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Tikka Tacos…

Taco Truck

Taco Truck

Tikka Tacos was one thing I was planning on for so long and recently it became a reality. Food is one thing that really detoxifies me and it came once again to the rescue on a gloomy tiring/irritating Sunday evening. Didn’t have an awesome day and wanted to cook something for the evening to put a nice end to the weekend (funny concept ehh…END to a week-END(something like metabraces)?????). Well its about the tikka tacos and not the day so let me tell the taco tale.

Wanted to get some chiken drumsticks (started to dislike boneless stuff now) and wanted to make something not tandoori. Even though it tastes awesome, I am feeling kinda monotonous about it now. I always tell my friends about how I will start my taco truck and still  not for once did I try making a single taco , and voila there came the recipe, “I should make tacos. Lets make tacos“.

I headed straight to the mexican aisle and saw the small pack corn tortillas. Off-late  my buddies at work have taken me to different taco places and I loved all of them expect for the fact that nowhere I was able to find a nice blend of  indian curry meat and the mexican taco delight. Yeah, I had tikka bites once…they were alright…to be honest did not like their food and it was not cheap either.

So now for the recipe, I started with the chicken first and fried some cumin, cinnamon and a big black cardamom. When smelt the goodness and heard the cumins, threw in a big onion for the saute. Added big pieces of garlic and not that much ginger to the party to deepen the flavor. Sauted it for a while before adding two big tomatoes. Now comes the fun part when you get to the spices. These indian spices are like colors , they leave their unique mark on whichever painting they are used on and leave you with a very different thought even if you see a same color on a different painting .

My colors were salt,corriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala (dont ask me what goes in it. Its called garam masala and one more thing, MDH garam massala and not MTR), roasted fennel, roasted green cardamom and the star of the painting, the final sparkle, my favorite of all spices, Nutmeg. Gave it a mix till everything became a bit darker and came to a paste consistency. Added the chicken drumsticks and mixed it for a while before adding a cup of water and pressure cooked it for about 15 minutes. I did let the pressure release by itself and take its own sweet time. This ensured a nice penetration of the flavors and for me, some time to rest and prepare the salsa for the tacos

As I was doing this salsa stuff, I did not tell peetu about the tacos. She kind of knew that I was making chicken but totally voted for the indian meal when  asked  for a choice between tortillas and chapati.  Of-course who would experiment on a tiring/irritating/gloomy sunday evening? “Just gimmie something nice” was the feeling, and tacos?, no tacos was the call. Somehow I asked her to taste one taco and she reluctantly agreed. Immediately I chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, pickled jalapeño and mixed it with some salt, cayenne pepper (pinch) and lime juice. De-boned and chopped the meat and made a taco for her to taste topping it with the gravy of blended goodness.

Boy !! the sheer feel of satisfaction and that smile, the moment after that first bite, sucked all that bad stuff out of me. Sunday started feeling sunny even though it was 7 in the evening and monday was approaching, I felt awesome again. Had a bite from peetu and let the chicken rest for the night for a taco meal the next day.

After that I was sitting on my couch just thinking about how food is such an important part of our lives. It treats people in so many different ways. Some de-stress themselves by eating a lot of food, some by cooking a lot of food, but in the end its the food and the love of it which makes us all work 9-5 Mon-Fri so that we all can have that awesome sat-sun COOKING session that we have earned through the week.

~cheers

zulu

P.S: We ended up having chapati for the dinner on sunday and tacos were on the menu for the monday meal. I did not take a picture of the tacos this time. They really tasted awesome and looked even more delightful. Will post just the pictures next time on Tikka Tacos…cont…

Keep your chin up

Last Saturday I woke up really early. I thought I heard the doorbell ring. You see, a gardener was supposed to come early morning, on a Saturday (*rolling eyes*). And since my need of getting our front yard in a decent shape so that we don’t get known as the only people on the block with a horrible gardening skills, was greater than my much needed beauty sleep, I was awake since 7am. Long story short, yes the gardener did turn up at an ungodly hour of 8am on a Saturday. And I did what any normal person would do on a Saturday morning. I went back to sleep after he left.

I woke after 2 hours with a horrible realization that I couldn’t move my head. I had a shooting pain in my neck everytime I tried to tilt to my head. The whole weekend I relied on Icy-Hot cream. Come Tuesday morning, the neck pain not only showed no signs of receding, but actually resulted in me waking up in the middle of the night trying to wake up Z to ask him to help me move my head ‘coz I couldn’t do it on my own. 2 days and 2 trips to the Urgent Care and finally strong meds & a neck brace later I realized a few things.

