After spending two months on the road, cooking with a few pots, one pan, and a Coleman stove, I was extremely eager to get to a real kitchen and cook something new! Helen’s half hacked-up kitchen would just have to do!
Helen and Gordon were already in the inception phase of remodelling their kitchen when we visited their home in Scotland last summer. This summer, they were in the middle of the reno. With a chunk of their garage space taken away for pantry storage, the wall previously housing the fridge, stove and counter was hacked up to fit a doorway to the new pantry. Most of Helen’s kitchen tools were packed away until her new cabinets could be installed, but thankfully, we had enough to work with.
After sifting through Epicurious’s mobile app for iPhone, I found two recipes I thought new enough to stimulate me but safe enough not to totally bugger. Yellow tomatoes stuff with mushrooms on a bed of salad for appetizer and Chicken Curry with Cashews.
We started with gorgeous, plump red beefstake tomatoes in the absense of yellow tomatoes. Once I scooped the inside of the tomatoes out, I realised I could use it for the curry. Not paying enough attention during my prep, I mistakenly mixed the sugar and oil for the salad dressing before reading that I should have in fact carmelized the shallots by cooking them with just the sugar. I tried to salvage the dressing, but not being particularly fond of the shallots, I couldn’t quite find the right balance of sweetness to savoury.
I later tried this recipe while up at the cabin only this time we used yellow tomatoes and decided to can the sweet shallot vinaigrette altogether. I opted instead to load the mushrooms with garlic for the flavour that we previously lacked in the original recipe. As dressing, I used balsamic drizzled with a puree of the guts of the tomatoes and some oil. Delicious! Only problem: I massacred the tomatoes in the oven by both baking them for too long at a far too high temperature.
The curry turned out fine but I used far more tomatoes than called for and dumped a hell of a lot more spice as well. Eventually, I’ll take the advice of my good friend Leslie and find some fresh spices for these dishes!