Well, that may not be the most appetizing picture, but it's quite an accomplishment when you consider that I couldn't see what I was doing when I cooked or photographed it. This morning I saw Nigella Lawson on the Today Show making a dish called Bang Bang Chicken while she talked about her new series on The Food Network. Extreme elation ensued! I've been wondering when she would be back on television. So, I decided to make her recipe, Green Cilantro Chutney and Omelet Masala, for Weekend Herb Blogging. Unfortunately, I had a late afternoon appointment for an eye exam, where my eyes were dilated, and it wound up causing me to see everything in a sort of colorful haze. Please go over to the lovely Kalyn's site and see what the other Weekend Bloggers have cooked up for your enjoyment. You'll be glad you did!
Several days before my little jaunt to the hospital, I fixed a delicious dish using a jar of Tikka Masala Indian Simmering Sauce. I've never used this product, but was very surprised at how good it tasted. Nancy bought it at Williams-Sonoma and tucked it into my Easter basket, for which I'm eternally grateful. I love finding something that lets me make a wonderful meal, with almost no effort. I have to say, the smell of the sauce as it was cooking was heaven. To my mind cumin, coriander seeds, ginger and garlic produce an aroma that can't be beat. I hoped the dish would taste as good as it smelled, and it did.
So, there I was innocently minding my own business last Wednesday night. That was the night I had the Wok Tossed Salmon with Chilis, which set my psycho acid reflux on a rampage, waking me up early Thursday morning with CHEST PAINS. Now, I always get chest pains when my acid reflux goes nuts. But, this time, I also had A PAIN IN MY ARM. The left arm, in fact. So, I played a fun mental game, which goes like this: "I'm dying!" "No, it's just GERD." "No, it's the big one!!" Finally, I went to the ER and after some tests, nice Dr. Wong decided the pain was from my acid reflux (damn those chili peppers). However, nice Dr. Wong also decided the EKG was a little hinky (it had bundles or tendrils or something like that) and I wound up being admitted to the hospital, "just for the night". It's a long annoying story of how I wound up staying there, a virtual prisoner in my room, for FOUR DAYS. And the final word? I have a tiny little bit of scarring in my heart, which they call an "artifact". And this means that sometime in the past, I had a itty bitty heart attack! Yikes! I guess I'll have to start limiting the buttercream frosting.
This is never good to read just before you eat your meal.
Maybe it's from all the baking frenzy of Easter, but I'm not in the mood to spend much time on cooking right now. But, I do want to eat something delicious. This dish from Dancing Shrimp, a wonderful cookbook by Kasma Loha-Unchit, is fast and easy to prepare--but the flavors are BIG! It has lots of chilies in it, but that can be adjusted up or down, according to a person's taste. I like the addition of handfuls of whole basil leaves in the dish. They taste wonderful, and look good too. And as always, I wonder how on earth I managed to live so long without using fish sauce? That's so wrong.
My friend Nancy is a hard core gift basketer. You get a basket from her, you know you've been gifted. They're always filled to the brim with fun cooking implements that you always wanted, but could never justify buying for yourself, books, and food. So, I feel a lot of pressure to reciprocate, even though she truly wouldn't mind if you didn't give her a basket. Mine can't approach hers in generosity, but I try. I try. The picture above is the basket I stuffed with baked goods for her and her family. The basket itself is from Sur La Table. If it wasn't intended for Nancy', I would have kept it myself. Actually, it's a lot of fun doing this. Nancy deserves it and I get to bake (and sample) a lot of cool things.
Well, the title of this is totally wasted if you never watched Star Trek, TNG. After I tasted one of these Peep cupcakes that I made for Easter, I felt totally powerless in their presence. Well, I didn't have the Peep. I hate Peeps. But, I figured the kids at Easter dinner would like them. And did they ever! I gravely underestimated their power and now understand that you should always triple the amount of cupcakes you bring to a party. And these cupcakes were so easy to make. I used a recipe from Cook's Illustrated that was as simple as using a bought cake mix, but tasted much better. I haven't made real cupcakes in........well, I can't really remember that far back. So, this was an event.
I don't have dogs, but my friend Helene does and she is a devoted mum, I must say. This is a picture of her newest doggie, a lovely Australian Shepard named Rosie. Helene adopted her from a shelter recently, which was a very lucky thing for Rosie, who is a youngster---but was given up by two prior owners before Helene found her. And Rosie hit the lottery because she has a home for life now. Even though she's chewing holes in Helene's new couch, she will never go back to the shelter again.
Here are Helene's other two doggies, Chekhov and Ollie. Ollie was miffed that Rosie entered the family unit--but Chekhov is the Alpha male and he says she stays.
Chekhov is the boss and he says that you must go to Sweetnicks where Cate hosts Weekend Dog Blogging and there are so many adorable pictures to see! (And check out Nicholas and his girlfriend!)
The last two days have been extremely rushed, and I mean that literally. I feel like a character in a Looney Toons cartoon, running from place to place. And that doesn't count the time on the treadmill. I think I bit off more than I can chew, with all the baked goods I've been preparing, as well as other obligations. Oh well, Easter will be over soon and then life will return to a more normal pace. Yesterday I resorted to my Desperation Spaghetti, a tried and true dish for those moments when I simply can't spend more than 10 minutes in total on a meal. Here it is, and just in time for Herb Blogging Weekend, the creation of Kalyn, who's off having a very nice time in Texas! The herbs of choice for this meal are fresh oregano and basil (again). Go to Kalyn's site and see all the other Herb Bloggers in action! I'm sure their recipes are much better planned than mine.