I am so stupid….
I am so stupid….
This recipe wrote itself last week when after making the clam-salmon stew, I had a baby plate of parsley sitting on the kitchen counter all night. I should have put it away but even with the heat whirring on much too often, last week was a cold, cold one. The parsley was okay. It was so okay that I chopped up a tablespoon of garlic and plopped it over my eggs which I fried in olive oil and a rosemary stem the next morning. I proceeded to sprinkle it with seeds, lots of lemon and whatever powdered, flaked pepper I felt like that day. Eating from that plate reminded me of the days we would eat bhaji for breakfast. Bhaji simply means vegetable and in Goa it’s a common breakfast or tea-time snack. The baby plate of whatever bhaji you chose would come with a side of chopped onions, a chilli, lime and bread. You would sprinkle some onions over the bhaji and squeeze lime over it before scooping it into your mouth with the help of a spoon and bread. If you wanted a puri (deep-fried flat bread), you could have that instead. If you’re ever in Goa, skip the beach shacks and go get mixed bhaji and chao (tea) first….
Every morning that I wake up (read: eyes open to an alarm sound) I try to reason with myself and the other half-asleep human next to me: Why? I question if I should get out of bed and wonder why I bother. Forget the fact that I have to partake in an insane morning ritual called a commute. I hate it. I never thought I would be the one doing it. Yet, here I am. Sitting in a bus and being annoyed at each and every person that steps through the door. Am I going crazy? Because I know it’s slightly…very…unhealthy to be angry at people you don’t know. Of this I am fully aware. Instead of making up stories in my head about the fun lives they lead, I find myself frowning at the ladies that “save seats” (the last time I saw this, voices were raised and somebody got slapped. Hello Mumbai. I miss your gall.) I cringe at the human that turns around and stink eyes conversations considered loud by her ears even though she carries ear plugs and all she requires silence for is shopping on an iPad. I wonder why they do this every. single. day. And there I am, sitting amidst them, telling myself I’m different. That I can float above it all and see it for its shamminess. I am so full of it.
Despite this slight shift in perspective, I am still proud of myself. I am reading more than I ever have, drawing more than my mind can contain and dreaming, always dreaming about a life that has those two things front and centre at all times. I am happy with the company I find myself in while I’m at home and the people that have been absolute gifts to me when I’m out in the world. I would have never been able to see all of this for what it is if I didn’t have to do that one thing I disliked – twice a day. I guess I am floating above it all.
As quite an anti-thesis to the “follow your dreams” bs, I’m here to make you a new pitch. Don’t follow your dreams. Dream-pursuing require leaps of faith not all of us come equipped to make. If you’re doing something you dislike – that seems to sit in the way of that free-spinning beach feeling – do it anyway. At least for a little while more. Learn from it. Let it grow you. And then just like that new fingernail that grows just enough for you to spend your anxiety on, bite it off. A majority of us only ever read about successes and rarely ever see them play out in life. I can live many lives through my books but when the last page has turned, this existence is all I have. I can’t waste my time on click bait anymore. Yes I know A took B and jumped on a plane to the world and I won’t believe what they do next. I can’t believe because behind that headline is another person doing a job to make me want more. I already got that part covered.
When you are compelled to do life in the usual way, fill the tiny spaces with work you can be absolutely proud of. Fill it with people and moments. Fill it all. Little by little, you do realise that the work will lead you somewhere. All those dreams you had about standing bang in the middle of the Mongolian steppes, will manifest itself somehow. Maybe through a painting, maybe through a person…maybe even through a bowl of food. I am certain of the karmic effect of random doodles on the back of that history textbook. There is always a plan.
Yesterday I planted flowers, cooked from a new cookbook and ran to new places. Today I got back on that bus. I am more than halfway through a new book. Tomorrow I will change the world.
Baked eggs over a sweet potato and pepper hash
It’s been a long while since I’ve done an Eggs on a Sunday post. I’m not sure why considering I still eat the most eggs of all time on every day of the calendar year. It’s making a comeback, baby. Don’t you worry.
