Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pumpkin curry

I usually cook very simple curry with pumpkin. Actually I tried many times to cook some delicious curry with pumpkin, but I always failed to do the same. So, I gave up my desire to cook a delicious one. Instead of that I opted to cook simple one. Till date I’m cooking the same. One of friends wanted to know the recipe of that curry. Anyway I’m putting the recipe. Let see how you like my recipe.
3 cups cubed pumpkin
2 cups cubed potato (3 medium sized potatoes are sufficient)
1 tsp paanch phoron (a mixture of 5 different spices, very popular among Bengalis. They use it in their cooking almost always. You can get in any Indian store around the world).
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ginger paste
1 small tomato
1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
pinch of turmeric powder
2tbsp of oil( you can use more oil. The more you oil, the curry will more tasty. )
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a heavy bottom wok, and sauté the pumpkin and potato cubes separately in it. Keep them aside. Heat one tbsp of oil, add paanch phoron. When the spices start crackle, add ginger paste. Sauté for few second, and add the chopped tomato, and stir continuously. When the tomato will take a paste like texture, add pumpkin and potato. Stir for 1 minute. Add all the spices except kasuri methi including salt and turmeric powder. Stir for one minute, and cover the wok. Let it fry for few minutes. Add 1 ½ cup of water and bring it to boil. Add the kasuri methi. Cover the wok and keep in medium flame for 10-15 minutes or until the curry takes a creamy texture. It tastes best with luchi or paratha.
Here is served with luchi.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cheesy Chicken


Chicken leg pieces 6-7 (you can use whole chicken also)
Carrots 2
Celery ribs 3
Fresh Rosemary leaves 1 tsp
Onion 1 (medium sized)
Garlic 2-3 large cloves
Tomato 1 (small)
Pinch of dry oregano
All-purpose flour 1 tsp
Cheese 4 tbsp (I used cheddar cheese)
2 tbsp. oil (I used olive oil)
Salt to taste


Rub salt on the leg pieces and keep for an hour. Cut the carrots and celery ribs into cubes. Take a big bowl; pour 4-5 cups of water. Put the chicken pieces, carrots, celery ribs, and rosemary into the bowl. Boil for 30-40 minutes. Let it cool down. In the mean time chop onion and tomato. Slice the garlic cloves very thinly. After the bowl cool down take out the chicken pieces. Strain the chicken broth. You can keep the vegetable for future use. (I made soup with the boiled vegetables). Take 2 cup of chicken broth; keep the rest of the chicken broth for future use. Heat oil in a wok; add oregano. When the nice aroma starts coming, add onion, tomato, garlic, and sauté for few minutes. Add all-purpose flour and sauté another few minutes. Add one cup of chicken broth, and bring it to boil. Add soon as the gravy started thicken add the chicken pieces, and another cup of chicken broth. Sprinkle cheese over it and boil for 8-10 minutes. 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Black Friday Shopping spree

