23 August 2007

We Make Better Aloo Gobi than Gurinder Chadha

The other night we re-watched Bend it Like Beckham. I’m pretty sure it was the first time I had watched it since meeting my husband, and I enjoyed it a lot more now that I can speak a little Hindi and I’ve spent enough time around Indians to appreciate the story more.

It was also the first time that I watched the special feature in which the movie’s director, Gurinder Chadha, makes Aloo Gobi with her Mum and Mausi looking on and offering advice. It was hilarious! I loved the advice from the two old aunties: “Cut it smaller…it doesn’t matter.” “No, you have to peel it. Just do it.” Ji haan!

The way Gurinder Chadha makes aloo gobi is similar to our recipe, but I think ours is better. She cut her onions too big, and her gobi too big. She also used way too little garam masala. However, she did have some tips that we’d never tried, such as including minced cilantro stems, and putting the cilantro garnish on and then letting the aloo gobi sit for several minutes before serving. By the time we finished watching, we HAD to have aloo gobi last night.

Here’s how we make it (new tips from Gurinder Chadha included):

One large onion, diced
Three medium potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
One medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 ½ cups tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
1 tbs cumin seeds
2 serrano peppers, minced
2 tbs ginger-garlic paste
1 tbs minced fresh ginger, or 1 tsp dried ginger powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbs salt, or to taste
2 tsp red chile powder, or to taste
2 tsp ground coriander
3-4 tbs garam masala
1 small bunch cilantro, stems minced; leaves chopped and reserved

Saute the onion in about 2 tbs of oil until it starts to become translucent. Toss in the cumin seeds and the minced cilantro stems and stir for a couple minutes. Add the cumin seeds and stir. The onions should be golden brown. Add the tomato and stir. It should bubble and become sort of thick like a gravy. Add a little water if it’s splattering too much. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste. Add the dry spices and ginger (except for the garam masala), and stir. Add the potatoes and stir to coat, then simmer for a few minutes. Add the cauliflower. Pour in at least two cups of water, then cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are done, about 20 minutes or so. Add the garam masala near the end, then taste and adjust seasoning. You may need to add a little more water if it becomes too dry. You want the vegetables to be tender with the flavors penetrating through. Add a small handful of chopped cilantro and cover the pan and let it sit for several minutes before serving so the flavors can penetrate even more. Serve with rotis. And don’t forget, it tastes even better the next day!

At the end of the feature, Gurinder Chadha mentioned one of our favorite ways to eat aloo gobi. You take cold aloo gobi and put it between two slices of bread, then cook the sandwich in one of those sandwich maker toasters that presses the sandwich into two triangles. Eat that with some spicy (I like Maggi brand Chatpat ketchup) or plain ketchup for an amazing lunch! This idea is also great with pau bhaji.

14 August 2007

Why I Love Blacksburg

Today I didn't have much time for exercising before work, so I decided that going walking/jogging for 30 minutes would be better than nothing. It was a crisp morning, even in August, and it was so nice to get out and run through one of my favorite neighborhoods nearby. As I was running, I passed people who greeted me with a cheerful "good morning." I gazed out over Ellett Valley below as I went along, and thought about how lucky I am to have such a view.

As I reached the halfway point of the excursion, I was jogging down a hill and came within 20 feet of a beautiful young buck with small fuzzy antlers; he bounded into the woods at my approach. As I rounded the curve, I had to stop and bend over because I was too out of breath. As I stood back up, a little old lady came out of her house and asked me if I wanted some water. I accepted and she gave me an ice-cold bottle of water and I went on my way with thanks.

For years I've thought only of leaving this town, but now my husband and I are considering staying. Only in a town like this do I encounter such natural beauty and such friendly people. I love Blacksburg!

The photo I've included is actually a young fawn that we found near my dad and stepmom's place, but I thought it was nice with this blog entry...

13 August 2007

Fuck Cancer

I think four-letter words are entirely appropriate here. My dad has cancer. Prostate cancer. Scans are this week, and then we'll find out how serious it is. There is no justice in this world, when the good people get sick, and the complete assholes seem to live long and healthy lives.

Pray for my dad.

09 August 2007

High School Reunion, or "What's That Building Behind You Guys?"

Last weekend was my 10-year high school reunion. I can now say that I have faced the overhyped and cliche-ridden thing that is the high school reunion. All I wanted was to go and see old friends (loved getting back in touch!) and also look hot with my hot hubby. Done! What else happened?

  • Saw guy classmate who is now bald? Check.
  • Saw bitchy female classmate who is now fat? Check.
  • Popular kids still all hanging out together? Check.
  • Massive number of people from my county married each other and stayed right.there. and did nothing.else. in their lives? Check.
  • Some people had insane numbers of kids already at only age 28? Check--one girl has FOUR.
  • Ate awful food and drink? Check--words can't describe how bad the food was, and the one keg of Bud Lite ran out in an hour.
  • Saw popular guy who now seems insanely stupid? Check--one guy asked my husband and me of our picture in the slideshow, "So, what is that building behind you guys?" Ummm...