WIAW 138 – Thinking About Sauce
So it’s hot again?
It’s mid-October, and New York is in the low 80s. It’s not just us, of course – this warm front has been coming across the country (when a friend in Minnesota complained that her air conditioning wasn’t working right, I knew we were in trouble…) In some ways, of course, it’s nice – we’re having a good long harvest season, for instance. In Chicago and Cleveland they’re enjoying post season baseball games in unusual warmth. (I’ve lived in Cleveland – snow flurries are typical in mid-October, not 80 degrees…) The jumping up and down, though, is hard on everyone.
Between that and the previously mentioned family stuff (I’m still wrapping up my brother’s affairs) I’ve had some trouble finding energy and concentration. And the vegetables are piling up! I have a couple of lovely pie pumpkins, so I will probably revisit the Roast Stuffed Pumpkin from a few years ago – I definitely need new pictures, and also want to share a suggestion a reader made. (And maybe I’ll make a whole new recipe, with a different stuffing!) I’ve a quart of cherry tomatoes to freeze – I love having them in February! I’ll saute celery and bell peppers, this time, for the Cajun Holy Trinity instead of the French mirepoix… love mixing up my aromatics…
But it’s Wednesday, so here is
What I Ate.
I’ve started doing a sort of cross between my porridge recipe and grits. Half millet (for the chewiness) and half corn (for the creaminess) cooked for ten minutes in a fry pan. I don’t need the teff in this that I do when it’s plain porridge, because… when it’s partially cooked, I usually add a bit of cheese, and then crack in a couple of eggs. (I think I showed you this with just the corn, but I find I like the texture of the millet.) On this day, though, I had a little ham, so I heated it in the pan first, then added the grain and water, and skipped the cheese. It does take a little while to cook, but I don’t have to stand over it (I have to set a timer, or I come back half an hour later to rubbery eggs… my sense of timing seems to be the last to wake up.
At lunch – I’m actually moving away from salad! In the past, that always seemed to mean soup… All over the blog world, though, I suddenly see rice bowls, and realized they can have all the pre-prep features of my salad. (In fact, many of the same ingredients!)
So here, for example, I’d made a batch of the Chipotle Tofu (with salad in mind!) and I had some more of that ham I’d eaten at breakfast… The night before, I’d steamed a large bunch of broccoli, more than we wanted to eat at once, and had put the leftovers aside with a vague notion of marinating them for salad. Instead, I just added them to the bowl. So, first I microwaved a cup of cooked brown rice for a minute (because that takes longer to heat through.) Then I arranged the tofu, meat, and broccoli on it, gave it all another minute, and it was done. It was fine by itself, especially because of the tofu flavoring, but just a shade dry – I will figure out some sauces that I can easily make ahead and add.
Speaking of sauce – dinner was All About sauce. See, back in my gluten eating days, one of the handful of convenience foods that I did use was Japanese Curry Roux. If you’ve never had it… you buy this box, and open it to something that looks rather like a chocolate bar in five sections. You then melt it in water in which you have cooked meat and vegetables, and use it to make a sauce. Curry, which came to Japan from India via England, is now one of the most popular everyday foods in Japan. (It has little if any relationship to anything you’ll eat in India – the Japanese have taken the initial concept and made it their own, even as the English, and then Americans, have.)
So, anyhow, I liked the convenience but also the flavor, so I’m playing around with variations of that. Though I’m not going to try for, so help me, Vermont Curry with Honey and Apple. Yes, that is a Japanese curry flavor. Can you say Fusion? I always preferred the less sweet versions, even when I ate sweets…
Anyhow, in this case, I had cod. Trader Joe’s sells a package of offcuts of cod in the freezer section for a very good price, and I don’t mind having bits and pieces instead of fillets or steaks. This package, though, was practically shreds… So I made my roux with rice flour and added spices (I’m trying to find a blend that tastes right,) made the sauce, and added the fish at the last minute, just enough to cook. Doing it in the “right” order would have overcooked the fish. And meanwhile I’d cooked more broccoli, and then served it all over brown rice. It doesn’t look particularly appealing, but it tasted pretty good. I don’t quite have the flavor yet, though. (Maybe I will have to break down and add some apple?)