Thursday, April 08, 2010

I'm Cooking

I'm cooking! I've been letting Cranky cook for so long. Ennui. Fatigue. Lack of appetite.
He's done a stellar job; sometimes creating fantastic meals and sometimes just getting us fed. So thanks, Cranky. Now, move over.
A couple of days ago I forced myself to make a cream of asparagus/sorrel soup for lunch. I was so out of shape, my hair was sweating. But it came out really good, smooth and light (not sludgy), with great flavors. Wow. So I dibsed supper. Which was easy, because it was damp and gloomy. I had one jar left of my home-canned chili. Just pop, heat and eat. (That seal was super tight! Major pop.) Accompanied with steamed tortillas (coulda used a salad; I'm currently in love with iceberg).
Yesterday I found myself announcing to Cranky that we would be having curried cauliflower for lunch. I envisioned a pale gold, soupy, creamy sauce caressing the florets, kinda retro.
But I wasn't exactly sure how to get that, and I wasn't in the mood for recipe mongering. I had a jar of Madras Curry Paste, with Vietnamese titles on the front, the name of the company is Chinese, and by the way, it's manufactured in Southern California. It tastes terrific, but it's very hot. No way I was gonna use that entirely for my sauce. And I couldn't envision diluting it with cream or whatever, because not in the mood, yadda.
So I let the creamy bath idea go. I sauteed the florets with chopped green garlic in peanut oil until I got the desired brown spots here and there. Next, I dropped in two gooey spoonfuls of the curry paste, with a little salt. That got all stirred around (it tends to clump). Finally, and this turned out to be genius, I added a heap of fresh-made ricotta (I didn't make it), and swirled that through until the moisture cooked off. It resembled paneer!
Just a quick topping with cilantro leaves, and boy howdy, I had made a curried cauliflower dish beyond my India Palace Buffet expectations. It was new, nouveau (at least in my kitchen), and I cooked!


Kailyn said...

Ooo. Hot. And paneer like. Hmmm. Think I know what kind of stuff I'll be making this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh. Tres yum.

For later: if creamywonderfulyum mood strikes, add half a can or so of full-fat coconut milk.


Zoomie said...

Another beautiful picture.

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: I just watched a video on how to make paneer (I've done it myself), and it's easy. Enjoy.

Eat: You are so binkin' right about the coconut milk. I guess I just didn't want that flavor at that minute (though I do NOW).

Zoomie: I have this one corner, one only, with lovely milky sunlight, winter and summer. (Milky in summer with the drapes shut.) Just lucky. Thank you.

SallyBR said...

You cook! and you rock!


Hungry Dog said...

That sounds good. Looks great too. I like iceberg. It's the stepchild of the lettuces but it has something to offer. Mark Bittman just wrote about it in yesterday's NYT, you should check it out if you didn't already.

dancingmorganmouse said...

Yay for cooking, ditto for cauliflower, o how I do love cauliflower.
Yesterday I watched (tv cooking show, blush) a woman stuff broccoli with paneer and cook it in a tandoor. "An Indian version of cauliflower cheese" she called it. Looked divine. Must get Mr Brown to build me a tandoor in the back yard (poor bugger, he's going to be busy!)

dancingmorganmouse said...

Also, cauliflower, green curry & coconut milk soup - just putting it out there!

Greg said...

Keep on cooking!

cookiecrumb said...

Sally: Thank you! Let's hope it continues. I'm digging it.

Dog: I saw the Bittman piece. I was gonna say "I beat him to iceberg," but who knows if that's true? I love the watery crunch, and I seriously believe it helps your digestion. At least it goes down nicer than frisee. :(

Mouse: I'm Jonesing for a wood-burning pizza oven in the back yard, even if I don't do pizza much. It'll roast chicken, etc. I hope you get your wish.
I shoulda thought about the coconut milk.

Greg: Are you talking to Mr. Natural?

peter said...

Isn't it great when you get that restaurant flavor, the one that scratches the takeout itch but in a healthy, frugal way? I always feel like a star when that happens.

I like your new post-minimal look.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: Yeah. Some of it usually comes from a jar, and I'm OK with that.
Hey, you're the first to notice the change. Merci.