Friday, October 17, 2008

not cooking so much lately

And recently I realized that despite the fact I'm supposed to, I keep forgetting to take attendance.
But I did make pigeon peas and rice recently (from the Moosewood cookbook). It was very good. I ate it for lunch and dinner yesterday, lunch today.
if i don't start doing something that isn't a) going to school and trying to work and mostly failing and then freaking out or b) going home and trying to work and failing and freaking out soon, I will probably give myself a serious aneurysm. More cooking! More enjoying! More stopping and smelling the Halall food cart a block from the Columbus Circle subway stop!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

quick dinner

Sometimes (aka most nights) i get home late after a 50 minute stinky (in a delightful way) subway ride and I need a super fast dinner, that's not cereal. 20 minutes cooking, max. This is where leftover rice works well. I made this last Wednesday after a long long day of teaching to disgruntled students. But they'll be all right.
I recognize that most of my meals seem like my other meals. This is supposed to have a "middle eastern" flavor because of the chickpeas and parsley, but it could be "Indian" style as well.

Lemony Parsley chickpeas with rice
prep/cook time: 20 minutes
1 tomato, chopped
1 can of chickpeas
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp of cumin
juice of one lemon
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley
pre cooked rice (day old)
pita bread
plain yogurt (optional garnish)
butter/oil for cooking

1) saute onions in oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until softer, add garlic.
2) add cumin, rice, and if necessary, a bit of water
3) add chick peas
4) add tomato, lemon juice. Continue to cook over lower-medium heat until the peas are slightly softened
5) remove from heat. Add chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Eat with pita and yogurt

Sunday, September 14, 2008

International Solidarity with 9/11/73

(A riff on Chilean stew, with South Asian elements)

It's been a while since I've updated, and this is because I've moved. But I finally made it over to Jackson Heights, Queens, the south Asian capital of New York city. Man, i've never been to South Asia but I've been in South Asian districts of London and it felts very similar- busy, chaotic, incredibly diverse (in the south asian groceries by my parents' house in exurb Atlanta, I am typically the only non obviously S.Asian looking person). But I felt very much at home with the Central American, South Asian, East Asian populations mixing with the occassional white urban gentrifier.
I bought really cheap cauliflower, a few pickles (including a mango one for one of my roommates), and a good garam masala (I refuse to pay a dozen plus dollars for the Whole Foods/Dean and Deluca variety). I went home, looked around the fridge and came up with this: (it's a marriage between Tomatican- a Moosewood cafe version of Chilean stew, and Aloo Gobi)

Butter (Lima) bean and cauliflower curry with brown basmati rice
(approx time: 40 minutes)
serves 2-3 (I am hungry so I ate about half)

1 frozen pack of butter beans (approx 12 oz)
1 can of chopped tomatoes (Hunts or Muir Glen, everything else taste tinny)- you could also use 1 fresh tomato and some tomato paste and water)
1/2 cauliflower head (or whole)
1 small onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
1/2" of ginger root, diced
1 jalepeno or similarly hot peper chopped, or 1/2 teas of cayenne
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon or less Garam Masala
salt to taste
oil or ghee for sauteeing
brown or white basmatic rice

plain yogurt, chopped cilantro, Indian relish

1) cook rice (as much as you want- i did 1 1/2 c.) according to directions (typically 2:1 water to rice for brown, 1.5:1 for white).
2) Brown onions in oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, jalepeno for 2-4 mintues, until onions are tender and the peppers are making you cough (a little)
3) add spices except garam masala to onion mixture, stir for 1 minute
4) add tomato/canned tomato. Let simmer for 2 minutes
5) add beans and cauliflower. increase heat to high until this starts to bubble and lower to a simmer. Add lid and stir occassionaly, 10 minutes (if the liquid is too low, then add some water) until the beans are tender but cauliflower still has some bite
6) add Garam Masala- stir another 2 minutes
7) remove from heat. Serve rice and any garnishes

It doesn't look pretty but it tasted damn good:
(that green stuff in the middle is coriander relish, coriander being the Queen's way of saying cilantro).

