Sunday, January 24, 2016

As long as she walks the earth, you will never be happy with anyone else

Champagne and Lemon Risotto for One
I'm inclined to believe that everyone meets that one person who comes in like a storm, turns your life upside down, and leaves you different for all eternity.

If you're lucky, you end up with her.

If not, every person you meet after her will be measured using her yardstick. I think there is something beautiful and heartbreakingly poignant about that.

During my Indian travels, my guide in Agra told us the wonderful story about how he and his wife met. I found it amazing that he managed to marry the girl who came in like storm. May we all have the courage to do the same, and never have any regrets.

With some luck, you will never have to pick your love up off the floor again!

A Profile of Love: IK

IK and I outside of Agra Fort

How did you meet your wife?

IK: I was trying to friend my cousin on Facebook who had the same name as her. Funny enough, my wife's name and my cousin's name is Hina! I accidentally friended her and she accepted the request. I liked her picture, so I messaged her. She thankfully replied! Six months later we got married.

How did you know she was the one?

IK: (laughs) She has been great these past two years, but let's see if she continues to be great!

What was your first date like?

She came down to Agra and I took her to the Taj Mahal. The rest of the day I actually had to work so I had a friend take her around. 

How many times did you meet before deciding to get married?

IK: Once

Me: Just one time was enough??

IK: I just knew she was the right one

You're doing the long distance thing at the moment, do you miss your wife a lot?

IK: It's tough, she's home taking care of her dad who has been quite ill for the past few months. but we keep in contact all the time. We message all the time. I've been messaging her a few times while we've been on our tour, and I call her every morning. 

Don't tell her, but sometimes it's nice to be able to hang out with your friends all the time too!


Champagne and Lemon Risotto for One

2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 1/2 Tsp Butter
1 Shallot Diced
1/4 Cup Arborio Rice
A Generous Splash of Champagne
1 Tsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tsp Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
Salt to Taste

1. Bring chicken stock to a simmer and keep heated over a low flame

2. Heat butter and sauté shallots for 2 to 3 minutes

3. Add Arborio rice and coat in butter

4. Add a generous splash of champagne and cook until completely absorbed by the Arborio

5.  Add a ladleful of chicken stock one at a time and stir rice until completely absorbed. You will continue doing this for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Stirring the rice allows the starches in the Arborio to break down, this provides the traditional creamy risotto texture
6.  Turn off the burner and add lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and salt to taste.

7. Enjoy with a side protein or the steamed vegetable of your choice!

Andiamo a Mangiare!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

She will love you forever, if you let her. That's who she is.

Blackberry and Goat Cheese Stuffed French Toast
The prodigal son has returned! I have come back from my Indian travels and have so many stories to tell. 

What surprises me every single time I come back from India, is the all consuming sense of sadness I feel. Ever since I was a child I would resist feeling good about our annual entire summer trips to my parents' hometown in South India. 

"But all my friends are going to have so much fun without me! Why do we have to go???"

And without fail, every single year, I would come back feeling impossibly sad I left. I would miss the Indian head bobble (since we Indians really hate saying no and disappointing people), my cousins, and the strangely liberating feeling of not paying attention to any sense of punctuality (a really BIG FUCKING deal for me). 

It has been 12 years since I set foot in India, and I have once again returned surprisingly melancholic. 

Thus, I regale you with a love profile I encountered during my adventures. Raj was our driver for three days while we traveled across Agra and Jaipur. His infectious laugh and surprisingly liberal attitude on life kept us entertained the whole trip.

A Profile of Love: Raj
Can you find Raj??

How many girls did you meet before your wife?

Two. One was a too fat, the other too much challenge. I met my wife once and said okay she is a good girl.

How long did it take for you to fall in love?

Eh maybe a six months after marriage? But my wife, complete good package. I love her too much, very much. She a very nice good girl and make me happy.

What do you like about your wife?

She is so smart, more intelligent than me. She make me proud. She is brave, she does everything a man can do. So beautiful, and she makes me very comfortable. She is the boss!

What's your advice for a happy marriage?

You don't have too much controversy. I give her freedom and she give me my freedom. 

I tell my wife from beginning I do the drink and smoke. If you is having problem then we finish here. She said no problem, just stay in the hotel or at home when you drink. No fighting with people or making controversy.

How did your family play into deciding who you married?

My father a very intelligent man. In our country we do dowry sometimes, and people commit the suicide when they know they have too many daughters and not much money. My father says we only marry girls from poor families and never ask for dowry. We want to make life easier for people.

Are you happy?

Yes. Very much happy, my wife makes me so very very happy.

You are a very nice beautiful girl. I know, you are loyal. You will see. Only a wonderful man you will get, and he will be so so lucky in having you.

For Raj I wanted to make a lovely Blackberry and Goat Cheese Stuffed French Toast. An impossibly romantic Sunday breakfast item to make for your lover!

Blackberry and Goat Cheese Stuffed French Toast
Serves Two

2 Thick Slices Challah Bread 
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Maple Syrup and Fresh Blackberries for serving

1/2 Cup Blackberries
2 Tsp Water
1/2 Tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Cornstarch
3 Tbsp Goat Cheese
2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar

1. Place the blackberries, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and water in saucepan and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until they have melded into a sauce

2. Add cornstarch to thicken

3. Allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes. Mix in goat cheese and powdered sugar. Set Aside

4. Slice two thick slices of challah bread
5. Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket in the bread, be careful! Don't FUCK UP! This part is the make it or break it moment

6. Divide the filling between the two pockets

7. Whisk together 1 egg, 1/4 Cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, and 1 tsp vanilla extract together

8. Dredge the stuffed slices in the egg mixture

9. Shallow fry for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side

10. Hope to god your partner enjoys your extravagant show of love and breakfast :)

Now you have to love me! I made stuffed French toast <3<3<3