Top 10 Things I’d Love to Do, but probably won’t!

So, I came across this post by Shoni (entered in OhAmanda’s Top10Tuesday linky party), which was inspired by this post by Stephanie….and I decided to tell you what is lurking in the darkest recesses of my mind! My dreams, desires that I will never quite be able to carry out… Top 10 Things that I so want to do, but somehow never did…sigh! This is maudlin…*sniff*

1. Cut my hair short – I’ve seen many people take the plunge and be happy about the results! Whenever I look at my straggly, split-ended hair that is so neanderthal, I just want to lop it all off. When summer comes, I just want to go bald, and sport a jug of ice cold water as a hat!! Don’t laugh! You would too, if you have really experienced south Indian summers! So, I dream about the day I cut my hair, style it, and look uber cool…so not happening right now. 😦

2. Write a Book – Am I totally out of my mind???!!! Who in the world has the time?? I have ideas, but no time. My sorry tale of entering the NANAWRIMO is testimony to this…

3. Traveling the World – Or at least, The Americas and Europe…Or France and USA? No? Okay, how about just USA? … Okay, just India…you know? All India Tour! No? Okay, what about if we just visited Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata? They’re interesting! No? Okay, can I just visit my friends in Chennai, please? No? Okay. Sorry, I forgot…I’m married to a very grounded and level-headed man with his “feet firmly planted on the ground”. Had no idea that he meant he hated traveling!! And, anyway, who in the world’s got the time?!?!?

4. Make Chocolate Ganache – It looks yummy, it looks easy, but I’m not getting it done in this century, because 1. I will never find the ingredients. 2. I don’t think I will ever buy any more cooking equipment. Not after what happened yesterday (What? Oh, you didn’t know? Yeah, I almost blew up the microwave, when I reheated bread pudding on a plate that had a little gold design on the sides!! Sparks flew…and I blew a fuse… Also, the electricity bill is the highest we have ever had. My baking is taking a year-long hiatus!!)

5. Make a Living as a Real Writer – you know, the sort that writes a best seller, and then makes book tours all year long, but somehow finds the time to write the next best seller, so that he or she can fill the next year with book tours! And autographed copies of the book sell for thousands of dollars…or rupees! Yeah, that dream…meh!

6. Live in France – WhyFrance? I don’t know…maybe because I can eat macaroons and croissants all day long? Could it be that? Or is it because I just want to look at the Eiffel Tower at night, whenever I feel like it…I’m sure it’s one of those reasons…Also, let’s face it…We ALL, at some point, envy the French for their ‘laid-back-ness’!

7. Sip a Cool Glass of Clear Water! – not happening. Bad teeth, one of them missing a nerve because…well… it just right out decayed! (Sorry, TMI, I know), and the others are all wailing at me every night to go make that damn dentist’s appointment… So, No. No sipping ice cold water, ice tea, or iced anything for me…

8. Take Debbie to DisneyLand – She loves Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, and is currraaaaizzzy about Donald Duck! Taking her to DisneyLand, and watching her squeal in delight is what my best dreams are made of…Anyone has extra tickets, you know where to send them…Plane tickets, I mean…

9. Master Indian Cooking – Sometime around last week I realized, to the chagrin and dismay and ____ (fill the most disappointing/negative words here!) of my husband, that I cannot CANNOT really cook Indian cuisine well. Nope. Sambar, rasam, and fish curry that is digestible is the best I can do… 😦 Whereas, give me a microwave and the right ingredients, and I can make a good plate of mac&cheese, or really delicious pasta, make a whopper hamburger with the yummiest ingredients, some good dessert etc. I wish I could cook good Indian food, I really do… My husband looked crestfallen when I announced my discovery…Yes, ‘Crestfallen’ is the word to describe the cheese-hater…Ho Hum…

10. Meet The Pioneer Woman – You know, I have never wanted to meet anyone as badly as I want to meet Ree Drummond!! No really, it’s like an obsession!! I remember, when I was in 9th grade, I wanted to meet Tom Cruise this bad!! And then, well, he went whacko, and I kinda lost interest. Now I am a bit repulsed by him!! But, Ree? Well, I want, WANT, to meet her. I want to see her in person, and I want to shake her hand, and be at the receiving end of that smile, I want to take a tour of her kitchen where all the magic happens, and I want to take one bite of her famous Cinnamon rolls, and I want to die in peace….SIGH!!! Sorry, did not mean to sound like a psycho fan, but really, I adore her that much…If  you, by some sad twist of fate, do not know who Ree Drummond is, go and visit The Pioneer Woman! Your life will never be the same again!

