A bouquet of flowers picked along the way ….

I bake salmon June 26, 2010

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Baked Atlantic Salmon

The other day my friend, Erin, and I went shopping so that I may get a 101 on the countless sauces, herbs, and what not that can be found in food stores. I was keen on learning how to dish out quick and healthy meals, and Erin did a fantastic job of getting me started. She gave me just about enough information to feel educated without feeling overwhelmed. And, since I relish sea food she conjured the most simple fish recipe one could imagine. Finally, she gifted me one of her casserole dishes and with that I was all set for my first ever baking adventure  🙂

Today, I gave the recipe a shot and am amazed how flavorsome the fish turned out to be. Yummy!

Baked Salmon (recipe by Erin Gallimore)

1 cut of Atlantic Salmon

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

½ Tablespoon Liquid Smoke

Salt and Pepper (few dashes of each)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Mix all ingredients, except Salmon, in casserole dish. Add Salmon to casserole dish. Move the Salmon around in the dish until all sides have come in contact with mixed ingredients. Place Salmon in the dish skin side up orientation. Add 1 tablespoon of water to dish.  Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon cut (I baked for 15 mins).

Total time to cook and serve: 20 mins (not including oven pre-heat time)

I served the fish with fresh cut cucumber and tomatoes. On a whim, I decided to top the tomatoes with green chillies cut along the length. It turned out to be a nice touch; hot chillies with juicy tomato slices was fun!


cup of joy June 22, 2010

Filed under: life,love,Me,photography — gurdas @ :

Starbucks 'London' mug

Some things are meant to happen a certain way. My Starbucks ‘London’ mug seems to be one of those. On my first visit to London, this mug was the only thing I had bought for myself. Unfortunately, it did not last long. To be precise, I dropped and broke the mug within an hour of buying it. And that was the evening before my flight and there was no Starbucks nearby for me to replace my lost souvenir. The next morning, I tried locating the Starbucks at Heathrow airport, but it was in a different terminal or at least too complicated to reach given the time available. So I returned home with only memories in my head. To make matters more bizarre, I had lugged along a SLR sized camera and tripod all the way across the Atlantic, and guess how many photos I made? Not one. Zilch.

But as fate would have it, I am lucky to have dropped the mug. Because, on my second visit to London, I had the same mug gifted to me.

The same mug. But now many times more precious.


I make toor dal June 5, 2010

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toor dal

toor dal

Cooking dal was a moment of pride for me. Let me accept that. In the last few weeks, I have cooked toor dal (featured here) and split moong dal. Dal is a general term used to describe the many varieties of pulses and is part of the staple diet all over India. Recipes vary by region, but the most common form of dal is when cooked in a watery suspension, which is how I cook it.

My recipe for dal is very similar to how I cook pulao, except that I do not add potatoes or peas in the dal.

Next on my ‘learn cooking’ agenda is a chicken recipe from the best chick in the world (I can so clearly see the amused look and the raised right eyebrow when she reads this).


I make pulao May 30, 2010

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Basmati rice with potatoes and beans; garnished with coriander

The cooking saga continues! I made pulao using Basmati rice and potatoes and beans. Since my culinary skills are rather ordinary, I try and keep the damage minimum by sticking to single pot cooking. So, if the end result isn’t palatable, at least I can keep the cursing low with fewer dishes to clean 🙂

I start by heating some olive oil, add cumin seeds, followed by diced frozen onions (yeah, short-cuts!). And then freshly cut tomatoes and green chillies. Followed by ginger paste, garlic paste, garam masala, and salt in that order. And then some water to prevent the paste sticking to the bottom. When the water comes to boil, I add fresh cut potatoes and let simmer. A few minutes later, I am ready to add rice (plus 2 times water) and frozen cut beans, put the glass lid and let cook for about 15 minutes. Finally, garnish with coriander. Total cooking time: 45 minutes.


new chef in town May 29, 2010

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Khichdi with mushroom and brussel sprout vegetable

Who would have thought that some day I will be able to put up a photo of something I cooked? Not me!

