Bobo Brazilian stew from a happy cow.  Veggies coated in a delicious bath of coconut milk and dende oil.

The recipe calls for half dende and half olive, but its fantastic with just the first. Missing: Cilantro. That would have been a nice addition!

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Peanut paste stew


Similar to other African stews:  Veggies, meat, broth, peanut.  This was just onion, carrot, garlic, with a glutey alternative substituting unbeknownst to younger crew members — overall enthusiastically enjoyed, derided, though, by Will.

A total whiff on the cabbage, but without, very good flavors and meant to be served with an acaraje type bean cake — though, less the sea flavor and with the addition of carrots:  It was dry and uninteresting — pucks were pitched and concentration trained on the stew alone, and very good.

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1:  Chili:  This is a hearty and satisfying, simple chili, that gets at least close to approximating that at the Nickel, thick and – not meaty…  Decent granularity from the crumbles, though, if fat lacking, and mashed beans give it a nice, high viscosity.  Also made with just a can of crushed tomatoes instead of the fresh+paste+(mostofthe)water, and neither is preferable to the other.

  1. 3 onions, minced – fry while everything else is collected
  2. 5 cloves garlic, minced – added to the onions for a couple of minutes
  3. Bag of Boca crumbles – add along with everything else
  4. 6oz tomato paste
  5. 1.67c water
  6. 1/2T Red pepper flakes
  7. 2t cumin
  8. 2T chili powder
  9. 2 minced tomatoes
  10. 1 can kidney beans – half mashed
  11. 2t salt or to taste
  12. 1 t black pepper

More beans wouldn’t hurt either, both mashed and otherwise.

Thai red curry soup


Sauce makes the meal, and all that jazz — even tomato:  Samples get sampled.  A fine line, there is, between sauce and soup, and many guilty spoonfuls of savory sauce have been surreptitiously slurped – the underlying or contained addendums of the meal, purely servicing as envelopes for delivery.  Tomato soup – tomato sauce:  The line is thin.
Never truer than for the Thai, red curry sauce: Take-out and left-over containers invariably drained by spoonful until just, still, passably consumable remains abide. With the addition of lentils, the thought to simply pour the contents straight from carton into gullet can be realized with conscience clean.
Best of all, the stew is incredibly easy, quick to prepare and cooked on stovetop:  Still ready in just an hour, the vast majority of that steeping – alliums sashayed a while, while potatoes cubed.

Tarty posole verde with fried potatoes

20160901_184143Binge eating.  Withdrawal.  Lack of interest in typical activities.  There has always been tremendous cognitive dissonance between the ideals that were installed as a youth and what is seen more broadly, culturally.  Growing up, those ideals were drilled into my head by my mother, grandparents, family, at our school and in our church – every aspect of my early experience seemed to support those notions as if accepted broadly:  The ideas of family, community, openness and caring.  The ideas that we should be responsible, accountable, work hard and contribute to society, to contribute for the broader good. That those less fortunate should be helped to thrive, that those unable should be aided.

That message was pounded into my head by my mother, reinforced by hers.  That message rang throughout my early education and in our neighborhood – the cooperative.  It was the message preached by Reverend Devor, Reverand Walton, Reverend Kidd and – not when I was there but still beloved Reverend Rush (and hilariously, author of Plastic Jesus).  When he dropped down and begged on knee for President Bush not to invade Iraq – that resonated rightly.

Church was the new testament, and a million times I bounded down the back hall stairs and looked at the mural painted, of many different faces – some dark, some pale, some elsewhere on the spectrum.  Men and women, and children, under blue sky and the sun beneath the visage of Jesus, arms spread and beside the word:  Love.  My church was in the city of Detroit, and the doors never closed.  Out here, now, in the suburbs, church is just a part time affair, doors locking tightly except for the always, feel-good rotation of MCREST, a place where the congregation is castigated for saying awesome, and lectured for using colored lights at Christmas.

It was warm.  At school I felt as if people cared.  At church I felt as if people cared.  At home my mom made damned sure I knew she cared.  Everywhere in my youth I had a feeling of acceptance despite extraordinary awkwardness and shyness, and angular appearance.  Despite striving to be a raging twit.  There was a sense we were allowed to be who we would be, but also knowing stepping over certain lines would bring certain gentle but coercive correction.  At home, at school, at church.  We expected to be accepted, and were expected to accept everyone.  Kindness was expected, and civility.  It was taken unenthusiastically, but it was brutal being thrust into the broader world, where such expectations did not settle with reality.

