Solstice dinner

Solstice dinner

Wow, am I tired. Cooking Solstice dinner has done me in. I actually started cooking yesterday afternoon. Then spent all day today in the kitchen cooking too. At four with two pots on the stove and a pan in the oven I just couldn’t face making one more dish. I had ceased having fun hours ago, was tired and hungry and the vindaloo vegetables still before me. Bookman said, forget about ‘em! But — said I. No, said Bookman, we’ll make them later in the week, after all it’s not like there isn’t enough to eat already. Disappointed yet relieved at the same time, I acquiesced. The final dishes finished cooking, the dishes made earlier heated up, the table was set, the candle lit, the sparkling apple cider poured, and with The Four Seasons by Vivaldi playing, Bookman and I finally sat down to eat.

As soon as I began to eat I started to revive. Oh, that is good. This came out good too. I like this. Nom nom nom. I’m not sure I can say a day and a half of cooking was worth it. I can say I was absolutely bonkers to decide to make so many different dishes none of which I have ever made before. However, they all came out tasty and there is enough leftovers for quite some time.

I couldn’t have done it without Bookman’s help. Halfway through the Day of Endless Chopping, my hand

Pretty but so much chopping

Pretty but so much chopping

began aching and I could feel the tendonitis in my wrist thinking of flaring up. After that, all chopping was performed by Bookman. He didn’t mind. He had been hanging out on the fringes of the kitchen all day offering unsolicited “helpful” advice. I was, after all, in his domain. Early in the day he proffered the observation, you are very… deliberate. Um, thanks?

The entire meal came from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, a fantastic cookbook that will be getting a lot of use. Here are the various dishes:

  • Aloo bonda – mashed potato fritters
  • Tamarind date chutney
  • Chana masala – chickpea curry (my favorite dish of what I made)
  • Tofu pasanda – tofu in velvety pepita poppy seed sauce
  • Vegetable Manchurian – veggie balls in Manchurian sauce (this was Bookman’s favorite of all the dishes)
  • White basmati rice
  • Puffy restaurant-style naan (these came out perfect!)

For dessert we had nariyal ladoo – fudgy coconut balls. These tasted really good, coconut cream and shredded coconut flavored with sugar and ground cardamom seeds. I don’t think I have ever had cardamom before. Grinding the seeds in the mortar was a sensory delight. They have a lovely citrusy scent (and flavor) that is also kind of earthy. The coconut balls themselves weren’t quite of a fudgy consistency. We don’t have a thermometer so we guessed on the cooking time and temperature and they came out a bit too thick and crumbly. But their enjoyment did not rely on a fudge-like texture. With a cup of coffee, these were delicious.

While we were eating dinner and I was shoveling chickpea curry into my mouth I commented to Bookman, I can’t wait to have this for dinner tomorrow night! He gave me a funny look and then started laughing. Do you realize what you just said? he asked? And then I started laughing too.

Now the table is cleared, the dishes washed, and the kitchen cleaned. We are sitting with full bellies, droopy eyelids and happy smiles on our faces. A perfect day.

Happy Solstice Everyone!