September 2, 2014

Aunties & Aaj Kal Ki Larkiyan and Dazzle 'Em Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs



Some of the most misogynistic men I know are women  -  Sarah Silverman

#truestory #justdiscoveredhashtags #hashtagsarehip #rainbows #blessed

What do you do when a sighing, swooning eleven year-old girl dramatically declares that she can’t wait to get married so she may finally have the freedom to do what she wants, whenever she wants?  

Well, if you’re me, mum’s the word. 

I know, I know, complete cop-out, but, come on, having that particular conversation with an adolescent would’ve been kind of weird and awkward and probably age-inappropriate, and I didn’t want to sound cynical, and laughing like a lunatic wasn’t an option. #isuck

Plus, pissing on a little girl’s parade is not a part of my life-plan. 

Yes, I have a life-plan and I happen to be pretty passionate about it.

Probably because I’m a pro at planning. #justsaying

Honestly, assign me any activity and watch me work OCD wonders, because fun knows no boundaries when you’re faultlessly organized, right?

Spontaneity is for suckers, yo! #imbringingboringback

So what if the survey says the actual success rate of my magic-making is kind of murky, and sad, and really can’t be confirmed. Daring to dream is half the battle, right? 

The point is, planning might not make it perfect, but, it definitely downs the probability of f***ing up and freaking out, dramatically

That being said, even though hurdles and hassles are inevitable, some curveballs are so insane beyond your imagination, it’s impossible to account for the craziness coming your way, so crashing and burning is somewhat of a standard reaction. 

Like, before T and I got hitched, I had painstakingly planned a two-part fairytale life in which neither of us would burp or fart and we sure as shit would never share a bathroom. We were going to “talk” through tough times because tempers were for tools, and he was going wake up at the butt-crack of dawn to whip up a gorgeous gourmet breakfast and serve it to a still-sleepy me in bed, and we were going to be beautifully balanced and blended beings, just like JayoncĂ©, but better. #crazyinlove 

Part two of Project Perfection was equally exciting and glamorous; we were going to grow up and embrace adulthood and become unquestionable commanders of our combined destiny, goddammit! #roseandjack #kingoftheworld #sharethedamnboardyouselfishb*tch

I felt a wise woman and completely in control as I readied to sign some paperwork, put on my big boy pants, and roll out Plan Potty-Free Future. #whatafeeling

Five years later, flatulence isn't funny, it's a fact of life, and the annexation of my bathroom has been brutal. Bonus: I’m a regular bathroom-barista attending to requests for mineral-water-bottle refills when traveling to countries where the muslim shower hasn’t caught on.

Speaking of bathroom behavior, how many couples other out there feel compelled to announce an oncoming bathroom break to their counterpart? Why? What is that? A word of warning? A goodbye? An invitation? 

Anyways.

“Talking” turned out to be a cute concept, but mastering maturity is still a struggle. Confession: when the gloves come off and it’s go time, it’s almost like I’m allergic to logic. 

Oh, also,  the only dude dishing up my breakfast is the baira and his expertise extend as far as the fanciness of fryee andaa and aamlette. #masterchef

So, yeah, for future reference, I really need to shut my loud face and listen to my Mom more, because that particular scenario didn’t pan out according to plan…at all. 

But I blame myself for the monumental bust. Those doe-eyed delusions were destined to doom. Fortunately, f*cking up and freaking out didn’t follow. 

Because big girls don’t cry. #FergiethePhilosopher

Unless, of course, the cruelty and injustice of an act is so OTT it straight up kills your mojo, which was exactly the case when Part Two of my plan for a fabulous future — being all out badass adults, and redefining the rules, and laying down the law, and doing some serious decisions — fell apart. 

Consequences? A catastrophic collapse of composure followed by some serious flipping and spazzing. 

Going from girl to a grown up is crazy complicated in this country, okay!

Again, must lace up lips and listen to Mom.

