Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Flexible Stew

I had a couple of bits and pieces of this and that floating around my fridge, and I was getting stressed about what to do with them, and I remembered a recipe I discovered last winter that I became obsessed with, and it fell off my radar this summer. The recipe is in Mama Peas cookbook, titled Peas and Thank You. It can also be found online, all over the place. The recipe is Spicy African Peanut Stew. It is a curry stew, with a little bit of cinnamon, and a little garam masala, an it has chickpeas, red lentils, sweet potato, in a delicious mixture of coconut milk(lite so low fat!), tomatoes, and peanut butter!! I always add a little crushed red pepper flakes, in addition to hot sauce at the end. The first time I made this I almost cried it was so delicious! I struggle sometimes with curry, by adding too much, or too little, and this recipe is so perfect. It reminds me of Seattle, as a lot of more exotic flavors were introduced to me in Seattle. It is so warming and hearty on a cold evening, and as with most stews and curries, it is way better the next day. And it's super flexible, for instance, the recipe calls for diced tomatoes, which I almost never have. But what I do always have is tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes, so I have always used one or the other, and have always had success. And I have used sweet potato, which is what the recipe calls for, and I have used butternut squash, carrot, and last night, plain old white potato, again, all with success. The recipe also suggests quinoa as a substitute for the red lentils, which I subbed both for millet, which also turns slightly "creamy" when overcooked a little. Although garbanzo beans are such a staple in my pantry that I've never subbed any type of bean, I feel like kidney beans would be very good in this stew. And I'm sure you could sub any nut butter for the peanut butter. I love recipes like this, because just like in life, flexibility is important in recipes. Not only do I not want to have to run to the store for one little ingredient all the time, I also want to be able to use up my little odds and ends, I mean, who ever uses a whole can of tomato paste at one time? Anyway, this stew is delicious and very inexpensive, and you can easily play around with the spices if you have itty bitties you're cooking for.
Well, Robin, the newest addition to my feline family is almost totally okay with me. Just in the last week or so we have really made some great progress. He was supposed to be neutered last week, but he was granted a reprieve, and it is happening today! I'm looking at him so peacefully napping, almost full of trust for me. I know I will be starting from ground zero. Wish him luck!

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