 

Tell me, who wouldn't want to be friends with her?! She is so sweet!

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I know it’s Thursday, but I am entering this post in OhAmanda’s Top10Tuesday posts anyway!

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Learning from Karen: Apple Upside Down Cake

I baked again! And this time, I adapted a recipe from Karen’s Contemplations and Ruminations. I tried the Apple Upside Down Cake! And it was gooood! (Please say that like Bruce Almighty!)

I made it for my in-laws when we visited them this weekend, and I am glad to say they liked it! It was the kids and the husband who liked it the most, I think. My man is a lover of all baked stuff, so I couldn’t go very wrong with this one! Also, Karen’s instructions and pictures are really helpful, so it was a breeze! Here is Karen’s recipe.

And now…

Ingredients:

2 – 3 medium apples (or 2 large ones)

1 & 1/2 cup maida (flour)

2 heaped tsps baking powder

1 & 1/4 cup sugar

about 80 grams butter

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 egg

Equipment:

Baking dish

Baking oven (or microwave)

Method:

1. Peel the apples and slice them into wedges.

I like this dish with its pretty African shapes and colors

2. It will be very convenient if you have a helper to get rid of all the skins and seeds of the apples! My diligent helper did a pretty good job, I must say!

She emptied the skins onto the table and put them in the dish again to pose for this picture!!

Public announcement: At this point I felt like I will not be able to do any proper dinner-cooking, so I resorted to serving this and left over sambar from lunch, for dinner:

dhosa - a South Indian favorite and the savior of all working women throughout the country!

3. Next, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan, over a low flame, and add 1/2 cup of sugar to it. Stir constantly till the sugar melts.

I may have added a tad bit more butter than necessary...I'm not saying.

4. The sugar will melt to form a golden gooey liquid. This should probably be made into currency or something!! It’s that golden and precious!

The good stuff!

5. Please ignore the not-so-ideal-looking pan, and go to the next step before the sugar hardens into toffee. ‘Coz harden it will! I let it harden a bit too, just like Karen did! But don’t worry, you can totally dilute it again, but why bother if you can do it right the first time?

6. Now add the apples in and stir to coat them with the caramel syrup. Cook till the juice of the apples completely leaves them and mixes with the caramel and the entire thing becomes sticky, gooey, golden, sweet and brown, and you can’t resist sneaking a spoonful into your mouth!

7. Butter a baking dish and spread some flour over it. Now spread the apple caramel mixture at the base of the dish, making sure that the entire bottom of the pan is covered.

8. Let’s make the batter now. In a bowl, add all the remaining melted butter (I like the sound of that!), and the sugar and mix well.

I have no more pictures the next couple of steps. Seriously, do you think I was so skillful to photograph the ENTIRE process?!?! I’m glad I got this far without burning anything!!

9. To the mixture of sugar and butter, add the egg and beat well. You can also add the vanilla essence into the mixture.

10. Now add the flour and mix vigorously because you really want everything to blend together smoothly. You can add the milk gradually to loosen things up and form a smooth batter that is pourable. If you are greedy and disobedient like me, you can add some chopped nuts – I added cashews!

11. Pour the batter above the caramelized apple, and sit back and contemplate on how awesome this is going to turn out. Also, you can smell the divine perfume of vanilla and caramelized apples.

12. Stick it into the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes or you microwave it on high for 10 minutes. Open the oven and take a peek to make sure everything is going okay….if you are paranoid like me!

13. When it’s done, it should be brown, and slightly cracked in the middle – if you used the baking oven….head to Karen’s recipe to look at the picture. If you used the microwave, chances are you’re not really getting the brown look, rather it will look like this:

This looks alarmingly like the dhosa! But I assure you, it is very yummy apple cake!

I have poked a hole into the cake to make sure it is baked. I don’t have toothpicks at home (I have a 3-yr-old instead), so I used the end of my wooden spoon! You may now laugh your heart out at me…sigh.

Oh! Look at the pan from the side! It looks good enough to just scoop put and eat with some icecream!

14. Now comes the ‘Upside Down part. Take a large cake dish, or a stainless steel plate, if you don’t have those fancy things. I don’t have one because, never in my life did I expect I would be baking…So…

15. Place the plate upside down on the plate, and then carefully turn the entire thing upside down again.

16. Let the cake loosen itself from the pan and settle on the plate. Now you have the lovely apple top-side, and all is well with the world!

