Thursday, December 3, 2015

Did you love her right away? "No, she crept up on me"

Rose Water Kulfi

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I came across a story that intrigued me enough to post it ASAP. This couple just got married 6 months ago and are delightful in each other's company. They sass each other, build off each other's humor, and are all around good people.

Z and M a love profile

How did you guys meet?

Z: My friends and I were having a fun night out, and they decided to make me an online dating profile on one of those Indian marriage sites. I wanted nothing to do with it. It's pretty much parents communicating with one another on those things. I got an email from a girl whose parents grew up where my parents grew up. Turns out our parents actually knew each other and thought very highly of one another. Eventually we set up a meeting with both families.

How was that?

M: It was really really awkward. Our parents were downstairs and they sent us upstairs to talk and get to know each other.

Me: You weren't allowed to go out by yourselves?

Z: Not at all! Her dad would have killed us.

Me: You should have made some really incriminating noises to see if they would have rushed upstairs to stop you.

M: Oh Geez!

How did you propose?

Z: Our proposal was even more awkward than our first meeting. We spoke for about 4 months after our initial meeting. The whole family decided to meet up again to discuss things. I was sitting in the car with my family about to drive over to her place and they pulled a ring out on me. They said, "You like each other right? How do you feel about moving forward?"

M: Eventually we were all sitting in the living room. With the whole family saying things like "You can say no if you want, it's still a choice!". Yup, no pressure at all with the whole family watching.

How did you know each other was the one?

M: I don't think you really know until you get married. I think it's a weird back and forth and sometimes cold feet until the day actually comes. You know that person is the one the moment you actually marry them.

Me: So it's basically knowing that this person wants to make this commitment to you that makes them the one?

M: Yeah, something like that. Just do it! If you can talk, if you have fun, that's enough.

How do you guys fight?

Z: I don't know, we haven't fought yet and it's been 6 months since we got married. What is there to fight about?

Me: Not even about little things?

Z: I don't think so, those aren't really fights.

*** There was a question shot back at me for the first time since I started doing these things***

Z: What about you? Do you think you would ever do the arranged marriage thing?

Me: I don't have anything against it at all. I've seen a lot of great relationships come out of them. But I don't think it's for me. I think I'm too much of an odd duck to find what I'm looking for through those avenues. I'm still a dreamer at heart...I don't want the overly contrived, know exactly what your end goal is type of relationship. I kind of like the uncertainty and really getting to know each other part. Not that my way is any better of course! It's just a preference.


For this awesome twosome I am making Cold Feet Kulfi...only joking. Rose Water Kulfi is the easiest Indian desert ever! Do you want all the fun of homemade ice cream with half the work?? No churning involved in this, it's closer to the Italian semifreddo...

Rose Water Kulfi
Serves Two

1/3 Cup Whole Milk
2 Cardamom Pods Crushed
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
1/3 Cup Condensed Milk
1 Tbsp Rose Water
1 Tsp Grenadine (Optional: For Color)

1. Microwave 1/3 cup whole milk with crushed cardamom pods for 40 seconds, Strain the milk to remove cardamom (have you ever bit into cardamom?? Not a pleasant experience)

Cardamom is for hardcore people like me

2. Whisk together milk, heavy cream, condensed milk, rose water, and grenadine

Whisk it REAL GOOD!

3. Place in molds (if you're getting fancy), otherwise put in any old container and freeze for 4 hours

Place aluminum foil around the molds if you want to actually eat the stuff

4. Un-mold by placing your hands around the ring mold to warm and loosen the Kulfi. Eat the shit out of it

Monday, November 16, 2015

I just...I wanted you to see it at least once. This house is yours, ours. I had it built for us, when it looked like there was a chance for us.

Spaghetti alla Crabonara
"...I bought the land and I had it built...there are bedrooms for lots of kids. This was going to be you and me raising a family and growing old together in this house. It was supposed to be ours, and I just wanted you to see it at least once, at least once before I sell it. I wanted you to see the dream."

Aren't we all just building houses for other people, unsure of whether we will ever actually live in them together. We put our hearts on the line, throwing spaghetti to the wall, hoping something sticks.

