I hope you’ll forgive my absence the past week. I was either nursing the sick or being sick myself (and I unfortunately got the worst of it!), and it hardly left me room to write, let alone think. But, today, dear Wednesday, I feel better! It was funny, too- on Friday (the start of my feverish sickness), I asked that Jeff just pick up a quart of hot and sour soup from a Chinese place on his way home. It was so perfect, especially because I’d been moping around in a blanket and hat all day kicking toys around on the floor and feeling mildly sorry for myself. Soup is good. Anyway, upon opening my fortune cookie it read "One should not forget the language of gratitude." It was a nice reminder, on "Gratitude Friday", although not nearly enough motivation to get an actual post out of me. Just be sure that I’ve got a whopper of a gratitude in store for you this Friday. Oh yes I do.
Anyway. On to the food. Vera, my little mischievous munchkin, decided to "cook" one day last week. I heard her hanging out in the kitchen, although she’s almost always just doing something harmless like pretending to wash dishes or dumping some water on the counter. I didn’t worry much, until it just got too quiet. Oh, this time, she had gotten into my spices. A lovely little mix of spices she had made… "I’m COOKIN Mama!" she exclaimed. So cute.
I could only really be bothered to move the spice rack away to limit further damage, but allowed her to "cook" for as long as she liked. She spooned spices into this receptacle and then that, occasionally tasting her creation with a surprised puckered expression. After she was done I consolidated and wiped everything down, and then took stock. Here’s what we had:
Dried cranberries and raisins, a few almonds, sesame seeds, cumin, fennel seed, crushed bay leaves.
A hefty amount of spices, when it was all done. So, when I looked at the ingredients I realized that I couldn’t let all those spices just go to waste. I had to try something with them… I’ve been staring at that little jar, and tonight I decided to take on the challenge. I made a curry.
I figured I’d add a good amount of acorn squash, in the hopes that the sweetness would go well with copious amounts of fennel seed.
I started just by sauteeing some onion, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms. I added about 3/4 of the spices that Vera had mixed, some ground beef, and let it sautee for a while. Then I added salt, pepper, ginger root, a few cherry tomatoes, and a little sugar, along with a jar of coconut milk. Then I added the squash, and covered it all until it was soft.
I cooked up some rice noodles and voila! Dinner. It smelled delicious.
And you know what? It tasted delicious, too. So, thanks Vera, my little half-naked chef.