Friday, April 30, 2010


This is a tasty Tiffin variety with bottle gourd kadaiyal as a delicious accompaniment. This can be served as a full meal also! Liberal quantity of ghee enhances the taste of this dish. Botlle gourd kadaiyal or kothsu is a step ahead of other types of kothsu varieties in taste.

பாசிப்பருப்பு ரவா பொங்கல்


Semolina-2 ½ cups
Green gram- 1 cup
Asafetida- half sp
Turmeric powder- half sp
Curry leaves- 2 arc
Coarse pepper powder- 1 tsp
Cashew nuts- 2 tbsp
Ghee- half cup
Coarse cumin powder-1 tsp
Chopped coriander- half cup
Slit green chillies-3
Shredded ginger- 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Water-5 cups


Cook the green gram with the asafetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves until it is almost done.
Fry the semolina in a little ghee for a few minutes.
Heat a small pan and pour the ghee.
On slow fire fry the cashew nuts to golden brown.
Then add the cumin, pepper, green chillies and the ginger.
Fry for a few seconds.
Add the coriander leaves and mix well.
Keep aside.
Heat a pan and add the water with enough salt.
When the water starts boiling sprinkle the semolina evenly in intervals.
When the semolina is almost cooked and all the water is evaporated, add the cooked green gram and the tempering.
Mix on slow fire for a few minutes until all the ingredients are blended smoothly.


சுரைக்காய் கடையல்


Finely cut Bottle gourd- 3 cups
Chopped coriander- 3 tbsp
Finely chopped onion-half cup
Finely crushed tomato- half cup
Slit green chillies-3
Sambar powder- 1 sp
Salt to taste
Gingelly oil-4 tbsp
Tamarind- a gooseberry size
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- half sp
Asafetida powder- half sp
Curry leaves- 2 arc


Soak the tamarind in enough water for half an hour and then extract its juice.
Heat a pan and pour the oil.
Add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add the onion, asafetida, tomato, curry leaves and the coriander.
Fry them for a few minutes.
Then add the bottle gourd pieces and fry for a few minutes.
Add the tamarind extract with the turmeric powder, sambar powder and enough salt.
Transfer this to a pressure pan and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
When cooled mash the vegetables finely.
This is an excellent accompaniment for this semolina pongal, idli, dosa and paruppu pongal!

Wholemeal Tortilla

I've got some leftover roast chicken drumsticks after a big meal with my buddy. What I normally do with the leftover chicken is to tear out the meat and store in the fridge for making sandwich on the next day. Guess what!? The meat normally taste better than the day it's roasted. This time I choose tortilla bread to sandwich the chicken rather than using normal bread or French loaf. I make this wholemeal tortilla before but haven't got a chance to take any pictures. It's great that I can share something here this time. It's not 100% whole wheat tortillas but still consists 25% of wheat flour. Well, I think it's still have a bit of goodness there. Whole wheat tortilla is not very soft kind, but definitely edible when you think of its goodness. I try to roll it as thinner as I could then trim off the edges which was terribly rolled by my lousy skills.

Other than making sandwich, I like to use the leftover tortilla to make tortilla chips. Simply cut them into rectangular shapes then brush some olive oil and topped with some shredded cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese, toast them in the oven until they become harden and crispy. Either eat straight as a snack or go with some dipping. I made some pesto to go with it, simple and nice!

Tortilla Recipe 孟老师的100道面包

150g bread flour
50g whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon yeast
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
110g water
10g olive oil

  1. Knead all the ingredient except olive oil. When the consistency appear crumbly start to add in olive oil. Continue the kneading process until it become a smooth dough.

  2. Proof for 60 minutes at a cool dry place.

  3. Divide the dough into 5 portion and roll them into round balls. Rest for about 10 minutes.

  4. Roll out the dough into 20cm round disc and cook at a preheated frying pan without oil. The pan shouldn't be too hot, over cook will harden the tortilla.

Spinach, Walnut & Garlic Pesto:
In a food processor, combine 3/4 cup toasted walnut, 1 cup fresh baby spinach, 1/2 cup fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, salt and grounded black pepper

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Q & A on Refinishing Existing Cabinets


Many years ago we had a carpenter build our kitchen cabinets (built-in). The finish used was called Hard Seal because it was "green" and so were we. To be fair, I'm not sure the manufacturer would recommend it to seal kitchen cabinets. The cabinets are in dire need of refinishing, but we are stuck with what to use. We don't want to paint the beautiful wood, but can't figure out a tough sealer that will withstand kitchen cleaning. Do you have any recommendations?



