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They See Me Rollin’ (These Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Banana Rum Rolls)

Do you ever feel like you’re being… watched? Holy bleepers guys, Dove be spying. 

But seriously, somebody stop me, and not in the quirky Jim Carrey way. I need to either not purchase anything for a long while or come into a large sum of money, stat. I think I’d do well with a great sum of money. I’d add the word “Von” before my last name and wear silk gloves and roll all of my R’s, like fancy people do. This is fancy, yes. Stop asking questions. Questions aren’t fancy. 

Anyway, I know I said I’d be back last week with some serious sweets, and I was totally planning on it, but then the only “sweets” I could permit myself for a while came in a bottle of gross cough syrup. Yup, of course, just as I was talking about exciting plans and busy days and fun fun fun, I was hit with a dumb friggin’ cold. Though I still did follow through on all of my plans. One of which fell on one of the rainiest days we’ve had in a while. I almost fell into a pile of garbage. Twice. It was awesome. I think it extended my cold by a few days. More on that in my next post. 

For now? GUYS! THANKSGIVING STUFF! How psyched are you? I’m crazy psyched, especially since I’ve just recently gotten my taste buds back (colds + loads of garlic + chicken broth = fresh hell on earth) and have spent the better part of the last three days recipe testing. While we get to the good, someone more time consuming stuff, why don’t we talk sweet snacks? I picked up couple of rolls of phyllo dough and want to gift you all with a quick, easy peasy treat. Let’s [chocolate peanut butter banana rum] roll.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Rum Rolls (makes one dozen) 

6 sheets of phyllo, thawed

1/4 cup of butter, melted

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling, optional*

2 large ripe bananas, sliced

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 cup of peanut butter, smooth or chunky, depending on your tastes (I used chunky)

1/4 cup of dark rum, optional but recommended if you’re feelin’ it

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or chunks

*for cinnamon sugar, sift together 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 1/4 cup of white sugar until combined.

To begin, preheat your oven to 375°F and butter a large cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix together banana slices, sugar and peanut butter. Using a hand mixer on medium speed (Jimmy got me this one, and it’s the absolute nicest gift ever, just in case you want to buy something frivolous *wink*), combine until pureed. Add in rum until fully incorporated, then fold in chocolate chunks and set aside.

Lay phyllo sheets out on a clean surface and place a clean, damp kitchen towel over the sheets to keep them from drying. Gently lay one sheet out on a clean surface and delicately brush with melted butter. Place another sheet over this one and brush again with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired. 

Drop a heaping tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture at the top of one of the sheets, then roll carefully and tightly into a roll. Brush lightly with more butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until the top and sides are lightly browned and crisp. Let cool for 10 minutes, and serve while still warm.

So, these would totally be perfect as part of your Thanksgiving desserts, but I pretty much ripped into them as soon as they were cool enough to eat… the common cold meant that I had basically been without proper sweets for, like, three days. Do you know what that could do to a woman?!

Yup. Nuts. 
Yup. Nuts. 

If you’re cooking the entire Thanksgiving feast for your guests and are tired as all hell and kind of at a loss for the sweet portion, these should be your go-to dessert. They’re easy, quick and the yum game = strong. You could even swap out or add in some ingredients– mini marshmallows instead of bananas, pecans instead of peanut butter, etc. Get crazy, ya’ll. 

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Wobbly And Delicate. No, Not My Psyche: It’s A Panna Cotta Post!

You know how they always say that television is super healthy for your soul? They say that. Someone does. Well who cares who “someone” is? Readers, meet Television, my new BFFL.

And what, you might ask, am I watching? Well, given that I am uncool and often at least a year behind all of you hippy dippies, I’m on series one of The Great British Bake-Off, which is easily now my all-time favorite cooking-based competition show. Everyone on this show is so damned nice, and I’m amazed/worried over how emotionally attached I’ve become to every single contestant. Perhaps this says more about my current emotional state than it does about the quality of the show, but NO MATTER! You all need to be as obsessed as I am. This is the kind of show that could make a cold old soul like this one melt like buttah. I mean, there’s a freaking seventeen year old who is owning the season so far, and I’m too busy rooting for her to jealously question my own life choices. The show’s got HEART, people!

How was everyone’s Halloween? We ended up, at the very last minute, deciding to go to a friend’s party, which made me realize just how old I’m getting. I pretty much threw a tantrum at the thought of leaving the apartment after 8pm. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have even let the house until close to midnight, and these days I’m griping to my boyfriend about going to a party. That someone was kind enough to invite us to join. I’m a terrible human. 


Yup, that’s correct, I pulled out the old three-minute Princess Leia costume and Jimmy decided to be… Luke Skywalker. And then, to prove to all the other guests that he was Luke, I present to you the above. Disturbing on all of the levels, yes. I never promised you a rose garden.

What can I promise you? Panna Cotta! Panna cotta is a sometimes annoying but mostly easy, quick dessert that, when done correctly, can impress your friends/best friends/television. I decided to add booze to mine, because what else would you expect from me? 

Rum Stracciatella Panna Cotta (makes 3 to 4 servings)

lightly inspired by

1 cup of half and half

1 cup of heavy cream

1/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 packet of powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)

3 tablespoons of water

2 to 3 tablespoons of dark rum, optional

handful of chocolate chips

Place water in a medium-sized bowl, then sprinkle gelatin evenly over water and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.


In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream, half and half and sugar until sugar is dissolved– it needs to be hot, but do not let the mixture come to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and rum. Set aside.

Lightly oil ramekins, tumblers, tea cups, or whatever other heatproof container you’d like to use to serve these. I used all three because I wanted to figure out which would be prettiest, and also I used the tumbler because I was afraid my panna cotta wouldn’t unmold. This is a trust circle guys. It’s important to be honest. 

Stir a handful of chocolate chips into your hot cream mixture and stir lightly just until the chocolate melts and leaves a lovely spotty, ribbony pattern. Pour this mixture over your gelatin, and stir until the gelatin completely dissolves. And I mean completely. The first time I made this I didn’t realize my gelatin hadn’t completely dissolved and I was left with a delicious but messy custardy thing that fell apart as soon as I tried to unmold. I was PISSED. Once it’s completely dissolved, pour into your receptacles, and chill for 2 to 4 hours, until set.

See? They're pretty in tumblers!
See? They’re pretty in tumblers!

Now you can totally leave these in your ramekins/tumblers if you’d like, but if you’re looking to unmold them, run a very thin knife around the edge of your panna cotta, place a plate on top and invert.


No matter how you decide to eat these… oh em gee, ya’ll. It’s a wonder. Believe it or not, the rum does not overpower these and instead gives them a nice caramel-like finish. These are also pretty quick to prepare and make quite a nice treat for your party guests/self. I just had one for breakfast. Ok, no I didn’t. I had two. I had two for breakfast. Like I said, circle of trust. 


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Let’s Pretend We’re In India, And Not On Hoth, Which Is Where We Live Now.

So I’ve been cracking Hoth jokes since this past weekend, when snowpocalypse was but a mere twinkle in the Northeast’s eye. This morning, I asked my boyfriend to bring the Tauntaun around so we could ride to the nearest park and go sledding. Hilario, I know. Oh, but I wasn’t always this jolly. I spent most of last night freaked out by the end-of-days posts on Gothamist and worried I didn’t stock enough milk for the pending storm (spoiler alert: I didn’t).

In case you were wondering, I’m writing this post on Tuesday evening, just as the big “blizzard” is winding down. I spent today working from home, which is simultaneously happy and sad.Happy because I can see the alternate universe in which I attempted to commute, and it involves me crying on the Manhattan-bound F train platform and picking frozen tears off of my face. I need to make some life changes.

How I survived the storm.
How ELSE I survived the storm.

It’s sad because I AM GOING COMPLETELY STIR CRAZY GUYS OMG. I recently made the mistake of learning that my phone has a built-in pedometer, and now I cannot stop tracking my steps, and since I live in an apartment in New York City, there are only so many steps I can take. Today, so far, I have only taken thirty steps, and knowing that is driving me bananas. As a result I am spending entirely too much of today walking from wall to couch to television to wall again whilst obsessively checking my phone to see the numbers shoot up. I am a sad, pajama-clad, live-action game of Pac-Man. Wait! Forty! I’m up to forty steps! Progress!

And how ELSE am I riding out this non-blizzard? With payasam! “WTF SHIBOW?! Be a little more aggressive with the spell check,” is likely how many of my non-Malayali readers are reacting right now. But fear not, friends! I can still spell like a mother. Payasam, a South Indian treat, (similar to kheer, which is a common North Indian dessert that can be found at many an Indian restaurant) is a sweet, milky dessert containing noodles, raisins, nuts and a few spices. It’s almost a pudding, almost a sweet soup. Payasam was always THE best part of all family functions for me, mostly because I am a sugar fiend and a little bit because I have poor social skills. If you’re more of a cupcake and cookie kind of human, this dessert is weird for you. I get it. But you need to try this, a. because it’s easy, and b. because it will give you the opportunity to open the eyes and stomachs of all of the other cupcake-and-cookie loving humans around you to a new, glorious comfort food. Let’s do this.

Payasam (makes a healthy few bowls. I know that’s vague. Sorry guys)

2 tablespoons of ghee/clarified butter (we’ll go through how to make this if you don’t have any on hand)

5 cups of coconut milk

1/2 cup of sugar

1 cup of vermicelli noodles (if unavailable, sub in 1 cup of angel hair pasta, broken into smaller pieces)

1/2 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of halved cashews

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground cardamom

To begin, we’ll make our clarified butter, if you don’t already have some ghee handy (I didn’t). For two tablespoons of ghee, melt about four tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat in a medium-sized saucepan, then reduce heat to low when butter is melted. Allow to cook until the butter browns and a foam forms on top, about 6-7 minutes.


Skim the foam off, then pour butter through a strainer. Discard strained solids, and pour clarified butter back into the saucepan.


Over medium heat, saute noodles in ghee until lightly browned. Pour in milk, sugar, and spices and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.


Once mixture reaches a boil, add in raisins and cashews, and bring heat back down to a simmer. Allow it to cook until the milk thickens and the pasta has softened, then remove from heat. Serve hot, warm or cold. On days like this, it’s absolutely perfect warm.

Heaven Soup.


So, it may not look like much, but WOW. I know I’m a highly emotional, extremely sentimental person, so having a bowl of this definitely brought a couple of tears to my eyes. It’s legit. My dad happened to be dropping by just as I was done making the payasam (truth is, he was dropping off blizzard food for me and my boyfriend, because he is an Indian father and does not believe we eat anything but Multigrain Cheerios and also is a nice human being), so I set him up with a to-go bowl for the family. My mom (who’s celebrating a birthday today– HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA! <3), after giving me several pointers which were subsequently worked into the above recipe, praised it, which is really all I needed to hear. Payasam. Kid created, Indian mama approved.