Thursday, July 21, 2011

Farewell Friend Dinner

     One of our long-time friends, Yancey, is just a few days away from moving to the opposite side of the world. He sold almost everything he owned and bought a ticket to New Zealand. Believe me, a trip to visit him is already in the works in my head. We invited him over for a farewell dinner of sorts. He's an adventurous eater, like us, so I cooked up some of my favorite. . . Indian food. I didn't take pictures, but here are the recipes.
     The main dish was an eggplant curry of my own creation. It's one of those dishes that I threw together off the cuff one night and it ended up being so yummy that I've made it again and again.
Brandi's Eggplant Curry
1 eggplant, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 inch ginger root, grated
1 serrano, seeded and diced
1 large tomato, diced
4 oz. tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
juice from 1/2 of a lemon or lime
1 TBS each (garam masala, mild curry powder, hot curry powder)
salt & pepper
cilantro for garnish
1. Saute veggies in butter and oil, adding garlic and ginger toward the end so it won't burn. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Push veggies to the side of the pan and cook the spices for a few seconds. Then mix it all together.
3. Add tomato sauce and half of broth. Simmer until the curry thickens up. Then, add the remaining broth and simmer until it's the consistency that you like.
4. Right before serving, add the citrus juice and the cilantro.
5. Serve it alongside basmati rice. Here's a quick run down of how to make fabulous Indian rice. Toast whole spices (like cumin, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon) in a little oil. Then add one cup of basmati rice and toast it a bit in the same spiced oil. Pour in 2 cups of boiling water. Turn down heat to a simmer. Cover pan with foil and then the lid. No peeking. 10 minutes on low. 10 minutes off heat but still covered. Remember, no peeking. Fluff with a fork. Yum!

     Alongside my eggplant curry, I served these delicious lentils from Food Network's Aarti Sequeira. Here's the recipe for Mum's Everyday Red Lentils. The spicy oil that you add at the end is the best part!

     Now on to dessert, which was not Indian at all. Thanks to our friends, the Reneaus, we had a bunch of freshly picked figs from the tree in their backyard. I drained some plain yogurt to thicken it up. If you've never done that before, you should. It's delicious and thick and creamy. Add some local honey and toasted almonds and you've got one great finish to the meal.

     Adam made spicy chai to sip with dessert. I love chai! I miss Rama's chai from our favorite Indian restaurant. No one can make it like her! Adam's is the closest I've had, but it's always a work in progress, getting tweaked and adjusted until it's just right.

So, farewell Yancey! Safe travels! And I hope you enjoyed dinner! We loved having you over.


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