I am now cooking vegetarian or vegan 3-4 times a week out of respect for my friend Vanice who prefers meatless meals. When she comes to help me out I make sure there is something she will enjoy eating in my refrigerator and therefor make a little more of the vegetarian combinations. Friends have learned to trust my cooking because I cater to their desires and never lie about the ingredients no matter how minor the uses of a non vegetable ingredient. Locally vegetarian meals are fairly bland and depend more on the freshness of the vegetables than the creativity of the cook and range from good to just plain awful.
Vanise has developed a taste for the rich flavors of Indian curry, West Indian curry and Italian Vegetarian meals. My rule of thumb when making a vegetarian meals is if it contains a dairy product, I will make it vegetarian. However, if the meal is 90% vegetarian and has no dairy products as necessary ingredients, I will make it Vegan. Usually this can be accomplished by using olive oil instead of butter or vegetable broth instead of chicken stock.
My daughter’s husband loves curry and learns to cook those things he likes. As a family they made curry and it was a disappointment. My daughter called to ask about the missing spice flavor and lack of rich color and we started talking. Of course, the color could be built using turmeric, and the flavor could be built using cumin, cilantro and garlic, but then the obvious answer to what went wrong is you are are actually building your own curry powder so throw out the garbage you though was curry powder and find Chief Curry Powder which is a product of Trinidad and Tobago which has a higher percentage of Asian Indians than any other Caribbean Island.
It takes a good curry powder to make good West Indian curry and life is that simple. Well she drove across DC and found a nice little West Indian Market and purchased her Chief Curry Powder and had no other problems making good Curry. The following recipe shows that I still spice the pot but essentially, I am trying to make an already good meal slightly better. The package recipe also recommends Chives, Onion, Garlic, Pepper and Salt. Chives are not usually available, I like the flavor of hot pepper and I try to run from too much salt. Too each his own.
Rue made from 2 T. Olive Oil and 3 T. Flower
1T olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 onion chunked
1 thin slice scotch bonnet pepper or ¼ tsp flaked red pepper
1 inch piece shredded ginger
1 oz white wine
1 heaping T Chief Curry Powder
¼ tsp thyme
1 can vegetable broth
1 can garbanzo beans with liquid
1 can peas no liquid
- Make a rue by blending 3 tablespoons of flower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside until needed.
- If making this in a coffeepot or crockpot, pre-cook the carrots and potatoes. This can be done by blanching them in the coffeepot and holding for 1 hour or cooking them in the crockpot on high for about 20 minutes. You want them cooked but firm. Set aside the firm cooked carrots and potatoes until needed.
- Put the oil into the pot or crockpot if bottom heated and saute the garlic, onion, hot pepper, ginger and wine in the pot.
- Add the curry powder, thyme, vegetable broth, garbanzo beans and liquid to the pot and bring to temperature about 2 hours.
- Whisk in the rue until blended.
- Add the potatoes and carrots and drained peas to the pot and blend
- Cook for about 2 more hours.