Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cooking for One


I have a secret: I love to cook for myself. There is something so independent, so self-satisfyingly indulgent about cooking for one. My husband is an absolute treasure as far as eating what I put before him (most of the time), but sometimes I like to formulate a meal, from start to finish, based on exactly what I am craving at the moment, and taking no one else's opinions into account.

When my parents left me and my sister with babysitters, I used to beg for TV dinners. I just loved the junkiness of the fare, dinosaur chicken nuggets and all. I seem to have actually grown up, since tonight I opted for something a little more adult than Kid's Cuisine. I am in love with Indian food, but I rarely prepare it. I decided to make dal, basmati rice, mango-coconut martinis, and fresh mango for dessert.

Coconut-Mango Martinis
Makes 2 drinks

1 fresh coconut
1 fresh mango
2 shots vodka
small strips of mango or coconut for garnish

Crack coconut over a bowl with a hammer, being careful not to lose any "water" (the liquid inside the coconut). Slice mango open, minding the pit in the center.* Squeeze the juice from the pit of the mango into the bowl with the coconut juice, making sure to add bits of mango pulp. Pour mango-coconut mixture in a shaker with ice and vodka. Shake thoroughly and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with mango or coconut strips.

*The best way is with a mango slicer, a cheap and effective tool.

Amanda's Dal
Serves 1 (with leftovers)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup lentils (not split peas)
3 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 squeeze red chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup water
pita bread wedges
chopped jalapeno
chopped tomato

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions and thinly sliced garlic in oil until browned, approximately ten minutes, stirring often. Pour mixture into a bowl and to the saucepan add lentils, 3 cups of water, minced garlic, tumeric, cumin, ginger and chili sauce. Bring to a boil and cook over medium low heat for approximately 35 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

Meanwhile, bring rice and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan, and turn heat to low and simmer for 18 minutes or until water is fully absorbed.
To serve, put a 1/4 cup of rice in a shallow bowl. Top with 3/4 cup dal, and garnish with chopped jalapenos and tomatoes. Serve with pita wedges.

For dessert, I just cubed the remaining mango and garnished it with a few slivers of coconut that I stripped off with a vegetable peeler.

1 comment:

vanessa said...

ahhh you and marge need to talk indian food... she's started making it pretty regularly and it's delicious!

man loving your recipes... going through weekends in sept. and october because i really want to make our fall weekend happen!