Monday, May 28, 2007

Still Too Short

The weekend, that is. Although come to think about it, I'm a bit on the short side myself, just barely 5'2" (5'1.75", to be exact). For the most part, I'm pretty happy being short, except when it comes to retrieving items from the top shelves of the kitchen cabinets. Fortunately, I have a tall husband who comes in handy (a chair also works well).

Here I am, with a three-day weekend, and not all that much to show for it. I got half the house cleaned on Saturday (and spun), and did menu planning and grocery shopping yesterday. Today is going to be spent cooking an Indian dinner.

I love Indian cuisine and I love cooking it. It's very, very time consuming and I don't do it often. I tend to being a stickler for authenticity, and that leads me to make everything myself. That includes the panir cheese and the various breads. Making cheese sounds difficult, but it isn't. You simply bring a large quantity of milk to boil, add a bit of acid (usually lemon juice), and stir until the milk curdles. You then scoop out the curds, wrap them in cheesecloth, give them a brief rinse, and drain under a weight. Et voila! You've got cheese!

Anyway, tonight's menu is:

Meetha Kesari Bhat (Sweet Saffron Rice with Currents and Pistachios)
Khara Moong Dal (Golden Mung Dal Soup)
Masala Barbatti Sabji (Spiced Green Beans)
Baigan Panir Tarkari (Eggplant and Bell Pepper Stew with Fried Panir Cheese)
Seb Kachamber (Apple Salad)
Palak Raita (Chopped Spinach in Smooth Yogurt)
Chapati (Griddle Baked Bread)
Bengali Bhat Payasa (Rich Rice Pudding)

The pudding is done and is chilling. I'll start the soup next, since that can be reheated. I'm not going to make the panir or chapati; the Indian grocery had pre-made and I'm going to try those products. Then I'll do the prep work for the other dishes. The house is going to be redolent with spices. Yum, YUM!

More About Emma
Emma is getting more and more comfortable being on the deck. Her favorite pastime is to leap onto the deck railing (which is quite far off the ground) and walk back and forth. This is also a potential escape route for her and we've set up various blockades to prevent her from getting off the deck.

For some reason, Emma actually petitioned to go outside yesterday evening. Tom set up the barricades and let her on the deck. The deck is partially covered, which means that we can go outside in inclement weather and have a chance of remaining relatively dry. Well, it just happened to be raining when Emma went out. She wandered around the covered part and all was good. Then she spied a bird in the tree. She leapt onto the railing (still under shelter) and ran towards the tree. The look on her face when she realized it was raining was priceless! She beat a hasty retreat back under the roof, nearly falling off the deck in the process. It was her first experience with rain and she did not like it one little bit!

In Memory of Our Fallen Soldiers
Since this is Memorial Day, it would be remiss of me to not mention the thousands of men and women who have died serving our country. I was watching the Memorial Day concert at the Mall on PBS last night and the stories of the soldiers, both living and dead, moved me to tears.

This war in which we are currently entangled is difficult and troubling. I'm afraid that no matter what our will or our military strength is, we are fighting a losing battle. And that makes the deaths and injuries of our servicemen and women that much more poignant. I had to leave the room to sob when they read the letters of a mother to her dead son. The young man was exactly the same age as my nephew.

Our President has said that we can expect much more violence in the months to come, as they ramp up the "surge." More deaths, of Iraqis, Americans, and other coalition members, both civilian and military, are totally unacceptable to me. War is heinous under any circumstances and a preemptive war is particularly heinous. Our involvement in Iraq has created a situation that is much more precarious than when Saddam Hussein was in power. Despite the hard work and good intentions of our servicemen and women, the situation continues to deteriorate. We need to bring our soldiers home.

Take the time today to hold the war dead and their families in your heart and pray for lasting peace.



Sheepish Annie said...

Dinner sounds wonderful! And now I must make cheese...this could be rather fun! Although I probably won't get to it today.

I hope that Emma stays dry today and that you can enjoy your meal without having to do any kitty rescues!

Anonymous said...

hello my Secret Pal!
I've really enjoyed reading your posts, the Indian food sounds wonderful! I've loved Indian food since college when one of my roommates (who was Indian) would always bring back the most wonderful things after breaks. Enjoy your dinner!
Watch your mail this week for a special package!

I am going outside right now to hang up our patriotic bunting on our front porch!

Your Secret Pal

Anonymous said...

Wow, you make your own paneer??!! That's hardcore, yo!

Hub and I lurrrrve Indian food, and tried today to go to our favorite buffet for lunch, but they were closed . . . I'm not brave enough to try doing it from scratch. We ended up having Thai instead, which was ok,but I was reallly craving some naan.

I love hearing your Emma stories . . .kind of lets me know what I'm in for (it's been so long since we've had a kitten!).