Monday, May 29, 2006

So who is this Committee?

For the record we wish to note that "we" are an I, and that "I" is the Chairwoman. The Chairwoman lives alone but has too many mouths to feed and too many good things to feed them to use "I" with consistency, and anyhow food is for sharing.

Besides I, there is a King Charles Spaniel who wants to taste everything, including vegetable peels, potted herbs, and dust bunnies.

There is an ex-boyfriend, who shares custody of said spaniel and who remains a perpetually welcome dinner guest, in large part because he is good company and in small part because he may not eat anything at all if left to take care of himself. His refrigerator contains little more than un-scientific science experiments, apparently designed to test his theories about When Will That Food Get Up and Walk Away on Its Own.

There is also a family of three squirrels, all named Pita, who regularly extort nuts, fruits, and vegetables from the Committee.

Moreover, there is my inability to pass by a farmers' market without buying enough food to feed a small, exceedingly fussy commune, if there is such a thing. While examining the selection of goods for sale I am struck with a temporary but powerful form of amnesia that prevents me from recalling the size of my kitchen, the space available in the refrigerator, and the number of persons expected to come to dinner within the next few days (typically not a dozen or even half a dozen). Yet I am thrifty, increasingly thrifty, and cannot stand to let my best finds go uneaten. Hence I am sometimes — often — going to be "we."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

tiny Indian banquet

We recently prepared a tiny Indian banquet solely as an excuse to make an Indian dessert we'd been longing to try: carrot halwa. The Chairwoman spent a semester in India in her undergrad years and does not recall eating it, perhaps because it appears to be a Pakistani & Punjabi dish; Punjab is in the northwest and the Chairwoman was mostly in the northeast. Anyhoo, we love cardamom and we love unusual desserts, and we *really* love desserts that are served warm, so we were curious about the recipe we'd clipped from the Nov. 2001 Saveur. As we suspected, we loved it. The amount of cardamom is just right, and the texture is pudding-ish in the best possible sense; there are raisins and two kinds of nuts - chopped cashews and sliced almonds - to keep it from being too mushy.

carrot halwa

The rest of the tiny Indian banquet consisted of slightly-burnt pappadums, chicken vindaloo, and basmati rice.

The pappadums were purchased from our beloved local Indian grocer, Dowel, located on 1st Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets, and are not hard to prepare without burning if the cook is paying attention (i.e., not a tiny bit drunk).

The vindaloo sauce was also purchased, and that's unusual for us. The Committee does not merely frown upon processed food, it glares at it. With complete disdain. Surely there will be at least a few contemptuous posts about it here in the future. In the meantime, it is probably not fair of us to categorize this particular vindaloo sauce that we tried — Maya Kaimal Indian Vindaloo Simmer Sauce — as "processed food." It hasn't got preservatives in it and it doesn't seem to have been through any creepy process of being taken apart and put back together again in an effort to get as much corn syrup into it as possible.

Maya Kaimal Vindaloo Simmer Sauce
The taste was quite good, although in the future we think we'd prefer it with chickpeas rather than chicken, and we'll have some thick yogurt to stir in at the end.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

While the Committee familiarizes itself with Blogger . . . .

the Chairwoman urges you to make a pot of soup. It's damp and chilly in much of the Northeast this weekend, ideal weather for preparing one of the Committee's favorites: Crème Crécy