I usually don’t go shopping much, as I am not a big fan of wasting hard earned money. My husband worries as to why I ‘m not like other wives. Anyway, couple of months before Thanksgiving’, he told me that he was going shopping this Black Friday sale and no one could resist him. However, this time I also was in the same mood and I was extremely enthusiastic. Through one month almost every day he reminded me to make a shopping list, but I was too sluggish. He understood that I was not going to make the list. So, he started of his own. At last, I felt that I should have participated and told him that I would do the list for Kohls , rest of the job was his. Two days before the big day, one night we sat together to make the final list. After a while we stared each other thinking that the amount we were going to spend. Anyway, our next job was to go to the selected shops and to see where exactly they were going to keep our desired articles. So, on the eve of Thanksgiving Day we went to do that. First we went to Kohls. That tour was successful. We could see all where the ‘things’ were kept, which we were going to buy next day. Even we calculated how to ‘grab’ them. Then we went to Target. That tour was not so successful, because the store was yet to arrange the door-buster articles. Our last stop was Wal Mart, and there the picture was same as Target. So, we came back home.
Next day since morning we were extremely excited and continuously changing our plan. We were waiting for the morning paper. As soon as we got sound of the thud we rushed to pick it. Our (not actually ours that was absolutely mine) first destination was Michaels. I told that at least I needed one hour there to shop there. So, my husband dropped me there at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and went to a nearby park with the little one. I took my own time and started picking up I couldn’t understand when one hour passed. After taking a look at the shopping cart I felt that I should control myself and stopped shopping. I feared that it was going to be minimum $150. Anyway, to my great relief it was only $75. We had ample of time in our hand before going to our next destination, Wal Mart. We came back home and took rest for a while and went to Wal Mart at 7 o’clock. There was no line and Wal Mart was open. We rushed inside. Though it was open we couldn’t take ‘door buster’ articles before 8 o’clock. Rumbling around the store was difficult. So, I stood near the blanket section holding onto one, because I couldn’t take one before 8 o’clock, and I didn’t want to let the opportunity to go from my hand. My husband went to toys section to take cars for son. Standing for long time at a single place with a child was a challenging task. I couldn’t move from there, because I had to take one blanket. Moreover, moving the shopping cart in an over-crowded store added to the woe. I was constantly talking to my son to divert his attention. In the meantime my husband went to the towel section, because we needed towels too. Suddenly somebody said that people could take the towel. As soon as he heard that, he grabbed three towels, came to me, dumped them in the cart and rushed to toys section. He managed to grab two cars after some tussle and rushed to childrens’ clothes section to ‘pull’ some pajamas-set for our son. In the mean time I tried to stand in a relatively empty space. Those three things were most important to us. Then we started picking up the less important thing. We finished our shopping within half an hour. When we came out from there it was only 8:30. While going out from there we just looked back to see the scenario in front of the store. We gaped to see the huge line outside the store. We knew that we hit the store just in time. Our next destination was Target. When we reached Target the parking lot was not so crowded, we thought the queue would be not very long. We started walking to find the end of the line. We walked and walked and when we reached the end we found that it ended just beside the place where we parked our car. We really fooled ourselves as we just ran to stand on the queue without looking anywhere. Anyway, though the line was long, we didn’t face any difficulties to enter the store and found our desired things. We only missed the towels. Anyway, our last destination was Kohls. Kohls was about to open at 12 O’clock. It was only 9:30, so we decided to finish our dinner. First we thought of going back home to have dinner. Then we changed our and decided to have dinner at Denny’s which was eventually just opposite to Kohl’s. When we were going to have dinner the queue in front of Kohl’s was not remarkably long. So, we thought to go back home to unload our car. However, when we came out after dinner the scene at Kohl’s was different. The line was increasing. I asked my husband to drop me in front of Kohl’s before going home, and that was very wise decision. After some time he came back. As soon as the gate was opened everybody rushed inside the shop and started picking up things. First I picked up 4 pieces of jewelry. Then I rushed to cookware and crockery section. In the mean time my husband had already picked the mixer and the toaster. Then we started looking other things. I found a pair walking shoes less than half of its price. I also picked another two pairs of shoes. Our son stayed awaked for a long time. At last he fell asleep at 12:30. Our shopping was done smoothly. Only we didn’t find one dinner set. Among many dinner sets, that particular set was missing. Anyway, the line for checking out was increasing, so we decided to check out. While we were standing on the line, suddenly my hubby saw some towels were left at one side. I picked up two of them. Actually we forgot to pick towels at Kohl’s. It was really a nice moment. Anyway, we finished everything and came back home at 2:30. It was a very, very successful shopping.

IMG_2172 by always_smile..
My shopping

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Big Bear Lake tour

First ever experience of snow covered mountains



It was long back in the year 2008. At that time, I had no idea about the picturesque mountains in southern California. One night we were sitting at one of our family friends’ home. It was a cold January evening, a perfect time to gossiping with a cup of hot coffee. My hubby’s friend, who was very enthusiastic about going for an outing was talking about Big Bear Lake, and insisting us to go there along with them. However, his wife seemed not very interested. Anyway, the planning abruptly ended as it was getting late night. We came back home in the wee hour of night.

