Wednesday, February 27, 2013

make super awesome indian food, tonight.

dear Belinda,

i'm sending you this chicken tikka masala recipe because:
a) it's awesome, and you'll love it. just like you loved that pizza recipe i sent you,
b) you really enjoy the show 'come dine with me', so this is kind of like that between the two of us, but kind of not at all,
c) my recipe with instructions look like this

and therefore am doing myself a favor by typing this out for you and me and all of humanity.
d) you're one of my besties Belinda and while we now live far from each other we can still enjoy friendship with me telling you what to do via this blog.

this is kind of a two in one recipe, seeing as chicken tikka masala (apparently also known as 'butter chicken', i've heard) needs tandoori chicken to start with. so i'll tell you all about both.

first things first: it's important that you invest in some spices, spices that will in fact change your life.
Also, from my experience i would suggest you start with a clean kitchen and all of your bowls and such, ready for action. don't sigh, just trust me.

okay moving on, you're grocery list is:

for the tandoori chicken:

*4-6 small(ish) chicken bone in thighs.
  (i've done with recipe with boneless chicken breasts and it's just not the same, so trust me on the bone in thighs)
*half a cup of plain yogurt
(i tend to use more cause yogurt is awesome)
*lemon juice, approx 1-2 lemons
*2 teaspoons  peeled and minced ginger root
*2 teaspoons  minced garlic
*1 teaspoon coriander powder
*1 teaspoon cumin powder
*1 teaspoon garam masala
(i love saying garam masala, and smelling garam masala, it's the best)
*1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( so good for you)
*1 teaspoon salt.

for the chicken tikka masala:

*tandoori chicken (instructions coming below)
*half a serrano chilly
(i tend to leave this out cause i'm not a chillie fan)
*1-2 teaspoons of peeled and minced ginger root
*14.5 oz/411g can of diced tomatoes
(you could even get them pureed i think, that if you don't have a mixer)
*1/4 cup butter
(never ever ever margarine)
* 1 taBlesppon cummin seeds
(i can't find the seeds so i've just been using the powder)
*1 teaspoon paprika
*less than one cup of yogurt
(recipe says whipping cream, but yogurt works wonderful and is healthier)
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon garam masala

got it?

good, now let's talk about tandoori chicken, pretty good by itself as part of a meal. side of basmati, naan and veggies.

step one: rinse chicken thighs and pat dry. now skin them. sounds a little gross but is surprisingly easy.
step two: make little slits with a sharp knife all along the bone. or really just stab them here and there.
step three: add all ingredients together, mix it up, add chicken thighs and cover all over.
step four: cover and let marinate in the fridge for 2-24 hours, the longer the better in my opinion.
also great for a busy working girl as yourself to prep the night before and come home to awesome indian chicken the next day. right?
 step five:  bake in a pre-heeted oven (190C/ 375F) for about 40 min.

ta-da. how awesome does your house smell round about now?

assuming that you're going all the way here...

let's get going with the tikka masala:

step one: de-bone your just out of the oven tandoori chicken
(and yes the tasting may begin)
step two: in a food processor (or smoothie maker) process the chillies, ginger and tomatoes.
i add a handful of cherry tomatoes here because it's the best idea ever.
step three: in a large sauce pan, melt about half of your butter. add the chicken and sautee for about 4 min or until edges are brown. then transfer the chicken to a bowl.
 step four: add the remaining butter and stir off the chicken bits.
step five: add your cumin powder/seeds and paprika, stir for one minute.

step six: add the tomato mix and boil gently uncovered for ten minutes. stir often
do not leave unattended, learn from my mistakes!

step seven: add the chicken, yogurt or cream, salt and simmer for another 10 minutes. stirring often.

step eight: turn heat off, stir in the garam masala and let stand for an additional 10 minutes.
(if you can last that long)

step nine: have Mike open a bottle of wine, set the table, heat the Naan bread or make the basmati rice. give yourself a pat on the back for making such a delicious meal, humbly tell Mike it was nothing really as he freaks out over how fantastic your cooking is.

prepare for:

and then this the next day, or weekend, or when you feel like it

we both don't really enjoy very spicy food and with these measurements it's just right. for spicy lovers i suggest having cayenne pepper on the table or adding that seranno chillie.
i've also added some chopped up green peppers that work really well with the flavors.

so, there's that. so instead of 'come dine with ME' it's more like here go dine over there by yourself but think of me.

enjoy and whatsapp me if you need my assistance, for everybody else go ahead and enjoy this too.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


did you know that today is 'international mother tongue' day?

so today i'm celebrating my exotic mother tongue of afrikaans.


i started celebrating by talking to my grandma on the phone this morning, which is when my afrikaans gets as pure as it's going to get.

i also celebrated 2 days ago by making 'boere pannekoek' by following this sarie recipe.
being far from volk en vaderland the instructions in themselves felt like a festival.

 Sif droë bestanddele saam in 'n mengbak. Klits eiers tot lig en voeg melk, water, suurlemoensap en olie by. Meng goed. Maak 'n holte in die middel van droë bestanddele en voeg die vloeistof by. Meng en klits goed tot daar geen klonte is nie. Maak die bak met 'n lap toe en laat staan vir sowat 30 minute. Verhit sonneblomolie in 'n kleefvrye pan. Gooi van die olie af en vee die pan uit met kombuispapier. Skep met 'n groot lepel van die beslag in pan en wikkel die pan rond sodat die beslag die pan se bodem bedek. Sodra borreltjies bo-op die pannekoek vorm, kan jy die pannekoek omdraai. Plaas 'n groot bord op 'n kastrol met kookwater om die pannekoeke warm te hou. Sit die gebraaide pannekoek op die bord en besprinkel met kaneelsuiker. Sit 'n deksel
bo-op die pannekoek en braai die res van die beslag. Rol pannekoek op soos jy dit voorsit.

i love words in there like 'kleefvrye', 'beslag' 'klits' 'besprinkel' 'wikkel'. 

the rest of the day will be filled with Afrikaans-y things, like reading Ingrid Jonker, listening to Steve Hofmeyer/f@kof poliesiekar/Karen Zoid/Kurt Darren and thinking of new words to teach my American husband. (suggestions welcome)
this photo is applicable because a) this is my husband b) the menu is afrikaans see.

He's so adorable when he speaks Afrikaans and it means the world to me that he makes such an effort in learning a language only spoken by about 13% of South Africans. (sorry for not being Spanish or Chinese babe).
He's pretty good too, he once made up his own song in Afrikaans.  It was about my mom being from the zoo.  (now there's a YouTube hit just waiting to happen)

if you think that's weird then consider this massive Afrikaans hit.  allow me to translate:

oh i want to go home, to mom
the rivers are full, my tears roll
a little deer that wants lie with me tonight
she can lie
i am a little loose rag

i don't really know what i could possibly say after that... so, happy mother tongue day everybody, excuse me while i go find more ways to introduce 'wikkel' and 'klits' into daily conversations.
"just married"



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spokane, so far

i've never heard of Spokane before Ben's parents moved here a few short years ago. we were still living in Hanoi at the time.

sorry to say but the first thing i've ever been told about Spokane had something to do with the Meth problem. (thanks for that Mitchell)

soooo, that was weird.

fast forward a year or so and i'm packing my warmest jacket to go meet the parents, America and well yes Spokane for the first time. a rather momentous event in any person's life i'd imagine.

my first actual impression of Spokane was also sadly formed while mostly driving up and down Division street.  the longest most over populated chain store and fast food joint after fast food joint i've ever seen. not the ideal first date of the city that was to become my new home honestly.

but over the visits i was granted during 2012 i slowly but surely fell in love with the place.  despite hearing such opposing views from people i've met. 

i've heard people declare it the best place to live in the world and others wanting to get out at first opportunity.

i really don't know much but either of these views or the real problems of the city, but i do know i like getting to know you Spokane. 

this is what i love about you so far: (in no particular order)
turns out i rather enjoy basketball, so naturally i'm a new little Zags fan, Go Gonzaga (nobody is more surprised than me)
the MAC, the Northwest art museum, especially on the first friday of every month when you're free
the outdoors, how close nature is... and just how gorgeous it is.
it's pretty safe, well much safer than my previous home town. you wouldn't find us walking about town at night like this.
you have snow, and that's still pretty awesome to me.

i've thanked you for this before, but thanks for your simply heavenly parks around.

i think the downtown vibe thing you've got going is pretty cool

i'm a big fan of your river, i've never had a river before.
sincerely yours xoxo

Monday, February 18, 2013

on being a housewife part 1

in the most literal explanation of the term today.

i'm a wife.

and i spend a LOT of time in our new little house.

spending all this time include reasons like: weather, no car during the day, don't know too many people, weather, waiting on the legal paper work to start working, it's cold outside, on a budget, cleaning the house, browsing blogs, facebook, pintrest and twitter is more comfortable inside, cooking, icy sidewalks, lazy... you get the picture.

also, i love our apartment. 
squeaky wooden floors, busy road, temperamental toilet and all. 
i love it when it's clean, i love it when it's a little more lived in. i love that's its our first home together, i love the details. i love it in the sunlight. i love the slow pace it's taking on, in transforming it self day by day, little by little to being a reflection of our new lives.  a sanctuary.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Confessions of a lazy runner

i have one semi new years resolution for 2013, have i shared it with you yet?

this is the year to run a .... HALF MARATHON ! (i wish i could type in dramatic music)

now, i have to do it. now that i've typed it out loud.

confession one: this was my goal for 2012. (got married instead)
confession two: yesterday was my first run this year. (eh...)

confession three: i'm not really concerned about the above two confessions.
confession four: because i just KNOW, i just know i'm doing it this year.

confession five: i don't know where this runners arrogance  is coming from

... maybe from that runner's high? i ran 3.5 km in 2013, bring on the Comrades.

confession six: i haven't run for almost three months because of the weather.

i have no idea how people run on ice. ice! Spokane you amaze me...

confession seven: i also have to start running again seeing as 'no-bake January' is over.

confession eight: not having my favorite warm top clean will keep me from going for a run.
confession nine: not finding my headband keeps me from going for a run.
confession ten: iphone battery low, keeps me from going for a run.

clearly i'm in need of some inspiration:

my dad, he has run more marathons than can be counted, also he has his green number for Comrades. (meaning he's finished more than 10 Comrades marathons) and yes, Comrades is 54 mile just FYI.

so he's a big inspiration, also, everybody thinks he's crazy for running so much, so this way he won't be the only weirdo in the family.

my second inspiration:
getting to run around Manito Park, that park just doesn't get old.

another inspiration: this Mumford and Sons song. i suspect that i can run all day with this song on repeat.

a fake inspiration: i have imaginary high school mean girls that i pretend are always running behind me, they laugh whenever i walk. it's weird, but it works.

then there's always the happy healthy fit living i'm always aspiring to.

there's the Bloomsday 12km race coming up in Spring.  it's the only way to be accepted by Spokane i think.

having a goal and accomplishing it is pretty big.  this seems to be getting more and more important to me as i get older.

then lastly, now having made a public post about it is a pretty big inspiration.

me: i'm too lazy to go for a run

this blog post: hi remember me?

me: oh crap, i'm going, i'm going.