Saturday, July 29, 2017

Abbie's Cafe #FoodJournals July: Of BBQs & Remarkable Pani Puri Skills

Came July, the season of barbecues, and we had a backyard barbecue! I am alien to the workings of a barbecue grill so I save the planet from fires and refrain from trying anything with coal and gasoline. My brother and his wife set it up and I brought the fancy stuff like buttery baked corns on the cobs. Sara added her self-created recipe of Cajun Chicken & Veggies (a big hit!) and butter seasoned rice.
It was a fantastic evening with the perfectly done barbecued chicken and the charred veggie skewers made from our homegrown vegetable garden (courtesy brother and his wife!). Everything from the veggie garden is coming out great except for the radishes that turned sour due to heat and wrong timing (had to be thrown!).
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Serious goodness happened when I stumbled upon the idea of making Karhai style Keema with Shan Kata Kat Masala. The Dhaba Style Keema turned out so delicious I can serve it at a dinner! 
The inspiration came from the Chicken Kata Kat Curry that I had made earlier. Why not put Keema in and try? Kali Dal was another staple that I cooked again. My 2.5 year old baby niece loves it with plain rice. Next month, I'd post the recipe! 
Next, I put Shan Punjabi Channa Masala on chickpeas and potatoes and made a Pulao (pilaf) with rice. The Punjabi Channa Pulao (meatless) has got be the best side rice dish, in addition to Tehri (Yellow Turmeric Rice). 
Aloo Methi Palak (Potatoes, Fenugreek, Spinach) (recipe HERE) is literally named after the ingredients used in the dish and has been a favorite among adults of the family since always. I remember developing a liking for spinach because of this dish and it doesn't have too many ingredients, or too many steps. The prep though is slightly time consuming. You must chop spinach leaves and chop potatoes and boil them for a minute (to reduce cooking time because spinach cooks super fast). My mother always requests this dish and typically eats this with a dollop of yogurt and a slice of bread/paratha. Check out what happened when I texted her a photo of what was on the lunch menu!

Pani Puri Adventure 
I had an adventurous encounter with Pani Puri at a fancy wedding I attended at the Gaylord National Harbor Convention Center Resort. The idea is to put the Puri in your mouth all in one go. The challenge is not to spill a single drop of the spicy syrup that goes into it, and not to drop a single chickpea from the filling while you are at it. πŸŽ₯ Click Play to watch video below or click HERE
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Towards the end of July I started getting my lost cooking spunk back. Yes, I lost it along the way because I was beat! I contributed to the Bulk Cooking day with Chicken Biryani (made using Shan's Karachi Beef Biryani spice mix). Ahh, the smell of fresh chopped cilantro and the chicken steaming through the rice.
Next up, I improvised on a pasta recipe and came up with a delicious, spicy Eggplant Macaroni with Parmesan and Tomato Sauce. Grab recipe HERE.

Let's Talk Pizza Now! 
I have my pizza face on when I get a pizza craving. That mode struck in the 3rd week and I went bonkers. I wanted to go back to Stone Hot Pizza in VA because they have whole grain crust! Watch the sights and sounds of my Pizzariffic weekend. πŸ“·Video below. My ultimate fav at Stone Hot is the BBQ Chicken Pizza (BEST!). Others we have tried are Quatro Carne Pizza (Halal turkey bacon, beef meatballs, Turkey pepperoni), and Romana Pizza (beef meatballs).  
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Lunch With A Friend
This had been on my Summer Bucket List 2017 and that happened! Sara and I had Qz over - she's our super awesome friend who talks sense. She brought Singaporean Rice (I NEED to sort out my priorities and try that recipe) - they were delicious! We had some Halal fried chicken over. And Sara re-created her Cajun Chicken. I really wanted to enjoy the Pioneer Woman dinnerware and the melamine platter and salad spoons I had gotten from Walmart. They looked so Summer-y!
 A special mention ... Cookie Overload Funfetti Blondies by Sara's Baked Creations. Sara made these in Ramadan and the family went mad after them. 

Free Burger Anyone? Red Robin! Yumm!
I am a Red Robin Royalty Club member. πŸ‘‘ *Making a Queen face right now* They shot me an email saying any gourmet is free since I had earned a 10th item free reward! So, I took the ladies out for a bite. We discovered some seriously amazing seasoned fries. πŸŽ₯ Video Below! 

"We Are Making Puris Today"
The way I say 'Puris' in the πŸŽ₯ Video below has become a joke between Sara and I. It is one of those random LOL moments. Grab the Whole Wheat Puri recipe HERE
Summer Picnic Time!
It was a barbecue by the Lake Fairfax in Virginia and there was seriously good food! I adored the lakeview. Wow, July has taken me to some beautiful bodies of water. It was the fancy wedding by the Potomac River at the Baltimore Harbor first, and now this. I am so thankful I live on the East Coast. Catch some beautiful sunny glimpses of the gleaming lake and a typical wooden bridge besides it in the πŸŽ₯ Video below (under the photograph).

This has been a month of great eats! And with August begin the great workouts and dieting so we are all thinner (comparatively!) by the time we say goodbye to 2017! I leave you with a last photo of a wedding cake piece I devoured without thinking about how it would add to the tyre of fat around my belly! 
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