Friday, April 3, 2020

Covid Cafe: If a pandemic isn't a bacon emergency then what is + neighbor Bruce drops in

What are you cooking, tenacious chefs of Covid Cafe? Occasionally when I awaken and before coming to full consciousness I forget that we're in the midst of a pandemic. A PANDEMIC. If that isn't a bacon emergency I don't know what is.

Here's a first-meal melange that started with sauteing a full head of cauliflower, red pepper flakes, and two onions and ended with eggs and an insane amount of goat cheese, shredded swiss on top, and running it all under the broiler.

Art tried to steal my last piece of bacon
(the center cannot hold)

Longtime Chicago neighbor Bruce stopped buy (virtually) 
to share his recipe for split pea curry with sweet potato
Bruce writes: I like this recipe because green split peas have an intense flavor, and the only recipe I’ve seen is for split pea soup with a ham bone and caraway seeds. OK, but kind of limited. 
There are enough other flavors here that the peas don’t overwhelm the dish.  If it tastes too heavy, add more vinegar. A lot of the quantities are suggestions/to taste. There’s a nice balance between all the ingredients.

A two-pot meal with many shelf ingredients
2 onions, sliced
Olive oil
Chili flakes
1.5 cups white rice (if you use brown add an extra 30 min to rice cook time)
1 to 2 pounds diced sweet potato (added to pot 25 minutes from the end)
1 pound dried split peas
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried cranberries
Garam masala or “warm” curry powder (1 tsp-1 T or to taste)
cider vinegar

I soak the split peas for six hours or so, after washing them well. It helps them cook more evenly and faster. A lot of split pea packages have lived for a long time on the grocery shelves and older beans/peas are “drier”/take longer to cook. This helps.

Cook the peas until soft, mostly broken apart and just beginning to stick to the bottom of the pot. Add some curry powder. Meanwhile, in another pan saut√© the onion/garlic/chili flakes and set aside to add to the peas when they’re done.

After you remove the onion mixture, add sweet potatoes to the pan w/ a little water, braising them, covered, for 5-7 minutes. Then add the rice w/more water (~ 3 cups), some curry powder, and the cranberries, and cook until done, about 15 min. Leave covered off the heat to finish cooking.

Seems like your readers are good cooks and can fill in the blanks of my recipe.
Split pea curry with sweet potato

For the chilly days of early April, this will deeply satisfy. Thanks, Bruce and next time send a picture of Good Dog Carl. 

Bill Withers 
 brought so much beauty
Bill Withers - Vocal Grover Washington Jr. - Saxophone Ralph MacDonald - Congas, Percussion, Electronic drums Steve Gadd - Drums Richard Tee - Electric piano Eric Gale - Guitar Marcus Miller - Bass Robert Greenidge - Steel Drums Ed Walsh - Synthesizer

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