Thursday, December 6, 2007

My First "Ethnic" Dish

I can't believe I'm still posting about what I made Sunday on Friday.

Anyway, before I cooked the Big Family Dinner (now to be known as the BFD), I made my food for the week: Cornmeal-Masala Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Spiced Yogurt Sauce over basmati rice, all from Veganomicon. This was my first time cooking with anything beyond the typical parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. I'd picked up a couple of packets of garam masala at The Brooklyn Kitchen (they have a nice selection of spices, one tablespoon for $1. That way you get to work with the spice a little and see if you like it before committing to a whole jar. I love the idea. I used less than one packet in everything I made Sunday, so it may seem expensive, but it's actually not a bad value for spices that aren't usually used by the boatload) and was really excited to have the opportunity to use some.

See that picture up there? I wish you could taste it through your screen. Hell, I wish I could taste it through my screen because I ate the last of it on Wednesday and could go for more right this minute. I don't know when I'm going to make it again, though, because I'm trying to get myself to keep trying new things. But I will be making the Spiced Yogurt Sauce on Sunday to accompany a vegetable plate for my family's Channukkah party (I'll also be making other things, but my mother is bringing a dairy dip for the vegetables, so I decided to whip up something quick that I can eat too).

My family was not pleased when I told them I was making Brussels sprouts. My mother complained that the whole house would stink while my father whined that he hates Brussels sprouts (he had no answer when I pointed out this was to be my lunch for work, not for him. He's gotten used to having some of whatever I cook, which is great, really). I told them to shut up and wait until it was all done before complaining.

I'm not sure if I did the Brussels sprouts right. When I mixed everything together for the crumbs, I didn't get crumbs. I got a mush similar to the consistency of matzo ball batter (is it called batter?). I added some extra cornmeal and chickpea flour to dry it out a bit before adding it to the sprouts. I also kept them in the oven significantly longer than indicated in the recipe. This was partly because my mother kept saying "They can't be done, I don't smell them yet!" and partly because the crumbs didn't seem to get brown. I took them out of the oven when the sprouts' top leaf layer started scraping off when I mixed them around. I don't know if that's considered overdone, but I really liked the texture they came out, so I think I'll be using that as my personal guideline from now on.

The consistency of the sprouts was great, but the crumb topping was sometimes a bit too gritty for me. Again, I'm not sure if I did something wrong, but I felt like it was exfoliating my teeth. It wasn't uncomfortable to eat, but it did feel a bit weird. I probably just need to get used to it.

Tastewise, it was AMAZING. My father tasted one sprout after telling me a long story about his traumatic childhood sprout-related event and started laughing because he liked it so much (but not as much as the asparagus) and couldn't understand how something could taste like such crap when one person prepares it and so much awesome when someone else does. My mother really liked them and kept going on and on about how they taste like they came from a restaurant. My brother kept coming down to the kitchen to try to steal more while I was preparing dinner.

The Spiced Yogurt Sauce takes about 15 seconds to make and tastes just like the sauce you get at an Indian restaurant. I wanted to drink it out of the prep bowl (but didn't!). I've been putting it on everything, all week (it's great with the Brussels sprouts, other vegetables, bread and melba toast but didn't suit rice cakes so well).

And I love basmati rice. It's so buttery and fluffy and...perfect.

The funny part of all this is that as I started cooking, I asked my mother if she likes Indian food. She said no, of course. As soon as I opened the packet of garam masala, I thought "Oho! That's Indian food, right there, in this packet. This is going to be great" and held it up for my mother to smell. She liked it. And when I cooked everything, put it all together and had her taste it, she liked it. I asked her what happened, I thought she doesn't like Indian food. She shrugged and replied: "And I thought you couldn't make matzo ball soup without chicken and eggs, that asparagus is gross and cheese made from nuts is disgusting."





Sinistra said...

I continue to be impressed and inspired by your posts.

Mr. Sinistra and I both love, love brussel sprouts! I usually steam mine and put a yogurt/mustard/horseradish sauce on them. Yours look yummy! I'll try them the next time I find some lovely sprouts.

I lol'd at the brains! We have thought the same thing!

Keep up the good work!

Seitan Said Dance said...

Dude, roasting the sprouts turns them into completely different food. Highly recommended.