Dickens was right when he said "life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it". I value every single person who has come into my life; friends, family, partners, and partners in crime. I'd like to think that there are infinite alternate universes where each person you've met gets to play a starring role in your life. Earth is the first stop, we just have to keep cycling through!

Like Fitz in the quote above, i'm just waiting to meet you in Vermont (yay Scandal!). If this wild theory isn't true, then I guess there is just one thing left to say. For a brief moment in time we were something, and that is worth everything.

I think such a heavy post requires some comfort food. Let's lift things up a little bit by making Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Serves One

3 oz Spaghetti
2-3 Slices Bacon chopped
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp Pasta Water 
1 Scallion Sliced
Pepper to Taste

Mise en Place
1. Boil the spaghetti for 10 minutes until al dente

2. While the spaghetti is boiling whisk together the egg and Parmesan cheese 

3. Cook and drain bacon strip

4. Drain pasta and reserve 1 Tablespoon of the pasta water
5. Slowly whisk the hot water into the egg and Parmesan mixture (this will help begin cooking the egg)
6. Mix the egg mixture, chopped bacon, and sliced scallion with the hot spaghetti

7. Top with pepper and extra Parmesan cheese! 

Salty, Creamy, Delicious.

Friday, October 23, 2015

She needs a wild heart, she needs a wild heart...I've got a wild heart.

Nipples of Venus
I am untameable, it's a fact. So I demand that anyone who accompanies me on my journey be similarly impassioned. The faint of heart need not apply. A wild heart, a fiery soul, and a thirst to please (quid pro quo my dears, quid pro quo) are utterly immutable.

A few weeks ago I saw one of my favorite operas at the Kennedy Center, Carmen! Carmen is the story of a fiery factory girl who makes the stern Don Jose fall in love with her. One of my favorite scenes in the opera is when Carmen comes in and sings La Habanera. Don Jose sits in a corner unperturbed, while the other men beg her to choose a lover. She throws a rose at Jose who promptly storms away, incensed at the intrusion. I'm positive you've heard the song, but just in case...

Carmen eventually dances for Don Jose and sings about a night of passion. Jose is FINALLY entranced and eventually runs away with Carmen and her band of smugglers and vagabonds. The opera comes to a climactic end when Jose kills Carmen for falling in love with another man. The uninhibited, brilliant, and sexy Carmen is an inspiration for me. But what makes her so sexy?

The Death of Carmen © Beth Bergman 2013
Sexiness is first and foremost a state of mind. Confidence is more of an aphrodisiac than any oyster I've ever had. Next, it's understanding yourself...what you like, what makes you tick, and what you like doing. I feel that too many people do things they don't actually enjoy. For heavens sake don't run around doing strip teases à la Carmen if it isn't  something you actually love to do! If all else fails make the following recipe to get your sexy back.

Today's recipe is an erotic one indeed. Nipples of Venus, beautiful little chocolate bonbons reminiscent of the most tempting aspect of a woman's physique. The titillating perky tips visually entice the voyeur to come take just one small bite.

Now turn on your favorite sexy song, and get to work! My song of choice? Led Zeppelin's "I Can't Quit You Baby".

Nipples of Venus
Serving Size: 8 Nipples (who thought nipples would ever be a serving size?)

1/2 Cup Heavy
3/4 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips (plus an additional 1/2 cup)
4 2" x 2" Brownies (Any store bought kind will do)
8 Red Melting Wafers (These can be purchased at any craft supply or baking store. But you can also use white chocolate)

1. Heat milk until scalded. This means turning off the burner just as the milk is beginning to form tiny bubbles around the edges of the pot

2. Pour hot cream (HA!) into the chocolate chips and stir until evenly melted

3. Now cover and place this in the fridge for at least 4 hours until the ganache is set

4. You have two choices at this point, you can either make straight up ganache truffles or mix brownies and the ganache together (which i think is just a little more decadent!)
5. Either way you will roll the ganache or brownie mixture into 2 inch balls
6. Slowly start shaping a peak into the balls, this is your nipple!
7. Place the nipples in the fridge while you melt the remaining 1/2 chocolate chips at thirty second intervals. Thus will be used to robe the truffles 
8. Dip your nipples in this melted chocolate until they are completely covered
9. Warm up your red candy wafers at 10 second intervals until melted
10. Dip your the tip of your nipple into the chocolate, and you're in business! 