To tell you the truth, I’m still sort of hazy about how unfettered adultness is achieved, but what I can confirm is — and pay close attention ‘cause this pretty important — for us lady-folk, living in a prehistorically patriarchal society can be a super pain in the butt, but nothing and no one in the world has the ability to undermine and interfere with the process and progress of your evolution like an aunty. #couturecurveball


Thanks to these Tory Burch Terror Troopers, early adulthood was a lot like being an overgrown adolescent who’d been burdened with all the bullshit obligations of an actual adult without any of the frickin’ freedom.

My fondest memories of frustration usually feature at least one prissy, annoying aunty at every household event who would insist on using my bathroom, instead of the powder room like everyone else, because she couldn’t be sure how hygienic it was after all the commoners had crawled around in it. 

Mr. Muscle, meet your maker!

Trust me, I’ve done the drill dozens of times; faking a smile and pretending to give a fart about some germophobe’s one-sided jabber is about as enjoyable as sniffing a sweat-soaked sock of someone with athlete’s foot.
Yeh tops mujhay tumharay uncle nay anniversary par lay kay diye hein. Aur tum soch nahi sakti kitnay sastay paray. Waisay, dekho zara, kuch cheezein bus kismat mein likhi hoti hein, haina? Aur akalmandi hai aaj kal mein lay leina. Agay tou keematein aasmaan par char jaani hein.”  #divineintervention #Jesuslovesyou
Of course, aunty, larger than life diamonds are a downright steal at 60 lakhs! Can’t fight fate, can you? Say it with me, it’s not an expense, it’s an investment. I should grab ‘em while they’ve still got stock…for an incredibly reasonable pocket-change price of over half a million dollars…which I obviously have right here, in my imaginary Hermes…’cause that’s the kind of carry around…because it would be so embarrassing agar Aylanto par bill ziyada aa jai aur cash kum ho jai and I can’t pay for everyone.
“Hahaha, woh jo meri frend hein na, Sana Safinaz? Tum nahi jaanti ho gi. Khair, humari tou bari purani dosti hai. Jab 1987 mei tumaharay uncle Karachi post huay thay na, mein tab say jaanti hoon. Sab say pehla Sana Safinaz ka jora meinay pehna tha. Bulkay, mein tou us zamanay say jaanti hoon jab us ka sirf ek darzi tha, jo ek quarter mein nangay bulb kay neechay beth kar kapray seeta tha. Paanch so rupay silai leti thi tab. Aur ub dekho. Waisay, bari sweet hai, bechari. Tippical khandani type. Khair, usnay launch say pehlay hee mujhay apni latest lawn bhej di. Tou jab tumahri saas nay mujhay milaad ka mention kiya, meinay socha, silwao, pehno, kissa mukkao. Warna joray kahan pehnay jaatay hein? Meinay tou nikalna hee chor diya hai.” 
Get. Out. You. Goblin.

Waisay, what’s with girls these days, haina? Just imagine; driving around, using the internet, developing skills, pursuing passions, considering careers, expecting equal rights and education and respect and independence and love, and woh bhi in jeans! #taubah #astaghfar

What is all this new-fangled nonsense? #qiyamatiscoming

These aaj kal ki larkiyan, I tell you! #ziyadaangraizibolniaagayeehai
"Parh likh jayein tou par hee lag jaatay hein! Ghar, bachay, huss-bund, sub rul jayein, lekin is ki ayaashiyaan nahi khatam honi! Na tor, na tareeka! Meri beti tou huss-bund ki ijazat kay baghair hilti nahi hai. Mashallah, issi liye apnay ghar mein sukhi bethi hai."
*slow clap*

My, what a perfectly precious princess! You child-rearing champion, you! #wishyouweremymom 

Anyways.

I believe the Academy owes me an award for my Best Bathroom Escort act. 

So, what is an aunty and what does it do, you wonder?

Ah, see! This is when planning pays off. 

