Despite my early start and euphoria, tonight was still not going to be the night for spanakopita, so I made Chana Masala from Vegan Express while the tomatoes were in that delicate place between perfectly ripe and rotting. Cooking with fresh tomatoes is both a rewarding and stressful experience. For one thing, nothing beats the flavor of lightly sauteed, summer-fresh tomatoes, or the sweet explosion of flavor from a raw grape tomato at the peak of ripeness. On the other hand, I really do get seriously grossed out from the seeds. I don't know what it is, but it's enough to turn my stomach sour if I look too long. If only I could buy pre-seeded tomatoes. But that leads to the last point - there is really only one or two days that they are truly, incredibly edible and if you miss those days, you're either coaxing flavor from a hard, yellow-green, overly-acidic tomato, or begging the one you're trying to cut to refrain from rotting for just one more minute while you try to dice the grainy, falling-apart flesh while it separates itself from its skin (but never its stupid seeds...).
Anyway, tomato-induced trauma aside, dinner was light and tasty:
I can't tolerate Indian-influenced recipes served on brown rice, so I used white Jasmine and it was perfect. I would have preferred basmati, but until I have my huge chef's kitchen when Mister's solo album goes gold, there's only room for two rices. The tomato curry sauce clung very lightly to the creamy chickpeas, with a very subtle hint of What-is-that-Oh!-it's-lemon lying just beneath the garam masala and turmeric. As a contrasting but perfectly intense side dish, I roasted some asparagus with salt and pepper. I thought about adding some garlic, but decided to let the simple spices of my childhood draw out the naturally perfect flavor of these right-sized stalks before they go missing (or obscenely over-priced) for the winter.
In case you can't tell, I was as satisfied with our dinner as I am by my new urban-centric life.
On that note, I'm off to celebrate with red wine, dark chocolate, and a book about NOLA witches.