Culinary Milestone!

taj-mahal

Over the weekend, I had Indian food for the first time in my life! I’d always wanted to try it — I love exotic foods, and I like new and different experiences in general. I mean, I’m not about to bite the head off a crispy grasshopper or anything. I don’t eat things with eyes (or other obvious appendages) still attached. But I will try new and different flavors, spices, and etc. Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot of other people who are eager to experiment with their taste buds. Some people I know — not naming any names — have their tongues on lock down like POWs subsisting on white rice and hot sauce. It’s funny how people that are so extraordinarily open-minded and accepting about many things can also be not-so-open-minded at all when it comes to branching out in the food department. I”m so glad for Coocatchoo, who is always open to trying things with me! Except meat. But she has an adventurous spirit.

My theory is, if it tastes THAT bad, I can spit it out before I vomit. Worst-case-scenario: you take a bite and realize it’s the worst thing that you’ve ever tasted. And….you don’t do that again. I don’t have a lot of patience for people who refuse to even try things before declaring their hatred. I even periodically try foods I know I haven’t liked in the past, like green peas, just in case my taste buds changed. (It has been known to happen. But not with green peas.)

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But Indian food is really not even that weird. It just involves a lot of spices and flavor combinations that are not commonly used in everyday dishes familiar to Americans, although I have used many of them in various recipes. For example, the entree I got was called Chicken Butter (don’t know why) and involved white rice, chunks of chicken, and a delicious creamy tomato sauce made with curry, coconut, and ginger. And probably other things I couldn’t identify — the menu was a little, shall we say, vague with the descriptions. For an appetizer, we got vegetable pakuras, which were like balls of chopped vegetables, lightly breaded and deep fried, similar to a tempura. This came with a sweet brown sauce and a spicy tomato sauce. I have no idea what was in either, but they were both divine. And to accompany, garlic naan (flat bread) and Maharaja beer (crisp, pale, and not too bad)!

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Random Survey

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*Disclaimer: This Is a Joke. Just in case you were wondering.

What are three ways to win your heart?
1.  Treating my dog like the very special lady she is.
2. Writing me love letters — honest but not sappy.
3. Making me feel appreciated and special.

Do you like lightning?
Sometimes. More often than not I start worrying about tornadoes, though. If I know I’m safe and there is no imminent threat to my life, then yes I find it beautiful.

Have you ever cut someone else’s hair?
In college, I used to cut my roommate Scott’s hair, which led to becoming the unofficial UNCA Tennis team barber. I would never attempt to cut girl hair, though.

Last person you said “I hate you” to?
I don’t say that to  people…….’s faces. I’m kidding! I love everyone.

Rain or sunshine?
Sun is shining, the weather is sweet. Make you want to move your dancing feet.

Last stupid thing you said to anyone?
I take great pleasure in the notion that smoking might kill me before things actually get worse.

Biggest turn off?
Lack of intelligence.

Would you date someone who smokes?
No comment.

Would you date someone who was addicted to drugs?
Uh…depends on the drug?

What’s your biggest turn on, physically?
Hair/eyes. Specifically, sandy or blonde and blue.

Have you ever dated someone more than once?
Yep. Several times.

If you could go on ONE date with any celebrity, who would it be?
Adrian Grenier.

Do you hold grudges?
I do, but only temporarily. I’ll be fine in ten years.

Hugger or kisser?
How can that be an “either or” question?

Most important lesson you’ve learned from your exes?
People are just who they are. And you shouldn’t expect them to change.

Name three things you would not tolerate in a relationship.
1. Cheating.
2. Abuse.
3. Pet mistreatment.

Last person to see you cry?
Courtney.

Who/what made you cry?
Insecurity.

Are you a forgiving person?
I think so.

I’ve come to realize the last person who gave me a hug…
is one of the best friends I’ve ever had.

What was the last thing you burnt?
Sage leaves or sandalwood incense.

What’s the most expensive piece of clothing you own?
Probably a North Face winter coat.

Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
This is not something that happens in my life.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Archaeologist.

When did you first start feeling older?
As ridiculous as it sounds now, my 24th birthday was the first one that I didn’t want to tell anyone how I old I was. But I’ve always felt older than I actually am.

