Saturday, November 28, 2009

A week in cooking

Read more here about the Madhur Jaffrey project - one of my 2010 goals. For an index of recipes, click here.

First, an apology to Madhur.

I withdraw unreservedly all the harsh words about cooking the lentils for an hour and a half, sans pressure cooker. The masoor dal was delicious. Every little bit of it (and I made a fair bit) was gone by Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I thought I could get by with the food I'd cooked over the weekend, but I'd eaten so much of it, there wasn't enough left.

So I cooked. I made Mustard greens, cooked in the Punjabi style, Yogurt with white radish, and Plain brown long-grain rice. (And yes, I do know how to make rice without a recipe, but since the rules of this project are not 'all the recipes you don't know how to cook already', I followed directions.

It was all delicious. My friend Stu had come over to watch Star Trek, and so I also got to make amends for the chickpea disaster.

Dinner - November 24, 2009 - Mustard greens, cooked in the Punjabi style, Yogurt with white radish, and Plain brown long-grain rice

Leftovers carried me until lunch yesterday. I came home for lunch, and hastily mixed up the Salt-and-Pepper, Indian Style.

Honestly, this one feels like cheating. The directions are - Mix salt, pepper and roasted, ground cumin seeds. That's it.

I was at a bit of a loose end about what to do with my fancy salt and pepper, but then it struck me to do a rub on my tofu, and pan-fry it.

Lunch - November 27, 2009. Pan-fried Tofu, crusted with Salt and Pepper, Indian-style.

It was good, though a bit salty. (To which the admittedly appropriate reaction is - well d'uh.)

Last night's birthday festivities were postponed (the birthday girl is sick) and so I invited my parents over to dinner, since my mom is sick and I thought she could use a bit of a break from fretting about what to make for dinner.

(Yes, my mom reads this. Yes, my mom frets about these things.)

Plus, a cousin of mine was in town.

Dinner - November 27, 2009. In order, Gujarati Carrot Salad, Potatoes cooked with garlic and sesame seeds and Fresh chinese parsley and mint chutney.

The meal was supplemented with the mustard greens from Tuesday, and store-bought naan. (Which, in truly lazy fashion, I sent my dad to buy.)

And here are the happy eaters, with food. (My dad was too lazy to get in the picture.)


Cooking/end notes:

- One of the reasons this project is so fun - every recipe so far (with one exception) has been delicious. Which means I can invite people over for dinner, make a recipe I've never made, and have confidence it will turn out ok. That's pretty compelling.

- The other reason this is fun? - I'm actually cooking, and this project is rekindling my love of cooking. I frequently take the lazy way out when it comes to cooking, and since I can't with this project, I'm being forced to cook, and I am reminded that I love to cook.

- I've been cooking mostly Indian food so far, for the very simple reason that Indian spices are the only thing my cupboards are well-stocked with. I just went and bought some Chinese ingredients, so watch for a more diverse cooking mix.

- The mustard greens recipe called for 9 tablespoons of butter. Are you kidding me? I used 3, and remained appalled at how much butter I was using.

- Finally, and importantly, I've cooked 5.8% of the recipes in this book. All right! (Yes, at this pace, I know I won't finish. In my defense, the first 10 days of November, I was on vacation. I'll pick up the pace over the coming months.)

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