Prior to posting this post, I predicted you’d pose that particular question, so I immediately commissioned this completely cool and customized illustration to save me some words while ensuring an increased accuracy in your existing aunty-spotting expertise. 

The reality is, aunties don't dig defiance or deviation from the decorum they’ve decreed and they definitely don’t give a rat’s dirty bum about your “old enough to bust a bun out the oven” age. And they also don’t give a single flying f*** about your stupid “learned to cut it on my own, long before you ladies came along” experience. 

Ideas are for idiots. Intelligence is inconsequential. #schoolisascam

Basically, you’re Jon Snow; you know nothing, baby! 

The good news is, the bad news ends there, because, luckily, the world’s wisdom lays within these women and we’re totally blessed to be alive during the grand days of their tenure, okay?

Interrogating my household help for information isn’t odd or insane in any way.  Not when it means solving mind-searing mysteries such as what time I woke up in the morning.

When one attempts to veil something as sinister and vile as a snooze schedule, it’s a serious offense that endangers innocent lives, so covert operations are completely kosher.

Because it really is a better, safer world when one wonderful, well-meaning woman is aware of my sleep-wake cycle. 

Demanding to know whether I bathe on a daily basis isn’t awkward or invasive. I’m completely comfortable with telling total strangers how I skip a day between hair-washes. #coolerthanvanillaice

And let’s be real; random people reserve the right to know whether the stubble I’m sporting on my legs is a symptom of being too lazy to shave while I showered or a by-product of the copious quantities of testosterone I secretly consume — because my burning desire to morph into a man is so obvious. 

Honestly, ordinary people might be put off or offended by such invasive inquiries. Not me. Not when national security and world peace are at stake.

Because it really is a better, safer world when my health, hygiene, and hormones are everyone’s business. 

Personally, privacy is a crock-of-crap concept manufactured to protect crazy monster-people who have dark dirty secrets or something scandalous to hide.

Aaj kal ki larkiyan, I tell you! #makingmountainsoutofmolehills

In today’s trying, troubled times, noble acts of nosiness are the need of hour. #nosejob

It takes serious courage to go through a stranger’s garbage and crawl up countless crusty cracks to quell all that out-of-line curiosity, okay? 

Just stop being so bloody judgy. 

And listen, I was lazy in learning to look past those oh-no-you-didn’t-OMFG-you-totally-did aesthetics and that complete lack of impulse control. #idols

— A huge shout out to my lady in Lahore who picked “cheetah” as her print of choice when upholstering her entire lounge and accenting it with made-to-match outfit. The subtlety of artistic expression in your cat-couches and custom couture is absolutely inspirational and its essence speaks to my soul. 

And holler at my jhagra-at-the-gym heroines. It was wondrous watching you slap the smirk off that woman’s face. The speed and sophistication of that swing was spell-binding. Obviously, you ladies like to keep it classy, so I know you’ll totally love this Super Chittar I’m sending you as a small token of my admiration. #cougarsgotgame

Frankly, witnessing the war in real life really wasn’t funny. It was tawdry, and terrifying, and ten types of traumatic.

Actually, wait. 

It was tawdry, and terrifying, and ten types of traumatic, but, goddamn,  the whole guts-and-glory episode was also shit-in-your-pants shocking and goddamn hilarious! 

And I probably only told twenty-million people and their moms. 

But, God, for real, I felt super-stupid and guilty when I found out that the average aunty’s got a huge heart of hold-your-thoughts-while-I-broadcast-my-bullshit gold! 

Believe me, those store-bought bosoms are busting open at the seams with sac hi batein that are totally in your best interest. #suckitsocrates 


Obviously, I can’t force you to take my word for it, so what I’d recommend you do instead is save a buck for every aunty who offers you unsolicited advice or airs an unwarranted opinion and I’ll call you in exactly three days so you can thank me for my truth-telling because it’s made you richer than Bill bloody goddamn Gates. #yourewelcome

Be smart and secure your financial future, babies. 

Invest in The Opinionator.

