Feb 6, 2012

Of volcanos and vermicelli


It has been three weeks since my school started and I have managed to ease the class into my weekly schedule or rather into my weekend schedule.  It is only one Saturday class this semester, so the workload is much less and I have more time to blog (hence the three posts last month).
 
A friend asked me recently how I liked studying in my late 30s.  She looked surprised and a bit disappointed when I told her I actually enjoyed going to college.  Truth be told, I enjoy it more now than I did when I was younger.  I understand concepts much better, I like the open interaction with my teachers, I like that I am more informed and get to voice my opinions without fear of incurring disfavor of the teacher.  


The fact that I get to spend half a Saturday learning about plate tectonics, volcanos, rocks, minerals and fossils may sound boring to some.  But I was lucky enough to have a professor who knows all there is to know about the earth and all its layers (and still manage not to know how to text, not that that is important) and also manage to teach in a way that makes it enjoyable.
Of course, just because I enjoy sitting in class amidst igneous and metamorphic rocks, studying relative dating methods doesn’t mean I enjoy the food they dish out in the campus cafeteria.  So, I carry food with me, lots of it, to sustain me through Steno’s Laws and studying folds and faults of the Earth.  I usually eat an apple or a pear with some almonds for breakfast while jotting down lecture notes. 

During the mid-morning break, with the fruit digested and stomach rumbling, I reach for my lunch which usually consists of a couple of slices of crusty bread sandwiched with almond butter and pepper jack cheese, some potato chips and another piece of fruit.  On rare occasions, when I am better prepared, I cook quinoa or vermicelli (semolina pasta) with lots of vegetables the day before and it sustains me better than the bread and cheese sandwich.  Sometimes, I also add some peanuts to the mix, just because I like it, but it is totally upto you. 
There are no hard or fast rules for making this.  You can add just onions or add broccoli or potatoes if it suits your fancy.  It cooks in one pot and makes for a great lunch on weekdays when I don’t have any left overs from the night before.

Here’s how I make it:
Take about 2 cups of chopped veggies. I used zucchini, carrots, broccoli and onions.
Chop them into thin strands.
Set aside half a handful of frozen peas and corn, unless you have the luxury of fresh ones.


Toast 1/4 cup of semeiyan lightly and keep aside.
In a wide pan heat 1 tsp of oil.  Add a teaspoon of cumin seeds.  Wait for them to sizzle before adding the chopped vegetables.  Cook for about five minutes on medium heat adding a teaspoon of red chili powder and salt in between.

If you want to add peanuts, add them with the cumin and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the vegetables.  
Chop about 1/4 cups of tomato and add it to the veggies.  Cook till soft and pulpy before adding the vermicelli.

Gently mix with the cooking vegetables and roast for a few minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of water, adjust the salt (the water should be slightly salty), add a pinch of sugar and cook till the vermicelli gets plump and water is all used up.

Turn off the heat, garnish with chopped coriander if you wish.  I usually omit this step if pressed for time or too hungry to dig in. 
Enjoy hot off the stove or cold in your lunch box the next day.

What is your favorite lunch box preference?

26 comments:

  1. Yay to School! I went to grad school at 29 and that was the right age to get more out of the program! Good decision, DSM! Are you working towards a degree or just continuing ed?
    I picked up many a recipe during the brown bag time at the school cafeteria!

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    Replies
    1. Anita, I am working towards a degree. It is slow going but I am enjoying every bit of it. Yay for you too! :-)

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  2. What about studying and aspiring to continue that in your 40s...? :-)
    True what you wrote.

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  3. I always thought I'd enjoyed working more than studying, but after so many years of working, I'm not so sure :)

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    1. Sra, as much as I love studying i do want to start working soon. Maybe I will want to go back to studying again after a few years. :)

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  4. It's "igneous" rocks, not "ignous" rocks- just thought I'd let you know especially since you're studying this stuff!


    Sheena

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    1. Thanks for pointing that out Sheena. I have corrected the typo. It reads "igneous" now.

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  5. I love studying too. I went to grad school here in my late twenties and loved it. If possible I would drop everything and go back again but life has taken over and these days I think I should probably save for S's college what I will spend on my own :( College ed has become very expensive in the last 10 years where I live.

    And why did I think your studying was in the area of journalism and public affairs?

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  6. I squandered away my late twenties on trivial courses at the community college when I had no kid and not much responsibility. Now, I am working towards the degree so I can get a job by the time A is eight.

    To answer your question, may be because my background is in journalism but now I am studying for an arts degree. Geology is one of the core classes I have to take. :)

    Did you notice that my style of recipe writing was inspired by yours?

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    Replies
    1. No studying is squandering. The time is always well utilized

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  7. I love your colorful upma. My go to lunchbox preference: subzi wraps. Smear favorite pickle on a whole wheat tortilla and stuff with leftover subzi and sometimes shredded cheese.

    Good luck with the class! Being a lifelong learner is exciting and I find myself being more appreciative of education and working harder when going to school is my own choice and not something "one has to do" like in younger years.

    May I ask you something: how did you add the "reply to comment" feature in this comment section? I've been meaning to do that on my blog. Thanks for your time!

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    1. Thanks Nupur. Your lunchbox sounds yummy. I will try that one of these Saturdays.

      To answer your question, I did not add the "reply to comment" feature in the comment section. It was there when I logged in after a two month hiatus. But Sandeepa over at BongMomCookbook said she did it by enabling comment at the end of the post. I think she may be able to help you out if this doesn't work. It is a great feature, isn't it? Good luck. Will come by late to check if you were able to do it.

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    2. In Blogger go to Settings-->Comments and look for "Comment Form Placement". Select the radio button "Embedded below Post". That made the "reply" come up for mine

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    3. Thanks for the info Sandeepa. I am going to go check if there are any other features blogger has activated.

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  8. I went back to schoool in my late 30s for a degree and never regretted it. Yay for following your dream...
    "age is only a number-do what your heart tells you to do.."

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    1. Yay for you too Malli. And totally agree with you on the age thing. :)

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  9. I like this fusion variety of vermicilli.

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  10. Education takes a new meaning as you grow older. It is no longer studying for grades, but learning out of interest. Cheers to you.

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  11. I loved the blog and loving the discussion on going back to study after a break. I have done that too! I went for a website designing course and I discovered that formal learning is always a fun, specially the second time when you don't need to do your home works for your mom's sake :-) I hope in India we will develop this method of degree education much more. It is there but not so much in Government institutes. Private institutes offer certificate and degree courses but they are damn expensive.

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    1. Chandrima, welcome. You are absolutely right. We tend to enjoy things we not forced to do. I feel lucky to get a second chance at learning here. Though I have to tell you my grandmother finished her masters in English after marriage and two kids with a third one on the way. But she was an exception in her time and probably still is.

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  12. HI Jaya,Nice to see this post and literally I am drooling over that dish.I still want to go back to college but with the kids I can't even dream about it. Maybe when they grow up and if they will take me into the college I would definitely love to study :)

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  13. Yes. actually you are right. I also have a grant aunt (is there a word like that? I mean what do you call grandfather's brother's wife, in Bengali I call her 'grand mother' though) who went to university after marriage and kids. She is a inspiration for me. But today around me, I don't see many going back to school to often in India, after marriage or kids. The path is not so open any more,as there are thousands of very young student all around. This concept is very much there in Europe too where I was before. People take breaks they enrich themselves again by joining formal classes.

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  14. healthy & lipsmacking presentation
    new to your space..
    lovely space you have with interesting collection of recipes
    happy following you..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

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Thank you for visiting my space. I miss my former editors, so any form of criticism/ appreciation is welcome. :)

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