A Way of Life-Chaat

You guys, our libraries are OPEN. I must say the book pick-up process has been pretty user friendly for the past year but I was so excited when I pulled up and saw the “we are open!” sign.

There was quite the wait list for Maneet Chauhan’s lastest cookbook Chaat, so when I finally got it, I couldn’t wait to dig in. After choosing a few recipes to try, then came the hunt for the ingredients. Not wanting to go to all of the stores looking for a few key ingredients, I improvised.

But first. Gouda turned 3 years old on July 4th. Part sweetheart part asshole, she didn’t even say thank meow.

Back to Chaat. I didn’t even know what chaat was, I just knew that there were different varieties out there, such as Paneer chaat and Aloo chaat. I found that the word describes a way of Indian life, more than just street food snacks. After more reading I learned that there are many regional variations of chaat but all of them have one thing in common. Each recipe of chaat has a combo of five essential components; the base, the sauce, the crunch, the vegetables and the umami. After that, the creative mashup is up to you.

We chose to make the Tabakh Maaz (twice-cooked caramelized ribs) and the Gajar ka Halwa (carrot pudding with pistachios and saffron). And obviously I would also make the cilantro-mint chutney because that is always a must at every Indian meal.

Back to the ingredient hunting. You guys, we have international markets on every corner but I could not find Paneer and I could not find lamb ribs. Turns out that paneer is easy enough to make and pork ribs would be a quick pinch substitute that would end in an abundance of food moaning.

I took an entire afternoon to make this meal, dipping into the sun every so often.

First up, make the cheese. Paneer, a farmer’s cheese made with milk, lemon and salt. That’s it, that’s the recipe.

Next was the carrot pudding, although the final product tasted amazing, the end result did not turn out how the cookbook promised. And no, it was not user error. Somehow grated carrot boiled in saffron, cardamom and milk was supposed to turn into a velvety pudding consistency. This did not happen and I even let it simmer for a lot longer than suggested. This picture is what I had after the recommended 30 minutes.

Nothing like pudding. I even used the emersion blender at the end but still no avail. This recipe just didn’t work, although it sure did taste good.

The cilantro-mint chutney came together in under five minutes, however I didn’t seed all five of the serrano’s because I like to live on the edge of pain.

Then we have the ribs. You guys, these are ridiculous. Once I got over the fact that I wasn’t making lamb, sigh, I went in open minded. These ribs are simmered in water with the addition of milk with a handful of spices; cardamom’s, cinnamon, tumeric, fennel seeds and of course garlic. Once they were “fall off the bone” tender. I let them rest until I admitted to myself that the carrot pudding was not going to in fact be “pudding”.

I heated a cast iron pan, added some ghee, and lightly sprinkled some cane sugar over the ribs (not in the recipe) and fried them until perfectly caramelized.

And then……

So now I have a new way of cooking ribs. I can’t wait to make this for friends and family, it’s that good. Next time I would like to make pork and lamb side by side. And the chutney, just smother it on the ribs or eat it by the spoonful.

This is a cookbook that I could definitely cook my way through, so many good looking recipes, even if the carrot pudding recipe was a lie. Ha!

The one with all the Pictures

Homeschooling is really sucking the life out of me and then the teachers went and added musical instruments, shame. Sorry, but those flutes are hidden for the rest of the week.

The girls have made friends with a group of the neighborhood kids and it has been AHmazing. They are eager to get off their zooms and go outside to play. They have been playing outside until the sun goes down and have been introduced to the game Ghosts in the Graveyard We have been at the tail end of our summer weather and we have definitely taken advantage of it.

Now that the weather is cooling down we thought it’s time to decorate for Halloween.

Fall cooking has been sparse, it’s been a lot of easy throw togethers, salads, Amy’s enchiladas and anything that could go on the grill.

I did make this recipe for roasted rack of lamb and with glass of cab and a dollop of mint jelly, it was delish.

I also made a divine chocolate mousse that hales from Waters Catering here in San Diego. So rich and soooo good.

Mummies were also on the menu one night.

The pumpkin patch was a slight let down, we tried a new one and although the girls were happy with it, there wont be a repeat visit. I think they would go back and just sit in the petting zoo the entire time.

But first, the hair.

They all decided they would rather paint theirs instead of carving. SO much easier.

To round out the Halloween fun, the girls had crazy hat day for their after school zoom.

There is no shortage of things to do, it’s just wanting to do them. I really hope 2021 brings more normalcy, ya know what I’m saying?

2020….How it started

How it’s going

What’s Up?

I guess life has gotten in the way of my blogging. Not exactly sure what we have been doing with our free time but it comes and goes and then I realize I haven’t written in days.

A few weeks back Senna, my elderly kitty of 19 years had a stroke and wouldn’t leave the side of the house. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with her but she had no interest in food or water and could barely walk. My neighbor said I should take her to the vet, but I was alone with two kids with no crate, how was I going to manage that? I decided I would wait until the next morning to make a decision, it was all too sudden. But a few hours later I realized she was in misery, so I called the vet and asked what my options were and decided to take her in and have her put down. I am so thankful for my next door neighbors, one of them watched the kids while the other drove me to the vet. The vet confirmed it was most likely a stroke and that it happens in older cats. I stayed with Senna while she was sedated and then I left, not wanting to sit through the end. I was heartbroken and two weeks later I still think I hear her meowing and go to the door to let her in or to offer her chicken. She lived a long life as an indoor and outdoor cat. She traveled through California with me and probably used up many of her 9 lives battling cars, coyotes and possums throughout the years.

Last weekend was our monthly dinner party and the theme was “retro”. My plan was to make beef wellington but when I saw the price of the beef tenderloin at Costco, I decided maybe not -cha-ching! I then went back and forth on what to make and finally settled on Swedish meatballs. After staring and comparing 10 different recipes I went with Alton Browns. It was farely easy to make and it turned out great. The bowl was empty by the end of the night.

I also had my hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test. This is the same test I had when I was trying to get pregnant…oh the irony. After I had Averi the doctors had a hard time actually finding my fallopian tubes due to the mess of scar tissue left from Kaili’s delivery. They weren’t exactly sure if they were successful in their attempt to tie them so I patiently waited 3 months and then had my HSG. Two thumbs up, everything is as I want it.

Speaking of Averi, she turned 4 months a few days ago, can we talk more about that later? Someone hasn’t taken her monthly pictures yet. (points to self)

Is it really two weeks until Thanksgiving?

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