Good morning,…

Good morning, munchkins!

Handed in the paper in good time yesterday, ran some errands, then fell asleep for a couple of hours in the afternoon -- my cold catching up with me. When I woke up, ran another errand (needed a new bra) and then settled in to veg out in front of the tv. A Chorus Line was on when I got home; I like that movie. Made me want to take dance classes again. I used to take jazz classes regularly in Philly; there's a great little studio off Rittenhouse Square, only $10/class, and less if you buy in bulk. I was *never* much of a dancer, but it was lots of fun, and when you finished your beginner class, you could hang out and watch the advanced people, the ones who were actually working dancers; beautiful bodies in motion. It's the only kind of exercise I've consistently enjoyed; the trick is to find a class that not unreasonably far away. It's not really worth buying a car just so I can take dance lessons, sadly. But maybe I'll call around and see if there's anything local.

Spent a while on the phone with Kev last night. He's coming to visit in a week (Delta arbitrarily changed his return ticket so he's now leaving four hours earlier -- big goobers! I should check and make sure they haven't messed with my flight times for the following weekend, when I visit CA). Last night I found myself unexpectedly anxious -- wondering how we're going to navigate this relationship. I ran lots of scenarios in my mind -- not on purpose; I tried to stop them when I caught myself doing them. But they kept coming back; various increasingly implausible ways in which we somehow end up deciding that we were wrong to break up, that in fact, it'd all work out. Argh. (Please insert sound of Mary Anne banging head against wall). I don't really need to do this to myself, y'know?

It *will* all work out, but as friends (maybe lovers), not long-term partners. Most of me knows that. At least half, anyway. At least half the time...

Today a few more errands in the morning, before it gets too hot (and then I'll be done with errands for the nonce, hooray!), and then settle down to work. SH checks and contracts! Really, truly. And if I finish those in good time, then grading student quizzes and commenting on poetry. Though that can wait 'til tomorrow, should I so desire. I think I'm actually in a slow-down period; with any luck, I can get enough sleep that I actually shake this damn cold before winter gets here and brings me another one.

10:00. Hmm...there's a hip hop class that I could plausibly get to. I'm a little dubious about my ability to dance hip hop. But then, my ability to dance jazz wasn't so hot either, so what the heck! I think I'll try to go Monday, unless I turn into a lazy lump before then. Will report back on success.

I was really checking in again because I remembered that Paul wanted to know how to make biryani. And since it's really more of a principle than a recipe, I thought y'all might be interested too. Basically, biryani is two dishes, combined into one, in three steps. Or to be a little clearer; first you make a rice pilaf, then while that cools a little, you make a moderately dry curry, then you mix them together, cover them, and bake for half an hour at 350 degrees. The flavors blend beautifully, and you can either eat it straight or with a more sauce-ish curry.

For the one I did last week, I started by making the pilaf. Make rice as normal, but add some boullion, so that you're cooking the rice in a stock rather than just in water. (If you have stock, even better, but I'm too lazy to make stock.) I added one veggie boullion cube for three cups rice, six cups water. (Be careful to choose a low-sodium boullion; some have painful amounts of salt). Add a T or two of butter, some saffron (or tumeric if you don't have saffron), some cashews or almonds, some sultanas or other chopped dried fruit, and about 3 T of rose water. Oh, and a T or two of garam masala. Mmmm...that's basically a pilaf; fragrant rice with yummy stuff. You could just call yourself done then and eat it with curry.

But for biryani, you need a curry to mix in. I sliced three onions finely, added about six cloves of crushed garlic, and sauteed that in ghee. Vegetable oil works fine. Then I added some diced red potatoes and cooked them 'til they were about half done. A small can of chopped tomatoes, about two T of chili powder, a t. of salt, and then I threw in a pound of small shrimp, but you can certainly skip that if you like. Cook just 'til the tomatoes are soft and everything's well-blended. Don't worry about whether the ingredients are done. (My mom makes biryani with russet potatoes and chicken; you can really use any curry as a base, I think).

Then mix! Get a big pan and mix your pilaf and curry together. If you like, you can boil a bunch of hard-boiled eggs, slice them, and layer them into the rice mix. (I'd put half the rice down, layer the eggs, and then put the rest of the rice on top. You don't want to toss the eggs; they'll just break into tiny pieces.) Cover with foil and bake for half an hour, and that's it -- you're done! A biryani fit for a mughal raj!

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