Sparkling summer juice

It’s early September and 90+ degrees outside. Usually I find myself complaining about the temperature outside, but this year I find myself acknowledging it and rolling with it. Maybe this has something to do with watching The Complaint Free Revolution videos that Pathik has finally succeeded in getting me to watch. It’s good stuff, so don’t put it off for 3 years like I did.

Anyway, while I still have my shorts, tanks, and flip-flops at the front of my wardrobe, I still find my mind wandering to the reminisces of feeling the crisp fall air on my face, watching the orange leaves floating slowly to the ground, the feel of ankle boots and skinny jeans, and the joy of apple picking in the orchard and making apple pies. Let’s not forget the sweet smell of apple cider and the warmth that slowly pours through my body as I drink it. As much as these warm drinks give me comfort, I also love the fresh taste of summer drinks.

Just recently I came across a recipe for Watermelon-Strawberry Agua Fresca in a magazine. I really don’t remember what magazine, but at least I’m letting you know it’s not mine. I guess the purpose of this recipe is to use up bruised fruit that you might not want to present in a dish, but I definitely am not that critical of my fruit. I made this recipe for its fresh, rejuvenating taste.

Ingredients
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 mint sprigs
1 tbs thinly sliced fresh ginger
pinch of salt
2 cups seedless watermelon
2 cups hulled strawberries
1 bottle sparkling water * I used lemon sparkling water, and this added a nice refreshing touch to the drink.

Instructions
1. Simmer water with sugar until the latter dissolves. Remove from heat and add the mint.
2. Add ginger and salt and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, puree.
4. Pour over ice, top with sparkling water.

*optional: top with more mint sprigs- this really helps the flavor come out!

Tasty Tahini

I mentioned that I would follow my spicy sauce recipe with a recipe for Tahini. Well, here it is. I love this sauce so much I use gobs of it on my pita sandwich, partly because the spicy sauce I make is at a 3-chilli level. This sauce is also great as a dipping sauce- for toasted pita chips, carrots, whatever else you may please; although, I’ve never tried it but I think cucumbers would work great.

Side note: Falafel and related sauces are NOT Greek. They are Mediterranean. Vegetarians visiting Greece should not expect to eat tahini on pita sandwiches, they should expect to eat tatziki on souflaki sandwiches. I am speaking from personal experience.

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Spicy Falafel Sauce

I’ve been meaning to put up sauce recipes for, well, ever. Or at least ever since I created a Recipes page on the blog. I thought it was only fitting that I start with the falafel sauce recipe, as one of the first recipes I put on the blog was for my tabbouleh salad. This sauce has quite a kick to it, and the recipe I’ve listed is enough for our family of five (well now we have six so we’ll probably make a little more!). Because of its spice level and overall “liquid-ness,” not much of it gets used, so this recipe makes approximately 1 cup.

What I love the most about this recipe is that it can be made using staples usually found around an Indian kitchen, and it takes absolutely no time to whip it up. Which is quite important. If you know me, you know that I love to cook because I love to eat, but I hate spending an unnecessary time in the kitchen because I also like to do other things like…. posting on this blog ­čÖé

Ingredients

1 large tomato, cut into large pieces (doesn’t matter which kind although I always happen to use Roma)

1/2 onion, diced (I usually use white because it’s the tangiest)

2-3 large cloves of garlic (the sauce is supposed to be very strong in garlic flavor, the way I understand it)

1/2 green chilli, shredded

salt, red chilli pepper, cilantro leaves to taste

a pinch of cumin

Instructions

  1. Blend everything. Yup. As simple as that. How big you want everything to be when you dice it is of course dependent on the quality of your blender.
  2. Taste
  3. Adjust according to taste

Coming soon: Tahini Sauce. Yum! It is very complementary to this extremely spicy sauce, not to mention an essential any time you make a falafel dish.

Happiness is only real when shared : reflections at 27


Get ready for the irony. This post was intended for my 27th birthday reflection, and although I started its outline at that time I definitely am ┬ánot getting around to writing it until now as I type this, at a time when I have no other choice but to blog (because I left my flashdrive of work at home and I don’t want to leave this amazing coffee shop.) You’ll get it if you read all the way until the end.

In October of last year, one month before her 84th birthday, my grandmother passed away. She passed away on the day of the Indian New Year, a day of celebration and joy meant to be shared with family. It’s a day that emphasizes new beginnings and moving on. I guess in a way it was a new beginning for me. The thing is, that entire day a voice in my head had been telling me to call her, and I kept putting it off for what I thought were good reasons- lunch with a friend, curling my hair, getting dolled up for dinner, sitting by the firepit and watching the children do fireworks. I never did get around to calling her when I found out late that night- by that time I just thought I would call her tomorrow, even though it was morning in India where she was.

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