Sunday Dinner: Serves 4 hungry fools (or two for dinner, and plenty leftover)
cooking time: about half hour if you're a multi-tasking fool
Lefty Cooks is a neurotic, oft-stressed young women, and-- as a result of her continued participation in the academic world-- has been prone to various chronic (cure-free!) disorders of the stress-related variety. This summer, which should have been all laughter and jokes, was another instance of said problems. However, Lefty Cook remains deeply suspicious of the industrial medical establishment (and has very cheapo health insurance), and has been treating herself with a combination of mummy-provided acupuncture and internet provided advice (the latter is strongly not recommended).
One of the top strategies of natural healing is avoiding certain foods. And then cycling them in over time and observing the body's reactions. So far, no tomatoes, alcohol, coffee or chocolate (until I get better). Which makes for creative cooking challenges. Like last night's pesto pizza biancas (with CSA and farmer's market basil, CSA Asian eggplants, and a huge CSA mesclun salad).
Today, I really wanted Indian food, but Indian food is really tomato based. I looked online and searched for a chana masala recipe with no tomatoes, and found this. The recipe calls for dried mango powder, which probably makes up for the lack of tomato sweetness. So I thought what does a creative cook do? I saw the HUGE bunch of farmer's market carrots and started to grate them, and added them to chana masala after cooking the spices.
The problem is (and there's always a catch), tomatoes start to give off juices very quickly and then break down, making up a key aspect of the liquidy gravy. Carrots don't. Their juices (if any) get quickly evaporated, and the carrots, even when finely grated, tend to just lump together. I kept adding water to encourage some kind of gravy-like result, but in the end, they never got together well. I ended up with rather boring and bland chickpeas, but the carrot parts were very fragrant.
I also made a cabbage dish, Indian style, adapted from this recipe. This was very good but I'm glad that I don't wear white, as the turmeric-y cabbage is a sure-fire stain creator. I did a few substitions as my Indian spice collection remains wanting.
Finally, I had leftover half whole wheat/half white flour dough sitting around from the pizzas. I think I read somewhere once that you can fake naan by throwing yeast dough onto a hot cast iron skillet. Unfortunately, this was that trendy no-knead artisan bread in 5 minutes a day business, so it was hard to stretch thin and spread on the skill. It was still quite edible.
Lucky for me, the blokey is very tolerant of cooking experiments. My food doesn't always turn out perfect or well, but we had a really good meal, with plenty of leftovers. (Adding yogurt to the mix made everything better)
Step one: start the rice (i made 1 1/2 c. of white basmati)
Lefty Cook's "Ow my everything hurts" Indian-style chickpea curry, with cabbage on the side.
pre cooking: grate 4 carrots (finely), chop up 1 onion, 5 cloves of garlic, and 1/2" of ginger root, core and quarter a 1/2 a cabbage, and cut into strips
2 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans)
4 finely grated carrots
butter or oil olive
1 onion chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2" ginger, grated
1 1/2 teas cumin
1 1/2 teas turmeric
1 teas of coriander
1 1/2 teas of garam masala
1 c or more of water
salt and lemon juice to taste
cilantro (chopped) as garnish (1/4 cup) optional
sautee onions in oil/butter for about 2 minutes, medium heat, until they soften. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until they brown. Add spices (except garam masala), and stir/cook for another 4 minutes. Add carrots, cook until they soften (about 5 minutes), add cup of water, and wait until it starts to become incorporated. Add chick peas. Add more water if it all looks dry. Boil off some of the water (5 more minutes) and then sprinkle chana masala, lemon juice, and salt (adjust seasoning to your liking). Remove from heat and sprinkle cilantro on top.
In the meantime, while you are cooking the chickpeas, cook the rest of the onion and garlic to the pan and cook (in oil or butter), for about 3-4 minutes over medium high heat. Add about 1 1/2 teas of coriander and 1 teas of turmeric, and cook another 2 minutes. Throw all the cabbage and stir and cook. This will take you about 5 minutes before it wilts. Salt to taste (don't over cook- you don't want mushy cabbage)
Funky Naan-style bread
oil/butter for pan
some old bread dough, laying around
cast iron skillet
Heat up the skillet over medium high heat, with oil/butter in the pan (don't use to much, it's not donut bread). When it seems hot, take a handful of dough, try to stretch it as thin as you can without breaking, and throw it on the skillet. When it seems kinda solid looking (like a pancake), flip it over. It should be kinda browned, and then flip again when the other side is over. Spread some butter over it if you're inclined.
Serve curry and cabbage over rice. Stuff it into the bread if you're feeling chapati adventureous, and garnish with plain yogurt.