Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


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Hello from Sunny California!

I am back and I am excited to get up to speed as soon as possible. Between the good-bye and hello, we have been through some very exciting changes! First of all, we moved a few states to the west and landed in California. To top that, we did it in style: a six-day roadtrip covering ten beautiful American states: Alabama> Tennessee> Arkansas> Oklahoma> Texas> New Mexico> Arizona> Nevada> California. With a toddler in tow. No, I kid you not. We saw some amazing landscapes, ate good- at times unbelievably so- food, visited a whole bunch of interesting places like children’s museums (a whole bunch actually!), the Breaking Bad trail and, oh gosh, THE GRAND CANYON!!!

And all through the trip, our daughter behaved herself, enjoyed every bit of it until she threw up (quite literally!). But that’s a story for another post and so is the story of our epic road trip. Right now, let me unwind and get reacquainted with WordPress and Chefette. Wow, I really have missed this!!

 


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A Picture Post for an Old Recipe

Today will not be about word counts or getting my recipe right. It will not be a story about family, memories or life as I know it. Instead, this post will be about a recipe I’ve already made but with a prettier picture that I snapped with with a better camera. If you like the update, drop me a line. You will make me happy!

cookie sandwich revampAnd so I log off before my computer’s battery runs out…


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Good-bye, Food!

This has got to be the stupidest post I’ve ever written but it is inevitable. I haven’t cooked anything interesting since my last post. I am not motivated and food turns me off. It’s a phase. And you probably guessed the reason too.

I’ve been struggling to keep up with the idea of food and cooking. It is especially painful when you live away from family, with a man who would do anything in this world for me but cook. Let’s not blame him because even if he did cook, I would not want to eat it. Aversion to things I love eating has been following me around.

I crave Indian food, especially that are not all that nutritious for you like Dahi Puri, Kashmiri Naan and things there is no way in hell I can find in remote Alabama. So, I totally cannot wait to get to India in December. Once there, my mommies will cook for me, I will go out to eat with friends and family and feel loved. Until then, I have to trudge through coursework, housework and make sure I stay sane.

No, don’t feel bad for me. This will keep my endurance in check.

I was talking to K today about the sad state my blog is falling into and he suggested I dig into my folders to find food that haven’t posted about. I did. And it turned up some badly composed pictures. But desperation has left me with no choice and I hate picture-less posts.

so this here is Bhel Puri, a more popular cousin of Dahi Puri that I crave. I made this in March and I refused to make it again because it made me miss home more.

This is Knolkol/Kolrabi Kootu and Curried cauliflower. This Alabama is a strange place. We have a multi-ethnic store which stocks a traditional Indian vegetable like Knolkol but hardly sells eggplant. This Kootu is made of coconut, cumin and Thai chili. If you do find Knolkol in your store, I need to warn you though. Select smaller, tender ones because it is a very fibrous root. It takes extensive peeling and cooking to make this tuber edible. But its taste is unparalleled and this is why I go through all that trouble. Grind the coconut, cumin and Thai chili together with a little water.

Cook the Knolkol until tender. Discard excess water, mix in the paste and salt. Let it boil for a few minutes until you get a semi-solid consistency. Optional addition is soaked Bengal Gram Dal. Two Tbsps soaked overnight (or in hot water for 10 minutes). Add to the cooked Knolkol with the paste. Tada!

So this space is probably going to be done with originals. I will keep it alive with things I eat outside, things my mommies cook up for me and general India posting (sans the Slumdog Millionairesque pics). Who wouldn’t like that!


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Now on Facebook

So I created a fan page on Facebook for this blog. Not that it is going to change anything around here but I thought I needed to take social media marketing a step further. And lot of people who read this blog wanted me to. So if you are a Facebooker (that’s a word, I checked), do drop in at Chefette Spicy’s Facebook page. If you like my blog, do like the page. I guarantee that I won’t spam your news feed.

If you don’t, I understand! 🙂 Let’s connect!

 


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A Year Full Of Wisdom-ish

As I contemplated what I could write about to add a little bit of dry humor to your day, I stumbled upon the title first. Some writers tell me that they make up a title before they decide on a topic but being the humble writer that I am, I have found that impossible… until now. After deciding whether it should be A or An, I moved on to what is going to be my second post this week.

So like I’ve been telling every single person who would stop and listen to me, it is going to be a landmark year in my wedded life soon: The Big One. Yes, though I basked in the glory of being a newly wed, I am kind of relieved, for what I call the year of surprises, is ending. As the calendar rolled, I learned a few tricks a person should learn about dealing with their other (obscure) half. I got pretty creative, no doubt, and used a few under-the-table tricks too but apart from the very disapproving housewife, I don’t see anyone else frowning on me. So here goes…

1. I have learned to be subtle. Blatantly telling a man what he needs to do only makes him as indignant as my dear dog Rover. If you layer it with reasoning and humor, he will see your point.

