Thursday, February 18, 2010

What Passes for Burritos

When you think of burritos, if you do, do you think of something which loosely resembles above? Good. We are then on the same page.

At lunch hour today, I trotted off to the canteen and started scouring the place for viable alternatives. At the "Off Beat" counter, I espied something called "Mexican Set", which consisted of burritos. With the above in my mind's eye, it sounded like an attractive option. Accordingly I tried to make an order. The man at the counter clarifies - "4 or 5? " . Turns out 5 was quesadillas and 4 was burritos, my original idea. Contrary to my nature, I stuck with my original choice of 4.
After waiting for about a quarter of an hour, my order was done. What I see has me momentarily speechless. Being the polite person that I am, I quietly took myself off, order and all, to find a vacant spot. But then I could not reconcile it with my conscience to swallow that outrage. I marched right back and declared - "No offense, but stuffed rice, (chinese fried rice at that) in chapatis doesn't a "burrito" make". "If you want to see what burritos look like do a google image search!" "These! - are not burritos".

Having thus sufficiently impressed my point I made my strategic retreat. I do not know whether they are gonna google burritos, but I did my bit to ensure that when humanity goes looking for above, they are not subjected to below!

The red bits in the middle? That's "Salsa". Oh! and I'm still shuddering to think what might have been presented in the name of no. 5 - quesadillas.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Lonely Valentine's and Myriad Reminisces of Experiments Past

Sushi's away visiting (the) King of Prussia. It's Valentine's with a 12 hour time zone difference. I'm sharing a kitchen with dad. He does a lot of back seat driving, or more appropriately, "over the shoulder ladle stirring", even as he pretends he's letting me cook. We have frequent ingredient impasses and this puts me in a nostalgic mood. Just last week, I was sowing my own wild oats in my own kitchen. Here then, in chronological order are reminisces of my experiments in the past month -

1) The beans that might have softened Sushi's stand on Veggies.
Remember Tiger Prawn Malai Curry? Here. I thought, what works for the prawns might possibly work for the beans too. Steamed french beans, some roasted peanuts, coconut milk, even a dash of garlic n ginger and onion paste all went in to the pan. I might add at this point that I had the full blessings of Tarla Dalal, whose idea this was in the first place. What's not to like? Apparently not, for Sushi nearly bursts into tears and says I am never ever to do this to him again. Oh well.

2) Fresh Fruit - but add some calories first.

Picture this (though the picture ain't nearly so great), succulent, ripe, in all their pink-ness strawberries. Little green leaves left in to add some colour contrast and the fruit chopped into quarters. Whipped cream in a bowl with generous quantities of sugar. Then the pink and green co-mingles with the fluffy white. Ummmmmmm..."droolicious"!

3) The health conscious risotto.

You leave the cheese out and make the risotto. What's that? I haven't yet spoken about the art and craft of risotto making on these pages? Uh-oh... Easy really. Boneless chicken pieces, stir fried along with onions and chopped garlic and anything else which sounds Italian. Olives, for instance, belong with risotto, being most definitely Italian and to be discovered at great bargains in the kirana shop below my apartment. (Which is not to say, that they can't be had elsewhere.). Mushrooms, which for some reason remind me of gondolas in Venice can be thrown in too. The most exotic part is the rice - it's cooked in chicken broth instead of water. The twain are then mixed and if you are feeling reckless, or not breaking the weighing machine, go ahead, throw in a cup or two of grated cheese. Stir everything around until it's creamy enough..and watch Sushi's eyes sparkle behind his glasses.

You might not be able to do that last bit, the eye sparkling behind glasses bit, becos after all he's my valentine, not yours. Despair not though, because you might still have a great risotto to share with..someone, anyone.