carrot cashew fritters

carrot fritters

Somewhere in the last decade I lost the ability to put a sentence together in such a way that you could start at the beginning of it and find your way to the end with the sense still in tact. See? You’re scratching your head, you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about! I don’t know! Words used to come easily. I could write a 10 page paper on feminist film theory in an afternoon. And it would be good! I don’t know what happened, exactly, but the ability to put words together slowly eroded, leaving me, confused and muttering, trying to explain my thoughts to anyone who would listen.

I feel like it’s been getting better, lately, though, because I’ve been exercising my sentence-forming-ability. Taking it out for short runs every day, and putting it through its paces. Nothing too strenuous or stressful, nothing too complicated. I took two days off, watched a lot of cartoons on cable, and I feel like it’s all gone again! Sheesh.

Anyway – I’m back, and we’re making crazy food here. These carrot cashew fritters were the product of a nearly empty fridge. We had some carrots, we had some tarragon I wanted to use up. We had some fresh ginger. Would that be good with tarragon? Yes! It would! I wanted to use chickpea flour, but either I used it up, or it got lost in some strange nether world of odd flours in my overburdened cupboard. Pushed to the back behind the toasted barley flour and the tapioca flour and the masa harina, it was all like, “I’m out of here! She doesn’t even know I’m around any more!” So I used urad flour, which imparted a nice earthy taste to the sweet bright carrots and ginger. But you could use chickpea flour or even just regular flour, if you don’t happen to have a cupboard spilling over with bags of strange flours. The secret surprise in these fritters is mozzarella cheese! It makes them fun to eat, when it gets all melty and delicious. We ate these with a tamarind-chipotle sauce that I made a little bit too hot, but which Malcolm liked anyway.

Here’s John Buddy Williams Band with Saturday Night Blowout, my absolute favorite song at the moment. Since words have failed me, we’re going with an instrumental. Doesn’t it prove that you don’t really need words to say what you’re feeling? It’s a whole conversation.
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Super bodega traveling – stop number 2

Urad coins & curry leaves

I can’t believe it’s been two months since our last super bodega travelling excursion! You know how it is, booking flights, finding hotels, packing… Of course I’m joking, but it’s amazing how hard it can be to fit even a short trip into a routine. The days fly by, and feel so full and busy, but when I look back I can’t remember what I’ve done! I’m not complaining, though! I like my days – I like thinking about cooking dinner, spending an hour at the playground after school, walking around this town in the advancing springtime. Tomorrow does creep at a petty pace, but I don’t think it signifies nothing. I couldn’t say what it signifies, but it feels wonderful to me. Sorry – sidetracked!

Stop number two in our super bodega travels brought us, on a warm and sunny day, to Patel’s Cash & Carry. Speaking of wonderful! The store felt HUGE! And so full of amazing and surprising food! I love Indian food. It’s one of those cuisines I feel like I know something about. I eat Indian take-out every chance I get. I’ve got two cookbooks! (Madhur Jaffrey and Julie Sahni, in case you were wondering). I’ve loved it since I was small, and my boys (still small!) love it, too. Walking into this store made me realize how incredibly little I know. Which is (part of) the joy of bodega traveling. You get to see, beyond the takeout menus, a glimpse into a rich and diverse history that the cookbooks only hint at. As David said, you could write a cookbook on the flour aisle alone.

whole moong dal

Here’s what we bought…Kulfi for the boys – rose and pistachio flavored. They couldn’t wait to eat it, and it melted in their hands as we walked around the store. Curry leaves. I’ve seen these before, but never cooked with them. What a remarkable smell! A little earthy and smoky, but still very green, if you know what I mean. Two chikoo fruits. (Very excited about these!) Urad flour, black salt (volcanic and sulfuric! rotten eggy), whole moong dal (beautiful!!), Tinda (in a can), which is called baby indian pumpkin, lotus root, and different kinds of snack mixes, which my little ones eat like hungry mice with their whiskers on fire from the spiciness! Then we couldn’t let the boys back in the car because their kulfi was so melted, so they ate on a grassy bank, and Isaac got rose-flavored kulfi on the tip of his nose and in his eyelashes.

For the next few days we’ll be cooking with these, and we’ll let you know how it goes. We’ve got big plans!!

Here’s Donald Byrd’s Places and Spaces. I love it, and, to me, it’s about traveling without going very far from home.
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