Chili Garlic Noodles

I awoke this morning with the immediate thought that I would not let anything get in the way of an early bed time tonight. The sudden unwelcome arrival of a flaring toothache has kept me up more than I’d like to admit, and has rendered my even my sleep a restive and forlorn experience. Thus, you can imagine I was on a one-way trip to the Benadrylopolis…

And yet here I am. I just can’t stop the thoughts, so I shall let them run rampant on the back burner while I focus on this blog. The past month has not been a happy one for my coworkers, you see, and we unfortunately lost a beautiful, smiling, kind soul to the rabid beast of cancer. In all fairness, I barely knew her. Nevertheless, the loss was a complete shock, a blow to our collective psyche, and an obvious reminder that life is too short to play on the sidelines. Continue reading

Tamarind and Garlic Eggplant Fry

This week was not the most delightful as the kitchen arena was rendered out of commission for nearly the entire length of time. As a result of some stupid pest issues, eating healthy became a trying task as we were forced to eat out while trying not to eat expensively all the time. Food is one of those most beloved subjects that nigh on always has a carte blanche; frugality does not trump healthy and fresh nine times out of ten… unless you are really really reaaaaaaaaally trying to keep all spending down.  No we are not exorbitant spenders. Yes we have very legitimate reasons to want to save some moolah. No I will not be discussing that at the moment. All in good time—trust me, good times are just around the corner—but for now, let’s just leave it at my growing irritation of mounting receipts spent on dining out.

But huzzah! Summon the trumpets and adorn the skies with confetti! We can use our wonderful tiny kitchen once more! And to inaugurate that blissful fact, Mr. G himself decided to cook me up a special treat, incorporating three of my supremely favorite ingredients: Tamarind, Garlic, and Eggplant. Continue reading

Shrimp Scampi

Did you know I love Italian food? As a child my favorite food was ravioli… then lasagna… then ravioli and lasagna. Since then I’ve graduated to adore other cuisines (I don’t think I can live without Indian/Pakistani or Thai food) but I have a secret longing for it sometimes that I cannot normally satiate. All that pasta, all that glorious carbohydrate-rich pasta… no, I can’t go there. My round and pudgy inner-child may be bouncing in pure joy at the thought but that’s as far as I can go. Of course every once in a while we all have a fine Italian meal but not nearly as often as was my lifestyle long ago. This may of course be in part because the husband has a distinct lack of fondness for tomato sauce. I know. It hurts me just to write that (please have mercy on him, supreme marinara lords of the Tuscan sun). Continue reading

Beet-iful Rice

beets and riceA few nights ago I got the amazingly inspired idea to use this burns-like-sweet-smokin’-sunburn jalapeno plum jam I can’t dream of finishing ever (it’s soooo good!) as part of a chicken marinade. Well, I wanted to use it for shrimp, but I had chicken so I tried it out. Melted the jam, added lemon juice, salt, some more red chili powder, garlic etc. Smelled amazing. Let it sit a few hours. Busted it out. Roasted a few samples in the oven and sautéed a couple as well (no learning without experimentation) and I discovered… It sucked. Completely.

So I tried to salvage this by making an asian-inspired curry blend of peppers and… it became passable. But I have since learned that the jam shall remain on the breads, crackers, and the like. Or possibly used for grilling one day. I don’t quite throw in the towel do I?

Thankfully this post is not about that. It was not a pleasure to make, and thus shall be shoved into the recycling bin of recipes. However, I was already in a less-than-chipper mood that day, because neither my sweet and sugary coconut sugar cookies nor a delightful batch of tomato-soup-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting won in a baking competition at work. Granted, I was unaware that half the points garnered came from DECORATING THE STATION. *Deep Breath* Not going to relive that stupidity, because honestly… no big deal. But your mood transfers into everything else you do, be it motivational speaking, darning a sweater, or cooking a meal.

Tonight I was in a much more inspired mood. Mostly I just wanted to overcome the previous cooking debacle and reign supreme once more… in my head. But we have a whole stash of beets in our fridge currently. Random yes, but the husband made this delicious beyond my wildest imagination sabzi (vegetable dish) of beets and carrots, South Indian style, so now I keep them stocked because he must make that for me at least once a week. And thus, seeing the carrots, thinking about the various ways to make the husband actually eat a variety of vegetables, and wanting to create my own dish, I concocted Beet-iful Rice! Or more plainly, Garlic Rice with Beets, Carrots, and Zucchini. Continue reading

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

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