Hi Deb,

I'm afraid I don't know anyone to refinish your cabinets except one really great finisher who does faux finishes (expensive).
He may be able to give you a lead.

Gregory Dixon
Corinthian Decorative Painting
2283 Jackson St
San Francisco , CA 94115

I know there was someone from the East Bay who contacted me a while back, but I have never used them on a project.
I have pasted in my emails with the marketer who contacted me in 2007 below.
I have no idea if they are still in business today.
Best of luck with your project.


At 08:39 PM 1/6/2007, you wrote: Hello,

This is Marc Blackmon. I am the Executive Representative for a re-finishing company. I work with Doors And Drawers in Benicia, CA. I am quite impressed with the layouts that are included on your web-site. I was inquiring on behalf of Doors and Drawers to see if your company does the refinishing internally. My inquiry purpose is due to our company wanting to partner with a top-notch cabinet company. We have done work with numerous well-known cabinet companies. We have been very successful. Like any successful business we are always looking to expand. To not take too much of your time and to keep this brief I would like to just compliment you on your work and leave you with my information. I am consistently in the area on various jobs and if there was a chance that we could meet and further discuss potential business I'd gladly appreciate it. I know how busy you must be and I truly appreciate your time.

Thank You So Much,
Marc Blackmon Executive Representative 5000 E Second St. Suite M Benicia, CA 94510 707-421-8424 Shop

Hi Mark,

I almost always deal with pre-finished manufactured cabinets for my clients. I do not sell product, but instead recommend a course of action based on the needs of the client and project. Occasionally I recommend refacing and/or local custom and then need to find a refinisher or finisher. I am interested to know about your processes. Do you use catalyzed varnishes and paints? If so I want more information.


Hello Peggy,

I appreciate your response.

In each project we paint with a conversion varnish. It is catalyzed and reduced. We do everything from staining, painting/glazing, and coloring. All work that is done starts and is completed in house. Furthermore, we color-match to the client's desire. Not to mention we do pre-finished cabinets as well as we do the refinishing. We have specialized in changing oak to paint-grade, which has been a huge success.

Our clientele ranges from the North Bay all the way to the South Bay. We don't have any particular territories or boundaries. I'd love to give you more information.

Please let me know if you would potentially be interested in meeting, so that I could show you some samples of Doors and Drawers work. We are looking to expand and any referrals or references would be greatly appreciated. I truly appreciate your time and consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank You So Much,

Marc Blackmon Executive Representative/Finisher
707-421-8424 Shop


Oh, gosh, sorry I didn't say...we are on the East Coast and this is a DIY project.We read you because you are so practical with your advice.

We are using your suggestions to remodel our home for the final time -- we are in our sixties. We are focused on practical and easy to clean (very arthritic hands & knees).

Since you wrote that article on cabinet finishes we were wondering if you know of something a homeowner could use; it isn't as though we can send out the cabinets for re-finishing We'd just hate to paint the beauties.

Either way, we are exploring things -- Corian, for example -- that we would not have considered before because we are so traditional. But by this time in life I have neither the energy nor the hand dexterity and strength to be making cleaning poultices for marble. "Keep it simple and keep it clean" is our motto now.

To that end we are dismantling the majority of home so we can live in the 870 sq. ft. left. I know, everyone thinks we are crazy; they worry about the "loss of investment". But we worry about having to move from the 12 acres we have tended over the decades, with apple trees and plum trees, berry bushes and gardens. That is the investment we do not want to lose. So we are taking out the tub and installing grab bars in a walk-in shower, siding with vinyl, replacing the wood stove with radiant, preparing for the winter of our lives in the place we have loved.


Well, if painting contractors are using water-based catalyzed varnish, there probably isn't any reason why really dedicated DIYers couldn't master applying it.

I suggest that you do a search in your area for a really good paint store and ask them about the process and whether you would be able to handle it.

I have not personally worked with the stuff, so I don't know what preparation or equipment might be needed.

Catalyzed varnish, for years, was the purview of cabinet manufacturers only. It was far too complex and expensive to be done in anything but a factory setting. Now, with the (fairly) new water-based catalyzed varnish finishes, painting contractors here, and probably all over the country, are experimenting with it.

