Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Indian House Dinner

So my house dinner is done! People liked the food, but I was a little iffy on some of it:

Samosa Baked Potatoes
I thought these were good, although mine ended up being a little dry. I regretted that I didn't have any chutney or anything to put on them! I think that would really make a difference. I've never liked samosas much for some reason, but I think that these were really pretty good.

Tamarind Lentils
I didn't really like these. :( I'm not sure if I don't like tamarind or gharam masala or some combination of things, but the flavor was just too weird for me. Sad, but now I know.

Pumpkin (er, butternut squash) Saag

I thought this was neat - I would, next time, put in a little less cinnamon and maybe play around with the spices to make it more my own style. It was really nice to be able to cook it and then let it chill while I was cooking the rest of the meal.

Tea Poached Pears

These were super good. Everyone loved them, and the recipe was really, really simple. I followed it basically exactly as it was written and I could definitely imagine making these for just a 2 or 3 person meal as long as there was a little advance planning. I didn't put out ice cream since it was a vegan meal and I didn't pick up any non-dairy dessert, but I think that a little vanilla would be a great compliment to this. The presentation is also a really important part of this, and something that I would work on more on future iterations. My favorite part of making these was figuring out how to get out the seeds with an ice cream scooper and get a beautiful, perfectly circle-shaped hole. :) [Sadly, no picture. However, see below proof that my housemates not only ate but appeared to enjoy the meal!]

For Valentine's day, Ben and I cooked a few recipes from Veganomicon as well:

Porcini Wild Rice Soup
This was really good. Wild rice never gets quite as soft as I think it will for some reason, and Ben pointed out that this might be good to try with barley or some other grain. Has anyone else done a soup like this with another grain that worked?

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

A definite classic! Very Thanksgiving-y. I left out the salt and I think I shouldn't have.

Chickpea Cutlets
We were at Whole Foods buying the ingredients for the dinner, and I picked up an extra can of garbonzo beans because I figured that it would be good for Ben to keep around. He was in charge of mashing the beans and kneading the dough, and I put all the ingredients in - or so I thought. While I was measuring out the vital wheat gluten, he saw the other can of beans, opened them, and added them, not realizing they were just to keep around. This actually turned out really well, despite doubling the main ingredient! I would definitely make these again, even trying the correct proportions. :)


jovaliquilts said...

Looks like a fabulous meal! I agree with you about tamarind -- it's not my favorite. I wonder if you could just add more liquid to the mashed potatoes? For our stuffed potatoes, we have to add a good bit to keep them moist. They look so good in the photo! As for the mushroom and wild rice soup, as Ben suggested, you might try barley (be aware that different types of barley cook at different rates; one of the good things is that unlike most grains, refined [pearl] barley still is loaded with soluble fiber). Mushrooms and barley are a classic combination. I love wild rice, but it can so easily be too crunchy and also can overpower things unless used in combination with something else.
Sorry I missed that dinner!!

jasmine said...

Sounds like a hit! I think you are right that samosa baked potatoes are good with a little chutney. I remember squeezing lemon on them to jazz them up, but then again I think a lot of food tastes better with something sour added to it :).

I am a fan of tamarind, but if you aren't, you can think about substituting tomato for some of the tang. If the flavor still not quite there, squeeze lemon juice. Or look for amchoor (mango powder) at the indian grocer and sprinkle a little of that in. Anyway, those are three different and still traditional ways to up the tang and flavor quotient on Indian food without using tamarind.

I have been curious about the porcini wild rice soup. maybe i will try it out! I love wild rice and Josh loves mushrooms :).

Ribbit said...

jasmine, I like the lemon plan. It's a trademark of my cooking: flavorless? dry? add lemon! Though unfortunately my exbf's tongue breaks out each time he eats it... and I like tamarind too. This last break in Israel, my aunt kept adding tamrarind to *everything*, over my uncle's protests. It's cool to know the legit Indian ways of improving food though.

And I Ben's cooking help sounds a little like having me in the kitchen :). My aunt and uncle nicknamed me "the magician's apprentice" (from the Fantasia film) for the time when they handed me a head of garlic, and I dutifully peeled every last clove, and added it to the dish.