Count Dogula has overcome his fear of sunlight, and he has arrived in St. Louis from Transylvania to continue his blood-sucking ways:
He keeps an eye out for his next victim...
...and then he strikes!
After his vampire feast, he needs to sit and relax in the shade for a while :D
So you see, we have had a fun afternoon! The pet costume party was a hilarious circus and all the pups seemed to enjoy themselves. For all those people in the "poor-Dale-tortured-with-costumes" camp, let me tell you that he did not mind it one bit :D
Many *many* thanks for the lovely costume ideas that I got from you all: Mocha suggested a turban and pearl necklace...Maharaja style, Namita suggested a cowboy look, Bulbul suggested "SuperDale" and Cathy and Lindy also suggested the superhero look, Moon Rani suggested "WatchDog" (superhero with a twist!), Reva suggested the "little devil" look, Dhana suggested "Underdog". I was torn between all these wonderful ideas and went with "Dogula" mostly because I found the right fabric for it, and thought the name was cute (I did not make up the name "dogula", by the way. I came across it on some website selling ready-made pet costumes). But Dale is set for the next few halloweens with these ideas :)
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These days, I have been cooking quick meals based on some of our favorite dishes, rather than trying anything new. However, here are some vegetable dishes that I tried in the last couple of weeks, inspired by fellow bloggers. With such delicious recipes, you can't help but gobble your vegetables.
1. Spicy Sweet Potato Fries from Kalyn
I have said this before, and I will say it again: it is a pity that we don't eat more sweet potatoes. This lovely vegetable seems to be reserved for rare occasions (Thanksgiving in the US, fasting days in Maharashtra) but is nutritious and delicious enough to be consumed once a week, at least. I jumped for joy when I saw this recipe on Kalyn's blog. The spice mixture in that recipe sounds delicious, but I have been making these with simple combinations like cumin-black pepper, chilli powder-cumin-coriander with superb results! The sugars in the sweet potato brown beautifully as it roasts, lending a delightful caramel flavor to the fries. I have been making this recipe once or twice a week since I laid eyes on it.
2. No-deep-fry Gobi Manchurian from Zlamushka
Now that I own a wok, I have been trying to use it more. This recipe caught my eye because it makes my favorite Indian-Chinese dish, gobi manchurian, without the pain of deep-frying those cauliflower florets. Here is the way I made it: Heated some peanut oil in the wok, stir-fried cauliflower florets at high heat until they seared well and were tender. In a separate pan, made a sauce using onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, red chilli sauce, sugar and some Sichuan chilli-bean paste. I thickened the sauce with some cornstarch paste. Then I added the florets to the sauce, along with some sliced green onions. I was too lazy to make fried rice on the side, so I cooked some whole-wheat noodles and stirred them into the sauce to make a one-dish meal. Yes, I know the food police can arrest you for using Italian-style pasta in place of Chinese noodles (the two are very different). Yes, I know that this concoction of noodles and faux gobi manchurian must seem very strange and "wrong". But we love the heartiness of the whole wheat noodles, and this dish just hit the spot! And that is all I really care about :)
3. Masale Bhaat from Ashwini
Moving from unholy concoctions to a very traditional and time-honored dish! Masale bhaat (literally, spiced rice) is a must at Maharashtrian wedding and feasts. Ashwini's recipe yields a masale bhaat that is astonishingly authentic- the aroma of the cooking rice itself will surely result in a skipped heartbeat among those who know and love this dish (and possibly have not eaten it for ages and ages). The rice requires only a dry spice mix (easy to make in a spice grinder) and comes together so quickly and easily that it is almost belongs on the weeknight menu. I never have access to the tondli (ivy gourd) that is traditionally used in this dish, so I use mixed vegetables instead, with great results. Here, I served it with some stir-fried mustard greens and some solkadi (the latter is a traditional accompaniment to masale bhaat). The solkadi turned out so incredibly tasty, and shocking-pink(!), because of the lovely newly-dried "kokum" sent by my aunt from the Konkan coast, which were so much better than the ones I usually buy from the store. Home-made trumping store-bought...what else is new, right?
4. Udipi Sambar from Padma.
I think by now everyone has tried this incredible sambar that Padma blogged about, and I am happy to jump on to the bandwagon. The usual sambar that I make (and love) is very different from the one served in those Udipi restaurants that I so miss. The sambar served with those endless idli and dosa platters has a hint of sweetness and a hint of coconut. I have been looking for a good recipe replicating that taste, and have found it! This sambar was so delicious, with its freshly-ground masala and a sweet-spicy taste. We enjoyed it with crispy dosas, then with plain steamed rice, and it was tasty every which way.
Many thanks to all the bloggers for helping me bring new tastes to our tables and keep meals interesting, even when life gets a bit busy! Have a great week, everyone!