Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Very Vegetarian Thanksgiving

I'm kind of ridiculously excited for Thanksgiving this year. The family, the free time, and oh, but of course, the FOOD.

Per Max's tag, here's our Thanksgiving menu:

Anyone have any indispensable last-minute suggestions?

Happy Thanksgiving!

(PS - For those of you who find it blasphemous to celebrate Thanksgiving without a turkey, I challenge you to eat even 1/10th as much turkey as everything else, or to come up with a better menu than this. Yeah, that's what I thought.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Welcome to the Midwest

Dear City of Minneapolis,

Thank you for your thoughtfulness during my brief stay this week. In a matter of 24 hours, your residents acted in the following most amiable ways:

  • Finding that there was no earlier flight in the 3+ hour time span between my arrival at the airport and my scheduled departure, no fewer than four of your ticketing agents clamored to assist me in locating and understanding the time frame to visit the Mall of America.

  • Having been told by the aforementioned Kind Ticketers that the ticket machine for the light rail accepted credit cards (a minor miracle in and of itself to we Philadelphians), I did not concern myself with my lack of readily-accessible liquid assets. However, seeing me fiddling with one of the machines, a nice young gentleman approached the other, informing me that the credit card function was currently broken, and directed me to an ATM. I thanked him and mentioned that I might just try the other one when he was done, just in case. However, as he finished, he reached out and deposited the exact fare amount (in two gold-dollar coins, no less) into my hand.

  • While in one MoA store, one young lady offered me the large dressing room to accomodate my small suitcase, and another interestedly asked me the details of where I was from and if she could do anything to help.

  • On the tram back to the airport, a pleasant young man asked me about my trip, and remained friendly but not over-chatty even after determining that the ring on a certain left finger was, indeed, indicative of matrimony (and kindly verbalized the breaking of his heart - twice - once for not living in Minneapolis, and once for being married).

Thank you for your outstanding welcoming committee!

Sincerely yours,


Friday, November 14, 2008

Foodie Friday: Huevos Rancheros

So I've decided to do a weekly recipe post, mostly to encourage myself to not eat huevos rancheros every single night (oh, how close we are). And since there's not a day of the week beginning with the letter "r" for "Recipe [insert-imaginary-R-day-of-the-week]," and Tasty Thursday just doesn't have quite enough alliterative punch, well, that leaves us with Foodie Friday.
Now for huevos, adapted from Smitten Kitchen. These are so. good. People, I just don't think you understand quite how good these are. We hadn't made them for over a week (a whole week and two days!! quite an accomplishment, considering we typically eat them 3 or 4 times a week - not for lack of other recipes, but just because they are actually that tasty), and I think my taste buds had forgotten a bit, but they leapt for joy with the first bite. Now I have to say, the last couple of times we've made these, they've been awesome, but I haven't been as bowled over as before, but Wednesday night's were truly spectacular. Perhaps it's because I actually remembered to salt and pepper the egg in the pan? Maybe it's because we actually had jalapenos this time? Maybe it's because we ate them after the longest huevos drought since probably July?

Overall, these are amazingly good. They're terrifically fabulous. They're familiar but not boring. The flavors and textures are wonderfully bold, but not so much so that they'd be inappropriate for a run-of-the-mill, gray-skied Wednesday. But perhaps that's exactly the oomph needed to nudge an average day into awesome status.

Disclaimer #1: We both adore all things Mexican, so if you don't, you might not necessarily give this dish a 19 out of 5.

Disclaimer #2: We all know that I'm terrible at uploading and posting photos. I've borrowed the one at the top of the page from the Smitten Kitchen website, so all kudos go to Deb. I even have some of our own for this, but can't get them off of our camera...

Huevos Rancheros, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  1. Brown a tortilla (she uses corn, but I much prefer flour - especially Trader Joe's habanero lime or whole wheat) lightly on one side in an oiled pan. Flip the tortilla over and sprinkle a bit of cheese (I like cheddar or a Mexican blend of jack, etc. in the absence of some actual white Mexican cheese) over it. Crack an egg on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with a bit of (preferably sea) salt and cracked black pepper.

  2. Let the egg set a bit (about halfway) and then flip it over. At this point, the pan will almost certainly be an utter disaster. Don't worry; just roll with it. If you can get it to flip so that the egg is still under the tortilla, I'd consider that a success.

