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

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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

LiterEature 101: #4 The Bell Jar

*I apologize in advance for the photos; the lighting was too low for them to come out well, and we were too eager to eat to rectify anything*

Our Fourth Session of LiterEature 101 commences with a brief discussion on The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

I could have easily done another segment on the second volume of the Young Adult Series I am reading, The Gideon Trilogy (now known as the Time Travelers, the Time Thief, and the Time Quake, respectively) but I would be doing my heart severe injustice to pass on one of the most stellar novels I have read in recent times. There are moments when I discover something so poignant, reflective, and just REAL even in its schizophrenic perspectives, that remind me why my degrees in English and Anthropology are relevant and valuable, even if I haven’t truly monopolized on them yet. The Bell Jar obviously fits that category by exposing with clarity the struggles of femininity vs feminism, identity, and sexuality that every generation experiences at some point (notably during and after college), especially girls. A synopsis does it no justice—the story of a young woman’s steady descent into depression one pivotal summer, her succumbing to attempted suicide and the journey of recovery. You might think “oh dear god!” but if you don’t fall in love with the author by the end of this experience, then we have some problems.

A most fitting Bonus: It includes, without a doubt, one of the finest short sections of “food writing” that I have ever read (other books that come to mind are Tripmaster Monkey and The Book of Salt but neither engage the reader even half the way this does). Her sweet ponderings over avocados (“avocado pears”) is remarkably endearing. Continue reading

Simple Baba Ghanoush

You might have noticed a lovely little side in the photos of one of my previous posts (Valentine’s Dinner, hint hint).  I am not entirely sure why I didn’t bring it up before.  Perhaps I felt it didn’t vibe with the theme of the post.  Perhaps I like to keep you in suspense, drag you to the edge of your seat where you lie teetering on the cusp of a new horizon.  Perhaps I was just feeling lazy.  Ahhh, methinks we’ve breached the outskirts of the truth with that last one, eh?

Yes yes, it took me a little while, but here, my friends, let me introduce you to my first attempt at the most delicious side dish my eggplant-loving palette has ever known—Baba Ghanoush! (Admit it, the hyperbole reels you in further doesn’t it?  Stop drooling over your keyboard though, please, it’s not hygienic). Continue reading

Lemony Garlic Chicken Noodles for the Soul

It’s a combination that is hailed and heralded in almost every culture (that I am familiar with at least)—lemon, garlic, pepper.  The Tang, the Flavor, the Bite. Sour, Savory, Spicy.  Triple S.  Ah, good times indeed.

Even far back in those decadent days of cooking all pasta all the time in college, just with varying kinds of chicken (yeah I wasn’t breaking any boundaries back then, let me tell ya), I do recall my friend Tehniat’s fixation with lemon pepper chicken.  I was fairly decent at it back then, and I’ve improved on it now.  Using thinly sliced breast meat is key for these kinds of dishes, where I want to have diced chicken floating in a whirlpool of marinated (wheat!) pasta.  It’s been fun and easy to try different marinade ideas in the morning, and just cook it up rapidly at night.  Gives me a sense of calmness to have figured out dinner plans early in the day, so I can just sit and write and write and write and exercise and clean and write or try to write and read and read and clean some more and read and… yeah those are my days lately.  Writing, or searching for jobs actually.  Can be stressful.  So a simple dish like this will do a lot to help ones brain out. Continue reading

Bhindi-a la-Alya (okra for the unawares)

Arright kids, let’s just get straight to it today.  Alya’s got a slight cold and headache (read as hugely debilitating for a whiny sod like myself hehe) and wishes she could just stay away from the computer for a few days.  Not likely, as everything that isn’t home-related is writing-related in this life o’mine, but still. Sometimes it’s just best to keep things short.  That’s a huge proclamation from such a long-winded lass, let me tell ya.

So, I said I made bhindi, and voila! Bhindi-as-attempted-by-Alya you now have at your disposal.  I wouldn’t necessarily say okra is one of my favorite vegetables—I’m discovering that I enjoy so many!—but it does have a great flavor, and if you can get rid of the stickiness, it has a lovely bite as well.  But don’t overcook it so it’s super mushy and loses its okra-integrity.  You not only disrespect the harmless veggie and turn it an unappealing shade of brownish-greenish-unhappiness, but you are relegated to eating mush as well.  Unless you lost your teeth in a saloon brawl, I don’t think you want that. 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