What’s in curry?

February 28, 2010

Curry, the spice mixture, as opposed to dishes that are made with it, is totally individual.  Everyone’s got their own version.  I mix up my own curry because I’m allergic to peppers so I need a mix that doesn’t have any.

I just mixed up a batch this week!   I usually don’t measure anything when I cook, so I’ll apologize in advance for the quantitative ambiguity herein.

  • Turmeric (a lot)
  • Cumin (medium amt)
  • Ground black pepper (I am not allergic to this kind of pepper – around 6 grinds)
  • Ground ginger (small amount) – I add fresh ginger to curry dishes when I’m making them
  • Coriander (ground, small amount)
  • Fenugreek (medium amount) – I usually grind it with a stone mortar & pestle first
  • Celery seed (tiny amount) – I usually grind it with a stone mortar & pestle first
  • Cloves (around 5 – I usually grind it with a stone mortar & pestle first)
  • Caraway seed (between small and medium amount – I usually grind it with a stone mortar & pestle first)
  • Cinnamon – sometimes a small amount, sometimes a tiny amount.

Some other curries I’ve seen had cayenne, garlic and mace in them as well.  I don’t like these in my curry.  Also, I find that I like the curry better if it rests for a few days after mixing, so I usually make it at least 3 days in advance of when I plan to use it, and I make a LOT.  I keep it in the refrigerator, so I only make it about once every 8 months or so.

Afterthought:  anything you’re grinding before you mix it in (like cloves, fenugreek, caraway, celery seeds, etc.) should be toasted first.  It really brings out the flavor.  I usually toast by putting the stuff in a hot, dry frying pan and shaking it around for a minute or two.  When you smell the fragrance of the spice, and it smells really good, that’s when they’re done — THEN grind them.  Don’t just let it sit in the pan — you need movement and flipping and such, because it will burn on one side.


What did you learn today?

February 26, 2010

At the Chilly Gonzales show at Joes’ Pub tonight, I learned 4 things.

  1. I am so glad I didn’t miss this show because it was the single best live performance I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Slayer live, mind you!). He is a passionate monster whose potential for evil is as yet, thankfully unrealized.
  2. In the words of Gonzales (slightly mangled by my memory), an entertainer is someone who “takes their worst qualities and renders them useful.”  Yes!
  3. He also said that the purpose of being on stage is to feed your ego so it doesn’t do strange things while you are out with it during the day.  This must be why I do improv (next show, tomorrow — Friday — Sparks Cafe 8 p.m.!!!) !
  4. The arugula salad at Joe’s Pub could use some hazelnuts.  If it just had hazelnuts, it would be really good.

I have video if anyone is interested, but for some reason WordPress won’t recognize a .mov  file.  Weird, right?


What the hell is dulse?

February 25, 2010

Dulse is a sea vegetable that is (I won’t lie to you) mildly yucky, super good for you, and one that I am going to pressure you to eat.  I have tricked myself into liking it by using a happy, enthusiastic inner voice and marketing it to myself as “BACON OF THE SEA!”  The truth is that it is nothing like bacon, my favorite meat, reserved only for special occasions.  I could write poems and sing songs about bacon.  I should take some to an Olin Mills photo studio and get some portraits done, I love it so much.  I would wear it, but it would not last long in my presence.

Ok, enough about bacon (food of the gods).  Dulse.  Dulse is so good for you, that it’s totally worth trying to hide it in other foods, and/or playing strange mind games with yourself to encourage consumption.  It’s hard to find a food with so much wonderful mineral content in it.  Check out these stats (7 g = about 1/3 of a cup).  Eat ANY of these sea vegetables, and you’ll be doing great things for your body.  I’d recommend kelp, but man, that’s really yucky, as opposed to mildly yucky like dulse (although I do like kelp in some Japanese soups).

The dulse I like best is Maine Coast Sea Vegetables brand “Smoked with Applewood” dulse.  I have gotten to the point where I can eat a serving just as is, if I really need to.  However, if you’re really not into sea vegetables, you can get the flakes to sprinkle on a salad or in soup (after heating).  Seriously, it’s really worth talking yourself into eating this stuff.

Note: if you’re eating sea vegetables like dulse on a regular basis, use natural salt (like Celtic Sea salt) in your kitchen, as opposed to the processed, gross, iodized salt.  Dulse has a ton of iodine in it.  You probably won’t need any more, but talk to your doctor about it, if you are unsure of what kind of iodine requirements you need (iodine is important for your thyroid – your doctor should know about it).


Salad Dressing?

February 25, 2010

I love Chilmark’s Toasted Sesame Dressing.  I’ve only been able to find it these days at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods (and that’s only because I pestered the produce guy into ordering it).  So, as of 2/25/10, they have some.  Pester your local Whole Foods or health food store for it.  It kind of tastes like a sesame dressing you’d get for a salad in a sushi restaurant, but more versatile, I think.  The ingredients are just: Canola Oil, Lemon Juice, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Toasted Sesame Seeds, Water, Xanthan Gum.  Granted, I wish the canola was replaced by olive oil or some oil I like more than canola, but other than that, I am loving this dressing.  Oh, and it always has to be refrigerated, even before it’s opened.

I couldn’t find the nutritional info on the website, so here it is:

2 tbs serving: 170 cal, 18 g fat, sat fat 1g, trans 0, chol 0, sodium 210 mg, carb 1 g, sugars 0, protein 1, vit c 4%, iron 25%.


Rules for Writing?

February 24, 2010

The Guardian had a great article on writing this past weekend.


Kid Friendly Restaurant?

February 23, 2010

Moomah is exceptionally kid friendly.  I can’t believe how well they pulled it off.  Seriously.  They aced it.  And, the food is pretty good.


Miele Dishwasher?

February 23, 2010

A friend of mine is looking at dishwashers and she asked me what I thought of mine.

I did have a Miele and I loved it, but I can totally understand how many people hate it. The good points are:

  • it’s very quiet
  • it’s extremely resource efficient (water and electricity)
  • it has that awesome flatware rack (on certain models)
  • 3 spray arms (but a lot of dishwashers have that these days)

The bad points are:

  • it’s quiet because it doesn’t have a grinder, so it doesn’t get rid of food very well (fine for me, since I neurotically rinse and scrub everything before it goes in the dishwasher because I am insane)
  • it’s made for very thin plates and doesn’t fit thicker or curved plates/bowls very well, and just forget about pots and pans — they are very hard to put in
  • cycles take forever —  I would just run them overnight

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