Archive for eapg

Taking Care of Business

I can hardly believe it’s already the end of January.

My children both graduate this year — one from high school and the other from college. Big changes are on the horizon; what once seemed far off in the distant future is suddenly right before my eyes.

I am hoping for a move this year. Therefore, among other things, I have been busy with the preparation phase.

michigan pattern glass by US Glass Co circa 1904

more michigan pattern glass

twisted optic in canary yellow ~ by Imperial Glass circa 1927

I collect glassware from the early 1900s. I’ve been photographing and documenting so when it gets to the next phase, I won’t have any questions of its whereabouts.


It’s not moving time yet, but it is time to pack away these things I don’t use every day.

One thing I realised when I began this project is: I am going to need *alot* more boxes!

NOT packing this!!!


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Pakoda for a Spring Snowday

frying pakodas on a late-winter evening

If you have kids, you know what a ‘snowday’ is –more than just a storm —
it means no school! I think of this month as the start of spring, but here in
New England a blizzard in May is not unheard of. We are used to seeing
March come in like a lion and that’s what it did Sunday night.
About 18 inches fell between midnight and 6 am.

School was cancelled yesterday, and though I had to work,
I could go late and in casual dress — so a bit of a holiday for m and me.
I spent the early morning watching the birds — juncos, goldfinches and their irruptive cousins the pine siskins, along with a solitary song sparrow and a lone carolina wren.

These and the merry band of chickadees and their usual cohorts, tufted titmouse, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers, made for a cheery morning amidst the blowing white.

Then thanks to ISG, I got the idea to make some pakodas last night.
A snowday late in winter inspires such cravings… I could afford to indulge in a little crispy goodness. Of all the veggies I have fried (admittedly not too many) my favorite is bell pepper. The flavors of bell pepper and besan seem to have a special affinity. I had a red bell pepper and that came out delicious.
Still I think my fav is the green.

Other than the peppers, I thought of Sailu’s yummy ulli pakodi, but after a lazy weekend with little shopping, discovered I didn’t have one fresh onion in the house! I’ve been trying to get the veggie drawer cleared out, so I made use of a few different things I had on hand — sans onions.

crunchy dried jackfruit chips

they taste delicious reconstituted too ~ especially in sambhar!

This is not exactly a recipe, as I didn’t really follow any one.
It’s more a little tale of my learning experience.
I am no expert in fritters! The pepper pakoda came out best.
Perhaps someone has a better way to fry greens (fry greens!??)!

Please do let me know! πŸ™‚


Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Pakoda

1 c dried jackfruit chips, soaked in boiling water for 30 min, and drained well

2 c mixed spinach, baby greens and mushrooms, chopped

2 big green chilies, chopped fine

Red Bell Pepper Pakoda

1 red bell pepper, seeded, scored on the outside, and cut into small pieces.
Wash well and drain on paper towels.


For the jackfruit and greens, I mixed mostly rice flour and just a little besan.
I got the idea to go heavier on rice flour from Mandira’s crispy beguni recipe.
I mixed it according to Sailu’s recipe with green chiles but skipped curry leaves; and seasoned all to taste with salt. Added some melted ghee and a few drops of water. The first batch fell apart and I had a tasty, albeit messy plate of fried individual leaves. I sprinkled a little more flour and a few more drops water — this time mashed it all together with a fork until it would hold together (the reconstituted jackfruit will mash a bit like potato). This second batch was better, and the rice flour definitely made it crunchier!

For the red bell pepper, I mixed 1/4 c besan with 1/2 c rice flour, then following Mandira’s instructions, added poppy seeds, salt and seasoning. Then just enough water with this to make a medium batter. The scoring helped the batter adhere to the peppers.

I took a photo, then I decided to add some Rajwadi Garam Masala to the ketchup — a very happy discovery! I am shamelessly addicted to this particular store-bought masala. It releases a deep, mellow aroma when you cook it; in this instance it made a delightfully spicy and flavorful dip for the deep-fried goodies.

spiced-up ketch-up!

