Monday, April 5, 2010


Is the Life you're living worth the Life you're giving up to live it?

Friday, July 4, 2008

It's a good day to touch on this.

Change is ever-present, hopefully... The bitch of it is you can never really tell if change is good or bad, and, maybe it's better in the end rather than stress to just look at it as change. Some people try to control it-only allot one change at a time as if they really have a say in it. Some people embrace as many as possible at once, and then consider themselves very brave or very exciting.

I think you just deal with it. Everyone undergoes change, and you don't have a choice.

Character though, is how you handle the changes in your life.
Do you take them out on people?
Do you lament the losses, celebrate the gains?
Do you whine your lack of control of life, or do you hide inside and think by that you can avoid it?

Well, here's to the New, whatever it becomes.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

because I'm shuffling around the apartment, and making dishes like what I am dubbing "egg-luck."

Typically I don't post recipes on here-this is more about my exploration outside the written rules, than my regurgitation of said rules-even if they are rules I've written myself. And this is not a recipe really, just a framework and suggestions.

Egg-luck is basically an egg casserole, based on stale bread, leftover meal bits from the week, and cheese. It's as versatile as it sounds, and while you could assemble the ingredients and make it-the point when I created it was to use up stuff in the fridge. I've never made this the same way twice, but the base is always the same.

I cube stale bread and soak it in eggs and milk. Soak for a bit, esp if the crust is really hard. I only ever buy baguettes or dinner rolls, so the crust is always hard. Then, mix in whatever you want! Today I used a half a yellow tomato, capers, yoghurt, tomato paste, tomatillo salsa, chimichurri rub mix and garlic green beans. In the past there's been ham bits (though I think it was too strong), sun-dried tomatoes, sausage, spinach... I'd like to try rice or pasta too. toss the dish in a 350-400 degree over- till it's mostly cooked. Then top with cheese-whatever you have! Today it was a hard rosemary something, cheddar, and Gouda.

And that's it! I make this on Sun, to use up stuff, and to have a ready-to-heat breakfast or late night meal through the week. Someday, I'll remember to spray the dish before cooking- so I don't have to soak'n'scrub.

Here's a pic of this weeks-I dusted with paprika for aesthetics:

And cut:

So have at it folks: What else can you put in? What have you tried? What's your leftover-user-upper dish?

Monday, April 21, 2008

funny pictures
see more crazy cat pics
found on

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Swedish Cheat-balls

I'm always looking for new ways to use the leftover bits of meals, and Thanksgiving meals are always prime sources for "bits." Since we started making our own cranberry sauce a few years ago, we've consistently made too much but it's always been delicious and it's felt such a shame to throw out.

I have a love of those salty swedish meatballs at Ikea, and had been thinking for a while about making a version of them from frozen meatballs, and using the leftover cranberry sauce to make a curried "lingonberry-like" dressing. I figured multiple uses of those yummy trader-joes meatballs was also a fun thing to play with, so I did.

The key is really the sauce- it needs to be clearly meat-flavored, and rich and creamy. And a little sweet. The sauce isn't complicated, but it needs to be flavorful.

I started with a pan of butter, and cooked the meatballs for a few minutes. Basically the meatballs are pre-cooked, so all I'm trying to do is flavor the butter. I moved the meatballs to a pan in the oven, to cook thru and fully soften up. I added some flour to the butter, and made a quick roux. This is a bit tricky; flour will cook fast, and smell and taste burnt fast too. The pan only stayed on the flame for about a minute- just enough time to whisk the flour into the butter. Then I added beef broth, and kept whisking and whisking till the sauce was smooth. Now-you want to use good broth here, because that is the backbone of the sauce. How much broth you use is kinda up to you-you can put in a lot, and simmer to thicken it, or put a little, cook it long enough to get rid of raw flour taste and get on with it. I just had to cook it long enough for the frozen cranberry sauce to defrost. I added some milk-no cream on hand-and kept the sauce on a simmer, tasting and seasoning as needed. When I was happy with it (added a little pepper and nutmeg) I added the sauce to the meatballs, and let it all simmer together for 15 minutes-letting it get more meat-flavored and infuse the meatballs with the sauce flavor.

I keep saying meat flavor, but this can be made with chicken or turkey meatballs, or meatless meatballs and mushroom broth. Yah- meatless meatballs in mushroom broth sauce with some tarragon in it...

Anyway, here's what I ended up with- looks good-or at least like swedish meatballs, and it was tasty. The other stuff on the plate is mache (for color) and steel-cut oat risotto with figs and apricots-further post to come!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm going to be up for a while...

