kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
[personal profile] kindkit
Something I've cooked recently: Inspired by the rhubarb challenge at [community profile] weekly_food_challenge, I bought some rhubarb and used it to bake this big crumb coffee cake. For once I mostly followed the recipe, apart from substituting plain yogurt for the sour cream and a few high-altitude adjustments. It is completely delicious, as you might expect from anything with that much butter in it.

It's not a glamorous-looking cake and I'm not a good photographer, but have a pic anyway:

picture of a piece of coffee cake" />

The coffee cake only used half my rhubarb--I bought a lot because I originally planned to make jam with it, but then I discovered that the jam recipe required pectin and I was too lazy to go out and buy some. I didn't want to make another sweet thing, so I decided to use rhubarb as a vegetable. Some thinking about what would be enhanced by rhubarb's sourness quickly led me to curry, specifically a red lentil curry. I couldn't find a recipe that really suited me, so I improvised. I cooked it this morning and ate it for breakfast, because I'm like that.

Here's what I did.

some Seasoned Buffalo Ghee from Trader Joe's
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
Pinch of fennel seed
Pinch of nigella seed
1 large red onion, cut into rough dice
A couple of inches' worth of ginger, coarsely grated
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 orange bell pepper (capsicum), roughly diced
About 15 ounces of red lentils, washed
1 large potato, peeled and roughly diced
About a teaspoon and a half of deggi mirch (ground Kashmiri chile)
a couple of squeezes of honey, maybe 1 tablespoon
8 ounces rhubarb, sliced on the diagonal in thick-ish pieces
Half a cup or so of frozen peas

I ground all the spices together and then cooked them in a generous amount of ghee along with the onion and ginger, over medium-low heat, until the onions were well softened. Then I added the bell pepper and the garlic and cooked for another minute or two. Next I added the lentils, the potato, and the deggi mirch along with enough water to cover, brought the mix to a boil, and simmered until the lentils and potatoes were about halfway done. At that point I added the rhubarb and honey and simmered until everything was cooked through, then added the peas and cooked just until they were heated. I topped my bowlful with a bit more of the seasoned ghee, and added some salt (I tend not to salt much or at all during the cooking stage).

Notes: the rhubarb cooked much quicker than I expected; it could have been added in the last five minutes to let it keep more texture. The dish could have used more ginger and more spices--when I'm improvising Indian-style food I tend to get nervous and under-spice. I wasn't quite sure what direction to go with the spices, either, but after tasting the finished product, I know it would've been helped by some cinnamon and cloves and maybe cardamom. Though I think it could also be good with a more south Indian spicing, with mustard seeds and curry leaves and possibly some grated coconut. The dish could easily be made vegan by using oil instead of ghee, in which case definitely add more spices (not necessarily more chile, but the other spices). Or a good commercial blend, such as a garam masala, could be used.

No picture, because curried lentils aren't very photogenic.

Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: Today I definitely intend to make a batch of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's digestive biscuits--I meant to do this last weekend but didn't get around to it. (The recipe sounds great, but I admit to also being attracted by his name, which is so quintessentially upper-class-English that I keep picturing him as a young Hugh Grant.) And I'll probably make some potato salad with anchovies and olives from Marcella Hazan's recipe. Three different cuisines in one day, why not?

Something I vaguely plan to cook eventually: Not much. I have a lot of salad fixings, and some frozen tamales that I bought on clearance for super-cheap and which are taking up a lot of freezer space. So the plan for the week is tamales and salads. And I shouldn't need to bake again for ages, since I've still got a ton of last week's orange, almond, and polenta cake in the freezer as well as yesterday's coffee cake, and soon there will be biscuits as well. Although I do have some chocolate that needs using up . . .
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