Thursday, November 02, 2006

navarathna korma with a side of alter-ego

In my dream our mortar and pestle was grinding away without me. It didn't need me to define it. It knew what its purpose was in life, so it merely performed it. It was calling out for a garam masala. It wanted hot and sweet and I had a recipe in mind......we have had Reedley produce still lying around so I got to work on a butternut and a few eggplant, and added tomatoes from our garden. Also a sweet potato that needed cooking. These were roasted on a pan in the oven at 400 for about an hour while I ground 1Tcardamom seeds, 1T black peppercorns, 3 sticks of cinnamon, 1t coriander, and 1t fennel. To this I added 1t ground cloves and called it good.
With the garam masala ready for takeoff I needed to work on some veggies to saute. Two huge onions were chopped, about 10 mushrooms, plus an inch or two of fresh ginger and cooked in olive oil. I added 1/2t chili powder and about 1/2 of my masala and stirred well. Next came a large can of diced tomatoes and some lentils I had boiled earlier. When the roasting veggies were done, they too were added, plus some diced carrots and frozen peas. Then a top for the pan was found and this concoction was put on the back burner for a while. I served this with pita and sticky white sushi rice, of all things, cause I was in the mood. It was very satisfyingly spiced and I derived great pleasure from the garam masala in particular.

The next day my cousin Rohan dropped by. Upon hearing of the leftover spices and veggie korma as well as the lingering butternuts, he suggested that we make some of his authentic Indian calzones......huh? Yeah, Cousin Rohan! Give him a beer and he can make anything!
We made up a half whole wheat sourdough and let it rise once before shaping into calzones. The filling consisted of roasted butternut combined with mushrooms, onions, garam masala, cumin and mustard seed, and a can of coconut milk. This was all cooked together for a while and then the sauce was reduced slightly, leaving what you see here. It ended up being enough for 4 huge calzones, which is good because Rohan is a big kid who can really pack em' down, especially after working up an appetite kneading dough.

After baking them for near half an hour at 400 degrees, we pulled out the leftovers and got to plating up. Rohan poured the stout and procured the chocolate dipped, candied ginger cashew biscotti, while I heated the korma and chose two of the pretty calzones to eat. We discussed the latest book he's been reading, once again drifting toward the merits of vegan eating, and how our geography no longer dictates our eating habits (as it once righftully did, in the not too distant past). We talked how this may be a boon for veggie-headed lovers that comes with sometimes conflicting problems of transport that can seem to negate the good you are trying to propagate by going organic with your selections........we thought these things until we realized that the beer was from a town kinda close. This made us feel so good about supporting our local brewers that we finished it off, reasoning that the need for more would contribute to the local self-sustaining market right here in the bay area.

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