Monday, April 27, 2009


Lately I can't seem to find a recipe to work for me. Sure, I occasionally beat my food into submission - or into a cake - but at the end of the day I've left it to the food to do the work while I sit back and enjoy the results. So I think my groceries have gotten together, elected a leader, and launched a coup. I've thus far imprisoned an unpliable yeast bread, an unfreezable ice cream, a dry and overly clovey cake, some overcooked chicken and stinky salmon. I'm trying to torture the name of their leader out of them. Maybe the limp cilantro sulking in murky water in the fridge is behind this. Or the one night stand I had with the chili sauce left it bitter - literally.

I don't know what's going on in my kitchen.

There have been a few allies however. Warm and comforting goat cheese grits. Spicy lamb meatballs. And my new favorite tomato curry sauce which gets along with everyone.

I found a recipe for a chick pea curry called chana Punjabi or chole (cho-lay). I've made and eaten chole before, but I gave the new recipe a try. Basically you cook up some chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos, and then puree them with some fresh chopped tomatoes. Simmer the sauce for a while with spices like paprika, garam masala, turmeric, and coriander. At this point, you are meant to add chick peas but it occurred to me that the sauce was good enough to mix with any kind of meat or vegetable, and I had a piece of meat mysteriously marked "Goat" which I was ready to cook. The mysterious meat portion turned out to be a rack, and I decided that rather than cut it up and stew it in the sauce it would be better off roasted. I marinated it in garlic, ginger, red pepper, turmeric and salt over night, then seared it off on the stove before transferring it to the oven. Two hours later the goat was soft and supple, falling off the bone with a nicely browned crust. I poured in the tomato sauce and let it roast a bit longer, so that the tomatoes could take on the meat with their own sweet roasted flavor.

If it looks like I devoured the meat, it's true. Drenched in my new favorite sauce, it was delicious. Not to be outdone by my rebellious kitchen, I prepared a nice plate with, of course, some greens on the side.

Now that I have my tomato sauce ally, I can get back into the battle and try to hold off the dried out salami, the moldy cheeses, and the mushy vegetables. Soon I'll be whipping them into shape, or at least into a hot dish. Because that's where bad food goes to die.

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