Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pork Vindaloo (v.2)

The bunny has been harassing me to post this recipe since I made it a week ago. So here it is. It's actually a recipe from the bunny's friend's dad. Bunny was bffs with several Indian girls during her college days and managed to graduate with basically zero recipes. So I was dizzy with delight when she forwarded this recipe to me several months ago. Unfortunately, I was in the throes of getting my proposal together during that time so did not have the opportunity to make it. Last weekend, I finally got the dried red chilies I needed and threw this dish together. First off, it doesn't actually taste like any vindaloo I've ever had at a restaurant, nor does it taste anything like my go-to vindaloo recipe, which will now be referred to as v.1 (and also tastes nothing like restaurant vindaloo). That doesn't mean it doesn't taste damn good though. It was almost absurdly easy to throw together, although I did spend some time coughing over the chili dust that flew out of the blender. Don't say I didn't warn you. Like many curries, this one tastes increasingly fabulous with time.

Recipe courtesy of Maya's Dad

2 lbs (1kg) meat (a little fat doesn't hurt) - cut into 1 inch cubes
10 cloves of garlic peeled
One medium onion diced
10-15 dry red chillies decorticated (you need to break them in half and roll them to get the seeds out. Use gloves or wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. monkey note: I used 12 and that was plenty for me)
Fenugreek seeds - 2 Tbsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Vinegar 1/2 cup
Water 1 1/2 cups
Salt to taste
Cooking Oil 1Tbsp

Saute meat with a oil for 10 minutes. In a blender - first rough grind fenugreek seeds with chilies, then add rest of the ingredients and blend. Pour the blended mixture over the meat. Simmer cook for at least one hour. Serve with steamed rice. (monkey: I tossed in some more water during the cooking and gave it a stir once in a while so things would not stick to the bottom. Cooked two hours and I included a cubed potato).

I also made some toor dal to go with and that was pretty good too (although again, tasting nothing like restaurant dal, what the heck do those people put in their food??). Here was a recipe I assembled, based on a couple of found on the internets:

Rinse and pick over 1 cup of toor dal. Combine with 2 cups of cold water in a pot and bring to simmer. Skim away the froth that appears during this process. Cook for a while until tender and kind of thick. Add more water during this process and give it a stir once in a while. Takes many 25 minutes. Add some frozen peas (1/2 cup?) near the end. In a separate small pan, heat 1 tbs ghee (I used butter since I couldn't be bothered to make ghee) and add 2 tsp whole cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp chili powder and cook together for a minute or so. Add to the dal and simmer a couple of minutes longer. There is a spice that people seem to add to this, but since I didn't have any, I omitted. This is a recipe I will be playing with more in the future.
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Knitting Needles Bag for Double Pointed Needles

The sewing bug, long dormant, first showed signs of reviving at Joann's (of course). The very talented R and I were busy feeling up every piece of fabric in the store and I decided to try my hand at dress-making again. My first attempt (several years ago, back in Brooklyn) had gone quite well and so I managed to forget the subsequent attempt (an awful skirt made from this retardedly stretchy fabric) and decided to go for it. While at Joann's, I also picked up a remnant for $1 and decided to make a case for carrying knitting needles around. I remembered seeing a pattern for one in my stitch n bitch book and it didn't seem very hard. This morning I checked out that pattern and realized that it called for three pieces of "funky" fabric, preferably upholstery, each 3/4 of a yard in length. So I chucked the book and decided to wing it. That might have been mistake #1. I didn't have any plans to actually make anything tonight until I saw an extremely wonderful bag R made for tortoise. It is beyond excellent. I will try to get a picture to post. Anyway, after seeing the bag my sewing bug was wholly revived, leading to tonight's adventure. It is 1am and my house is brightly lit with pieces of thread and fabric everywhere. I'm just going to make a laundry list of subsequent mistakes to get it over with:

mistake #2: should have kept my sewing machine covered, it was filthy. much time spent industriously scrubbing with combo of paper towel, windex and swiffer dust wipes. next project will definitely be some kind of cover for sewing machine.

mistake #3: having not touched my sewing machine in two years (last thing I made were pillow cases for my sofa pillows), I probably should have practiced on something. in any case, i had to fish out the manual just to figure out how to thread the machine. this mistake led to some of the more interesting and wobbly stitching that appears on the case. I like to think it gives it a rustic air.

mistake #4: not having any thread in bulk besides white and blue, I decided to just go with the white because what the heck, the polka dots were white. sadly, white shows up extremely well against the green fabric, and all the irregularities of my sewing are immediately apparent.

mistake #5: since my sewing supplies were completely disorganized, I could not find some key items, including a measuring stick (otherwise known as a ruler) or chalk. my fabric wasn't cut perfectly straight but I couldn't really fix it precisely (more eyeballing) and this led to some trouble with hemming. I also had to rip out some of the stitches as they were embarrassingly crooked. subsequently, I used an envelope containing italian parsley seeds to make some light pencil marks around the places that needed it. GHETTO.

