Yesterday morning – Saturday, that was – I woke up at 5:20 am, went downstairs and made Chana Masala. This was not my plan, but a serendipitous silver lining to my week of 4:30 am wake-ups – on Saturday I bolted awake at 5:20, instantly panicked that I had slept in and they were about to go to World Report without me standing by with my scrawled notes on the status of Deerfoot Trail. Because I had my alarm set for 6 am Saturday in order to be in Red Deer for 8 to teach two back to back brunch classes, I got up instead of trying to milk that last half hour of sleep. While packing the ingredients I needed for my classes, I noticed the Roma tomatoes I had bought a week or so ago with the intention of making Chana Masala, now a nice deep red and about to go over to the dark side. Curries like C.M. always do taste better after spending some time in the fridge, so I thought I’d be on the ball and get dinner ready to reheat upon my return at around dinnertime.
I hadn’t anticipated the agony that would come when newly-awakened eyes, still devoid of contact lenses, were subjected to strong chopped onions. I’ve always worn contacts, and the few times I’ve had occasion to chop onions in my glasses were a nasty shock. So this is what everyone makes such a big deal about! All this time I thought they were all just being wimps. Turns out those teeny (but expensive) thin plastic discs that help me see better also act as an effective defense against onion vapours.
Then I chopped a jalapeño pepper, before going upstairs and putting in my contacts. What a rookie move. All just a little too much drama before 6 in the morning.
Over the course of the day I taught two hands-on brunch-themed classes – we made crab cakes Benedict, crêpes with sautéed apples and whipped cream, espresso caramel sauce, stuffed baked French toast, homemade pork sausage patties, lamb sausage rolls with orange and fennel, potato latkes and chunky browned butter rosemary applesauce (oh yes, the recipe is coming).
In the afternoon class I met some lovely followers of this blog – hey guys! so nice to meet you in person! – which was completely fantastic. One of them, from Texas, told me about a Cuban dish she makes with browned butter, in which eggs are fried in said butter and set atop rice, with the extra browned butter drizzled overtop. The eggs are then cut roughly up so that their yolks have a chance to ooze into the rice. I fantasized about this for my entire drive home. No really.
Which was fortunate, because the Chana Masala I had so ambitiously made was far too hot to eat – Mike sweated it out for several bites, but I gave up after one or two and made myself another egg. Having started with cold rice, I quickly browned some butter (this is just a fancy way of saying I put a blob of butter into a hot skillet without oil, so that it turned brown straight after it melted) and reheated the rice by way of sautéing it in the butter. I tipped the rice out and added a tad more butter (it was a long day) before cracking in a couple of eggs, and they made everyone happy.
Tonight I made a quick pizza out of a flatbread I picked up at a Greek grocery store – two enormous oval flatbreads for $3.50.
Tomato paste + cheese + heat = pizza. W is in his cheese-pizza-only phase, which meant we couldn’t sully it with pepperoni or mushrooms or roasted veg or anything of the sort. The best thing about the big long oval slabs of dough? Cutting them – I love making angled slices, so you wind up with big triangle slabs, as if you had a big ol’ round pizza to begin with.
Think I may be getting punchy – best go arrange my mangoes. Don’t watch tomorrow morning –
I have bad hair.