I DO warn you though: refinishing cabinets is not for the casual Do-It-Yourselfer. It is a tedious and unendingly torturous task.

Guardsman was always the best catalyzed varnish that cabinet manufacturers used. You could contact them as well and ask about where to buy their water-based catalyzed varnish material and suggested application techniques. Then decide whether to DIY or hire an experienced refinisher.


KHI Quarterly V1 Q1


A look inside Bay Area's YOUTH RADIO

We love Youth Radio and are thrilled to see this new book emerge that takes you inside and behind the scenes of this dynamic youth-driven production company based in Oakland, California.

Drop That Knowledge is written by Elizabeth Soep and former Youth Radio participant Vivian Chavez (now a professor at San Francisco State University), Drop That Knowledge is the first book to go inside Youth Radio.

Read more and buy a book and then tune into Bay Area's own Youth Radio!

Here is Elizabeth Soeps Blog

Listen to a conversation about the book interwoven with entertaining Youth Radio stories on KALW at!

Nectarine Yoghurt Smoothie

During hot Summer Days you tend get dehydrated very fast. So, lets keep ourselves well hydrated with some Tanda, Tanda Fresh Juices, Smoothies, Milk Shakes!!!!! Had some Nectarines in my Fridge, but they tasted so sour!!!! so tried this yoghurt smoothie, came out great.

2-3 Medium Nectarines
1/2 cup Skimmed/Low-Fat yoghurt
1 cup Skimmed/Low-Fat Milk
a pinch of salt
Honey to taste (for the CALORIE conscious) or else add sugar

Wash, Pit and Chop the nectarines to small cubes. Take them all in a blender and Blend. Serve Chilled.

Sending this to Thanda Mela , Event hosted by Srivalli.

Corn Capsicum (Brown) Rice

I have programmed my mind to have rice only during weekends and that too only Brown rice. I try to make a Veggie Rice every time, so i can have more veggies and less of rice. So, here  Another Delicious Brown Rice Recipe.

Brown Rice Cooked - 2 cups
2 medium-sized Capsicums, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Sweet Corn (i used frozen)
1 large onion, Chopped
2 red chillies, Slited lengthwise
2 pods cardamom crushed
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste (fresh better)
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp curry powder (store bought, Mother's Kitchen)
Salt to taste

Heat 1 or 2 tsp Oil in a Pan, Splutter mustard seeds, add cumin seeds, green chillies, hing and turmeric.  Now add Onion and saute till translucent. Add Capsicum and Corn and  saute for a minute or two. Now add red chilli powder, Crushed cardamom, coriander powder , salt and curry powder and sprinkle some water to avoid burning of masala's. Cover and Cook for 8-10 mins or till the rawness of the masala's escape. Once done, take it off the flame and mix with the Brown rice and serve with any Raita.

Sending this to Show me your Whole Grains, Event hosted by Divya of Dilse and CWS-Cardamom Seeds hosted by Priya

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality with House Plants!

Household Plants Give New Meaning to "Going Green"

Improving indoor air quality is one of the hottest topics for homeowners today...for lots of reasons. These days, we spend more hours indoors than ever before. And as a result, we are subject to a growing array of toxins, pollutants, allergens and irritants...everything from carbon monoxide to pollen to cigarette smoke to chemicals. All of which can be harmful to your health (not to mention your furniture, floors and walls).

Today, our friend Mark Highland of West Chester, PA-based Organic Mechanics Soil appeared on ABC-TV's Good Morning America to talk about how certain indoor plants can not only make your house look great, they can significantly improve your indoor air quality by actually drawing pollutants out of the air and replenishing with fresh, clean, breathable oxygen.

According to Mark, here are some common plants that you can find at your neighborhood florist or home store that are particularly good at improving indoor air quality:
  • Peace Lillies: Remove benzene, a chemical found in tobacco smoke.
  • Ferns: Removes toulene from the air, a chemical found in printer and copier inks and glues.
  • Anthuriums: Help remove the ammonia and other harmful chemicals produced by cleaning products from the air.
  • Dieffenbachia: Helps remove formaldehyde from the air. (Be careful -- the leaves from these plants are poisonous to children and pets!).
  • Sansevieria: Remove acetone from the air, often found in nail polish, paints and paint removers.
One way that you can be sure that you're getting an indoor-friendly plant is to look for the O2 For You label. These plants have been identified for their IAQ and oxygen-generating abilities.

