Cashew-Crusted Tilapia with Lemon-Garlic Onions

Firstly, I’ll be reducing my post frequency to Mon/Thurs now (had been MWF). Truth is I don’t have as much time to be experimental AND write it all up in time, what with working now, so I need to be realistic. But no matter, this will give me breathing room to create, create, create! LiterEature posts will be the occasional special Sunday Edition too. I felt they deserve that superb honor. You may disagree. I may not care. J

Anyhoo, sometime last week I did have surprisingly ample amount of time to embark on a new, untouched, non-researched (to my detriment) endeavor with fish. My eyes stumbled upon a helpful pointer that could possibly aid me in my fight against my husband’s nose. Some of you may know that he has the nose of a bloodhound and can detect the essence of fish from 3 miles, 400 feet, 2 inches away. So I have to be damned perfectly sure that I prepared the fish perfectly so it retains NOTHING that could disappoint both him and myself Sweet boy that he is, he’ll still eat it, but enjoyment will suffer monumentally.

So imagine my delight upon reading that soaking fish in vinegar for 10-15 minutes takes care of that scent. It seems reasonable enough, and totally worth the shot, but as all I had on me was Rice Vinegar, I hoped that distinct flavor didn’t end up tingeing the fish with an aftertaste equally as sharp. Nevertheless I dared, and took it a step further decided to try something I always wanted to do—make a nut coating. I know, random. But mmm I remember the macadamia nut crusted chicken at my wedding, and it just had the perfect crunch to it, so why couldn’t I try something similar. But fish? Oy boy. And Cashews? Well, only time would tell how this would come out. And one disaster after another confirmed it: vinegar, fish, and nuts DO mix. This was the best fish I have ever made to date. Oh to have such disasters as this in the kitchen all the time… 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

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

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

V-Day Delights Part 2: Wrapping Up with Dinner

You can’t have a part 1 without its follow-up, so now that dessert and all its scintillating joy is out of the way, we can make our way through the dinner portion of Valentine’s Day evening.  Oy, just thinking about that dinner makes me hungry now; everything was immaculately executed for once—no hiccups, no over or under seasoning, just resplendent and fairly light dinner with an Asian flair.

Now, I have to give props to Guy Fieri (yeah that burly bleached blond chef who eats like an ogre on his Triple-D show).  Surprisingly (or not), he makes some really good food himself, and personally I enjoy watching him simply because he is not as pretentious as some of the Food network folks, and has good tips.  So When I saw a show all about wraps, I felt inspired to follow suit.

And so, I endeavored to make Asian Orange Turkey Lettuce Wraps, and Shrimp Rolls with a Pineapple Pickle Salsa (the pineapple recipe is all Guy’s).

I think the most amazing thing about the evening was that I was able to do accomplish all this at once in the span of two hours or so, along with the tiramis-who.

First up: Asian Orange Lettuce Wraps! Continue reading

LiterEature 101: Gideon the Cutpurse

Our Third Session of Litereature 101 commences with a brief discussion on Gideon, The Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer.

As mentioned in the previous session, I continue to explore Young Adult literature in an effort to familiarize myself with the themes, styles, and goals of the genre, to see from whence it came and to where it is heading.  I admit wholeheartedly that I also just find it to be more fun as well—where fantasy, science fiction and generous doses of unreality are implemented to explore human psyche, emotions, social issues etc., much like adult fiction.  So I wandered through the library in search of my next prey when my eyes settled on one of the most engaging covers I had seen in a long long while:

Thus I went against that age-old adage and indeed judged the book by its cover, in the best way possible.  A quick perusal of the summary revealed a relatively new story (2006) that is part historical fiction, part coming of age, and of course part science fiction—there is time-travel after all.  The summary describes it as a “modern genre all its own,” so I wondered how unique it really could be… Continue reading