Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Broiled Tempeh-Kale Salad with Pineapple-Mango Dressing

My dinner on Sunday was inspired by the Pineapple-Mango Tempeh which I have had the good fortune to eat several times and which I totally love. Although in general I do not eat packaged foods or soy, I do make an exception once in a while for tempeh.

I searched the web for a good pineapple-mango sauce that I thought I would like and did not find anything except this one here:

So I decided to wing it from here and create my own.

Pineapple-Mango Sauce

1:1 ratio pineapple:mango (fresh or frozen)
rice vinegar
chilli powder
Thai style chilli (optional, I added it only because I had some sitting there in the cupboard from before the dinosaurs became extinct.)
sesame oil
Lemon juice

Other stuff

Your choice of tempeh 1 packet
Kale a little less than a bunch.
Sesame seeds
Oil for sauteing Kale.

Method for the Sauce:

Heat a medium size pan or wok with a little water.
Add the pineapple and mangoes.
While they are cooking add some rice wine for tartness (adjust to taste).
A pinch of salt and some red chilli powder (adjust to taste).
I added in a tea spoon of Thai Style Chilli (which, I don't think is essential)
Bring to a boil and then bring to medium heat and cook down to a chunky sauce-ish consistency.
Just before taking it off the stove, add a small amount of lemon juice and some sesame oil

While the sauce is cooking, cut tempeh into 1/4 inch thick strips and place in a toaster oven and set to broil at about 300F. Keep an eye on it so it does not get burned.

Heat a pan and add some sesame seeds to it and dry toast them until they pop.
Heat another pan, throw some oil in it and saute Kale with salt until it is bright green. Keep the pan covered while it's cooking.

Make a bed of Kale, arrange the tempeh on it. Pour some sauce over it and sprinkle some sesame seeds.


1. The package informs me that I had consumed two servings of tempeh.
2. I think I will steam the tempeh a little before broiling and perhaps even smear it with olive oil or coconut oil before I broil it.
3. That pineapple sauce is awesome, it completely camouflaged the omelette this morning!

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Friday, 13 January 2012

Conversations between a comedian and iPhone Siri

Sometimes I wonder why I married the guy I did, and then something like this happens and it all comes back to me.

Scene opens.
Setting: A fairly well kept office room (ahem!).
Time: Evening
Purpose: Procrastrination a.k.a annoy the b'jeezes out of the wife.

DH fiddles around with newly acquired iPhone (supposedly for the wife, a.k.a the author of this blog). Face is lit with happiness that only a new found toy can bring. 

DH to wife: Ey! What is your security code?
Wife: ignores husband and continues to mess around with computer looking all busy.
DH [murmurs to himself]: 3..4..6.. no.. 3..4...2 no...4? noo..
[Succeeds in unlocking the phone and exclaims] :aaaanh!! Got it!

Wife [turns away from Facebook to observe with consternation that DH has indeed unlocked the phone. Something soft touches Wife's arm and she looks back to see that the Cat (Poli Samiyaar) was about to click Like on something she didn't exactly like. Wife picks us Cat and dumps him unceremoniously on the floor while twisting herself into a pretzel to face DH at same time and exclaim]: Why do you have to mess with my phone!

Cat [looking very annoyed]: QUAAAM!

DH [ignores everything going on around him]: I am going to use Siri. Heehee.. See? Siri. Heehehheheh

Wife [rolls eyes at silly pun (siri = laugh in Tamizh) and says nothing, continues to load another CD to import into iTunes]

DH: Hoysala! Hoysala!
Wife: [turns around looking completely mystified]

DH [Motions to wife to shut up and whispers] Shh... let's confuse her.
Wife[Looking all the more bewildered, hitting eject button] Confuse whom?
Cat:[Jumps back a foot as the CD is ejected and exclaims, surprised]: PHRAAMP!
iPhone: I don't know where you are, but if you enable location services and Siri, I can help you.

DH: [Cracks up uncontrollably, rolls his eyes at iPhone and acts like he expects a living thing to come out of it]: hehehehheheheh!
[Gesticulating wildly at Wife]: shhhhhshshhhh!
DH:[to iPhone] Find Hoysala
iPhone: Finding voice la
DH:[guffawing loudly now, with tears streaming from his eyes] Ahahah!!! This thing talks like a Singaporean: finding voice la?! Hahahaha!

