Month: August 2009

Pantry clean-up, continued

Pantry clean-up, continued

We continue to make our way through the fridge, freezer and pantry. We shop only for fresh fruits and vegetables. A review of current provisions shows limited options for a “Sunday night dinner”–salted bacalau (which requires an overnight soak), a whole chicken (frozen solid), some…

No Shopping

No Shopping

Aside from the major dinner (see menu below) on Saturday, we’ve remained pretty true to our no shopping until the freezer is empty rule. First, our Happy Birthday Julia (and Cindy) dinner, honoring Julia Child. The menu was inspired by her, but not entirely taken…

No Shopping Week

No Shopping Week

Typically the week leading up to a Tavolavila dinner, I start scrutinizing the refrigerators and freezers. I need room for the prep and storage of ingredients for a seven-course dinner for eight people. That usually means cobbling together some dishes from ingredients already in the house, rather than running my almost-daily visit to the market down the street for that day’s dinner.

I read that eGullet also suggested such a challenge.

And, like most traditional media these days whose primary source of news stories comes from people doing the real work, the New York Times wrote a similar article.

So here goes this week’s experiment. Today is a little bit of a cheat…I bought a couple ingredients to fill the gaps. But starting tomorrow…for sure…I have placed an asterisk next to the ingredients I purchased in the last 24 hours.

Tonight’s menu:

  • Spicy lentil dal
  • Yogurt*-marinated chicken breasts on the grill
  • Naan (not homemade, from Whole Foods)*

Spicy Lentil Dal

One small onion, diced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger*

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

2 tablespoons garam masala**

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 cup brown lentils

3 cups water

1 tablespoon vegetable (or, as I used, ghee)

In a small pot warm up the oil or ghee until hot. Add onions and saute until transluscent. Add garlic and ginger. Stir until very aromatic. Do not brown. Add tomatoes and mix in. Add the lentils and the water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a bare simmer and cover. Cook until the lentils are very tender and it has the consistency of a stew.

**NOTE: I like to buy the whole spice garam masala that I found at Whole Foods (and still had in the cabinet). I got it as an experiment, but it’s easy to replicate. It’s made up of whole black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom seeds, mustard seeds, tiny dried chilies, cumin seeds. I toast this on a dry skillet then use a coffee grinder (used exclusively for this purpose) to grind them.

Yogurt Marinated Chicken

1 cup 2% Greek-style plain yogurt

2 tablepoons “Punjab Red Tandoori” spice by Urban Accents

1 teaspoon salt

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix the first three ingredients. Cut chicken breasts into 2-inch cubes (for kebabs). Mix with marinade. Set in the fridge for at least an hour.