Sunday, October 8, 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann - A Review

The Lost City of Z by David Grann was one of those books that keeps you engrossed and on edge throughout and better yet was based on a real life true story. So when I heard about the new book that the same author had written about the Osage Indians I wanted to read it for 2 reasons. There were not many books that I have read about American Indians and how they were treated by the ruling European Whites who almost succeeded in wiping them out completely and exactly how much atrocities have been committed against them in the name of protecting them.

This book offered both. America which prides itself on being the beacon of democracy with an incorruptible judiciary was not always that way. Has it changed? Have to ask the countless innocent people who were sent to jail because of prosecutorial overreach.

This book reads better than any mystery novel but the events were culled meticulously from investigative records about the Osage murders. Murders that were committed for that ancient reason - greed and coveting for somebody's wealth. All made possible by the implicit and tacit support of the federal government. Because no one other than the white man is considered capable enough to take care of their own affairs. Each Indian with rights to oil in Osage County is appointed a caretaker and had to ask permission from them for spending any of the money. The murders and unexplained killings were the result. Why? the caretakers themselves wanted to control the money. But how can this be made possible? By getting rid of the wards obviously.

The corrupt local and state officials were all in the buy so the FBI team - the fledgling bureau that was being assembled by Edgar Hoover had to come in. But did they solve all of them?

Subtler subtext also explores the slow killing of a culture and the devastation that is being wrought on them by the settlers for whom the wealth is more important than an Indian life. I will not give the plot but if you want a good read and in the process learn something about the not so great past of this country you should be reading this book.

David Grann is a mastery story teller. His writing is evocative and clear minded. You will not be disappointed I promise.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Simple Cauliflower Masala with tomatoes

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables which tastes great when it is still slightly crunchy and not completely mushed up. During the summer months when tomatoes were plentiful I turned to the tried and tested recipe that I have seen in a lot of homes back home being made as a side dish for chapati. I initially started making this for and then realized that adding the cauliflower would make it even better.

Just the simplest of ingredients but really tasty and so quick to make. This works really well for a week night meal. Need to use ripe tomatoes and ones that are juicy. Heirloom tomatoes or sometimes called ugly tomatoes work really well here. The curry should not be dry but slightly loose, not by adding extra water but from the moisture from the tomatoes.

I got this Corningware Vision Dutch Oven which I have become quite fond of. Works for making curries, sauteing vegetables and cleaning is a breeze.

Simple Cauliflower Masala with tomatoes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 1 head of a medium sized cauliflower cut into small florets
  2. 1/2 cup of chopped red onions
  3. 4-6 tomatoes finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp of grated ginger (optional)
  5. 5-6 slit green chilies
  6. 1 garlic clove chopped fine
  7. a handful of chopped coriander leaves
  8. salt to taste
  9. 2 tsp of oil
  10. seasonings: mustard and cumin seeds

  1. In a wide mouthed pan, heat oil add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts to pop add the onions and green chilies and saute till the onions become translucent.
  2. Add in the garlic and ginger if using, saute for about 30 seconds making sure the ginger does not stick.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till they become nice and mushy.
  4. Add in the cauliflower florets and salt and saute till the florets get cooked but barely.
  5. Add in the chopped coriander leaves.
  6. Serve with chapathis or soft phulkas.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Freezing Tomatoes and Peaches

For a person who did not care much for peaches I have truly become a convert. Nothing like farm fresh sun kissed peaches during the summer months. We are fortunate to have farms close and access to these superb summer time delights. I like peach smoothies the best during winter time but winter is not a time for peaches. So what is one to do? Freeze the summer abundance of course. I regretted not doing that last year but this year I was a bit more smart!.

The same can be said for tomatoes. The winter tomatoes taste like wet paper with absolutely no taste whatsoever. On the other hand the taste of summer tomatoes is hard to beat. So what is one to do to enjoy these delights during the dreary winter months? Freeze them of course. While I eat and juice a lot of raw tomatoes when they are fresh also use quite a bit in curries, chutneys, rice dishes and such which does not require fresh tomatoes. A great tasting frozen tomato works extremely well when all your going to do is cook with them.

Freezing tomatoes and peaches is literally a piece of cake. While I sometimes stew and freeze the tomatoes for making some pickles later or stew and blend the tomatoes for a quick tomato sauce the easiest and the most quickest way to preserve a tomato is to freeze it as is.

For both peaches and tomatoes, wash the produce well, dry it with a kitchen towel or air dry on the counter for a few hours. Slice into desired shapes, place them on a plate flash freeze over night or for 6-8 hours, separate them and place them in ziplock bags for use later.

Chop the peaches or tomatoes and place them in plates and put them in the freezer for freezing.

Remove and put in bags for storage.

If you cannot do all that work put whole tomatoes in bags and freeze them.

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