Wife:[Completely missing the point of  Siri, but distracted by all the noise] Hey! I don't want you to train that thing to your voice!
Wife:[turns back to computer and opens up blogger]

DH: [Continues harassing Siri]: What is my name?
iPhone: I don't know who you are! But you can tell me... Click Siri Settings and ....
DH: [roars out laughing]

Wife: [returns from kitchen with an apple] What's going on?
DH:[still busy laughing]
Wife:[turns to sit and finds Cat on her chair. Tries to click a picture with her new camera for this post. The picture is lousy because the new iPhone has a flash! Gives up on camera and picks up Cat and for the second time and dumps him on the floor]

DH: [Continues to talk in the background to Siri]:  Where is my dog? 
Dog:[Perks one ear up wondering if the next word would be "park"]
iPhone:[Does not talk but puts up a text message]: I found 6 kennels near you. 

Wife:[Shakes her head and continues to type this post]. 
DH: [Comes up to wife and gives her the phone still laughing] Here have fun with it. Hey! You should blog about this "Top 10 answers of Siri". Ask her 10 questions. Ask her "who am I?" Ask her "who are you"? You had better thank me for the idea and acknowledge me in the blog!
[leaves the room almost falling to the floor clutching his belly]

Hmm.. that's why I married him. Very few people can crack themselves up over so little a matter and crack everybody else up from simply watching him crack up!

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Friday, 6 January 2012

Ranthambhore, Day 2

(Continued from Ranthambhore Day One)

The day we reached Ranthambhore, my father had made himself a 7-layer burrito out of bed linens and blankets and slipped himself into the core of it. His mouth emerged just once from his self-imposed cocoon-doom to declare "too cold" before going back in for the rest of the stay, emerging only occasionally to eat.

7-Layer Dad Burrito

Since my sister was also unwell the second morning, our party of five, had dwindled to a party of three and I almost canceled the safari. The experience with the previous guide left me cold about the possibility of actually even trying to find a tiger. Reluctantly I went through the motions of gathering the Pug Mark issue blankets and stood waiting in the foyer. Again. Again, for a long while. This time, we had a smaller canter and we almost left as soon as we sat down. Interesting. But I am not getting my hopes up. 

Once at the entrance, we went through the usual identification verification process, except for one twist. The "attendance taker" kept wanting to give me a second identity. You see, we had already identified ourselves as XYZ: party-of-five-now-dwindled-down-to-three and he had nodded recognition at each of us. Then he looked at me again and said "Jamie?" I shook my head "no". Anyone can make a mistake, it's early by human standards after all. The caucasian lady behind me had an amused grin as she came forth to identify herself as Jamie. The next name was that of an Indian woman, UVW. He looked at me again and raised his eyebrows. Again I shook my head "no". Seriously? The third name was ABC Singh. Believe it or not, he looked at me again with raised eyebrows. 
What the what? First I was Jamie, then Maami, now I am a man??? And this after I had already identified myself as one of party XYZ. 
I sat looking at him for a moment before I shook my head "no". This must have had the effect coffee on the man and presumably, he realized what he was doing. The rest of the list was read out and acknowledged hurriedly without me being involved in it.

We were but a minute into the forest, when we sensed a difference in the mood. There was a lot of Getting Together of Guides and Talking Amongst Them! More importantly, our guide actually seemed to be into it. He did not have the "been-there-done-that-bought-the-T-shirt-couldn't-care-if-you-haven't" attitude of the guide of the previous day.  He actually cared, and seemed to enjoy his job. Long story short, we were off in hot pursuit of a tiger, very very soon.

The first encouraging sign we saw was a pug mark. A large one. An impressive one. And then several more. Obviously somebody had walked this way at some time. Question was, when?
Interesting. But I am not getting my hopes high. I am not. I wont even take a picture of this pug mark. I wont.

And then it happened, completely suddenly, a flash. Unlike William Blake's euphoric outpouring, the tiger, tiger, wasn't burning bright. It was more like a blink-and-you-miss-it, event. We didn't blink, we didn't miss. All except one unfortunate woman in the canter.
But, in order not jinx anything, I preferred to play the role of the proverbial mathematician in that joke involving goats (or was it cows?). I agreed to believe that, there exists one animal in this forest whose right flank has tiger like markings. That's it. I was determined not to hope for a proper sighting. Like Nagesh in Tiruvilayaadal, "enakkilla, enakilla" (not for me, not for me).

Everybody fell silent, unbidden. Again a sambhar barked, which someone mistook for the tiger's roar. Our guide immediately disabused him of that idea and we were on our way again. By now, my glutes-abs routine was perfected and although we were rattling along the road like never before, I retained saddle most of the time. I had also become expert at ducking my head to prevent myself from being decapitated by the low lying tree branches. Then it happened again. This one was smaller. We later realized it was a she. She was walking up the mountain. I was a kid on Navarathri break again! As, it would seem, was the entire canter. Including the English blokes who had managed to keep their proverbial English cool until then. Again, it was only a glimpse.

