Mixed Daal with Cauliflower and Potatoes and Peas

This was my final meal for Nepali week. I intentionally made it a simple meal because I had planned on making it on a Friday and I’ve mentioned before how Fridays are my tired days. After the previous disaster, I took a couple of days off from cooking to get my thoughts together and to become less stabby. The last thing you want is a stabby person using a large kitchen knife. It worked and I enjoyed making this meal and losing myself in the preparation. Cooking should be a form of therapy. I just Googled it and what do you know? It is. Well there goes my next “big” idea…

Recipe

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Spice Roasted Cornish Hen with Spiced Potato Momos and Veggie Patties

I want to start off by saying this meal was rough and eye opening. The day before I had to go to my hometown and without getting too into it, it was a horrible experience. So bad that I was still mentally and physically recovering from it the next day. Actually I’m still trying to get over it. Needless to say, I was not in a good mood but I wanted to continue with my little project so I forced myself into the kitchen.

I could not get into it and it wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized just how therapeutic cooking is for me. Like I’ve said, I know my way around a kitchen. Even before this started, even before I became a Stay at Home Mom, I made dinner four to five days a week and I’ve always enjoyed it. Chopping up veggies is like meditation to me and in a weird way, it’s how I relax. It’s hard to do that when your mind is racing and it was not good.

My momos were crap, too. Sorry, I’m getting grumpy just remembering it. Basically I was in the kitchen for over two hours and my entire meal didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. With the exception of the frozen birds, I don’t know what I did wrong, but it did not help my mood. I was very frustrated and angry and I probably even cried a bit. I think part of it was the kitchen failure and part of it was whatever was on my mind but overall, not a good experience.

This recipe will still make my life story, though, but just for the revelation that I cook as a release but not everything can be released. Sometimes things just need to sit and fester and figure themselves out. Festering thoughts are the best!

Also, the veggie stir fry was good but the rest of the food was blah. I’m pretty sure my bad juju seeped itself into my food.

Recipe

Black Urad Daal, Ajowan Rice, and Buttered Peas with Garlic and Spices

When I mentioned to people I was making Nepali food, a few asked if I would be making daal. And when I spoke to people that have traveled to Nepal, they mentioned daal so I kinda got the feeling that I’d have to make daal at least once. I made it twice and it turned out great both times. This is the first time.

I didn’t take pictures of any of the ingredients cause clearly I’m really good at remembering things…this is why I have multiple To Do Lists every day. “To Do This Hour” “To Do Today” “To Do Before You Forget the Other List” “Just Do This Right Now” I’m not even joking about that last one. Someone get me some gingko biloba, amirite?!

Recipe

Chicken Sekuwa and Black Eyed Pea Curry

Sorry for the lack of updates, the past week has been a little crazy. I don’t know who I’m talking to, I literally have one follower (Hi Andrew!).

After Finnish week, I was really looking forward to Nepali week. I don’t mean to offend any Finnish people that might be reading this and I sincerely apologize if I do, but I was a little underwhelmed with the food. Like I said in my last post, I know there are better meals out there (really want to try some Karelian Pastries) and I’m not entirely done with the Finnish cuisine, I definitely plan on revisiting it someday, but this experience didn’t leave the greatest taste in my mouth. So yeah, was into trying Nepali food.

I bought The Taste of Nepal by Jyoti Pathak from Amazon. It got good reviews, it didn’t cost a thousand dollars, and it claimed to be a good combination of traditional and homemade recipes.

The first meal I made was Chicken Sekuwa and Black Eyed Pea Curry. So, side note, shopping for groceries for the week was enlightening and very affordable; I spent a total of $70 on groceries for the four meals. Se-ven-ty do-llars. By comparison, Finnish week costs me roughly $140 and I didn’t get a year’s worth of beans with those $140 like I did with these groceries. Seriously, I bought like eight pounds of beans. I’m good for, like, forever.

The finished meal. Oh-my-gawd was this good!

The meat was beyond tasty and tender. It was a tangy due to the onion and yogurt but oh so good. Those onions I kept going on and on about? UUUHH, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I was worried because they were raw and raw onions mean my chest will be on fire but the lemons softened them to where they just melted in my mouth. And even though I knew what could possibly happen, I still ate like six of them. By the way, no heartburn. None. It was magic! The curry was spectacular! Who knew black eyed peas could be so fantastic? That asafetida ruined the scent of my house but turned those boring beans into one of my favorite dishes ever.

