Sunday, September 16, 2007

Still Ill?

I think that I am still a little less-than-healthy, but I'm feeling better. I slept all morning and then volunteered this afternoon. (Shame on me, I know. But I wore gloves and didn't sneeze or cough on anyone or anything.) And then I went to the international foodstore, the recycling dropoff, and the grocery store.

We'd made chicken and biscuits as one of the meals today, and that inspired me to make veggie pot pie. (Sort of...I decided to skip the crust.) The original recipe was in Judy Krizmanic's A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian; mine is from my own head and a very beat-up index card with a reminder of how much flour and how much water go into the sauce.

4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn

1 can chickpeas

8 oz mushrooms, chopped

Put potatoes and onions in a large pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 8 minutes. Add chopped carrots, simmer for 5 more minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and cook until heated through.

Meanwhile, make sauce. Mix in small(ish) bowl: 1/2 cup flour, 4 T nutritional yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp thyme, and a pinch or two each of ground ginger and ground cumin. You can also add dried dill, tarragon, basil, or oregano. Pour in 1/2 to 1 cup water, enough to dissolve the flour. Add to the vegetables and cook until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve with bread.

And of course, where there are mushrooms, there are booty-mushrooms:


I am ill.

Nothing serious -- cold? allergies? both? -- just enough to make me crave naps and warm liquids. I've been kinda fighting it all week, but it got way worse overnight. I'll head to the grocery store later today to buy some stuff to make soup, but here's what I managed to pull together from my mostly-empty fridge and pantry. Disclaimer: this is probably totally gross if you're not (a) me and (b) ill.

Peel and dice 1 potato. Place into saucepan with 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Once water boils, lower heat and simmer until potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Pour a beaten egg into the "soup" and simmer for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Marmite and pepper to taste.

And now, off for a nap.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tamarind-Date Chutney

I love to cook. This blog was intended to be a balanced portrayal of my life: some food, some knitting, some adorable pets, some everything else. Well, that didn't last long. My pets, while adorable, don't really enjoy being photographed. (And SOMC and SOMM aside, one can really only look at so many pet pics. I don't care how cute they are.) My knitted FOs are few and far between, and my "everything else" is relatively uninteresting. So, by default, a food blog it is. It's also a way for me to keep track of things that I've made -- I modify recipes like crazy, and every once in a while I'll hit on something that I'd like to make again. (And again and again and again...I'm kind of a 3-year-old like that.)

I also love to volunteer. I'm not exactly a social butterfly...I'll give myself partial credit and say that I'm a social caterpillar. So it's nice -- at least for me -- to have instant common ground when I'm meeting new people. (There are a zillion benefits to volunteering...but I do have a point that I'm trying to reach eventually. And I can only digress so far before it's considered a new topic.) One of the first things that I did when I moved here was to look for volunteer opportunities, and I ended up at Campus Kitchens. Amazing organization -- I really want to get one started at OSU when I head back in the spring -- and amazing volunteers.

(Gasp! It's my point!) I worked with Nupur all summer. She's a really inspiring person and a brilliant cook, and I was really sad when we compared schedules and found out that we wouldn't be cooking on the same shift anymore. But we kept in touch by email, and she invited me over for dinner and cooking lessons this weekend. I had a ton of fun and I learned a lot about Indian cooking.

Nupur's version of this chutney has only 3 ingredients: dates, tamarind, and jaggery. This recipe adds a little salt and cayenne pepper. I -- par usual -- added a bunch of stuff. (It's like a compulsion...I can't ever make a recipe without messing with it.) Mine turned out so well that I just want to eat it with a spoon. No exact measurements...m'bad.

Dates (I used "cooking dates" -- basically a cake of dates that have been pureed and mixed with a little oil.)
Tamarind (Apparently they sell tamarind juice. Or tamarind concentrate. I meant to get that and accidentally got the kind that still had all of the pulp and seeds left in.)
Jaggery (Unrefined sugar -- it comes in a giant awe-inspiring block.)
Powdered Ginger
Cayenne Pepper

Place dates in a small saucepan with some water. (I used about -- I'm guessing here -- 1/3 cup dates and 2/3 cup water.) Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, to dissolve the dates. Meanwhile, take a chunk of tamarind, place it in a bowl with water, and microwave for 1 minute. (I used about 1/4 cup tamarind.) Mash the tamarind as best you can -- there will still be nasty-looking chunks of pulp and seeds. Place a small strainer over the saucepan with the dates, and pour the tamarind mixture into the saucepan, pressing down on the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible. Break off a piece of jaggery (between 1 and 2 T sized) and add to the date-tamarind mixture. Sprinkle in a small amount of salt and each of the other spices. Simmer over very low heat for 3 minutes. Cool, and serve with samosas, pakoras, yogurt, or any other dish of your choice. (Or eat with a spoon.)