EVERYDAY GOLDEN

Love and Upma

I made Upma. If my mother reads this blog, she would be shocked, I hated upma all through my childhood, the texture, the onions, the taste, all of it was unpalatable to my poor ignorant tastebuds.

And then I came to the NC and had grits and it was love at first taste. Of course, Shrimp and Grits is an amazing dish with strong roots in Gullah cuisine, but I love plain grits in butter and even those instant quaker packets as well. After my love of grits was cemented where I was literally eating grits on a daily basis that it got me thinking about Upma. Upma is made of rava or semolina a derivative of cream of wheat, while grits is coarse ground cornmeal. The essence is the same however, a sticky, gooey highly textured dish that can be seasoned either savory or sweet. I am partial to the savory versions of both Rava and Grits. I like my grits, cheesy and spicy with a little of fat (bacon, butter) and of course shrimp. My upma I like spicy with mustard seeds and curry leaves and lots of ghee (clarified butter). I am still opening myself up to experimenting with upma, adding different toppings – nuts and raisins (YES!!!), veggies (meh), cheese ( I really want to try this soon).

But my point is, I learned to appreciate a familiar food that I had rejected only after I had found an unfamiliar version first.

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Dinner With the Family- A Week in My Life Friday&Saturday

So my original plan of doing Friday and Saturday separately for Adventuroo’s Week in My Life project is not going to happen. None of my pictures from Saturday is worth posting,  So I’m just going to jot down what we did on saturday at the bottom of this post. Sunday’s post is going to be skimpy too, but you’ll have to read it to know why.

Friday and Saturday were both busy days for me, it as mostly running errands, dealing with a tantrum-ing toddler and getting craft supplies busy

Friday night my parents invited us for a family dinner to celebrate Bijoya- the last day of Durga Puja. My mum cooked an elaborate dinner and we ate and ate and ate some more after we were already full

My parents have a toddler size camping chair on their deck for Bun and he loves to sit in that and look at my mum’s plants.

Bun and his Dee

 For Dinner, we had Stuffed Puris- fried bread with spices and peas stuffed inside, goat meat curry, Baked Fish in a cilantro and Coconut sauce, chickpeas chilli and rice and dal

My dad found this chocolate wine and decided to open this as a dessert wine and it was interesting. I like wine and I like chocolate, but I don’t think I like them together in a bottle.

But despite the negative review all around, we still finished the bottle. Now wine is ever wasted if my family around

After dinner, Bun read some books with my dad to get the bedtime routine started. And then since it was getting late, we said goodnight to Dee and Babu and headed home.

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Saturday Highlights

* I bought supplies for Bun’s Halloween costume

*Went to look at houses with my parents

*J, Bun and I took a family trip to the Verizon store at the mall to see if the Iphone 4S was in stock- it wasn’t

*We ate some Chick Fil A at the food court and then wandered around and saw some diggers and bulldozers.

*After Bun went to bed, J and I hung out and got caught up with our DVR and then I went to bed.

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Drunken Citrus Salad

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This sunday for the weekly sunday potluck I made Drunken Citrus Salad. It is the easiest, tastiest and prettiest salad ever.

Drunken Citrus Salad

1 cup manadarin oranges

1 cup navel oranges

1 cup red grapefruit

1 cup white grapefruit

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped mint

3 shots of good quality gin

Combine all the ingredients together and let sit for a while. Garnish with Mint leaves before serving.  You can also add sugar if you like your citrus sweet. I served it after 2 hours and it was good,but it was even better the next day.

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Southern Fried Chicken

I have had fried chicken before at restaurants, buffets, diners, KFC but I had home made fried chicken for the first time this sunday.  My friend F who is a total southern girl fried chicken and brought it over for the our weekly sunday potluck and it was unlike anything I have tasted before. I am not even a fan of fried chicken but this was delicious, crispy w/out being greasy, flavorful even on the inside, it was delicious. I guess there is something to be said for home cooked food. We also had fish tostadas, pasta salad, carrot slaw, caviar, seafood salad and my contribution Rasmalai(which I messed up). I love our weekly gathering of food and friends.

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Spicy Mexican Ceviche

I had Ceviche for the first time this weekend, Ceviche is a appetizer or salad that is made with fish that has been “cooked” in lime or lemon juice, essentially the acidity of the limes and lemon cook the fish w/out it ever having been on any heat source. Y made it mexican style, here’s a recipe I plan to try this week:

Mexican Ceviche

Cut 1 pound of white-fleshed fish into half(Snapper, catfish, bass, or tilapia work really well) —inch cubes and squeeze the juice of six limes over them. Set the dish aside (approx 6 hours) , and—while it marinates—chop 1 Bermuda onion, 3 tomatoes, and 2 jalapeno peppers (they’re hot!) very fine. Add theseplus 1/4 cup of olive or salad oil, 4 tablespoons of fresh cilantro or parsley, and salt and pepper to taste—to the fish, and let it stand for 10 minutes.

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Ode to 7Eleven

Okay, its not really an ode, but in honor of it being 7/11 today I thought I’d post about how much I love Seven Eleven. Right now, there is no seven eleven in my life because they don’t have seven eleven in the south. They have Circle K and I suppose its close to seven eleven, but i aske where’s the green and the orange? Its just not the same.  My favorite seven eleven memories are of course of the slurpee . Walking over to seven eleven on a hot summer day to get the diet coke slurpee…yum.  Or even having a debate about if the seven eleven at the bottom of Big Cottonwood canyon is the busiest 7 Eleven in the country. I still don’t believe it but if think it is , you are not alone, I went to high school with several people who thought that.