  • When we are fine and healthy we take the simplest things for granted. I realized this when I had to ask my husband if my neck was straight or lopsided in an effort to adjust in a position with minimum pain.
  • The sympathy helps. You find yourself being bumped up in queues since people feel bad about making someone wearing a neck brace wait for long.
  • The neck brace…. Not weird at all.. Ok I’ll admit, its weird for the first 15 minutes where you think of yourself as really old & all. But the one I have is actually pretty cool. Its black & soft and definitely doesn’t look anything like the pink/beige ones you must’ve seen. And don’t even get me started on how comfortable it is when you actually need to wear it!
  • The doctors understand you when you say that you are scared of getting a shot inspite of the fact that it sounds like the only way out from the horrible pain. Their means of showing that they understand – pat your hand and look at you with an expression we generally reserve for kids who throw away all their candy just to make a point.
  • Toy Story (1-3) playing on the only TV in the hospital waiting room makes the long hours go so fast that you actually regret when the nurse calls out your name.. C’mon Woody was just trying to save everyone from ending up at Sunnyside!!!
  • And the last thing… I got asked atleast 5 times in my 2 visits whether I was pregnant or about to be.. all women out there should pray that they don’t end up getting hurt when they are pregnant. You won’t get the meds!!

Here’s to a happy and healthy week/month/year/life…

Cheers \m/

I went punk!

I am not blogging every week 😦

I should be! And I’m going to 🙂

What have I been upto?

I got a new haircut.. Colored my hair.. from black.. to violet.. Whoaa.. says everyone around me.. But I don’t feel that I’ve made a radical change. Well, some background. I’ve always had a particular haircut (a blunt cut throughout school/college/school). Only sorta radical change that I made was to straighten it a few years back. But I never colored it. So this time when I was frustrated with my look, I found myself making a call to a random salon I found on yelp and making an appointment. I reached there an hour before my scheduled time. Luckily they accepted walk-ins. When the stylist asked me what I wanted, I said ‘Do whatever you think would look good’. Luckily for me she had a great taste. She used the violet color (which doesn’t really stand up when used on black hair, but once light hits it, you can see that I wasn’t lying :P) Mind you my stylist had 3 colors in her shoulder length hair (blonde, purple & black).. When I stepped out, I realised that I always liked color. I just never colored my hair ‘coz it just took more effort/time that I wanted to invest.

Everyone, at work, at home was shocked when they saw me. Apparently I was always radical inside but lacked the outward expression for that. Maybe quite a few of us are like that. We, knowingly or unknowingly, bottle up the real us. I don’t know why. But when we let ourselves loose, we don’t feel an overwhelming sense of freedom. It feels normal. ‘Coz inside we know it’s the real us. We’ve always seen this, the others haven’t. It’s a change for them. So did I really go punk? Or was I always punk but never revealed the hidden layers to the outside world?

Whatever the case, I love it.. I love this me..

Cheers \m/

Mitsuwa….

Yesterday was my first dive into the Japanese culinary galaxy. I tried my luck on making the Miso soup and sushi for my wife on her birthday and combining it with the Valentine’s Day. (I thought I was smart :p)

We ended up having an amazing plate of hand rolled sushi, California style sushi rolls and a flavorful bowl of miso soup but  there is a confession that I can only make through this post. In the process of preparation for such an ambitious step,  I lost track of everything else.  I forgot the reasons and was totally controlled by the fragrance that the open simmering pot of konbu sea weed and wakame seeds was doing to my senses.

Making the miso soup was kind of an education to me. How different flavors can gel so well and create a real symphony of flavors.The kind of flavors extracted from  the preparation were so off the charts (read my first time use of such ingredients ever); I don’t know what’s in-store if one gets  it  from the masters themselves.
I salute the ingredients, the thinkers, the makers and the ones who have mastered this art  where you walk on this thin line,  and the result is either a ‘0’ or a ‘1’ (I had to get in binary somehow).I don’t know if there exists something like an edible miso soup. It’s good, awesome, great or BAD.
I will try to learn more from this experience, study the flavor profile of the bonitos, the wakames and the konbus a bit more and will get back with my  new dives.

I have to, I have to.

