• Personally speaking….

    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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Roti

Roti

I had this aloo gobi, right? So I thought, “What about some Indian bread to go with it?” I saw this and thought I could make that with what I have on hand! And, Manjula made it look so easy. I can’t wait to try more of her recipes!

I used the new cast iron skillet and used a little canola oil on it. The oil smoked at that high heat (medium-high). The first one was puffing some and I did the turn around thing she did. It didn’t puff as much as hers though but I think it was because I was scared to push on the bubbles. I’ll push on them next time like she says to. I didn’t use ghee. Oh, and I used plain white flour because the whole wheat decided to expire on me.

Now, I wasn’t sure how to “serve” it so kinda used it like a tortilla a little bit. I pushed some aloo gobi on it, folded the sides a little and ate the end of the taco. Oh man, was that good! I didn’t miss the ghee at all.

Out and about town: Restaurants

I’ve been lacto-ovo vegetarian, this time, for a few months now.  Four month anniversary is coming up in a few days: February 23.

I don’t know instantly what to get at various restaurants but know that some are more full of choices than others. I also did some traveling lately and found that it was a challenge. If I go vegan, it’ll be more so at some places without proper planning.

Lunch
Bibimbap without meat. Korean. Dining companion suggested I ask the waitress for help. Glad I did. This was amazing. I added some of the red hot sauce that was on the table after the waitress told me that I’m to stir it around. Ooops! Amazing. I’ve already started looking up how to do this at home! Kyung Sung Restaurant, Newport News, VA

Paneer and Chickpea
Kadai Paneer without bell pepper (left) and Chickpea something (right). Indian. The photo of the second page of vegetarian items was too blurry to read so I don’t know what the chickpea thing was. The Kadai was the winner. Found this place cause Mom gave me a coupon. So glad I did. Nothing against the local favorite Nawab but this was so good. They also have a different regional concentration each Sunday brunch for $10. Agni Indian Restaurant. Newport News, VA

Create Bistro Salads
Salads. American/French. Top is “Boston Bibb Lettuces / Shaved Pears / Dehydrated Tomatoes / Sesame Cashews / Carrots / Black Pepper Vanilla Vinaigrette” and the bottom is “Fresh Fall Salad of Baby Arugula / Strawberries & Blueberries / Pomegranate Vinaigrette / Pistachios / Fried Boursin Cheese.” We had some other appetizers. Basically, we made dinner out of appetizers and salads. Here’s the menu. It was very tasty. It’s an adorable little place and since everything’s so fresh, I’m sure I could get something vegan. Create Bistro. Newport News, VA

Dill dip stuff and Kale salad
We got Menu #3 during a local “Restaurant Week” here. The above is a kale salad and a spinach pastry. As appetizer, I got the hummus. Second was spinach and cheese pastry (above). Next was Anatolian Vegetarian Plate (I think this is a picture of it… forgot already but I didn’t finish this plate, I remember that). Next was Chocolate Mousse Torte. I couldn’t finish the torte. What stood out to me — other than all the vegan selections — was this kale salad. Oh. My. Gosh. Who knew! It’s definitely on my list of things to try at home. Pasha Mezze. Norfolk, VA

General Tso's Bean Curd
General Tso’s Bean Curd. “Chinese.” Most of us know that if we go to a place that serves tofu (or some other meat replacement) we can usually get a simple substitution. Did that here. It was good. Little sweet but good. Great Wall. Chincoteague, VA

Mr. Baldy's Veggie Burger
Veggie Burger. American. The bread was stale. Place was cute. They offered a grilled vegetable sub and a veggie burger. So, had to try it. Very reasonably priced. Mr. Baldy’s. Chincoteague, VA

Greek Salad
Greek Salad. American/Greek. Oh my gosh! This salad was off the chain. It came with dolma! Seriously, this was amazing. I only wish the restaurant I go to for Toastmasters would have this as its Greek salad. So good. The dolma tasted much better than The Castle’s (in Newport News, VA) dolma. Other vegetarian options were pizza and pasta and such. They used tomato sauce so I had a wide option. The place I go to for Toastmasters uses meat sauce for pastas. Maria’s Family Restaurant. Newport News, VA

IMG_0311
Bean Curd Szechuan style. Chinese. I was hungry and in between big places (if you count Chincoteague as a big place) so thought that this would be a good lunch stop. Here’s the menu. See the funny? Yeah. A few of the “vegetable” dishes come with meat! Thank goodness they had descriptions. I usually order from that section with no worries. But this Vg 6 was awesome without ground pork. China Chefs Restaurant. Eastern shore, VA

And those are a few highlights of my restaurant travels! Eating out can be done lacto-ovo and be satisfying — though I’m still working on finding something at Angelo’s where Toastmasters meets — and with some planning/imagination, there are vegan options. Here’s to another 4 months (and many more)!

