Sunday, December 03, 2006

I can't stop cooking!!!

I know I go in phases with my cooking. One week I could not be bothered to open my pantry, the next I am stopping at the grocery store every day to pick up new ingredients. I am in the latter phase of the cycle right now. I cook. As soon as I finish I want to try making another recipe. Never mind that I am disgustingly full. Forget about the fact that I have multiple containers of leftovers in the fridge. A new dish beckons me.

Today I was lazy all morning. I couldn't even be bothered to put together a bowl of cereal. This afternoon I more than made up for it. I was hungry and wanted something tasty to warm my belly. Leftovers, shmeftovers. Warm, creamy, fragrant. I put that frozen shrimp to use. I had a recipe. Then I realized my tomato paste had roasted garlic and herbs in it. Good for Italian, not so good for Indian. Ew. I improvised with fresh tomatoes, threw in some spinach, doubled the coconut milk, ignored the whole "grilling" portion of the directions and came up with this:

Easy (Fake) Jheenga Chat Diva Style

oil for your pan

1 1/2 t. curry powder

1 t. Garam Masala

2 cloves garlic, minced

handful of fresh spinach

1 medium tomato, diced

1/2 cup coconut milk

10-20 shrimp, tails off

salt to taste

In a medium pan, saute curry powder, Garam Masala, and garlic in the oil over med-high heat until fragrant. Add in the spinach and tomato. Saute until veggies begin to wilt. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and add shrimp. Cook until shrimp is cooked/heated through. Season with salt to taste. Serve over rice or quinoa.

I had bought the Garam Masala at The Spice House a few weeks back and have been dying to use it. This dish smells amazing! Tastes pretty good, too. It is by no means an authentic Indian dish, but it hits the spot for me.

Now the big question was what to do with all of the leftover coconut milk. I refuse to dump it. It is too good to just throw away. If I simply put it in the fridge nothing will be done. Eventually the coconut would end up in the garbage. I had made a small batch of quinoa for my meal. Why not make some more? This time I could cook it with the coconut milk. (1 1/4 cups coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and a hearty splash or three of half-and-half) I seasoned it with vanilla, ground cardamom and two star anise. I had a little spilling issue so I had to adjust the spices on the fly. I'm not quite sure how much went in, so I won't even bother to type out the actual recipe. I added about 4 spoonfuls of sugar and cooked it all on the stove. YUM!!! After I threw in some raisins it resembled rice pudding a bit. The leftovers will make a great breakfast this week.

You would think I was done at this point. NO WAY!!! I was on a roll. When I made the Blackberry Upside Down Cake there was still a bunch of berries left behind. They too have been taunting me. I knew if I did not use them today they would start to develop an unattractive, fuzzy wardrobe. I could use them in a sauce or salad, but that would be healthy. My sweet tooth has been raging lately, so healthy was not going to happen. I looked in my cookbooks and online, but nothing was quite right. Then I peeked into my cupboard. Ah-ha! There sat a bag of Bob's Red Mill Brownie Mix. Hmmm...berries and chocolate? Hell, yeah! Uh-oh! Another problem...I ran out of vanilla. Well, how about orange extract? Chocolate and orange have always been a favorite combination of mine. So...Blackberry Orange Brownies? Sure. I followed the directions on the bag of mix, substituting orange for vanilla extract. I threw in an additional egg white and folded in the berries after mixing. The result? Wait, let me go cut my first piece and see...

moist, cakey, chocolatey, definite orange flavor (too much perhaps?), the random bite of berry. The edges are fantastic. Damn, I need that Baker's Edge pan Mike mentioned on his blog. Considering these are my first GF brownies I would have to say they are pretty darn good. I am going to have to wrap up a bunch of brownies and put them in the freezer. Save them for a rainy day, chocolate attack, or future girls' night.

(Ok, the more I eat the brownie, the more I like it. My tastebuds are screaming for a glass of milk. That's a pretty good sign.)


Mike Eberhart said...

WOW have you been busy!
And, both of those dishes look absolutely fabulous! I love curry and coconut milk and such spice... sounds wonderful.

And those brownies... mmmm... yeah, I have that Baker's Edge pan, which I'd let you borrow, but you are a bit further than a 5 minute drive. :)

Lynn Barry said...

I think you will definitely be the next cookbook creator, Shannon. You are doing impressive things in the kitchen...good job!

Shannon said...

Thank you! Yeah, I have a serious soft spot for coconut milk. So creamy. Between you and David Lebovitz showing off your Bakers Edge pans, I am going to need to buy one for myself. All the cool kids have them!

Wow, thanks! I'm blushing!

Sheri said...


I have been eyeballing that pan Mike used, too. I haven't made the Bob's Red Mill brownies yet - I have a package sitting in my cabinet. Looks like I need to get busy!