Friday, March 30, 2012

Curry-Palooza Give Away--Masala Dabba

A year ago, my friend, Grapefruit (Needful Things) and I started a curry cooking project. Grapefruit had been encouraging me and helping me find confidence cooking a cuisine not in my repertoire, but with which I had fallen in love many years ago

In honor of the 1-Year Anniversary of Curry-Palooza, I am giving away a gorgeous Indian Spice Box (Masala Dabba). I have been intrigued for many years by this way of storing often used spices. I finally broke down and ordered one for myself.  And I'm giving one away.

This box is made from stainless steel, holds 7 stainless steel cups, includes two spoons, and has a tight fitting lid with a window.

If you would like one for yourself, leave a comment below and tell me why.  What spices would you put in yours?

For another chance to win, leave a comment on my post about Apricot Chutney.

If you Pin either post, you will have a third and fourth chance to win--just let me know.

I am leaving it open for the entire month of April so you have plenty of time.

The drawing will be done on May 1, using a scientific method. All names will be written (as many times as qualified) and placed into a literal hat. Miss Toddler (formerly known as Baby) will choose the winner.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tuna Sandwich Salad

It all started when Pritchard Parker came home with an incredible wedge of cheese. Because it was Valentines Day, he jokingly said, "Here's your Valentine Cheese".  Later, when I told Alice about it, she stated that she thought a delicious wedge of cheese is a perfect gift for any occasion. I couldn't agree more and now you know what you can get for either of us when searching for gift ideas.

The cheese was an aged Gouda and one of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. As I thought about that cheese and how I would use it, I knew I wanted it to be the star of the show, not just a supporting actor. I thought of cheese souffle and cheese soup, but ultimately opted for cheese fondue. We swooned as we dipped cubes of homemade bread into the warm, melted cheese.

Alas, this is not a post about cheese fondue and homemade bread, didn't get a single photo, but rather the next day when I was staring at a half loaf of leftover homemade bread and a handful of shrimp.

I thought of making a panzanella salad, which is best in summer when the tomatoes are perfectly ripe and full of sunny flavor.  Because I was having the first stirrings of a craving for tuna, which often manifests as tuna salad, I decided to make tuna salad sandwiches, maybe even tuna melts. The concepts crashed together in my brain as I worked, and this is the result.

Tuna Sandwich Salad
Leftover sturdy bread, cubed
Extra virgin olive oil--be generous
Canned tuna to taste
Handful of boiled shrimp, optional
Juice of 1 lemon
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, cubed
Diced celery with leaves
Chopped pickles
Sliced pimiento stuffed olives
Minced red onion
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place leftover bread into a large bowl. Generously drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss together. Set aside while preparing the remaining ingredients. Combine all the ingredients and let rest at room temperature for about an hour.  Taste and adjust seasonings and serve over cleaned and torn lettuce or baby spinach leaves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I Ate For Lunch

So many things have happened in this busy month of March.

Even when I feel overextended, even when tired, and especially after tryingly stressful days, I still cook. No matter what, I can walk into my kitchen at the end of a day, and I am rejuvenated. Cooking is my therapy. The quiet moments, the creativity, the pursuit of feeding myself and those I love with fresh, healthful meals gives me a sense of purpose I find extraordinarily rewarding. And it provides me with something I can control when there are far too many things I can't.

I almost always take leftovers for lunch at work. Here are some recent lunches.

On a recent rainy and chilly day, I decided I wanted to make a pot of beans. Upon studying my stash of dried beans, these large white lima beans beckoned me.  I cooked them with a couple of pork chops and served them with cheese toast.

Pritchard Parker came home with a cold. That just would not do because we were going, in just a few days time, to welcome new babies. Can't be sick for that, so I made a pot of healing chicken noodle soup. Here is my lunch at my desk the following day.

A couple of days that week, I ate salads in jars. Here is a Greek one, made with red onion, orzo, pepperoncini, cucumbers,  black-eyed peas, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, and spinach.

Thursday night, I made a tofu and vegetable stir-fry, using things I had on hand--broccoli, cauliflower, celery, red bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, and tofu of course.  Thus, lunch on Friday.


March 5, 2012, our lucky family had the pleasure of welcoming the joyous gift of twin boys into our lives.  Baby A weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces. Baby B was 8 pounds 6 ounces. Both babies and mother (and dad!) are very healthy and we are all so very happy and blessed.