Monday, February 27, 2017

Cook Book Book Club Meeting #5

In October, the Cook Book Book Club met to take on Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni. I've own the book since it came out in 1980, but I am on my third copy. The first, I lost in our house fire in 2009. The replacement was eaten by my dog Ginger as we prepared for this event.

I used to cook a lot of Indian food. Unfortunately, my husband can't eat it, so I reserve it for dinner out with my sister or my friend Melinda Snodgrass. Choosing it for CBBC meant a real treat for me. (As it happened, the spousal unit was in the hospital when we did this meeting, so he didn't even have to smell the spices in the kitchen.)

The menu:
Hyderabad Lime Soup--p. 141
Spinach Bread--p. 410
Cucumber and Tomato Salad/Raita-p. 343
Smoked Aubergine (Eggplant) with Herbs--p. 305
Kabob Patties Laced with Ginger & Mint--p. 109 (sadly, no photos)
Fragrant Stuffed Tomatoes--p. 106
Cauliflower & Scallions w/ Black Mustard Seeds--p. 301
Green Peas and Indian Cheese in Fragrant tomato Sauce--p. 266
Chick-peas in Ginger Sauce--p. 274
Chicken Kabuli-- p. 219
Cashew Nut Fudge-- p. 478
Lassi--p. 488

The Table
The table setting was Aynsley Cottage Garden with Libbey cobalt glassware and Oneida Act 1 flatware. Aynsley is a discontinued English bone china pattern that has so many kinds of pieces that one rarely sees any more. I started my collection many years ago with a teapot, a sugar bowl, and a small serving dish. I then fell in love with the strawberry "basket" which has a small sugar and creamer. It has slowly grown into a full set of dishes to go with the vases and serving pieces. Most recently, I became obsessed with the double-handled cream soup bowls and now I have enough for our meetings.
Sweet Lassi
I am a big fan of sweet lassi drinks. Julie Sahni's book was the first one I found which actually had a recipe for the drink, which consists of yogurt, cream, sugar, ice, and rosewater put through a blender. It is the perfect accompaniment for spicy Indian food, since dairy cuts the fire from chiles. I made almost a gallon of it. It's a drink I love having available in the refrigerator, even if it needs a quick run through the Vitamix before serving.

Hyderabad Lime Soup
Lunch started with Hyderabad Lime Soup which I also made. It was a two-day process to make the soup, since I made the vegetable broth base first. It was mild despite a number of spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and turmeric. Coconut milk smoothed the puree of potato and onions that are cooked in the broth and kept it vegan. A final splash of of lime made it a very refreshing soup.

Palak Raratha and Kheere ka Raita
 Amie Brockway-Metcalf made spinach bread and raita. She said the bread, a variation on paratha, was very easy to make. The raita was a cucumber and yogurt salad with tomato. Raita is

Murgh Kabuli
Laura Brennan made the chicken kabuli, and is a great example of how far she's come as a self-described non-cook when she agreed to be part of the CBBC.  Unfortunately, the photograph does not do justice to how good the dish was. Almonds thicken the sauce, which is fragrant with cardamom, cumin, coriander, and fennel.

Safaid Channe
Michelle Resnick made the chickpeas in ginger sauce. The lunch had a number of dishes good for our vegetarian and pescatarians.

Eggplant is always a safe bet with the Cook Book Book Club (not so much with my husband and son, however), so I always look forward to checking out new ways to cook it. The smoked aubergine/bharta Mary DeLongis made had peas as well as eggplant.

Matar Paneer
Liz Mortensen went with the classic India combination of cheese and peas in a tomato-based sauce called Matar Paneer. Really good, and it reaheats pretty well.

Bahare Tamatar
The fragrant stuffed tomatoes that Catherine Fleming made were rather fragile, and did not transport as well as she would have liked. That didn't stop us from finishing them off.

Gobhi Kari
My sister made this cauliflower dish, which cooked up amazingly quickly. She was afraid she had burned the mustard seeds when she had  a momentary distraction, but it was really quite good. She also got the kari leaves for free from the nearby Indian grocery--I guess the two stems she needed was too little to worry about.

Once again, my friend Susan Avallone was without a real baking challenge for the lunch, so she decided to give the fudge a try instead. Like many Indian snacks, it was very sweet, but it did disappear.
Kajoo Barfi

No comments: