Occasionally I lament this place of restriction and limited resource as confessed the other day on “unplugged” (you can read that drama here if you missed it).
But mostly I have discovered that the Gift usually waiting behind restriction is CREATIVITY. Remember the English proverb “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”? — SO TRUE!
Yesterday was an example of that.
Heading toward dinner our fridge looked exactly like this, except it also had a big bag of carrots and a tray of hamburger (or mince if you speak New Zealand):
Limited… but not impossible… What shall I do with carrots and mince… carrots and mince… carrots and mince… Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…
Then came Jamie …
Jamie Oliver that is… On DVD. We checked the first season of Jamie At Home from the library, and Mama and Peas have been loving it. Beautiful, inspiring and educational. Wellll…. the episode we watched yesterday was about none other than … you guessed it… CARROTS!!!
We watched Jamie pull together a beautiful Indian inspired carrot salad over minced lamb. We didn’t have the exact ingredients that Jamie used, but what we did have on hand was comparable enough to make a mimic. Fantastic!!!
The results were Beautiful in both appearance and flavor. I just had to share it!
This was one of the most surprising meals yet to come out of this Creative Kitchen… The meal was a hit all around :).
One more creative dinner down.
Now what to do for tonight?????
Ah well… oatmeal for dinner never hurt anyone.
In the mean time… while I wait for a new wave of creativity… I will make this post a little longer and pass on the recipe for those who are curious…
Naan Bread– We served our salad with this super speedy version of Indian naan bread which I made first and let rest while making the salad.
(This recipe made 16 decent sized flats of naan… more than enough for our family of 10.)
1 1/2 c. Cold Milk + a big long squeeze of Lime Juice to make more of a buttermilk (the recipe I was trying to follow called for yoghurt which I didn’t have, so came up with the closest thing I could think of with what I had on hand… I don’t know that this was necessary though. Basically you need a total liquid amount of about 2 2/3 cup.)
1 c. Hot Water (This together with the cold milk made a nice warm liquid for the yeast. Too hot and you kill it, too cold and its not activated.)
3 tsp. Yeast
2 tsp. Sea Salt
3 tsp. Honey
5 tsp. Oil
5 cloves crushed garlic (I thought this would add more flavor than it did… if I make it again I will either eliminate the garlic or try more.)
8 c. Flour
Preheat oven to 500F (260C). Combine all ingredients to make a smooth slightly sticky bread dough (kneadable, but not dry). Let rest while preparing the salad then divide into 16 equal(ish) pieces of dough and flatten. Bake a few at a time directly on the baking racks in the oven for about 6-8 minutes.
Carrot Salad– This is our rough version of Jamie’s salad.
Onion (finely chopped)
Red Chili – Medium Hot (finely chopped)
Spices… Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Cumin, Curry.
Saute the onion and chili first then add the ground beef cooking until deeply browned (almost crispy). At this point I added salt to taste and then LOTS of pepper–I wanted the meat to have a little spice. From here I added the remaining spices in small bits not wanting any one flavor to overpower–each of the remaining spices are very distinct on their own and I found that combining a little of each turned out beautifully! Add each to your taste. Or pick your own variety of spices!
Using a speed peeler (carrot peeler) peel the carrots into nice wide ribbons. My Peas did this part for me. So pretty and fun!
For Carrot Dressing–
Green Onions (thinly sliced)
Fresh Lemon Juice
Red Chili – Medium Hot (finely chopped)
Ginger (finely grated)
Cumin (a tiny sprinkle)
Salt, Pepper (to taste)
Sugar (I added just a sprinkle because our carrots tasted like they needed a little boost… yours may or may not)
Mix all ingredients together and adjust to taste. Pour over the carrots and toss to coat.
(optional garnish) Fresh Herbs such as Cilantro and Italian Parsley
Hot meat goes on the plate first. Followed by a pretty little pile of dressed carrot salad. And if you want to get really fancy (or if you have snobby tastebuds like me and think there is just a little something in the flavor that is missing) you can add a sprinkling of roughly chopped parsley and cilantro (coriander in NZ) to finish it. Serve with warm naan bread and ENJOY!