Aah for aaloo.. With a side of chicken

20130501-170832.jpg

So I thought I would make tandoori chicken with a side of Indian spiced potatoes.

Have you ever had a meal where the side overshadows the main dish?

Despite the fact that the tandoori chicken was as good as always, and MYT always loves my tandoori chicken, he couldn’t get enough of the potatoes.

And I have to agree, they were well cooked, well seasoned, and just so scrumptious.

With a good Indian puri or paratha, it would be a stellar main dish, easy simple and good to eat :)

Fiesta Pork Stew and the best Goya Rice ever

20130501-165747.jpg

As my new husband MTT and I try to save money for a down payment on a place to live, I find myself more conscious of the prices in the grocery store.

This is strange for me because my usual fascination with the grocery store, other than my love of cooking, is the ability to buy anything in the store. Even if it’s expensive for what it is, you can buy it. Do you *need* an eight dollar bottle of fancy jam? No. But will eight dollars make or break you? Probably not. So, one time, if on a whim you decide to go for it, you can.

That was my philosophy anyway.

Now, I realize that every dollar counts and it all adds up. So the meat I buy may more frequently be the meat on sale.

This week, there was a good deal on pork stew meat. MTT doesn’t love pork, but he loves Mexican flavors. So I decided to cook sliced bell peppers, onions and pork in a flavorful Mexican marinade and served it with a side of rice cooked with Goya Sazon. MTT thinks it’s the best rice he’s ever had

Not quite like mom’s..or mom-in-law’s as the case may be

20130425-203956.jpg

We all have that weekend breakfast that mom used to make for us that we crave and associate with home and comfort..for me it’s omelettes. Hearty omelettes with sautéed vegetables turned into sandwiches. Also, occasionally more Indian things like idli and sambar (soft rice cake patties with lentil vegetable soup) or upma (I have no idea how to translate this grain that’s sorta like a courser couscous)

For MTT, the breakfast dish is pohe. It seems simple enough ; a sautéed flattened rice dish with some potatoes in it… And yet, I failed.

The first step of soaking the dried flat rice–turns out I soaked in way too much water and made the rice soggy. The addition of potato–I may have gone potato happy and added way too much. Also, I boiled them first … Making the final texture of my pohe a weird Indian mashed potato.

Strike one.

I will try again in a few weekends. Next weekend it’s all about the omelettes! And that I know I can knock out of the park!

20130425-203917.jpg

Italian feast…courtesy of Harry and David…and my MOH

20130425-202105.jpg

My MOH’s wedding present was an amazing gift basket from Harry and David…and so I set about making an Italian feast of sun-dried tomato flatbread and tri-color angel hair with an amazing pasta sauce that I enhanced with turkey meatballs.

It was such an easy basket … It came with high quality evoo which will last me a while.

The mix for flatbread which included yeast and only needed 30 minutes to rise, coupled with the bottled bruschetta topping, made an excellent first course.

The tricolor angel hair claimed it needed 45 seconds to cook… But I ended up cooking it for several minutes. Maybe that’s a crazy thing to do if you’re a die hard Italian , but I’m not :)

The bottled sauce was yummy. I didn’t change it at all, just heated meatballs with it.

The most amazing shortbread cookies were provided for dessert … MTT asked me why I never made cookies that good… Now I need to search for a Great vanilla shortbread recipe to compete with Harry and David!

The basket also has a risotto mix … Haven’t made it yet because MTT doesn’t like risotto … But one day when we aren’t newly weds I will make it anyway!

20130425-203115.jpg

My first post as a married woman!

20130420-220525.jpg

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I was busy in the final stages of wedding planning followed by wedding and honeymoon.

One of the traditional parts of Indian weddings is when the bride returns after the wedding to the groom’s parents’ home, she cooks a sweet dish for the family. I made suji halwa, a semolina based sweet dish where the grain is mixed with ghee and then a sugar syrup and has a polenta-like texture. I added nuts and raisins to the dish.

I was a little nervous to make this dish because I don’t usually make Indian desserts…I had my mom text me a recipe and snuck a look at my phone before going to my mother-in-law’s kitchen…

It turned out very very rich. Good. But very very rich. Though I guess that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

After two strikes, I finally swing it out of the park…

20130309-201846.jpg

Today was the first full day that both MTT and I had off from work and I was very much looking forward to a lazy day just enjoying each others’ company…and…in my head this includes three awesome meals that I would make and lots of excitement on the part of MTT.

There were more than a few wrinkles in this plan…

First, my creativity interfered with breakfast. I decided to make eggs over easy served on toast with melted cheddar. That alone would have been fine. But somehow my head thought “I have guacamole in the fridge, MTT loves guacamole, maybe I can spread some on one of the pieces of toast and that will elevate the meal. Big mistake. Huge. I learned from MTT that guacamole is not a spread, and the idea was just a little weird.