Heat the oven to a temperature of 400 degrees F. Spread parchment paper on to a baking sheet and place the sweet potatoes on it. Spoon 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over the potatoes and mix well. Add the chili and garlic powder + salt over the sweet potatoes and mix until they are well coated with spice and seasoning. Spread the potatoes in an even layer on the baking sheet and place in the top half of the oven for 20-25 minutes. Cook until they are considerably soft and the edges lighten in colour. Set the potatoes aside in a bowl and leave the oven on.
Place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to it. Once the oil is sufficiently warmed, add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions soften, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the diced red and yellow pepper mixture to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes or until the peppers soften a bit. Add the roasted sweet potato to the pepper mixture, give it 2-3 big stirs until the contents of the skillet are in perfect harmony. Season with salt and pepper, according to your taste. Flatten the vegetables slightly with the back of a spatula once seasoned.
Crack the four eggs on top of the sweet potato and pepper mess. Pop the into the oven for 4-5 minutes or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. I like my yolks slightly cooked, yet runny. Go with how you enjoy it.
While the eggs are cooking, warm the tortillas on a frying pan on the stove, for about 30 seconds to a minute. Keep them warm by covering with a tea towel.
Pull the skillet out of the oven and crack more fresh pepper on top. Serve with fresh cilantro and slices of avocado on top of warm tortillas. I didn’t have it on hand but grated sharp cheddar would be so delicious sprinkled on top.
Enjoy this. It’s a good life.
My father’s name is Justos Eustace Francis D’Souza. Apparently, when the priest at the church was filling up his baptism certificate, he pulled Justos out of thin air and gave him this name that pissed off his father. The rest of my father’s six brothers (and only siblings) all have names that start with an “E”, except my dad. According to my Uncle Edwin, my Papa wanted to KILL the priest. This does not surprise me. My father is the youngest of his brothers and he is the main cook in our family. He loves entertaining and loves to cook new things until he can perfect it. He is a great partner to my mother, even though they are complete opposites (He can’t sit still, and she likes to take her time doing things).
I know I’m a day late writing this Father’s Day post but aren’t we the same people that say things like: “Why celebrate just one day?” If it was up to my dad, he wouldn’t give a shit. I don’t need to change my facebook photo, my face or my instagram – he’s a lot more important to us than that. He loves eating something sweet after lunch and dinner and he wakes up at 5am everyday, blasting the radio and then leaving it on while he goes off to play badminton with his friends. Muscle ache on one day? “I’m feeling better now,” he says the same day as if to convince my mother that he is not going to render himself immobile. He hasn’t done any bodily damage yet and like he rightfully corrected me, he’s 64 and looks nothing like it. He is a typical Asian father, (I’ve learnt that our continent produces very similar fatherly-types) and everything he does, he does for his family. Father’s Day 2014 is no big deal. But I feel it’s necessary to toast a man who jointly raised 3 daughters, and unknowingly taught them how to be badasses (This is not a negative thing, Mama and Dada). So here’s my interview #2 with my Dada, all the way from Goa, India.
1) White chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate?
2) Do you like having such a long and complicated name?
It is not complicated. In the old days babies were always given a minimum of 3 names.
3) Why do you sleep so early?
I believe in the early to bed and early to rise philosophy. Also it gives you a head start to do things instead of trying to hurry.
4) What’s your favourite food to cook in a hurry in the morning when you’re trying to get your wife to get ready for work?
Rice, fish curry, some veggies and marinate fish to fry later.
5) Who taught you to cook? What’s the first thing you cooked by yourself?
I learnt myself (mainly the basics) at home in Mumbai and later in Saudi Arabia when I went to meet friends at their place of residence.
5) Name your three favourite ingredients?
Garam masala, ginger-garlic paste and chillies
7) How does it make you feel when see how well you and mama have provided for your family?
I think it is our duty to look after the children when you have them. This is what has been done for years by all parents. I do not know if this system will survive in the future.
8) What made you realise you wanted to marry your wife/our mother?
I liked her the moment I saw her and all the rest fell into place.
9) What is one of the best things you learnt from your father?
To respect others, listen more than talk, and do good (if you can) to others.
10) Were you a mama’s boy?
Maybe being the youngest. But I think later Edgar was the favourite as he did not get married.
11) Who is your favourite brother?
I don’t have any favourite
12) How do you manage to look 10 years younger than 63?
I am 64 and not 63. My principle of hardwork, exercise and “early to bed” has helped.