2. Never disclose your budget. If you spend even a cent more than you decided to, it will become his favorite family story for the years to come. How does he care if you can live healthier for a dollar more? Stealth: this is how.

3. Tell him he needs to shave and get a hair cut. Unless you are in love with the hilly-billy part of him, you need to emphasize on them, every month.

4. Don’t give up every time. Or don’t let him give up every time. He either thinks you are a doormat or selfish: two unattractive opinions for anyone to have on you.

5. Leave that saintly attitude out of the door. Really, this is not a church.

6. Make him read what you write, see what you paint and listen to what you create. Mine has the literary interest of an 8-year-old (he reads only Tinkle!) but I make sure he reads my blogs once in a while.

7. Deal with toilet seat issues. He leaves it up? Leave the seat and the cover down every time you go in. That will really reform him.

8. Get a detailed feedback about everything you cook. Chances are he will crib.Don’t bother, how else will you get better?

9. Make combined projects. We are making a random lamp together. It is fun!

10. Laugh. Hard. When we have a serious roadblock, we discuss it, look for a result or sit on it and later make a joke out of it. The problem doesn’t go away but it makes us feel it is not unsolvable. That easy!

PS: I broke my project rules by not publishing for two days. But I picked the most difficult week to go on it. I shall prevail!


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Fight Club-like Musings

There are really no rules to play by or live with, I gather. When you finally do all the growing up that qualifies you to take charge of your life, you are left bewildered at the lack of rules. At five, you learn to share everything with your sibling, at ten, you are taught the art of playing together with your friends. At fifteen, you understand that best friends are a bunch of people you never double-cross and at twenty, you realize that relationships require more work than your full-time job. It is only ironic that the people who teach you these values are adults who have grown up and learned the exact lesson I just did.

On a broader frame, I wonder where our rules relocated to. With friends, I learn that tough-love and betrayal are not only two ways of making you a better person but also a reason for your undying gratitude towards those meanies. Having been the recipient for the above-mentioned, I can tell you that you should risk it all only if you have a daredevil streak. Your relationship with them alters permanently even if their plan does work out.

You don’t have to necessarily marry the person you actually fell in love with, one of my friends informs, because love and happiness are two different things. What did happen to those days when we crooned sweet nothings like “you are my life, my happiness and everything between”? Corny, I know, but get the drift? The social derangement, cultural differences and temperamental parents are making more adults choose someone more compatible rather than someone they actually like and know as a human being. So every man/woman is expected to run around the street, yelling cynical monologues and is considered normal.

Family actually means nothing to some revamped rule-players. Actually, I have come across these creatures. They have a barrier and the first person who crosses it is ultimately cooked for dinner with less salt and overwhelming flavors, I am not joking. So people to whom they matter are set aside until they get cold and go on with life with bitterness. These people are considered “independent” and their doormat accomplices actually worship them!

So here I am, wondering how I should play because my rules are so out-dated that they are neither accepted, nor alive. At 26, I am too old to change my rules. I like my friends trustworthy, I prefer my love-filled marriage and I would never show anyone who matters, the exit door.


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On the labour/labor of writing

*I am not showing off or subtly dropping names here*

I once met a man, a disciplined writer. He was one of my favourite writers and a New York Times Bestseller at that. The day I met Jeffrey Archer after struggling with my teammates and later, convincing my boss that I was good enough to be picked for a 30 minute interview is something I look back at everyday when I sit down at my desk (cum dining table) to write.

Amongst discussing things like his latest book that I fell in love with (Paths of Glory) and his first ever work of fiction, we discussed things that actually opened my mind to the possible journey of writing a fiction. Well, I consider blogging fiction enough to last me a lifetime or until I am ready for more. Archer, being a humble person, told me that discipline, more than the gift of words, is the key to success. He informed me, matter of factually, that he wakes up at 4am everyday to begin writing at five. He always works for two hours at a time, with sufficient break-time in the middle.

While my hours at work deeply varies, a couple of things he told this very small-wannabe-correspondent really stayed on. Dedication matters. If you don’t believe in what you write, you will never make your point. Hours are important: you can’t expect to churn out an awesome page-turner or webpage-scroller if you spend thirty minutes in front of your laptop and think about getting this done after the first fifteen minutes. You need to think big, find other amusements to keep you inspired and possess enough imagination to turn even the smallest thing you come across into a concept (I silently thought about his Prison Diaries while writing his response in bold).

It was only a couple of weeks back that I took complete heed to his beliefs. I have stopped watching daytime television. I don’t chat much or surf through Facebook aimlessly (sorry, Zucker-man!). I sit and put my heart onto whatever I type. About 70% of it is crap (as some of you may think this entry is) but hey, can Jeffrey Archer be wrong about it? I doubt, I doubt.