So there you have it ISG, thanks for the inspiration! And thanks Mandira and Sailu for sharing your tips and recipes. Come right over next time it snows πŸ™‚

kitchen-sink and red bell pepper pakoda in EAPG ~
Michigan pattern by US Glass, circa 1902

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Lazy Lentils ~ Masoor Dal with Garlic


this little chickadee was so intent on digging sunflower seed out of the snow…
he wouldn’t look up for love or money…


and when he finally did, he was facing the wrong way!


“lazy lentils” ~ masoor dal with garlic ~ served in a decorated Michigan pattern glass bowl by U.S. Glass, circa 1902

*begin bragging mom section*

It must be a January thing — this bragging mom stuff. Or maybe it’s dear Asha’s influence — see her joyous comment in a previous post!

My son made not only high honors, but a perfect 4.0 for his first term of junior year in college!! My daughter is in yet another winter play — and (hurrah!) finally deciding that going to college might be worthwhile after all — and studying for her junior year HS midterms *without* my harassing hand! πŸ˜‰

*end bragging mom section*

I had a recipe for lentil soup and it called for all the usual suspects:
lentils (the plain old green grocery store variety), onion, carrots, celery —
plus the interesting addition of garlic and tomatoes.

I didn’t have plain old green lentils, nor tomatoes nor celery, so I made the soup with masoor dal, onion, carrots, and plenty of garlic. And that is how I discovered, quite by accident, that the delicate masoor dal has a great affinity for heady garlic. The trick is to slice the garlic rather thickly.

You may know that the taste of garlic depends on how you cut it. Chopped fine, it is strongest. Larger dice, a little less pungent, and whole, it can be quite mellow.
I have found that slices provide the best savory garlic flavor without overpowering.

This happy little dal discovery has been a staple on many of these chilly winter evenings when I was too lazy to *cook*. As ISG pointed out, this has been the coldest spell in a long while — so this is on the stove again tonight.

Like many recipes, it sounds more complicated than it is. This almost cooks itself — hence the title “lazy” πŸ˜‰

Lazy Lentils
(masoor dal ‘lentil soup’ with plenty of garlic!)

1 small or 1/2 large red onion, diced fine
6 cloves garlic, sliced rather thickly
2 carrots, peeled and cut in medium dice


the real kitchen scene ~ no cleaning up for photos tonight

1 tsp oil or ghee (ghee is better)

3/4 c masoor dal, rinsed well
2 1/2 c water or vegetable broth
pinch turmeric
salt to taste


In a small sauce pan, heat ghee over medium-low and add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Do not brown.

Add carrots and stir well. Cover the pan and continue to cook over med-low heat another 5-10 minutes, until carrots are softening.

Add dal, turmeric and water. Stir well, cover, and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes, until dal begins to break up. Add more water if necessary, and cook another 10 minutes or so, until dal is soft.

Salt to taste, and mix it up well with your mathu or a wooden spoon.

Serve hot as a soup or over rice as a thin dal, and enjoy the garlicky-goodness on a cold winter night! πŸ™‚


simple pleasures on a cold evening ~ garlicky dal and old glass

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Jihva for Dal (part two) ~ The Tradition

Ingredients for Indira's Sweet Pongal

Ingredients for Indira’s Traditional Sweet Pongal

Jihva for ingredients

This recipe needs no introduction.

Indira’s Sweet Pongal, The Sankranthi Sweet

Told in brief ~ please see Indira’s Recipe for details.

I have wanted to make this for some time, and Jihva for Dal seemed the perfect opportunity. I followed Indira’s excellent, detailed instructions with two minor exceptions ~ I used four whole crushed cardamom pods and added them at the beginning, while cooking the rice and dal. Also, I used a pot on the stove rather than rice cooker or pressure cooker.

The rich aroma of moong dal toasting in ghee brought even my skeptical teenagers wafting into the kitchen to see what crazy mom was up to this evening πŸ™‚

Fresh Milk, Jaggery, Cashews and Golden Raisins

Fresh milk and jaggery in Michigan pattern glass, cashews and golden raisins


Although I followed the directions *to the letter* …

Indira's Traditional Sweet Pongal

…mine doesn’t look near as good as Indira’s! Imagine that πŸ™‚

My attempt at Sweet Pongal is my small tribute to the delights of traditional Indian cooking, and my second entry to Jihva for Dal. I can’t wait to see what wonderful things everyone else is cooking up!

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