Damn! Girl got a nice rack.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.

Black Tea Infused Bourbon Cocktail
My favorite philosopher of all time just so happens to be the father of modern philosophy itself, Rene Descartes. He is a bit of a rock star in my eyes, primarily because he refused to accept the norms set by his predecessors. He believed that in order to know anything with absolute certainty, we must first doubt everything we know. I think Descartes gave us his blessing to make as many mistakes as possible in the pursuit of truth, happiness, and fulfillment.

I've often wondered what advice I would give my children if I was ever lucky enough to have any. I don't believe that I would offer them conventional wisdom. I would most likely stay true to my own rock star ways and give them a chance to be Cartesian. Ergo, an open letter to any future children that have the honor of gracing my womb...

Dear Future Child,

I could tell you all the cliché things that parents tell their children, and they would all be true, but I want to give you more than that. I hope you grow to be wonderful, strong, and happy...but I do not wish a life without challenges for you. I instead want you to have insurmountable courage in the face of opposition. I hope you become a better, more fulfilled, and empathetic person from going through hard times.

I hope you manage to pick up some of your mother's good qualities. I hope you are unconventional, irreverent, and lively. I hope you are also kind, optimistic, and always see the good in people. I hope you never really need me, but will always want me. I want you to learn about the mistakes I have made in my life, and go on to make them yourself! For you won't ever learn until you make messes of your own. I need you to see the beauty of having your heart broken, the absolute thrill of dating someone completely wrong for you, and the joy of finding someone who makes your heart flutter.

My rock star, I love you. I have always loved you, even though you are just a thought in the back of my mind. Now go on, wreak havoc on the world, and never say or do anything dull or commonplace.


Ultimately, I expect to reach the end of my life having tested every boundary, made every mistake, and loved unabashedly. Because in the end, like Plato, "I know one thing: that I know nothing" and will derive knowledge by doubting and making mistakes.

You know what isn't a mistake though? This black tea infused bourbon cocktail. Also a perfect libation for brooding over what crazy thing you're going to do next.

Black Tea Infused Bourbon Cockt...Oh Fuck! Let's just call it The Hina...
Serves One

2 oz Black tea infused bourbon (directions to follow. Buy lapsang souchang loose leaf black tea)
1 oz Elderflower Liqueur
1 oz Saffron infused simple syrup
2-3 Dashes Orange Bitters
1 Orange Twist

1. To make the black tea infused bourbon I recommend using a bourbon with a lighter flavor profile (like Jim Beam, something like Bulleit might be a bit too much but feel free to experiment)
2. Mix together 4 oz of bourbon with 2 tablespoons of loose leaf black tea and set aside for 3 hours
3. Strain the bourbon and discard used tea leaves
4. For the simple syrup dissolve equal parts sugar and water over a low flame. Add 2 to 3 threads of saffron and allow the syrup to cool
5. Combine and stir all cocktail ingredients, enjoy over ice!

Now go on and brood baby, brood!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Don't let what he wants eclipse what you need. He's very dreamy, but he's not the sun, you are.

Thai Red Curry Noodles

I've been extremely fortunate in my life. I don't have just one best friend, I have five. They know me inside and out; my desires, my wishes, every nasty little thought I've had. They are my Amazons and they inspire me every single day. This next statement is going is going to be controversial, but I'm going to say it anyway. They are more amazing and dynamic than any man they have been or are currently with (I'm sorry lads!).

Amazing, talented, beautiful, vivacious, and driven doesn't even begin to cover it.
I tend to believe this is true in most relationships. One woman is enough for one man, but one man is never enough for the amazing people I know ;). Gentlemen, the ladies in this Group of Six (G6) tend to go fast, only two are currently available...CALL NOW BEFORE THEY'RE GONE! My best friends are unyielding anchors, and I value their friendships dearly. I'm not very good at casual relationships, and I don't just mean romantically. If I chose to have you in my life, it is a very deliberate decision. I love deeply and carefully curate those within my sphere of influence.  For me, a friend is a lover and a lover is a god. I would risk it all for my Amazonian Gods. I can't wait to unite them under a corporation someday because I know they could rule the world.