13) What are your best memories from your childhood?
Very little as we grew up the hard way, like most of the Goans in Mumbai. Although we had other sorts of entertainment and there was a lot of love among people. Unlike now people only spend their time on computers and watching TV.
14) Is there anything you regret in your life?
Nothing! I think God has blessed me and given me more than I deserve.
15) Why do you think Bidli likes you so much? (Editor’s note: Bidli is my cat)
It is not Bidli liking or disliking me. I feed her which no one does. Surely she will like me.
16) Who’s your favourite daughter? (Mama didn’t answer this one and Jane thinks it’s me, just so you know)
I don’t have any favourites. To me I will give and do the same for all
17) When are you coming to visit me?
If your mother would be able to travel I could come to the US every year. Tough luck. Anyway, I may see if I can come someday. First you move into to your new house.
18) Do you care about Father’s Day or not?
To me it is just another day as I have to go about doing my daily chores.
Happy Father’s Day to my dad and yours, your father figures and mothers/dads who do it all on their own, with devotion and love.
Eggs with herb-y baked beans on a polenta cake
What better way to celebrate my dad with a meal I most remember him cooking for our family on Sunday. I cooked this for myself today to remember his Sunday breakfasts for us when we were younger (and even now, except we wake up too late on Sunday for him to wait around for us). I always ate what I called a “yolk egg”. I loved the white cooked and the yolk raw as a sunny day. The baked beans and polenta cake is an updated take on what I consider comfort food. Thanks to the runny “yolk egg” that my father made me (“You want one egg or 2?”), I will always have eggs on a Sunday.
Herb-y baked beans
You’re about to notice that I used canned, diced tomatoes to make these baked beans. I know I wanted a thicker baked bean situation, which I wasn’t able to get from natural ripe tomatoes. It requires some of the canning juices to form the body that makes it breakfast-y, which is why I recommend it. You can make this a day before and store it in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F
Heat up some olive oil on medium heat in a skillet and to it add the chopped garlic. Stir around for about a minute, making sure it does not brown. Once you begin to smell the garlic, add the leeks and stir for another minute or until the leeks are slightly softened.
Add the diced tomatoes, juices and all and let it simmer, stirring from time to time. Once the tomato juices have reduced and slightly thickened, add the herbs to it. Mix well and add the cannellini beans, stir around for about a minute and then take it off the stove. Using the back of a spatula, flatten the contents so they are evenly-spread in the skillet.
Cut about half a tbsp of unsalted butter or more (if you like) and put it on the contents of the skillet. If you have an oven-safe cast iron skillet, pop it into the oven for 5 minutes. Pull it out at the 5 minute mark, give it one stir and once again spread the contents evenly in the skillet. Put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes. The tomato-y flavours will have settled perfectly with the beans and you will smell the herbs from a mile away, as they bring this dish together. Season with salt.
The original recipe serves a lot more people and can be made with the help of a 9×9 inch cake tin. I didn’t want leftovers (crazy, I know) so I halved the recipe and “cuted” it up with ramekins. I used 2 ramekins, which were about 3.5 inches in diameter. They made polenta cakes that were about 1.5″ in height. Next time I try this, I might add something more to the cornmeal (CHEESE+GREENS!). For now, these did well.
Adapted from Food52
(makes two 3.5″ polenta cakes)
In a medium-sized pot, add milk, water and salt and bring it to a boil on medium-high heat. When the liquid starts to bubble, start adding the cornmeal, a little by little, stirring as you go. Once you’ve added all the cornmeal, keep stirring the mixture for about 5 minutes until it’s thick, smooth and creamy. Apart from creating a smooth texture, the stirring also helps prevent the cornmeal from sticking to the pot.
Grease 2 ramekins with butter or cooking spray. Add half and half of the cornmeal mix to them until they are about 1/2 full. Let them cool completely for 15-30 minutes and set. This cooling process helps the polenta cakes take the shape of the container (the ramekins, in this case).
Add 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick (preferably) skillet on a medium-high flame. Overturn the ramekins and the polenta cakes should slip out easily. If they aren’t doing so, you can try loosening them up with a butter knife.
Put the polenta cakes on the skillet and cook them for 2 minutes on one side. Flip the cake and cook for 2 more minutes. Once they have that even brown colour, they are done.
