I had a crazy day at work yesterday. I think that the machines and computers there are becoming self-aware, and they are no longer content to be our robot slaves. Absolutely nothing I tried to do at work went right the first time. I single-handedly ruined the lives of everyone I came in contact with. But I’m sure they’re fine. Probably. Or they will be. Eventually.
Yet with all the shenanigans and triggers of the day, nary an animal product crossed my lips. Because I couldn’t fathom coming home after a day like that and eating a plate of lettuce or anything else that wasn’t hot and didn’t bear some kind of semblance to comfort food, I made spinach curry for dinner (chopping and cooking after work, whaaaat?). And I’m glad I didn’t stop at Taco Bell like I had thought about doing. I didn’t even miss the meat. Also, I feel less anemic today from the buttload of iron in the spinach and onions. I would have put up a picture, but by the time I thought about it, there was nothing left 🙂
Indian food cures all ills, in my opinion. It’s good for a case of the blahs, because it’s like an adventure in your mouth. The flavor of any Indian dish seems to change on your tongue as you eat. I used to drive thirty miles to get to a good curry, and every time I left the restaurant I would wonder, “Why is it so good?” Now I know: Garam masala is the ingredient that makes Indian food taste like Indian food. It is not one single mystical spice, but a blend of stuff you probably already have in the cabinet if you bake pies or cook spicy foods. You will have to travel far and wide to find a jar of it in the Tennessee Valley, unless your town has an Indian grocery store. Mine does not. The first time I made my own curry, I went to four different grocery stores looking for it before I made my own (recipe follows). Traditionally, you’re supposed to roast the seeds of all of the spices and grind them yourself, but this will work if you don’t have the time for all that mess. Put into a leftover spice container and shake together:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
If you’re feeling really crafty, you could put 2 Tbsp whole cumin seeds, 2 Tbsp black peppercorns, 2 Tbsp cardamom seeds, 2 Tbsp coriander seeds, 1 broken-up cinnamon stick, and 1 teaspoon of whole cloves in a medium-hot skillet and toast them for about ten minutes (stir often so they don’t burn), then cool them and grind them to a fine powder in a coffee grinder (or with a mortar and pestle, if you’re really hardcore) with the nutmeg and a pinch of saffron strings. The flavor is richer when it’s done this way.
On a side note, my attempt to make veggie chicken tikka masala with Gardein “Chick’n” cutlets was a huge fail. The spices did not absorb into the Chick’n well, and the texture made it seem like eating chunks of one of those yellow, square sponges, or a booger-flavored vegan shoe sole. Never again. I would like to find a better form of fake chicken to use at a later date, but that experiment made me wish there was no such thing as food.
Appointment at the health department later. Fear.