So yeah, this meal was aight.

Recipe

Sour Pot Roast and Turnip Casserole

Let me start off by saying this roast requires a FIVE DAY MARINATION. Yes, five days. So, yeah, this is a planned meal.

Several years ago, when my husband and I were still dating, I bought some beef ribs. I hadn’t ever made beef ribs but I knew they were best when marinated. We had recently bought a bottle of mead, which if you don’t know, is booze made with fermented honey. It was really popular in Beowulf. Anyway, I thought the honey would be good with the ribs so I put six ribs and about two cups of mead in a Ziploc bag and threw it in the refrigerator.

Then I forgot about them for three days…

When I found them, I was like “Well, the longer it’s marinated the better, right?” Totally, because that’s how marinating works. I threw them in the oven and roasted for I don’t remember how long, made a couple of sides, and served dinner.

We took one bite and drove to Burger King to get some not disgusting food. That was my experience with marinating beef in booze so I had some reservations about this one.

Turnip Casserole

. I had some cauliflower left over from the soup so I added that in as well. We invited some friends over for dinner so I also sauteed some green beans and carrots in like a pound of butter. Paula Deen would be so proud.

Recipe

Aune’s Pork Casserole

This dish is named after Aune Merikallio, a Finnish home economist. I guess she lent her recipe to the author for his book. I couldn’t find anything about her on the internet so there’s not much of a story there. Sorry.

This did not feel like a casserole to me, it was more of a roast, but maybe casserole is Finnish for roast? I dunno, just not very casserole-y (that’s a word!) to me.

I just Googled “casserole” and the definition is “a kind of stew or side dish that is cooked slowly in an oven”  And a “roast” is “a cut of meat that has been roasted or is intended for roasting” but “roast” as a verb is “to cook by prolonged exposure to heat in an oven or over a fire.” Well, there you go. It is both a roast and a casserole. Boom! English lesson!

The pork was kinda dry. Maybe it would have turned out a little juicier had I put the meat directly on the veggies…The flavor was great though. A little on the spicy side but still tasty. Both my husband and I enjoyed how the apples made the sauerkraut less bitter. I’m not a huge fan of sauerkraut so this was an appreciated take on it. The mushrooms were amazing! I also love sour cream so that might have had something to do with it. As good as they were, they were very heavy. I hadn’t eaten lunch that day so I was starving and had two large servings. I was pretty miserable afterwards.

The baby also really enjoyed the mushrooms; the three year old not so much. And I know I mention how she doesn’t eat most, if not all, of my dinners but I promise you, the kid is healthy! She does eat breakfast and lunch so that makes up fornot eating a big dinner. She did eat some pork though so that was good.

If I make this again, I won’t add the potatoes because I don’t feel they really contributed all that much and I will put the meat directly on the veggies. Definitely making the mushrooms again, I just won’t eat so much next time.

Recipe

Baked Stuffed Fish and Spinach Pancakes

So I have to be honest, after the liver casserole, I was questioning my decision to eat Finnish food. That dish scarred me for life! 

The next day I attempted to make Hiivaleipa, Finnish Brown Bread. The recipe seemed pretty straight forward: mix hot water with butter, sugar, and salt. Let it cool to lukewarm. Stir yeast into lukewarm water and let it dissolve. Add to the mixture. Beat in rye and another unsifted flour. Knead for ten minutes, let it rise, and bake. Up until the holidays, I was baking bread once a week so I know enough about bread making to where I felt comfortable making this. I tried twice and I couldn’t get it right. The first time the dough was super sticky so I had to chunk it. The second time it came out okay but after an hour, it didn’t double in size like it was supposed to so I chunked that as well. By then I gave up on it and made another donation to the food bank. This disaster combined with the liver casserole made me feel like a failure. I know it’s silly and really, there are bigger problems in the world, but it was still a blow so I really needed this fish dish to come out okay. I have feelings, okay?

So this looks weird because half of the stuffing leaked out but it looks a lot worse than it was.

Recipe

Liver Casserole

One of my biggest motivators for doing this is to get my family and myself to eat different foods. Like I’ve said before, we get into ruts of familiarity and the girls are at an age where they should be experimenting with different foods so they don’t become too obsessed with junk food. I feel that as long as we’re exposing them to various textures and flavors, it makes up for the days that I allow them to have ice cream for lunch.

So I made liver casserole.