Serve them up on a plate. Top with warm herb-y baked beans.
Lastly, don’t forget the egg! Cook an egg, over easy and put it on the very top of this delicious breakfast-brunch pyramid.
These eggs on a Sunday. Damn.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I made them. Probably about a cocktail and how this would make quite a kick-ass hangover breakfast, a la Jane’s 10/5 Hendre Building community floor egg spread. Sadly I was never hungover. I was too busy thinking “I hate these people. They don’t have to work tomorrow.” I had to. On Sunday, which was fine. I got to revel on Monday – my weekend. Ah!
But since I brought up Bombay, I might as well wonder out loud. None of us have ever taken a photo of those breakfasts. Yet, I can picture them as I type this. One of us (me) always had to wake up early to open the door for the house help. Everybody in middle class (entitled?) India has help, even though their flats are a teeny tiny square. I would have to give her my apologetic acknowledgement that “Yes, there are people spread all over the floor, on pillows and makeshift mattresses, but please don’t judge us. I have to go to work. Judge me for that.” She’d do her work in 10 minutes and pretend to work for the other 20. Then she would leave. She was awesome.
I’m glad we didn’t take any photos. Jane, who was still a photographer-in-training was always busy making the breakfast and shoving the pot of tea on the stove to even think of a photo. Those are the memories. I know I’ve written about this before. It just seems to keep coming back to me. It feels like such a longggggg time ago! GEEEZUS. But it’s right there. In the back of my mind, whenever I want to think about it.
It’s there right now.
Soft scrambled egg toasts
Beat the eggs in a bowl very vigorously, until they look frothy, and have small bubbles all over. You can do this with a hand blender as well. I never want to do extra dishes.
Put a frying pan on the stove, on low heat and add the oil. Wait for it to heat just a tad. It’s important to keep the heat low as this is what makes the eggs creamy. Pour the eggs in the pan and let them settle in for about a minute or 2. Next, keep stirring (scrambling) them, until they are cooked, but still have the creamy texture. Take the pan off the heat, a little before they’re done.
To prepare however many toasts you plan on eating, spread the avocado on (like you’ve seen on Instagram 1,000 billion times) and add the eggs on the top. Top with bits of torn mozzarella and chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
Ahh. You need this.
I’m back in Everett, Washington! This is where I live now, you know. I didn’t want to plaster my coming-back-to-here until I completely felt at ease with the changes. I don’t mean jet lag because really, what it that?! There’s something strange about air travel. The speed at which you move does not adequately keep up with your mind and before you know it, you’re somewhere new. Try flying the Bombay-Goa route and you’ll know what I mean. It was nice to be able to forget about this place for 3 months though.
And now the emotions! Oh hell. Try walking into an airport knowing that you won’t see this place you complained about year after year. If it wasn’t the heat, it was the way people drive or the utter lack of common sense/courtesy. I didn’t need to move countries to know that my last nerve was about to burst. I did however, need to move so I knew how much I didn’t mind. I woke up every morning knowing I was on the clock and even with nothing on the agenda, I was content. I was in no hurry to check things off an imaginary to-do list and the biggest of my concerns was should I or should I not fry the bombil. (Shouldn’t. Always. What a mess.)
Sitting in my corner right now, I can’t believe I was so stressed out about losing my greencard. I didn’t like how much time it took from me but I can find more than one silver linings from that time. For one, I got to spend time with old roommates/friends Swansy and Kusumita for at least 2 or 3 or 4 whole days. Nothing has changed. By that I mean I can still leave a heavy, antique silver letter-opener in the shape of a dagger in Swansy’s house and have her freak out about its mysterious appearance two days later. As for Kusumita, two years after me and she has a husband of her own. I am happy to report that I also scared her after her “I love Bombay” drive back home from the airport. Again, I didn’t have to try. All I did was stand right near the door of her stationary taxi and ask her if she needed help with her bag (up 4 floors). After 1 month in Durgapur, West Bengal, that can be translated as: “Hands up. Give me all your money. I am also a ghost.”
