ME BE! BE ME! Spice lesson!

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Many years of reading spices has helped me learn significant life lessons. While Spice Whispering there is the realization that each spice that I connect with is unique . It is totally confident in what it is…appearance, aroma, taste, origins and value. Yet it allows me to work and partner it with others resulting in a one of a kind blend.

The spices help me focus and generate a laser sharp concentration . Me is just BEing !! They also give me the confidence to be who I am . ME ! one of a kind but ready to partner towards a better self !

In building a team or inspiring an existent one, remember to highlight people’s strengths and balance the mix!

Receiving 2016!

  
Happy New Year ! May the Joy continue .

I have a spice broth on the stove that simmers and permeates the kitchen and many senses. It reminds me of enjoying and being in this moment. The pot holds bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, star anise, peppercorns and cloves! These will simmer in water for an hour or more.  Strain. Spice stock ready to be used to cook beans, grains and vegetables. 

Wishing everyone a Spicy New Year !!!!

” Lauki ” or Opo squash summer stew!


We can all relate to Comfort Foods ! The need at times for cooking and tasting a bowl of memories that soothes the body and heart. I have many such moments especially when I am homesick. Lately , I have been satisfying myself with several comforting dishes. It is not just the taste of them but the entire process of cooking that is ” comforting”. While I have added many dishes to my comfort foods list, there are some that belong to the many moons ago times of growing up in India.

One such dish is a simple , rustic style squash stew.  The squash is ” lauki” in Punjabi language and best known as ” opo” squash in the American markets.

1 medium sized squash , washed, peeled, cut into medium dice( 5-7 cups approximately)

1 large yellow onion, sliced

2 -3 large tomatoes, cored and diced

1 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped fine

2 tablespoons ghee or oil of choice

1 tablespoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 jalapeño , whole, ( optional)

Salt to taste

  • Heat a pan. Add ghee.
  • Add onions and sweat for 3-4 minutes, till translucent
  • Add the ginger and cook for a minute.
  • Add the squash, turmeric, coriander and jalapeño
  • Stir well to evenly coat all pieces with the dry spices
  • Add the tomatoes ,salt and a 1/4 cup water.
  • Bring to a boil. Then lower heat and let simmer, covered for about 15-20 minutes

Comforting when accompanied by stormed rice.

NOTE : I did not peel the squash as it was very fresh and tender at the Farmer’s market .

As I enjoy my bowl of ” lauki”, I also think of hot summer afternoons in Calcutta more than half a century ago!!!! A simple lunch of the stew over a bowl of hot rice , accompanied by lemon pickle and plain yogurt.

For those of us who moved far away from home and have become dual rooted in adopting another home, these comfort food memories are very special.

Kitchen and Life intersect in my dirty Chai !!!

   
 
It was my day to set yogurt. The milk was set on the stove, fired up and the spatula ready for stirring. Milk needs to be first boiled and then cooled a bit. The starter culture added and then set in a warm place for this to transform into yogurt. Today, it’s a gallon of milk which means it will take about 15-18 minutes to come to a boil and all that stirring creates a beautiful froth. I love brewing a cup of tea so that I can savor it with a head of frothy milkiness! A treat , a ritual, a time to ponder on life and kitchen wisdom. Yogurt setting days usually mean focusing on Transformation……milk into yogurt! 

So, a lovely rhythm sets to the stirring of the milk in a stainless steel pot. This is an important step or the milk  solids will scorch at the bottom and that burnt taste  ruins both milk and yogurt. I am one with this process. I even notice that I tend to stir clockwise three times and anti clockwise twice. I just notice that I do that ..no analysis to why ? Life lesson : I’m practicing just witnessing! Ten minutes or so into this milk boiling a nutty, hot milky aroma begins to pervade my nose and kitchen . I grew up with this smell and it brings back memories. It also reminds me that my daughter dislikes this smell and gets nauseated . Life lesson: not everyone likes the same things and it is ok. 

There is a lovely foam about an inch thick that has formed on the top of the milk pot. I see the small bubbles that come through and pop. And finally the milk is bubbling and rushes up to the top of the pot and I turn off the heat at the perfect moment and no boiling over. A strong cup of tea has brewed too. 

I am ready for my treat.  I pour the tea into my mug and DARN it makes it to the two thirds mark. My husband made some extra coffee and so my mug is now full. A dash of sugar and  a couple of ladles of the milky froth and I have my Dirty Chai. Life lesson: be innovative .

The sipping of that mug of tea was priceless. 

The Comics Post

Sharing this as it brings back some wonderful memories for me . These comics were launched in my time and my baby sister and I waited for the next issue to be published! 
For a lot of us in India at one time Comic = Amar Chitra Katha. My nieces are Australian so their book cupboard is wash with princess stories, fairy stories, Peppa Pig, Horrid Henry and the like.  The Indian comics they are gifted tend to be mythological and they haven’t quite taken to them.  Given […]

http://vintageindianclothing.com/2015/07/28/the-comics-post/

Grilled Peach Salad

Emerging Adult Eats

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Why can’t I just have a normal child (dog)?

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Like, we can’t even take her in public she’s such a gremlin.

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It’s my fault, I know. I raised her to believe she could do anything & be anything. It’s just my luck she decided to be a human with a fear of dogs.

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I try to take her to a work picnic where there will be plenty of mutts for interaction. Maybe she’ll be normal this time, you know, do a little butt sniffing & tail chasing. NOPE. She throws a hissy when the first nose gets too close to her bum. I mean, in some ways I’m proud of her for sticking up for what she believes in. In other ways, I’m like wow can you please hide how inept at being a parent I am in public please thanks.

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BRB gotta put her down for her morning nap.

Time: 30…

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Spice Whispering the Wedding ! 

Weddings are an embodiment of layers ! Individuals, families, cultures, communities, activities , people and so much more , all coming together !

Spice Whispereing a wedding starts with meeting up and getting to know the wedding couple. This is their story about food . They get to share their likes and dislikes about cuisines , ingredients, herbs, spices, food memories and interests.

Now the dance of the spices begins. Cumin and coriander may decide to marry with sweet Italian basil, fermented black garlic, porcini mushrooms and aged balsamic salt. Everyday herbs and spices may blend with one of a kind .Each couple is unique and so is their special blend. Elements of season and reason balance the flavor to finalize the wedding blend. Shared as wedding favors for the guests makes a wedding Spice Whispered.

One of a kind experience facilitated by The Spice Whisperer!

The Avocado Hummus with an attitude ! 

  

This is The Spice Whisperer’s version of The Avocado Hummus !

1 can of garbanzo beans (13oz.) , drained slightly

2 medium  Haas avocados, perfectly ripe 

1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons tahini

1/2 teaspoon sumac

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin powder

2-3 tablespoons avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves fresh garlic

Salt to taste

  • Blend thoroughly till smooth in blender or food processor. 

Enjoy !