Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Getting Curried Away

I've been wanting to try some new Indian and Indian-style recipes for a while now, and my finds at the farmers' market and the berry patch this past weekend made it possible. Add good friends Phoenix and Mr. Nice Guy to the mix, and you have the recipe for a fun evening.

For the first course, I made a blueberry-coconut soup with lime that I had found in a vegetarian magazine a couple of years ago. The fresh blueberries simmer with water, sugar, and lots of lime juice, then get pureed and chilled. After that, you add coconut milk, and you end up with a bowl full of gorgeous color and incredible flavor!

The blender attachment on my my mixer also got quite a workout making pineapple lassis with ice. Tangy and sweet... oh my, yes.

The main course, thanks to my trusty slow cooker, was a golden beet and green pea curry. I started it over my lunch hour yesterday and let it simmer while I slogged back to work. When I returned home, I realized I had put too much stock into it. But hey, I had the perfect solution: add the brown basmati rice to the pot and let it keep cooking. It saved me from another pot to clean as well as a too liquid curry!

The beet greens, then, were sauteed with garlic and ginger and fenugreek... and sprinkled with garam masala. Quite tasty.

All in all, it turned out to be a really good meal, for not having cooked any of the recipes before (nor having cooked with beets, one of my long-time childhood food aversions).

But wait! Would I let my guests leave without dessert??? Oh, no. And I had something really incredible in mind.

First step: Sunday evening I baked a small test batch of tuiles, the thin buttery cookies that are often draped over a rolling pin or something while warm to result in a curved shape. I draped mine over well-greased and -floured old-fashioned glasses to make little bowls, then set them aside until last night.

Then, with each little cookie "bowl" on a dessert plate, I added a single scoop of mango sorbet to each, followed that with a generous dollop of lime peel-infused whipped cream (the real stuff), and sprinkled it all with tiny crumbs of crystallized ginger.

A reverent, blissful hush fell over us all as we ate dessert, followed by much contentment and licking of plates. Since this dessert was a new recipe for me, I asked for suggestions for a name, and Mr. Nice Guy's immediate response was, "How do you type a long drawn-out sigh?"

With abandon, of course.

Long Drawn-Out Sigh Sundaes

The cookie recipe is modified from Martha Stewart's "Holiday Cookies" magazine from 2001; the rest comes from my head.

2 1/2 T unsalted butter, plus more for buttering cookie sheet
1/8 c unbleached flour, plus more for flouring cookie sheet
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp heavy cream or soymilk
1 tsp ground cardamom OR ground ginger
1 pt mango sorbet
1 c whipping cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
grated zest of one lime
a small handful of mini diced crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter and flour a baking sheet. Butter and flour two bowls.

In a small saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and cream, and set over medium heat. Stir until butter has melted. Remove from heat and add flour and cardamom or ginger.

Divide the batter into two small circles on the cookie sheet, using the back of a teaspoon to spread the batter. Make sure the circles are about 4" apart. Bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow pan to sit on wire cooling rack for about 20 seconds. Using a wide spatula (or two together), carefully lift one cookie off the baking sheet and drape it over one bowl. Repeat with the other cookie.

Let cookies stand until completely hardened, then store very carefully in airtight container.

When ready to serve, allow mango sorbet to soften slightly. Beat whipping cream with sugar and lime peel until stiff peaks form. Set cookie bowls onto dessert plates and add to each bowl: one or two scoops of mango sorbet, a generous spoonful (or more) of lime whipping cream, and a light sprinkling of mini diced ginger.

Serves 2 very happy people.

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