Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

We got off work 4 hours early on Christmas Eve. On the way home, did some grocery shopping. I had invited my parents, my sister's family and a friend's family for lunch at 12 noon. The menu was going to be very simple. Since it was a cold day, I decided to start the lunch with Potato and Leek Soup. The lunch menu was extremely simple - chole, paratha, pulao, yogurt and green onion sabzi.

Potato and Leek Soup:
2 leeks - white and green parts - finely chopped and then washed 6 times (it has too much sand in it, just like methi, so please wash it properly). If you do not chop it finely, then the sand remains in between the leaves, no matter how many times you wash it).
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil - a la Rachel Ray)
3 cups of chopped onion - yellow
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of aadu (chopped ginger)
1 tablespoon of green marchu (chopped green chillis)
4 potatoes - peeled and chopped
4 cups of vegetable stock - ready made from Safeway - the Organics brand
2 cups of water
Salt according to taste
In a pan, heat the oil and add the leeks, onions and salt. You want to stir this every three minutes. I have an electric stove and I had the setting on 6.
Add the garlic, ginger, green chilli and again let it cook together for about 3 minutes.
Now add the potatoes, vegetable stock and water. I turned the setting on high and after it came to a boil, I reduced the setting to 2. I left it this way for 2 hours.
After that I shut the stove and let the pan sit on the stove.

5 pound can of Garbanzo beans from Costco
1 can of tomato paste
4 onions - which were chopped along the onions for the soup
garlic, ginger, green chillis
spanish paprika
pomegranate powder

In a big pot, 2 tablespoons of oil + jeera and sauted the onions. Once they became translucent, added salt, 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons of chopped ginger and green chillis each. After about 2 minutes, I added 3 tablespoons of chana masala, 2 tablespoons of pav bhaji masala, 3 tablespoons of Spanish paprika. Mixed everything together and added a cup of water.
Once it got all mixed together properly, added the tomato paste and 5 glasses of water. Once it all boiled nicely together, added the Garbanzo beans (strained and washed properly). Mixed it all well together, put the flame on high and brought it to a boil. Once it came to a boil, I added a tablespoon of anardana powder ( pomegranate powder). Turned the flame on 2 and let it sit there until lunch time.

4 cups of Patel's wheat flour
1 cup of Safeway's whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons of oil
3 ladles of plain yogurt
I kneaded all of this together into dough and kept it aside, until lunch time.

Since we were 9 folks, I took 9 fistfuls of rice.
2 cups of peas and carrots
1/2 cup of badam and cashews mixed
cloves, cinnamon stick, whole black pepper
Tadka was of ghee + jeera - just cooked it as you would normally make rice.

Most of my guests arrived at 11:55 am. We sat and chatted for a little while. Then I got the soup ready - I used the hand held blender and blended the soup together. While serving the soup, I added a little bit of crushed black pepper. The soup was a hit on this cold day.
While we were waiting for the rest of the folks to show up, I started making the parathas. As soon as one paratha was made, the rest of the gang showed up. So we made all the kids and my father sit down for lunch. My sister and I made the parathas together, while my friend and my mom served lunch. I could not keep up with the demand of parathas, but all I kept on hearing was that it's okay take your time. The pipping hot chole and parathas was doing wonders to everyone's appetite.
We all had delicious Nanak's Ras Malai for dessert. Since we still had a lot of snow outside, the kids went out to make a snowman and igloos. While they were out, we chatted and had tea.

After everyone left, we just relaxed. Everyone had helped in cleaning the dishes and putting away food, so I hardly had anything left to do.

December 26th - just relaxed around the house - did some cleaning, laundry, etc.

December 27th - went to see "3 Idiots" at AMC Rio, Gaithersburg and a very early dinner at CPK.
Please do check out the review of 3 Idiots on "Mumbai Mirror". The author has said everything that I wanted to say about the movie.

December 28th - back to work at 7 am.

