Indian Dinner, My Favorite American Snacks

 

Chamuças de Goa. Chamuças (samosas) from Goa.Last night, hubby and I, after treating ourselves to see the adorable movie, Chef, went out to a lovely Indian restaurant a few towns away from where we live.  It was a treat and we ordered Samosas (I always get these mixed up with Samoas, Girl Scout Cookies that my kids love.)  We ordered the Samosas three

different ways. One was potato with peas and lentils, one was spinach and the other was filled with lamb and spices. They were delicious and filling and frankly my stomach could have stopped there but what’s the fun in that?

We then ordered Shrimp Saag, shrimp in a bed of spinach ( I thought there was a little cream in there, my husband said absolutely not) and an amazing sweet dish of chicken in a yellow cream sauce made of honey, cashews and apples. The consistency was smooth so all the ingredients except for the chicken were blended, creamy and rich. We also ordered one portion of Nan which resembles pita bread if you ironed it to barely nothing. After all, what good is all that creamy, sweet sauce without the proper bread to dunk it in?

I drank a sweet Lassi ( a yogurt drink made with ice, rosewater, sweet syrup and blended) see the easy recipe below, and my husband had some alcoholic drink with figs, rum, bourbon and too many other ingredients. I took a sip hoping I would like the taste. I made my usual disgusted face that my family is so fond of seeing, gasped and reached for my water-glass to clear my palate of that nasty alcohol taste. Next time:I’m ordering a double lassi, on the rocks.

English: Fat-free lassi from Mumbai

We ate like four-year old children, having dinner at 5 o’ clock, (okay it was really 4:50pm) but that has never bothered us before so by the time we came home it was only 6:15 a time when most families are preparing dinner. Nope, not us. When we came

 *Easy Sweet Lassi

Ingredients:Servings:2-3Units: US | Metric
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ice-cube
3 -5 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch salt
Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Read more: food.com/easy recipe

home we had dessert (I deeply regretted not ordering the yogurt balls in honey…) so I had the gigantic molasses cookie I had purchased at the small grocery story in town. It was enough for  three people but I finished it with ease. Had too much sugar and no spice ( I expected ginger) but I’m not that fussy so I ate the entire thing.

Around 9 pm my husband and I roamed around the kitchen because at that point we were ready for a snack, I just needed SOMETHING.  I headed to one of my all-time favorite snack combinations and one of my dog Lexi’s favorite snacks too. A small packet of square pretzels, two slices of Kraft Individually Wrapped American cheese and a box of chocolate Yoo-Hoo to drink.

Now that, was a perfect snack. It is always the perfect snack for me and for my dog. I only gave her one pretzel and bite of cheese but she knows the sound of the pretzel bag and comes running when she first hears the bag rustle.

Yoo-hoo Chocolate DrinkBasically, you can take me out to a fancy dinner anywhere but when I come home, I retreat to the food I really love. My snack: pretzels, Kraft American cheese slices and Yoo-Hoo, my childhood drink of choice.  I went to bed, happy.

 

Dedicated to PK Sr.

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True Friendship and Chocolate Cake

Two Rainbows at Dusk in Denmark.

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve gotten notes from friends far away saying “I don’t want to read  that you are in pain” when they read SOME of my blog posts. When words strike an already high-wired nerve, I have to respond. I am a woman with Fibromyalglia; Fibromyalgia does not define me. It is part of my life and it has taken a long time for me to accept it but I do. You should too. It is only a part of my life just like food and television and good friendships and my amazing family. I write about all these things.

When I am in pain, I write out my feelings which, I think, everyone in the chronic pain community understands. To the people who read my blog and don’t share a chronic illness, let me explain: when I write these things down, I am trying to heal a little piece of myself. I do not write them for sympathy or for you to feel bad. I write about all my feelings, all the different parts of my life: like having teenagers or hiding orange cupcakes in my room or my sweet, aging dog. I’m sorry if you are feeling uncomfortable about my pain and I’m sure you wish I had less of it but that is not something I can control.

When something funny happens or I fall in love with a cooking show about “Desserts” or “Chocolate” or a delicious/horrendous meal that I have had, I write about that too. A new, dear friend I met on Facebook wrote: “you sure do like to talk about food” as we discussed dinner and I made her describe the chicken and dumplings she made in great detail (hint: buy Bisquik.) I complain about the boring lentil soup I have made and she tells me which spices to add. We both have chronic, autoimmune illnesses but we don’t focus on that. Our chronic diseases are a given. Life goes on and we with it.