The penthouses just in front of the lake


 Suddenly, the very next Saturday after that weekend, in morning during tea-time my hubby suggested going to Big Bear Lake. I jumped up and agreed with him. We hurriedly got ready and left for Big Bear.  I knew, if I told the fact that I never saw snow-covered mountain, nobody would believe. However, it was really a bare truth that, I never saw snow-covered mountain before. So, my excitement was high. The place was not very far from our home. We both dressed in heavy winter garments started from home packing some snacks with us. I can’t just hold my excitement as soon as the mountain road started. I told my hubby that it was the first time in my life I was experiencing a mountain road. I only heard about mountain road from my mother. Such a narrow and spiraling road surrounded by tall pine trees flourishing towards the sky sent me a mixed feeling of scare and excitement. I felt that every time I was missing heartbeat when the car was taking sharp turn with the steep inclination on the other side. 

I felt like that our car was going down the cliff. As it was winter, the prime time of tourism, people were going there to enjoy winter sports. So, the narrow road was almost packed with cars, though we didn’t face any traffic jam. We thought we would experience snow covered road, and it would be a tough situation. We anticipated putting chains on the wheels of car, but nothing was there. Road was already cleared up in the morning. We saw only heap of snow on the both sides of the road. We went there to enjoy the beauty of nature, so we were not in a hurry. As we were moving slowly towards the top, the white rugged mountain opened up its harsh beauty in front of my eyes. Other people were in hurry to reach the top of the mountain to start their winter sports, but we were not. We were there to enjoy the beauty of the nature. 

So, whenever my hubby saw a speeding car behind him, he gave him pass by siding at the nearest turnouts. Then we reached the Big Bear Lake. The lake was utterly frozen in the winter. It looked like a huge skating ground. However, the ice layer was too thin to bear any kind of weight. So, people were restricted to step on the ice. Though we knew that it was cold outside, still couldn’t realize the intensity of the cold. Especially for me who just arrived from a warm climatic zone of the world just few days back. As soon as we came out of the car, the cold air brushed our faces and hands so intensely that we again went back to our car to put on extra clothes and gloves to beat the cold. The dazzling sun seemed no power to overpower the cold. 

But, we enjoyed standing in the teeth-tittering cold to see the vast white. We walked beside the lake. I felt like to put my feet on the thin layer of ice on the lake, but that was extremely risky. Anyway, another thing caught my eye were the beautiful penthouse on the opposite of the lake. As usual my hubby started planning to spend some days in one of the houses. I also hoped to come to Big Bear Lake in other season to enjoy in the penthouse. Anyway, we decided to explore further, but after few minutes, we realized that it wouldn’t be a wise decision to go forward. We decided to come down. Also it was already 4 o’clock, and it was going to be dark, which might make difficult to drive on an unknown mountain road. So, we decided to go back home. While coming down I saw people were riding rope-ways. I expressed my desire to ride. So, we stopped our car in a huge flat area. However, when we went inside, we found that, that rope-way was exclusively for the skiers. We couldn’t do ski, but I saw a new game there. 

People were coming down from above the mountains on huge saucers. I wanted desperately wanted to try that funny game, but my hubby didn’t allow me to do that. Sun started setting down slowly, and it was time to go back home. I enjoyed the day in fullest. I never had any experience on mountain road; my hubby gave me that experience. 

The same penthouses in fall


Almost one and half years later during fall ’09 again we went there. Actually I wanted to see that very place apart from the tourist season.  It was the month of October, extremely chilly without snow. The road was totally deserted. Only a very few cars were on the road. While going there my hubby entered on the wrong way and we lost. Fortunately we saw a small shop in front of us. We asked the shopkeeper, who told us the route. Again we went down and took the right route. It was cloudy day. Sometimes we faced dense fog on our way. Anyway, we reached the lake. As soon as we got down the car the chilly wind washed our face and left us shivering. The lake was totally empty, only some people were boating there. The lake was utterly calm and serene, just like the lake was sleeping. We decided to take car ride round the lake. Last time we didn’t go beyond the lake because of snow. We drove is slow pace through the sleepy town.  It seemed everybody was sleeping there; they didn’t want any outsider to wake them up. What a contrast!! Just in few miles away we were leading a hectic life in everyday’s hustle and bustle.  We were going down. Suddenly dense fog plunged in our way. We couldn’t see anything beyond hundred feet. It was really scary. We couldn’t see the incoming cars on the sharp bends. I sat in the car with a palpating heart. After half an hour we found clear weather, and we could breathe freely. Anyway, it was another experience. First time only two of us, but next time we were three!! Yes, this time I was with my one year old toddler. However, my cute little baby didn’t make any problem.