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“Din”ner

March 9, 2010

The Din household has been in quite a dinner rut lately.  This is because:

a. My picky family drives me crazy with their, “I don’t want to eat that because it’s chewy/it’s a vegetable/it’s green/it’s _____(feel free to fill in the blank).
b. Our refrigerator is perpetually empty. Even when I spend $100 at Trader Joe’s and return with at least 3 full bags of food, the fridge is still empty.
c. By the end of the day I am too tired to try to come up with some creative concoction that will appease all of our likes, dislikes, and food allergies.

This morning, however, I decided I was going to make a proper meal for a change since even I was starting to feel guilty for giving Maya hummus, pita bread, and apples for dinner again. After surveying the contents of our empty fridge, I was thrilled to find a package of cauliflower I’d randomly picked up on a recent trip to TJ’s.  I figured I’d cook up some Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower with Potatoes) but the only problem was – and there is always a problem – that I had no potatoes or garlic, and while I was amazed to find an onion, Ali hates onions with a passion. He hates onions about as much as he hates Brooke Shields and her Latisse commercials.  Trust me, that is A LOT.

So I randomly concocted the following recipe using what I had on hand/what I was allowed to use. I won’t pretend this is an authentic Indian dish and if my dad is reading this right now he is probably freaking out that I would even allude to this being an Indian dish, but it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Cauliflower with Peas

1 small cauliflower (I used the precut bag from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup of frozen peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan, over medium-high heat.
3. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds, stir until they start sizzling.
4. Add the turmeric and mix all the spices together.
5. Stir in the drained cauliflower and sprinkle the salt on top. Stir until the cauliflower is well combined with the spices.
6. Turn off the heat and add the frozen peas. Cover for five minutes to allow the peas to defrost.

This would be even better with cilantro (which I didn’t have) and the forbidden onions (I wasn’t willing to risk a divorce over something trivial like dinner).  Instead I cooked up some brown rice, added some Trader Joe’s Mango Chutney, and a dollop of plain yogurt.  This really hit the spot. 

Naturally Maya refused to eat it. “Peas are mushy Mama, and that cauliflower thing looks weird.”  Talk about the highest compliment a chef can receive, right?  I told her to work it out because that was what was for dinner.  But even as I said it I was digging into the freezer trying to find something else to appease my skinny child. 

When will I learn??

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37 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2010 9:56 pm

    sounds like a great recipe! i love anything indian, authentic or not ;). you have the best last name to make food puns out of…mine is not so great.

  2. March 9, 2010 9:57 pm

    That dish looks great, way to improvise with what you had. I feel like I have to drag the whole family to the grocery store sometimes to get their approval and make sure they will eat what I buy….sigh.

  3. Nadia permalink
    March 9, 2010 10:42 pm

    Ameena, you are hysterical. Cause every blog you write, I know I’ve heard certain phrases a hundred times, and telling Maya to “work it out” just cracked me up! And sweetheart your lovely hummus and pita is a mere appetizer…what do u mean dinner? I told you to take home some of my daal to freeze for those emergency nites;) Hopefully Maya worked it out was happy w the gobi…looked v scrumptious!
    XOXOXXOOXOX

  4. actorsdiet permalink
    March 9, 2010 11:09 pm

    tee hee – does he hate brooke shields’ toothpaste commercials as well?

    • March 10, 2010 9:51 am

      Yeah, what’s up with Brooke Shields? All she does is try to peddle us products.

      I get peeved too because, guess what Brooke, you’re a has-been. No one cares about your toothpaste or eyelashes.

  5. March 9, 2010 11:47 pm

    it looks awesome, i would be all over it! it has turmeric so that means it’s “indian” but of course 🙂 and the lack of garlic and onions and tons of salt is lovely for me!

  6. March 10, 2010 4:42 am

    I’m so impressed that you were able to improvise this gorgeous dish on the fly! You rock!! I can’t wait to fix this recipe – I love cauliflower!!

  7. March 10, 2010 4:46 am

    Oh you poor girl; I can only imagine how frustrating it is to have to cater to everyone’s individual, picky tastes. My mom always complained of the same thing. My dad is super picky, and I was always a fussy eater when I was younger… I wouldn’t touch vegetables with a stick, much less attempt to eat them. Eventually she just gave up, and now everyone makes their own stuff 🙂

    Your improvised dish looks great though.

  8. March 10, 2010 4:51 am

    Nice.
    I was going to ask u if Maya is picky…like what her school lunches would be…the joys of mommyhood 🙂

  9. March 10, 2010 5:15 am

    That looks delicious!! Sounds like you handle your picky family pretty well 🙂

  10. March 10, 2010 5:17 am

    I could have lent you some of my cilantro which goes bad in my fridge. I can’t go through it all in one week. Great dinner though without it.

    Hey, I want to move out to Cali near Redondo Beach. How is the market and housing out there?

  11. Susan permalink
    March 10, 2010 6:08 am

    Mmm that dish looks so good and totally simple – I love mah peas! Funny, when I was Maya’s age, I hated them too : )

  12. March 10, 2010 6:17 am

    Looks and sounds wonderful! I love cilantro too – I like it in almost everything!