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi
Aloo Gobi (home version)

Lunch
Aloo Gobi (work version)

At work, they served Aloo Gobi. It wasn’t what I thought it would be, so I decided to make it at home. I don’t think I’ve had it before, otherwise. I liked the home version better.

Now, since I hadn’t had it before in an Indian restaurant, I wasn’t sure what I thought it would be like. I did know I expected something spicier. Not necessarily hotter but spicier. You know? So, I turned to trusty ol’ recipezaar and sorted by rating and found this recipe: Aloo Gobi. It said it was from Bend It Like Beckham. I saw the movie so maybe that’s why the cafeteria version was off to me.

And then there were the tweaks/substitutions….

I didn’t have cumin seed, so I used ground cumin. I wasn’t sure of the ginger or garlic measurements, so I used 1″ of ginger and 5 cloves of garlic. I wasn’t sure of can size, so I used 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes that was on sale. I didn’t have chili powder — thought I did — so used ground red cayenne pepper. I wasn’t sure about the stem/leaf thing on the cilantro and got tired of ripping off the leaves so think I ended up using just 1/2 a bunch. Was tasty still. Also, didn’t use 1/4 cup oil. Used more like 1.5 T canola oil. The potatoes cooked up in 20 minutes because I chopped them bite-sized. I also cut the cauliflower bite sized and it kinda went fall-aparty at the end. Still good though. I didn’t wait as long as possible — ok, maybe I did. The length of time was as soon as the beeper went off that it was done. Very tasty! Spicy but not hot, until I dumped more cayenne in it.

I need a bigger saucepan. I need that in between larger than the saucepan size I have but smaller than the small stockpot. It was pretty full but cooked OK. Stirring was a challenge. I liked that it was one pot meal though! Lots of compost/stock waste generated too.

I was cooking for one so let it cool then put most of it in a large freezer bag. Laid it flat, got the extra air out, cooled more in the fridge — just to be sure — then put it in the freezer flat.

Modular Pakistani Kima

Modular Pakistani Kima
Modular Pakistani Kima from Urban Vegan‘s cookbook.

Oh, how the house smells! This is my favorite so far. And I look forward to taking this to work tomorrow and making the whole floor envious! (Well, those that are still there and not off on vacation.) Silly me. I had this post scheduled and didn’t think about when it would hit. I did take this in on the 23rd. There weren’t nearly enough people to make jealous!

A bit about the photo…. I didn’t get this finished till very late which meant no good lighting in the house. I have a spot light from doing a still life of an apple and pulled that out. I tried directing the light on the dish and then away. Getting better. It’d be even better with some sort of diffuser. Which is more fun? Being a recipe tester for a great cookbook or taking pictures of all the dishes? Yeah, I don’t know either!

Incredible homemade Indian lunch

I work at a place where scientists come from all over the world to do experiments. Every once in a while, I get to enjoy homemade food from the world’s greatest cooks!

Mmmm

What a spread! Sandy — nickname — is from Calcutta and treated us to slap your mamma good food. Let’s see… Starting with the pot in the top left: Rice with asparagus and … shoot, I should have taken pictures of my plate but people were already wary of my picture taking; chicken; shrimp (prawns); I forget but it was amazing and had cilantro in it; carrot “sweet dish”; more of the cilantro-y sauce; spinach and made-from-scratch cottage cheese (not our cottage cheese) and potato; tomato ginger relish; another shrimp dish. All was vegetarian except for the seafood dishes and the one chicken dish, of course.

I tell you what… I don’t know all the seasonings or all the ingredients, but I do know it was out of this world amazing. I am so thankful to have been invited!

My favorite dish was the spinach, potato and cheese dish. She makes her own cheese. She said the carrot dish was a sweet dish so it was warmed in the microwave. We had that as dessert. I’m not a huge carrot fan but that was rocking. Also, the ginger tomato dish is served at the end to help with digestion. Who knew?

The carrot dish was made with grated carrots, evaporated milk, I think, light-colored raisins, cashews and pistachio. It was very sweet and rich.

She also served some great tea that came from India. No tea bags. It was loose leaf Darjeeling.

Also! I learned I have been eating incorrectly. The hostess informed us that she eats a little rice and a little taste. Because there are so many flavors there, that you go up many times. So I did. That was wild. Very good.

Sandy, thank you! Oh, to be able to learn in your kitchen for a few years!