Simmering

This past week I’ve wrestled with a lot of discouragement (mostly from my so-far-fruitless job search and the uncertainty about the next couple months that it brings). I feel stretched with the tension of this transition until I’m brittle and snappish. I try to soak in God’s words over me and the dreams solidifying in my heart. But I still feel pretty lost in the in between.

In the meantime, though, I’ve still been doing a lot of cooking, planning menus and trying new recipes. I’ve become enamored with the cinnamon/tumeric combination that give dishes an exotic sort of taste, so I thought I’d share a couple recipes I made recently.

The kids were hanging out in the kitchen with me, munching on bites of tomato and zucchini while I made this first one. When dinner time came, Shelby gave them pizza rolls, but they cried for the vegetable stew until she finally gave them some. They ate all their vegetables – and asked for seconds – but never did finish those pizza rolls. I consider that a success :-).

Couscous with Butter Beans, Zucchini, and Tomato Stew

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 28 oz. can of tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 can of butter beans (don’t drain)
3 medium zucchini, diced
2 c. water
1 1/3 c. dried couscous

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a deep skillet. Sauté the onions in the oil, for five minutes, then add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, coriander, tumeric, cinnamon, and cayenne. Saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in the butter beans (including the liquid), zucchini, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil, along with the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and the remaining 2 tsp. oil. Stir in the couscous. Immediately cover the pan and remove from the heat. Let stand at least 5 minutes. Just before serving, fluff the couscous. Ladled the stew over the couscous and serve.

(This recipe was modified from a recipe in The Best 125 Meatless Mediterranean Dishes, by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay – one of my current favorite cookbooks from the library)

 

Kashmiri Gobi

(A northern India dish)

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
6 Tbsp. oil
1 large cauliflower, separated into florets
1 tsp. ground tumeric
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cashews, chopped

Directions:

Puree the onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes together in a food processor. In a saucepan, sauté this mixture with the tumeric and cayenne for 3 minutes. Add the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, sugar, and salt and simmer for a 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and sauté the cauliflower until it is beginning to brown and soften. Add the prepare sauce and the cashews and stir together. Let cook for about 5 minutes more. Serve over quinoa or your choice of grains.

(This recipe was modified from one found in World Food Café; Global Vegetarian Cooking, by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott)

The Kashmiri Gobi

Cooking Redemption

The zucchini and cucumbers just keep coming. This was all from one day! I’m bringing a load of them to the Boiler Room tomorrow night to give to people. And I think I’m going to try to make pickles this week….

But in the meantime, we’re still eating zucchini almost daily (we went a day without it, but only because Derek suggested we go out to eat…ha!). Tonight I brought the polenta and zucchinis out again and tried another combination. I think it turned out well this time (much better than the vomit-looking version) and Derek liked it too.  So, here’s a zucchini and polenta dish, take 2:

Polenta with Garden Vegetables

Ingredients:

For the polenta:
6 c. water
1 1/2 c. cornmeal
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil

For the sauce:
1 pint tomato sauce (I used a jar I canned with Stacey last summer!)
1 c. zucchini, diced
1 tsp. sugar
Italian seasoning, to taste
Salt, to taste

Directions:

For the polenta:
Bring the water and salt to a boil. Very gradually, whisk in the cornmeal (if you don’t do it gradually, you get lumps…trust me, I’ve done it…). Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring often, until thick. Stir in the thyme, Parmesan cheese, and oil. Spread in an oiled loaf pan and refigerate overnight.

Slice the polenta into 1/4 in. slices. Saute in a frying pan with a little bit of oil (I used about a tablespoon) until brown on both sides. Set aside.

For the sauce:
While the polenta is cooking, simmer together all the sauce ingredients. Serve over the polenta slices. If desired, top with Parmesan cheese.

What do you think? Does this make up for the zucchini and polenta cooking catastrophe the other night?

(p.s. I also cooked green beans from our garden! Yes!)

Welcome to the Age of the Zucchini

In other news…remember how I said the zucchini were poised to take over the world? Well, I think they’ve begun. Monday night I picked a zucchini for dinner. By the time I checked them again the following morning, four of them had nearly doubled in size!

So, we had zucchini for all three meals yesterday:
– Zucchini omelet for breakfast
– Leftover spaghetti with zucchini for lunch
– Zucchini bread for dinner

I definitely had more zucchini bread for breakfast this morning. And guess what I’m cooking tonight? Zucchini? How’d you guess! I’ll try to post some recipes soon…