Saturday, February 14, 2009

St. Valentine's Day Dinner, Part 1

So for Valentine's Day, I decided to make my wife a special meal. We've gotten away from going out to eat because we got to the point where we were doing that way too often, so instead I made her an Indian-themed meal. We had tofu simmered in a medium-hot sauce by Jalfrezi. I found it at the health-food store. It's completely organic and vegan and it has a wonderful aroma. It's full of bell peppers, coconut, onions, and Indian spices. I'll work on that recipe next...

Although I'm not a wine expert, I thought the spices of this meal paired well with a California pinot grigio, but any slightly dry or semi-dry white wine will do. I think wine always adds a little romance and Valentine's Day should be full of it!


Chappatis
1 c. unbleached white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. water, or more if needed
flour for dusting

Combine white flour, wheat flour, and salt. Add water and combine. Add enough water to make the dough form into a ball. With your hands, make 8 balls of dough the size of ping pong balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball out until it's about 5 inches in diameter and thin. Be sure to dust every once in awhile with flour so that the chappatis don't stick. In a hot, ungreased skillet. Cook each chappati one minute per side (two minutes total) or until the dough puffs up a little. Repeat the cooking process for each chappati. If you have a gas stove, hold it over the flame for a bit until it starts to puff out. If you have an electric stove, cook it a little longer in the skillet (it won't puff out a whole lot). They're best when served hot, but are very good room temperature too.

Yellow Rice
1 c. Basmati rice
1 3/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. turmeric

Rinse rice. Add water, salt, and turmeric to rice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes.

The tofu was drained, cut into cubes, and sauted until golden in a skillet with a little bit of oil. I then took a short cut and added a jar of Jalfrezi bell-pepper and coconut "simmer sauce" and 1/2 c. of water to the skillet; covered it, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. I served the tofu over rice with a chappati.

For this meal, I went all out! I covered our "sitting pillows" with a large green tapestry and I lit two pomegranate-scented candles, one on each side. In the space between the pillows we placed our plates and wine glasses (we wanted to face each other as we ate). The "flarts" (which are famous for romance...) were sat off to one side, while our hookah, loaded with coconut shisha sat off to the other. After the meal came dessert, and after dessert came the hookah!

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