Strike one.

For lunch, I thought, ok, play it safe. He loves chicken Caesar salad, so just make a wrap. Except my chicken was very cold from the fridge so I warmed it in the microwave. Apparently, that made for a wilted salad and the combo of warm chicken and cold Caesar dressing turned MTT‘s stomach so much that he couldn’t really eat his meal and was too turned off to let me make him something else.

Strike two.

Add to that a little funk in MTT‘s mood due to a chronic issue in our relationship that we usually just ignore but occasionally cannot…this day is just not going the way I envisioned.

My one last chance to do one thing right on this day was dinner. I think, Mexican. It’s the one thing that MTT will always like.

So I make fajita style chicken and veggies (that I had been marinating since noon) served with flavored rice, with many condiments, MTT loves condiments. Salsa verde, pico de gallo, sour cream.

At least dinner was a hit.

I even did dishes to try to score some brownie points. I don’t think I got brownie points but at least I tried.

And I made vanilla milkshakes for dessert from Edy’s slow churned ice cream and skim milk…delicious for a “diet dessert”

Since the day ended with a slight improvement, I hold out hope that tomorrow will be better. :)

“Do you even remember how?”

20130218-113922.jpg

I don’t have time for a cooked breakfast most mornings. Over the years, the number of mornings off that MTT and I share has actually gone down…so, while I used to make weekend omelettes with some frequency, it has been a very long time.

So, this morning when MTT finally asked for something that wasn’t a salad (what’s with his recent salad obsession anyway?) I was thrilled. I immediately said “omelette!”. Being the charmer that he is, MTT‘s first response was “wow! Do you even remember how?”

While onions, tomatoes, bits of bacon and a little chicken simmered on the stove, I beat the eggs. From the couch I heard MTT say, “seems you do remember…smells good”. My man of few words. How I love him.

Anyway, I do remember how to make eggs. And MTT remembers how to make toast :)

“Honey, I’m home!”

20130217-152033.jpg

My grandmother only went to school through the third grade…then she learned how to manage a household. And, in that very traditional, Indian way, my grandparents made a life together. But their life saw many changes…drastic changes…both in the community and at home. Their eldest child, a daughter, went to medical school. She became a doctor. Then she became a wife and ultimately my mother. That’s a lot of growth in the span of a generation.

My mother was always a working mom. But, somehow she managed to keep many of her traditional roles. One of which was always making sure there was something to eat at home. My mom would call me from the hospital when I came home from school to tell me what snacks were prepared. I always had dinner and instructions on how to heat it. And, in a lot of ways, that’s how my mom showed she was still taking care of me the way her mother took care of her. (checking homework was strictly the jurisdiction of my dad. My mom did not get involved with it after she taught me 7×7=47)

With that background, I forged forward with my life. I always wanted to be a doctor and that’s what I became. But now I realize what my mother must have dealt with. I love my job. And I believe it’s way more than a job. But sometimes I have such a similar urge to my mom, to have snacks and meals ready at home, waiting, to show how much I care about life at home.

So, on the occasions when I’m home first, and I have time to keep things ready, I get so excited. I love having a meal ready and waiting for MTT. So, today while he was working and I was off, I asked him what he’d want for a late lunch. He wanted an easy to prepare salad…and it’s not the difficulty of what I’m making so much as the fact that I’m making it…so a simple southwest flavored chicken salad with avocados, cherry tomatoes, bacon bits and tortilla strips with a side of corn bread may not be a “I slaved all day in the kitchen” kind of meal…but that it’s here waiting for MTT gives me immense joy. Plus, he likes all things southwest. The shredded cheese in it can’t hurt either ;)

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

20130216-184431.jpg

MTT loves loves loves chicken tikka masala. So of course for Valentine‘s Day I try my hand at a homemade, slightly healthier version. I couldn’t bring myself to use heavy cream. I just couldn’t. I love MTT too much to give him heart disease. So, I used skim milk and yogurt. The result was a very good approximation to restaurant quality CTM…just a little less sweet and a little more tangy. Also, I added a tossed salad of romaine and baby spinach with low fat goat cheese, walnuts and cranberries with balsamic vinegrette. The dinner was a delight…just like MTT

Opa! Cupcakes worth breaking dishes for

20130211-203036.jpg

After mixing a small batch of cupcakes adapted from The Dollhouse Bakeshoppe, I grazed a plate on my dish rack with the filled muffin tin… Of course my Corning shattered all over my kitchen floor. Which, in my tiny apartment, means my kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom floors…leaving me with 3 plates. And no one has bought the dishes on my wedding registry yet! (There’s still a few months left for that :) )

But anyway, the cupcakes were moist, with a hint of coffee flavor, sweet but not too sweet…over all, worth the broken dish. Opa! ( yes, for the duration of this post, I am channeling the Greek)