Friday, January 30, 2009

CLICK: Tom-a-tar


I say Tomayto, You say...

Remember my mystery bounty from Summer of 2007. This time they are being sent to the gorgeous couple @ CLICK RED.

In another news I just read that a blogger was bullied by NDTV to withdraw his post written in the aftermath of Mumbai Terror on Nov 27th. So a blogger doesn't have the freedom of speech errr or blog anymore ?

Quoting Patrix "Chetan’s post titled ‘Shoddy Journalism’ (now removed but available on Google cache) was one of the well-written rants in the blogosphere that documented the Indian media’s failings and handling of this crisis."

I don't have NDTV and didn't follow Barkha Datt's reporting either but I don't see anything wrong in what this guy has put forth, which is his opinions.

Isn't NDTV acting like the big bully. And what happened to democracy ? What is your take ?

Chetan's Cached Post -- "Shoddy Journalism"

His apologies

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Broiled Salmon with Spicy Mushroom Sauce


Sibling Love, what is it, how would you define it ? What is that sibling mush that you would love to share ? Me, I have no siblings and so no first hand knowledge of the whole thing. I desperately wanted some or at least one of my own when I was growing but my parents didn't comply, and my many requests to at least adopt one, sibling that is, fell on their deaf ears.

My lofty idea of sibling bonding was that if I happen to be a very callous Mom and my two kids were separated in some Mela (fair), I could go about life peacefully trusting their sibling bond would bring them together in middle age and we could then live happily ever after. Also if I was successful enough to pit them against each other, at least one of them would say "Mere pas Ma hain", as if I was nothing but a jar of Complan.

Armed with this glamorous knowledge I took the plunge, my fast approaching middle age and my ever aching limbs (as in back, joints, knee) not taken into consideration. That my very good friend said that she and her sis fought all life and found sibling love only after marriage( to separate male entities) didn't dither me, the deed had been done.

So here I am seeing the love that siblings share in full technicolor home production and it indeed is precious. Big Sis S simply loves Baby A. She reads to her, plays with her and entertains her all the time. Every day she draws a card for Baby Sis A in school. She conjures new games of Peek-a-Boo and makes Baby A laugh and cackle. Baby A in turn saves her best gummy smiles for her Didi. She seems to be enamored by Big Sis S and follows her every move and laughs at every stunt that Didi pulls.

Of course everything is not as rosy as I make it sound. Big Sis S takes out her frustration on being the Big Sis, on us. So there are days when there is a lot of drama and melodrama, there is she crying for no reason at all -->me bearing with clenched teeth and finally losing it and yelling -->she declaring that I am not a good Mom --> me feeling guilt now but continue with sterness-->she quietens --> finally peace and hug ensues but never and not even once does she take it out on her little sister. That strikes me, as I look back on yesterday evening and I am so proud of her, for being so good to her little sister. Maybe I will try to keep my cool next time and have that much more patience, I am no SuperMom but at least I can try being a better one... (and read this when things are bad)

Weekday cooking needs to be quick and easy and as I was broiling salmon, I saw all the mushroom in my freezer and googled for a "mushroom sauce". I loved this but didn't want all that cream so found a lighter version here. I knew I needed to spice it up so here goes my version of Broiled Salmon with a Spicy and Low Fat Mushroom Sauce. This goes on to glam blogger Meeta's Monthly Mingle -- Healthy Family Dinners hosted this time by Michelle of Whats Cooking Blog

Broiled Salmon with Spicy Mushroom Sauce

How I Did It

For Salmon: Rub the salmon pieces with fresh lime, little salt, red chilli powder or black pepper, ginger paste and garlic paste. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then brush olive oil and broil it with skin side down for 20 minutes. I have my salmon skinned and my small toaster oven settings are Broil --> Temp at 400 --> for 20 minutes and then about 5 minutes on the other side

For Mushroom Sauce:

Heat Olive Oil in a frying pan

Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 finely chopped green chillies and saute for a couple of seconds

Add 1/4 cup of chopped red onion and saute till the onion is translucent

Add 2 cups of thinly sliced mushroom and saute till they are browned and release liquid

Add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, 1 tsp of curry powder, about 1/4 tsp of chilli powder and let it come to a boil

Stir in 1/2 tbsp of flour, 1/2 tbsp of flax seed powder, 1/2 cup of 2% or fat-free milk and let the sauce thicken to the right consistency. If the sauce seems to be too thick add little more of the Vegetable stock.