10:10 pm
It's my own fault though-I really should learn not to start a sauce I know will need to simmer for three hours as late as 7, but I've been dying to get it crossed off the list and put the cookbook away! Now here I am, not ten minutes into the three hours (did I mention it was three hours AFTER the first two...) thinking I'll be up till at least 1:30.

So I've opened a new bottle of wine, and man is my apartment going to be clean!

I blame/thank Margie for this- she raised me on the best damn pasta sauces-pots of not much more than tomatoes, garlic, onion and salt that simmered on her stove all day. AMAZING-so simple-so good.

So the cheesecake was.. ok.

I wasn't as thrilled as others with it. Granted I got a small small piece, and had gum in my mouth right before. I'll have to make another. It smelled great last night though.
And anyone-how do you keep a cheesecake from sweating?
Everyone enjoyed it though and it is true what Maria said "with the whole foods cakes, there's always half left-yours there's nothing!" Made me smile to hear-also made me realize I need bigger cake pans.

10:33 pm
I'm really hoping the basil leaf I just found in the pot from the tomatoes does not indicate there was garlic and onions in the tomatoes too-bc then I'll have a big pot of wasted sauce...

I never really intended this blog to be all about food, and to rectify this, let's go back to India shall we?

First: the Aunties:

far left, Mariquin Auntie, the older sister, middle my pops, the baby brother, far right Clara Auntie. This was in the Mumbai airport on the way to Goa-Dad's showing them pics from our first two CRAZY days in Mumbai.

I've been slowly working my way through the Aunties recipes. Slowly because what seemed so easy there with three sets of hands is really labor-intensive here. Also some ingredients are hard to find.

Like mawa.


Basically milk cooked down to the solid stage. In India they cook it down in huge kettles, with someone stirring it constantly, and you can buy cubes of it-looks like crumbly goat cheese.

You can't buy it in the states, and cooking milk down is very difficult if you are not going to sit next to the stove, so I made mine with ricotta and dry milk.

I know you're thinking- this makes a dessert? but yeah, and basically forms the basis for all Indian desserts. Makes sense too- India is HOT and milk spoils fast in hot climates, so folks learned to cook the milk down to remove the water to preserve it.

for everyone who wants to try making this and reads recipes that say cook it to "mawa consistency:"

Cooking it down also concentrates the milk sugars, so you do end up with a slightly sweet product all on its own. Add sugar and nuts and you have a damn tasty dessert. Very rich, but that's why Indian sweets are always so small.

Right now I could get into the whole scientific discussion of milk and it's properties... all I'll say if you are also interested in how milks molecular structure makes it behave the way it does-read McGee. And don't try to freeze milk.

10:49 pm
One Hour Down! And the sauce is smelling pretty good.

So Mawa.

Mawa is the basis of the tasty snacks my Aunties brought to Goa called neuros (in Hindi, neurios in Konkani, and gougrias in Gujarati) don't quote me on the spelling on that. So these things were mawa, mixed with cardamom powder, sugar and nuts, wrapped in dough and fried. They are not sweet though, more prominent is the flavor of spice and nuts. They are REALLY tasty with a pot of masala chai.

NOTE-Masala Chai is spiced tea. Chai mean tea in Hindi. Masala chai is made by boiling tea, water, milk and spices together and should be spicy- you should taste the pepper and the cardomom and the ginger. The horrid "chai" most places make in the states is 10x too sweet.

So neuros.

Well I had my mawa, and added crushed pine nuts and pistachios (pistas). The Aunties used cashews- but I didn't have any, and figured the pine nuts would be close in creaminess to cashews. The filling was good-really good. a nice balance of spicy and sweet, with the background notes of cheesiness of cooked milk.

Then there was the making of the dough to fry them in. The Aunties has said pretty much just ghee and flour.
Yeah that doesn't work-at least not for me.
I ended up-after trying to work the dough and cursing a lot-making a samosa dough, which worked and was good samosa dough- but was too thick for the neuros. Here's a pic of the final product

I don't think I roasted the mawa filling initially as long/well as the Aunites did- bc my filling was creamy, where there's was much more dried, and with more of a caramel flavor. Also, as I said, the wrapper needs work- I was going to check out of there were any pre-made asian wrappers, maybe of rice, that would be thin enough. My wraps were too doughy- the Aunties were crisp (just butter and flour are bound to be crisp-if you can work it into a wrapper that is...)

I'm hoping to try again this weekend...

12:36 pm
Screw the rest of the time- I'm cooling the sauce and going to bed- I'll finish cooking tomorrow.