vendredi, janvier 05, 2007

Spice Shopping and the new blogger

To begin with: I've moved over to the new version of Blogger! Woohoo! It doesn't mean a great deal for the overall appearance of the blog quite yet, but it does include a feature that I had long hoped for: labeling. Yay! Now you can search my entries based on labels such as Partying, Fooding, and Recipes. It's gonna be awesome. Speaking of recipes, scroll down to find a short recipe for a curry-ish lentils + rice dish.

So work was a bit quieter today. I got up in time to drop by my boulangerie and buy a sandwich for lunch, and the work day ran by relatively quickly. I got a bit of my own administrative business done (i.e., renewing memberships, answering emails, re-contacting people) and only had to field a couple of service requests. I also spent a bit of time researching grants and such, and was frustrated afresh with how I fall through the cracks. There are funds for foreigners to come work in the states, but you can't already be in the states as a student. There are funds to work abroad, but you must be a U.S. citizen. There are similar restrictions on a lot of Canadian grants (they want you to be at a Canadian university).Also, there is a surprising lack of funding overall for American studies. If you're coming from overseas, there's funding. If your work is very specifically Canada-related, there's funding. But if you want to with American popular culture, you're apparently on your own. I still managed to find 2 or 3 grants that I can look into, but that was only after searching through about 290 different grants. Meh. One day, when I'm a big-shot scholar, I'll sponsor some funding for work on pop-music topics that doesn't have a long list of prerequisites.

Enough ranting. Once I got off work, I headed over to this Indian supermarket near the La Chapelle métro stop, called "Gopaul & Co." (I think). Aaah, it was great. I got some decent-looking hot peppers, some nice mangoes, some orange-flower water, some chana masala mix, jars of crushed garlic and ginger, and some other stuff. When I got home, I realized that I didn't have onions or tomatoes (which you need as a base for chana masala), so I threw this together instead:

Curry-esque Rice & Lentils


  • approx. 3 tblsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tblsp. of crushed garlic
  • 1 tblsp. of crushed ginger
  • 2 small finger chiles (or one larger jalapeño)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup lentils, washed
  • 1 tblsp. of chana masala spice mix (available at your favourite Indian foodstore
  • 1 small can of tomato paste or concentrated crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bouillon cube (optional; you can also replace water with stock)


  1. Heat the garlic and ginger in the oil in a medium-sized saucepan, stirring frequently.
  2. When the garlic has just begun to mellow, add the chiles, chopped finely.
  3. Once the chiles are a bit soft, add the rice, as well as a bit more oil if necessary. Mix to coat.
  4. Turn heat to highest setting, and begin to add water. Add one cup, add and mix the masala mix, add two more cups.
  5. Add lentils, tomato paste, and bouillon.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if sauce thickens too quickly.
  7. Dish is ready when sauce has reduced to a gravy and the rice and lentils are soft enough to eat.

Voila! I also made another round of my mango salsa (these mangoes were better than last time, but still not fantastic), but this time I added a bit of orange flower water to offset the tartness of the mangoes. I'm hoping it'll all come together as it marinates.

One final note: today I discovered my first persistent wrinkles. I've got a little one right in the middle of my forehead and two shorter ones symmetrically placed over my eyebrows. At 28, I suppose I can't complain, but there's something terribly final about your skin beginning to wrinkle. I certainly have no more right to call myself young, I suppose. I'm still torn as to whether I should run out and buy a facial mask, or I should start working on that "aged gracefully" look. On the upside, my hair is still naturally brown and all there (and that's after years of harsh dyeing).

Anyway, enough narcissism. The rest of my evening was pretty uneventful: I did a bit of reading, answered emails, finished a few more chores, and then hit the sack.

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