Filling your house with these plants has other benefits. They're inexpensive. They work better than many commercial air filters and indoor air quality products on the market. And they make your house look fantastic!

Related Information from Horizon Services...

Aloo Methi Cutlet

Inspired by the spinach Cutlets @ aayi's Recipes i tried this aloo-methi cutlet for my kids snack box, yipee!!! it worked, he liked very much. So, i m sure, it will definetly work with kids!!!

Ingredients (approx 8 cutlets)
2 Large potatoes
two tight fist Methi leaves
1 tbsp rice powder
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Sooji/Rawa for coating the cutlets

Wash, peel and Cook the potatoes until soft. Wash the methi leaves. Mash Aloo and mix with all the other given ingredients to form a dough. Make small balls out of it, press it a bit to make it flat, roll it over sooji and shallow fry on a Tawa on a low flame. Enjoy with Tomato Sauce

You can also find this @ LYRO#Potato happening @ Sindhi Rasoi

Spicy Bulgur Dhokla

I met with a Dietician Last Week. After taking all my medical condition to consideration, she made a Diet Chart.I was amazed to see how much i can actually eat and how little i m eating now!!! Eating Less will/can/may Slow down your metabolism and there by slowing down your weight loss. So, guys if you have any underlying medical condition and planning for a weight loss plsssss do consult a doc and dietician, Helps u a lot!!!! Actually when i started this blog and my Dieting for a healthy lifestyle one of my blogger buddies actually advised me to go and meet a Health Coach. Thank you dear for your concern!!!!

Here i m with this post Spicy Bulgur Dhokla which i made for my breakfast!!! Trying to avoid refined products in my daily diet (as advised my by dietician). Tasted so great and a very filling breakfast!!

As per Wiki
Bulgur (also bulghur or burghul)[1](from Turkish bulgur [2], known as πλιγούρι, pligoúri, in Greek, bollgur in Albanian, as burghul (برغل) in Arabic, and as gurgur in Aramaic) is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, but most often from durum wheat.Bulgur for human consumption is usually sold parboiled, dried and partially de-branned. Bulgur is a whole grain. Bulgur is sometimes confused with cracked wheat, which is crushed wheat grain that has not been parboiled.

1 cup Brown Bulgur
1/2 cup beaten yoghurt
2 tbsp Green peas
2 tbsp Sweet Corn
1/4tsp Eno Fruit Salt
Salt for taste

1 tbsp freshly grated coconut
2 green chillies
ginger as per taste
coriander a tight fist

For Seasoning
1 tsp Canola Oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
hing, turmeric a pinch
curry leaves 2 sprigs

Soak bulgur in Hot water for 5 minutes and Drain. This makes bulgur fluffy!!! Grind together coconut, green chillies, ginger and coriander without water. Mix Bulgur, beaten yoghurt, grinded mixture and salt. This mixture should be of Idly batter consistency. At this stage if the batter is too tight jus add  1 tbsp yoghurt. Now add fruit salt and mix well, you can see the bubbles forming as you mix it well.
Now pour this to a greased pan and steam cook it till done. Check by inserting a clean knife/toothpick, when that comes out clean, it is done. Takes approx 20-30 mins.
Once done, take it out of the steamer/cooker, Now for the tadka, heat oil,splutter mustard seeds, add hing and turmeric and curry leaves and pour it over the dhokla. Let it cool for 5 mins, then unmould and Hog!!!!

Sending this to Show me you Whole Grains, hosted by Divya of Dil se and MLLA-22 hosted by Ruchikacooks, Event Started by Susan of Well Seasoned Cook

Kharada kadalaekai - A spicy peanut munch

"Vadhyar kadai" was our favourite haunt which satiated our incessant craving for 'crunchy munchies' during our childhood days.Vadhyar was a kindly man with a spurt of friendly laughter which was ever ready to burst out of his mouth.The thought of 'bennae biscuit' and 'kharada kadalaekai' from his shop makes my mouth water even after so many years.
Kharada kadalaekai is one of the most popular Mysore ' munchies' usually sold in 'petti angadies' and Iyengar bakeries. Relishing the spicy pea nuts one by one from the paper cone while walking around the Dasara exhibition is a cherished memory now.