Oops! Sorry. I did it again!

Now, you can cut a piece, all warm and lovely, and eat it with vanilla icecream!

Learning from Karen: Macaroni and Cheese

Posted On September 19, 2010

Filed under Food
Tags: , , ,

Comments Dropped 4 responses

Here’s a shout out to an interesting blogger who hails from Nagercoil, and has one of the most interesting blogs I have come across. Karen from Contemplations and Ruminations , a very artistic person who loves to read, and frequently updates the best reviews. She also cooks, and is very nimble with arts and craft, volunteers at local charity organizations and does so much more cool stuff! Oh, and she also has a really cool haircut!! In fact, she is a lot like me, except way cooler than I can ever hope to be!!

So, lately, I have been quite adventurous, and have been taking pointers from Karen’s food posts. I have tried out a couple of her recipes. The first that I tried iiiiis (drumroooolll)  Macaroni and Cheese!

What? That is your idea of adventure?!?!? Believe me people, when you live in a place where cheddar cheese and unsalted butter is a rarity, simple and straight-forward Mac & Cheese is akin to jumping from the top of the Empire State Building – months of research, scouring the market for the right equipment, and then, taking the plunge! When it’s done people appreciate you for the sheer awesomeness of the act, but they still can’t believe that you were actually able to do that! Some others will ask, “Okay, but why do you need to do such things? What is the purpose?” To those people, I say, “I do it because I wanted to tell myself I can… HA!!”

So, here’s what I used for Karen’s Mac & Cheese, but I made a few changes for my convenience:

Ingredients

1 cup of elbow macaroni

2 – 3 tbsps butter

1 heaped tbsp flour (maida)

1 & 1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 cup ham or  salami chopped. I had chicken frankfurters, so that’s what I used.

salt, pepper and oregano to taste (this is the stuff that I mentioned scouring the market for – oregano. I found it in Lynns! So, Nagercoilans take heart!)

Equipment:

Baking oven (I only have my loyal microwave, so I just nuked it. Note: it does not give the best results. The baking oven is ideal)

Baking dish (or a glass or microwave friendly dish)

Method:

1. Cook the macaroni aldente (that is, it should be soft but half-done. Like it requires more cooking. Don’t be like me and be oggling at the white sauce that you made and let the macaroni over cook!) Make sure you add some salt when you cook it. Drain the macaroni and set aside.

2. Heat the butter in a pan on a low flame, and add the heaped tablespoon of flour to it. Keep stirring so that the entire thing does not form one big lump! You don’t want that. Lumps are bad, wherever they are…think about it!

3. While you’re reflecting on the dangers of lumps, don’t forget to add the milk! Add it slowly, constantly stirring the mixture to make sure that everything blends in smoothly. This along with salt and pepper, as Karen says, is the basic white sauce.

4. Remove the pan from the flame, and add 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese to the sauce. It will melt in the heat of the sauce, and you can give it a stir to make sure it makes friends with the sauce.

5. Now add the pepper, salt, and oregano to the sauce.

6. You can also add the meat – in my case, the frankfurters (about 1/2 cup) – and stir everything in well. Note: the meat part is optional. If you are on a diet (ha! what are you doing making mac & cheese?!?!!), or are resisting meat for a while (poor your!), or just do not want to add to the extra calories and guilt (join the club!) then you can leave out the meat… I know, I jabber a lot…

7. Anyway, now, pour the macaroni into your baking dish.

8. Now comes the good part. Pour the sauce onto the macaroni, and give it a light stir so that all the macaroni is completely coated with the sauce.

9. Spread grated cheddar cheese on the top of the macaroni.

10. Plop it into the oven and let it do its thing for about 10 -20 minutes. I nuked it on high for about 8 minutes.

11. There is no ’11th step’. Take the macaroni out and oggle some at the browned crispy top of the dish, and then dig in!! I totally missed out on the crispy browned top because of the microwave. Invest in an oven. I will, one day…sigh!

Mine looked like this:

Ooohhh Mama!

No crispy top, but who cares?!? It was yummy, YUMMY!!! Debbie loved it! Why, even the resident cheese-hater (hint: I married him) deigned to have a plate! WIN!

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Karen’s Macaroni and Cheese

Want yummy life-size images that make you drool? The Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and cheese will give you the fix!

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