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Looking in other directions

November 1, 2011

You’ll never guess where I’m standing based on the picture.  To me this looks like a small town main street in middle America.   Truth be told, I’m standing in the heart of the Mag Mile, North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, right next to the historic Water Tower.

The view was just so out-of-place.  If the camera was pointed in the opposite direction you’d see the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest streets in Chicago with crowds of shoppers and tourists all moving at whirlwind speed.

I feel like I’ve been moving at whirlwind speed lately.  So much so that it’s been over a week since I’ve prepared a meal that required more than the combining of greek yogurt, granola and blueberries in a bowl.  That’s not to say I haven’t eaten, but there hasn’t been anything to write home about, or tell you about either, but that last meal I cooked is worth talking about.

My girlfriend picked the category of Indian for our monthly dinner.  I felt like I was a fish out of water – or a horse in the middle of a crowded city.  I’ve only eaten Indian food once and that was at a lunch buffet.  I had no experience to draw on so I picked a recipe that included elements I was familiar with, assuming the sum of those ingredients would be the best route to take.  The only ingredients I hadn’t ever used were curry powder and unsweetened coconut milk.  I have to say that as I prepared this I was really apprehensive and pretty sure that I wasn’t going to like the recipe.  Boy was I wrong. A s a matter of fact between us we made a total of four different dishes and all of them were terrific. Here’s to branching out and seeing what’s on the other side of the street.

Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit Test Kitchen
4 servings

1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup diced onion
2 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 medium head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 – 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
1 – 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles (I used Rotel)
7 oz unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Basmati rice

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute onions until golden brown.  Add curry powder and stir to combine completely.  Add the cauliflower and garbanzo beans, stirring well to combine the curry through all of the vegetables.  Add the diced tomatoes with chiles and coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and boil gently until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve over basmati rice and sprinkle with cilantro.

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