Peanuts (unroasted) - 250 gms
Chilly powder - 2 tbsps
Salt - 3/4 tbsp
Rice flour or Bengal gram flour - 2 tbsps
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Garlic (peeled) - 2 cloves( optional)
Oil - for frying

1. Grind chilly powder,salt, asafoetida, flour and garlic into a very thick paste adding just enough water.
2. Coat the pea nuts with the paste as evenly as possible and spread thinly on a plate.
3. Allow the paste to dry for fifteen to twenty minutes.
4. Heat oil in a kadai.
5. Sprinkle a handful of peanuts in the hot oil one by one, so that they do not clump together.
6. Gently fry till the nuts crackle.
7. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
8. The 'kharada kadalaekai' will become crisp after cooling down,ready to be stored in an air tight container.
Crunch and munch the kharada kadalaekai while reading a book or watching T.V. or while day - dreaming!

I've a great day!

My buddy took a day off to accompany me again! I really appreciate that she makes so much efforts just to visit me and brought me lots of food stuffs and also recipe books. Really enjoy the day together. Chatting, laughing, eating, blogging and so on... I just hope that the time can be stopped in that moment. Thanks buddy! You've brighten up my day! Have a restful evening!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Know When to Call a Plumbing Professional...and When Not To!

To Call a Plumber or Not to Call a Plumber. That is The Question!

Plumbing repair is certainly not for the faint of heart, but how do you know if that leaky faucet or other plumbing repair job is something you can fix yourself or if it requires the golden wrench of an experienced plumber? Here are some suggestions the plumbing technicians at Horizon Services recommend to help you make the decision whether to call a plumber or try to take on the plumbing job yourself.

If you have a damaged gas line, don’t even try to work on it yourself. You are putting yourself at a major risk for worsening the leak or even triggering an explosion. A professional plumber has the specialized tools needed to contend with serious issues like this.

If your house is severely flooded, you should have called a plumber an hour ago! If you didn’t, call a plumber NOW! If the water back-up is being caused by a clogged drain that you’ve tried unsuccessfully to dislodge, a plumber can access places in the pipe work you wouldn’t think to check and get to the root of the plumbing or drain problem.

If your plumbing issue lies in the water or sewer lines connected to your home, don’t go it alone. These systems are complicated and repairs require the work of a plumbing or water line/sewer line professional. A reputable plumbing or water line/service line contractor will know how to obtain the appropriate city or county permits that may be needed to tackle this kind of project.

If you think your pipes have frozen or that you have a leak caused by a cracked pipe, call a plumber immediately. Cold weather is one of the biggest threats to your home’s plumbing system and can cause serious damage; a plumbing professional will be able to thaw frozen pipes and seal or repair cracks before things get worse.

If you have raw sewage backed up into your yard or basement, you need professional help. Septic leaks can contaminate ground water and wells, not to mention cause embarrassing and messy spills. The area around the septic tank may have to be excavated to find the source of the problem and repair it. This is not something you want to have anything to do with.

If you suspect a problem with your water pump, call a licensed plumber. You might need replacement parts or a whole new pump; the average weekend warrior doesn’t have the right tools for this kind of job. And pump system replacement requires a specialized set of plumbing skills that can only come from years experience and training.

If your water heater is not functioning properly and you’ve tried simple fixes like adjusting the thermostat and checking the pilot light, hire a plumbing professional. You could have a bigger problem like tank corrosion or electrical system malfunction, neither of which you want to try to fix on your own.

If you have any doubts about your ability to fix even the simplest plumbing problem, don’t hesitate to call in a plumber. You could end up causing even more damage to your home and plumbing system by pushing ahead with the plumbing repair yourself.

Bottom Line: Do-it yourself plumbing can be a real crap-shoot. Home-gamers need to ask themselves if the reward of saving some bucks is worth the risk of making the plumbing problem worse and costlier down the line. These days, we all need to watch every penny, but when it comes to your home’s plumbing, spending a little more now can save so much more in the long run.

Related Plumbing Information from Horizon Services...

cork art

If I saw a blot post title that said “cork art” it would serve as the immediate red flag preparing me for something hideous. People do truly terrible and tasteless things using wine corks.

Despite the typically tacky fate, I understand and share the mutual desire to use these little barriers in creative ways. I like the color, the aesthetic, and the fact that it’s the only thing separating me from that scrumptious nectar within. Hopefully you'll agree that we used cork in a way that doesn't rouse your gag reflex.

We started this project because we wanted something interesting behind the dart board. Because it ended up looking pretty sweet and it would have required every cork under the Tuscan sun to cover our intended area, we decided to stop at this size and hang it in the dining room.