We waited for a while peeling our eyes, looking for any movement in the shrubs. A while and a few false sightings later, our guide calculated that she must be walking the boundary of her territory. "It takes them days to patrol their territory", he said, half to himself, half to us. He drummed his hands, winced his face and made his up mind . Then he gave a few short directions to the driver. We were lurching again, going forward, backing up and sometimes, without warning, abandoning the road altogether.

On one of our random mad rushes, we met another jeep that carried a guy with a binoculars who was gesticulating madly at one of the roads. A few words later, we were hurtling along another path and completely without warning, there she was again! On the right, still too far away. We watched her for a bit. She seemed to know her itinerary well. Too bad she wasn't sharing it with us. She was gone again. The cogs in the mental wheel of our guide was turning again. He must have reached some conclusions, for he directed our driver again and we were off.

Mid way through our revised path plan, another jeep told us to go to the Ranthambhore fort gate, because she seemed to be headed that way.
Aha!.. so while were busy making rattles out of our bones in the jungle, our pretty little tigress was out city slicking!
We made fairly good speed, since part of that road was flat and almost rock free. We reached the gate quickly and waited. No sign of the tigress. There were as many theories as there were people and jeeps in that little congregation of humanity. Finally some guy on foot (wo-ho-w! Brave!) walking a few feet above us on the hill informed us that she was at **** place. **** place looked incongruously like a gram panchayat setting. It was a small clearing with a large banyan tree sitting pat in the center with a nice little cement tree bench surrounding it. Someone in uniform emerged from a small squat cement structure to the right and listened completely uninterestedly to our guide's query. Then, like any person, on any street, in any city, in India responding to a lost tourist's (or local for that matter!) query about any address in the city, he nonchalantly pointed in the general direction of the fortress again and said something that sounded like, "ah, yeah well, I am sure she is somewhere there".

More commotion and confusion later, we were suddenly in her presence. There she was going about her morning patrol right along the side the road, a little into the shrubs completely unperturbed by the delirious humanity that was desperately trying to make eye contact with her. And then, just like that, as if she preferred the relative ease of walking on the roads, she stepped out into the open and walked right by our canters and jeeps. Feast your eyes, my patient readers, I present to you, my city slicker tigress:

She jumped off that ledge and walked by our side for a bit more, before crossing the road and walking off into the forest.

Thanks tigress, stay well and stay safe! Goodnight, sleep tight and don't let them poachers bite!

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Ranthambhore Day One

I have always wanted to see a tiger in the wild. To the extent that my profile picture on my web-page when I was in graduate school, was that of a tiger in Bandhavgadh. Finally in December 2011, I managed to go to Ranthambhore in Rajasthan to fulfill this ambition.

Ranthambhore is located in Sawai Madhopur, a little village about 4 hours away by car from Jaipur. We arrived at Ranthambore too late for the evening safari and had nothing much to do for the rest of the evening. Fortunately, the place where we stayed (The Pug Mark) had some folk entertainment planned and we spent a good part of the evening listening to these guys:
whose enthusiasm went up the roof when they saw that we were listening.

The resort managers told us that the safari would leave at 6:45 am the next day and that we should be ready by 6:30 for a quick snack before that. I was a little surprised at that because I had imagined that, like in South Africa, we would be in the forest way before dawn so that we can catch the predator when they were busy looking for their meal.

We asked for a wake up call, but I was up way before the call, unable to contain my enthusiasm. At 6:15 I was at the dining hall gobbling up some biscuits and milk and by 6:30 we were out by the front "lobby" waiting for the canter to show up. We waited... and we waited... and we waited. No canter. No jeep. The other, more sane, occupants of the resort finally joined us in the foyer and waited along with us, still nothing.
insert any bollywood/kollywood/indi-wood virah song here: Jiya bekaraar hai, for example!
We tried various polite ways of letting the guy at the front desk know that we were getting impatient: pacing around, walking to the gate and back, clicking random pics of unremarkable things.
Random unremarkable thing

I don't think it registered. So finally we asked them what the time was. 7:15am.

7:15? 7:fif..?What?!! The tiger must be done with his breakfast and gone on to read the newspapers or check Facebook updates, whichever it is they do these days!! 

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year Everyone

I have never been the one to make New Year resolutions. I tend to make lists at random times, whenever I feel the need to turn over a new leaf in my life.  So the end of a given set of 365 (366) days never meant much to me. This year, though, things are a little different. I have been dissatisfied with several things in my life and have been wanting to change it. However, for the first time in my life, I was not sure which direction I wanted to go So, my resolutions, although long over due, have not been made. Although I am still not clear where I want to go with some of the bigger questions in my life, perhaps now is the time to resolve to think about it in a more organized manner. So, here is my very short resolution list for the year:

1. Figure out what I want to do -- then work towards it.
2. Organize my life a little better so that I can get back to working out like in 2009.


What are your resolutions? What is the theme for 2012?

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