March 29, 2011

Curried Vegetables with Dahl

Time for more true confessions.  I don't know anything about Indian cuisine.  In fact, I used to frequent an Indian buffet for lunch with coworkers.  One day I was gushing about how much I loved "that one tofu dish".  My buddy, Burke's like, "Um that's cheese, not tofu."  What? I about died!  You have no idea how much of that I would pile on my plate!  Hence why I used to frequent it.  Now, it is more of a quarterly treat.

Pizza on Saturday means I can cook something fun on Sunday!  Nice!  I'm still loving Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.  I haven't made anything I didn't like out of it yet.

This is no exception.  There's curry, always a great start!  Then there's cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and red and green bell pepper.  If that's not enough veggie for ya add in spinach.  Finally there's dahl!  Dahl is pureed cooked lentils which makes the dish a creamy stew wonderful served on rice.  This has to be the healthiest meal I've had in a long time. (no cheese in disguise as tofu here)  Bonus, it tasted delicious!  We each had seconds!  Word of warning, prepping the vegetables took awhile so add some time in for this.

My favorite part had to be the cauliflower and sweet potato.  Yum.  C added some Thai Chili paste and I thought it was a welcome addition if you like it spicier.  I ended up adding some too.

This makes TONS.  Haul out your large dutch oven.  We had enough leftovers for two more dinners at least.  If only I didn't forget to put them in the fridge.  grrr.

Curried Vegetables with Dahl
from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

1 1/2 cups red lentils
4 cups hot water

Curried Vegetables
1 onion chopped
1 fresh green chile finely diced (I used poblano)
3 Tbsp canola oil
2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
1 Tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger root
2 cups water
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 4 cups)
2 green or red bell peppers, chopped
8 oz fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

Thoroughly rinse the lentils.  In a medium saucepan bring lentils and water to a boil.  Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Preheat dutch oven on stove over medium high heat.  Once hot add oil and saute onion and chile for a couple minutes.  Lower heat to medium and add sweet potatoes, curry powder, cumin, and ginger.  Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring often.  It will smell AWESOME!

Add water and stir to pick up all spices collected on bottom of pot.  Add cauliflower and bell peppers.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Once lentils are cooked puree lentils and the cooking liquid in blender or food processor until smooth.  Once the cauliflower is tender stir in the chopped spinach and lentil puree (dahl).  Salt to taste.  Serve immediately over rice with naan bread.  Have seconds without guilt!

March 27, 2011

Saturday Pizza: 03.26.2011

It is official!  Z-man is a two year old and reminds us daily.  Yikes!  More on this fun parenting experience later.  First, why Saturday?  We had our friends David and Veronica over and Saturday worked better for them.  Sadly, Veronica got a 24 hour bug so she didn't make it. [or as my mom always says, "That thing that's going around"]  We were bummed but know how it goes there.  These days it seems every plan I make is 50-50 at best.

Nearly 5 years ago I quit teaching math.  Wow, time flies!  I went to the local community college (or Ju Co) to take a six month program to learn all the wonders of SQL database developing.  The first day of class I sat next to David and we were fast friends.  Have been every since.  They are even crazy enough to join us for Thanksgiving!

David was graced with seeing a new side of Z.  Here's the story... Z had a later than late nap and woke up like a bear in January. Pissed!  He cried and cried until we finally figured out that he wanted his daddy.  I now understand why parents always say, "Use your words" to their kids.

David came over about 5 minutes after Z stopped crying.  Phew.  Eventually it was time for Z to make a pizza.  He hasn't made one in a couple weeks but he definitely did not forget what to do.  One of us normally guides him through the pizza making.  Today it was Dad.  As you can see in the picture above C got the old, "NO TOUCH" right off the bat.  Then C offered the cute alligator rolling pin to which he was greeted with, "Nope."  Ok.

Once the pizza was in the oven there was no cute kiss the oven door and watch happily as it bakes.  Instead we got a full blown temper tantrum.  Why?  Juice.  Crack for kids.  Can I kill the inventor of this worthless crap please?!   We watched as he rolled around (on the carpeting) and eventually gave up.  btw - yes we have juice in the house for some dumb reason and he was mad because he saw me water it down.

By the time we sat down for dinner all was forgotten and Z was his happy normal self.  Pizza was yummy.  They lived happily ever after (that day).




"Z Juice!  I need it!"

Z's Pizza. Cooked to a turn.

March 24, 2011

Sunday Pizza: 03.20.2011

Heavenly!  That's all I can say about this week's Sunday Pizza.  The picture above does not do it justice but C made some amazing pizza this week!  As you can see we made deep dish again.  Gooo-ood.

