The in-laws are here this weekend. They’re lovely people, but they’re old. Any one of my generation should have boomers as parents, which means our parents slept with other people, did drugs, travelled, found themselves, and generally accumulated some faults and mistakes. My mother and father in-law are just a hair older than the oldest baby boomer.
What does that mean? It means they got married right out of college, mommy immediately quit work to look after the kids, sacrificed everything, and deferred to daddy in every decision. Before the kids were born, they’d bought the house they were going to die in and daddy took his one and only job from which he's now retired.They’re unlike my parents, and the parents of many in my generation, who are mobile, and had many jobs, took some risks. They’re lovely people, but they’re old and I don’t have a lot in common with them. They’ve never made mistakes.
They arrived yesterday, and while they were out on their daily walk (they’re the sort who take twice-weekly showers and daily walks), I shopped in the big Indian store near where I live. I made my favorite: Saag Paneer, which I’ll describe in a moment. I also made Eggplant Bartha and threw together a dahl.
Saag Paneer means spinach and farmer’s cheese. You throw three or four bunches of spinach into a mess of onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, green chilis, and most importantly fenugreek, and then let simmer for an hour until the spinach has cooked down into an aromatic slime. It may sound awful but it’s my favorite dish. Purree partly, add a dash of cream, and put in salt and the blocks of cheese, and you have an pot of steaming emerald goodness.
A dahl is simply lentils and spices. There are thousands of different recipes in every province of Indian. India has always been highly populated and very Hindu, and those two factors have come together and made good vegetarian cooking a necessity.
The third dish was the kicker: eggplant bartha, a curry made from eggplants and a typical blend of spices, garam masala and coriander being the dominant flavours. You have to roast the eggplants first. I don’t have a barbecue, so I had to do it in my oven. Indian eggplants are long and purplish, and in the oven the skin gets black and tight. By the end, I thought there were three severed and blackened arms in my oven.
They’re scary when you first take them out. You have to cut the skin lengthwise, and peel it back. For a moment I thought I had dead and rotting squid on my stove. I’ve attached a picture for your edification.
|Above the eggplants is the completed saag.|
I made some Naan bread later on, and had a three dish meal with fudge brownies for desert. I’d attack a picture of my apron but I don’t do that shit.
Some other silly pics:
|Yoda makes everything better|
|A boxer on a trampoline|