So stay tuned

I would like to thank the saleswoman at the Japanese grocery store who literally took my list of ingredients, changed it a bit on what could make the recipe taste better than what I had and handpicked it for me.

Thanks.

Thanks a lot, for you really made our evening, but most importantly you held my hand when I just decided to jump in the ocean without the safety gear.

In real life..

This Saturday the ever-trusty postman delivered the next movie on my Netflix queue, Dan in Real Life. I hadn’t seen or heard about the movie before I put it in my queue. Infact I don’t remember what, besides Steve Carell’s presence, appealed to me. But here it was and we popped it into the player while having a late dinner on Saturday. I started having second thoughts when I realized that how the 2 guys, L & my cousin, would take this senti movie. But within the first few minutes I wasn’t even thinking about all this. Without giving away too much, its a movie about how we can easily lose ourselves in our everyday lives & how that one person can walk into your life and change the whole course, make you feel alive..

It definitely resonated with me. Here you are, drifting through each day without feeling or a mass of them, without a definite course. And then one day someone just comes along.. A stranger who within the first conversation seems as if he understands the words you left unsaid. Who can make sense of your confusion, even if you cannot. He steers you away from all the mess you’ve made onto a course you didn’t even know you were meant to be on. He gently prods and pushes you to put all your fears & doubts into perspective and stands waiting in wings incase you need help conquering those fears. He gives you the confidence that you can be your best self, something that you’d forgotten along the way. And then one day, when the big question is popped as a surprise with that friend kneeling in front of you, you question yourself (while reeling from the shock of the suddenness of it), what more do you want from someone you would like to spend your life with? All those childish and romance novels induced ideas of Tall, Dark & Handsome fly out of the window. And like the proverbial bulb switching on, you finally realize that this is it. This is what you want .. this is what you’ve unknowingly waited all your life for. This unquestioning trust, the unwavering support of someone who will be there to share the good & the bad parts.. Someone who appreciates the same things as you do & will laugh away all your quirks. Somehow with this person, your flaws seem to shine too & actually add to the allure.

I don’t know if this is exactly what the movie set out to convey, but it did bring back some fond memories. Do give it a try.

Fads & Fridays

‘Fad’ as defined by Dictionary:

Fad –noun

a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., esp. one followed enthusiastically by a group.
All of us, at one time or other, have blindly followed the latest trends. Infact so much that neon cycling shorts, oversized tshirts, all teenybopper songs owe their success to these this mass mania. In the past few years ‘being social’ has been the latest ‘it’. And lately, check-ins.
I have always wanted to get onboard this craze. But I thought that surely there’s no one interested in knowing that I checked into my local grocery store (or that I go to 3 of them,.. ummm… thts another blog post). Anyways!! I finally went to this restaurant which ranked passably on my cool-enough-to-let-the-world know barometer and I feverishly downloaded the Foursquare app on my dinosaur (psst.. iPhone 2G). But thanks to ever-efficient AT&T, the app took ages to download and when it did, the app started crashing everytime I tried signing up. Thwarted at the first attempt, next time I was ready. I had my ever handy Yelp app, which also allowed check-ins (you see everyone except me has jumped on this :P). And I was already logged in so that I don’t give AT&T one more chance to screw me over. On one rare Friday night where me & L decided to act our age & went for an early meal outside (check-in#1), a secondhand bookstore that I absolutely love (check-in#2). The stack of awesome books that we carried under our arms tempted us to go home & kickback our feet threatening our check-in plan. So we stuck to our plan & went to our fav dive bar (check-in#3). So what did the next day bring? No, not a hangover, we didn’t go THAT crazy! 😛 But an evaluation as to what our check-in experience taught us.
a. We had an amazing time!! And that too after such a long time
b. Scored some awesome books..
c. This check-in isn’t all that great for the reasons that its promoted. But it does have an appeal if you are into the I’ll-have-fun-so-that-I-can-show-that-I-had-fun category.
But our fun wasn’t because of the check-ins. I (yes, the hubby didn’t know about my check-in mania till he checked his twitter feed the next day), had fun during that time & it wasn’t dictated by the check-ins or even any technology media. It was good old fashioned going out with friends on a Friday kinda fun. So even though I didn’t fall in love with the whole fad & won’t be following the world (src: Foursquare 2010 report card: 3400% growth), but if you love it, sure, go ahead. There’s a reason the terms ‘fads’ was added to the dictionary 😉

Cheers \m/

Post a week 2011

Ok, so I’m late to the party, but since I just missed a week & my 2nd last post was on 31st Dec, I’ll consider it as the first post of this year.. My blog, my rules 8) Technicalities aside, I’m super excited about this. Hopefully I’ll stick to the plan. The other thing that’s had me jumping up & down with joy is that I get a co-conspirator for this blog. Expect a ton of food-related posts! And some kickass snapshots 🙂

Cheers \m/

New year – new resolutions??