But here I am, the zero cooking guy who is no more. For some time now, I have been cooking most of my meals, and while my cooking is not going to win any awards, it is usually palatable. Pictured here is what I cooked many months ago, a rather simple dish called khichdi (rice and yellow lentil) with stir fried mushrooms and brussel sprout. Quick and dirty fix!


Journey of the Heart May 24, 2010

Filed under: life,love,photography — gurdas @ :

Beside Chandratal Lake, HP, India. Aug. 2007.

Our life is not one single journey. It is, rather, many tightly woven journeys which are so deeply interlinked that we may safely view them as a whole.

There is the journey of the body. There is the journey of the mind. There is the journey of the heart.

And it is the journey of the heart that touches our deepest depths. But it is, again, not just one single journey. The heart makes many many journeys and often the roads intersect; the results of one become the baggage of another, and the troubles of one become the gifts of another. Such is the nature of Life.

For the individual and the society, it is the journey of the heart that is vital to existence as a race. From the day we are born we begin these three journeys, and they end only with our demise. But what makes the journey of the heart unique is that it can never exist by itself. The body can exist by itself, the mind can learn without always needing another mind, but the heart is nourished, it’s journey made only with other hearts. A mother makes this journey with her child, a brother makes this journey with his sister, and couples make this journey with each other. It is our hearts that truly make us what we are. The most skilled craftsperson draws his/her inspiration from what emanates from the heart. That emotion is crafted by the skills of their mind and body, but the origin is always the emotion. It could be a painter, a composer, a doctor, or an engineer. It is their *love* for their profession that inspires them to excel. And love is nothing but a vehicle of journey of the heart. Truth be told, the journey of the heart underlines everything we do. It is the root of our happiness and our sorrow. It is the root of our creativity and destructiveness. It is the single most powerful force at our disposal.

Imagine being able to cook very well. But, when you actually cook, you do it because you love doing it. The skill to cook by itself has no pleasure. You acquire the skill to be able to make a journey. The mind then becomes a tool for the heart to accomplish its goal.

And so, it is vital that we recognise that the journey of our life, is essentially the journey of our heart. And I know it means I am now saying that we truly make only one journey. That of the heart.


Tea off at par friendships May 15, 2009

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I am an avid tea drinker. Not that I drink gallons of it, just that I cherish each sip. A well brewed cup of tea (and that rules out any tea made by a machine) can do wonders to my mood. I can get almost intoxicated.

And tea has led to many a memorable conversation with family, friends, and strangers. Once in a while, it plays a larger role and a whole friendship is built around it. That is what happened between me and The Patels who live on the floor above. Keta and Baiju Patel had moved to Raleigh a few weeks before I did and they immediately welcomed me into their lives. Baiju is an avid tea person. And Keta is almost a no tea person and yet her tea is worth every moment spent with the cup. 

Keta and Baiju, Fall 2008

Keta and Baiju, Fall 2008

 We would meet often for tea and talk. Recently, Keta went on an India trip for a marriage and during that six odd weeks, Baiju and I met almost every day for tea. Every day at 10 pm. It was something I would look forward to with enthusiasm. Our meeting would be short and yet packed with useful conversation. Baiju was here for a MS in Advanced Analytics and I was taking introductory courses in Statistics; so there was quite a lot of common ground for techie stuff to be discussed. Like today, Baiju educated me on “basket analysis”, something stores like Wal-mart and Family Dollar conduct to find the chain of products a particular shopper would buy. In very simple terms, which buyer will have what products (typically) in his/her shopping basket. And I led Baiju to some outdoor educational videos at REI. So, in that short 15-20 minutes, we had tea and came out better informed about something useful. And at the end of the meeting I would be refreshed and eager to get back to work. Tea plus conversation has that effect on me.

But, this is now coming to an end. The Patels are moving to Charlotte, where Baiju landed a job. I will miss the tea meetings terribly. And by the end of this summer, I will lose almost half of my closest friend circle at NC State. This makes me kind of sad. I take this opportunity to thank The Patels for opening the doors to their house and their hearts. I am wealthier having known you’ll. Bon voyage!