Beyond the Blog: February 2011

Because I haven’t had time (or the longevity of a properly functioning memory) to write up posts for every single dish I have made, or at least the ones I photographed, I thought I might make a habit of sharing, every month, the missed opportunities that befell the four prior weeks.  In doing so, I get to share some of my other exploits with you simply for the joy of loving food.  And perhaps you may find inspiration in my simple endeavors.  Feel free to ask for recipes on any of them; I may or may not remember exactly, but I can share broadly my experiences at the very least.  And at the very most, you might hit the jackpot on a stellar super feasting idea.  Probably not though, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Soooooo… off we go into the Smoky tendrils of Alya’s kitchen…. Continue reading

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Aloo Palak

Writing has become a little difficult as of late because of a raging battle inside my head.  Not a mental struggle, or an emotional tug, or an intellectual challenge, although those run their course all the time as well.  No, I literally have been plagued with headache after headache after headache for a week or more now.  The consistency reached full momentum a few days ago, but it had been building up—and thus simple things like typing have become quite cumbersome and mind-numbing at its worst.  Nevertheless I sit here now to share a few thoughts and exploits, in a brave attempt to conquer the pain and oust it from its reign.

And with that battle momentarily won, I move on to another battle I fought full-fledged, and also emerged the victor.  My opponent: spinach.   I admit I haven’t had the most loving relationship with the leafy green; for some reason I am very particular about overpowering or rather completely evaporating the raw spinach flavor, but I always end up unsuccessful for some ridiculous reason or another.  But not this time!  Yes, I regale in even the smallest of victories, and minutest of accomplishments.  For most people, spinach, or Palak, is a straightforward dish–to those people, I stick out my tongue.  My relationship with palak just needed some extra attention and effort, that’s all. Continue reading

Chicken Koftas (Meatballs)

This one goes out to my sister.  That’s really all I have to say.  I wanted to do something new for the husband, and I had ground chicken waiting to be used.  I could actually have made spring rolls (a favorite of many of my friends) but those take a bit too much time when I don’t usually have as much as I would like.  Plus that’s not dinner, just a side.  And I like to spend 1 to 2 hours leisurely in the kitchen (so I’m not spastic and cooking away feverishly)—it’s hugely therapeutic and relaxing for me—but I usually need to pick G up from work too so I have to take breaks in between cooking if I’m not done.

a bowl of splattered goodness!

So at any rate, something that I can conceivably put on hold if need be… and what I decided on were Chicken Kofta—Pakistani/indian chicken meatballs. Continue reading

Loki or Pakistani Zucchini

The master and student sat in meditation beneath an aged oak tree hidden miles deep within an open field of waving grass. The young student marveled at the great length of sky, seeing it for the first time from edge to further edge, and turned to his teacher.

“We are so far from home.  It took weeks to come here, and will take days just to reach the nearest village…”

“Is that a question?” the master calmly spoke, as if remarking about the number of leaves on the closest branch.

“…I was only wondering, sir, do you not miss home? The comforts of your own bed, your family, looking forward to a warm meal? I’m afraid to admit I long for it so much.”  The student nearly dropped his eyes at this last, and the master took notice.  He sighed.

“Continue your meditations, so you may learn to let go of what was and what could be.”  The student nodded in compliance and shifted his back against the tree, the tiniest of grimaces not escaping the master, who lay a hand on the wrinkled bark.  “Does this ancient skin repulse you?  Don’t be fooled to look only for comforts in the obvious.  Consider how the shade protects you from the sun.  Consider how the branches nest homes for the birds, and nurture our fires in the night.  Focus on the comforts of what is now, and you will learn that home is as migrant as ourselves.” He let his words sink into the accepting pools gazing his way.  “Now build a fire, as the sun has begun to set.”

The student did as he was told, pondering over his master’s words, not noticing the small parcel the elder had begun to warm in the flames.  He broke from his reverie only when the waft of warm olive bread tickled his nose, much like it did at home the mornings his mother would bake.  The master handed him a slice and said with a smile, “There is no harm in carrying home with you sometimes as well.  Or recreating it when needed.”

~~~~~

I endeavored to cook Loki (zucchini) a few days ago because it is one of my ultimate favorite dishes that my mom makes.  Continue reading