Favorite guilty pleasure?
Smoking.

Is it awkward when you run into your exes?
I try not to, but yes.

Have you ever changed clothes in a vehicle?
Many times. Mainly in high school.

Can you make yourself cry?
No. If I’m crying, it’s for real, man.

Good Lyrics: Bob Marley

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“Satisfy My Soul”
by Bob Marley

Satisfy my soul, babe
Satisfy my soul.

You’re like cool water
to my thirsty soul
I said,
said you keep me warm
when the times are cold.

Strange desire
I have for your love

Good vibrations
bring love and affection

All I need is good vibrations
and I”ll bring love and affection.

Random Pet Peeve

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Sneezing. With food in your mouth. Gross.

Books: The Lost Symbol

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You want a review? Here it is. This book is a total waste of time. I am not one of those people who bashes Dan Brown for his admittedly bad writing, because I generally like anything with a subversive plot. I loved the Da Vinci Code. This book read like someone else trying (and failing) to imitate Dan Brown. The story was uninteresting. He didn’t make me ponder any new concepts. The villain is RIDICULOUS. The whole thing is completely unrealistic and cheesy. For more on why I didn’t like it, read this review by Maureen Dowd at the New York Times. Sums it up completely.

Random Survey

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…because I need something to do while I eat my lunch.

What’s bothering you right now?
The fact that my secret IM friend that I chat to while we’re at work off and on throughout the day just went offline to go to her company picnic. Boo.

What’s on your TV right now?
My TV at home is playing the movie Two Weeks Notice so my dog has something to listen to while she dozes.

Do you think the last person you kissed cares for you?
I guess.

Your backround on your phone ?
A picture of Birdy lounging in the hammock with me.

Where was your default picture taken?
At my house in Asheville that I miss very much.

Do you like phone calls or text messages better?
Depends on the person and the situation. I like it when my boss texts me, and I like it when I’m in a bad mood or in a hurry.

What is the last thing you drank today?
Ice water.

What are you doing this weekend?
Attending an Italian dinner hosted by my neighbors. Working on an art project I am making. Putting together an order of map stationery for a shop in Atlanta. And I dare say, drinking some beers.

What are you listening to?
Someone being trained in the next room. And my computer making “I’m working” noises.

Have you hit someone today?
No. Nor have I contemplated it. Yet.

Do you burn easily in the sun?
I’m half-Irish, half-Scottish. What do you think?

What/who do you miss?
I miss Asheville, or rather, living in a place like Asheville. I miss living in a house versus an apartment. I miss the mountains. I miss hippies. I miss my twenties. 🙂

What are you going to do after this?
Clean up my lunch dishes. Prepare for a meeting with a “consultant.” Try to figure out how to become a “consultant.”

Do you love Family Guy?
It might be my all-time favorite show. I have seen every episode more than once. It’s one of the only shows that makes me laugh out loud, even when I am alone.

Is there anything you would like to say to someone?
How come you never leave comments on my blog?

Doesn’t orange juice taste terrible after you brush your teeth?
Yes. Yes, it does.

Do you ever turn your cell phone off?
No. It turns itself off all the time, though, when the battery dies.

Who is currently in your house?
Birdy, sleeping in her pink recliner and barking at other dogs passing by.

Where would I have found you last night at 11:00 pm?
Asleep on the couch with the History Channel on TV.

Who was the last person to say “I love you” to you?
My friend Courtney. I have been having a bad week.

Do you care what people think of you?
I think everyone cares to some extent. But I think I probably care a lot less than most people.

Do you dislike anyone at this moment in time?
I seriously dislike Megan Fox.

Do you like water?
Love to drink it. Love to be in it. Love to look at it.

Are you wearing any socks?
Ew, no. I hate socks. I’ll be wearing flip flops (yes, even to the office – what?) until it’s cold enough to worry about losing feeling in my toes.

What’s the last piece of clothing someone borrowed from you?
People generally do not borrow clothing from me. I don’t know a lot of other short, pudgy hippies.

If someone liked you right now, would you want them to tell you?
That would depend on who it was. And in what way.

You kissed someone today, didn’t you?
Yep – Birdy! Oh, she’s not a person, you say? You know nothing of my world.