If we were to have an about page, I think it would look something like this...

HINA: A complex, devoted, and passionate swashbuckler

"Well, having a penis is important. I'm sure that boys put the size of their penis on resumes. It's probably greatly indicative of job success." -HSM

NADIA: A bright, imaginative, and endearing spiritualist

"I think your soul has been alive for ages, Now we just deal with the transit. Sometimes it's greyhound, sometimes it's first class. Sometime by shoes, no map" - NTH

LATICIA: A rational, straightforward, and solicitous pragmatist

"I'm going to skimp on food, not invitations. #Priorities" -LSB

NABILA: A dreamy, romantic, and animated idealist

"All I want is some days to be full of emotional shit so that I have something to live off of" -NAA

SINDHU: An unconventional, sociable, and intrepid achiever

"I take everything as an experience, not right and wrong" -SS

ANDY: An uninhibited, affectionate, and opinionated activist

"I bought a fridge yesterday. Like an adult" -AGY

For these amazing ladies I am making Thai Red Curry Noodles. I'm pretty sure it's what we would all want on a cold and overcast day.

Thai Red Curry Noodles
Serves One

3 Oz of Rice Noodles
2 Tsp. Diced Onions (remember our conversation on buying diced onions if you are cooking for one)
1 Jalepeno Halved and Sliced Thin (take out the seeds if you don't want this spicy)
1/2 Tsp. Garlic Ginger Paste 
3 Tbsp. Red Curry Paste 
1/3 Can Coconut Milk
5 Mushrooms Quartered
1/2 Cup Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Lime, Juiced
1/2 Red Pepper Sliced
1 Tablespoon Crushed Peanuts for Garnish

1. Place the rice noodles in cold water for 30 minutes
2. If you are missing your London days, take time and have tea and scones. I just bought this adorable cup for $3 at Ms. Pixie's, check out my Yelp review for the shop!

3. Boil the rice noodles for 5 minutes and drain (you can do this after the curry is ready)

4.  Sauté the jalapeño and onion for about 5 minutes

5. Add garlic ginger paste and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes

6. Add red curry paste and allow the flavors to meld for an additional 2 minutes

Looking good hot stuff!
6. Add mushrooms, frozen stir fry vegetables, lime juice and salt (an excellent way to cook for one is getting frozen vegetables. You use what you need and save the rest for later)

8. Add the noodles into the curry and mix together


Friday, September 25, 2015

If it's within your grasp, if you know where it is and who it's with, then you should run to it.

Avocado Crema Grilled Burritos
Most days of your life will be unremarkable. They will begin and end much the same as the day before. But a few very special mornings, you will wake up and the mundane will become extraordinary. At any moment you could set foot out your door and have your life change forever.

However, keep in mind that extraordinary is not a catchall for only good things. Extraordinary can be joyous, painful, and even humiliating. I am convinced that people grow more during times of despair and confusion. It's simply a matter of perspective. I can say with the utmost conviction, the only extraordinary people I've known are those who have been through an avalanche of trials. They are unorthodox, irreverent, and unconventional rule breakers (just like me!).

What it feels like to be the rule breaker. THIS WAS/IS MY LIFE ALL THE TIME.

To be an extraordinary rule breaker you have to follow your ridiculous dreams. I have so many ridiculous pipe dreams, I probably need an excel spreadsheet to keep track of them all. One in particular does stand out though. I have always ALWAYS wanted to be an elephant keeper at an elephant orphanage. These amazing keepers (<====== Go ahead, click the link!) stay with their charges day and night. They become amazing foster mothers to these gentle creatures who are certainly a challenge to care for. Elephants breast feed for 2 years, 2 WHOLE YEARS (I can't imagine the state of those nipples). They also have amazing memory recall and love deeply (just like me!).

This is exactly how I show love too!

