Thursday, April 17, 2008
Cooking together: Cashew Curry Caserole
Although our original virtual cooking date plans were ambitious, it had been six months since Kelly Ann and I had our first cooking date when we recently logged on for date number two. We went back and forth between a few recipes before finally landing on Urban Vegan's Cashew Curry Casserole. It turned out to be a perfect choice, quick and simple, for our weeknight date.
I went to the market after work, then assembled the ingredients, plugged in the laptop and opened a bottle of local Chaddsford wine.
The recipe called for broccoli and tomatoes (I used ones I jarred over the summer), but recommended mushroom, bell peppers and squash as options. I just love to see color in my food, so I added yellow squash, orange pepper and red pepper preserved last season from Del Val College:
Urban Vegan suggests serving the casserole with a whole grain; I went a coconut-lime brown basmati rice. I replaced the water with a half coconut milk and half coconut water mixture, then mixed in some lime zest at the end and topped it with toasted shredded coconut. At first, I was just going to make brown rice, straight up, but I'm so glad I took the extra time to make this instead. The flavors were a perfect compliment to this fabulous creamy curry dinner.
The casserole recipe is simple to prepare, depending almost entirely on inexpensive whole foods, and is chock-full of nutrition. It's basically two mixtures, one of the veggies and chickpeas, the other of the sauce, combined then baked. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
Somewhere, at some point, Kelly and I became un-synced. My rice took longer than I thought it would which was actually a good thing because so did the baking of the casserole. This all can be contributed to the fact that I have a bizarre, innate compulsion to cook for 12. I must have had eight kids in my previous life. Or worked in a school cafeteria. In any case, I doubled this recipe, as I do most, yet neglected to adjust prepping/cooking time. I'm slick like that.
Kelly's a fabulous friend though, and hung in there as long as she could. We chatted online about world peace and astrophysics (or boys and hangovers), checking in on our dinners and sipping our drinks. Eventually, we had to disconnect so she could feed herself and her salivating boyfriend. My monster also got sick of waiting and came into the kitchen to make himself a PB and J.
When everything finally came together, it was pretty incredible. The creaminess of this meal is not-to-be-missed. Seriously. The textures are a great marriage of crunchy veggies and soft chickpeas, the spice is nice and flavorful, but it is the creaminess of the cashew butter mixture that makes this meal. This would be a perfect answer to a cheese craving.
So, our second virtual cooking date was a definite success! In addition to "hanging out" with one of my favorite people EVER, the night resulted in leftovers that served as several dinners and lunches for Jase and me. I'm excited for our next one... which, according to the standards we've now officially stated, should be sometime soon!