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....

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known - and even that is an understatement

Peanut Butter Molten Chocolate Cake
 A Profile of Love: S and A

I have seen S and A together since I was in high school way back in 2004. These two have been together since their own high school days. They have handled life's challenges with more grace and dignity than I could ever muster. I would venture to say that they are the perfect yin to the others yang. A is a force of nature. He is loud, outgoing, and expressive. He has unyielding energy and a passion for life. S on the flipside, is cool, calm, and calculating. She is supremely intelligent and successful. You would be hard-pressed to find someone that works smarter than she does. Together, in an almost divine push and pull, they balance each other.

How did you know each other was the one?

S: I couldn't describe it or put it into words really. He just kind of gets it.

A: She is the A-dult while I am an adult. She's the really responsible one, and I don't have to be. You can't have both people in the couple be A-dults or adults. One person has to be the grown up and the other one shows you how to live life. It's a great balance, I make her more exciting.

Is there any important qualities your spouse absolutely needs to have?

S: He has to be able to get along with your siblings.

A: Yup, even if you were ever to complain about them, you love them!

How did you propose?

A: I went to ask her parents for permission first. They just seemed super confused and didn't get it. They kept asking "Aren't you her roommate?". I just wanted to do the right thing, be a man and ask for her hand upfront, and all I got was a super awkward conversation. You try to be good (shakes his head), you brown people! I finally asked her at a party at my parents house.

How do you fight?

S: We don't really fight that much, except for when he is doing stupid stuff. He always does really stupid stuff

A: I literally don't know what you're talking about...I never know why you're mad at me. You're scary, whenever my friends come over they always ask "Does S know we're coming over?".

S: They're not scared of me! They respect me, like Pablo Escobar!

** NOTE: This is the first time in my life someone has positively compared themselves to Pablo E **

A: You hate people, I love everyone. That's why this works. You get mad and I just stay chill.

There was a time you broke up for a year, can you tell me about that?

A: I was young and stupid and wanted to do dumb shit. I found out later in the
year that she was dating a friend of mine...that didn't feel right. I knew I had to get her back.

Me: Did you take him back easily?

S: When he called I didn't even know who it was. I had a lot of conditions, but I took him back
pretty easily. I took a big risk taking you in.

A: WHAT?? What risk? I had TWO jobs

S: A BIIGG risk

What advice do you have for a successful marriage?

S: Keep it simple. There's all these people out there making big extravagant displays of their relationships.

A: We're pretty good at determining who is going to get divorced and how soon. We have friends who made a giant Bollywood music video after their engagement, remind me to show it to you later. IT'S RIDICULOUS

S: If you make each other happy, that's enough.

For this dynamic couple, I felt the need to honor them with complete romance. In my books, nothing spells romance quite like a peanut butter molten chocolate cake. I normally take pictures of the entire process, but I think baking looks pretty fiendish until the final product arrives. This time you're only getting the instructions.

Peanut Butter Molten Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Cake for One
Serves One (or two if you want to be romantic about it)

2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Dark Chocolate Chips
2 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Self Rising Flour 
2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour one ramekin or tea cup
2. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter at 20 second intervals in microwave until fully incorporated
3. Cream together butter and sugar in a medium bowl 
4. Add egg and whisk together
5. Add chocolate mixture to bowl once slightly cooled
6. Sift in flour and cocoa powder. Mix together until a smooth batter is formed
7. Spoon batter into ramekin and bake for 12 minutes
8. Un-mold your cake and serve with ice cream, whip cream, or berries

My sorry attempt at making an ice cream quenelle. AH WELL, you live and learn. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Even if your heart were made of stone, I'd find a way to make it beat alongside mine.

Deep Fried Half Boiled Eggs

As you may be aware, I am a bit of a bar method junkie. I normally try to squeeze in four classes a week. However, there has been one move that I absolutely NEVER thought I would be able to master. In fact, I hardly ever had the courage to attempt it. The dreaded "L" in round back. I wondered if the instructor would ever say, "Hina you're in L territory, go for it!". I am pleased to announce that the impossible finally happened. I am now a bona fide L expert. I can do it in round back, with my foot flexed or pointed, with a 90 degree name it, I'll do it.

THE L! It's harder than it looks. Trust Me.

I suppose what I'm trying to convey is, never say never dude (please say that in a Hurley Reyes voice). People can and often will surprise you. Sometimes you may even surprise yourself. I believe with every fiber of my being that I can find a way to love almost any soul on this planet. I will always find a pragmatic way to make your heart beat alongside mine. FYI my best friends give me a lot of crap for my generally forgiving nature. One in particular, who will eventually make an appearance on TPE, has been begging me to cut the fat and the crap for months on end. Her request, unfortunately, falls on deaf ears. Despite all the terrible things that happen, I continue to believe in the good of people. I still wish to leave the world a better place than I came into. I value empathy and stubbornly suspect that it is possible to awaken this trait in anyone. I believe in the improbable, even better, I believe in the impossible. Now excuse me while I use my newly acquired L abilities to save the world.

Speaking of the improbable, have you ever deep fried a half boiled egg? No? Oh baby am I going to rock your world...