The 3 day break was wonderful and badly needed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Posh Maas for Samvat 2066 (Dec 17, 2009 to Jan 15, 2010

Dec 20 - Vinayak Chauth
Dec 21 - Panchak from evening
Dec 22 - Panchak
Dec 23 - Panchak
Dec 24 - Panchak
Dec 25 - Panchak, Durgashtami, Shakambari Navratri Begins, Christmas
Dec 26 - Panchak
Dec 28 - Putrada Ekadashi
Dec 31 - Khandgras Chandragrahan, Shakambari Navratri Ends, Poonam
Jan 1 - New Year 2010
Jan 7 - Kalashtami
Jan 10 - Shattila Ekadashi
Jan 14 - Amavas, Makar Sankranti, Kumuhurta Ends
Jan 15 - Kanknakruti Suryagrahan

**Try and not begin any new work during Panchak. No ground laying (foundation), no installation of new roofs, no baby showers during panchak. Do not initiate a house move during panchak. If a death occurs during panchak, make sure to do the proper pooja and then cremate the body. **

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Preparations for the snow

On Friday, I went grocery shopping - I have never seen Lotte Plaza this crowded!! The worst thing was that prices were hiked up! My DS got the milk from Safeway and DH got the toilet paper & fire logs from Sam's.

On Friday, while listening to the news, I chopped up:
4 bunches of kothmir (coriander)
one bunch of methi
one cabbage
one cauliflower
chopped up green thai chili + jalapenos + habaneros for my handy "green marchu" paste
cleaned and chopped up aadu (ginger)
cleaned and separated the garlic
Dinner was idli and sambhar.

On Saturday, while watching the beautiful snow from my window:
I really put my Sumeet grinder to work:

First, I crushed ginger and filled up 2 bottles - one for the freezer and one for the fridge.

Second, crushed up all the green chilis that I had cut on Friday and made my "green marchu" paste. Put one bottle in the freezer and one for my daily use in the fridge. I have started using these three types of green peppers. I have found the combination is just right for my household. One heaping teaspoon of it in all my cooking hits the spice-o-meter just right!

Third, crushed up all the garlic, added a little lemon juice and haldar (turmeric) to keep it from spoiling.

Next, I prepared garlic kothmir chutney - everyone just loves this in my house. I have to prepare extra for my parents, dear brother and sister.

For breakfast, last night's idli batter was used to prepare dhoklas - sprinkled with black pepper. My DS just loves these!

Later on my DS made some cheese sandwiches while I was busy with my Sumeet mixture. DH and DS went and shoveled our walkway twice yesterday and cleaned up the cars. After about five minutes, it looked as if the area and the cars were never cleaned in the first place!!

My DS and a couple of his friends then walked to the nearby school and had a snowball fight and had a ball.

On his return, I prepared methi gota (I used the chopped up methi from Friday) and onion pakoda. We ate that with the just prepared kothmir chutney and tea for DH, milk for DS and coffee for me. It felt good.

For dinner I prepared moong dal khichdi. We had that with yogurt.

I ended my day yesterday after watching Russell Peters at 10 pm. My DS said that he was going to have a Godfather marathon - so he slept much, much later than me.

Overall, the day was good. The snow was still falling when I went to sleep. I was wondering if I would be able to go to work on Monday and how we were going to clean up all the snow!! Let's see what Sunday brings..................................

We got over 20 inches of snow!!

The snow has ended and Washington is left to reflect on and dig out from an historic storm. This snow was a record breaker, with 16.4" at Reagan National, 18" at Dulles and 21" at BWI Thurgood Marshall, making for the heaviest snowfall amounts in the month of December at those recording stations. This was also the 3th heaviest daily snowfall on record at Reagan National Airport. The snowfall tallies at both BWI and Reagan National also tipped the snowfall amounts to the most ever in the month of December. Upward of 20 inches fell in numerous areas, with localized heavier amounts scattered through the region.

More snow expected on Christmas Eve and Christmas!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

EXPECTED SNOW..................

Statement as of 4:05 am EST on December 18, 2009 Winter Storm


Winter Storm Warning in effect from midnight tonight to 6 am EST Sunday...

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a Winter Storm Warning for snow... which is in effect from midnight tonight to 6 am EST Sunday.

* Precip type... snow.

* Accumulations... heavy snow with accumulations of 5 to 10 inches through sunset Saturday. Locally higher amounts possible...mainly in or near southern Maryland. Additional accumulations expected Saturday night.

* Timing... snow will begin late Friday night and will continue through Sunday morning.

* Temperatures... upper 20s to lower 30s through the event in the Baltimore Washington metropolitan area... mid to upper 20s across western Maryland.

* Winds... 10 to 20 mph through the event... with gusts of 25 to 30 mph Saturday and Sunday.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow... sleet... and ice are expected or occurring. Strong winds are also possible. This will make travel very hazardous or impossible.