My other silver linings were my sister and new husband. Jane, who helped me with her mafia network of friends, also encouraged me to stand up at the back of a roofless Jeep. I don’t know if that makes any sense but day after day of being pissed off by the government the only thing that made sense was to drive to Farmer’s Choice at the back of that monster (by Goan standards) vehicle. It was perfect. Apart from making me photocopy every piece of official paperwork that I owned, brother-in-law was there with his Facebook account, every time I needed to change his status update and make myself laugh. Once he was done calling me “evil”, he pitched in and helped without having to ask him 10 billion times. I appreciated that and I also appreciated his Jeep.
My parents, I’m happy to report, haven’t changed at all. They will still stick out their necks to help us, their children. Before I flew to Goa, I had am imaginary list of things I wanted to do. I didn’t need to do them but I put them out into the universe anyway. Out of it, I got a picnic After many “ohh I don’t know if I’ll come…”, I am so glad my whole family was all part of it. Baga, the beach that made up every summer in my childhood book, was once again in a starring role. And there were (I don’t know how we’re related but we’re closer than actual-) cousins! I love LOVE when things come full circle. From there, delicious memories are made. This is the Goa I love and the Goa I’ll go to the ends of the earth for.
As for Gayle, all our memories revolved around food. From that pizza she made (which I threw up because who knew eating too much and too fast could make you sick?) to that pizza we ordered from Domino’s. Don’t tell my parents but we also secretly got them a new dog with zero watchdog ability and a lot of clothes-stealing ability. He will be neutered soon.
I had the time of my life at Miah and Ajay’s wedding, and added about eight thousand and nine “I love Goa” moments. Most of them happened in the most familiar places and how grateful I am for that. Nothing brings greater clarity than knowing you don’t have to have the world to do what you love. You just have to be present….in the same geographic location as a 5-year-old. That water fight was no fluke. Neither was the neon-lit dance party. Cynthia is an addiction. If I could wish things for people I know, I would wish her enthusiasm. There is no other way to live. I hope she never forgets how to be 5. I hope I don’t either.
Now I’m back here and I have to start worrying about a job and drive Matt crazy, while he returns the favour. There is this great loss you feel as you leave one part of your life and move to another. I don’t think it can be described in words. Instances would describe it better. It can come from a certain smell or a sudden rush of memories aroused by the most arbitrary things. There’s no way you can stop them, until they become normal and you accept them. Maybe I just can’t leave things behind easily. It is one of my favourite qualities. I will work through it with food.
It always works.
I made this breakfast on my last Sunday in Goa. I was going for the biggest, bestest breakfast memory and I pulled this out of the archives, with my mother by my side. It was fancified with some roasted cherry tomatoes on the top, but it is the same old same.
Break the eggs in your biggest coffee mug and beat them till they’re bubbly and fluffy. Add the onion, tomato and green chilli to the eggs and fold in. Sprinkle salt into the mix. Heat a non-stick pan with oil and pour in half of the mixture. Turn the flame to medium heat and let it completely cook on one side. Flip it over and cook for 2 more minutes or more, depending on how well-done you like your eggs. Fold it over and serve hot.
Extras: I topped the eggs with simple olive oil +garlic +rosemary oven-roasted cherry tomatoes. This is the recipe, with slight ingredient modifications.
I also cut up a chickoo, because it was the season and it’s my favourite milkshake fruit. I didn’t really need to tell you that but I just wanted to.
I hope your memories serve you well.