Season with salt

Serve immediately with the broiled salmon

Now to last weeks menu. This was the weekly menu for last week

Cabbage-Carrot Stir fry
Vegetable Jalfrezi -- Inspired by this and this. I didn't bake it and I used brocolli instead of cauliflower and added paneer cubes
Dal -- my favorite Masoor dal
Chicken with Methi leaves -- I need to re-create this and then write the recipe
Salmon, salmon and salmon -- on two weekdays

Trivia: Pacific salmon die after their first spawning (the reproducing process); the Atlantic salmon does not, and returns year after year to its breeding place to spawn again

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thai Vegetable Soup


Live in Nannies are not fun. Especially if they tell you "C Didi to apnar theke double mota chilo" ( C Didi (her previous employer) was doubly fat than you)

While Bong Mom wonders if she should be thankful that her fatness quotient hasn't reached the full potential, the Nanny continues, "M Didi to apnar theke koto slim, monei hoyna duita bachcha" (M Didi(apparently the most favored of all past employers) is so much slimmer, doesn't look like she has two kids)

Bong Mom hastily drops the cookie she was munching on and proceeds to make some soup in mortal fear of her bulging anatomy being discussed in the next Didi's house.

Now to the Thai Vegetable Soup which is a delicious one that I first had at my friend N's place. I was apprehensive at the thought of consuming so many "good for me" veggies at one go. But my fears were allayed after the first spoonful. It was warm, delicious, with the subtle hint of spice and very comforting with the thought that consuming such liquids might put your waistline back to there rightful position.

I am out of sync with most events in blogosphere but just saw this one and thought this soup would be a good entry as it has Red Lentils as one of its main ingredients.
So this goess off to My Legume Love Affair brainchild of Susan and hosted this time by dear Srivalli

Also since I am getting comments saying "Yellow" this goes off to Sunshine Mom' FIC Yellow

Thai Vegetable Soup

How I Did It

Heat 3 tbsp of Peanut Oil.

Add 2 tbsp of grated fresh Ginger and 1 small Red Chilli pepper finely sliced. I added 3 hot green Indian Chillies. You can also add 2 crushed dry red chili pepper.

Add 1 small Red Onion chopped and saute till translucent

Add 1 small parsnip roughly chopped, 4 large carrots chopped, 2 stalks of celery thinly sliced and 1 medium potato peeled and sliced. You can play around with the veggies, I added turnip instead of parsnip.

Edited on 01/31/11: Roasted a butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and little honey. Instead of above vegetables used the roasted squash and potatoes

Add 1/4 tsp of Cumin powder and 1/4 tsp of Curry Powder and saute for a couple of minutes. I added about 1 tsp of Curry Powder
Edited on 01/31/11: Use a pinch of Garam masala in absence of curry powder

Add 1/2 cup of Red Lentil (our very own Masoor dal). Mix well and add about 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. Add salt.

If you have Kafir Lime Leaves add two of them. Instead 1 tsp of lime zest will do just fine

Cook till the veggies and lentil is done.

Cool and puree in batches in a blender

Bring back to a boil on the stove top. Add 1 cup of coconut milk (less is fine).

I added about 1 tbsp of fresh lime juice at this point, add according to your taste. Garnish with fresh corriander and basil leaves.

Trivia: Curry powder is a mixture of spices of widely varying composition developed by the British during their colonial rule of India. Yeah they made everything fanous from "Curry Powder" to "Slumdog Millionaire"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Time for Change

I am an Indian
I do not want to become an American... choice
I am proud of my Jana Gana, my Jhansi ki Rani,
my resilient nature and my lit up Diwali
My Amar Chitra Kathas, my Namasteys
My bhutta on the road and curbside Gol-Gappes
And I clutch on to my navy blue passport
My proof of my Indian-ness

I am an Indian
I do not want to become an American...
... by choice
I don't get all the jokes on SNL
Am baffled even today by NFL
I like the "u" in my color
And no ice in my water
And so I clutch on to my navy blue passport
My proof of my Indian-ness

I am an Indian
I do not want to become an American...
... by choice
I love the wide roads here
The green in my suburb, the clean fresh air
I love the politeness, the independence
The discipline and the freedom of my space
I am a tad selfish and a hypocrite
And so I clutch on to my navy blue passport
My proof of my Indian-ness

My little girl is an American
And yesterday she got a brand new President
She calls him "Orack Obama"
I love that guy, his presence, his charisma
And today I am proud of my daughter's American-ness,
I believe in her president
He is no messiah but change is his tenet

"Who is your President?", she asks
And I still clutch on to my navy blue passport
Do I want to make the change, maybe Yes but not yet

Jana Gana Mana -- India's National Anthem
Jhansi Ki Rani -- the rebel queen of Jhansi
Bhutta -- Corn on the cob roasted, salted and sold on carts on the roadside
Gol-Gappe -- Panipuri

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bleakly Weekly Menu

This is how the backyard view was in summer.....


