Monthly Archives: November 2008

Baked Pasta Dish – an Indian recipe


Okay, so I took a chance and made an Indian-style baked dish. I have to admit it turned out good. You make your traditional white sauce with butter, flour, and then gradually add some milk. I used 1% since the butter added enough fat. In a food processor, I grated amul cheese – about 1 cup or so, and added that to the flour/milk mixture before adding in cooked pasta shells (medium-size). Then, I put the entire mixture into a greased baking pan and baked it so it got that nice crusty, burnt top. Yum!

If you want, you can add veggies and anything else to the pasta mixture – just make they are pre-cooked. Eat with a side of Maggi tomato sauce and yum! It is like my kitchen was transformed and I was back in India for a moment eating the pasta baked dish I loved so much when I used to visit. Quick and easy and a nice meal for kids especially if you throw in some veggies or meats.

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You mean I don’t get a choice?!

I knew that my final visit to the dentist over this damn root canal would not be without incident. Sure enough, it was not. What now? I thought to myself as I saw them pull out my permanent crown which was oh crap! Gold?! Are you kidding me? Thank god it is the last upper tooth on the left or I would have lost my mind for sure and refused it. The dentist never even communicated with me on whether it would be gold, porcelain or what I wanted. Forget about choice, right? Dentist knows best! Now I know how women who feel who do not have a choice. I am more pro-choice now than ever. Needless to say, my permanent is a gold and I have to deal with it all because the dentist would not give me a choice.

I knew there would be an incident and sure enough, there was. That’s okay because I am done with this dentist. I am going to ask for my records in a few months and move on – I am even thinking of changing dental plans. New dentist, new dental plan. My friend has a really good one near our office. I want a dentist who over communicates, not under and I defintely one who will give me a choice before he sticks a gold crown in my mouth. Choice is definitely a good thing and communication between your dentist or doctor and yourself even a better thing. Happy choosing!

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Indian-style Amul Cheese Pizza

I have had cravings as a pregnant woman and even before I got pregnant, I often had cravings for some of the yummy dishes I would eat in India during my travels there. Indo-chinese, for example, is always a craving but that is hard to make and when you eat it out, you get horrible heartburn because people do not understand the concept of MILD Indo-Chinese. I loved baked pasta dishes esp. the kind I would order at Havmor restaurant in Gujarat or throughout India. It is a rich and creamy pasta dish made with white sauce and Amul Cheese. But most often, I crave Indian pizza. Indian pizza, to me, is simple and yet so tough to duplicate. Today, I may have found the key to replicating it here in Colorado. A little piece of India here in my kitchen.

I went to Sunflower market and got some corn meal crusts from the frozen case near the pizzas. The company name is Vicolo and for about $4.99 you get two organic corn meal crusts which are thin and crispy. I put it in the toaster oven and baked it for about 15 minutes and it got nice and crispy. Meanwhile, I took Maggi Tomato Sauce which we bought at an Indian store and put it in a pan over low heat and added salt, pepper, italian seasonings, and green peppers to it (sliced very thinly- very very thinly). After the crust was done, I spread the sauce generously on the crust. I bought Amul cheese (by the container) at an Indian store and shredded it in a food processor. After letting the crust with sauce on it cool down, I put the cheese on it generously as well and used some remaining chopped green pepper to garnish the pizza. The key is to not melt the cheese like traditional Indian-style pizza and enjoy it quickly. One crust makes 4 slices like the one pictured but you can always make the slices smaller.

Tonight, I am going to try my hand at another recipe motivated by the cravings I have had: Indian baked pasta – if it turns out good, I will definitely share the recipe. In the meantime, satisfy your cravings as best as you can and enjoy the adventure and experimentation.

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The new faces of Camelot

I feel like an era in American history has begun and come January 21, 2009, a completely new face in Leadership. My parents’ generation had JFK’s camelot. And what an exciting time that was in America. For the first time since I first voted in 1992, I feel like I finally had a voice- a hand in electing someone with grace, charm, sincerity, and intelligence. Someone who truly represents the changing face of America and someone who can positively represent our nation to the world. I remember the excitement when the Berlin wall came down and President Reagan uttered those historic words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” On November 4, 2008, when President-Elect Obama and his family came out to accept and deliver his speech, I felt chills run down my spine as history was made again. I cried, realizing how full of hope I felt and how looking forward, I realize this is my America. This is an America where dreams can come true and opportunity is abundant. As I looked out into the crowd in Chicago, listening intently to our new President-elect, I saw faces of America- black, white, Asian, hispanic, Native American, male, female, and hope- tears of joy and hope.

As they covered the world news, I saw more celebrating- it was like New Year’s Eve – people in the streets hugging, kissing, celebrating, and laughing- because it is truly the dawn of a new era not just for America but for the world. America can restore itself as a Superpower again with the same grace, dignity, and charisma as before. The last 8 years have been horrible for America and its reputation in the ever-changing global sphere. Our generation has not seen this much celebration EVER for the election of a world leader. This was truly monumental. A new face- a face, a voice, a man who unites instead of dividing. A man who represents the changing face of America. A new first family- the new faces of the Camelot of our generation. I know the expectations are high but I am confident that President Obama will deliver. The grace, dignity, respect, charm, and honesty of an office so important, it impacts global relationships and our economy. All of this will finally be restored.

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Great Expectations

Now that the election hype is behind us and a clear winner has emerged, it is now time for everyone to ask themselves, “Now what?” Our guy was elected and now is the time to get some things done for the nation but are our expectation of President-Elect Barack Obama too high? I think people may be expecting a miracle in the next few years. I hope they can keep these expectations in check because Presidents, while they can influence world leaders, inspire us and make us feel better about what is going on in our country, can rarely make that much change especially quickly.

There is a checks and balances system in place which often becomes a speed bump or a barrier to rapid changes or laws being passed. There is the balance of power issue where Republicans keep Democrats in check and vice versa and often times, party politics and partisanship keeps good things from going forward. Sometimes, parties try to put riders on perfectly good Bills which then prevents them from becoming law. So while 80% of the bill is good for America, 20% could be very bad and so the entire Bill goes down in flames. Too bad the Line Item Veto was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court otherwise, the President could have the power to only pass what he wanted in a Bill preventing this “all or nothing” type scenario for some powerful Bills. Needless to say, I think the people who voted for Barack Obama, our 44th President, need to keep their expectations in check and realize that he is not a messiah who can deliver us from a bad economy, high taxes, high gas bills, and take our sons and daughters out of Iraq immediately. He may have more influence on those issues but he still has to work within the confines of the framework in the Constitution and …. that may be take some time.

So, to all the folks out there who are excited – I Know I am- keep your patience, and do not lose hope and above all, realize that when he takes office, President Obama will be just that- the President of the United States, not a miracle worker. Hopefully, we will see some great things in bringing our country together from this man and the impact will be on the economy, on education, and on employment rights in this great country but if we do not see these changes right away, let’s all not be disappointed.

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