For Turkey and especially for my father, both of which/whom have a lot to do with my dreams.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, the main streets of Istanbul were empty on Sunday mornings, and as we drove through neighbourhoods I’d never seen before, we’d listen to “light Western music” (the Beatles, Sylvie Vartan, Tom Jones and suchlike) and my father would tell me that the best thing a person could do was to live by his own lights, that money could never be the object, but if happiness depended on it, it could be a means to that end; or he would tell me how once when he left us and gone to Paris he had written poems in his hotel room, and had also translated Valery’s poems into Turkish, but years late while travelling in America, the suitcase in which he kept all his poems and translations had been stolen. As the music rose and fell in rhythm with the city streets, he would adjust his stories to the beat and I knew that everything he told me – of having seen Jean-Paul Satre many times in the streets of Paris during the 1950s or how the Pamuk Apartments in Nsantasi had come to be built, of the failure of one of his first businesses – I would never forget. From time to time he would pause to admire the view, or the beautiful women on the pavement, and while I listened to his offerings of gentle and understated wisdom and advice, I would gaze at the scenes of the leaden winter mornings as the flashed across the windshield. As I watched the cars crossing the Galata Bridge, the back neighbourhoods where a few wooden houses stood, the narrow streets, the crowds heading to a football match, or the thin funnelled tugboat pulling coal barges down the Bosphorus, I’d listen to my father’s wise voice telling me how important it was that people followed their own instincts and passions; that actually, life was very short and that, also, it was a good thing if a person knew what he wanted to do in life, that, in fact, a person who spent his life writing, drawing and painting could enjoy a deeper, richer life, and as I drank in his words, they would blend in with the things I was seeing. And before long, the music, the views rushing past the window, my father’s voice (“Shall we turn in here?” he’d ask) and the narrow cobblestone streets all merged into one, and it seemed to me that while we would never find answers to these fundamental questions, it was good for us to ask them anyway; that true happiness and meaning resided in places we would never find and perhaps did not wish to find, but – whether we were pursuing the answers or merely pleasure and emotional depth – the pursuit mattered no less than the attainment, the asking as important as the views we saw through the windows of the car, the house, the ferry. With time, life – like music, art and stories – would rise and fall, eventually to end, but even years later, those lives are with us still in the city views that flow before out eyes, like memories plucked from dreams.
– (a very large) Excerpt from Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk
Broccoli and paneer omelette
This Sunday, my main aim is to gross my husband out by showing him broccoli in an omelette. We’re told so much through American TV and its picky children that broccoli is “ewwwww” (another term we learn from the Americans in the TV). Mr Stretchy Pants embodies this spirit and I still don’t understand why (“the smell, the smell!!”). It tastes normal to me, which is why I went ahead and made this breakfast…TWICE.
Muwhahahahaha….*ahem*. Must have a sore throat or something.
I like coming up with omelette combinations and this is a definite winner.
You will need two eggs, a handful of broccoli florettes, green onions and some paneer, sesame seeds, chilli-garlic sauce, salt and pepper.
Beat the eggs into a bowl and then head for the broccoli. First, run cold water over it. Separate the broccoli head from the tougher part of the stem and then peel what’s remaining of it. This will tenderise the it and make it easy to cook. If you don’t want to use it at all, chop off the whole stem and save the broccoli florettes. Break them apart randomly. Roughly run a knife through the broken florettes until they are broken up into smaller sections (like in the picture). Put these pieces into the bowl with the beaten egg. The paneer part is easy. Just chop the block into small 1/2 inch cubes and put them into the bowl as well, along with the chopped green onions. At this point it’s going to look like there are more add-ons than eggs. To that I say, great work team!
Heat up a pan and coat it with oil. Let the oil heat up and then add the egg mix to it. Spread out the broccoli and paneer around the omellete-to-be and then put a lid on the pan. Let the bottom of the omelette cook for about 4 minutes. It should be well-cooked and golden brown on the underside. This makes it so much easier to flip-over without turning it into a scramble. Which brings us to the next step: Flip it over, very carefully. It’s going to be heavy. Let it cook for a minute more on the other side. Slowlyyy slide it onto your plate. Season with salt, pepper, sesame seeds and drops of chilli-garlic sauce.
Happy Father’s Day to all the father’s and father figures, in the stars and on Earth. And to my own, thank you for Sunday breakfasts, loving Bidli, my mother and your spawns.
“She loves onions. She puts them in everything!” he said two Sundays ago, only half-knowing that I could and I would tackle him. It isn’t something you just throw out there. Unless…you have a damn problem with..onions?
I put them in everything. What of it? After years of seeing every meal in my house start with a base of onions and tomatoes, obviously I would put them in everything. So I looked down at my arms and then went and checked myself in the mirror. *WHEW* Still brown. Now where was I…
…Like every clear-thinking, dal-soaking, chapati-rolling person that came before me, I recognise, many times a day, the contribution of this root. Too much of it and things get a bit weird. Too little and why did I even bother? I’m no onion abuser. I know where to draw a carefully layered purple line. Like just yesterday. I had 1 whole mutant onion to cook with. I have this irrational fear that if I cut something and don’t use all of it, I’ll forget about it and it will perish. Sad and lonely in the cold, white, magic, disappearing box. I never want to become too good at making things disappear unless they are lower-back pain-like things. Never (especially not) food. Convoluted, I know. I am like this.