We experimented some with success.  Since we've been making the thin crust pizza on the bottom shelf with the screen we realized we could use the top half of the oven to make deep dish.  For the first time ever we were able to get two pizzas baked at the same time.  Well, really the deep dish takes longer but you get the point.

C suggested we try tossing fresh basil on the pizza when we take it out of the oven.  I mean what doesn't taste better with fresh basil?  Finally, C wanted to try prosciutto ham on the pizza.  This guy is on a major roll!  It was seriously awesome.  That's all I can say about it.  Make some pizza and put prosciutto on it then fresh basil as it comes out.  You. Will. Melt.

In other news, we had nearly the same crowd as last week but minus C's parents and Kickball Ken. [Can you say subset boys and girls?]  Grannie Frannie, the Queen, and Kate win bozo buttons for coming over three impressive weeks in a row!  Way to go!

Other than the food, the highlights were C and Pete using Z and Elliott as human clocks and streaming the Illinois v Kansas State game on TV.  ILL-INI!  Too bad they lost.  TNT gets an A+ in my book for streaming all games!


March 17, 2011

Z and Po

I love pandas.  My childhood bedroom is called the panda room now by my dad, J-Mo, and nieces and nephew.  I had two wall length shelves filled with pandas.  Once my dad, El-Dude, found out I was prego with Z he brought me nearly all of them for Z.

Z-Man's first official panda was given to him by the Queen.  I was maybe 4 months pregnant and she asked her hubby, Kickball Ken, to pick it up at Walmart for her.  Three Walmarts later Po was found!

Every month for the first year we took a picture of Z and Po.  I swiped the idea from my cousin Aimee.  It is a great way to see him grow.  Now, we are going to try and snap a picture yearly.  The challenge is getting him to sit still.

1 month

6 months

11 months (12 months is too blurry)

2 years, note he seems to be righty

March 14, 2011

Saturday Pizza: 03.12.2011

Z-man turned TWO this weekend!  We made it through two whole years raising Z and so far maybe he won't need too much counseling ;)

I definitely felt no pressure this year to throw a big birthday bash.  I had a big party last year by choice and was happy to lay low and only celebrate with family this year.  Ok, Z's best bud, Elliott was a must invite.  All of Z's grandparents were there!  Z's Aunt, the Queen, and her family were there too.

Naturally, we made pizza for the occasion.  It is getting to the point where it is the easiest thing for us to do.  I asked my dad to be photog since I knew I would goof and only take three pictures.  These are some of my faves.

Oh yeah the first one is the only thing that went wrong the whole day (well, weekend actually).  We made a chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting.  They didn't have the normal cake decorating icing at the store.  Instead I got this cookie icing stuff.  Whatever you do, DO NOT USE this stuff to decorate a cake.  It slid off the cake and ended up looking as my mother-in-law described it, psychedelic.  It is supposed to be Zeke and a train.  Oops.  Hopefully, this is the biggest catastrophe for Z's 3rd year.

March 7, 2011

Sunday Stir Fry: 03.06.2011

Stir fry?  Have we lost our minds?  Yes, just about two clicks from the nut house. Speaking of nut house...  :)  As Ross Perot would say, "Here's the deal!"  

Actually we had some sad news, C's 91 year old Grandma passed away last week.  She lived in Chicago with Chris's parents and we flew home to attend the funeral.  She died how most people hope to pass, in her sleep surrounded by loved ones she knows are all in good hands.  Although it was a sad occasion we had a wonderful time seeing the family and catching up.  The best part about a wake and funeral is there's plenty of time to just hang out and keep each other company.  The hours flew by.  Z had a ball and loved playing with his 5 year old cousin Olivia (they share the same bday coming up next week!)

We got back late Saturday night and decided to take a break from pizza.  We actually had killer Chicago pizza twice this week.  Not to mention there's a lot of grazing at funerals.  We cancelled Sunday pizza and instead opted for Sunday stir fry.  LOTS of veggies were in order.  Someday I'll post my recipe for stir fry but I'll warn you the sauce is really just doctored up jarred sauce.  They can't all be from scratch!

Well, my mom, Bubbe, and sister, the Queen, and my niece Kate came over for dinner.  It was awesome to see how much Kate has grown since I last saw her.  I think it has been two weeks but maybe it has been three.  Time flies!  All are well and it was nice to just hang some more.  We were having family withdrawal after only 1 day!  I thank my lucky start to be surrounded by loved ones.