Sometimes, January is a drag. It’s cold. The holidays are over. Credit card bills are higher due to December gift shopping sprees. They’re even referring to the third Monday of the month as the most depressing day of the year.
But you know what? I’ve been having a great start to 2012. Maybe it’s the lack of sugar in my diet. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve been running more as I train for the Around the Bay 30k (hello, endorphins). Or maybe it’s because I’ve been making a conscious effort to see friends and eat yummy food with them.
On Friday, I headed over to Ms. Sampson’s for our first Dinner Club of 2012. After discussing meal options, we both agreed our feast had to include a warming, satisfying recipe for a stew, soup or chili. Nothing says “cozy winter’s night” like a big bowl of comfort food and a nice fire. Am I right?
Sampson suggested a sweet and spicy Winter Curry dish from one of her fabulous cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. This all-vegetarian book is based on the restaurant in Ithaca, New York. It’s full of great, restaurant-inspired meal ideas with simple ingredients – plenty of whole foods and mouth-watering spices.
Winter Curry (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1.5 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1.5 cups water (or vegetable stock)
1 Tbsp tamarind
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 cups black beans
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat and add mustard seeds. Add onions when seeds begin to pop, and saute for approx. 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine all of the spices, garlic and ginger. Add to the onions and cook for 1 minute. Then add the potatoes, squash and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender (approx. 15 minutes).
In another small bowl, dissolve the tamarind in a few Tbsp of the hot cooking liquid and then stir into the vegetable mixture. Add the tomatoes, black beans and cilantro, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until vegetables are fully tender.
Serve over brown rice and top with a sprig of cilantro. Makes enough for 6 (or 2, with plenty of leftovers). I’m still eating this curry two days later and I’m not sick of it. It is delicious, and so filling!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend, friends. And if you’re in Toronto… get out there and enjoy this beautiful sunshine!