And this what I see now...


I desperately needed a warm splash of color to fix the chilling cold outside and my Friday evening tea just set the mood...


A quick recap of what I cooked last weekend for this week. This time it was better and I didn't have to cook anything until Thursday except for the odd pasta, Big Sis S's school lunch and some scrambled eggs.

With two girls, one of whom craves attention like Jennifer Aniston and other who voices protests akin to Mamta (banerjee) if left alone for two minutes, I don't really want to spend weekday evenings cooking and neither do I want to eat outside evrytime. I find the cook ahead pretty convenient and have also shifted my grocery day to mid week. This way Baby A's nanny chops all my veggies before she leaves on Friday and then cooking become pretty easy actually.

D has been delegated with the duty of feeding us either outsourced or self implemented food for Friday nights and Saturday, so it has been pretty interesting so far. On cold winter Friday nights, a new avtaar of Campbell tomato soup (a different avtaar every time he has served it so far, two to be precise) spiced up with green chillies and such graces our table with garlic bread. I am really looking forward to see what comes up tomorrow.

Aloo Gobi -- A dry potatoes and cauliflower preparation that I picked up from Sailaja's Blog. The taste was different from what we are used to but we liked it, actually I liked it more with white rice than with the tortilla I pack for lunch

Aloo Methi -- This is an all time favorite and goes well both with roti and rice, better with roti I think

Aloo Bhindi -- This is a potato okra stir fry done the Bengali way. The oil is tempered with Paanch Phoron and Dry Red Chillies and okra and potatoes are fried with a pinch of turmeric and salt.

Toor Dal with Methi -- I deviated from my favorite Masoor Dal to Toor for this week inspired by Indira. Pressure cooked about 1 and 1/2 cup of Toor Dal with one biggish red onion, one chopped tomato, 1 cup of fresh methi leaves, a pinch of turmeric and water. Tempered the Dal with Cumin seeds, Dry Red Chillies and 1 fat clove of garlic roughly sliced. Wanted to add some cranberries but wasn't convinced...yet.

Pepper Chicken Curry -- This is one more of my favorite chicken curry from Sailaja's blog. Chicken doesn't taste good if cooked ahead so this just survived Sunday evening and Monday.

Looking back it seems like we had a lot of potatoes last week, this week I am going to cut down on it. Also hope to revisit this menu again as all the dishes were pretty good.

I am typing this as I glance at Sex and the City re-runs. We don't have HBO and I had not watched it before. Some Fridays if I am still awake I force myself to wtach it because I really want to understand why people liked it so much. The more I watch it the crappier it seems !!!

Looking forward to TUESDAY

Friday, January 09, 2009

Paneer Khichuri


Well it has been almost ten days into the New Year and I have no plans or Resolutions. I have stopped making plans, because it seems my life has a definite mind of its own and leads its own oblivious of the plan I have laid out for it. There are lucky people who make plans and their life stick to it, but alas my life is a free spirit. So I have decided to gather all my faith from every crevice of my being and just put the burden on the All Mighty, let him/her lead me through the path that has been already set out for me.

But however much I don’t plan at the macro level, when it comes to the micro level as in “what to eat for lunch, dinner etc. etc. this week” I need to have some kind of a plan thing in place. More of a TBD I would say, than a plan. This has been the first week after the parents left, after both me & D got back to work, after Big Sis S went back to school and the Nanny is at home taking care of Baby A. I was pretty tense about this week as you might well imagine. Other than major guilt pangs of “Ohhh, I am leaving the little baby girl in mercy of a ruthless nanny, I am a bad bad Mom” there was also the fact that I needed to cook ahead to tide us through most of the week.

So I made a plan, ahem…but a “micro” plan.

