more of the same plus green salad with watercress, peas, cucumber and oranges
My husband was surprised that I said he had purchased the Nita Mehta cookbook for me! No, he fully intended to re-enter the Shabbat cooking club at our house. In fact, he has already made a pea and potato curry from the book, which he enjoyed very much, while I was out of town for the wedding two Shabbatot ago.
This week I made a potato and poppy seed curry from the Nita Mehta book. It was quite easy and good, and featured kalonji (nigella, not to be confused with Nigella Lawson, another Jewish cooking celebrity and all-around cutie) as well as the white poppy seeds. No, it did not taste like mun hamantashen, as I feared. Now, if you go to her website, you will see that Nita Mehta is New Delhi's answer to Martha Stewart. She has cookbooks in every style of Indian cooking (apparently the right word is "khanna") in both vegetarian and omniverous versions, in English or in Hindi. Also, she can teach you how to make vegetarian or non-vegetarian specialties from other countries, including China.
We took a look
we saw a Nook
on his head he had a hook
on his hook he had a book
on his book was How to Cook by Nita Mehta.
But a Nook can't read
so a Nook can't cook
and anyway a Nook doesn't know the Hindi word for poppy seeds
so what good to a Nook is a hook cook book by Nita Mehta?
You can guess what I have been reading to my two year old: cookbooks and One Fish Two Fish. I am a little nervous that he is going to think that a Gack is a real animal. He is in a cool phase of repeating all two word phrases or any polysyllabic word he thinks is interesting. He likes the word Passover (pronounced Pah-Oh!) and the word peachtree, which he says correctly but with a little pause between the first and second syllables.
Anyway we have learned a lot about Indian cooking but there is so much more to learn. We do know enough to realize that the recipe for cauliflower curry we found should not be on a website for north Indian recipes where we found it, since it's precisely like several recipes we have for south Indian dishes. It's a good recipe though. My husband made it perfectly. It was, as our favorite Shabbat guest always says, "delicate." (It's also true that we know you aren't really supposed to serve vegetable curries with no rice and no rotis, at room temperature, etc. etc. But we do it anyway. If it's not authentic, it's still very tasty.)
Here is my recipe for the leek and spinach pies I made. I know, I know, it's more frozen spinach. Okay, but I had to use up frozen spinach! Also I had to use up flour, so I used whole wheat bread flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour for this. The crust was pretty flaky anyway.
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine (two sticks)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar and 2 tablespoons water
Blend all of the above in a food processor until it makes a ball. Divide the pie crust dough into two halves. Roll out between sheets of waxed paper. (I don't have pie crust expertise, so I always use the waxed paper trick.) Put a bottom crust into each of two 9" pie plates. Put the pie crusts in the fridge while you make the filling.
two 10 oz. bags frozen chopped organic spinach, thawed
2 T. fat
1 T. prepared mustard (approx.)
about 1 cup rice milk
tamari and black pepper
Chop the leeks coarsely and wash them in a colander to remove all dirt. Chop cleaned leeks finely in the food processor. Sauté the leeks in margarine or oil or whatever until wilted and sweet. Mix the leeks and spinach in the pan. Whisk the eggs with the rice milk and mustard to make a custard and add the vegetables, season with tamari and pepper. Pour half the filling into each crust and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until the stop is firm and lightly browned. (My husband graciously removed the pies from the oven while I was out doing an errand with the baby.)
Oddly enough, my son, the former spinach fiend, was only interested in eating the crust of the pie. It was whole wheat crust, and he's a relatively skinny toddler, so no tears, but it's weird. I thought the filling was delicious, but he didn't try it so he didn't like it. He did eat a lot of salad, mainly the cucumbers, peas and oranges.
This Shabbat marked the first time my son enjoyed a cup of tea. His dad, who usually drinks coffee, was having herbal tea to nurse this cold that he can't seem to entirely kick. So when my little sweetie began to talk about "Tea! Tea!" his dad poured him a demitasse of this nice spice tea and diluted it with a little water to cool it off. After each sip of tea, my son smiled widely, that especially charming two-year-old smile.
We had only one guest, for Shabbat lunch, our good friend who finds the cooking "delicate." My husband was a bit under the weather and we couldn't handle more. Our conversations were deep and personal, mostly. We did talk about Indian food and cooking, as our friend has developed a sudden interest in Indian culture. If you want to recommend a book that is not superficial on Indian culture--okay, I guess any book that covers all of Indian is going to be necessarily superficial. If you want to recommend a book that is not that superficial on Indian culture, please do.