I love it when “I don’t know what to cook tonight and I don’t want to go to the store” turns into “looks in favorite cookbook and realizes all of the ingredients for a delicious meal are already in the house even though it’s the day before pay-day and you haven’t done bulk grocery shopping in quite some time.” Don’t you?
And in such a manner did we get to eat a delicious [vegetarian] meal of munakkaa aur daadaam ka chaval and channa dal (in other words, bastami rice with raisins and almond slivers, with chickpea dal).
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I freaking LOVE Indian food. Sadly, I haven’t gotten the chance to go to India, but I will, and I will eat ALL OF THE FOOD, and when I’m done being sick, I will eat more.
I was lucky enough to get both of the cookbooks in the picture above as gifts (cookbooks are probably one of the best gifts you could get me) for my last birthday, and I’ve made quite a bit of Indian food since then. It’s also handy–perhaps there was a some foreshadowing at work when I got these–because both cookbooks are vegetarian, and today marks day 1 of my third, and I think final, plunge into vegetarianism!
So, there’s that. I’m doing that again, because I love animals, and I think all life is valuable, and the meat industry is all kinds of evil, and this means you can look forward to all sorts of vegetarian recipes in the future.
Another great thing about the cookbooks is that they’re in Dutch. If you’ve ever tried to cook in a foreign country, you’ve probably noticed that every American recipe, without fail, will have at least one ingredient that is hard to come by. Some of these difficult-to-obtain ingredients include but are not limited to: chocolate chips, baking soda, shortening, cream of tartar, boxed cake mix, boxed cornbread mix–boxed anything mix, really–and cilantro. This list used to be a lot longer, but I’ve figured out a lot of work-arounds by now. For example, we now have chocolate chunk cookies, which is extra fun because it means I get to take a hammer to a bar of delicious dark Belgian chocolate. I also learned that they sell baking soda at most tokos (ethnic food stores), and if I get to one of those at the right time of day I can usually find some cilantro that isn’t totally wilted. Or not. For the other stuff, well, good luck, because shipping’s expensive. Although, there are a few American/British food stores in major cities like Amsterdam, so, all hope is not lost.
Anyway! Dutch cookbooks: I don’t have to convert anything, and I know I can easily find all the ingredients. Problems solved. Except the boxed stuff. . . that’s all crap anyway, if we’re honest with ourselves.
So, another thing I don’t know think I’ve talked about around here before: We have a tiny kitchen. And when I say that, I mean we have an adorable, sweet, black-and-white-checkered very tiny kitchen. It puts my love of organization to good use. Along with my dish washing skills.
You know how in those British shows, people have washers and dryers in their kitchens, and it’s kind of like, wait, wtf? why is that in your kitchen?? Well, apparently it’s quite normal if you just hop right on over the Atlantic. It’s not actually the horror you might think though! It is, truly, a multi-tasker’s dream: you can now cook, and wash dishes, and feed the cat, and listen to the cat use the cat box, and wash and dry your clothes all in one little room! Oh those practical, space-saving Europeans.
This is the view from our garden (that’s the washer and dryer next to the stove). Something that I really do love about our kitchen is that it does open right up into the back garden; it’s really nice in the summer when you’re barbecuing, or when you want to bake something but it’s too hot–just open up the door, and you’re good to go! It’s also handy if you have a cat who constantly wants to come in and out. Because if you wait too long, you get this face:
You also get this face if you open a can of chickpeas (or any other can for that matter), because in his world, cans=catfood. Always. He will tell you off, and he will walk under your feet attempting oh-so-sweetly to make you trip and fall to your demise.
Maybe we should have considered the consequences before we named him Nazgul Doom.
Something else I started doing recently was [almost compulsively] saving any jars that came into the house. I actually stopped buying frozen red cabbage so that I could get the kind that comes in the jar, so I could have the jar.
I love jars.
They’re great for spices, and garlic cloves, and ginger, and drinking. Drinking from jars always reminds be of being in Humboldt, so I suppose jars are kind of a nostalgic thing for me too.
So, I guess this was a little tour of my kitchen/a bit about my evening/a gratuitous picture of my cat/child. If you know me and you come to visit me, we will spend a lot of time being cozily smushed together drinking from jars in this room, and you will love every second of it.
Tipe of the day: For a tasty dessert, you can toss a peeled and diced mango into a food processor or blender with some whipped cream, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, and about a quarter of a teaspoon of nutmeg. Let it chill for a bit and then eat it all (although there’s really enough for 2). FREAKING DELICIOUS.