This took more corks that we anticipated. Thanks goes out to our fellow wine-drinking friends for the supplemental art supply. Of particular note is our roommates parental units, the often drunk Greg and Carol of Vermont who shipped in a box full! Other materials: plywood, mastic, construction adhesive, polyurethane and a few picture hanging supplies.

Initially I used some leftover mastic (from the kitchen backsplash) and just pressed each cork in like a tile. I went completely random, which provided a nice mix of colors and height.

The mastic worked okay, but construction adhesive proved vital for completing the edges and reinforcing loose corks throughout the center area. For the edges I allowed the corks to dictate the somewhat organic lines and tried to keep thought OUT of the process (a gift in which I excel).

Once everything was securely in place, about ten coats of leftover glossy polyurethane (from the floors) was applied over the course of a few weeks using a paint brush.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cinnamon Flavored Rose Milk

Chennai, My Favourite Chennai. Love Chennai in Summer, All those Chilli-Dunk Raw Mangoes, Pineapple Slices, Melons and Carts Selling  Juices, Rose Milk(Hygienic or not??? thats a different thingy!!!!!). Had some Rose Syrup in my refrigeraotor for sooo Longg!!! So, Made some Rose Milk or Pink Milk as my Son called it!!!

3 Cups of Chilled Milk
3-4 tbsp Rose Syrup
Sugar to taste
1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder

Mix all the above given ingredients and Serve. While Adding Rose Syrup, pls make sure to taste before you add some extra syrup, sometimes you get a bitter taste if you add more. You can even try adding some Mixed Nut Powder (Badam-Cashew), if you dont prefer Cinnamon.

Sending this to Thanda Mela Event by Srivalli

Mince Chapathi/Roti

Its been a week since blogging. Not like No Cooking happening, Lot of Cooking and Lot of Clicking too. Actually My Hubby has started a kind of J towards my blog, So thought of taking a little nap from my blog!!! But cannot keep myself off for too long!!!
Had some leftover Cornmeal Roti's So tried this Mince Chapathi for the Weekend. Tasted good.

3 Medium Chapathis/Roti's
3 tbsp Green Peas
3 tbsp Sweet Corn
1 Large Onion, Chopped
1 Large Tomato. Chopped
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
Coriander for garnishing
Hing, Turmeric a pinch
Salt to taste

Chop the Chapthis to 1 inch pieces. Heat oil in  a pan, Splutter mustard seeds, add hing, turmeric. Add onion and saute till translucent, add tomatoes and cook until soft, Add Corn and Peas and the Sliced Chapthis, Add Red Chilli powder, Coriander Powder and Salt. Sprinkle lil water to avoid burning of masalas. Cook in a Slow Flame, until the rawness of the masala's escape, approx 15 mins. Garnish with coriander and Enjoy!!!!

Sending this to MLLA-22 hosted by RuchikaCooks, Event started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook


காரட் வேர்க்கடலை ரெய்தா

This is a tasty raitha and a very good accompaniment for light type of pulao varieties. It also goes well with sandwiches. The roasted peanuts make the difference.


Small garlic flakes-2
Green chilli [de-seeded]-1
Peanuts- 50gms
Fresh curd-3 cups
Finely chopped coriander-2 tbsp
Crushed tomato- half cup
Salt to taste

Shred the carrots finely.
Dry roast the peanuts and remove the skins.
Powder the peanuts in to a slightly coarse texture.
Grind the garlic and the green chilli finely.
Mix the shredded carrots, ground paste, powder, coriander leaves, and the tomatoes with enough salt.
Beat the curd and mix in the vegetable mixture.
Delicious Carrot peanuts raitha is ready!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

window boxes

In celebration of spring we built window boxes and put up a flag. The shutters are also new [to the blog].

The bottom is lined with copper flashing to add some interest (to otherwise perfectly fabulous window boxes). We're looking forward to a patina surface as this ages.

We built and installed these ourselves. There is nothing too ingenious here. After measuring and sketching out a few design ideas we picked up the materials for about $250. Note: the copper flashing was $40 alone. This could be left out of the process if you're okay with mediocrity.

After making all the necessary cuts, we set up a painting station on the pool table. Even though we used pressure treated lumber we figured some extra weather protection was appropriate. Every side of every piece was painted. Two coats with exterior latex paint - prior to construction. (The color is Lincoln's Cottage by Valspar. aka "black")

The pieces were then taped together with duct tape. This is a lie. Outdoor, galvanized screws were used on all accounts.