Unfortunately I can't live at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, but I can foster an elephant! Thus, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce my new baby elephant... Mashariki. "The newcomer, a female, is estimated to be about 15 months old, and has been named “Mashariki” the Swahili word for “East” in order to denote her origin as Tsavo East National Park". If you would like to foster your own elephant: CLICK HERE

Little Mashariki is looking snazzy in her blanket

There is also a video of her rescue...

Today's recipe is in honor of our little Mashariki. Elephants spend nearly 80 percent of their day eating hundreds of pounds of vegetation. I'm not sure I could manage that on my own, but I can make an awesome lean mean and green grilled burrito instead.

Avocado Crema Grilled Burrito
Serves One

Avocado Crema
2 Small Jalapenos
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 Small Ripe Avocado
2 Tbsp Cilantro
2 Tsp Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Trader Joe's Green Dragon Hot Sauce
1/2 Tsp Adobo Seasoning
1 1/2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1/8 cup water

1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 Cup Rice and Beans (All I do is put in 1/2 cup of rice, 1/2 can of black beans, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 cup of water into a rice cooker and just let it rip)
1 Tbsp Cilantro
1/2 Cup of Cooked Diced Chicken
3 Heaping Tbsp of Avocado Crema
1 Flour Tortilla

1. Place jalapenos over open flame and char until completely black. (If you don't have a gas stove you can use the broiler and flip the jalapenos periodically)

2. Place the charred jalapenos in a small bowl and cover for 5 minutes. Peel the skin and de-seed
3. Take four cloves of garlic with the skin on and toast in skillet until the skin has blackened. Remove skins (Take Note: This is an excellent trick in cooking for one. You don't have to roast an entire head of garlic)

4. Place all remaining ingredients in blender. Blend until combined

5. Place all burrito filling ingredients in bowl and combine

You could make this work as a burrito bowl too

7. Wrap the filling in a large flour tortilla and grill on saucepan with one tablespoon of olive oil

I leave you with my desk elephant. Just one in my collection of many.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Becoming yourself is really hard and confusing. And it's a process.

Raspberry Buttercream Cake
Growing up is tough business, and if you're doing it right, it's almost never done. I was never able to precisely pinpoint the moment where I began, but I know I have the ability to move mountains (if you haven't heard, the saying goes "if the mountain won't come to Mohammed.." :):):)). It's not because I know I won't fail, it's because I know I won't stop. Every single day is a chance to better yourself, your circumstances, and the world around you. Grow an infinitesimal decimal point, but grow...

"Except when you don't. Because, sometimes you won't" (Dr. Suess). And when those days come, as surely they will, I hope you will have the courage to keep yourself together and stay in a holding pattern. Sometimes you'll have to give or make second chances, because for some reason things might make more sense the second time around. And if nothing is happening, be comfortable in the ambiguity of neutral Jin. What is Jin? I'm glad you asked.

In Chinese martial arts philosophy (via avatar ; ]) there are many Jins of fighting. The most important ones are active, passive, and neutral. There is active Jin when fighting, passive Jin when retreating, and the most important, neutral Jin when you do nothing. Neutral Jin consists of waiting, observing, and watching for an opportunity to transition your energy. I myself am currently a neutral Jin practitioner. I lie in wait for the tide to turn in my favor.

What do you do when you're practicing neutral Jin? Why you make cake of course!! You wait, you watch, and you eat cake. Cake pretty much solves everything. Especially when it's crazy beautiful like the one I just made.

Unfortunately, this is one of the few recipes that isn't for one...or maybe it is, I don't know your eating capacity. The recipe is for the buttercream, the cake is actually from a box (I'm lazy sometimes too).

Raspberry Buttercream
Makes enough to frost one cake

1 1/2 Cups unsalted butter at room temperature 
2 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 Cup raspberries pureed 

1. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl

2. Add raspberry puree and vanilla extract to frosting. Beat together an additional 5 minutes

3. Now you are ready to frost! 

4. Add buttercream between the cake layers. And dollop a huge amount of frosting on top of the cake. You will work this down the sides as you are frosting 

5. Time to do some fancy piping if you're into it ;) 

6. Eating time....