as I am.  Essentially I was trying to open the binding ties of a sealed box with a knife.  *Long pause* Yeah I don’t think I need to say much else, except I passed out at the sight of blood (yes I admit I am a pansy when it comes to blood, but Pottermore recently dubbed me a Gryffindor, so I’m brave too! Or just stubborn!  No matter!) and needed 8 stitches on my poor thumb.  In case you are wondering, it is still slightly numb (as if it never fully woke up) but after so many months it now has a 98% performance rating, the 2% comprising numbness and a slight inflexibility compared to my left thumb.  Such is life.  But kiddos, DO NOT USE SHARP SMALL PARING KNIVES TO OPEN BOXES.

So unfortunately this post lacks a photo right now because although I’ve been developing my skills at cooking with both good and not-so-good experiences, I had become waylaid concerning the use of the camera. For shame!  But isn’t it enough just to jot down recipes?? Trust me.  My laziness evidently knows no bounds, but I am relying on this blog to keep me steadfast in my goals. (I promise all my other posts will have photos, I just totally missed this one.)

So, tiny back story: We have the habit of trying to avoid the café at work – something about the sweat pouring off of the head chef while he sautés veggies and cooks up bacon on the same flat iron grill churns my stomach with relentless gremlin hands – so on occasion I’ll pull together some sandwiches for lunch.  This is hardly necessary while we’re fasting, but hummus is useful on its own too, obviously.  Continue reading

Roasted Pepper Omelet

The days fly by faster, harnessed to the backs of eagles, whipping through time and soaring out of sight between the briefest snap of my fingers. It breaks my heart to see the sun set faster and faster even when the days grow longer and longer. What illogical conundrum is this?? Perhaps that’s just the inevitable fate of working shared by all, especially when you feel the weight of a thousand challenges, goals, and passions swinging expectantly around you.

The point of all this? To wallow in the sadness of not exploring my culinary side due to many lacking ingredients – sometimes time, sometimes energy. I actually have been working on a challenging and sweet LiterEature lesson, but need a generous amount of time to execute it. I can probably deliver on that by next weekend. I also need to start thoughtful preparation for the coming weeks, when my friend and my family will be visiting us in the span of a week. There are looming expectations to feed them all heartily after all, not to mention making sure the basic amenities are in order. A guestroom bed, for example. Might be helpful, no??

So yes, a bit pressed for time, but time’s like this remind us the truth of finding supreme pleasure in the simplest things. And a day is worth nothing without a sumptuous start; thus I’m sharing with you a super friendly nudge to start your mornings off – my Roasted Pepper Omelet. Continue reading

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

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

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

Lentil-Stuffed Bell Peppers

I stared into the pantry cupboard. I turned to gaze at the open door of the fridge.  A sigh of puzzlement.  Back to the pantry. To the fridge.  Pantry. Fridge. Pantry. Fridge.  Ceiling.  Oh, that would be me rolling my eyes in aggravation at not knowing what to make.

This is how most days start for me actually, unless I had a vision the night before and plan to bring it to life.  Not for want of ingredients—definitely not stocked with all the goodies of a gourmet pantry but decently expansive most of the time—but rather I always begin the creative process this way.  Staring blankly at a white page, at a new day, at an untouched kitchen.  The directions are infinite, thus rendering my decision-making all the harder.

So anyway, one day in particular I took a gander at the plethora of lentils that G bought recently and figured it might be wise to start using some of them—but how?? Ergh… more thinking… what to do with all this stuff?? This stuff… stuff… Stuff!

And thus Stuffed bell peppers with lentils galore were born!  Yeah yeah, cheesy transition, but cheesy I am. 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