Perfect Weather for Curry
As I thought about what to cook for dinner tonight (and resisted the temptation to suggest we just finish off our bread from last night, maybe followed with a cup of cocoa!), I started thinking about another common food idea that I don't understand - people who rarely cook and/or "can't" cook. And especially, new vegetarians/vegans, or would-be new v's, who have no idea how to "cook vegetarian". As far as cooking goes, I can't imagine it gets much easier - nothing has to be cooked to a certain temperature (although I do try to limit my consumption of raw potatoes!), I don't have to keep track of which cutting board is for what (one of those binary choices I'd probably always get wrong) - most of our meals are simply "vegetables, a grain, and a protein" - the protein, incidentally, we often refer to as 'meat'. I insist 'meat' is a perfectly good word and refuse to surrender it to meaning solely the body parts of dead animals. (Although, I would try to avoid such confusing use in unfamiliar company.)
I try to temper my disbelief by trying to imagine what I'd do if I decided to try to cook, say, a whole chicken. I would be lost, not to mention very sad with a dead bird in my kitchen. Indeed, I stopped eating meat before I learned how to cook - so that would be my excuse for burying hypothetical chicken in the backyard and frying up some tofu.
And, of people (both vegans and non) who do cook regularly, I suppose there are two types - those who must have a recipe and those who are willing to just throw stuff together, experiment and make all sorts of adjustments. I am probably a member of both camps, but for meals, I tend to experiment and only occasionally go by a standard recipe. I don't bake enough to feel as comfortable doing that with, say, a cake. Unless cutting out/replacing eggs and dairy from non-vegan recipes count.
Anyway, I'd be curious to hear how other people cook. How often they cook, how often they try new recipes for meals, if they just throw stuff together, etc?
So, anyway - tonight's dinner, I decided for curry. Kind of chilly outside, perfect weather for something hot and a little spicy. A while back, I made some soup that I thought of as "Clean Out the 'Fridge" soup because I used all the vegetables in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten. Along the same lines, this could be "Clean Out the 'Fridge" curry. I based it roughly on this recipe, with the following ingredient additions:
- 5medium potatoes, diced
- ~ 1 1/4 cups red lentils (because they cook faster)
- some spinach that needed to be included in something (maybe 2 cups, non-packed)
- 6-8 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
- maybe only 1 cup coconut milk (the amount I had left-over, from something, in the freezer)
Anyway, a good exercise in modifying a "recipe" to use what you have and what you need to use, rather than strictly sticking to a recipe, ingredient for ingredient. A good exercise and a good dinner. (With leftovers, too! =)