With more than half a month into the new year, I started thinking about new year resolutions, or my lack of them in particular. Every new year, I come across tons of news, blog posts about everyone’s new year resolutions. But I never had one. Not ‘coz I have a case of Calvinitis, as below

Calvin & Hobbes - New Year

I’ve had goals & made sure that I achieved those, so it also wasn’t a fear of not following through. But just that most of the blog posts referred to the lack of those resolutions being followed through till the end of the year or till the time the goal was achieved. So this year, I’m going to make one.

My goal sometime back was to break into the 3 digit weight group. You see I’ve always been underweight for a 5′ 7″ person. I achieved my goal, but I think I fell back into the 2 digit group, but I’m not sure since I never checked my weight again (psst.. in the past 5 months), just for the fear of having lost my advantage. So this year I’m going to move away from the number based system, & move towards the broader goal of being healthy. So how do I define ‘healthy’? Hmmm…

Healthy:

  • A BMI of 18.5 atleast
  • Cut down red meat intake to minimum
  • Some sort of exercise routine

This’ll make sure I don’t get my butt kicked when we go for hikes. And also make myself useful when we’ve to move heavy furniture. I’m completely useless when it comes to lifting even moderately heavy Ikea furniture. But all that comes to end this year 😀 And what is a healthy resolution without a buddy. So my buddy this year is going to be L. But his resolution is a bit different than mine. He’s also aiming to be healthy, with a BMI is the 18-20 range. But he’s going to hit that range by losing weight. So the means of achieving our goal will essentially remain the same. Eat healthy & exercise. Just the food groups that’ll be a part of our meal will be a little bit different. And to make sure that we are on the right path, we are going to blog about it.

So here’s to a fruitful 2011….

Cheers \m/

Celebrations

With the year winding down, the last few hours of 2010 are filled with a scramble to get everything done to make sure 2011 is welcomed in a grand way. This year its just me, L & my sis-in-law. Our idea of a good time is kicking our feet back with awesome food (generally homemade :P) and a good drink just within reach. So this year was/is ‘nt different either.

Having a 10 day shutdown at work gave me a long, well deserved break. This was the first instance I got time to actually regroup and catch a break from the stress of the sorta-new job & having our own house. So these 7 days were filled with small trips, shopping, pigging out on awesome food made by L. But this day, the official end of the year, I would like to count my blessings for a wonderful job, a beautiful home to come to everyday, new lessons in terms of hard knocks or good experiences. But the best part has undoubtedly been an awesome family to share all the tears & joys, smiles & frowns alike. So here’s a huge shoutout to everyone who made this year a great one.. And wishing a happy new year……

Happy happy happy New Year Everyone! Make it everything you know it can be an oh so much more! – T J Thyne (better known as Hodgins from Bones)

Chores

Chores take a whole new meaning when you are a new homeowner.. especially if you are a first time homeowner.. You suddenly start appreciating your earlier rental home(s). But this doesn’t take away from the excitement of finally having your own place. And we weren’t immune to this either. When we first moved in, we were just gearing to tackle the front yard, the backyard, the fixes in the all the rooms, the bathrooms [yeah the list seems to go on forever ;)]

But the new job and the everyday routine sucked all our free time and laziness took precedence over everything else on the weekends. But we still couldn’t ignore the fact that we weren’t doing our “chores” on time. It kept turning up like the proverbial bad penny in the form of leaves strewn all across the backyard or the shame of having one of the messier front lawns on the block. So this weekend was granted the honor of being the weekend where we tackle all the work that we tried to ignore. So the highlights of this super saturday were:

  • Cleaning up the entire backyard *whoohoo*
  • L climbing up on the roof to clean the gutters
  • Raking the leaves of the front yard & the walkway

So after all the hard work, we didn’t expect any payment except the satisfaction of having a neat yard. But as luck would have it, you indeed do get paid on tackling all your chores….. So we entered the kitchen to find out that now our dishwasher was back in action!! So no more handwashing all the dishes.. No more of the dirty sink. We are back in business baby!!

Cheers \m/

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