Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bren Broke Some News!

Bren is obsessed with this restaurant/gastropub here called Father's Office. They make the hands-down best burger I have ever had in my life. Thankfully, they're in Santa Monica, so it's just enough of a drive that we don't go that often.

Imagine the McSequeira-fatkid joy/dismay that the second Father's Office location is opening walking distance from our house. I mean, like, 5 minutes of walking away. 30 seconds if we felt lazy and drove. It's like... THIS CLOSE.

My butt is enlarging just at the thought of it.

Bren drives by the spot everyday just to see if it's opened yet. We've been doing that since last autumn. Yup. OBSESSED.

Ah, but joy comes when you least expect it. We drove by today and I said, "Holy crap! The plywood's down!". Bren busted a U, parked the car and snapped a few pics. Bren drove back again in the evening, after the workers had gone home, so that he could hop the fence and take some more photos through the window. CRAZY!

Check out the post I wrote on LAist about it. HA! This is totally breaking news in the LA Food Blog Universe. Woo-hoo!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just 'Cos

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor



For Keven

My friend and CLASSMATE (yaaarrrrr!) Keven humoured me yesterday as I pondered, rather geekily, the difference between "infuse" and "suffuse".

Today, I looked it up on the Merriam Webster site, and I'm not sure I am happy with the definition:

Infuse: implies a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance (eg. new members infused enthusiasm into the club).

Suffuse: implies a spreading through of something that gives an unusual color or quality (eg. a room suffused with light)

What do you think??


Friday, March 21, 2008

Improvising in the Kitchen

Y'all know that I am very by-the-book. I don't like to stray from the page too much. I mean, what if you stray from the page and make an ugly mess? What a waste of resources and time, and oh Lordy, what if the mess is too messy to clean up?!

Ah, but things are shifting within this head of mine.

And it's all thanks to improv! Improvised theatre is changing my life!!!

Bren has been bugging me to take improv since he started taking classes about 2 years ago. "Ha!" I said. "I'm not an actor!"

And yet, over the past couple of years, I've realised that improv not only gave Bren an outlet for all that creative energy that had been spiraling around his noggin... it also reinforced a passion for putting others first, a resilient confidence in gut instinct and an acceptance of whatever was handed to him (on and off stage).

And I thought: I want that.

And pretty much as soon as I thought that, the Hothouse offered it to me! HA! Isn't that amazing? Anyway, I know it sounds ridiculous. How could what appears to be an ACTING CLASS change my life?

Well here's the first way. I improvised my first real recipe. I stole the technique from ATK but everything else is mine. I'm not gonna say I wasn't a bit scared, but it was such a delicious success, that Bren said it was the best dinner I ever made. Hooray for bravery! So without further ado:

Aarti's "I ain't chicken" Roast Chicken

1 3.5lb kosher chicken, whole, butterflied
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 small shallot, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
a splash of extra virgin olive oil
Zest of a meyer lemon
Small squeeze of meyer lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2lbs potatoes

note: you'll need a broiler pan for this recipe: a slatted sheet over a deep pan to catch the juice and cook the potatoes.

1) Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit

1) Stir butter so it's nice and smooth, then add the shallot, fresh ginger, cumin powder, garam masala, olive oil, meyer lemon zest and parsley together. Season with salt and pepper, then add a splash of juice after you taste it if you think you'd like it a bit more... "zesty".

2)Using your index finger, gently separate skin from the breast and thigh areas using your fingers.

3)Spooning a teaspoon at a time, rub the butter between the skin and the flesh wherever you can. I also turn the bird over to find any other pocket I can stuff the flavoured butter into.

4) Wash your hands!

5) Line the bottom of the broiler tray with a double layer of aluminium foil.

6) Slice the peeled potatoes about 1/4" thick. Tokk with olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw 'em into the lined broiler tray.

7) Place the broiler sheet on top of the tray and rub a little oil over it so that the chicken won't stick to it. Lay the chicken in the middle of the tray, nestling the drumstick between the breast and the thigh. (It really helps to take a look at ATK's technique for roast butterflied chicken in "Best Recipe" if you have it!).

8) Drizzle a little olive oil over the bird if you wish. Sprinkle with salt.

9) Throw your bird in the oven! Let her go for about 20 minutes.

10) Rotate the tray in the oven, so that the chicken cooks evenly. Let her go another 20-25 minutes or until her goose is cooked. :) (if you're using a meat thermometer, it should register about 160 degrees when you stick it in the thigh or drumstick).

11) Take the chicken tray off and check the potatoes. If they're not cooked to your liking, turn the oven down to about 450 and return the potatoes for another 5-10 mins.



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patricks Day

I wonder if St. Patrick ever thought that his memory would be celebrated by imbibing vast quantities of whiskey and beer, and stuffing your face with eggs, bacon and blood sausage. Somehow, I doubt it. :) Nevertheless, we celebrated his memory this year as we always do -- by hanging out with Bren's Uncle Dan at O'Briens in Santa Monica. We usually get there by 10a, in time for the Irish breakfast, then stay for as long as we can manage. Last year, we had given up alcohol for Lent, so we didn't get to stay as long. But this year, we put in a solid half day, and it was so much fun!

Me and Uncle Dan!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

India photos again!

Since I'm at work with a fast connection, I thought I'd try to post some of Kuv's photos from our Aunty Angela's 25th wedding anniversary celebration while we were in India.

Mum and Dad:

Mum, her sister Ruth and Dad:

Me and Bren being spiffy:

Kuv, me, Bren:

Bren looking serious with some of the male cousins:

Good photos Kuv! Thankyou!


Thursday, March 6, 2008

About A Son

Excited to see this documentary about Kurt Cobain. CAN'T WAIT. Looks really innovative... some bits remind me of a Michel Gondry film. Did anyone see this when it came out? I think you can rent it. Now if only I could remember our Netflix login. Hmmmmm...


The Wonder of Bren #4653

Yesterday, I had class in the evening. Usually, I leave something for Bren's dinner, but yesterday, I ran out of time. There weren't any leftovers either. So I made sure to warn him.

A: "Baba, tonight, you'll have to order dinner or something 'cos there's nothing prepped for you to eat."

B: "Oh yeah, I thought about that. Maybe I'll pick something up on the way home before you take the car. Either way, no worries ba."

A: "OK. But just make sure you do something ok?"

B: "Ba, I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself."

A: (mock disdain) "Gasp! What?!"

B: "It's true!"

A: (in my best fawning mother voice) "But you're only a wittle boy!"

B: (in his best little boy being a big boy voice) "No, I'm a big boy now!"

Laughs and giggles all around.

However, cut to last night when I got home and asked him what he'd had for dinner.

B: "A big bowl of... peas!" (Satisfied smile)

A: "WHAT? That is the most little boy dinner ever ba!"

B: "No it isn't! A little boy dinner would be melting all the ice-cream bars in the freezer into a bowl and eating 'em."

A: "What?! No it isn't." (Exasperated sigh, knowing that he's right.)

A: "Wait, where did those two big slices of banana bread meant for the neighbors go?"

B: "Oh... I ate them too."

Bren's big boy dinner = big bowl of microwaved peas + two THICK-ass slices of banana bread.

The End.


Best. Banana. Bread. Ever.

There is nothing like a thick slice of goooood banana bread. Toasted. With a cup of tea.

Especially when transformed from the mushy, black bananas that were doing nothing better than hanging in your fruit basket, attracting those tiny little lowlife fruit flies. From ugly black caterpillar to sweet, chewy um, butterfly!

Hmm, let me rethink that one...

I always thought I had the best banana bread recipe, but when my downstairs, ahem, FORMER downstairs neighbor Amy (wah! I miss you Amy!) brought me a slice of hers, I knew I had been decieved for years.

This banana bread has the most strong, unapologetic 'nana flavor running all the way through it. And the crust... oh the crust. It's my favorite part. I of course had to add some chocolate chips to it, because every fat kid knows that everything is better with chocolate.

So here it is. Please try it and let me know what you think. I think it's a bit sweet, but Bren loves it that way. I am still working on my technique when it comes to creaming butter and sugar together-- I think I'm too impatient. I think I should beat the butter on its own for a few and THEN add the sugar gradually, because it never comes out grainless and fluffy enough -- but despite my mediocre technique, it STILL came out wonderful. Remember, butter and eggs at room temperature always. (If you forget to leave your eggs out, you can put them in a bowl of neutral-temp tap water for about 10 minutes. That usually works).

Warning: your house is liable to smell unbelievably good.

Amy's Banana Bread

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup softened butter
6 ripe bananas mashed, approx. 3 cups (I found I needed more -- my 6 bananas only gave me 2 cups but it was still good)
4 eggs, well beaten
2 1/2 cups CAKE flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- With electric beater, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy
- Add bananas and eggs, beating until well-mixed
- Sift dry ingredients together 3 TIMES. Blend with banana, but DON'T OVERMIX
- Pour into 2 lightly greased loaf pans
- Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until firm in center and edges begin to separate from pans
- Cool on rack 10 minutes before removing from pans

If you want to add chocolate chips, I used about 1/3 cup, and I coated them with a little flour so that they wouldn't sink to the bottom of the cake while it was cooking.

ENJOY!!! Tell me how yours came out!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Awesome Quote of the Day

A mantra I am trying to repeat to myself today:

"I have everything in the world that is necessary to happiness, good faith, good friends and all the work I can possibly do." -- Anna Howard Shaw


Whee! More Phun with Photobooth!

This effect is called "infrared" I think:

There's also fun-mirror type of effects. Bren, our friend Ross and I have been having TOO MUCH FUN with these ones.

And finally, a pensive one to settle you down. Sorry for the serious face, but that's my vanity talking. I look thinner when I don't smile. So much for ugly photos!! Hahahahahaahahahahaaa!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'll do better I promise.

Guys... I have totally let you down. So much has been happening since we got back, that I have not been able to keep up with the posting! But I am committing myself to doing better.

The main reason is that I finally bought a new computer! As you may know, our old laptop was from Bren's graduation present to himself, back in 2000. Yup. So I used the money I earned on the documentary to get us a MacBook Pro! Wheee! Thanks to Andy for all the advice. Andy has a new blog by the way.

Here's a picture of our newest addition to the McSequeira family. We even got a printer for free! And it's a $100 printer! Plus, the computer is refurbished, so it's got a brand new hard drive, but it was about $500 cheaper. Awesome.

And one of the best things about the new Macs is PHOTOBOOTH. It's this amazing program where you can take self-portraits with the little built-in camera, but there are also a slew of effects! Great! For example, this is the comic book effect:

Ok having trouble uploading photos. So this is it for now. :(

all text and photographs on aartilla the fun © 2005-2009 Aarti Sequeira unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.