Frazzled

My mind is a bit frazzled this morning. There is fresh snow on the ground and I feel like what I should be doing is getting some air and schlepping through the snow on my old cross-country skis, but instead I am furiously checking craigslist, facebook, email and text messages, drinking coffee, starting to do the dishes, stopping cleaning the dishes to go back to the computer…

It’s been awhile since I have needed to look for a new place to live and I have forgotten how much this stresses me out. Dan and I found an upper flat in one of my favorite neighborhoods with hardwood floors, a dishwasher, a deck but for some reason I just can’t fully commit. Now I am looking at houses outside of the city and wondering how much I would mind having to drive an hour a day… Much of this deliberation has to do with not knowing if either Dan or I have any chance of having a permanent job next school year. Let’s just say that our school district has a vague hiring policy with many different opinions on how one goes about getting a job… I’m also wondering whether or not it’s more important to have a yard in the boonies or a sweet deck in a central location. Is it better to have a house all to yourself or risk co-habitating in a two-story home with strangers with potential strange habits? Making decisions is not my strong point. And these are the places my mind is visiting this morning. Sorry to bring you along for the ride.

Cauliflower with onion-ginger sauce

Here is what I do know: I made an awesome new vegetarian Indian dish last night for dinner and I think you should try it too. My mom passed this recipe on to me from The Splendid Table. I made the recipe as printed (I used olive oil) except that I used cilantro stems instead of the coriander, I made it in my Le Cruset instead of a skillet and I decided to garnish it with fresh cilantro and lemon (there are an abundance of lemons in my fridge right now). I served it with brown rice, shredded carrot and lemon juice salad and Sierra Nevada Torpedo India Pale Ale beer. It was delicious- fresh-tasting, tangy, crunchy and hearty. Yum.

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Cook to Cook: The cauliflower can be steamed a day ahead and reheated before serving. The onion sauce could be made ahead as well (without the final touches of lime, coconut and cashews). It holds in the fridge for 4 days and for 6 months in the freezer. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, yams, green beans, tofu, chicken and seafood take to this sauce, and you could combine any of these at will.

Cauliflower with Ginger-Cashew-Onion Sauce

Copyright  2010 Lynne Rossetto Kasper. All Rights Reserved
Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish with rice and Indian breads, or 6 to 8 as a side dish

Canola oil or good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 whole jalapeno chile, minced (with the seeds for greater heat)
8 stems fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1 25-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup vinegar (rice, cider or wine)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 large cauliflower, cut into large flowerettes
Salt
Juice of 1/2 large lime or lemon
1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup salted cashews, broken into large pieces

Film the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with oil and set over medium-high to high heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Saute over high heat, stirring often, until onions begin to color.

Onion pile

Stir in the garlic, ginger, chile, coriander, raisins, and chickpeas. Stir over medium- high heat 2 minutes then add the vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vinegar has evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Chickpeas entering the mix
Jalapeno, ginger, cilantro stems and garlic- into the pot!
Mmmmmmmmm

Push the saute to the sides of the pan so the center is empty and add the tomato paste. Saute about 30 seconds, then add the water and combine with the paste until smooth. Now blend everything together, cooking another 2 or 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and set the saute aside. (It could be refrigerated overnight at this point).

Set a collapsible steamer in a 6-quart pot, add several inches of water, cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, sprinkling it with a little salt. Steam until the cauliflower shows a little resistance when pierced with a knife. With long tongs remove the cauliflower to a large shallow bowl.

Heat the onion saute until hot then spoon it over the cauliflower, using any liquid in the pan. Squeeze the lime or lemon juice over the saute then scatter the coconut and cashews on top. Serve hot or warm.

Eat it before it disappears!

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That’s all for now… too frazzled to try to end this post wittily.

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Author: erica banks krug

I live in Wisconsin. I love cooking, eating kale, taking photographs, road trips and the Packers. I used to ride a ski lift to work. Now I work as a substitute teacher. But I dream of being able to call myself a "writer." You have to start somewhere....

5 thoughts on “Frazzled”

    1. Oh you guys make me feel so loved! Dan and I are just looking for a place for the summer and/ or fall- don’t worry- our house is staying in the family and we will definitely be around for happy hours!

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