Monday, February 21, 2011

curry fail, dinner win

If you could imagine a bizarre meeting of flavor and texture, what would it be?  Would it be sweet and gritty? Bland and crunchy?  Savory and vinegary?  What would your bizarre combination look like?  Would it be deep jewel-toned or a pale marigold?  A murky green or possibly a effervescent blue?  What about smell?  Would it smell like it tasted or would you be completely led astray?

Although my entire menu comes from Vegan on the Cheap, a book I've spent a lot of time in while feeling particularly stretched or impoverished, I still managed to eek out a few recipes I hadn't made yet that didn't contain ingredients to which Mister is "allergic."  Tonight, I made Coconut Curry Rice, which didn't have a single fresh ingredient, to my dismay.  Nevertheless, it was fabulous.

To look at it, you wouldn't think it different from any other coconut curry I've made (and considering Mister's love of curry, I've made plenty).  If you let yourself believe that, though, you would be horribly mistaken and I can't let you do that to yourself.

I started cooking and got as far as sauteing the garlic, and then the rice, then adding the veggie broth and creamy coconut milk...while it was simmering away at perhaps too lively a pace, I suddenly realized I had forgotten to add a crucial ingredient - the curry powder!  Otherwise, it would just be Coconut....Rice with veggies.  Mmmm... I can hear Mister hiding now.  I crouched down and started poking through my alphabetized spices, measuring spoon in hand, and there was no curry to be found.  Well, okay, the Muchi Curry of Doom was still there and probably will be for the rest of time, but my regular curry powder was gone!

Fortunately, thanks to my mother-in-law and Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, I had been concocting my own curry mixes long before I found that magical orange powder at Whole Foods.  I grabbed a juice glass and started emptying various spices into it.  When it appeared I had combined about 2-3 tsp of cumin, coriander, garam masala, muchi curry, celery seed, turmeric, chili powder, cardamom, and salt, I stirred everything together with a chopstick (I'm so multicultural) and dumped it into the bubbling coconut rice.

I must have had some clue what I was doing, because it turned an attractive shade of golden orange and tasted just like it should have.  There was an occasional "grassy" bite when you'd break open a celery seed, but I'd say it'll do in a pinch.  The scent of the "curry powder" combined with coconut milk was kind of other-worldly and the texture was akin to a savory rice pudding.  Mister doesn't like rice pudding, but I do, so I was pretty excited about the world of possibilities this opens.

After plowing through two bowls, I decided to practice enough restraint to guarantee leftovers sufficient for work-lunch.  I calmed the curry flavors still dancing on my coconut-sweetened tongue by trying out a new bar of dark chocolate.

Divine 70% Dark Chocolate absolutely lives up to its lofty name.  If the wrapper is not gorgeous enough, just look at that chocolate!  I might need just a nibble more.  Anyway, I can't stop myself from getting good, quality chocolate when I know it was also produced in a way that benefits more than just my tastebuds.  Divine Chocolate is 45% farmer-owned and fair trade certified, not to mention evidently free of animal products.  People think you have to make huge sacrifices all the time in order to live ethically.  This chocolate will prove them wrong.

On a lighter note, how about some fun pictures?

In October, my cousin got married in a small, private ceremony.  Yesterday, her in-laws hosted a reception to celebrate their marriage.  They had their "first dance" to "My Eyes Adored You," which my mother told me my father always thought was "My Sweet Georgia."  Listen - the next time you hear it, you'll know what I'm talking about.  During the dance, their little son became jealous that Daddy had Mommy all to himself and pretty much hung on my cousin's leg until she picked him up and let him join their dance.  After the dance, they cut their cake and fed each other.  The picture above shows my cousin getting "gotten" by her husband while her father takes a picture of the cake all over her pretty face.

This morning, while I was getting ready to go to work, I heard a rustling in Mister's room.  Mister was fast asleep in our bed, so I knew our little Monster was up to something.  I went in to find he had a new happy place.

He loves to crawl inside of Mister's various duffle and messenger bags.  In this picture he looks really small...don't let your eyes deceive you - that's just a really big bag.  I'm pretty sure I could hide in it if I wanted to.

Right before I walked out the door, I felt a pair of eyes on me and found that he had managed to get onto these shelves in the closet by my little work area.  I have no idea how he got up there and he appeared to have no idea how he was going to get down, but I think he's going to be very sad when we finally unpack everything and put stuff on all his fun places.

He does have his own little "bedroom" again, though...the space just below him has his blanket and pillow, as well as his litter box.  I guess he's just hanging out in the loft space, if you look at it like that!


  1. Kitties are so cute exploring their new environments. :)

  2. Also, I would love to pass on the Stylish Blogger Award to you. :)