Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vegetable Curry

Sometimes a good idea doesn't translate well.

I love Sundays. I get to wake up late. And then doze off again. I think the cat gets that it's Sunday. She doesn't try to wake me by kneading on the pillow next to my head, or gently brushing her whiskers against my cheek. She was content to doze with me. That part went well.

Today a friend came and picked me up and we went to brunch at a local restaurant. I've eaten there many times before, but today, for some reason, everything was just....off. We sat at the counter, and the waiter gave us the menu. He was quick to ask if we wanted coffee or juice, but after that, he basically didn't have time for us. His whole attitude was sullen, as if he had just been dumped the night before.
We drank our coffee, figured out what we wanted, and waited. And waited. And waited. Another waiter came by and offered us more coffee. And we waited. Finally, our waiter remembered us and asked us what we wanted. I ordered the Yucatan tostadas - black bean and chorizo mixture on top of corn tortillas with avocado, salsa and eggs, any style. My friend ordered a pulled pork sandwich.

And we waited. And waited. And waited. Yet another waiter came by and asked us if we had ordered. Yes. What had we ordered? When my friend mentioned pulled pork, he said "Oh. That's why", and left. As if pulled pork was something you started from scratch when the customer came through the door. More coffee. Some water. And finally, the food.

My friend looked at his sandwich and said "This isn't pulled pork." And it wasn't. It was chopped pork, and it was dry. The waiter wanted to know what the problem was, and my friend told him that it wasn't pulled pork. The waiter said that it was how they made their pulled pork, and my friend said that they could also call it a waffle if they wanted to.I don't think the waiter got it.

And my tostadas? They were delicious. Especially if you were a vegetarian. Because I don't think any of the chorizo "fell off the string", as my mom would have said. When I asked about it, he said that it was mixed in with the beans. NOT. But at least it tasted good. I dropped the subject.

From there we went to the farmer's market and loaded up on veggies. I had some left over roasted poblanos from the Mexican style lasagne I had made, and I knew I wanted to make a veggie dish with them. My friend, who is an outstanding cook, suggested a curry with squash. It was a gray day, and curry sounded so very right. The farmer's market, however, didn't have any winter squash. I bought some string beans, tomatoes and some salad greens, but no squash. So we went to a local market and I got my squash.
Back home I roasted the squash and the tomatoes. A little too long. I figured on about 45 minutes for the Carnival squash, but since it was small, 30 minutes would probably have been better. The tomatoes were....well....easy to peel.

So after peeling and chopping, I added them to the onion and garlic I had chopped, and then proceeded to wash and trim the green beans. They were added next, and I stirred the pot and then turned it off while I peeled the squash. It was softer than I wanted it to be. But I was well into this dish, and there was no way I was going to change course. I had eaten enough soups, thank you. I wanted something I had to bite into, not drink.

After adding them to the pot, I turned the heat back on, found the remaining black beans from the Mexican lasagne and added them. I found an open box of carrot ginger soup from Trader Joe's, and remembered that it was what I tried eating in the middle of my flu. So I added about a quarter of a cup. I had a can of Trader Joe's light coconut milk and added about half the can, as well as the chopped, roasted poblanos..... And, of course, a little salt. And some lemon grass.

But of course, stirring the whole thing was enough to break down the squash and turn it into squash mush.
Like I said......sometimes a good idea just doesn't translate. In this case, it didn't translate visually. It DID, however, taste quite good. So if you want to try this at home, I would recommend peeling, cubing and lightly steaming the squash first instead of roasting it. I think it would hold up better, and make for a much better photo. Which is why I'm sharing these other photos with you.......because they're visually more appealing.

And I'd also like to share a poem and another photo with you. I came across this poem in a magazine......

O, to take what we love inside
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it...

There are days we live...
from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

Li-Young Lee from "From Blossoms"

11 comments:

anya said...

Toni, the photos are magnificent!!

The pulled-pork-sandwich story made me laugh, although I realise it wasn't that laughable for your friend. :)

toni said...

Anya - Actually, we both laughed when he said "You could call it a waffle." Only the waiter stared at us blankly!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Today the story is good for a laugh. At the time I'm sure it was altogether different. You can't figure how people can not get it??? they just don't.

Toni said...

Tanna - I think if you're walking around feeling down, down, down - you just don't "get it". You have to look up for a moment and get out of your narrow perspective in order to "get it." Don't you agree?

glamah16 said...

Sometimes the best tasting foods, dont translate visually. I hate it when you spend good money for medicore food and service. But it sounds like the outing with a good friend was lovely on a grat Sunday.

Anne said...

some days are clearly just not the best food days. still, your soup sounded delicious, even if it was never a soup in concept.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Well at least you tried something new! That is all that matters! We all have days like this I think!

toni said...

Courtney - The dish tasted great, but there was no way I was going to photograph it! And yes, the outing with my friend was definitely fun.

Ann - Well, this one tasted good, but I didn't want to horrify people with the way it looked!

Jenn - Yes, I tried something new, and it was actually quite delicious. And now I have a little bit of coconut milk left over.....;-)

Takeaway said...

I applaud you for taking the situation lightheartedly... whilst you could have made a fuss. I guess you won't be having lunch there anymore? :)

Cynthia said...

This ease of the post was as if we were sitting across from each other.

I would have been so vex after waiting all that time and then to be served something that was not was I was promised.

toni said...

Cynthia - I ALWAYS feel as if I'm sitting across the table from you!

Smiling.