intensely trivial

This week’s menu

By the time Monday rolls around, I am usually tired of my weekend food-prep laziness. My body longs for some whole, healthy foods. So yesterday afternoon I went just slightly crazy in the kitchen, cooking up some Indian dishes (I say that knowing I’m really cooking like an American, but it’s the best Indian I can manage). I was proud of the meal and had visions of taking dazzling photos of the food, but when it came down to it, I just wanted to eat and relax.
So instead of sharing a whole bunch of food porn with you, I’ll just share my meal ideas for the week (and a tiny bit of food porn). Maybe these ideas will inspire you, or maybe they’ll make you grateful you don’t live at our house!!

Monday — dal with garlic fried in butter, mysterious potatoes (recipe follows), stir-fried ginger-chili cauliflower and broccoli with corn, and basmati rice
Tuesday — was planning to make faux pho (a la Mark Bittman), but I don’t think I’ll make it to the int’l store on time, and I have a meeting over supper tonight — Indian leftovers instead
Wednesday — enchiladas w/ roasted tomato-chipotle sauce that I made last summer from our own tomatoes; filling: pinto beans, cheese, zucchini, and bell pepper (does that sound like it will work?)
Thursday — pesto pasta w/ pesto I made from my own basil, green salad
Friday — eat out
Saturday — bean soup w/ homegrown and -butchered bacon, fresh bread
Sunday — leftovers

Potatoes Cooked with Fennel Seeds

Potatoes Cooked with Fennel Seeds

dried hot red chile, cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, fennel seeds, nigella/kalonji/onion seed, fenugreek

Clockwise, from the top: dried hot red chile, cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, fennel seeds, nigella/kalonji/onion seed, fenugreek

To achieve the mysterious, warming, wonderful flavor of these potatoes, it might be worthwhile to take a trip to your international grocery store. Spices there are much cheaper than at American grocery stores, anyway. The spices you have left over can be stored in jars and will keep a long time for future cooking adventures!

Potatoes Cooked with Fennel Seeds (a.k.a. mysterious potatoes)
adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian

2 lbs. potatoes, peeled if desired, and cut into chunks
2 T. cooking oil
1-2 whole dried hot red chiles
1/4 t. whole fennel seed
1/8 t. whole fenugreek seeds
1/4 t. nigella (kalonji/onion seed)
1/2 t. brown mustard seeds
1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
1 can diced tomatoes w/ juice (definitely use fresh if they’re in season!)
1 1/4 t. salt, or to taste
1/4 t. ground turmeric
1/8-1/4 t. cayenne (leave out if you have spice wimps in your family)

Boil the potatoes in water to cover until tender. Drain (but you can keep the potato water to use as vegetarian broth in a later recipe). Peel potatoes if desired. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, measure out the seeds so they’re ready to use *fast*. When the oil is hot, put in the red chile and stir once. It should darken immediately and puff up slightly. Add the fennel, fenugreek, nigella, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds. The mustard seeds should begin to pop within seconds. Immediately put in the tomatoes, salt, turmeric, and cayenne. Stir in the potatoes. Add 1 3/4 c. water and stir to mix well. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook gently for 20 min. Stir occasionally. If you like the sauce thicker, crush 1 or 2 potato pieces against the side of the pot, and mix in with the sauce. Serve hot.


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  1. * limeandlemon says:

    this looks really delicious … gonna try it soon … Laila ..

    Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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