Monday, August 16, 2010
Here's something I came up with for last night's dinner table. I was very pleased with how it turned out. Hot topic of late on the discussion forum of The Kind Life's website: Yesterday my husband and son decided to grill steaks for dinner! And yes, I love them anyway (my men, not the steaks!) My choice of veganism is mine alone, although, by example, I've, at times, been able to influence some of the choices the other beloved family members make.
Back to the food: While the men's meat was marinating, my husband uncharacteristically began working in the kitchen! He chopped some potatoes into wedges, and brushed each with some olive oil, arranging them on a cookie sheet and carefully sprinkling them with salt and pepper. It was so cute to see him doing this so painstakingly. I was already making Greenbeans with Hijiki and Ginger from The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone, enough for everyone, so, noticing that my husband's oven fries would likely only feed himself and the kids, I began thinking of what else I could eat.
"I think I will make gnocchi tonight," I said, realizing I would have to come up with something quick since the men had such a huge head start on prep with their food.
"But I'm having steak!" my husband said -- he loves gnocchi, but that, along with his steak, oven fries and the green beans would have been too much food. He would miss out on eating as much gnocchi as he would have wanted. He was in a conundrum.
"I don't eat steak," I answered matter-of-factly.
"Can't you have the potatoes with your beans?" he asked -- he thinks in a linear fashion, idea to goal, and I could see his discomfort as I was throwing a curve into his enthusiastic sprint to the finish.
I explained that I probably needed to make more fries if I wasn't making gnocchi. "Oh, you want me to make some more?" He asked.
Then inspiration hit like a lightbulb overhead, "No, I've got another idea," I said. I had been thinking of the flavor of ginger that I was about to experience with the beans, and I realized the eastern flavor would go so well with curry!
At one of our favorite Irish pubs, before I went vegan, we used to enjoy the snack of Curry Chips along with a pint of Guinness. They were simply thick wedges of potato, fried and salted, served alongside a mild, creamy curry dip. I am guessing the origin of the curry in an Irish pub was from the influence of nearby England, which was in turn influenced by the eastern flavors during the time India was a British colony. Since I am not eating dairy now, I have not had this dish in some time, but quickly realized I could create something much healthier that incorporates the best of the curry chips, without any dip at all.
I washed and chopped four small potatoes, threw them into a mixing bowl, drizzled a splash of olive oil over them, generously sprinkled them with salt, pepper, curry powder and turmeric powder and gave them a stir to evenly coat them. My husband's mouth fell open as he noticed what I was doing. "That's smart," he said, as he was no doubt recalling the tedious way he had brushed each side of each of his own potato wedges before arranging them painstakingly on his cookie sheet. I enjoyed his company in the kitchen. I hope it happens more often.
As my husband went out to the grill with his meat, I popped the two sheets of potatoes into a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.
I thoroughly enjoyed my curry fries, even more than the ones at the pub. There was no need for any accompaniment, and the potatoes came out so crisp and flavorful. I didn't get much protein at this meal, since I had thrown it together so quickly to catch up with my meat-feeding-frenzy-boys. They began preparations much earlier than normal and I had not enough time to plan. So I will eat something protein-rich today for lunch, maybe quinoa.
A note about curry and turmeric: curry is actually a collection of different spices and it can vary widely in contents according to manufacturer. My favorite brand, Spice Islands, contains cumin, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, turmeric, dill seed, black pepper, red pepper, mace, cardamom and cloves. I find that I like to add a bit more turmeric, which to me is one of the brighter top notes of the flavor of curry, with the bottom notes being the stronger flavors of mace, coriander, cardamom, and cumin. Ginger and cloves are medium flavor notes with a bit of a sweetness, which rounds out the stronger and more dominant flavors. The first time I added more turmeric it was for health reasons. Recent studies have shown that turmeric has cancer-preventative and -suppressive qualities, and that everyone could benefit from its inclusion in a healthy diet. I don't currently have cancer issues, (knock on wood) but there is a genetic predisposition in my family. Though I began using more turmeric for health reasons, now I prefer the flavor of curry this way. You will want to experiment with the flavors to see what appeals to you.