Did I use the whole onion? Heck no. Half? No bueno. Quarter. 1/4. That’s what I went with and that’s the story of the palak-paneer from Saturday. Perfectly onioned and praised from the rooftops (from the couch in front of Benson and Stabler). Of course, I have no picture proof of two (one being my) happy-faces and tongue prints on plates but that’s only because I have a long way to go with this blogging thing.
Long, long, long, long, long.
I also have an equal amount of “long ways” to go with ever giving up onions. In everything. They belong, you know? At this moment I have four different varieties of onion in the kitchen. How can I cook the food of my people without them? Don’t know. Don’t care. Is there an ailment where too much-onion eating leads to a split personality disorder? Got it, already.
I did feel a bit strange…like every eye on the room was following me when he spoke of onions and me. It sounded 20 times louder than it actually way. I felt like a sex offender. (WHAT?) I felt like he was outing me in front of cooks that snap their fingers and pull cakes out of the oven. I felt like tackling him.
I should’ve done it, but for this other thing he said in front of the family.
Fancypants: “I tell ya what, I hate cooked spinach too but she makes this one thing..what is it?…palak-paneer…”
Me: “It’s like a spinach soup but thicker…”
Him (still Fancypants): “…And it’s damn good.”
I’ll tackle him next time.
Fridge-cleansing eggs aka I forgot how I made these
I promise, I’m thinking really hard about what exactly was going through my mind when I made these. I can tell you this much: It has leeks, potato and a red onion apart from the four eggs, and half and half. The egg whites were beaten separately and the yolks were then folded in along with the half and half. The leeks and onions were cut and sauteed in a little bit of oil (just to lightly coat the bottom of the pan). The potato was boiled in water till it was cooked but not too soft, if you know what I mean. I then sliced the potato into thin discs and lined them up in an 8 inch baking dish. I poured in the eggs, and sprinkled the leek-onion mix on the top.
As for the temperature I baked this in, I cannot recall. Draaawwing so many blanks.
Like I said earlier, I have a long, long, long, long, long, long way to go with this blogging thing.
There’s an expression in this country, which I’m going to use right now. It’s “blue collar” and relevant. Urbandictionary dot com, the know-all of pop culture references (because it allows common folks like us to look up the meaning of dumbass) should have a somewhat appropriate explanation of it. Look it up because 1:07:48 and just one 30 second break later…
Git r done.
And since I’m going by urbandictionary.com definition #1, this next expression seems fine as well…
Egg bhurji with dal
Sometimes I feel this is the only reason I make dal, so I can scramble it into eggs the next morning. As if I need any reason to make dal in the first place, right ladies?! Ladies? …Erm. Okay, I’ll rephrase that. Right, nobody?
That’s what I’m talking about.
If you’re wondering what bhurji is, it’s eggs scrambled with onions, spices, tomatoes, chillies and mostly I don’t even remember what else. If you’re wondering what dal is, it’s all the pretties from the family of split lentils that my Indian peoples make into this stew-like dish. It’s usually eaten with rice or roti/chapati/paratha and I am so lucky to live with another human who won’t touch it with a 10-foot-pole. It’s better that way. More for me.
More for eggs the next morning.
I was trying to post my easy recipe for it this week but I forgot (conveniently) the food blog requisites. When I did remember, I took this picture.
Oh, sometimes you also eat it with bread.
The universe was on my side this week though. Ms Hungry & Excited made dal and it’s just what I was looking for on her blog a week ago. I didn’t find it then, which forced me to make my own (FORCED, right) and then I took that ^ picture in the middle of stuffing my face. I meant every second of it.
What I didn’t use from her original recipe is the kasuri methi, asafoetida and red chilli powder. Instead of using red chillies, I used serrano peppers. Also, toor dal is yellow split lentils. I cook one cup of the lentils (soaked overnight) in a pot with 1 cup of water for about 25 minutes or until soft. It’s only because I don’t own a pressure cooker and I don’t plan on owning one either.
If this made no sense to you, the comment space is all yours.
Once your dal is ready, don’t eat it! Well, eat some because it’s freakin delicious.
