May-June hiatus and a Zesty Party Snack

May was a busy month. The last month of the school year. Everything is packed into those 4 weeks. April saw us at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago every weekend. And this time the idlis from the canteen were not the main course. It was to practice "Yeh Tara Woh Tara" for graduation from the Hindi Language Class of the Sunday School organized by the Temple. Soon followed the Spring Recital at school. Then came the various types of testing. (Eat breakfast! Eat a good breakfast!) Then came School Olympics. Followed by more testing. (Please eat your breakfast!) Followed by piano recitals.

Add to it the anxiety caused by the bypass surgery of a close friend. He was supposed to go in for an angiography and come out with a diagnosis of a stent. Instead, he got the verdict of a triple bypass. When he actually went in for the surgery, they bypassed 5 major arteries. Medicine, despite not being an exact science, is truly amazing. This guy is doing cardiac rehab where he's walking the treadmill and bicycling at rates that I can only dream of. And, he's 58.

This flurry of activity led to a serious backlog of work, which invariably results in eating bad food. Yep, those tires are no longer on the car. They're on me!

Genetically modified food, foie gras feuds and chickens on anti-biotics freaked me out further. So off we went to Trader Joe's to de-stress. I bought free range organic chicken. Organic pink lemonade. Organic Red Pepper Spread with eggplant and garlic. And that led to this really super zesty party snack...

Zesty Party Snack

  • A roll of Sesame Toasteds
  • Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread
  • El Yucateco Green Habanero Salsa
  1. Arrange the Toasteds (or any other cracker that you like. Bretons will be great, too!) on a large serving platter
  2. Put a dollop of TJ's Red Pepper & Eggplant spread on each cracker
  3. Put a nice large drop of El Yucateco Green Habanero Salsa on top
  4. Serve with a fruity sangria (Sam's Club has a great stock of Sangria currently - deliciously fruity) or any wine that goes well with spicy food. Make sure that you have lots of paper napkins and Kleenex on hand. Cos once you start popping these into your mouth, you just can't stop despite the sniffing!

TJ's spread was a super find. The eggplant gives it fantastic body while the red pepper gives it a wonderful flavor and the garlic packs in a small little punch. It has a bit of sugar in it - which I would have preferred not to have had - but this has been about the best thing I've discovered lately and so had to share!!

Note for Shreya: My Khara Bhath source has taken off to Bangalore for the summer. So I have nothing yet! Will post here as soon as I do!


Anonymous said...

happy to see you re-blogging!

Anonymous said...

Manisha, I found your blog when I was searching for Indian food blogs in Feb, after that I started my own foodblog, added you as link and waiting for your rearrival.
I like your writing style and recipes. I am glad to see you back eventhough I only know you from your posts. Hoping to see many more recipes from you.

Indian Food Rocks said...

Hi Rice and Indira! Welcome to IFR! Sorry for the belated welcome!

Rice, I have a very close friend who is Japanese and lives in Japan. Every time he visits me, he can't get enough of Indian food. We always eat at home! I have next to no exposure to Japanese food and I have made him promise that the next time he visits, he has to take me to an authentic Japanese restaurant.

Indira, I loved your blog! You have so many wonderful recipes!! I wish I could post more often but there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi Naveen! Off to Japan, eh?! You are so lucky! I am waiting for my daughter to grow up some more and then make a trip to Japan.

I can sense the anxiety in you and I wish I could be of more assistance than the moral support I can offer. I haven't experienced Japan apart from having a close Japanese friend who lives near Tokyo. What I can tell you is that you can learn some basic things about Indian cooking before you leave for Japan. Stuff like how to make a phodni/tarka/vaghaar using oil, mustard seeds, jeera, red/green chillies and hing. Once you have this pat, you will be able to cook vegetables and dals by using a basic phodni and/or ginger/garlic. Half the battle is won.

Carry some basic ingredients with you, too. That way, you are not hunting for an Indian store as soon as you get there. Carry the stuff required for phodni except the oil, of course. Carry some packaged masalas like garam masala, pav bhaji masala, Punjabi chhole masala and so on. Then all you need to do is buy the veggies from a regular grocery store and cook according to the instructions on the back of the packet.

And, fear not, because being a vegetarian in Japan is not as uncommon as you might think it is. And feel free to drop me a line here if you need help with a recipe or if you just want to chat about Indian food.

Best of luck!!