Friday, October 8, 2010

in the kitchen

Things are hopping these days. Lots to do. Our family respite from the craziness occurs in the kitchen. The Boy Builder is working hard to become the Boy Chef, and his creations are inspiring.

Yesterday, he and I surprised the work crew by bringing to the building site Philly cheese steak sandwiches (eggplant for the vegetarians, recipe inspired by Rachael Ray, with hefty amounts of creativity from us), roasted fingerling potatoes, and, because Boy Chef was involved, a super surprise of cake and pear compote. It was a chilly day and warm food seemed in order. (Unfortunately, forgot to take pictures.)

For the Boy Chef, presentation is just as important as taste, so the other day he tried his hand at candy making for this sundae he invented that was scrumptious:
Sundae of vanilla ice cream, cashew brittle, mint leaves, and fresh raspberry
Boy Chef seems to be working on his sauces (lots of watching Food Network and their French-inspired techniques) and this blueberry sauce over plain yogurt and his own chocolate waffles was an unequivocal success:
The Boy Chef also made the (unfortunately, unphotographed) best salad I may have ever eaten for dinner 2 nights ago: Romaine lettuce, fresh parsley, roasted corn cut off the cob, roasted sweet red pepper, chopped jicama, with a lime vinaigrette.

I promised to share a go-to recipe every now and then for nourishing busy builders, so I'll share this spontaneous curry invention we ate a couple nights ago that turned out really delicious. You can really use whatever veggies you have around, or even throw in fish or chicken if you like. the curry is a canvas you can paint and layer flavors upon.

Coconut-Tomato Curry

Vegan, serves 6-ish people, about 30 minutes of preparation

Ingredients (all quantities approximate as I didn't measure anything when I made this)

2 Tablespoons peanut oil
1-1/2 teaspoons cracked brown mustard seed
1-1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, small dice
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 Tablespoon prepared curry powder (I made my own sometime ago and use that)
1/2 bunch of cilantro stems, chopped
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons minced ginger
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes and their juice
1 cup coconut cream

3 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced (I peeled because the potatoes were going south, but no need to peel)
1 purple eggplant, diced
3 small jewel yams, diced
1 can drained garbanzo beans
1/2 bunch of cilantro tops
Lemon juice to taste

Note: I season my food in layers as I add ingredients, so be sure to salt and taste as you go so everything comes out yummy.

Begin making the curry by pouring the peanut oil in a large saute you have a lid for over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but long before smoke point, add the mustard seed to season the oil. About 30 seconds later, add the onion and jalapeno (layer in salt). Sweat them until the onion is proverbially translucent. Add all the spices and the cilantro stems and cook for a bit until the spices are fragrant and yummy and the veggies are brightly colored. Add the garlic and ginger and stir around for 30 seconds or so. Then add all the juice from the tomatoes. While the juice is getting hot, pick up the tomatoes one at a time and smash them in your hands to break them up into pieces and add them to the pot. (Layer in salt.) Let the tomatoes get all nice and bubbly and yummy smelling and then stir in the coconut cream. Do it so the coconut cream blends in smoothly and beautifully and doesn't curdle or lump up.

Next add the potatoes, eggplant, yams, and garbanzo beans. (Layer in salt.) Then add enough water to just barely cover the veggies, put the lid on, and let the veggies cook until the potatoes are tender. At some point, you'll need to turn down the heat once everything is up to temperature so you've got a simmer going and not a raging boil. This will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on your altitude, how big your veggies are, and other factors.

When the veggies are cooked, take off the lid and turn off the heat. Add the cilantro and stir it around in the still warm food. Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve over good quality basmati rice. I made about 4 cups of dry rice and that seemed to be the right amount for this quantity of curry, but it was especially yummy rice, so your rice mileage may vary.

Bon appetit!

1 comment:

  1. That blueberry yogurt chocolate waffle is makin my mouth water!