Thursday, July 30, 2009

Indian Dinner

Oh yum, I checked out Madhur Jaffrey's book World Vegetarian from the library two days ago, and today I cooked an Indian meal entirely from this book. We had invited our friend Lynn over, and we see her rarely enough that it felt like an occasion to celebrate! Everyone (me, Nigel, Claire, and Lynn) loved the food. I am very pleased that I pulled off a nice dinner party with brand new recipes. My only complaint is that my rice was sort of sticky, and I'm not sure why. Otherwise, great eats were had by all.

The first picture shows the red lentils (masoor dal) before stirring in the fried red peppers, basil leaves, garlic cloves, and mustard seeds. It just struck me as so pretty that I had to snap a picture. The second picture shows everything plated, clockwise starting from the rice: Lemon Rice, Green Bean & Potato Curry, Apple Cranberry Chutney (from Trader Joe's!), and Masoor Dal Hyderabadi.

For dessert I served mango and chocolate sorbets with a pineapple and lychee compote. I don't have any pictures of dessert, but here's how I prepared the compote: I heated 1/2 can of coconut milk and a few tablespoons of brown sugar until the sugar dissolved, then I gently warmed up chunks of fresh pineapple and lychee in this sauce. In retrospect, there were too many flavors competing in the dessert bowl. Others agreed with me on this. In the future I would modify it to include only mango sorbet, and only pineapple compote. I think that coconut sorbet with mango compote would be divine, but there wasn't any coconut sorbet at the store today. Live and learn! I experimented a lot in the kitchen today, had a great time, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with family and friends. Success!

New skill: spice mixing!

I've never mixed my own spice blend before, but for an Indian meal I cooked tonight, I made this recipe for Sri Lankan Raw Curry Powder, from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook World Vegetarian. The first picture shows the spices on parchment paper, just before I roasted them in low heat for an hour. Aren't they lovely? The recipe calls for uncooked rice and coconut as well as several Indian spices, and fresh curry leaves. The second picture shows the spice blend in a jar, after everything was roasted and ground up. This curry blend went into the potato & green bean curry pictured above. It was delicious.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer Brunch

I cooked brunch today for about half a dozen non-vegan friends and family. The menu: tofu scramble with basil and sundried tomato, cocoa-strawberry muffins, yam home fries, banana-pineapple-coconut salad, and (not pictured but sooo yummy) spelt blueberry pancakes. The muffins, scramble, and pancakes are recipes from Vegan Brunch with a few modifications: I used strawberries instead of raspberries, and spelt instead of regular flour, in the Cocoa Raspberry muffins. I used spelt flour and added blueberries in the Perfect Pancake recipe, and I added basil & sundried tomatoes to the Basic Tofu Scramble.

For the yams, I diced two large yams and one medium sweet onion, tossed them in olive oil and salt, and cooked them in a heavy pan over medium heat, tossing frequently, until well-browned. For the fruit salad, I chopped three bananas and one pineapple, and tossed them with about 1/4 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut and 2 Tbsp. each of lemon juice and powdered sugar.

To drink: lots of coffee and juice! We ate out in the backyard. Good times. Pictured are our friends Marshal, Melissa, and their daughter Ramona.