Spark

Dinner:  December 2, 2008

I still feel like I’m trying to get back in the swing of things after the long holiday weekend. Those four blissful days off in a row could not have come at a better time, and for once, aside from our T-Day eats, meal planning was the last thing on my mind. Oh, we ate plenty of good things, but I just haven’t had it in me to fuss over photos or write anything up.

Maybe it’s the fact that the holiday season is in full swing, or that I’m holding my breath about the state the economy is in and am anxious for change to begin, or that I leave for work in the dark and return home in the dark and want nothing more when I get home than to spend quality time with Mike and the cats. At any rate, I’m in some sort of holding pattern, and I’m not terribly inclined to move out of it. I’m craving comfort and familiarity, ease and little fuss.

Though most of our worknight meals have been on the lackluster side of late, with pasta sauces from the freezer and simple stews and braises in heavy rotation, I was grateful for the little spark of inspiration last night that resulted in this dish. This was another situation where I had nothing planned, and tried to think of what I could do with the contents of fridge and pantry. There was the better part of a package of naan bread hanging out on the counter that I wanted to use up, so I thought of a curry of some sort.

We had beautiful golden cauliflower from Wishing Stone Farm in the fridge and a partial bag of red lentils in the cupboard, so I roasted the former and cooked down the latter with ghee and onion and garlic and curry powder, a half cup or so of roasted pumpkin left over from Mike’s Thanksgiving pie making, a dab of tomato paste and a few chopped canned tomatoes, then I added water to the mix and let the whole thing simmer away. I added about half of the roasted cauliflower to the soup after the lentils had broken down and reserved the rest to scatter on top of our bowls. The final touch was a handful of peas from the freezer, and a dollop of creme fraiche (we didn’t have yogurt on hand). I toasted up the naan in a bit more melted ghee in the cast iron skillet, and that was our meal, a warming, harmonious blend of textures and flavors, so welcome on a cold night.

8 thoughts on “Spark

  1. Christine says:

    Oh yum. This website so frequently makes me wish that we were neighbors and in this fantasy world, you would always be in a sharing mood.

  2. Wow- inside the creative process. I think I’m getting better at improvising, but my most experimental creations too often just don’t have that ‘something.’ It sounds like this one you whipped up has it- although I think I’d leave out the peas (never was a fan). And I really do want to try that Golden Roasted Cauliflower!

  3. Hey Jen,

    Just wanted to get some hints on your photos. The lighting seems superb in your pics and just wanted to see you had any suggestions…Love your writing, btw…
    -Amy

  4. kati says:

    Jen – I love the fact that you had to use a “dollop of creme fraiche ” because “(we didn’t have yogurt on hand).” Now that is the sign of food lovers!

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