Have you ever had someone sing to you?
Yes, lots. But my favorite is Swamp, who sings when he plays guitar and belts it out so that the mountains echo it back and the deer scatter, even though he can’t carry a tune in a paper poke. His sister, a professional singer, says he compensates for pitch with volume. He puts his heart into it, though. And perhaps not surprisingly, he can sing Bob Dylan songs very well.

Any upcoming events you’re excited about?
I’m excited about hanging out with friends this weekend and getting to work on some art projects. I don’t look too much farther ahead than a couple days — some would say, to my own detriment.

What’s your plan for this Thursday?
Huh. See previous answer. That’s like 6 days from now.

Do you love someone you would give up anything for?
There is a limit to what I would give up for anyone.

Have you ever slept on the floor with someone you liked?
Yes, lots of times.

If you could go back in time and change things, would you?
I think it’s best to not live with regrets, because everything in the past worked together to bring you to the point you’re at now. But now that I am officially old, as of last Sunday, I am willing to admit that yes, there are a few things I would probably change, given the opportunity. I’m no longer sure that every bad choice is worth the learning experience.

Are you still going to do what you said you’d do at the end of this survey?
Yep. Off I go!

Bruschetta

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Sometimes you follow recipes to make things and there’s just a little something wrong. A little something missing. I guess I always used to think that following a recipe would ensure that at least I wouldn’t be the one to blame if something was a little off. But lately I’ve had so many experiences with recipes being not that great that I’ve started just trying to make up everything as I go. For the most part. Unless it’s something I have no clue about, like bread. The last time I made bruschetta, I followed a recipe and it came out all wrong. Didn’t taste quite like I wanted. The bread was a little too soggy. And so on. So last night I decided to use up half a loaf of french bread left over from last weekend’s birthday festivities. I totally made it up as I went along, and this time it came out excellent! So I figured I should probably document that, at least for me in case I want to make it again, as much for the two people who read this blog.

Bruschetta

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice up some french bread and place slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle the slices with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle them with garlic salt and Kosher salt. Then sprinkle with some shredded colby jack cheese. I also added some very fine crumbles of feta cheese. On top of that, pile up some finely chopped tomato. Pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes. Perfecto! Just long enough and hot enough to get warm and melty.

Birthdays

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It’s my birthday today! I’m not telling the number. This image of too many candles for the cake pretty much sums it up! Every year my parents call me very early in the morning. My dad always says, “Don’t worry. Age is just a number.” And my mom always says, “Well, it was about this time X number of years ago when we headed to the hospital.” I wasn’t actually born until like 16 hours later. And my mom, who was/is a naturalist hippie, had natural childbirth.

I can barely remove a splinter without a few shots of liquor. I once stepped on a rather large piece of broken glass and got it lodged in my big toe, and my boyfriend at the time, who had to come and pluck it out, thought I had been attacked, the way I screamed bloody murder. So, thanks for that, Mom, and everything else you’ve done to be a good parent. Actually, thanks Mom and Dad — I know it’s been a two-person job.

I have the blessing of many good friends who want to celebrate me tonight, so we’re all getting together for a cookout in this awesome, perfect October weather. I’m cooking for the party and listening to reggae on the radio…so I’ll sign off with some words I just heard from Jimmy Cliff.

“I’ve got many rivers to cross, and I merely survive because of my will ….”

Some of Life’s Questions

Who wrote Sarah Palin’s memoir for her, since she can’t even form a coherent sentence? And why is it called Going Rogue? What has she “gone rogue” from, exactly? Earth?

Why do I only think Johnny Depp is hot when he’s dressed as a lunatic pirate with dreadlocks?

How come high school kids can still get someone to buy them wine coolers, and yet it is now illegal for me (considerably older than that) to buy myself a freaking pack of clove cigarettes?

If Britney Spears is apparently saving herself so much money by shopping at Target, can’t she hire a stylist already?

Why are the shaving razor refill cartridges locked up at the drug store? It’s not the most expensive thing in the store, nor can I see a particularly good reason for someone wanting to purchase (or steal) a whole bunch of them. “Sorry for the inconvenience?” The only purpose of that is to inconvenience me.