The copper flashing was surprisingly easy to work with. It cut effortlessly with some strong scissors and readily bent into shape. This was adhered to the bottom of the box using construction adhesive that is specifically designed for flashing materials.

I found that a wallpaper seam roller worked great to press the copper into the wood.

Add the trim and say, "Ta Dah".

Prior to installation, one more post-construction coat of paint was applied. I then used a nailset to punch holes through the copper for drainage (the wood was pre-drilled to keep the copper in good shape).

Can't wait to fill these with flowers!

And a few more shots of Project Rowhouse:

Reminder - a before picture:

Did they take the time, ask a ton of questions?

Most existing heating systems, especially hot water boilers, are over-sized.  What does this mean to you, the owner of that over-sized boiler?  Well, first of all there are the high utility costs monthly. Second, the average lifespan will be significantly reduced due to "short-cycling" or the added wear & tear from starting and stopping more than is needed.

Have you talked with or had another contractor out to look at your system?  Did they spend time measuring your house?  Did they ask you any questions as to how you like your house to feel (warmer/cooler) or exactly what you are trying accomplish with potential changes.

I do.  Plain and simple.  I will actually come to your home/building, take all the necessary measurements and ask a laundry list of questions about your needs.  This is the only way I know how to give you the proper service you deserve.  You may be looking to increase the fuel efficiency of your system by installing a modulating/condensing boiler.  You may be happy with your existing boiler but are hoping to increase the comfort levels in your home.  Maybe you are using a water heater and have a whole bunch of concerns.

I spend a significant amount of time; at no charge to you so you can get a comprehensive estimate and design that will best work for you.  Do they?  Most don't and that's not the only difference but a pretty big one.

Eric Aune, Owner
Aune Plumbing, LLC

Help for Your Poor, Neglected Floor Registers and Return Vents

Add Some Style to Your Home Decor and HVAC System!

Many homeowners spend hundreds and thousands of dollars remodeling, revamping, updating, and upgrading their homes. Between the paint, wallpaper, floor coverings, lighting and plumbing fixtures, furniture, and draperies not a single element is left untouched. Except, of course, the sad beige or gray aluminum floor vents scattered around the home. For those of us with an eye for even the smallest detail, there are now more options than ever to improve the look of your HVAC system floor registers and return vents.

Believe it or not, floor registers are available in a wide variety of colors, styles, and materials. Wood registers add charm and simple sophistication to newer homes, while those made of cast iron, copper, bronze, brass, or nickel lend character and whimsy to older homes. If you’ve chosen granite tile floors or countertops, there are even granite registers that can be custom-matched to your tile or counters. Use other elements in your home for inspiration. What kind of hardware is on your kitchen cabinets? What do your light fixtures look like? What color are your faucets and plumbing fixtures? Matching your vent registers to the dominant style elements in your home will ensure a consistent, uniform look.

Floor registers and return vents also come in a variety of designs and styles. Registers made from metals like nickel, brass, bronze, copper, and iron can be forged into nearly any design, from the simple and elegant to the ornate and bold. The most popular metal designs mimic antique metalwork like that of classic opera grills or decorative wrought iron. These kinds of designs are perfect for remodeled older homes trying to recapture some of the original appeal. There are also wooden and metal registers in more modern, streamlined designs that are perfect for contemporary homes.

Of course, the true design connoisseur will want to consider the many extras that vent and register companies now offer. These include things like louvered or non-louvered models, and filtered registers. Louvered vents let you close them if you want to, which many people believe saves energy and money. In reality, studies have shown that closing vents rarely saves a significant amount of either and might actually damage your heating and air conditioning system. The only time closing a vent might be really beneficial is if several vents are closed off in a large area of a home—like the entire basement or second floor—when it’s not in use. If this is possible in your home, you’ll want to consider louvered vents and registers.

And why stop with floor registers? Cold air returns in the ceiling can be matched to the registers on the floor. For a truly put-together look, shop around for collections that include floor and ceiling registers in corresponding sets.

An HVAC equipment retailer or your HVAC contractor can help you find the styles, colors, and options that are right for you and your home, helping you bring together form and function to create a beautiful space. Also check home stores like Home Depot and Lowe's.

