Meaty Mushroom Pasta

mushroom pastaWarning: the foodstuffs here do not look at all like their components. This is a wonderful little guise for those who rabidly desire meat but venture into a tepidly omnivore household that leans toward herbivoraciousness. It’s an entirely mushroom-based pasta sauce, but with the right ingredients becomes rich, succulent, and fulfilling.

So, Ramadan came and went, and I surprised myself by how enthusiastically my body responded to the call. Like a horse fresh out of the gates, I galloped full stride into the blazing long days of fasting, somehow procuring during my first week alone at least 4 new recipes for dinner meals. Let us not discuss how the subsequent three weeks unfolded, with root canals and illnesses. But that first week was glorious! (and the last week, pretty good too.) For the unfamiliar, breaking fast during Ramadan consists of iftar, followed by the evening prayer, and then dinner. Traditional iftars vary from culture to culture, but are usually filled with much fanfare. I tried to change that for the husband and myself this year, especially since the fasting was so long (15+ hours) and the feasting so short. So we usually broke fast with a few dates and water (or Rooh Afza, a rose-water syrup which is sublime when mixed with water and a generous squeeze of lime). Dinner as such became the exciting mealtime (which typically included some fruit chaat because how can I deny myself the quintessential dish of my Ramadan experience). Continue reading

Rosemary Pepper Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushrooms Upon commencing my sojourn into the flourishing bazaar of greens, grains, and goods (hitherto known as a grocery to you folk, I may presume), my eyes befell a peculiar astounding specimen nestled amid leafy herbs and potent peppers. Neither small as a button nor rotund as a ‘bello. Nay, this lay in the abyss ‘tween two extremes, a perfectly sized cap for stuffing. And so it can bear no surprise to all and sundry that such a commodity would build its fame upon the title “Stuffing Mushroom”. Oh to resist would be a great treachery upon my taste buds indeed! And I hardly could turn away from the opportunities that glistened within the eyes reflected in the glass above (who pray tell mandated the arrangement of such mirrored artifacts atop the edible greens by the by?). Thus it came to pass that this simple cook packed along with her the promise of a delicacy only as yet experienced within the confines of fine eateries: the stuffed mushroom. Oh but what a miracle to discover the truth, eons held beneath the surface of my simpleton knowledge, that this fine treat is no more difficult than brewing a decadent mango cream chiffon cake! (Ahh this slip of my tongue portends the contents of a future post! Zounds!) Continue reading

a High TECh Sandwich

Sandwiches.  I’m actually rendered speechless by how much I love them.  From super subs, to burgers, to fancy shmancy paninis—whatever your flavor, there is a variety out there for you.  And for the AG household here, one particular sandwich has made its presence an indelible mainstay for many months now.  My brother would appreciate this post (that is, if he read this blog, which I highly doubt) because this evolved from the simple but tasty lunch I would make for him on those days when I wasn’t demanding he get out off the sofa and be self-sufficient rather than rely on my mom or me to feed him.  I fear all my efforts have dissolved into dust now that I’ve moved away; no more voice of reason! No more irritating sister badgering him! It reminds me of how I would hide his video games when he was misbehaving in some manner; that also failed since my mom would always cave and make me return them (what happened to discipline, people?!).  Failed attempts everywhere, like trampled petals blown into the horizon.  I weep in their stead.

Ah but I digress!  Retreat back to the sandwich of the day!  That glorious creation we sometimes enjoy on the weekends or, if I am feeling particularly magnanimous in the mornings (no easy feat), I’ll make for the husband to take to work for lunch. The high TECh sandwich.  High because it leaves you on cloud nine, where your senses float along with the flavors of Turkey, Egg, and Cheese.  On a side note, the name is inspired by a similar sandwich and title my friend concocted in Miami.  I just revamped things a bit. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading