Sunday, December 6, 2009

I moved!

I moved!
I wanted to merge my running and food blog into one place and tie everything all together.
See you there!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My own new school

In a few months I will be finally graduating college. What will I do when I graduate, well dude we just don't know. I thought about graduate school, it would be nice. To be honest with you I am quite tired of school and need something different.
Seeing as being a housewife does not pay the bills, although Matt says it pays in kisses but Verizon recently informed me that 113.45 kisses will not cover our bill, I will probably find myself working in an office somewhere. Hopefully a job where I can do my own thing at work.
I do intend to keep my education going though. While attending my own new school. I think I will take classes on beer, wine, cooking, baking, cheese, and other edibles. I'll work on my cooking and writing about it. And I will work so that I can also afford myself some travel. I will freelance for myself. Maybe one day I will land myself a cook book deal, or open my own brewery.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


When I was in Japan I found myself marveled at the various food stalls scattered all about Tokyo. I missed out on trying many of their treats since I was on a strict gluten-free diet at the time. The one I wanted to try the most was the takoyaki (たこ焼き), grilled octopus balls made from a pancake like batter and chopped ocotopus (tako たこ in Japanese). poured in to a cast iron grill of little half domes and grilled. I found myself mesmerized as I watched skilled takoyaki chef's hands fly across hot griddles 100 takoyaki wide with a small tool in hand, which looks like the metal nut pick my parents always kept in the nut dish around the holidays for picking walnuts out of the shells, flipping the octopus balls 180 degrees with such speed and precision all with out missing a beat flipping rows and rows of the little octopus balls putting on quite a show.
So as I have still never had takoyaki, I find myself quite obsessed with the idea of a grill that will allow me to make them at home. My husband reminds me that a takoyaki grill is a uni-tasker, which Alton Brown disapproves of. But today I can across this:
Behold-the Aebleskiver pan, the dutch version of a takoyaki maker, which lets me know that it was meant other uses which I do not need to make up. This is meant to be in my home making octopus balls, mini jelly doughnuts, apple dumplings, brownie balls, croquettes and the most amazing sunny side up eggs that protect the yolks.
As I was writing this post I stopped and I ordered it. My new aebleskiver pan will be here in 5-8 days according to Amazon.
Stay Tunned...
We are going to a BBQ on Kuma's side of the family on Saturday and then having one here on Sunday for my sister's birthday, here's the things I plan I cooking this weekend:
Pesto pasta salad
Lemon Blueberry cake
Herbed roasted potatoes
BBQ Chicken
Homemade Ricotta cheese
Something with the cannoli filling I plan to use the ricotta for.
Possibly a fruit salsa too.

Can't wait!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Omnivore's Hundred #29 Baklava

Sunday I met up with friends who are leaving the US this week for good and going back home to their home countries. So we met up at Moustache Pitza in the west village for lunch.
Moustache Pitza is a middle eastern place, with a big focus on fresh baked pita breads that arrive to your table hot, and puffed up like a blowfish. The food there is amazing, everything is fresh and you can count on a waiting a bit for your food (even when it's slow there) but believe me--it's worth it.
My friends Christy, who is going home to Malaysia, is also doing the Omnivores 100, so when we saw baklava on the dessert menu, it was decided even before we ordered drinks.
So after a delicious lunch of hummus, pita bread and various "pitzas" which we all shared, we ate baklava.
So now about the baklava.

It was pretty tasty, but I wasn't a huge fan. The crust was flaky and buttery with a nice golden top. The filling was full of nuts and a tad dry. I think it was too much for me, too many nuts.I would have liked some dried fruit maybe some raisins in it along with the nuts.
I was expecting a sweeter flavor and a moister filling. Baklava is on my Cook's 100 list, so when I make it I think I might like that one better.
That's really all I have to say about the baklava.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Cook's 100: #63 Deviled Eggs

We went to Matt's grandma's for a 5th of July BBQ today. She loves deviled eggs, quite possibly more than me. So I try to make them for parties and holidays there, and to justify owning a deviled egg plate.
Since my herb garden is growing in full swing right now, I though I would try something
new aside from the standard deviled eggs I make. So I present you with herbed deviled eggs.

Herbed Deviled Eggs
Makes 12

  • 6 Eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/2 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder, I use Colman's
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise

  1. After eggs have been boiled, peeled and cooled, carefully slice each egg in half lengthwise.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop out the yolks into a bowl. After I scoop out all the yolk, I like to gently rinse out the inside hollow of the white. I think it keeps them looking nicer afterwards.
  3. Mash yolks up with a fork.
  4. Place yolks, and all other ingredients in a food processor, and pulse till mixture is well blended and smooth.
  5. Using a rubber scrapper, scrape mixture into a zip top bag, or piping bag. (Use can use a fancy cake decorating tip if you like.)

  6. Place eggs whites in an egg dish, or cover a plate with salad greens to prevent eggs from sliding about, cut a small corner from zip top bag, and pipe into egg halves.
  7. Garnish with chopped herbs.
You can easily make these ahead of time, a day or two. I keep the yolk mixture stored in the bag, and the whites stored in a container with a lid. This makes bringing them else where much easier, and they assemble quickly.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Cook's 100: #28 Infused Olive Oil

So all these big fancy gourmet grocery stores sell this nicely packaged infused olive oil, for a lot of money. I don't have extra cash to be spending $15 on a small bottle of garlic rosemary olive oil. I do have a rosemary plant though. Make your own instead. It's quick and more exciting when you make what you like. This recipe is about winging it and using what you have.

  • Olive oil, a bit less than will fit in your jar
  • Jar with a lid, or one of those fancy oil bottles with the pouring spout
  • Funnel or measuring cup with a spout
  • Saucepan, or small frying pan
  • Infusions, garlic minced, rosemary, thyme, dill, marjoram, dried chili peppers, anything you like.

  1. In a frying pan or small sauce pan, over medium heat pour in your olive oil, and add in your infusions.
  2. Bring to a high simmer, and simmer for about 5 min
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes
  4. Using funnel or measuring cup with a spout, pour into jar or oil bottle
  5. Taste it, with a nice crusty bread
  6. Make more!

I would make this oil in small batches that you can use within a week or so and keep in the fridge. By heating the oil with the infusions in it, you are also killing off any bacteria, and preventing botulism.

This can also be a nice little quick gift to make too. It took me about 10 minutes start to finish to make this batch.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The worst recipe ever.

This is the worst recipe ever. Don't believe me, go try it. I know enough not to make this dish. What makes it the worst dish ever--maybe it's the tinned pears, or the French dressing to moisten. I'm not sure, and I will pass on finding out. I have thought about making it and secretly bringing it to a potluck BBQ, and watching peoples reactions to it. This recipe was posted in the Guardian, in an article written about British food writer Elizabeth David, with a warning above it. Do not try this at home.

Italian salad
1 pint cold cooked macaroni
½ pint cooked or tinned pears
½ pint grated raw carrot
French dressing to moisten
2 heaped tablespoons minced onion
½ pint cooked or minced string beans
Mix the chopped macaroni and vegetables; moisten with French dressing, flavouring with garlic if liked. Serve on a dish lined with lettuce leaves. Decorate with mayonnaise and minced pimento or chives.

Yup, I do not believe I have ever seen anything worse. The article is about this one particular cookbook in Davis's cook book collection. Ulster Fare, from 1945 had the following note wedged inside:

"Italian salad p50. Sounds just about the most revolting dish ever devised."

Yes, yes it is. I do wonder why they went with Italian salad. If anyone out there does decide to try this salad, please post and let me know how it is.

Here is the link to the Guardian article:

Inspired to change

Since seeing Food Inc. last weekend, we've made some changes. (Yes, it was that powerful!)

  • We've decided to be more conscious of what we purchase and from whom. I found a local organic farm where we can purchase any produce we need that we do not have in our garden. This means that any produce, eggs or honey I buy are being grown 2.5 miles from my house. Talk about local. I also met the farmer who owns the farm, it's nice to know where you food is coming from.
  • We are cutting back on our meat eating. And free-ranging it otherwise.
  • I am limiting what frozen foods I purchase, and will be super picky about which ones I do.
  • I have finally found and decided on a perfect graduate school program for me. I had been up in the air about various Journalism schools, but I discovered NYU's Food Studies MA program. This program was made for me! I will be applying next year.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Late night havesting

I went out to the garden just now at midnight, with a flash light, to pick cilantro and arugula for tomorrows lunch.

Carefully following the beam of light, I was amazed to discover all the creatures in my grass at night. Slugs of all sizes relaxed on leaves, and worms quickly slipped back into the ground as the flashlight beam shown upon them.

Lately I have been discovering little things that make me smile.

Food Inc.

Last night Matt and I went to see Food Inc. at the Cinema Arts center. If you can any tiny bit about the future of our food, environment, or your wallet I strongly urge you to see this film. I've been working on a lot of research dealing with food policy and agribusiness, and believe me there are some very scary things out there, these big companies do not want consumers knowing about the food they are eating.
I will say right now, this film is intense. Mind you I have seen much similar footage, and read many articles about issues addressed in the film. But let me tell you, reading it and seeing it are two totally different things.
This film is broken up into chapters, and deals with several issues: genetic engineering of foods,
cloning, food worker protection, environmental impact, food borne illness, factory farming, pesticides,
and healthy eating to name a few. The chapter on factory farming really got me, seeing the conditions
that my food had been living in. Chickens are crammed into pens and never see the light of day.
Their breasts so large they collapse under their own weight after taking just a few steps, from being
pumped full of growth hormones. Seeing the way this big companies like Tyson,
treat the farmers raising their chicken, really aggravated me.
Then there is Monsanto. Monsanto is the Agri-Devil. Monsanto, who dominates
the farming industry, sells seeds, corn and soy are the big ones, to small farmers with strict contractual
guidelines. They do not allow farmers to "clean" seeds, or save the seeds from the years harvest for next
seasons crops. In fact they will go after farmers who do such, and even have a special investigation unit
like the FBI to find out who does. Taking it even further, they will go after farmers who have Monsanto
seeds that have blown on to their property.
There is also a companion book called Food Inc. out too. This is a nice little refrence
guide of everything you see in the movie, and more details. Good for those moments when you
are trying to remember something you saw and wanted to know more about.
The book is broken up into three parts. Making the movie, the issues, and what you can do.
In the isuses and what you can do section there are short essays written by various food writers,
such Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle to name a few.
Watching the film really drove these things you already know home. Seeing the factory farms, hearing about how Monsanto screws farmers, and hearing the story of a four year old who died of E coli really makes you think about all the problems with our food industry.
People need to see more of a connection as to where the food they eat comes from, this film will do just that. Following the path your food takes is quite an eye opening experience. I'm certain that the path you think your food take is different from the path it actually does.
This movie has really inspired me that I can make changes in the worlds food system.
While I cannot single handedly change the world, I know that what I buy makes a difference.
Hell, If Wal-mart see that consumers are demanding organics and suppling their customers
with them, that says something about the power of your spending dollars!
(Please though don't buy at Wal-mart, shop Mom and Pop!)

Monday, June 22, 2009


Last year I turned 25 and had a quarter life crisis. It was just like a mid life crisis, except I didn't buy a sports car or starting dating the pool boy, I just cried a lot and went back to school.
This year I realize that 26 is now on the closer side to 30, which means I'm getting older. Since I've been back to school and most of my school friends are under 21 I feel as if I've been given a second chance at being a kid. Which is nice since I've always been 4 going on 40.
My birthday was on Saturday and I've decided to throw myself the birthday party of a six year old, Hello Kitty themed,complete with Hello Kitty birthday cake.

Kuma and I
Hello Kitty Cupcakes!
Hello Kitty cake! Lemon cake with a whipped cream/cream cheese icing.
It's hard to tell from this angle, but her face is a separate tier.
The cake was quite a pest to make. Put together like a puzzle from broken cake. Originally I had made a lemon cake with strawberries in it. But the strawberries made the cake too soggy and it broke coming out of the pan. I have made that cake before but as cupcakes, which worked very well. Anyway the HK cake was tasty and everyone though it was cool.
Birthday 26= Sucess!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Cook's 100

I was thinking about the Omnivores Hundred today, and realized of all the foods I've eaten on the list, I've cooked about five of them. This is something that I am okay with though. I feel that if I am doing the list in order to experience these dishes, they should be cooked by someone who is a pro at making them.
There are so many dishes I have come across while reading cookbooks and blogs, which I would love to try my hand at, but so many of them require extensive preparation, and not practical to be cooking on a Wednesday night after work.
I thought why not make a list of different dishes to try cooking or baking at least once. A nice opportunity to expand my cooking skills further, and step outside my cooking comfort zone, and also to get me to write about food more often.
So I am proposing a challenge: Cook the 100 things on this list, and blog about it. Document it, take pictures, write about the recipe you used, did you like making it, was it the best thing you ever made, or the worst. It will give us food lovers a full on challenge. It's not a race, take your time. Just cook it again if you cooked it once before, and cook it from scratch!
I have tried to include a mix dishes that can be made by any level, and some that require more experience, some that may be about experimenting with different kitchen tools, and a broad range of different cooking techniques.
Many things on this list of foods are usually purchased and cooked. Everything on this list should be made from scratch, start to finish. Stuff your sausage, don't just grill it!


The rules:
  • Copy and paste this list on your blog.
  • Mark off the items you won't cook.
  • Blog about it!
  • Post a link to your list in the comments section of this post, and link back to this post, so others can join in!
  • Cross off items as you cook them.

The List:
  1. Crown roast
  2. Baked clams
  3. Croissants
  4. Stir fry
  5. Curry
  6. Hand cut french fries
  7. Pasties
  8. Something in a tagine
  9. Beer/Mead/Wine
  10. Double crust pie
  11. Jam/Canning
  12. Rack of lamb
  13. Pickles
  14. Beef wellington
  15. Ricotta cheese
  16. Baked Alaska
  17. Jello Mold Salad
  18. Homemade Pasta
  19. Cream Puffs
  20. Gnocchi
  21. Multi Tiered cake
  22. Something flambéed
  23. Corned Beef, that you pickled
  24. Fish cooked on wood planks
  25. Bagels
  26. Baklava
  27. Sausage
  28. Infused olive oil
  29. Ice cream
  30. Fried chicken
  31. Lemon Meringue Pie
  32. Pizza dough/Pizza
  33. Sushi rolls
  34. Turducken
  35. Lasagna
  36. A whole fish
  37. Pudding
  38. Cannoli, shells and filling
  39. Infused vodka
  40. Hummus
  41. Fried Calamari
  42. Fresh squeezed lemonade
  43. Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  44. Biscuits and gravy
  45. Cornish hen
  46. Something in a crock pot/ slow cooker
  47. Stuffed peppers
  48. Risotto
  49. Roasted vegetable/potatoes with white truffle oil
  50. Clam Bake
  51. Osso Buco
  52. A Vegetarian dish
  53. Guacamole & Salsa
  54. Mayonnaise
  55. Vegan cake
  56. Chili
  57. Ganache
  58. Poached pears
  59. Baked Brie/ Brie en croute
  60. Flan
  61. Pineapple upside down cake
  62. Pita bread
  63. Deviled eggs
  64. Chocolate truffles
  65. Pulled pork
  66. Hot sauce
  67. Filet mignon
  68. Terrine
  69. Sorbet
  70. Turkey stuffed with something other than traditional stuffing
  71. Miso Salmon
  72. Dosa
  73. Mousse
  74. Quiche
  75. Strawberry Shortcake
  76. Baked macaroni and cheese
  77. Eggs Benedict
  78. Loaf of bread
  79. Cheese ball
  80. Smoked ribs
  81. Flourless cake
  82. Soup stock (chicken, beef, vegetable, ect)
  83. Deep fried turkey
  84. Dry rubbed meat
  85. Chicken Kiev
  86. Kombucha Tea
  87. Stuffed Tenderloin
  88. Crepes
  89. Souffle
  90. Fish en Papillot
  91. Baked Ham
  92. Waffles
  93. Corned beef hash
  94. Pot-stickers
  95. Cheesecake
  96. Whole roasted garlic
  97. Ceviche
  98. Artichokes
  99. Fondue
  100. A copy cat recipe (Something that is made commercial or in a restaurant, find the copy cat recipe on line, is it just as good?)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How I got here.

The topic of how I got here could become highly philosophical very quickly, so lets talk about how this blog became. My mind is ever changing, there are not many things that I am able to settle upon, except for my love of my husband and food. When anyone who I have not seen in a while asks how whatever I last told them I was doing is going it is usually 42 careers/ideas/jobs/thoughts ago. I've wanted to be everything from a nurse, artist, fashion designer, photographer, chef, teacher, business person, to pretty much anything else. I'm 25 now and have had over 22 jobs (that I can remember) including my current job. I have attended 5 different colleges/trade school with 7 different majors i've tried. There is only thing that has remained constant through all of this, my love of food (and my hubs!). 
Now I'm in my final stretch of school. This round I started out doing a double major in Asian studies and linguistics, with the ultimate goal of moving to Japan to teach English (that's another story) and was talking into doing a teaching program to be an ESL teacher. Short story short teaching is not for me. One night while sitting on the couch watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, having my usual "what I am going to do when I graduate/the rest of my life" moment, I declared "That's what I want. I want to eat and travel. That's it."

That's it. Eat and travel.

My personal secret to happiness. "Maybe you should take some journalism classes." my husband suggested. Really why did I never think about this before. (I could see the thoughts in my husbands head, here we go again). I am majoring in Asian studies and minoring in journalism. and will be done in a year. 

So this blog is my new project. I am going to love it and, I need to love it. Just like my love for food (and my husband!) When you are passionate about something you glow when you speak about it. Anyone who knows me knows this is true! Just ask me about a cupcake I just fed you, or the beer that we just brewed, or a the dosa I ate last weekend and you will know exactly what I'm talking about.  


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baked Mac N Chee, the easy teenage version

Driving home from work the other day all I could think about macaroni and cheese, specifically the baked variety. I had no desire to stop at the store to pick up things to make such a dish. I knew I would be eating macaroni and cheese from the box. But I really wanted the good stuff. I debated in my head, should I stop at the store, but it's 5 o'clock, it'll be a zoo. Ugh! I though about the block of parmigiana cheese in my fridge drawer... 
  When I finally got home, I investigated the contents of the icebox, and found some a block of cheddar, monterey jack, and a small carton of heavy cream. "I will make this work."I said aloud determined. 

Here's how it went down:

1 box of annies naturals mac
plus what the box of macaroni and cheese calls for (milk, butter)

1/4 heavy cream (or milk)
3/4 c shredded cheese i used a mix of motery jack, chedder, and parmgiana
a few spoons of panko
1 tbs butter melted

1. Prepare the boxed macaroni and cheese according to the instructions on the box. 
2. While the macaroni is boiling preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. After the macaroni is prepared from the box, mix in the heavy cream and shredded cheeses. Then transfer into an oven safe casserole.
4. Sprinkle panko on top of macaroni and top with melted butter. 
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden on top and bubbly. You can also broil the casserole on high for a few minutes to get the top nice and golden. 

This came out great, it was exactly what I was craving. My hubs absolutely loved it. Next time I make this I'd like to add some chicken and broccoli to it. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Food review: Starbucks Gluten Free Valencia Orange Cake

Starbucks Gluten Free Valencia Orange Cake

A little over a year ago I discovered that I had been misdiagnosed with Celiac disease, after 2 years on a gluten free diet. I've been on a regular diet which I keep high in fiber to help control my IBS (which I was diagnosed with instead). Since then i've been noticing an abundance of tasty looking gluten free goods on the market. And then last week I saw it, the mother of all gluten free goods, at Starbucks! So today as I camp out at my local  Starbucks writing final papers, I will take a break to review this little gluten free goody. Keep in mind I have not eaten any gluten free specific products in over a year, so I suppose this is a good unbiased review since i'm sort of broken out of that being used to GF foods.

Price: $1.95 + tax
Ingrediants: (from the package) Whole eggs, Valencia orange pulp, almonds, sugar, orange peel, G/f baking powder & orange oil.

Nutritional: 290 Calorie, 16gm of fat, 4gm of fiber, the whole cake is one serving.

This cake come individually wrapped protecting it from being exposed to cross contamination. Beware they are super moist and the first one they handed me had started molding so check it out before you leave! The high on this cake is pretty nice for something gluten free almost 2" high, not flat at all. Like I said very moist which is nice especially considering some gluten free things tend to be on the dry side. Very orangey, great flavor.  The crumb is very nice and tender not dry at all. There could have been a little less orange peel in it, the finish leaves my mouth a
 little dry until I eat another bite. Overall, Big win for Starbucks and Celiacs! This is something I would pick up again, finding it very satisfying and enjoyable to savor slowly!
Ratings (1 Lowest- 5 Highest):
Price: 5 Something tasty and G/F for under $2,who knew?
Taste: 4 really good, just a tad too much on the orange peel
Presentation: 5 individually wrapped, as to not make anyone cry
Value: 5 bargain!
Satisfaction: 5 Super yum! Celiac or not you need to try this one!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stir fried pork in Nom sauce

Since school has been in full swing, the devil, the death of me i've been neglecting cooking, laundry, feeding my husband and myself a proper diet. This week i've had it. Tonight I decided at 11:30pm I needed to get my self in the kitchen and cooking (like a good housewife!) And now at 1:00am i'm going to tell you about it. 
Along with all the other neglect i've been neglecting my bento-ness. And since in my teaching class tomorrow, I will be teaching my class a Japanese lesson on food, and bento I thought I should make one to prepare and not look like a fake!
Lately at school, more specifically in my Japanese class, we've been obessing over lol cats, even more specifically the "noms" that they make. Ie: Anything yummy! 
This sauce= exactly that! 

Pork in Nom Sauce!
This recipe makes one Man sized bento portion.
  • 1 porkchop, cut into strips
  • sesame oil, for cooking
  • 2 tbsp tamari (soy sauce) , Please buy the legit stuff, read the label if there anything hydrolized put it down. I beg you! That stuff is crap!
  • 2 tsp. mirin (aka: sake, cooking wine)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp or so of light agave nectar or honey. I like the agave better it mixes up nice!
I do this in the big pyrex measuring cup I have. Mix all the ingrediants other than the pork up in the cup bowl what-have-you. Make sure you taste it! Adjust the ratios if need be. I also wing this, and I think you should too. After it's kosher add the pork to the mix, stir up good and find something else to do for 15- 20 min. Heat a smallish skillet up and add about 1 tbsp of sesame oil, let heat up, throw down the pork strips and reserve the marinade on the side. Once I see the white creeping up the side of the pork, I add in the excess marinade, put a lid on it and let it simmer till its cooked all the way through. Only a few minutes or so depending on the thickness of the pork. Remove pork from sauce. 
Optional: You can crank the heat back up on the pan with the remaining sauce to thicken and coat the Noms all over the pork!

