Wednesday Evening Lentils

Wednesday’s dinner was a great success.

I started off with just a concept in my head – lentil curry – and I ran with it. I cooked the lentils in stock until they were tender, and boiled this week’s cauliflower until it just started to soften up. I then transferred all of that to a chef’s pan with a bunch of spices – curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger, paprika, cinnamon – and let it simmer for a few minutes. I added the leftover corn from last night, cut from the cobs, and half a can of coconut milk. I tested for taste and added salt and some more garlic, onion, and paprika. This I served with basmati rice and a quick raita.

My understanding of raita is that you’re supposed to strain the yogurt first, to make it thick, but I’d forgotten to do that ahead of time. So, I just used plain yogurt (which I got through Wrong Direction Farm, who partners with my main CSA) and salted cucumber chunks, and it tasted perfectly fine.  (Mediterranean Harvest is my original source for how to make raita, by the way.)

We had naan for a side, but that was pre-made. I also took the 4 adorable purple bell peppers that I got from Snapping Turtle Farm and stuffed them with hummus and chopped cucumbers. My 5 year-old especially appreciated that part of the meal.

I love meals like this, where everything is flavorful and filling, but doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve eaten a brick. Cheers to a well-spiced vegetarian meal.

Peanut Sweet Potato Curry

So, if a fraction of the meals that I make this season are even half as delicious as tonight’s dinner, I will feel like it’s been a success.

Tonight, we had Sweet Potato Curry, using a recipe from Vegan Richa.

OH MY GOD. It was peanut buttery, salty, sweet, just a touch of spicy… everything that is good in this world. I subbed in broccoli for the cauliflower, I doubled the peas, I added some garlic scapes, and I added more coconut milk than called for. (I threw in the whole can, because it was thicker than I anticipated at first.) Most of the recipe was CSA-sourced. The bell pepper, garlic, and ginger were store-bought. The basil came from my windowsill. Everything about this was fresh, satisfying, and delicious. Even Little Chef loved it; he declared, “this sauce is delicious! I want to lick it forever!”

A successful meal. Yum. Tomorrow is the first pickup for Montclair-Bloomfield. Onward into the most delicious time of the year!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

It’s not often that I pick a dud for dinner. I have startlingly good luck with the recipes I choose, which I’ve always chalked up to understanding my family’s tastes and preferences. Tonight, though? Total let-down.

In my diet and lifestyle makeover that began a couple of years ago, I invested in several “lightened up” slow-cooker cookbooks, one of which is Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution.  I’ve made several meals from here that I enjoyed, and the pictures for Thai Eggplant Curry looked enticing. I love Thai food. I love curry and lime. I love eggplant.

… I didn’t love dinner tonight.

The texture was all wrong. The sauce was too thin, and the eggplant was too chewy. The curry taste was not strong enough – I think I’d have to double the amount of curry paste to get in the ballpark of what I like. I added fresh basil leaves in an attempt to perk it up, and even that didn’t do it for me. I wasn’t alone in my assessment; my spouse graciously ate his serving, though with the same lack of relish I was experiencing, and Little Chef picked out his rice, peppers, and beans and left the rest. (I used green beans instead of snow peas, because it’s what’s in season and was in my share.)

I’m going to take the leftovers (boy oh boy, there were a lot of leftovers) and add them into a basic Pad See Ew tomorrow. I’ve got noodles and a big head of napa cabbage, so hopefully I can salvage the bulk of the eggplant that way.

I’ll share pictures from the cooking process, when everything smelled so hopeful. Don’t bother making the effort to make this, though. It was disappointing.