Chickpeas in coconut milk curry from Vegetarian Thai Cooking By Vatcharin Bhumichitr
Thai-style fried rice
potato salad with mustard-raspberry vinegar dressing and basil
(we also had delicious black plums, cookies and non-dairy frozen desserts)
This was a successful week in the kitchen! I made almost all of the dishes in about an hour and a half, with no sweating or cursing. I have made the chickpea dish many times; it's not a typical Thai dish, since as Mr. Bhumchitr explains, whole beans aren't a usual part of Thai cuisine. He collected the recipe from a Buddhist monastery. It calls for a paste of coriander roots, garlic and black pepper, and then for additional curry powder. This time I had made the master curry powder recipe from Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking. I also had both fresh August garden tomatoes and fabulous basil. Then I decided to improvise a fried rice based on all the recipes I had around--I fried sliced shallots and scallions, then added grated carrot and pineapple chunks, then the rice, sugar, soy sauce. If it had been authentic I would have used chili peppers, but I was worried that my son might accidentally smear chili in his eyes.
We didn't make the gazpacho until Saturday morning. My little guy got me up and we went into the kitchen, and he helped me, sorta, as I grated and chopped cucumber, tomatoes, scallion, cilantro. We added a bit of oil and vinegar and some tomato juice, salt and pepper. The tomatoes were a combination of some organic heirloom ones I got on sale at Whole Foods and a windfall of garden tomatoes. Every imaginable huge and texture of tomato: red, yellow, red with orange stripes, orange, green with stripes. It was a beautiful gazpacho. My son ate his at lunch saying "pretty, pretty!" We had it again with some friends at Seudah Shlishit.
Oh it made me happy to have them over on the spur of the moment, we picked them up on our walk, took them to the playground with us, and then kind of lured them home. I used to have people over for summer suppers on Shabbat all the time. We would study, or I would read stories to one of the children, and then we would eat, and sing songs, and say Havdalah. I really love that and we haven't been doing it much. This time we talked about community issues. We didn't dwell too much on the anti-Semitic fliers, but instead talked about ways that people where we live have been trying to make inter-community contacts. We also talked about parenting--our friends are expecting--and how intimidating it can be to make friends with other moms.
I just want to tell you that my 2 1/2 year old has picked up a bunch of prayer vocabulary. We have explicitly been reciting the Shma to him at night before he goes to sleep, and I knew that he knew what a siddur was. But lately he has pointed to the siddur and said "shma!" and also "kedushah!" (It is amazingly moving to have your child say "kedushah!" which means "holiness!" He was saying it because it's the name of a prayer, as is "Shma". I think that's why, it might also have been because I refer to the siddur as a "sefer kedushah.") I don't want to give you the idea that he is some kind of genius, though. Tonight he had my copy of the Alfred Kotlach name book. He saw that the book had Hebrew and English and said "Siddur! Shma! Hebrew!" So yes, he knows which is Hebrew and which is English, but no, he doesn't actually recognize the Shma on the page. It's amazing what he can pick up without trying.