On an somewhat related but important for me anyway topic, I love Indian medicine remedies,
especially for the gastro-intestinal area. Imagine my delight as I found these in the checkout "impulse buy" area for a mere $1.99:

They are "special pills for all gastric disorders, indigestion, wind flatulations and other digeston disorders." I took some with water before eating dinner. They tasted a bit like farts and here I am, having eaten a bit too much, feeling comfortable and carefree. Thanks Chiran1a!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, 4 August: clean out the pantry curry and rice

Today was one of those evenings when there wasn't much to cook with in the fridge. Usually, I take whatever I can find and throw it into some kind of omlette (I always keep eggs, some kind of cheese, and something that can be used as a sauce for this) but I had already done that for late breakfast (last night's leftovers, squeezed between tortillas). I found a number of things in the fridge and pantry. We live in a mixed neighborhood, so I have access to alot of Latin American and Mexican ingredients that aren't so cheap and available in the more frou frou groceries in town. After scratching my head over the fact there wasn't a single green vegetable in the house, I present to you Muttar Panir, Mexican-Caribbean style

Monday night Mexi-Caribbean Muttar Panir with simple rice pilaf
(Serves 2)
approx prepation/cooking time= 35 minutes
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch of ginger, grated
1 jalepeno or other small hot pepper, chopped (can substitute with cayenne powder, approx 1/4 tsp.)
~1/2 tsp. turmeric
~1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1-2 plum tomatoes, diced
2 Tbs. of tomato paste (these prior two ingredients can be replaced with low sodium canned diced tomatoes)
1 15oz. can of pigeon peas, drained (Goya brand, can be found at local Latin American market, feel free to replace with 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas or canned lentils)
1/2 of queso fresco/blanco, cut into 1/4" cubes (this can be eliminated/substitute with fried tofu for vegans, or increased depending on your tastes, also if you like it crispy, feel free to quick fry them in some oil)
1/2 veggie bullion cube
1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. white basmati rice
garam masala to taste
salt to taste
1/2 lemon or a lime (or vinegar- or skip it entirely, this just adds more acidic tastes)
plain yogurt
cooking oil (i use olive b/c that's all i have but die hard Indian cooks recommend ghee which is just clarified butter, or safflower oil. avoid the cheapy huge bottle of corn oil sold in gallon sized plastic containers)
possible garnishes: cilantro, chopped cashews, thinly sliced cucumber

First, saute over medium heat the about 1/3 of the chopped onion in a small pan (for the rice), about 2-3 minutes in the oil until translucent. When they start to yellow a bit, add about 1/4 teaspoon of the cumin. Saute an addition 1-2 minutes
Add the rice to the onion mixture. You want to coat each rice kernel. Mix the boiling water with the half buillion cube. After the rice is coated enough (about 2 minutes of gentle stirring), increase the heat, add the broth, wait till it boils, lower the heat, add the lid. This should cook about 20-25 mintues. In the mean time you move on the curry.
Start again with sauteeing the rest of the onions over medium heat in the oil (i never measure this, but be conservative- about 1 Tbs and you can always add more if it looks dry). After 2-3 minutes, add the garlic and the jalepeno. Stir occasionally for about 2-3 minutes and then add the cumin (start around 1 teaspoon and add more if you think you need it later) and all of the turmeric (a wonderful, if staining spice).
After adding the spices, add the tomatoes. Let it boil then simmer until it starts to look watery, then add a little water (maybe 1/4 cup). When this boils, add the paste and mix it up, let simmer 1-2 minutes
Next, add the drained pigeon peas, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and stir. Follow this up with the Garam Masala and Queso Fresco
The final steps are to add the yogurt (it makes a creamy texture) and any garnishes you may have standing on hand.

My roommate and cat were very pleased with the dinner (even if the kitty only devored the aromas). If I had a camera, i'd post a picture... Next time, perhaps?