Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dinner last night

One of my favourite people came over for dinner last night. This was the menu:

Sprouted Mung Bean Chaat
Potato-Fennel Soup
Cranberry Juice
Lemon Meringue Pie

I started sprouting the mung beans last week when I was really craving the mung bean chaat salad that Junnoon serves. Junnoon is, I'm convinced, the only good restaurant in Palo Alto. I like Vino Locale as well but the service is so appalling, in addition to the fact that the food they serve are things we make at home plus the fact that the owner, Randy, insists that it is a wine bar and not a restaurant, bring it in under Junnoon.

So. Not actually wanting to walk to Junnoon, and realizing that I had mung beans left over from an adequate but not fantastic casserole, I realized that I, myself, could sprout the mung beans and make my own chaat.

Of course it takes days for this, so we ate something else for dinner that night.

To sprout the mung beans, I went to the Sprout People website and vaguely followed their directions. I basically put the mung beans in a bowl, left them to soak for 12 hours, rinsed them and put them in a flatter dish and then continued adding water as the beans drank it up or changing it as I deemed necessary.

I then looked up a few recipes for chaat, but found them all to sound not quite right (Why does everyone want to put cilantro in things? It's like this giant secret plan to make all our food taste like soap), so I combined the ingredients that I liked based on the recipes I found and my own memory of Junnoon's fantastic dish and came up with (please bear with me, I don't remember any of the amounts):

Diced cucumber
Diced tomato
Sprouted mung beans (duh)
Dried mint
Lemon juice from 2 ridiculously tiny lemons (damn you Improved Midtown Safeway! I should have gone to the Milk Pail!)
Cinnamon (Ryan thought I added to much at first, but after chilling, I feel that all the flavours complemented each other)

Yum! As I said, it chilled in the fridge for 2 hours and I meant to take pictures and next time I 'speriment, I will.

The potato-fennel soup recipe straight from the New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (strangely not available on the Moosewood Restaurant website) coincidentally given to us by Ryan's aunt Marcia for Christmas. We didn't know we were moving to Ithaca then. Here is what we made, it's different from the book mainly because we didn't have the right amounts of anything. But that's one of the best things about the Moosewood Cookbook - that sort of stuff does not matter.

some oil/butter
2 cups thinly sliced onions
some salt
3 strangely shaped, quite large potatoes
1/2 a fennel bulb, minced (in retrospect, we wished we had used the whole bulb)
toasted caraway seeds
4 cups of water
white pepper (Ween!)

Added oil to soup pot, then onions and a little salt. Cooked over a low heat, so they are soft and brown. Added potatoes, some salt, fennel, caraway. Sauteed for a few minutes and then added water.

Bring to a boil and then simmer until potatoes are soft. Blend resulting soup so it is nice and creamy (that wasn't in the recipe book). Serve with minced fennel feathers on top (that was).

So we had a yummy, "rib sticking" soup with a crunchy fresh salad. Entirely vegan! Well. Until dessert.

Ryan made a yummy, yummy lemon meringue pie which I was mostly involved in via beating eggs whites or stirring egg yolks or mixing things and which I will be eating for breakfast.

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