24 October 2007

Massive Food Update

Two weeks ago, I went to the beautiful home of my friend Erica to cook with her and her daughter. Ever since Karen (her daughter) found out that her mom works with a guy that does Indian cooking, she's been bugging her mom to call me over to have us all cook together. Finally, now that I'm leaving town, Erica decided to get this thing off of the ground. She called me and Steve to come over that Saturday, and see what we could see.

We arrived bright and early at 11:30 AM, and went shopping at this fruit and vegetable store near her house. They had such an enormous variety that I was squealing in excited glee, and grabbing everything I could find. The entire trolley was overflowing with a cornucopia of colours. Erica could barely name half the stuff I was flinging into the trolley, but was happy that I was at least having a good time. $50 later, the car was loaded up, and we were ready to roll. We made a quick run to my parents' house to grab some curry leaves (again, which Erica had never heard of before!) and get things started.

Karen is an eager and talented cook. She knows her way around the kitchen, and is comfortable with pretty much anything you ask her to try. We chopped, peeled, and cooked. And cooked. And cooked some more. We started around noon, and rounded off the last dish around 4:00 PM. At the final count, we came up with 14 dishes. All of them were amazing. I decided to take some photographs of the event, but lost the camera that night. Steve found the camera, so I'm sharing now.


On the far left is lentil soup. It's a standard for me, and a crowd pleaser every time. In the centre is kale soup, with carrots. On the far right is kale and swiss chard soup. Yes, we had three soups to start.

On the left are plantains, done up like the Indian Roasted Potatoes from the cookbook. Since they were cooked in the oven, they all came out done all the way through. In the centre are roasted potatoes with whole cippoline onions. It was done in a cumin, sea salt, and turmeric base, in the oven. They came out tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside. The onions were sweet, and a little smoky from the cumin. Fabulous! On the right you see Karen, me, Erica, and Janice.


When Erica got back form Israel, she mentioned in passing that with every meal, they serve a chopped salad of cucumber, red onions, and tomatoes, tossed with parsley and lemon. Just by luck, the vegetable place had Israeli cucumbers, and good sweet plum tomatoes, so I couldn't resist! The only change I made was that I used shallots instead of onions, and cilantro instead of parsley. On the right is the Unslaw from the cookbook, with the addition of red peppers, and broccoli. I also added some hot Hungarian paprika to finish it off.


On the left is the unslaw, but without the broccoli or Hungarian paprika. I left out the broccoli, so that everyone could clearly see which one is hot, and which one isn't. In the middle are me and Steve. On the right is a blend of toasted ground cocoanut, with mixed nuts (also ground) that I seasoned with cinnamon, clove, fennel, and a bit of salt. We used it to sprinkle onto the soups, or salad, or rice, or whatever else we felt like eating it on!


On the left are red wine and brandy marinated beets (you can't see the nest of sautéed beet greens underneath, but they're there). On the right are the Indian aubergines from the cookbook.


No party is complete without silly poses after the cooking. I submit to you mine for that night.


This is what the spread looked like before everything came out. There's still a few dishes missing.


That's me and Erica in the kitchen, ready to break open the cocoanut with a hammer.

I'm sorry that it took so long to post the updates (which is why it's coming all at once!), but better late than never, eh?