Crispy Tofu

No judgments here. I get it, I really do. It’s the texture above all else; ‘twould throw any person out into an abyss of discomfort and confuddlement. What to make of that flavorless conundrum? Sometimes silken, woven strands of an Asian soup. Or perhaps overly chewy, all glossed up and stir-fried, a poor replacement for your beloved chicken. And what fool expects you to believe that this strange off-white mass is related to the mastery that is Soy sauce. Heresy, I tell you! Unheard of! Yes, tofu can be off-putting for the die-hard carnivore. Shnaps, it may even bewilder the more vegetariably-inclined (allow me my poetic license as I fashion words from mid air!). But trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you. No, not to my most appreciated readers, my comrades of the foodosphere. Tofu can also be crisp. Crunchy. Succulent. And dare I say, full of taste! Continue reading


East By Southwest: A Chicken Burger Experience

Ahh the incomprehensible has occurred—employment rates have skyrocketed in Alyaville, and I am actually working now. If you must know, I work just a short walk down from the husband, and I do mean that literally. I was recently offered a short term position in his department (the details of which are inconsequential; we need only know that while it is not an ideal position for the fruity artsy writer/food-experimenter with her head in the clouds that I am, nevertheless I am grateful for the position and thankfully surrounded by good folks).

I just started, so my initial fear was What will this do to my blog?!??! Trust me, G has heard soooo much about my fears and whininess on this part it’s a wonder he hasn’t tried to get me fired just to appease the foodie inside me. But we are managing, just finding a pace which enables us to get work done, relax a bit, and find time to cook most days. I think in a way this will challenge me as well, to concoct a more diverse array of dishes that aren’t always so time consuming and simply by using just about whatever the heck is in the pantry considering I won’t be running to the store at the drop of a hat.

On the other hand, when I do run to the store, I tend to stock up. This blog entry: case in point. I don’t usually have avocados and wheat buns all the time, but I had a vision a while back so I decided to load on them. Plus the avocados were supposed to be for a literEature post which I haven’t had an opportunity to do yet, so more will have to be bought now. Alas. 🙂

Anyway, this burger turned out to be absolutely scrumptious (despite forgetting salt in my chicken marinade!!! Who does that??!?). A bit high maintenance but cooking is also my way of finding peace and sanity, even when the kitchen is a chaotic whirlwind of fright. Besides, homemade guacamole is a million times better (especially with green chillies chopped in!) and roasted peppers become so sweet and melty, the perfect complement to asian fusion chicken… but enough talk, let’s cook! Continue reading

Fusion Wraps

A few years ago I was a chubby chubster.  That’s what I like to call myself.  And even though I’ve slimmed down since then, I’m still just a chubby kid at heart who loves food, craves for all things sweet and succulent, and just simply adores experiencing through her taste buds.  That said, it’s quite hard to find the balance between enjoying life and enjoying health.  Actually no, that’s a lie—I’ve done quite well in discovering what foods are healthy and delicious to eat, and combining that with proper exercise.  And that’s really the entire formula, plus a major control over my eternal longing for all things bready, but we all have our vices.

And yet, every day I mentally struggle with it all.  Is this the same for other people, or have I just been programmed through my life experiences?  Why do I let these thoughts burrow into my brain with such unrelenting ferocity?  Living in a constant state of worry about gaining even a few pounds now has me on edge more than I’d like to admit, and according to my friends is liable to give me an ulcer one day.  Perhaps not, but still—I’ve been fretting too much lately against my better judgment, and now G has to tell me a thousand times that there’s more to life than all this worry.  What’s the point of cooking if you won’t let yourself really enjoy it??

Sorry for the little emotional reveal here, but I figure if I get it out there then I’m more likely to stand by my oath now to keep my pessimism in check and just continue a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle without regret and anxiety.  There it is folks!  Alya vows not to let it get the better of her!

And that is partially why I created Fusion Wraps (as dubbed by the illustrious G)! By combining Asian flair with Mediterranean pizazz, I wanted to create something fun and zesty, a celebration of the spice of life! Hahaa, what a cheeseball am I. Continue reading

Spicy Alfredo Fakeout

For the first time in what feels like a millennium, I feel inspired.  Amorphous words are trying to take shape within my skull, warming up to the thought of expression.  Ironic that they come full force on these most tranquil days, where scope of my eyes’ furthest reaches are suffused with white and nothing else.  I suppose the blank slate that is provided outside is enough to make anyone with the remotest sense of art or creativity want to paint, scribble, compose, or sing.  Honestly a part of me just wants to run around in every untouched field of snow and flounce about in its powder!  But I may be more productive and successful at attacking the blank pages that lie ahead of me instead.

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Mandarin Chicken Salad

Comfort meals and warm, decadent dishes are a boon for these chilly days and wintry evenings.  And for someone who has lived only in California up to this point, it has been sinfully easy to fall into that track.  Who would refuse the seduction of so many comforting treats: the cakes, hot chocolate, biryani, pastas, and all else.  And yet, the healthnut in me screams for my West Coast lifestyle, the minimalization of carbohydrates, the salads, more natural sweets of fruits as opposed to cake, cake, and more cake!!

Not to mention I am on a mission to wean the husband off of his dependence on rice.  As such, imagine my disappointment when I realized I just kept making rice-supplemented dishes, not to mention full-fledged biryani, without any regard for what I promised my husband or myself.  And so I felt compelled to whip up a salad last week.  Nothing fancy, mind you, but it warrants sharing the amazing proclamation G bestowed upon me: that this was the first time he ever truly relished eating a salad. Ever.

I’m sure there was a slight touch of hyperbole to that, but it warmed my heart more than a huge slice of French apple pie could do.  So much so I could feel the calories melt off from the glow. Continue reading