Despite this series of disasters, I think my case came out rather cute. I've already developed a sentimental attachment to it, just because I made it and they do hold my needles perfectly. I need to attach some kind of strap to it so that I can roll it up and keep it tied shut. Overall, this was a huge amount of fun and I can't wait to make something else!
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Monday, April 6, 2009

Pizza II

I forgot all about making pizza for a while until one day I impulsively grabbed some mozarella from TJ. It sat around for a while and then one evening I decided to make a basic pizza to stave off hunger. This was not that pizza, because I was trying to make it and play dota at the same time. The end result was lackluster, on both fronts. So a week later I gave it another go. If you have the patience to wait the hour it takes for the dough to rise, it is a tasty treat.

The recipe for the dough is from Brian's mom and I've halved the recipe so that the dough is just enough for my little cast iron pan:

Pizza dough:
1.5 tsp yeast
1/4 + 1/8 cup of warm water
1/4 tsp sugar

wait 5-10 minutes for the yeast to proof and get nice and frothy

add to yeast mixture
1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 cup of flour (eyeballed this)
1/4 tsp salt

knead for 5 minutes. i usually knead in the bowl since the ball of dough is fairly small

lightly oil the dough with some olive oil and allow to rise for 45 minutes

oil the cast iron pan with olive oil and stretch dough into the pan. add whatever toppings you like. in this case, i used canned tomatoes (whole tomatoes, crushed with my hands and drained), scatterings of parsley and chopped garlic, grated mozarella.

bake in a 450 degree oven for maybe 15 minutes or so.  make sure to check on it and see how the crust looks.
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Cabled Gloves

I've been lame about updating in general, and especially lame about updating my knitting projects. This winter was all about the small knitted items. I made some mittens for Ferret, a pair of winter socks for myself and a set (almost) of cabled gloves. I say almost because my right hand glove is still missing three fingers. At some point I'll finish them, but now that the weather is warming up I've lost all interest in these and am focused on making a bunch of socks out of KnitPick's self-striping yarn. 

I'm especially proud of these gloves though because I more or less came up with how to make them on my own. These were started on the plane ride to Las Vegas and finished sometime after. I started off by following the instructions for mittens and then added cables and figured out how many stitches to do for fingers. So that I don't forget, here are the general instructions:

Cabled Gloves

Left Hand (size small):
Cast on 44 stitches and divide among 3 size 3 needles (12, 16, 16)
Knit 2, purl 2 for about 2.5" (to make cuffs)
row 1-5: k3, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 6: k3, p2, cable twist the 4 stitches, p2, cable twist the 4 stitches, p2, cable twist the 4 stitches, p2, k to end of row
row 7-8: k3, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 9: k2, inc 1, k1, inc 1, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 10-11: k5, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 12: k2, inc 1, k3, inc 1, p2, cable twist, p2, cable twist, p2, cable twist, p2, k to end of row
row 13-14: k7, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 15: k2, inc 1, k5, inc 1, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 16-17: k9, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 18: k2, inc 1, k7, inc 1, p2, cable twist, p2, cable twist, p2, cable twist, p2, k to end of row
row 19-20: k11, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 21: k2, inc 1, k9, inc 1, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 22-23: k13, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 24: k13, p2, cable, p2, cable, p2, cable, p2, k to end of row
row 25: k13, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row

slip 1 stitch from needle #1 to needle #3
drop the next 11 stitches from needle #1 to a piece of yarn (this will be the thumb)

row 26-29: k1, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p2, k to end of row
row 30: k1, p2, cable, p2, cable, p2, cable, p2, k to end of row

continue (cabling every 6th row) until you reach fingers. allot 11 stitches (5 from needle #1 and 6 from needle #3, or vice versa) for the index, middle and ring fingers and 10 stitches for the pinky. for each finger, pick up stitches on the side so there are 13 stitches total per finger. work one finger at a time and when proper length has been achieved, k2tog until there are 3-4 stitches left and tie off.

similarly, pick up 2-4 stitches for thumb and work in the round until proper length, k2tog until there are few stitches left and tie off.

sew in loose ends, filling in whatever gaps there may be!
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