This month, I made 6 recipes:
3 were from this year’s possibilities–aubergine and green been curry; tomatoes with thai dressing; and stuffed peppers with new potatoes, feta, and pesto
Another 3 were from August 2014’s possibilities–tahini-dressed zucchini and bean salad; asian-inspired coleslaw; and caponata.
Since the eggplant/bean curry was the first in the book by page number, it got me thinking about my trip to India that was happening right now 4 years ago. This was during the halcyon pre-child days (ha!). We’ve been looking at photos from India as well as baby photos of our little girl over the last few weeks, so that’s why “Looking Back” is on my mind. Part of the “Looking Back” is that my wanderlust is rearing its head a bit, but the other part is that I guess around age 3 we really start to notice that the kiddos are, well, kids and not babies or toddlers at all. I love being able to converse with her and find out what her day was like, but that sweet chunky squishiness is a thing to remember in pictures.
Okay, on to the recipes!
Eggplant and Green Bean Curry
I love the catch-all nature of this curry–right now, we’ve got an abundance of green beans and tomatoes. I purchased eggplant at the farmers market since my garden eggplant is still small (though quickly moving along with our current heat).
First, I made the roasted tomato sauce:
Delicious, but I think mine came out a bit watery as I probably didn’t get enough pulp when pushing them through the sieve. I note this because it affected things later.
Then, last night–yep, this barely got in under the wire!–I completed the whole thing, making the curry paste in the food processor, sautéing it for a bit, adding the eggplant, tomato sauce, and coconut milk, and then simmering the lot. Last in are the green beans. Not super fond of the photo below, but as I said, this was last night in my stifling kitchen, so that’s what it is!
Did we like it? Not really. It was bland and I think part of that is due to the watery tomato sauce. When looking at the book’s photo, it’s a lot redder from, I assume, said sauce, which adds a lot. I’d also add some more curry seasonings. Would I make this same thing with my northern India recipes I got from my cooking class that was the absolute highlight of my trip? YES.
On a related side note: we were constantly asking chefs/servers/anyone who prepared us food to please make us real Indian food and not European style Indian food. Pretty much none of them believed us, giving us ever-so-slightly spicier (hot and actual spices) items, but nothing like we knew it should be. One hotel chef in Udaipur finally believed us as we kept saying “more spices are fine!” and for the last day or 2 of our stay there the servers would bring us special dishes at breakfast knowing we’d enjoy trying them. (Sigh, I really liked that trip even though it was a huge step outside of my comfort zone in terms of sheer number of people everywhere and the terrible heat.)
Tomatoes with Thai Dressing
I guess I didn’t take my photos of this or they got deleted. This was such a simple recipe that I made for breakfast to go next to my egg scramble since no one else in my house eats sliced fresh tomatoes.
Did I like it? Yes!!
Stuffed Peppers with New Potatoes, Feta, and Pesto
I was thinking about this dish for vegans/non-dairy people, so I made some almond cheese (acts like feta) and made a pecan-basil pistou type of deal instead of pesto. It was a nice way to eat some peppers and it tasted pretty good, too!
Did we like it? Yes! And my husband didn’t even realize I used fake cheese.
Tahini-dressed zucchini and bean salad
Since I only wanted to make 3 of this month’s recipes and since this is only my third month participating, I thought it’d be fun to visit some of last year’s recipes to use up my summer produce! I was a bit unsure about this one since he mentions that the dressing is similar to an Ottolenghi creation. I had just made an Ottolenghi tahini dressing that I wasn’t super fond of, so therein lay my concern. That was not an issue, though! A lovely dressing over sliced zucchini/summer squash, chopped red chiles, and barely cooked green beans with a couple handfuls of salad greens. Tasty and gorgeous!
Did we like it? Yes and I like that it is something just a tad different from my usual fare.
This might as well be a recipe for dressing for me. I purchased broccoli slaw at the store, added some cilantro, and made the dressing from the cookbook. It was fabulous until I added too much lime juice just before serving. Oops!
Did we like it? Definitely!
After both Mary and Andrea raved about/cooked the caponata last month, I knew this was something I needed to try. What a wonderful coincidence that it was on August 2014’s recipe list! I served with Bobby Flay’s grilled Basil Marinated Chicken (and subbed this caponata for his recipe). I very much enjoyed the mix of tomatoes, eggplant, raisins, capers, and green olives. So nice during summer!
Did we enjoy it? Yes! But, I didn’t add any of the sugar and I reduced the amount of raisins by half and I’m really glad. It would’ve been way too sweet for us otherwise.
There it is! 6 recipes–3 from this year and 3 looking back recipes.
Looking forward to reading about what you all chose to make!
I’ll close with my favorite photo I took in India that hangs next to my desk in my office like my own small window overlooking the Taj Mahal: