Monday, July 21, 2008

Have You Hugged an Elitist Today?

Whether because I've internalized censures of my own persnicketiness, or because I've overzealously sought to identify and counteract prejudices in my worldview, or because of envy, I have allowed myself to hate elitists. ¡Basta! From here on out I vow not to hate elitists. Reasonably aware of the subtleties of abjection, I feel that I'm announcing a serious psychic commitment. I should hesitate to even designate a taste or opinion as elite for fear of suggesting that its champions ought to be despised.


On November Third, 2004, I vowed not to spend the next four years hating George Bush. That vow, which I have mostly kept, has opened my eyes to a wide variety of political hatreds. That said, I don't mean to refrain from hating elitists for the sake of acquiring any kind of political perspective. I open myself to learning any lesson that might be learned from refusing to hate elitists.


Tonight we're having shrimp curry with naan for two. Here is the recipe, starting with the naan, which takes a while to rise.



Naan


  • 1 cup of flour

  • ⅜ cup of plain yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon yogurt butter

  • Sprinkle of water

  • 1 teaspoon yeast

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Cooking spray or a teaspoon of oil

  • Another tablespoon of yogurt butter or cooking spray (optional)

Start several hours before you want to eat. Get out a mixing bowl. Melt one tablespoon of yogurt butter just enough so it's soft, using the microwave or a pan. Put the flour, salt, yogurt, softened yogurt butter and yeast in the bowl. Mix it with a rubber spatula to start, or just use your hand. (Your kneading hand is going to get messy.) Sprinkle some water in if it's too dry. Add more flour if it's too moist. Knead it for about twelve minutes. Ball it up and put the ball of kneaded dough in an oiled bowl (use cooking spray if you have a heavy hand). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or with a towel. Wash your hands if you haven't already. Clean up, but leave the flour out if you want. Wait at least 90 minutes, or better about two hours. About 25 minutes before eating heat the oven to 475°. Take the dough and put it on a large wooden cutting board or similar surface. Cut it in half and roll each half into a ball. Put a towel over the two balls and let sit for another 15 minutes. Take out a rolling pin and dust it with flour. Roll out the balls of dough so they're roughly 12 inches in diameter, ⅜ inches thick. Thereabouts. Completely melt a tablespoon of yogurt butter unless you're using cooking spray. Turn a large cookie sheet upside down and place the flattened dough on the cookie sheet. If they won't both fit on one cookie sheet, use two smaller upsidedown cookie sheets. Brush the tops of the uncooked naan with yogurt butter or spray with cooking spray. Place them in the oven on the top rack for between six and nine minutes. (It helps to know your oven, of course.) You want them crisp and brown on top but not burnt. Serve on a plate or whatever.


Shrimp Curry


  • 1 lb. of large shrimp

  • ½ cup of plain yogurt

  • About 3 tablespoons yogurt butter

  • 1 smallish onion

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • Several tablespoons of curry powder

Thaw your shrimp if you bought frozen shrimp. Peel and devein them. Even if a machine already deveined them get out your knife and make sure. (You don't need to waste the tail segment if you do this yourself.) Wash the shrimp thoroughly and drain. Put the shrimp in a mixing bowl and add curry powder. We've been using sweet curry from Penzy's. Mix it up with your fingers, coating all of the shrimp. Wash your hands (and your knife too, if you're using a single chef's knife.) Finely chop the onion. White onion is good. Yellow is good too, but if it's too large only use half. If you haven't already prepared chopped garlic, peel the garlic cloves, chop the ends off, and either put them through a garlic press or mince them with your knife. Melt the yogurt butter in a saute pan. This step should be started about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to eat. Yogurt butter needs a little less heat than you would give to regular butter. Put the onion and garlic in the pan on a medium high burner. Saute. You can use a wooden spoon to stir it up. After the onions are sauted add the shrimp. You can tell when a shrimp is cooked by a change in color (you may still see that under the curry powder) and by its firmness. If you poke a shrimp with a wooden spoon and it's squishy that means you need to cook it some more. When the shrimp are cooked add the yogurt and turn down the heat. Stir. This can simmer for a few minutes, but not too long.


Steamed Spinach


  • 1 bunch of spinach

Tear the stems of the spinach and place the leaves in a colander. If the leaves are large you can tear them. Rinse the leaves thoroughly. About 12 minutes before you want to eat put the spinach in a steamer with some water (of course) and turn on high. Keep an eye on this because overcooked spinach is icky. If you don't have a steamer (ours is just like a strainer thingy you put in a sauce pan) then don't eat steamed spinach.


Rice


  • 1 knuckle (or cup) of rice

  • 2 knuckles (or cups) of water

  • 1 dash of salt (optional)

If you're using white rice or jasmine rice start by rinsing the rice about 30 minutes before you want to eat. If you're using brown rice give yourself at least an hour. You can rinse the rice in the pan you use to cook it, hopefully a small sauce pan or the like. When you're done rinsing, leave in enough water to come up to your second knuckle. Add a dash of salt if you want to. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low. You can quickly stir it with a wooden spoon to make sure there aren't big clumps sticking to the bottom of the pan. Keep covered until it's done. Jasmine rice usually takes at least 25 minutes to cook.


We eat the rice, the spinach and the shrimp curry all on one plate. The rice goes in the middle of the plate, flattened out some, the spinach goes around the edges, the shrimp curry goes on top. The naan is served on the side. If we had more plates maybe I'd serve each dish separately. I don't know. I guess we're pretty homey. We drink lemon water with this dish.


If you're using Weight Watchers, my wife says this is about 13 points.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 12:39 PM.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Sinthome said...

Fido,

If you're going to post recipes to your blog you at least have to give them some sort of pseudo-witty name! At any rate, thanks for the recipe... I'll be sure to make it soon!

August 12, 2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Hi, Sinthome.

Last night was our anniversary so we celebrated by going to West of Paris. I'm in such awe of Francis (Chef Foucachon) that I won't dare to post recipes for quite some time. I actually weighed the notion of apprenticing myself to Francis for the sake of improving my home cooking. And so we enjoyed a proudly French eight-course meal. Perhaps I picked a good time to overcome my discomfort with elitism? In any case tonight we're having immiseration eoyoritos with guacamole and sprouts (a top secret recipe, you understand).

August 16, 2008 9:11 AM  

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