Worldrunner3's Blog

July 25, 2011

Moving, cooking, and why it doesn’t happen for me

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 10:30 am

Greetings to you all from the Florida Panhandle! Kevin and I made the drive down on Tuesday and Wednesday, and spent Tuesday night in Charleston, SC. That is a beautiful city, and one that I wouldn’t mind retiring in one  day. Gorgeous houses, great food everywhere you turn… We are safely ensconced in our new home, with all sorts of improvements planned. (yes, it’s a rental, but the owners had been trying to sell it anyway, so if we just make a few little tweaks, it’ll be easier for them to sell in a year or two, whenever we have  to move next.) It is incredibly hot and humid, and the mosquitoes have made quite a meal of my legs. But we’re in Florida, the beach is 45 minutes away, and it’s all good.

Speaking of good, I have  never had so much good seafood as I have in the past 4 days. Wow. Everyone, from the little place here in our new hometown with the wood paneling that reminds me of the restaurant which was my first job, to the beach restaurant insanely popular with tourists with the way-too-loud band and the servers who wear Hawaiian shirts, knows how to cook the best seafood you’ve ever eaten. In fact, we’re going back to that local place for lunch again today, because you can get a great piece of fish, 2 sides, and a couple of the most divine hush puppies ever for $6.

But all this eating out, on the road and here, is hard on my stomach, and on our wallet. You see, one of the great things about military  moves is that, well, the government will actually pay for a contractor to move all your stuff. It’s great! But they take your kitchen gear, and don’t deliver it for a week and a half, or more! I’ve been tempted to drive down to the base and borrow some kitchen stuff from the lending closet, but The Hubster gets really weird about borrowing kitchen stuff.

What’s the solution? Hobo dinners! They’re great; potatoes, carrots, and ground beef patties wrapped up in foil packets. Salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce. Pop ’em in the oven for a half-hour or so, around 375-400. Even if you have to buy new aluminum foil because your  roll is in a box somewhere between Virginia and Florida, you will be eating healthier and cheaper than you would at a restaurant.

I have some cooking goals while I’m here. First, I want to make really great fish. Fish is one of those things that I consistently make poorly, unless I’m using something from a yellow box with a blue label and a kindly looking old man wearing a yellow raincoat on the front. I also want to make grits; the little local place makes the most amazing smoked gouda grits. Yum and a half! I recognize that these are very southern-style cooking goals, and that’s ok. Southern food is good food, except when all you’ve eaten is the fried variety and your digestive system says, seriously? Enough.

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July 14, 2011

Chickpea Curry My Way, i.e. Inauthentic but Delicious

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 12:43 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

A vegetarian meal my husband actually mostly likes

When my parents came to visit us a few months ago, we went out to an Indian restaurant in Woodbridge. Kevin and I try to make a point of finding interesting, un-chain places to eat, and love taking my parents to holes in the wall.

This place beyond qualified, thanks to its storefront location in a run down strip mall, the dim lighting, the server who had a barely rudimentary grasp of the English language (complicated by a thick accent), and enough typos in the menu to make my eye twitch. But the food, oh the food. I had an absolutely divine chickpea thing, loaded with turmeric and flavor, and maybe some sort of ridiculous heavy cream. Not spicy, but rich, and a great bite to the chickpeas. I ate my weight of it, and had the rest for lunch the next day.

The dish haunted me, and I vowed I would re-create it someday in my own kitchen. That day arrived earlier this week, when I finally decided to make a recipe I’d found on the Betty Crocker website. Now, this recipe called for curry powder, but as we are moving and I seriously don’t have the money or inclination to buy one more bottle of spices that we have to move, I improvised my own “curry powder.” Anyone who is a true connoisseur of Indian food will cry with shame, but I thought the results were delicious, and even better the next day (and the day after!). Even Kevin, a devoted eater of meat, thought it was pretty good, though he’s no fan of whole chickpeas.

Please make this. It’s not exactly what I had in Woodbridge, but I like it even better without the cream. It’s just plain yummy.

*Edit: I used fire-roasted canned tomatoes, which really add some serious yum to the whole mess. I should’ve put that in. My apologies. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.*

Chickpea Curry My Way (adapted from Betty Crocker’s Chickpea and Tomato Curry)

olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 onion, minced

2 cans garbanzo beans

2 cans whole tomatoes

large pinch of coriander seeds

cumin

ginger powder

turmeric

ground red pepper

salt

lemon juice

cooked white rice

Put the coriander seeds in a plastic baggie and crush with a can or rolling pin. (If you are not a loser and have a fancy-pants spice grinder, feel free to toast the seeds, and toast cumin seeds, and grind them all up together. That’s not me. I use a baggie and a can.) Heat a skillet or big, shallow sauce pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the oil and let it heat up. Saute the onion and garlic, adding the crushed coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, and red pepper. Because I didn’t measure, I can’t tell you how much I used of anything. There will be a good chance to taste and adapt in a few minutes. Just make sure it’s good and yellow by adding plenty of turmeric!

While the onion and garlic are softening and cooking down, put the tomatoes in the blender with the juices and puree them. (Whole tomatoes taste better than the diced ones, and Kevin won’t eat tomato chunks. If your friends and family eat chunks of tomato, lucky you; you can skip this step if you want, and just break them up into more manageable pieces with a fork.) Drain and rinse the garbanzos. Add tomatoes and garbanzos to the onion and garlic. Stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste it about midway through; is it spicy enough? Smokey? Do you just want more turmeric (that’s me, always)? Go ahead and add it. Curry is a personal thing, so just go with how you’re feeling today!

At the end of the simmering time, put in a good pinch of salt and a squirt of lemon juice. Taste. Maybe a tiny bit more salt. Good.

Serve over rice, maybe have some falafel on the side, or pita bread. Whatever your heart desires.

It’s been HOW long??

Filed under: Uncategorized — by worldrunner3 @ 8:51 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

*blows dust off blog*
Oh dear, my poor blog. I am so sorry. How did I let time slip away from me without making an entry for the ENTIRE length of Kevin’s imprisonment, I mean, assignment, to language school?

I suppose I can tack it up to poor judgment, lack of time management, and all of those other character flaws that plague my particular generation. Not to mention that nasty sense of entitlement, which I bet manifested itself in my own life by my thinking that this blog would update itself, because I’ve earned it.

At any rate, I have some interesting posts coming up focusing on (I’m hoping) delicious side dishes. Pesto, anyone?

Please remember that I am simultaneously preparing to move, so things are getting a little hairy on my end. Conveniently enough, in my world, I think the week before we move to another state is the perfect time to get back into blogging. Go figure, right?

And in keeping with my blog’s title, I am preparing for a race in my soon-to-be new hometown. I’m very excited, as it should be a fun, laid-back, scenic race; the best kind.

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