  3. Let the egg cook to your desired consistency and then flip onto your plate. Cover with mounds of black beans and salsa fresca and guacamole.

Black Beans

Okay, I admit it - I totally cheat on this. I do not soak and cook and season my own black beans. I pop open a can of them - typically from Trader Joe's (I like the consistency of the organic kind better, if you're willing to spring for the extra $0.20), add in a bit of taco seasoning, crushed red pepper, and/or cumin and ride. Usually I'll do it on the stove, but if I'm feeling particularly lazy, I use the Pyrex + microwave combo. Do NOT overcook the beans.

Salsa Fresca

It's really the condiments that make this dish. I could probably eat just plain salsa fresca as a snack, it's that good. Tomatoes aren't the best right now, but come July, hoo boy.

  1. Chop up however many tomatoes you like - I typically use about 3 romas or 2 on the vines for the two of us. Then again, we really like salsa fresca.

  2. Chop up some red onion. Salsa is so much about preferences. I happen to really adore red onions (this coming from the girl who a year ago literally would not TOUCH an onion) so I usually have about a 1:2 ration on onions to tomatoes. Feel free to add less (or more) according to your tastes. Yellow or white onion also work fine, but I think red really gives it the best flavor.

  3. Mince some jalapeno. Again, preferences. I usually use about a quarter of a jalapeno for the two of us. If you want, you can also mince in a bit of fresh garlic.

  4. Chop up some fresh cilantro. This isn't necessary, but I LOVE cilantro. As in, I probably have almost as much cilantro as onion. Put in a lot or a little or none - this step is sort of optional.

  5. Mix together all the above ingredients with a good splash or two of lime or lemon juice, some sea salt and some cracked black pepper, and you're good to go!


  1. Slice open an avocado (one is usually enough for the two of us, though who am I kidding, I always want more guac) and remove the seed. Cut out and smash up to desired texture (I like mine pretty chunky, and sometimes just cube it).

  2. Mix in some diced red onion (again, about the 1:2 ratio), jalapeno (ditto the quarter of one), cilantro, salt, pepper, and lemon/lime juice. Done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Winners + I'm a slacker

Congratulations to Malinda, Max, & Natalie! Max, please send me your address. The other two, hopefully I can just give you yours in person. :)

Also, the above-mentioned Marvelous Max tagged me eons ago. Yeah, I'm slow. Anyway, I bring you Six Random Things About Preethi. I'll try to share truly random ones, as opposed to things I find perfectly normal, like being a grammar Nazi, alphebetizing my spices, and only eating two flavors of yogurt.

  1. While I actually DO find this entirely normal, I'll share it because so many people think I am absolutely crazy for this, including my husband. I don't eat cereal with milk. There. I said it. This stems from a long-standing aversion to any and all things even remotely mushy. I cannot tolerate cereal that is anything but perfectly hard. The ONLY cereals I will eat with milk are Grape Nuts (don't tell my company) and, on occasion, a really hard granola. Honey Nut Cheerios - plain. Frosted or Honey Nut Shredded Wheat - plain. Corn Flakes - never ever ever BLECH they even get soggy in my mouth DISGUSTOID. (Random side note: when Dan got his wisdom teeth out several years ago, he decided it would be a great idea to blend all his foods so he could drink them through a straw, including cereal with milk. He continued to do this for some time after, asserting that it was way faster to drink 3 bowls of cereal than to eat them. He thought this was the best idea ever, and made me one. I took one sip and nearly hurled.)
  2. I really adore straws. I think they are so functional. I always have one in my Nalgene bottle at work, because it just makes it easier to drink from them. They are particularly useful in the car, because then you don't have to tip your bottle to drink, thus spilling on yourself 95% of the time. A friend and I once created the KPSC - the Kelly Preethi Straw Club.
  3. I am a huge stickler about not listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I've actually felt guilty the last few days because everywhere I go, it's Christmas-this and Christmas-that and Christmas music is playing and much as I know I should be vehemently opposed, I get slightly giddy. But I refuse to play any myself. Except to and from rehearsals for our stake's performance of Handel's Messiah. This is a tradition from at least my freshman year, and maybe before, that, in the spirit of the season, allows us to listen to Christmas music on the way to and from rehearsals prior to Thanksgiving.
  4. I'm only really attached to one baby name, and it is after a character in a book that I read in 6th or 7th grade, reinforced by biblical and historical figures. (Ten points to anyone who guesses it!)
  5. I really love to staple things. For some reason, the noise is really satisfying to me. For some odd reason, it reminds me of the crimping that my orthodontist used to do on my braces...I get this odd sort of pleasure out of making the same sound.
  6. I dislike clothes shopping. While I certainly love clothes (probably too much...), I really hate having to search through racks (especially disorganized ones! which is why I particularly loathe shopping in most department stores) and having to try things on - it's such a pain. It's my same issue with actually liking to be vegetarian at most restaurants because it limits the options. We once went to a vegetarian restaurant in Greece and I was really stressed with all the options.

I tag...Alex, Whitney, and Christiane.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pay It Forward!

My awesome friend Lizzie chose me for her Pay It Forward. She gave me an awesome PINK reusable shopping bag (cute, environmentally-friendly, AND going to a good cause? what??), candy/cookies, pistachio pudding (you have no clue how excited Dan was about this), and some adorable notecards. So now it's my turn to pay it forward! Just leave a comment and I'll choose 3 of you for gifts. The only requirement is that you then have to pay it forward to 3 others.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pensieve-ing my post-election thoughts...

There are a lot of thoughts swimming around in my brain following Tuesday's historic election, ranging from "Hooray!" to "Boo!" to "Meh." Here are some, in no particular order:

  • It's over! Finally, maybe my morning NPR listenings will contain more about the economy than which candidate says the other has been unanimously voted Most Likely to Deep Fry Babies and Eat Them with Honey Mustard.
  • Perhaps this is entirely blasphemous, but the whole "black" thing didn't matter to me all that much. As in, I guess it never seemed that far-fetched to me. I'm now more inclined to think I am just blessed with the people I'm around, to whom skin color is really just not that big a deal. Unless they're jealous of someone else's tan. That said, I think it's awesome that we finally have a president of this amazingly melting-pot-alicious country that's not a balding white male. Just male. And we'll see how long he lasts without the balding.
  • Sara Palin will now be free to take up the SNL post of Sara Palin as Tina Fey as Sara Palin. (And won't be VP. Hallelujah! And seriously, as my mom says, can go take up acting or something about which she knows more than the average 2nd grader. And did I mention she won't be VP?)
  • I'm interested to see what we can accomplish globally with foreign leaders feeling blatantly more friendly right about now.
  • I'm excited to see Pres.-elect Obama garner some of that "experience" about which so many are concerned. I look forward to seeing him use his past perspective in his youth and collegiate years for the good of the country.


  • I'm definitely not psyched at the prospect of having a Democratic Congress and executive branch. I generally think that's a bad idea, but I particularly think so in this type of economic climate. Let's hope they don't make any impetuous decisions that we'll all later regret.
  • I'm sad that the recent history of the Republican party severely got in Sen. McCain's way.
  • I hope we are able to curtain spending instead of letting it burgeon. I hope we give capitalism the resources it needs and let it do its job.
  • I hope we cut our new president some slack and give him time to fulfill his promises.
  • I hope we are not rash about how we approach the wars.

Other Thoughts:

  • I've heard a ton of people in the last few days say things along the lines of "This is the first time I feel like an American!" or "America has betrayed me. I'm moving to Canada."
  • First off, as if moving to Canada is going to help! You certainly didn't see either candidate getting fed up and taking off and giving up. Seriously, it's selfish and immature on either side to be like, okay, "something's happened that I don't like so I'm going to take off," or "this is awesome! I'm only staying because of this". Too many people have struggled to make this country better, and continue to do so each day, for us to just expect everything to be perfect and to give up when it's not. Perhaps we should be willing to sacrifice just a smidgen of what others have...
  • Secondly, America as an entity is not about one single president - he or she shouldn't dictate whether you feel like an "American." Really, it's not even just about the people (though it does COME from the people); it's about principles. It's about values. It's about what we've stood for in the past, for what this nation was founded, and for what it continues to stand. Seriously, I really dislike fair-weather patriots. [Stepping off soapbox.]

For what are you most excited/unexcited?