Wednesday, June 17, 2009
And yet, it was entirely possible, and done on purpose: my objective was to drive through the canyons and Los Angeles Forest area between Santa Clarita and Palmdale, which is what we did, successfully. We even went off-road a bit, which I am sure privately horrified my Corolla, though she was very quiet and cooperative throughout. The best part: I forgot my GPS at home.
Monday, May 25, 2009
I wish I could put in words how much this shocked me. And yet, after the shock came acceptance- genetics has a part in the choices we make, and therefore since my mom never actually learned cooking from my grandma (who was Kashmiri), she probably unconsciously replicated the flavors of her mom's cooking in her own food, and I simply must be repeating her actions. Apparently Kashmiris dote on mutton- and guess who always orders it (or goat or lamb as substitute) when it is on a menu? yup that's me. Guess who thinks a bit of beaten yogurt improves any curry? me and my Kashmiri ancestors both. These discoveries are proving very comforting, they are.
I have therefore made up my mind to cook my way through Kashmiri culture, teaching myself the aromas and flavors my great grandma must have stirred over a pot near the Jhelum. I will write about my successes and failure as I progress, and hopefully my granny in heaven will chuckle along as she watches my progress.
There are some basic ingredients essential to Kashmiri food:
- Red dried chili pepper- appears to be the primary condiment, it can be used whole or crushed, depending upon the dish.
- White peppercorn- prized heavily, it is a subtle version of the black peppercorn
- Mustard oil- perhaps the most unusual of ingredients in the list, it has a strong, nutty taste and an even stronger smell. The key in using this is to heat the oil till smoking, and then to right away reduce the heat, thereby using it to season and cook the food without burning the oil (thus preventing carcinogens). The US is yet to recognize it as consumable, and therefore this is available in Indian supermarkets in North America, marked "For External Use Only." Ignore the warning, and get cooking- it is as heart healthy as extra virgin olive oil.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Nope, not quite yet.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
"Aloha! Here is what you were looking for"- wow really? someone knows exactly what I was looking for! how nice! its unfortunate of course that they are selling me phone tracking devices to investigate "untrustworthy loved ones" (actual quote).- it isn't what I am looking for quite yet.
"Wet and waiting for you all night"- I'm so sorry, but I do not want wet/dry unimaginables any time of the day/night. Sorry to hurt your feelings.
"I found a key is it yours"- Proper punctuation aside, its hardly likely.
"Housewives wanted"- by who? I'm not one and don't want one.
"At last found you" - now lose me. fast.
"This Spanish wants to talk to you"- me habla minimal espanol- sorry.
"Colon Cleanse" - They care about my health! aww how nice.
I can also "lose 30 lbs in 30 days"- lovely.
"Girls wont dump you anymore"- thank goodness for that!
Then there are the emails themselves- and I seem to keep winning lotteries! yay! Notice how the promotion manager is a Dr.
dateTue, Mar 17, 2009 at 7:13 AM
CONTACT NAME: Mr. Ray GibsonCITY/ COUNTRY: LONDON, ENGLAND.TELEPHONE: + 447031922810, + 447031910579EMAIL: email@example.com
Congratulations once more!!!
Apparently I am internationally famous, even among professors in the bylanes of Dublin:
Dear Selected winner,
Contact the verification department by providing yourReference Number:RFIR/5043/3223/66Batch number:B5/R565-33
You are also advised to provide him with the under listed informations.
1:Full Name___2:Home Address___3:Nationality And PresentCountry___4:Age___5:Occupation___6:Phone/Fax/Sex
Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgCall Now: +44 70457 0955
And this of course has to be every one's all time favorite:
to dateWed, Mar 25, 2009 at 10:25 AM
YOUR URGENT REPLY NEEDED IMMEDIATELY FROM THE DESK OF DR. MOHAMED AZIZ.MANAGER AUDINTING AND ACCOUNTING UNIT.BANK OF AFRICA(BOA)OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA-FASO.WEST AFRICA.
Thank you and best regards.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
And what would Holi be, without some homemade sweets to share? Here is a recipe simple recipe for Pedas/Peras (sing.: Peda/Pera), that tastes just like it did back home.
1/2 lb Khoya
3/4 loosely packed cup brown sugar
1/4 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom pods
2 tsp ghee
1- The sunflower seeds mimic the dried rock melon seeds my grandma used to add.
2- In the United States, you are probably only going to find Khoya in the frozen section of your Indian grocery store, and a popular and decent brand is "Nanak." This is fine- I have found no difference between this and the kind my mom one day made from scratch.
1- Defreeze the Khoya- leave it on the counter the night before, or put in under running hot water for about 10 minutes.
2- Grate the Khoya using a cheese grater- this will help the ingredients mix well. Spread over a large platter (see 1st photo)
3- Sprinkle in the nutmeg and brown sugar into the grated khoya, mix.
4- Break out all the seeds from the cardamoms (discard the outside), and pound the seeds into
a coarse powder.
5- Mix the cardamom powder into the khoya mixture.
6- Pound the pistachios roughly- you just don't want huge pieces, since the size of the actual peda is pretty small.
7- Heat a large saucepan over a low flame, and add the pistachio pieces and sunflower seeds- dry roast gently for about 2 minutes, until the sunflower seeds turns slightly golden. Remove from heat.
8- Add the seeds to the the khoya mixture and mix well.
9- Put the ENTIRE khoya mixture back into the pan, on medium heat, and keep stirring for about 5 minutes. The mixture will turn cookie-dough brown, and coagulate into a single mass. Take it off the heat.
10- Take 1 tsp of ghee and grease a large, flat platter.
11- Take the 2nd single tsp of ghee and smear your palms with it- steps 10 and 11 may seem
12- Begin pulling teaspoon size pieces from your still-warm peda mixture, and roll into little balls. Sightly flatten each ball with your palm, and then make an indentation in the center with your thumb (see 2nd photo). This is the classic shape of a peda.
13- Let the pedas sit in room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. They will harden a little, and keep their shape, even if you want to store them in a different container.
1- Because we added brown sugar, the pedas aren't too sweet- you can of course add more brown or even white sugar if prefer- just make sure you taste the mixture after adding the extra sugar in.
2- The pedas should be stored covered in the refrigerator- keep in mind that Khoya, the primary ingredient, is a milk product. They should last in the fridge easily for a week or more.
Total time: 45 minutes.
Low sugar, yummy and healthy (if not eaten by the bucketful)- pedas make a heck of a easy dessert- :D
Thursday, January 22, 2009
After grandma passed away, one of my cousins decided to get married. Then, another cousin passed away about a week after that. And THEN my grandpa-in-law passed away 2 days ago! I was only really close to grandma, so the other familial events matter little- but they still had to be dealt with, which takes away time from worthy pursuits like blogging (though my husband heartily disagrees).
And I didnt make my CPA exams- again.
All this tempered with the fact that the fiscal year ended and all my clients are going crazy and we have all these audits to do- AND one of my managers left the firm, which didn't help matters at all. :S
The new home also has a secret curse- one of the bathrooms' wall has moisture in it- plumbing and reconstruction costs are magically (so much of the "m" word! Mr. Dursely would be unhappy :)) multiplying in my mind, and I will try to ignore incurring them until at least next fall.
Work calls- off I go............