Monday, January 26, 2009

Fun with Foreign Food

acorn squash stew
Chicken with almonds and spicesnaan

My amiga Linda and I have started a bi-monthly foreign foods cooking extravanga. On February 8th, we are making homemade pasta, a garlicy sauce, and homemade Vietnamese Pho. Sorta mixing things up this time. Our other forays have included Indian and Latin American.

For the Indian meal we made:

Glazed cauliflower with ginger
Cucumber & yogurt salad (w/tomato and chili pepper strips)
Chickpea flour bread--naan.
Chicken smothered in aromatic herbs & almonds .

Basmatic rice.

Beer from Thailand--couldn't find Indian beer!

So, here's how we did it. My daughter LeeAnn joined us. She organized the spices first off. Indian food requires a lot of different spices--which is probably why I love it so much! Then, LA peeled the cucumbers and chopped those and the tomatoes into bite-size pieces. She made a yogurt dressing and mixed it all together with a bit of chili pepper. In the meantime, I tore the chicken apart limb by limb--kinda fun!--while Linda started the dough for the naan. And I think she also made the ghee around this time. After sauteeing the chicken, adding all the necessary spices, nuts, vegies, we put it in the oven and headed to Fern Ridge for a quick walk. When we got back, I washed the rice--the trick to soft and fluffy basmati rice is about 4 washings--and then soaked it for 40 minutes before cooking. Because of the soaking, it seemed like it took just 10 minutes to cook. We also made the cauliflower dish at this time. By this time, we'd been either cooking or walking for about 4 hours. We were ready to chow down! So, Linda and LA did the final preparations on the naan and Linda checked spices and got the table set up while LeeAnn put the naan dough over a fire to cook. The naan's puff up tall and when you are hungry seeing them do that just makes ya drool. We brushed ghee over them after.

My favorite dishes were the chicken nut dish and the naan. Next time we make the salad we will use less yogurt or more cukes. The cauliflower was good too. All in all a great time and great food.

Our next adventure featured Latin American Cuisine.

We decided to make life a little easier on ourselves this time though and only cook two elaborate dishes:

Chilean Meat and Corn Pie

Peruvian Acorn Squash Stew.

Brown Rice.

Beer from Costa Rica.

We used buffalo instead of beef for the Chilean pie and it turned out so good--the sweetness of the corn mixed with the herbs and spices and the buffalo was very tasty. Both of these dishes were very casserole-y. Both were excellent with rice. The squash stew had feta cheese and peas in in, as well as oregano and chile peppers.

I loved, loved, loved both dishes. So much so that I made the Squash dish shortly thereafter to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck.

By the way, Linda and I work real well together in the kitchen. Linda, you can write a comment if you disagree with this. ha ha. But, that's real cool when you're cooking together that you know someone is doing their part in one part of the kitchen when you are doing yours and you both can look out for what's on the stove.

Recipes coming soon!

Also, next time we will take more photos of us cooking.

Have any foreign food suggestions or want to join in on the fun? Let us know!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama's Agenda

It's long and I just started to read it. I'm very impressed that he is able to make his agenda known to the public so soon. I guess he's been thinking about it for a while.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hello, President Obama.

I am hopeful of you leading our country in such as a way to promote all kinds of community service, negotiations between parties and countries, more peace on this crazy planet, and taking responsiblity for what we've done wrong in the last several years along with intelligence to change our actions toward more sustainable outcomes. We can truly change our lives, our communities, our nation, our world, when we feel inspired and committed to working together toward common, positive, reacheable goals.

I love that you are so grassroots oriented. I've always believed that is the way toward a more egalitarian nation, with communities allowed to give their input and see the results afterward.

I am hopeful but also realistic. I know that the economy won't get much better anytime soon and that war-torn nations won't all of a sudden be saved by your leadership. All I can do is my part--help others when I can, spend reasonably, and stand up for what I believe in. And not live in fear. Our people have survived worse.

I think that you are the best darn looking president we've ever had plus quite a good dancer (saw you on the Ellen show)--it's good to have a president that knows how to boogie down.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Love this new camera

I bought this Nixon Coolpix L18 for my daughter yesterday. Got it on sale at Freddie's for $99.99. I have a Nikon Coolpix too but I bought mine several years ago and technology has changed. LeeAnn's has some neat-o features that mine doesn't, like the ability to take and stitch together panoramic shoots. Plus it seems faster than mine and I love the big screen. Color quality is wow! Both of ours has the b & w option but hers has so many more auto features than mine does. And both take movies with sound. So far, I'm impressed. And LeeAnn played with the camera all day yesterday and was extremely happy. So, if you are looking for an inexpensive camera--one to take on car trips or even just around town, this may be the camera for you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

a blog I like

Crazy 'bout Crafts

This is the largest mosaic I've completed thus far. I finished it at the end of summer. My inspiration was taken from the magazine photo on top. I more or less had a design in mind but made things up as I went along too. It seems that that's the way I do mosaics. Maybe when I'm more experienced I'll be able to follow plans. But, who cares! I love the "play" aspect of creation and if you can't make it up as you go along then it's not fun anymore. Anyway, the photo at the bottom is without grout. I have since applied a charcoal gray grout and it looks a lot like stained glass in my window.