Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm An Auntie Again! Indian Food Love and Meatloaf Day!

Yesterday morning my new niece was born!! Welcome to the world Coralea Ann! Her big sister is beyond excited. My daughter, who is well aware of equality in 2nd grade, is very excited to have another girl in the family, so the girl babies outnumber the boy babies. I'm looking forward to seeing her later today.

In other news...

This past Sunday for Sunday Company Dinner, a friend took charge of dinner and made some Indian food for us all to indulge in. She made homemade naan and a chicken curry which she said was very simple- coconut milk, curry paste, chicken, vegetables, and cilantro to name a few of the ingredients. It was quite good, as was the naan accompanying it! For my part of the meal, I was in charge of making the Raita, a condiment or salad served with Indian food. I took the time to toast up some cumin seeds for this batch, and I swear, this was the best raita I'd ever made. It really was good, I doubt I'll ever make a plain version again, because Raita with Onion and Tomato took it to a whole new level. Topped with a little dollop of my homemade Pear Chutney, and we were good to go.

Fast forward to Monday. I had planned to attempt chicken and dumplings for dinner, but had forgotten to thaw the chicken overnight. So I improvised and chose to make some Mini Cheddar Meatloaves, which is one of my kids favorite dinners. I could make this once a week and they'd be happy. I don't have big meat-eaters, but these Mini Cheddar Meatloaves entice them to clean their plates. And even though I think I'm too late to join the round-up, if you're looking for other meatloaves of inspiration, check out the meatloaf round-up to be posted later today over at Serious Eats, in honor of National Meatloaf Appreciation Day.

I'm not done talking about Monday yet. I needed something to accompany that meatloaf. I'd settled on some simple buttered egg noodles, but a different side plagued me. Then I saw the leftover container of raita in the fridge, and I knew I had to use that somehow. I looked through a few cookbooks, checked a few websites, and ultimately decided to attempt to make a Lentil Dal. A simple lentil Indian dish, I knew it would be perfect topped with the raita and chutney. I'd make good use of leftovers as well as try something new. And well, it was Indian cuisine, how could it be bad? The dal was brainless. I put a bunch of stuff into the pot and let it cook, it was that easy. The only thing I left off was the lime juice and cilantro at the end. And that was only because I forgot about it. The Lentil Dal was fantastic, and there was just enough left for me for a quick lunch the next day as well. It was a touch on the warm side, so if you're adverse to heat, reduce the red pepper flakes a touch. Overall though, a definite keeper, I'll be making that again.

Lentil Dal

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onions -- chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger -- peeled, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric -- ground
1/2 teaspoon red peppers -- crushed
4 cloves garlic -- minced
2 cups cauliflower florets -- chopped
2 cups tomatoes -- chopped
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro -- minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups cooked basmati rice or long grain rice -- cooked

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over med-high heat. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (onions through garlic); saute 2 minutes.

Add cauliflower and tomato; saute 1 minute. Stir in water and lentils; bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Stir in lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Serve 1 cup lentil mixture with 1 cup rice.


swirlingnotions said...

Oooh, that dal looks fantastic. I just bought a bunch of lentils in hopes of trying a variety of different dals (I'm just learning about them and am finding them so intriguing). So I'll start with this one!

Deborah said...

I love, adore and worship lentils. When I got married and acquired a vegan friend, they became a staple in my kitchen.

Indian food is something I've wanted to explore for a while. I keep finding wonderful recipes online, but there's still a bit of fear there.

Erika W. said...

Lia this would be a perfect starting block, I would think, because it uses a familiar lentil- at least to me. This was the first dal I've ever made, and I'm sorry I waited so long.

Deborah, in my limited experience, you either love Indian food or you hate it. I know people in both categories. In our case, the first time we sampled those Indian flavors and spices, it was like a party in our mouths. We loved it and have enjoyed it ever since. You should definitely try it if you haven't- but have a pizza standing by, just in case. ;-)

Deborah said...

My husband and I both love Indian food, but the nearest good restaurant is 30 minutes away. I know there's an Indian store close to where I work, though, as one of my co-workers is Indian and has recommended it. She's even offered to go shopping with me to help me get started. So one of these days I'm going to have to face my fear of failure...It'll keep me humble. :)

Erika W. said...

Lucky you to have an Indian store nearby! You should be able to buy spices for an incredibly cheap price- and they really last for a long time.

I really doubt you can fail at making Indian food- you can always add an extra dollop of chutney or raita if it doesn't burst your bubble.