Returning with a hunger!

The first blessed meal of RamadanI never meant to abandon you. Every day that has passed since that fateful Saturday evening (thumb still flaunts an irritating scar) I have longed to return here in hopes of concocting such sorcery with words that even the driest of tongues and most satiated of hungers will be left smacking their lips and reaching out to the screen for a taste.

Ok, creepy.  Rein it in, Alya.

This unintended break has allowed a lot of breathing room though, and most importantly has reinforced a truth: this site is a beacon of sanity for me.  I can sit and dream up edible possibilities and suddenly the world makes sense again…  Ah, but I’ll spare you any rambling discourse and just get straight into it.  It’s certainly unexpected that I would reboot this blog during Ramadan of all times, but anyone going through this blessed month of fasting will tell you that dishes demand the spotlight.  Whether that’s because a certain variety of dishes only make their presence known traditionally during this month (fruit chaat anyone) or because we become exceedingly more appreciative and aware of what we eat and how much we take in, at the end of the day I have felt increasingly inspired and cajoled into baking, cooking, and desiring to share and reflect upon it.

So just as a reintroduction into my little world of eating, I’d like to share the first dinner of Ramadan this year, an exceptionally special occasion because it was my first one here in MD with the husband.  For the unawares, we fast during daylight hours for a month, and at sunset we break our fast – a special meal called iftar.  Traditionally one has a date first, and from there the food expands into the realm of individual cultures. 

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Black & White Thumbdrop Delights (and a glimpse of mushrooms!)

Since Superduperamazingblogidea has been put on hold, scheduled to commence on Christmas weekend now (methinks Friday so the G and I can cook up a storm together) I have to entertain myself somehow.  But provided I’m still hesitant to cook anything too rich or succulent lest it wakens the sleeping dragon in G’s turbulent tummy, I kept the dinner portion of the evening very simple and light: some spicy garlic roasted mushrooms, dahl (red & yellow lentils), rice… and just because it’s one of his ridiculous comfort foods, some Maggi noodles (for the blissfully unawares, those are pretty much the Indian version of Top Ramen.  Yeah.  Fancy pants cuisine right there hehe). 

FYI The mushrooms were gloriously easy – just tossed white mushrooms in olive oil, lots of garlic, a little salt, black pepper, and chili flakes, pour entire mixture into a baking dish, top with chunks of butter (or Smart Balance haha), and roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  The garlic melts into the butter and makes this sumptuous sauce… I found this recipe online at Smitten Kitchen and just had to try it.  So simple, so soft, so savory.  Squeeze lemon juice once out of the oven and sprinkle with basil or oregano or cilantro or whatever you like. YUM!

I love simplicity, but… I have the kitchen bug in me.  In the past month or so a dormant being has been summoned to life in my bones, controlling my urges, my actions, the very tinkerings of my mind, where all I can think about for hours on end is the magic awaiting me in the kitchen (seriously, the channel I watch most on TV is Food Network). I love to create.  Love love love it.  I may not be good at it, but I love it.  I’ve never been as thrilled by cooking and baking as I am now – is it simply because I’m doing it with and for my husband now, or that I have complete reign and freedom over a kitchen (as opposed to living with parents and always worrying about what they would like)?  Whatever the case may be, I just feel so at ease here that I want to continue to drum up specialties, or at least try.  For example: Eventually I’ll start a line of a variety of crispy spring rolls, I guarantee it! Once I create a variety that is…

It always comes back to creativity.  At some point I’m going to be more focused and driven on my writing again, having already started on a few projects that are now lying wistfully by my side.  <<Don’t worry my lovelies, I’ll give you some attention soon! I promise!>> Until then I am expanding my desire to imagine up something special into different forums.  What a blessing it is, I suppose, that I have the ability and opportunity to explore different avenues.  As a child I was all about drawing and painting, so artful expression is inherent to my nature.  And honestly, cooking is an amazing outlet, the beautiful method in which we can nourish our sanity and humanity.

But I digress.  The point of all this rambling is to explain why I decided to dream up cookies too.  But oy! Don’t think that I am on the fast track to Chubbsville with all these sweets.  No, these I actually dreamed up with the intention of having G share them with his coworkers, a little holiday treat for them.

And so after a bunch of thinking and consideration, I eventually settled on black&white cookie sandwiches, little buttery drops of goodness filled with rich chocolate or various fruit spreads… But no.  That didn’t work out and I shall tell you why.

  1. No double boiler set up to melt chocolate (i.e. I have no metal bowl to melt my chocolate in)
  2. The cookie batter didn’t conform to the little teaspoon shape I wanted, so I improvised.

And thus, black & white thumbdrop delights were born, thumb-pressed to be filled with any assortment of things.

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Go Bananas for this Sweet and Creamy Bagel

Oh Sweet Morning. A year ago—nay, just a few months ago—I was woefully unfamiliar with the goings-on of the day before 9 am, if even that. But life offers so many change-ups (as close to a World Series reference as I’m ever going to get) that I had to adjust, and was quite happy to as well (life and love and everything in between make you do funny things sometimes)… so now I welcome the dawning sun, the brisk air, and most importantly, the food.

I love waking up and thinking about what scrumdiddlyumptious delight will be gracing my tummy first thing each morning, just like Mr. G. There’s something about breakfast goodies that warms my heart more than anything else. And I’ve become a firm believer in cherishing the morning meal and giving it its due respect. Treat it lovingly and it will bestow on you an energized and fruitful day. Yes that’s right, I’m attributing Karmic powers to breakfast time – don’t laugh, else suffer the consequences of a scorned bowl of cereal tomorrow.

These days I typically conjure up simple and berry delicious fruit smoothies, but that isn’t enough of sustenance! Just an appetizer to tide me over an hour or so until I decide to wander into the realm of substantial goodliness.  But what? Naturally, I have familiarized myself with Mr. G’s simple and marvelous touch with eggs, but I can’t have that every day. Occasionally I venture into my own groomed tastes, including cottage cheese, honey, and (when I allow myself the indulgence) something truly and heartily bready! Let’s venture forth then, my friend, into the delectable world of the dressed up bagel!

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