More HVAC System Information from Horizon Services...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Briyani with the raw jackfruit is always delicious! But it depends on the sweetness, freshness and the taste of the vegetable.
பலாக்காய் [பலாமூசு] புலவு:


Raw jackfruit [cut in to small pieces] - 2 cups
Finely sliced onion-3
Finely chopped tomato-3
Small garlic flakes-a handful
Finely shredded ginger- 1 tsp
Chopped coriander- 1 cup
Chopped mint leaves- 1 cup
Salt to taste
Ghee- ¼ cup
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Slit green chillies-4
Coconut milk- 1 cup
Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tsp
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Fennel powder- half sp
Basmati rice- 3 cups
Curd- 2 tsp
Lime juice- 1 tsp

Powder the following ingredients finely:

Black gardamom-1, green cardamom-2, cinnamon- 1 pieces, cloves-3, staranise- half, Fennel seeds- 1 tsp


Clean the raw jack fruit and take out the fleshy part.
Cut in to tiny pieces.
Pressure cook them with little water and salt to 3 whistles.
Drain the water and coat them with giner-garlic paste, half of the turmeric powder, fennel and chilli powder.
After half an hour, deep fry them for a few seconds.
The colour should not change and the pieces should be soft.
Keep them on a paper kitchen towel.
Heat the ghee in a vessel.
Add the onion with the garlic and the ginger and fry them to slightly golden brown.
Add the tomatoes with the greens, slit green chilies and the remaining turmeric powder.
Fry them until the tomatoes are mashed softly and the oil floats on the surface.
Add the fried jackfruit pieces and cook on slow fire until the masala coats the pieces well.
Add the powder and mix well.
Add the curd and cook for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, 5 cups of water, and the rice
Cook until the rice is 3/4th done.
Add salt and the lime juice.
When all the water is evaporated, cover the vessel with a suitable lid, and keep it in ‘Dhum’ in a gas oven for 20 minutes.
Mix once in between and pour some ghee around the corners.
Now the delicious Raw jackfruit Briyani is ready!!

Kharada Avalakki - Spicy, crunchy beaten rice

A wooden cupboard with wire mesh doors stood in the corner of our kitchen with its four legs planted firmly in four stone bowls containing water. We took turns and watered the bowls as and when they dried up due to the heat of summer. We were determined to keep away the formidable ants from entering our dear cupboard which served us as our wishing table!
. The cupboard was a store house of delicious goodies which we enjoyed any time, in between meals or even during our meals.With the dreadful exams over, we had a gala time playing the whole day and hovering around the cupboard now and then for a small treat. With four voracious children around, mother had a tough time replenishing the cupboard.
Father often visited Bangalore on business, and he always carried back the best eats on his return . Plum cakes from the Nilgiris, baskets of fresh grapes from the farms on the high way, crunchy cucumbers from Ramanagaram, luscious water melons grown on the river bed near Chennapatna ,flavoursome Maddur vadais - the list was endless.We adored the Kharada Avalakki which he bought from the famous Gundappa hotel at Bangalore. It was spicy, crunchy and an adictive savoury. The roasted whole cashewnuts and the flavour of ghee added to its rich aroma.
Even after marriage brought me to live in Bangalore, father always remembered to drop a packet of Kharada avalakki for me during his visits to the city.

Thick beaten rice ( Avalakki) - 250 gms
Cashew nuts (whole) - 100 gms
Copra ( Naturally dried coconut) slivered - 1/4 piece
Roasted gram - 50 gms
Curry leaves - a few
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Broken red chillies - 2
Oil for frying

1. Heat oil in a kadai
2. In another wide vessel mix salt, chilly powder, turmeric powder and asafoetida and keep aside.
3. Dip a colander with a handle in hot oil and add a scoop of beaten rice into it. The beaten rice will immediately puff up.
4. Immediately lift up the colander from hot oil and allow the oil to drain into the kadai.
5. Add the fried beaten rice into the vessel containing the spice mixture.
6. Fry all the beaten rice, scoop by scoop and add it to the spice vessel.
7. Finally fry the cashew nuts, copra slivers, curry leaves and broken red chillies one by one and add to the fried beaten rice, and switch off flame.
8. Blend all ingredients by shaking the vessel so that the salt and spice coat the avalakki evenly.
9. Finally mix in the fried gram and cool the avalakki.
Store the spicy crunchy kharada avalakki in an air tight container and relish it with tea or coffee .
( If the flavour of fried copra is not desired , raw slivers of copra can be used. Fried peanuts can be substituted or added along with cashew nuts)