Fried Half Boiled Egg
Serves: One

3 Eggs
1 Splash of Milk
3 Tbsp. Flour
Panko Bread Crumbs
3 to 4 Threads of Saffron

1. Bring a pot of water with 1 teaspoon of salt to a simmer. The salt actually helps to peel the eggs later. Gone are the days of mangled egg whites!
2. Add two eggs and boil for 4 minutes. Please please please please use a timer, this will ensure that the yolk stays runny

3. Place the eggs in an ice water bath to halt any residual cooking

4. Mix together panko and saffron threads. Take care to crush the saffron threads between your fingers to release their heady aroma 
5. Beat the remaining egg with a splash of milk
6. Pour out the flour in a thin layer
7. Carefully peel the eggs and prepare to bread them 

8. Coat the eggs in flour, the egg mixture, and finally the bread crumbs

The breading station

9. Heat your oil to approximately 325 degrees
10. Gently lower your eggs and fry for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown

11. Drain those puppies on paper towels. Serve with a nicely dressed arugula salad

Like freshly fried testicles...maybe that's the wrong metaphor

I honestly don't think there's anything sexier than a runny golden yolk

Saturday, September 5, 2015

He's been a fool about so many things...but then, so have I. You see, he and I, are so similar.

Garlic Basil Aioli BLT
I've been doing something a bit strange lately, but I suppose if you know me...that's pretty normal. Remember that Alice in Wonderland quote? "You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret...all the best people are". My strongest trait is also my most annoying, I am overly analytical. Lately I've decided to figure out the formula for enduring love. How do you know you've found "the one"? What makes a relationship successful?  How and when do you propose? How do you fight? What's your advice?

At first I spoke to people I, friends, family. The usual suspects, and then my fearless side decided to surface. STRANGERS it told me (if you're not convinced of my insanity yet, I think you and I need to meet...we're probably going to be best friends). It's not the most original idea, Aziz Ansari has been doing it for a while...but no one is coming to my focus groups. Someone once told me I wasn't as famous as him. So I sat in coffee shops and book stores armed with pen 
and paper; hoping my innocent face would disarm people enough to speak with me. Most days I don't look like a murderer (murder days are on Tuesday!), people obliged me.

I've decided to post at least 2 Profiles of Love a month. Without further ado, we meet Binu J...


Binu and I were co-workers and happened to get lunch a few odd times. He has given me career advice, put me in touch with some great contacts, and given spectacular life advice all at the once. Binu and his wife have been married for 6 years and are expecting their second child together in November.

What did you look for in a potential partner?

I don't think much about it, I didn't have any qualities that I thought needed to be there in a woman. I think I once joked around with my friends that I wanted someone who loved classical Indian music, and my wife hates that stuff...I still married her. I don't think a husband and wife need to be best friends, you just need to have a similar philosophy on life. My wife doesn't consider me her best friend. Stop thinking so hard about what exactly you expect. You just have to like each other, and be nice to each other, if you don't like the same food...big deal. You're never going to find someone 100% perfect, it would be so boring. 

How did you know your wife was the one?

I spoke with her on the phone 3 to 4 times and decided, yeah she seems great. She was nice to me, my parents, and my friends, and we had a shared background. The shared experience gave me enough security to believe we would be okay.

How did you propose?

[Laughs] She proposed to me, but she denies it. On our 4th phone call she asked me, "Do you have any plans of marrying me? Otherwise I'm moving on." I said, "Yeah, let's get married."

Do you believe in soul mates?

No. I wanted to, because you see that in the movies, and you're like...WOW! I want a girl who makes me feel like that. I don't think that kind of stuff happens in real life.

How do you handle disagreements?

We fight for a couple of hours, and we just move on. You don't need to come to a resolution, you air your grievances and move on. The idea of resolution is a very American concept.

Do you have any advice for my generation on finding Love?

You're not simple anymore. Back when I was growing up you would have one cassette player with 6 songs, and you were limited to those songs. Now you have CDs and Mp3 players, you can skip a song whenever you want. Back then our minds weren't programmed to think about choices. I'm not thinking "Is this the best person I can get? What else is out there?". I'm not constantly checking whether we are compatible, am I happy, how can I be happier? If you make things too complicated, they are bound to fail.
I think what I've learned from Binu is to be simple, be strong, and be decisive. Contentment is the key...and I can think of nothing more simple and stable than a BLT (I may or may not have eaten a BLT on our lunch interview). I choose this BLT with sass for Binu's recipe because he is a smart, grounded, and classic man. Thanks for taking so much time to speak with me and I hope you try the recipe!

Basil Garlic Aioli
Makes 1 Cup

1 Garlic Clove
1 Tblspn Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Basil Leaves Tightly Packed
1 Egg Yolk
1 Cup Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to Taste

1-2 Tblspn of Basil Garlic Aioli
2 Slices of Toasted Bread
4 to 6 Slices of Bacon, Cooked and Drained
Heirloom Tomatoes 

Before I start the recipe, can I just say how FUCKING easy it is to make aioli?? I've seen far too many recipes that ask you to combine mayo and some herbs together and call it aioli. NOT AIOLI. Once you see how easy it is to make, I expect that none of you will go back to the store bought stuff.

Like SRSLY, that's all you need. 
1. Using a food processor (unfortunately I had to make this using a blender, but use a food processor if at all possible) pulse together the garlic, lemon juice, basil, and egg yolk

2. Did that? Good. Now one more step. Set the processor on low, and SLOWLY drizzle in the olive oil. Slow is key, this helps emulsify the liquid into a mayo like consistency

This is just for show, try to use something with a spout
3. Season with salt and it is ready to get on that BLT
4. Do you really need instruction on how to to make a BLT? Fine!!!!
5. Cook the Bacon

Oh Baby...
6. Slice some tomatoes

7. Spread aioli on toasted bread, and stack in the following order ONLY...
8. Arugula, bacon, and last tomatoes. This is the only way to yield the perfect BLT, I promise, don't FUCK it up