My mom used to make liver and onions a lot when I was a kid and I hated it. I don’t think I ever finished the meal and thankfully my mother wasn’t one of those sadists that made their kids eat ALL THEIR FOOD. I’ve taken her approach on eating, which is if you don’t like it, don’t eat, but you’re not getting anything else. The three year old is very picky and unless it’s bread, pasta, corn tortillas, or rice, she will always say “I don’t like it” before even tasting the food. We always say the same thing “You don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to” and about 50% of the time, she’ll taste it and eat it. The other half is spent with her asking for her favorites and we just ignore her. We’ve already started saving for the eventual therapy sessions. 

I was not jazzed about this but I wanted to stick with trying  new things. I also thought that I might like it. I didn’t like a lot when I was a kid. Tomatoes, squash, onions, and okra stand out as foods that were my least favorite but now I like all of them and eat them regularly. I was hoping that the same would happen with liver. I think you know where this is going.

Carrot casserole

Okay, I tried to keep an open mind, I really did. I ignored the texture of the liver when I was chopping it. I ignored the smell. I ignored the raisins. I ignored a lot. 

I could not ignore the taste. Apparently I have not outgrown my distaste for liver. I know there are people who love it and good for you; you are a more evolved person than I. I can’t even describe the taste, all I can do is sit here with a grimace at the memory. The husband tried to add ketchup, hoping it would make a difference but it didn’t. I hated throwing all that food away but after my neighbor turned down the offer of leftovers, I had no choice. To make up for it, I made a donation to the Capital Area Food Bank through my local HEB. 

The carrot casserole was great though! If I could do it again, I’d use less breadcrumbs and cook it for about ten minutes less. 

I’m making fish tonight. I really hope it turns out better.

Recipe

Summer Vegetable Soup

This week we are in Finland.

Kun menee sutta pakoon, tulee karhu vastaan. 

That means “When you flee from a wolf, you run into a bear” This has nothing to do with this post. I just Googled “Popular Finnish proverbs” and I liked this one. It’s supposed to be mean to not give up on one situation for another. I don’t get it either. 

FINLAND. The biggest deciding factor in choosing Finland was, and this was backed by some super scientific thought, that it’s cold in Finland. It’s currently cold in Texas. So I figured the food would be agreeable with the climate. Granted I’m currently wearing shorts in January so maybe I didn’t think this one through. I rarely do.

Choosing a cookbook for Finland was pretty easy. My three choices at Half Price were a $40 book that wasn’t going to happen in any world, a $30 book that focused on Finnish country cooking which involved a lot of wild game like reindeer, and the $10 book I ended up buying. The price was right! Also, the book I ended up buying uses American measurements (in yo face metric system!) and is actually a book on Scandinavian cooking. It’s titled

“The Art of Scandinavian Cooking” by Nika Standen Hazelton

. It was written in the mid-sixties but the recipes seem to hold up pretty well so far. There’s an intro to each country, with a little synopsis of their dietary customs and traditions. It’s a fun read.

<img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/56ca481801dbae727e4f992a/t/56e1a89d74e8d64aef8a4f64/1457629733781//img.jpg else would I make this recipe in January, hippies?!

<img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/56ca481801dbae727e4f992a/t/56e1a89d74e8d64aef8a4f68/1457629732996//img.jpg.the.spot. I was a little worried about it being bland but the butter and sweetness of the peas and carrots added some great flavor. It was very filling but wasn't too heavy. It probably would have turned out different had I used the full amount of milk but I feel this worked perfectly.

The three year old wouldn’t touch it but the nineteen month old asked for seconds. Seriously, she has the best taste.

Recipe

Spicy Chickpea and Aubergine Stew

Disclaimer: I have made this before.

I know I wanted to try new recipes but here’s the deal, it was a Friday and I’m usually pretty beat by Friday evenings. I took this into consideration when meal planning so I chose this with the expectation that I would be tired and would want something quick and easy. This recipe stepped up to the plate! Specifically our dinner plates.

If you don’t know, an aubergine is an eggplant. ‘Aubergine’ is mostly used in Europe and all those countries whose patronus is not a bald eagle. ‘Merica! When reading up on the difference between the two words, I learned that there are white and green eggplants! Did you know that?! I didn’t know that. So, how does that relate to the color ‘eggplant’? I mean, now that I know there are different colors of eggplant, I can’t use that word to describe a color. I just can’t! There’s no turning back, my life has been forever changed.

This recipe changed my life, y’all.

Recipe