I see photos of her beautiful garden with red, ripe delicious tomatoes stretching towards the sun and  bright yellow ears of corn I want to bite into. I see her huge, beaming sunflowers on the side of her house and I am in awe of nature and it’s beauty and my friend’s talent. I taunt her with my (as she calls it “disgusting”) food combinations; pizza with jelly, tuna salad sandwich combined with peanut butter and jelly ( I only did that once) and all things edible. I tease her about her “texture” issues with food, anything “squishy” is unacceptable! Once in a while I will interject a questionable squishy food into a totally unrelated conversation: “raisinettes?” “shrimp?” and she understands what I mean and we laugh.

My evenings are brighter after we talk. This is a friend that has been more protective of me and more supportive than the “best friend” I had for thirty-five years. This is a friend I have made without meeting and if I never meet her, we will still be friends. It begs to ask the question: how do you define friendship? It’s given me a lot to think about. Friendships on Facebook with a common interest are special, we bond about something we have in common and in most cases (except one horrible group I was in) without judgment. Period. We don’t care about how much money people have or what religion they are or if they have a job.  Be wary of a group that say they support everybody with pain and yet they discriminate and cause extreme pain to others who might not “fit in” to their exclusive or religious group. In the other wonderful chronic pain groups, we don’t emphasize anything except friendship and empathy, nothing else matters (if you need suggestions, write me.)

See me, please, as a whole person and if you feel uncomfortable about the days I blog about pain, please don’t tell me not to write about them; you could just say you are sorry that I am in pain and that you are thinking good thoughts for me. Our illnesses are part of our lives, but most of us try not to let them define us. It’s what we have to do.

Dedicated to Katie

Thank You, Erica

Candlelit Table for One

Image by ecstaticist via FlickrI

I am not a paid restaurant reviewer so I am writing about my love of eating good food (not making it.)  I also have great admiration for those who cook incredibly well. Our friends, Mike and Erica, hosted a reunion a few weeks ago and old friends from the East Coast and the West Coast gathered together.  Erica made a divine appetizer of stuffed mushrooms based on Ina Garten’s recipe. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten and this is NOT the Food or Cooking Channel. We ate those amazing stuffed mushrooms with our eager fingers and never have I eaten such different tastes and textures in one appetizer. The sausage, olive oil, cheese, bread crumbs and mushroom appetizer combined with seeing old friends, talking, hugging and laughing, was a highlight of 2010 for me.

It felt like the kitchen scene from the movie, The Big Chill,  except no one died (although one person did leave the dinner table, head to the living room, wrapped himself up in a blanket, appropriated two pillows and apparently fell asleep on the couch for 3 hours.) I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Presently I fantasize about eating my favorite things in an expensive restaurant.  My husband and I would be seated inside a small dining room near a beautiful fireplace. A small bouquet of red and purple flowers sit prettily on the thickly starched white tablecloth where a soft candle would be burning.

To start, I would have jumbo prawns with cocktail sauce and a wedge of lemon (that had a paper coverlet on it to protect it from seeds.) In some circles the prawns would be the delicacy but in our family we have named the shrimp as the vehicle to which we get to eat the cocktail sauce. Another example of this would be that lobster is the vehicle to get to the melted butter sauce. You get the idea.

After that I would order a salad made with a lemon/olive oil, vinagrette salad dressing (the words truffle and champagne could be added although I don’t know exactly what they do.) Ripe cherry tomatoes, julienned carrots, red cabbage, and chopped parsley and chives would be on top. I love adding sweetness to things so for me, some craisins would be tossed in there as well.

The table is laden with “everything” flat crackers and warm, soft, dinner rolls with butter, room temperature (I hate hard, freezing cold butter)  shaped like sea shells. My entrée would either be the outstanding chateaubriand, like it is prepared at the  restaurant X2O or the divine filet mignon served at the Crabtree Kittle House, both amazing restaurants are located in New York. Rice pilaf or mashed potatoes would work nicely with this meal, but nothing fried and undignified as french fries and ketchup (those go with cheeseburgers only.)  Grilled brussel sprouts paired with a hint of maple syrup glaze and slivered almonds would be our vegetable.

Blood orange or lemon sorbet served in martini glass would be our palate cleanser. It would be served to help settle our wonderful meal and to leave room (not that this has ever been a problem for me) for dessert.  I am a sugar junkie and I like a variety of things so because it is my fantasy I am picking two desserts: a fresh fruit tart served in a marzipan shortbread crust with vanilla custard and a fluffy (never flourless) milk and dark chocolate mousse cake with real vanilla bean ice cream.

Thanks for joining me in my food fantasy. Here’s to 2011, with good friends and great food.  Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy and delicious New Year.