I did and, damn, I learned some life-altering lessons. #changedwoman 

Like, literally, I was a doddering dum-dum who didn’t have a clue about the cultural and social dynamics of death in our country, until one extreme intellectual was kind enough to detail the inner workings and explain that a failure to attend every funeral in town — FYI, that single one you skipped because you were burning with fever hotter than hell-fire counts — meant you could count on crickets chirping at your own, and that would definitely bring despair and devastation to your family and friends, because it sure would be embarrassing if packs of people didn’t show up.  #shitjustgotreal

Wait, no one to gossip, and giggle, and pretend-pray with gitaks, while my near and dear grieved?

Bummer. 

I mean, my life’s work and legacy would be wasted if my passing couldn’t muster a jumpin’ pumpin’ Justine-Timberlake-concert kind of crowd! Everyone with a brain agrees that dead people dig validation and a big bye-bye-world bonanza is an efficient method for providing that vital ego boost every corpse craves, right? #deadpeopleproblems #ItGirl

I swear, having the inside scoop on the after-life is the soul-saving stuff that has inspired my spiritual awakening. #blessed

I’m actually beginning to accept and understand what a super blessing it is to have the kind of well-wishing well-wishers who are so concerned about my well-being, they feel truly compelled to tell me it would be easier for my husband to be attracted to me if I wore more makeup — because, man, he’s been having a really hard time with that and, really, I have no idea what makes him happy. #superblessed #dontbejealous

Who wouldn’t hip, hip hurray over a lovely little lust lesson like that? #winningthelottery

I feel frickin’ awful for majorly misjudging and misconstruing all that care and kindness as patronizing, and calculated, and prying, and condescending; I must’ve been off my crazy pills. 

Sage advice such as poster-painting my face to please my man saved my marriage, said no one ever. #stupidisasstupiddoes

Anyway.

Aaj kal ki larkiyan, I tell you! #nashukri 

Me? I’m all about acknowledgment. Gotta be grateful, right? 

And I am.

See, according to aunties, this head has been stuck in the sand for the past thirty-two years. I’m an A-grade over-reactor who knows nothing about the ways of the world and my brazen displays deviant behavior — I don't do three-piece suits — are plain badtameezi. Here's the thing, though, like some woman who is clearly psychic and pretty much read my mind said, “I’m patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it.” #goodgirlswearGulAhmed

Point is, meticulously mapping out my moves might not have averted disaster, and the pieces of my puzzle not falling into precise formation pissed me off to hell, and I became kind of a bat-shit crazy banshee for a bit, but the pity party’s over, my pretties!


Experiencing the insane gall and gumption involved in aunty ambushes forced me to crawl out from behind that curtain of politeness, cut the crap, and grow a pair. 

And that’s what you call a goddamn gift!

Look, Tina Fey’s totally right, “Don't waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”

Needless to say, not having the nutters to say, “No,” is no longer a problem. 

And, maybe, one day I’ll even fulfill my fantasy of asking, “Are you out of your freakin’ mind,” or using my favorite fall-back phrase of fury, “back off, b*tch.“ 

Okay, that’s bull. I can be a big a-hole, but I ain’t an animal, so I’d probably skip the slurs, but you guys get the picture. 

War won. 

Okay, okay, I’m not going to lie; maybe, occasionally, and by occasionally I mean ALWAYS, the “strangers in my bathroom” bit still makes my blood boil a little, and by little I mean A LOT, but, man, my bathroom is a sacred sanctum and you can’t just barge in like a jungle-creature! 

Really, were you raised by wolves?

If you’re interested in using my restroom, I’d recommend you request a reservation.

And that’s what I want to say to that beautiful little girl who wants a wedding so bad.

Well, not that, but this. 

I know I completely clammed up when I felt cornered by an eleven-year old fashioning the same cotton-candy fantasies I’d concocted when I was her age, but it’s not because I didn’t want to tell her she was doomed to disappointment. 