This was what I cooked last weekend for this week:

1. Masoor Dal with Brussel Sprouts -- almost the same way I did this except here I used chopped brusel sprouts
2. Baingan Bharta
3. A Mixed Veggie Dish that had carrots, celery, broccoli, brussel sprouts and potatoes – pretty scary all that veggies with the “healthy” label
4. A Thai Veggie Soup – this was delicious and am going to post sometime
5. A simple paneer dish for Big Sis S alone who following on her dad’s credentials refuses to eat fish since the last few months, and following her own pretty much everything else. Kids turn weird as they grow older until they become Moms like me.
6. Fish Curry for Monday

I would make a quick Non-Veg something on Wednesday to survive Wed & Thur I thought.

Come Tuesday evening and I knew my plan was failing. There was very little of what I cooked left. Between us 3 adults (me, D and the Nanny) we had managed to finish major portion of what I had cooked. This weekend I am thinking up better plans, only on the “micro” level of being though !!!

While I was cooking last weekend for the week, I couldn’t possibly let anyone in the family eat that food over the weekend and make my life more miserable. Eating out on cold weekends with the baby is difficult and takeouts is not an option for every meal on weekends. I wanted to make something quick, simple, one pot and I came across Paneer Khichuri in my growing collection of that Bong Mag Sananda.

We liked it served with my Ma's delicious Tamarind Achaar/Chutney, I of course because it was simple and made my life easy, D because he didn’t want to ruffle my already ruffled feathers. Big Sis S proclaimed she didn’t like it that much. She is in a stage or phase where she likes home cooked food only if the home is NOT her own.
But really it was pretty decent if you like Khichuri or Khichdi

This quick Medley of rice and lentils aka Khichuri takes on a new dimension with the Paneer and Raisins.It made the mundane Khchuri special and we liked it, try it out for a quick simple meal

Paneer Khichuri

How I Did It

Prep: Lightly fry till golden about 1/2 cup of Paneer cut in small cubes. If your paneer tends to get tough on frying dunk the lightly fried pieces in salted warm water.
Wash 1 cup of Rice and 1/3cup Yellow Moong Dal (Yellow Lentils), 1/3 cup Red Masoor Dal (Red lentils), 1/3 cup of whole Black Urad (or any other dal of your choice) . To learn more about Lentils or Dals go here.

Strat Cook:

Heat Oil in a Frying Pan.

Temper with 2 Bay Leaves/TejPata, 1/2" of Cinnamon stick and 1 tsp of Cumin Seeds/Jeera.

Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped onions (not in original recipe). Saute till the onions are soft and translucent.

Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped tomatoes(not in original recipe and can be skipped) and fry till the tomatoes are well done.

Add 1 cup of rice, and the Dals, 1/3 cup each.

Add salt, little sugar, 3-4 chopped green chillies, 2 tsp of fresh ginger paste and saute the rice and dal. Add water in proportion, I added about 4-5 cups of water. Depending on how you like your khchuri to be in respect to the consistency adjust water.

Mix well and let cook. When the rice and dal are cooked, add raisins and the paneer cubes. Stir and cook for couple more minutes.

Add 1 tsp of Ghee if you wish

Sprinkle Garam masala and grated paneer and serve.

Tips: Substitute paneer with Tofu for a healthier version. Instead of grated paneer you can add scrambled eggs before serving

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009

Happy New Year

Wishing You all A Very Happy New Year. Yeah, someone did say "Happiness is too many things these days for anyone to wish it on anyone lightly. So let's just wish each other a bile-less New Year and leave it at that." (author: Judith Crist), but I still insist that You have a Very Happy New Year and may You achieve all that makes You Happy, if it is bile so be it.

I have been in absentia for long, so long that I wasn't sure what to do after I logged into Blogger, Google had changed my dashboard, Haldiram had stopped sending me Goodies, and in general blogging seemed like something I did in another life just like maybe sleeping. But then there were very nice blogger friends who stopped by to Wish Me a Happy New Year and I wanted to come back, wanted to be a part again and so here I am. I am sorry for not replying to comments and just disappearing like the last cookie in the jar but I hope you do understand, and if you don't ummmmmm...

As you can see a lot happened in the time I have been missing. Little S is now Big Sis S and she is joined by Little (yeah really little) A. We went through some difficult times but we waded through them and are now looking forward towards a better, brighter 2009.

Cooking is not really my priority these days though food definitely is and I am also struggling to come up with a simple weekly menu to simplify life. So maybe I will be back with simple quick food to help me balance out life and also share some very delightful moments with the two sisters.