There was always evidence that such peaceful, happy ideals were not exclusively shared:  Memory recalls an angry man on the evening news, pounding on a fallen log with his rifle, followed shortly by images of corpses back from Vietnam.  There were words thrown at my friends when we travelled beyond our little bubble.  There were people being murdered in my city, in horrifying numbers that seemed to grow with every year.  There were clearly problems, but they always seemed as if they were – anomalous:  At least considered to be wrong. Something that needed to be corrected – unaccepted, broadly.

Cracks formed; they were shunned:  A brief stint in New York brought words into my ears that were appalling.  They didn’t really carry meaning until we returned, and I looked at the face of my best friend and realized – they meant him.  I penned a letter to a friend from that experience, that tried explaining, as an inept and stupid eight-year old, that maybe such vitriol shouldn’t have a place.  I never heard from that person again, and presumed he was in disagreement – and left confused.  Years later, I found the letter – stamped and addressed – stuffed underneath my mattress.  I was stunned when I read it, and briefly wondered if, then how my mother had prevented me from sending it.  Even then I was disappointed in myself for such a chicken-shit moment, to be afraid to send a letter to defend a good friend against someone who I’d likely never see again.  It was not the last chicken-shit moment that I’ve had, as I’ve often let my voice remain silent.  Fair skin, blonde hair and green eyes cast me with suspicion for a number of contingents, and as allied for another.  To this day I am stunned by what abject strangers feel that they can share:  I do not share your fucking opinions – my mother has told me not to; an ideated Reverend Devor would turn red-faced and screel against such blasphemy if I did.

When I was sixteen I wrote a song entitled the Knight, which was metaphorical for the darkness that had wrapped my mind as I tried to understand exactly what the hell had happened.  There’s a corny as all hell line that’s been going through my mind repeatedly, that I can’t seem to shake, “You who divide and hate, to you – I cannot relate.  You offend me, and everyone who is not a fake.  Why don’t you wake up and learn to make this world into a better place?  What’s with you?  What’s with you…”

I still can’t seem to get my head around this world.  I wish the warmth extended further beyond our front door.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Matthew 5:43 Lev. 19:18

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Tuesday feast: Veggie Kadai, shahi paneer, tomato rassam, samosa, bnut pakora and papdi chaat

The impetus for all of this was interest in the butternut pakoras. They were initially planned pared with just the tomato rassam, but at the time, the proprietor at the near source for tamarind looked back with peculiarity on inquiry. That is, they apparently no longer stock any tamarind, so – a dal was substituted in the plans but not with any enthusiasm.
The squash consequently languished for several weeks, until the no-longer-little-guy was invited to a party not far from our favorite South-Asian grocer. Any visit more or less mandates some papri, or, papdi chaat – so, yogurt, too, and chutneys. And paneer managed to finagle its way into the cart, which, everyone agrees is best matched with spinach – but that is so redundant. Chilli paneer seemed like a great alternative but was deep-sixed by those with tender palates, and instead, the shahi paneer got the nod.
20160802_181110The gravy for the shahi paneer is a slightly sweet and quite rich. It is delicious, but not a great match with the rassam – they should be kept apart and eaten consecutively. A softer paneer would also be best.
20160803_184749The pakoras were as good as anticipated and the recipe is extremely simple: Shred the squash and mix everything together. The entirety of a good-sized squash is needed to offset the amount of flour in this recipe; the spices could be increased significantly.
20160802_183314The veggie kadai was a last minute addition as we decided to invite others over, as the meal grew. This is unquestionably a new favorite – right up there with that palak paneer and the irresistible lauki kofta. It, too, was a bit rich, but not excessively, and the flavors were outstanding.
The tomato rassam was not as good as hoped. Pepper rassam is a personal favorite, but the pungency and spice turn off most others; it was hoped this would be similar to those shared in restaurants, which were not disliked. They likely tone down the tamarind further and probably add more sugar. With a little, ahem, tamarind chutney it went down reasonably well, though the tempering was largely lost outside of a few random chompings on a cumin seed.  The concept of a lemon sized piece of tamarind also may be lost on me, as this is far darker than the drink in pictures at the source.