Tuesday, March 24, 2009

At-Home Indian Food, Part I

Vegetarian Times inspired us to finally try and create some Indian cuisine that went beyond microwave papadum and homemade naan.

We actually made the entire magazine spread minus the chutneys. As I've mentioned before, we're fortunate enough to live next door to an Indian grocery. Usually, I go alone and peruse the aisles as mere entertainment. But since I had a recipe in mind, I brought Mark along to help me find everything. However, another shopper, with his young son in tow, (almost excitedly, actually) stopped his shopping to help us find many of the ingredients.

Mark was immediately drawn to the lentil pancakes, so we prepped those first as they needed to stay in the fridge overnight. I was so surprised that we were able to puree the lentil and rice mixture without cooking it at all.

Here are the lovely toppings:

Peas, jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro

We cooked them up on our cast iron griddle:

My favorite dish of the night was the Lemon Rasam soup:

not the best picture in the world, but it'll do.

Chiles, curry leaves, mustard seeds in ghee

We made a vegetable curry as well, but it didn't rock my socks or anything. I've proven not to be the biggest coconut milk fan, sadly.

We made this spread more than a month ago. I'm still playing catch up. This second student teaching placement is less hectic, but I'm knee deep in a job search as well as a newly initiated house search. We're hoping to find a nice cheap house so that we have enough money leftover for a tandoori oven...not really. I guess it'd be a little silly to make a clay oven top priority these days.

Bonus India-related tid-bit: my lovely little sister-in-law is studying in India this semester and she's learned how to dance the Kuchipudi. We're real proud of this little gal. She's the one in the red (not fuchsia) on the right. (It takes the video a minute to start up.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hey Stranger

We've cooked minimally in the last couple of months. I've been playing a teacher, which has worked out well for me, I'd say...though I cannot go into specifics right now. I have been sad to have to relinquish my cooking habit, but the payoff may be worth it. Generally, I cook for therapy, but it is possible, I'm now convinced, that teaching is my new therapy. It's a calling, that's for sure.

For now, I cook on Saturdays, if I have the energy to look something up.

On a lazy Hills-soaked Saturday night a month or so ago, we made this:

We got the Cilantro Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe's. This soup was good, better on the reheat if you ask me (as you know, most soups are). I loved the texture of the farro: chewy goodness. The collard spines were crunchy and delectable as I like them. I would recommend this soup if you're into sausage + curry. The flavor and textures were too much for me, though.

We also made a tomato soup, which was good, but not remarkable.

I made the croutons with some Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Sourdough cut into cubes, tossed with olive oil, and a good shake of Sicilian oregano (from Lazzaroli's).

Shameless Self-Promotion: please do check out my Middle School Blog as I'm really intrigued by my thought processes those days as I'm now working with kids of this age group.