It’s because well-timed words are wisdom, and this is the kind of conversation I want to have when she’s stuck in that sad, not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman stage (yes, I just quoted Britney) and needs someone to tell her the truth.

Someone to put things into perspective.

Someone to straight-up say, “Sweetie, stick to your plan and this shit shall pass.”

totally plan to be that person, because, trust me, these aaj kal ki aunties, I tell you…

By the by, back in the early days of being a bahu, I also played part-time butler. Pouring tea into porcelain cups, awkwardly cutting through conversations to confirm sugar preferences, dishing out tea-time snacks, I was Cecil Gaines’ super twin

So, this week, In honor of all the aunties who doubt my domesticity and give my tea trolley an eagle-eyed inspection before annihilating it, I’m doing Dazzle ‘Em Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs (all puns intended).

Honestly, in their daywear, deviled eggs can be a bit ho-hum — yellow yolks, mayo, mustard, and, occasionally, onions, mixed and mashed together isn’t exactly the epitome of exciting appetizers — but not these beet-pickled babies! 

Dipped and dyed to a marvelous magenta, these eggs are totally dolled up for a night on the town, tingling with a slightly tart tang and sneaky hints of spice after soaking in a heavenly beet-and-brine bath. 

The filling for these sexy thangs gets some superstar treatment too. Throw in the crunch of fresh, finely diced cucumbers and the earthiness of caraway seeds and what you end up with are these otherworldly amazing andaas.

Besides being goddamn gorgeous, these eggs can be boiled and marinated up to 3 days ahead of time, which, if you’re a plan-and-prep fiend like me, is the ultimate godsend. 

By the by, as much fun as fancy can be, my favorite tea-trolley foods are still Shezan’s slightly shady chicken patties and their chooza-yellow plain cake. 

I kid you not, the tempura trend is killing me softly

Adapted from, Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggsby Ian Knauer

Pickled Beet Brine
2 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar
1 - 2 small beets, peeled and thinly sliced
1 - 2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns 
1 small stick cinnamon (optional)
4 cloves, whole (optional)
1 star anise (optional)
1/2 small onion, finely sliced (optional)

Deviled Eggs
6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
3 - 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dijon mustard (OR) horseradish sauce 
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (kalaa zeera)ground
1 - 2 tablespoons cucumber, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh dill
Salt
Pepper

Hard boil the eggs by placing them in a saucepan and adding enough water to completely cover the eggs by an inch or two. Bring the water up to boil. Once the at a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover the top of the pan with a lid, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.  

TIP: Ideally, the eggs should be at room temperature before you boil them. This keeps the eggs from cracking when they’re exposed to heat in the pan.

Remove the eggs from the hot water and place them in a bowl of ice-water. This makes them easier to handle when you’re peeling and also keeps the yolks from oxidizing and going grey. Once they’re cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and set aside. 

The great thing about this pickled beet brine is that you can really tailor it to your tastes. Because I prefer a spicy pickle, I’ve listed some optional ingredients that I like to use to turn up the heat. Feel free to create your own combinations. Also, this marinade can be made and stored up to a week in advance.

In a saucepan, add the water, vinegar, sliced beets, brown sugar, bay leaf, and peppercorns, bring a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the beets are fork-tender.

Remove from the heat and cool completely. 

Once cooled, pour the pickling brine into a clean container (large jars are perfect) and plunge your eggs in to soak. Cover the container and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The longer the eggs soak, the brighter the color and flavor. 

Remove the eggs from beet marinade and pat them dry. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the yolks.  

In a bowl, mash the yolks, mayonnaise, horseradish sauce, mustard, ground caraway seeds, cucumber, dill, salt, and pepper together. I like to use dill because it’s a pickle’s perfect partner, but parsley can be a superb stand-in if dill isn’t available.

Carefully spoon the yolk mixture back into the pickled egg casings. Sprinkle with dill. 

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Until next time, minions, mind it!

1 comment:

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