The next morning, it will be even more so. That’s the thing about food from my hood. It just gets better with time. At least until it can’t anymore. Stop talking, Edlyn.
Break two eggs in a bowl and beat them well. Pour the eggs in a hot, greased-with-oil pan and scramble until it just begins to set. As soon as it gets clumpy, take about a serving spoon scoop of dal and mix it into the eggs. Keep scrambling until some of the water from the dal evaporates and the eggs are scrambled through (or done to your liking).
It’s best eaten with bread. In Goa. At my house.
I guess you could say I finished the 5K race yesterday. Because I DID!
It’s not like we had to go up a steep Seattle hill or anything and I did not feel like throwing up after that. I’m a professional after all. The day was beautiful. It was sunny. We were in a park. I could hear the birds. There were people propagating Mexican stereotypes and everybody (just about everybody) wanted to get to the finish line.
But let’s start at the beginning – Saturday. I might as well have been pregnant because I had butterflies the size of giant moths in my stomach all morning. I knew I would finish the race but I just couldn’t shake that silly feeling. It made me think back to the days before an exam. Sweaty palms, that dreadful feeling of resignation and every part of you wishing that you’d just started studying a month earlier like Roll No 7. The show off. The eternal after-the-fact, just-outside-the-door paper discusser. The kind you would watch just to see when they finished and walked out so you could feel so sorry for yourself. Watch and despise. Watch and despise. Except for Saahil. He was cool but that was in college.
My race friend and lomo friend familiarised me with every form of “race etiquette” right down to the part where we weren’t supposed to wear the official race T-shirts so we wouldn’t look like n00bs. This was just past 6.30 am and along with some of the first rays of daylight, I was soaking it all in. She also familiarised me with the term “side ache”, which I want to use from now on. It sounds so much nicer than “exercise-related transient abdominal pain”. It also sounds like something a n00b would say, so I like side ache.
We walked down to the park where the race would happen and we practice ran the hill which would be part of the route. When Ashley first told me about it the day before I clearly remember letting out a “WHAT?!” I meant it. This was a “WHAT?!” hill and I thought we would run up it once.
Twice. It happened twice. I’m glad I didn’t know this before.
I would love nothing more than to dramatise every step of the way but I can’t. I loved it all and I let all the drama happen before: Right down to getting hit on by random strangers who can’t quite grasp the meaning of “I’m married.” I had an official running time of 33 minutes and I came 700 and something out of a thousand and something. It was the best feeling in the world after I stopped feeling like vomit and we completely deserved every sip of that free drink.*
Now I know what you’re thinking: “You have the 10K, still.” Oh yes I know. I’ve known it since that January day, when I made an imaginary bucket list (of nothing). This was the same day I decided that the ability to walk was a luxury. Yes, I have that 10K still and the longer it hangs over my head, the better I feel.
Throw me out of my comfort zone why don’t you, life? Because I guess I can finish the next one too.
One of my interweb friends suggested I make this on the exact same morning I decided that I would. In the spirit of not fighting fate, I went with my gut and came out very pleased with myself. The fact that I got breakfast AND blueberry tea out of it was a bonus.
Keep your eggs out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start the party. Separate the egg whites from the yolks in two bowls. It’s better to use a glass bowl for the whites. You’re going to have to beat the crap out of the egg whites but if you’re life is blessed with an immersion/hand blender, you should be okay. On the lowest setting, I beat the egg whites for a minute until they got frothy. A minute later, they started to get frothier and dense as well. I turned the blender to a slightly higher speed (just by 1) and kept it at that for 5 more minutes and then stopped it. The egg whites were forming into gentle peaks which were not quite like meringues (stiff) but definitely fluffy omelet-worthy. I beat the egg yolks in their own bowl by hand and then gently folded them into the white with a spatula.
I put a pan on the stove on medium heat and added a little butter to it just to grease the pan ever-so-lightly. I poured in the eggs and took a deep breath. I only breathed again after I successfully managed to flip the omelet (4 minutes later) without it turning to a four-letter word zone. Very dangerous territory.
Once the omelet was cooked on both sides, I put it on a plate. It was then sprinkled with salt, pepper, goat cheese and chives and eaten as is.
Consumed, devoured, all that good well-deserved Sunday kind of stuff, where I was extra glad to have feet.
I hope you are too.