Another of my 7 eleven memories is of the one on Main street, Logan, where MB and I would stop by every friday evening to get  their syrupy sweet frozen coffees. This was our friday night ritual after which we would either drive down to SLC or go out and party. Those coffee drinks gave us just the right amount of caffeine boost. I remember we would often show up at a friend’s house giggly and acting stupid and people would think we were already drunk, but it was just the caffeine.

Anyway, maybe the next place J and I move to will have 7 elevens and I’ll make some more memories, but till then Thanks for the Slurpees and the good times 7 eleven. You were a huge part of my adolescent landscape.

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Backyard Shenanigans

For the 4th, J and I went to our friend F’s house for a BBQ. There was some amazing food, BBQ Chicken, Hot dogs, Coleslaw, Orzo salad , Brownies, Guacamole and this spicy potato salad. I am determined to get that recipe, even though F says  its a family recipe. I didn’t really take too many pics as J had the camera the whole night and I let him be photographer.

Here are a few I like:

Mmmm…Delicious and Spicy Bloody Mary

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Is it Durham or Singapore? What is DS’s crime?  most importantly why is he enjoying it?

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Some public S&M? hmm….what does this pic say about my upcoming marriage?

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Lighting a roman candle? or pointing out UFO’s?

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*Photos byJ and Y*

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Infusion Photos

J and I tried to experiment with a recipe we found online last week. The recipe didn’t turn out very well and is not worth sharing, however , since we infused vodka with chilli and tomatoes, it made for a very pleasing visual. Here are two photos at different stages of the infusion.

Infusing the chillies

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Infusing the Tomatoes

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Rainy day…Moping around

This morning, what was starting out as a nice relaxing morning quickly ended drastically on my way to school. I noticed my car was driving funny and I pulled over, only to find that I had a flat tire. I know, I know flat tires can happen to anyone  anywhere, but I was especially upset because they were brand new tires. I had just replaced my tires last month and here I was in the pouring rain, on my way to school with a flat tire. I called J and he drove out to help me fix it but for some reason he couldn’t get the tire off to put the spare tire on. So we had to drive to Target, buy a fix a flat and by now it was raining quite hard. When we got to the car, it turned out the fix a flat had a defect and most of the goo ended up on J and we only had a little bit to fix the tire. We finally manged to  get it to the mechanic and they assured us that they could fix the tire and I wouldn’t need new ones. Of course luck wasn’t on our side and they had to end up replacing the tire and it of course took a lot longer than they said it would. Ultimately, I am now poorer and had to come late to work and now I have to stay late too. Boo Hoo.

In other news, since I had a few hours at home this morning because of the car, I was able to make a yummy lunch and i decided to experiment with potato salad. J has been asking for poato salad lately and I’m really picky about potato salad. I absolutely love Jason’s Deli potato salad , where its all mashed and mustardy so I tried to make my own. I used

 Horseradish mashed Potato Salad

smashed potaoes,

horseradish mustard

a little chilli powder

  celery salt

black pepper

onion powder

Mayo

Bacon

 I mixed them all up together until it was smooth and lump free and it was delicious. Next time I am going to add hard boiled eggs, for more flavor explosion. We were in such a hurry to eat lunch that I didn’t take a picture, it looked so creamy and delicious though. 🙁

Here’s a generic pic thats close, only mine was creamier

i am so lame, i just blogged about potato salad. oh well

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Dahi Vada and Potluck

I am becoming rather proud of culinary skills lately. I have graduated from just cooking for J and my family to now cooking for big groups of people. Last Sunday DS and Y hosted a Potluck in their backyard and I cooked up a big batch of dahi vada and people actually enjoyed it.

In fact I overheard this conversation between DS and Y

DS: This is great, Did X make this ?

Y: No , this is the dish N and J brought

DS: N made this , really , wow!

The setting was really fun, they had set up a long picnic bench and it felt like this big family meal outdoors. There were Italian dishes, tapas, mac and cheese, shortbread cookies and Tempeh and also DS’s homebrew. After dinner Y and I watched her wedding video and the boys made fun of us.  Also I got an email from DS saying that they will be hosting every sunday , so it will become a summer tradition.

Anyway to celebrate the summer season, I am posting a recipe for Dahi Vada( Dough balls in Yoghurt): A yummy, chilled summer snack

Dahi Vada ( Makes 6 small portions)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups Urad Daal without skin (black lentils)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2″ piece of ginger grated
  • 2 green chillies chopped very fine
  • Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower oil for deep frying
  • 3 cups thick fresh yoghurt (should not be sour)
  • Red chilli powder to taste
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds roasted gently and ground into a fine powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Chopped corainder leaves to garnish

Preparation

  • Soak the urad daal in a bowl of water overnight. Grind it into a paste the next morning. Do not add any water while grinding.
  • Add the green chillies and ginger to this paste.
  • Mix 1 cup of yoghurt with 2 cups of water and salt to taste
  • Keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix the remaining yoghurt with the red chilli powder, chaat masala, cumin powder, sugar and salt to taste. Mix well. Keep aside.
  • Heat oil for deep frying on a medium flame. Grease your palms with oil and put 1 tbsp of the lentil mix in your palm. Make into a donut shape (these are the vadas).
  • Slide each vada into the hot oil and fry till light golden. Drain and put immediately into the yoghurt/water mix. Allow to soak for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the yoghurt/water mix and press gently between your palms. Arrange these vadas in a deep platter as you prepare them.
  • When all urad daal paste is used up and the the vadas are done as above and in the platter, pour the thick yoghurt mix over them to cover completely.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
  • To serve, put 1 or 2 Dahi Vadas in a plate and garnish with Tamarind Chutney and green Mint-coriander Chutney. (optional)
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