End of term. End of term pressures. To grade assignments, construct exams, write letters of recommendation, wrap up committee business, solidify course descriptions and determine teaching workload for following years, assist stressed students who are fraying at the edges, arrange special exam-taking and extensions on deadlines. Pressures to finish things off.
This is partially what sent him to the kitchen this weekend. The sizzle of spices, rising pungently on puffs of steam, the precision of recipes, the predictability of ingredient combinations, the colour, the focus, the visceral knowing and experiencing. Cooking is for him what washing dishes is for me.
Shrimp with Spinach
- 8 oz shrimp
- sliced tomatoes
- 12 oz baby spinach
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2/3c oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seed
- 1/2 tsp onion seed
- 1 tsp ginger root, finely diced
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
Heat oil in large fry pan, add mustard and onion seed. Reduce heat, add spinach and allow to wilt. Add tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chili powder and salt. Stir fry 5 – 7 minutes.
Add shrimp to the spinach and tomato mixture. Cover and simmer over low heat about 7 – 10 minutes.
Green Pumpkin Curry
- 2/3 c oil
- 2 med onions, sliced
- 1/2 tsp white cumin seeds
- 3 1/2 c diced pumpkin
- 1 tsp aamchoor (dried mango powder) – we have this in our pantry!
- 1 tsp fresh ginger root, finely diced
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tsp crushed red chili
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 c water
Heat oil in large fry pan. Add onions and cumin seeds; fry until light golden. Add diced pumpkin and stir fry 3 – 5 minutes over low heat.
Mix aamchoor, ginger, garlic, chili and salt together. Add spice mixture to onion mixture. Stir well to combine.
Add water, cover and cook over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Balsamic Strawberries with Mascarpone
- 1 lb strawberries
- 2 – 3 tbsp best-quality balsamic vinegar (more expensive than our wine!)
- fresh mint leaves
- 4 – 6 oz mascarpone cheese
Cut each strawberry in half, or quarters, lengthwise. Place in bowl. Add the vinegar and several twists of fresh ground black pepper. Stir gently, cover and chill for up to 4 hours.
Just before serving, stir in torn mint leaves. Spoon mascarpone into bowls, spoon berries on top. Sprinkle with extra pepper to taste.