When you have a career in IT and work from home in the evenings
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and you’re married to a sweet husband who works days, and you both have lots of other fun things you’re involved in, sometimes it feels romantic and nice to squeeze in weeknight dates
No worries about dressing fancy or fixing your hair, pajamas or jeans and a t-shirt will do just fine. You bring a chilled glass of wine in lieu of flowers, light a candle or two, and enjoy a few moments of reprieve from the worries of the day
As the sun sinks lower in the sky, the quiet knock on my office door, “Have you eaten yet? Can I warm up something? Are you able to take a break for a little while?”
We meet on our respective bar stools at the kitchen counter. An evening water cooler date of sorts, sans gossiping about your co-workers unless, of course, we’re talking about the pets
“Did I tell you what they did this morning?
It’s a ritual I’ve grown fond of. What started as a gentle reminder to get up from my chair, has evolved into a simple gesture that speaks of priorities. The kitchen date, the gentle whisper
“How are you doing? How was your day? I haven’t checked in with you in a bit. I’m cheering you on. I didn’t say it this afternoon when we talked ..
but I love you.”
It’s been a few months since my introduction to The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen via NPR’s Fresh Air. A cookbook filled with recipes that are not only delicious but nearly foolproof.
No matter if you’re a vegetarian, or someone who would like to incorporate more meatless meals into your life, it’s a book you’re going to want on your bookshelf. With 700+ recipes, cooking tips, ingredient explanations, step-by-step chopping how-tos, and more. It’s simply a great resource.
Many of the recipes are also vegan and gluten-free
It’s fun to listen to the show’s replay. Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop from the Test Kitchen talk about the process behind the recipe’s creation, especially the tricks and ingredients they used to offer pops of umami, and heighten the depth of flavors.
“Umami (which means “delicious” or “yummy” in Japanese) is the name of the savory flavor in meat and fish, and it’s recognized as one of the five tastes, along with sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Umami incites the taste receptors on our tongue to kind of pick up that savory note from foods.
And umami isn’t limited to meat. Mushrooms, tomatoes, and soy sauce are foods that are high in glutamates, which are the natural compounds that stimulate our umami receptors.
As a whole, a lot of vegetarian foods, especially a while back, were one-dimensional. They were a little bit sweet or a little bit bitter. Especially our main courses in this cookbook really satisfy a lot of the flavors on our palate.” ~ Bridget Lancaster
Saveur Magazine, in their June 2014 issue highlighting India, offered a history of vindaloo.
The word vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of the popular Portuguese dish Carne de Vinha D’alhos (meat marinated in win-vinegar and garlic), which made its way to India in the 15th century, along with Portuguese explorers. In Goa, the dish was tweaked to add spice complexity, incorporating such ingredients as chiles, tamarind, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom.
In this recipe, a mix of Indian spices is used, along with bay leaves, and mustard seed. They’re simmered with the potatoes, which soak up the flavors as they cook. The combination of red and sweet potatoes elevate our stew’s flavor even further
The longer you’re able to let this curry sit, the deeper the flavors will become, so it’s well worth making it in a larger quantity and refrigerating any excess. As always, thick yogurt makes for an excellent condiment.
~ Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped fine
- 1 lb red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½" pieces
- 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½" pieces
- salt + pepper
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¾ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 ½ cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened and potatoes have begun to soften (~ 10 to 12 minutes)
- Stir in garlic, paprika, cumin, cardamom, cayenne, and cloves and cook until fragrant and the vegetables are well-coated (~ 2 minutes)
- Gradually stir in water, scraping up any browned bits.
- Stir in bay leaves, mustard seeds, and 1 tsp salt and bring to simmer.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender (~ 15 to 20 minutes)
- Stir in tomatoes and their juice and vinegar and continue to simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended and the sauce has thickened slightly (~ about 15 minutes)
- Discard bay leaves, stir in cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.