Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To Ma and Bapa with Love : Pan Fried Trout & Grilled Asparagus

It’s been exactly 4 days (105 hours and 35 minutes) since my Ma and Bapa left for India and I really miss them. I miss my mother’s cooking; I miss the smell of Indian Masala in the kitchen, my mother’s solicitous advise on my food habits, K2 playing with his 48 piece puzzles with Bapa and our long walks when the weather permitted…after 4 days of inertia (I mostly got excited with some Market Analysis work that I was doing….so go figure!) I dragged myself out of my stupor and went to pick K2 up from pre-school today. On the way I went to the local Italian grocery store (no it’s not a chain) and picked up some fresh Rainbow Trout and a pound of Asparagus Tips.

Why Rainbow Trout you ask me? Well, my mother has been encouraging us to get on the vegetarian bandwagon…K1 has been non-committal and everything I read about fish and Omega-3 convinced me to make fish a 1-2 time occurrence weekly in our meals. Apparently Fish has DHA and EPA which is different from ALA found in plant based Omega 3. Fatty Fish like Tuna, Mackerel, Trout and Salmon are abundant sources of Omega 3. I picked Asparagus because my father liked it when I grilled it for him. Asparagus (ahem!) also have excellent health benefits…they have a flavanoid called rutin which improves circulation and strengthens veins…Asparagus also binds to the cholesterol in the digestive system, stopping the body from absorbing is also a good source of potassium & folate (I sound like a walking encyclopedia…what can I say I read Realage and WebMD quite extensively)
Here is how I cooked the fish –
  • Whole Rainbow Trout (the fish guy at the store very obligingly made fillets)

  • Marinade – 2 teaspoon Olive Oil, 3 Teaspoon Shaan Tandoori BBQ Mix, Juice of one Lemon

  • Apply Marinade on Fish and let it sit for ½-1 Hr.

  • Shallow Fry in a Pan ( I sprayed the pan with some Olive Oil)

Here is how I cooked the Asparagus –
  • Spread the Asparagus in a single layer in your oven

  • Spray Olive Oil, Apply uniformly Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper and Garlic Powder
Turn the Oven to 375-400 degrees and bake till tender. We ate the Fish with Asparagus and some fresh Asiago Cheese Foccacia.
So Ma and Bapa, this post is to let you know I miss you and wish you were here with us.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Reluctant Yogi

I wonder if Life was always designed this complex or whether it is us human beings who wheel and deal it into this maze of uncertainties, deadlines, complications and insecurities…when I hear my grandmother’s rendition of a life in the not so distant past – of open green fields, unhurried pace, food cooked fresh…most of the ingredients from the fields or the vegetable patch in the backyard…success not measured by your job title or the square footage of your house…I feel a pang of envy for not having experienced that life.

Life has treated me gently…kept me in the lap of comforts. Yet, to reach here hasn’t been an easy trek…long work days, single minded focus on career and a deluge of unmindful eating was what got me those high flying jobs. Somewhere along the lines, my conscience, my conscientious husband and an out-of-whack annual medical report (high cholesterol, borderline overweight) pointed me in the direction of Yoga. My journey with Yoga has been gradual…from walking into the class with arrogance (how hard can it be…I am an Indian and Yoga was born in India…hence I will be awesome at it)…to humility (when I wasn’t able to bend forward or do the simplest of asana)…to sheer love for this exercise that gave me a new way of life.

Now six years later…I still struggle for balance – with constant deadlines at work, an extremely demanding 3 year old and an increasingly long to-do List…I feel like a trapeze artist who is waiting for the big fall. Yoga in the past 6 months has been just that …a “thing of the past”. I make excuses to skip my Yoga sessions and then have this lingering guilt…I want this cycle of procrastination and guilt to stop…and so this reluctant Yogi dons her armor (old track pants and tees) and takes a ride into the unknown.

As I stretch proudly into Warrior…my body reminds me to “stand strong like the warrior and be focused on the goal”…as I kick into a shoulder stand ”…my body reminds me it is alright to give up on control and depend on mother nature’s gravity laws…and as I sit straight in “Full Lotus”…my body reminds me to offer a thankful prayer for existing. As my father aptly says – Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery but Today is a Gift…so unwrap it and live it to the Fullest!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

An Aerial View...

Carl Jung, the famous swiss psychiatrist once said “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” As I sat on a long flight this week which gave me time for ruminations, I realized that things were not as grave or as flighty as we made it…it was all a matter of perspective and this perspective changed– influenced by people, my own thoughts, actions and time.
The rainy weather continued in Sunny California but I missed it, instead I was treated to deep troughs of snow (6 feet deep)…the biting chilly winds of the south easterlies, yet with this weather came a calm and stillness that was oddly comforting. The work week was extremely busy interspersed with some fabulous dinners. We had dinner on the 2nd night at a place called The Loft in Helsinki. The company was entertaining and the food was exquisite. It was a 4-course meal, started off with a salmon croquette followed by a pumpkin soup (very smooth with hints of Muenster cheese) and the main course was Artic Char with a cauliflower panna cotta and fennel sauce and the dessert was Cranberry Panna Cotta and Praline. I ended my meal with an Austrian Dessert wine. The next day’s dinner was a favorite place – The Fish Market revisited. I had a simple grilled Tuna served with wild mushrooms and some delicious Rye Bread.
It was wonderful being back home, listening to the cheerful chatter of K2 about the bugs, elephants and dinosaurs…making up stories on the fly for him about Santa Claus and the toys he would bring for him if he is a good boy…coming to think of it even the mundane task of going out to the grocery store to pick up cereal with Ma is wonderful…it is when I travel that I realize how much I miss home. The weather today is wonderfully warm…a stroll in the farmer’s market to pick up a half a dozen organic brown eggs, a bottle of syrah, a bag of baby arugula, a bunch of baby beets…a trip to the library and just sitting outside getting some of the wonderful sun…my idea of heaven.
The picture was one I took on one of my flights…do you see the plane in the distant horizon…beautiful isn’t it?