What's in the Bento?
Clockwise from top left: Basmati rice (from the freezer stash) with edamame, hard boiled egg with nori faces, gyoza (from trader Joe's), pork in Nom sauce, steamed carrots, wax beans & haricots verts in mirin. Packed in DH's 900 ml bento.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold Indian Rice Salad

My mother in law is a great cook. Such an inspiration to my culinary adventures. This is a salad that I am addicted to and I can always count on this to be at any BBQ or summer party she is at. A very easy recipe which can also be made in a rice cooker streamline things, has a great combination of spices that are center stage in this salad. It is my all time favorite!

Cold Indian Rice Salad

1 cup brown rice
1 tsp. curry powder
2 whole cinn sticks, broken3 or 4 whole cardamom pods, slightly crushed
2 cups chicken broth (or H2O)
2 TBSP oil
1/2 C raisins
1/2 Cup chopped almonds=toasted is best
1 10 oz. pkg froz peas
1 Cup mayo mixed w/1 or 2 tsp. curry powder (I go for the 2)

A neat trick: To make life easier in hunting down the cardom pods, I take a needle and double thread and sew them together into a ring. I like to make two of them each with half the pods.
Simmer rice & spices in broth w/oil till broth is absorbed, covered, approx 40 min. (I do this in my rice maker, Again use the approriate amount of liquid according to your rice maker.)

Cool and remove cinn sticks & pods (if you can fine them!-I usually end up dumping in big bowl to cool better and search for pods &  sticks.)

When cool, add thawed peas, raisins, & almonds

Mix in mayo mixed w/curry powder. Chill & enjoy!

Wild Rice Salad

 This is one of my other favorite bring a dish dishes. A few summers ago I was introduced to this salad by our friend Meg in Boston who was super sensitive to my new celiac needs at the time. I have fond memories of sitting on her deck inebriated, freshly engaged, with a bottle of Sailor Jerry rum, DH, and our friend Mike raving about this salad, eating about my 10th serving. It was just that good. 
I also find that with this salad there is a lot of winging it to be had. I really just use this as a guide, no apples use a pear, no walnuts (not a fan) pecans work well. I really do use whatever. I also keep a jar with the "scrap" rice in it for this. You know, when you have that little amount left and dont want to cook it, it goes in the "scrap rice jar". Also this makes great leftovers and is good hot or cold. You really cannot go wrong with it. 

Wild Rice Salad with Apples and Walnuts

1 c wild rice
2 c water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 c coarsely chopped walnuts
1 celery rib
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 c raisins
1 medium red apple (not Delicious), cored and diced
grated rind of 1 lemon

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (Sometimes I use the bottled juice if I have lemons, and leave out the zest)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 c olive oil

Put the wild rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Place it in a medium saucepan along with the water, oil and salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed. (When wild rice is done, it has a tender yet nubby texture.)

Meanwhile, combine the walnuts, celery, scallions, raisins, apple and lemon rind in a large bowl. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil and shake vigorously. Pour half of this dressing on the apple mixture and toss well.
When the rice is done, let it cool until just warm. Combine with the fruit mixture and pour on the remaining dressing. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.

Notes: I usually use 1/2 wild rice and 1/2 Brown rice. (you can use anything really) I also usually do this in the rice maker. When I do it in the rice maker I put the water (use and amount according to your rice maker!!) oil, rice and salt in the rice maker. I despise baby sitting rice on the stove and Love my rice maker deeply! I reccommend that you get/use one! I also vary this recipe according to what I have on hand (fruit, nuts and dried fruit wise) , really anything goes. I always make this salad in a double batch for parties and BBQ's and everyone loves it!