This whole baking-a-lot-by-myself-in-my-kitchen thing is starting to make me go a little nuts. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but just because it’s a lot of time spent measuring, mixing, scooping, and waiting.
So I’ve been trying to find ways to keep the redundant work at least moderately amusing, which largely seems to entail inner – and occasionally outer – dialogue, mostly baking related, mostly looking deeper into things that I’ve always found odd about one baking ingredient (why is “evaporated” milk not called regular condensed milk?), or fascinating about another (how is baking soda so uplifting?).
In other words, I’ve embraced the nuttiness. Speaking of which, spiced nuts are some of the easiest and most delicious treats to make for any affair, and multiple internet sources tell me that they hold well for weeks. They’re also ridiculously easy to store and transport, so welcome to my nut house.
I started with cashews, a nut that I can eat raw, roasted, plain, salted, whole, and in pieces. But curried? Somehow, I had never gone down that road, and as a curry lover, it was about time. Gotta jazz it up for the wedding, right? (more…)
I’m no corn fanatic. I virtually abandoned the sweet, summer vegetable when it insisted on wrapping itself around the wires that slowly and painfully pulled my teeth in line during the far-too-many years I spent wearing braces throughout junior high and high school. At a time when appearance and avoiding classmates’ ridicule seemed all-important, the potato reigned as my slathered-in-butter-and-salt starchy vegetable of choice.
Even after the braces came off, it took awhile to readjust to certain foods, corn included, because several years wearing teeth cages had made me a tad OCD about keeping my teeth food remnant-free. Quite a few years later, my friend Amit introduced me to some grilled corn whose flavor finally justified the inevitable tooth-picking.
Rather than slathering sweet, starchily rich corn in butter and off-setting the sweetness with salt, Amit grilled the corn until it was completely black. (more…)
Several friends of mine have been singing the glory of Heidi Swanson’s Coconut Red Lentil Soup for over a year. Now that I finally saddled up and made a variation of that soup, I’m inclined to join their joyful chorus.
Truth be told, I’m a sucker for anything containing coconut milk and curry. But the beauty of this soup is that its complex and addictive flavor comes together in a relatively simple process – even simpler if you have leftover sprouted (or unsprouted) beans or lentils on hand. (more…)
A pumpkin recipe on a self-proclaimed pumpkin hater‘s site? Don’t be alarmed. It may look like I’m going back on my word, but I haven’t turned a new leaf and become a lover of all things pumpkin.
However, I have continued to try earnestly to find something (anything!) pumpkin that I might love, besides the seeds, which really don’t count. And after a bite of my friend Justin’s pumpkin curry order at Koh Samui quite a few months back and a recent re-order to confirm that it wasn’t just the cocktails before that first bite that made me enjoy the spicy dish, I can say with certainty that, for me, Thai pumpkin curry is to pumpkins what banana bread is to bananas: the savior of an otherwise icky, squishy texturally questionable food.
After trying to find festive but practical decorations for my Thanksgiving table, I settled on a large sugar pie pumpkin, two pears, two candles, and some fall leaves. After one pear was sacrificed in the name of pear chips and the other enjoyed as a snack, I was left with a massive amount of pumpkin. (more…)
Once upon undergraduate studies at UCLA, I met this hockey-playing electrical engineer. And eventually he wooed me with an ice skating date where he initially showed off his skillz (yes, with a “z” because I’m reasonably certain that’s how he perceived his skating and wooing abilities at the time) but then was kind enough to stop intimidating my elementary skater self and just hold my hand while we chit-chatted rapidly and skated (what probably seemed to him) woefully slow around the ice. And before long, I fell in love. With his mom’s chicken curry.
And him. But let’s be clear: that second part is beside the point here. And while we’re getting clear on things, I’ll readily admit that this is not a made-from-200-different-spices and requiring-lots-of-time curry. Rather, it is a very flavorful, easy-to-make, and healthy dish that benefits from using a good curry powder. And frankly (yes, I can hear all you food snobs out there gasping, “Oh no! Curry powder?!?!?), if this curry is good enough for Jay’s Vietnamese mother, it’s certainly more than good enough for me.
But back to the story … there I was, visiting Jay’s parents over spring break. (more…)