Saturday, August 26, 2006

Frustrations, music, miracles... and dal

Yesterday was absolutely a day like none other. A friend of mine and I had planned to go to a concert downtown, so after dinner as I was getting ready to leave, I realized that my cell phone had finally kicked the bucket. It's not responding to anything I do--makes no calls, receives no calls... And since we don't have a land line, my cell phone is my contact to the world. So hopefully today we will go to Atlanta (ugh) and not only get new phones, but get new service. We have really needed to switch providers, and my phone giving up on me seems like a pretty clear signal that now is the time.

So I carried Bob's phone on me last night. My friend picked me up. We went to see Vienna Teng, whose music is so unique that I don't know how to describe it. She's been compared to Jewel but I didn't think she was much like Jewel--her music was sort of blues-ish and folksy and alternative at the same time. It really was beautiful. We had a great time. Neither of us had anything to drink at all. Thank goodness.

On the way home from the concert around 11:30, we were driving along downtown and we approached a dark intersection. My poor friend didn't even see the stop sign, so we plowed right through it. We smashed right into the side of an enormous pick-up truck. Something exploded under my friend's hood, and the engine was smoking as we tried to back out of the intersection. Thank God, no one in either car was hurt. It could have been so bad... I'd never been in a wreck before so it was kind of surreal to me. I was trying to call Bob to come pick us up, but then remembered that I had his phone and mine wasn't working. So I couldn't get in touch with him. I ended up calling one of our neighbors at 11:30 at night and asking him to go knock on our apartment door so that I could talk to Bob. Thankfully, our neighbor is the kind of guy who would bend over backward for his friends. So almost an hour after the incident, the police allowed us to leave, and Bob was right there. My poor friend... She felt so bad, but you know, everyone makes mistakes. And in my opinion, this one was not serious because everyone walked away just fine.

Anyway, last night since I was going to the concert I decided not to try and deal with the tempeh (excuses?), so I made this dal instead, which was inspired by a recipe from The Grit Cookbook.

The recipe called for split peas, but I used brown lentils as that is what was in my pantry. They didn't make the soup look very beautiful, but they tasted fine. Basically, I just used a pound of brown lentils, a medium onion, two cloves of garlic, salt, 1/2 tablespoon of curry powder, and a good tablespoon or so of Indian spice (which I mixed up following The Grit's blend). I let it simmer for almost an hour, stirring constantly so that the lentils would not stick and burn, splashing in more water when it got super thick. At the end, I puréed about 2/3 of the dal in the blender, and I left the rest whole because I didn't want it to look like baby food.

The curry dressing, which I drizzled on top, was also a Grit recipe. The only change I made there was, instead of using 3/4 cups of oil (yikes!), I used 1/4 cup oil and replaced the rest with a mixture of 1 tsp. cornstarch to 1/2 water, which I cooked on the stove until it got thick. The dressing tastes really good--spicy and tangy. And there's PLENTY left over. So this, with a simple salad of spinach and cucumbers and more curry dressing, was our simple yet tasty dinner.

Today? Who knows. We may be really busy. I definitely want to get in the kitchen sometime. But we'll have to see.


Beata said...

I'm so glad you're okay from the car accident!

Melody said...

I'm so glad you're OK.. that must have been terrifying.. wow..

I've never seen dal done that way.. very interesting to pour a spicy mixture over the top.. it's similar to how the authentic indians do it, with heating the spices in ghee and pouring it over the cooked beans.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're okay too.

I've never seen curry dressing drizzled over the dal either. Interesting technique.

Dori said...

Oh my, I too am glad you are okay and have a good attitide about it.

Your lentil stew looks artful with that colorful curry dressing swirl. Reminds me of spin art from childhood school pepclub carnivals.

KleoPatra said...

LAURA! OHMYGOSH! I'm like shaking here reading this. I am SO glad you are OK. What a frightening thing to have happen. I haven't been in a major car accident, tho i have been hit a couple of times, and you really kept your cool and your senses about you. I hope that if i am ever in a situation like you were, i would handle it as well.

Good for you. And i'm glad you and your friend are fine. That's what really matters.

The dal in that gorgeous bowl is artsy and must have been tasty. Swirlin' magic. I appreciate you cuttin' down on the oil, too. Smart cookie, you.

Hope you can get a new phone w/good service and dependability. I have had SPRINT for years and years, and love it...

Carrie™ said...

Wow, that's really scary. I don't have very good night vision and am nervous to drive in places that are really dark or that I don't know just because of what you described. Luckily, everyone was OK.
The yellow dressing did make your soup look beautiful. I like having leftovers. Dishes like this are quite often better the second time around.

funwithyourfood said...

a car accident? are you sure you're ok??

the day after is always worse!

i'm sorry about that



laura jesser said...

Hey everyone! Thanks for all your comments. About the car accident, I am sure now that I am fine. I did wake up a little stiff--probably from tensing up--but a massage from Bob made it feel better! And I talked to my friend again, and she was fine the next day too.

On the dal, at The Grit it always comes with a side of the curry dressing. I wish I knew what "authentic" dal is like but anytime I've had dal, the only consistent factors have been the lentils and the spices! Bob's uncle is Pakistani and used to make dal for them when he was a kid, but I've never met him (much less tasted his dal).

I really appreciate everyone's comments all the time! Thanks for visiting!

laura jesser said...

PS--Carrie, thanks for stopping in! You know, Bob did appreciate the dal more the second day. It's funny--I guess the spices just work into the dish more as it sits in the refrigerator.