Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spent, Yet Filled Up

I returned from my trip to India spent and yet filled up.  

I was utterly exhausted from the 2 days of travel including riding down a fog-filled mountain to a train station, 
a look out the train door
riding on an old train for 7 hours, 
spending a few hours in Delhi- eating, shopping, riding in a rickshaw “auto”, 
savoring our last day with our friends – and then boarding a plane for the next 15 or so hours (India’s night through America’s night), 
and then a connecting flight from Newark to Nashville.  We were spent.

me and the girls

And yet, I was filled up.

Being with a family that I adore and dear friends,

having a ball with sweet, sweet girls,

exploring a far-off land,

listening, loving, taking in the tastes and sights.

Melinda buying mangoes for us

And then upon arriving home in the morning, I faced life:  piles of laundry, duties, busyness, and unfortunately some funky stomach thing.  

I had great aspirations of blogging about Indian food and non-Indian food we experienced on our trip.  My co-traveler, Matt, even suggested I devote the next month to writing about food from our trip. 
But the stomach bug, and jet lag, and re-entry has not brought the opportunities to create Indian dishes to share with you….yet.  I haven't had the stomach or the time to attempt making curry potatoes, dosas and chana paneer.

I have tried a couple of the the "non-Indian" dishes we enjoyed there: cabbage salad and the baked oatmeal that we ate at the Snader’s house in India, but my attempts weren’t yummy enough to post.  They tasted much better there and I must have done something wrong with the oatmeal, because Brent's was superb and mine was crumbly.  I will keep working on that recipe and will hopefully post it soon.

In the midst of trying to get my head back on straight and adjust to life on this side of the world, Dave had a birthday, Dave’s dad came for a few days to visit, my kids started school and I am preparing for my classes to begin in the coming days!  I was thinking about what to post first. I have been daydreaming of recipes and photos and stories intermittently while I have been tediously constructing syllabi and course assignments. 

Before it’s too far gone, I think I must share with you the treat I made for Dave’s birthday.
I made him Red Velvet Cake…of course. (If you haven't read about our Red Velvet Relationship and you want a laugh READ HERE).
I gave him the chance to opt for Coconut Cake this year, but he stuck with his regular.

He decided he really wanted it 2 days old.  It gets mushier and the frosting soaks in more after a couple of days.  So 2 day old Red Velvet was what he got.
His birthday landed on the "Meet the Teacher night", which was not that honoring to him.  So, I invited a few of his pals over for some late night snacks, cake, olympic watching and Farkle-playing. 

Farkle is one of the things I learned in India that I have brought back with me.
Have you ever played it?  It’s not an Indian game.  (You can buy it at Target.)  But my young friends, Asha and Anna taught us how to play, and the adults and children had a ball playing intense and fun-filled Farkle matches! It was a highlight of our trip and I knew my family would love the game too. It's a simple game of dice, counting, chance and strategy. A new favorite for us!

For Dave's gathering, I made:
Guacamole with Chips & Salsa
Hanky Panky 
& Cake

I have posted about most all of these items except the Hanky Panky. 
I have to say, it’s pretty GROSS, in the yummy kind of way.
It is ugly, and fatty, and men LOVE IT (unless they are vegetarian, that is).
It’s a recipe my mom got when I was in high school from friends in Cleveland, Ohio.  They got the recipe from the Cleveland Newspaper.  Mom started making it as a party food.
It’s a meaty, cheesy bready appetizer.  It has a weird name: Hanky Panky. Scandalous, I know!

Dave looked up the definition of Hanky Panky and found that it is defined as:
1. questionable or underhanded activity
2. sexual dalliance
So, I’m not sure how this recipe fits this definition.  I guess it is a questionable activity to brown sausage, ground beef, velveeta cheese and mushrooms and pile it on rye cocktail bread. 

As I was doing some online searching for the reason for the interesting name of this recipe, I found this on

“Hanky Pankies, made with sausage, cheese, and a touch of Worchestershire sauce, have been a staple at Cleveland parties, tailgating events, and outdoor get-togethers for decades. Ask any Northeast Ohioan to name a quintessential Cleveland party food and you'll most likely hear 'Hanky Pankies.'
For an upscale variation of this sandwich, try the ones served at 87 West 2 at Crocker Park. They use chorizo and goat cheese.”

So…maybe it’s an Ohio thing.
And chorizo and goat cheese…yes! YUM!
I must try that!

Hanky Panky

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. HOT ground pork sausage
1 lb. velveeta cheese, cubed
1 small can of sliced mushrooms, drained and chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
cocktail rye bread (40ish pieces)

Brown meat.  Drain. Add cheese – stir until melted. 
Add remaining ingredients.
Spread a blob on cocktail rye.
Broil until melted and fully warmed.

 As I was making these, I kept saying, “I love you, Dave”.  I said, “this goes against what I believe in”. “Processed Cheese Product and 2 logs of meat all melded together”, “the things you do for love”. 
Of course I ate 2 of them, and they are really tasty, just not my typical fare.

One of the perks of this recipe is that you can make them ahead of time, freeze them on baking sheets, then pile them in Ziploc bags and pull them out to broil when you want to serve them.

I guess you do all kinds of things for love:  

like travel across the world,

or make cheesy-meaty snacks and Red Velvet cake,  

or pitch in to take care of kids to free your friend, or spouse, or daughter, or sister to go on an international trip (like my family and friends did),

or contribute financially to support a costly trip to India  (like so many friends did).

I am so grateful, so spent and so filled up.


  1. I was wondering when you would post the Hanky Panky recipe! It's such a party hit!

  2. sat at Rokeby for lunch several days last week during my language school break and thought of you! :)