  13. March 10, 2010 6:36 am

    The recipe sounds good.. I love indian food and love peas. You are such a nice Mom/wife pleasing your family. I have a tough S* attitute .. eat it to leave it..

  14. March 10, 2010 6:37 am

    Mr P used to love aloo gobi when he was a little boy, but now he hates the smell of cauliflower. I love it though.
    Good job with using what you had in the fridge to make something yummy. It doesn’t always turn out right for me when i try that lol.
    *kisses* HH

  15. Danielle permalink
    March 10, 2010 6:42 am

    The dinner looks really good! (I’d eat it lol)

    Most kids don’t like peas but I can’t see why not? Mushy things are good 🙂

  16. March 10, 2010 7:04 am

    great recipe. i tend to get in dinner ruts too. when i was growing up we’d have 3 meals that just got rotated around during the week!

  17. March 10, 2010 7:05 am

    That is so hard with the kids eating. You hear about only make one dinner and that is their option to eat if they want dinner, but when you want to be sure your kid gets nutrition what do you do? I deal with the same thing sometimes, even though M is only 1 1/2. Frustrating! It looks great to me though 🙂

    And I can’t stand that commercial either! And the side effects for having prettier lashes? What is up with that product. You might lose some eyesight, but HEY you’ll have full lashes. Woo!

  18. March 10, 2010 7:18 am

    Ameena, you did a great job! What makes you think it’s not authentic? It’s not like you dumped curry powder in it and called it Indian. 🙂

  19. lowandbhold permalink
    March 10, 2010 7:28 am

    That dish looks amazing! It seems like poor Maya really missed out 🙂

  20. March 10, 2010 8:04 am

    that dish looks PERFECT to me…and the funny thing about skinny kids who are picky eaters…sooner or later they get hungry and are happy to eat (mostly) what you give em.

    my days of short order cook are coming to an end and (to a point) and I had this what is served is what is for dinner policy with my now teenager and he survived…and he’s still skinny but eats everything i give him.

    I am lucky though…my family is pretty easy going about food. …mostly.

    haha

    I’ll have a plate.

    Have a great day Ameena! xoxo

  21. louisianagrown permalink
    March 10, 2010 8:21 am

    I like to think that I will be the type of mother that tells her children to “eat this or eat nothing.” And then my children learn to love all manner of healthy foods and we live a beautiful hippie life. However, I’m learning more and more every day that parenting is so easy from the outside, and sometimes you just gotta give them the chicken nuggets to shut them up. Good job trying!

  22. March 10, 2010 8:25 am

    That looks great to me! Hey, I rarely manage to get a creative dinner on the table… and it’s just me (no food allergies) that I’m making it for!

    p.s. What is it about those Latisse commercials? Tobey always comments on it, too!

  23. March 10, 2010 8:46 am

    I feel like all of a sudden I have a new respect for Ali. I hate onions more than Brooke Shields hocking the product of the moment. Thankfully, my husband hates them too. We get a lot of grief from our family, but I’d rather not eat than taste and crunch an onion in a meal.

  24. March 10, 2010 9:04 am

    I really never liked cauliflower before but I’ve recently been seeing all these awesome recipes on the blogs and it makes me want some. This looks amazing! I’m in a SERIOUS food rut – I’ve literally eaten the same thing for lunch and dinner for two weeks. I need to go grocery shopping and shake it up!

  25. March 10, 2010 9:17 am

    Your cauliflower dish looks really good and I think I can follow the recipe and will cook it this week. My daughter has yet to try cauliflower although she likes broccoli. Her daddy loves it though. I had said this to my child many times, “Do you know there are children in some parts of the world who would be happy to have a bit of your dinner – without giving a fuss?” I win some and lose some. At times spaghetti-O’s and chicken noodle soup are a winner.

  26. March 10, 2010 9:25 am

    Well move over Maya because I will eat it! Yum……
    I love how you make your life so real to us…no sugar coating anything : )

  27. March 10, 2010 9:39 am

    Hahaha, I was laughing so hard when you told me your husband hates Brooke Shields. I’m laughing again. What’s wrong with onions? I LOVE onions! I think your dish looks good! I can’t imagine the difficulties of cooking for a picky family. I’m particular about my meals myself, so I pretty much require that Lawrence eats whatever I make, which he does. I guess I’m lucky.

  28. whydeprive permalink
    March 10, 2010 9:54 am

    “I wasn’t willing to risk a divorce over something trivial like dinner”

    hahaha Ameena, I LOVE your posts!!

  29. March 10, 2010 11:28 am

    lol! i need to remember to use “work it out” when my daughter turns her nose up at whatever i make (which is just about every night!).
    and you are nicer than me, i don’t look for something else for her. 🙂

  30. March 10, 2010 1:22 pm

    You need to write a book, you are hilarious! 😉 My favorite line: “Our refrigerator is perpetually empty. Even when I spend $100 at Trader Joe’s and return with at least 3 full bags of food, the fridge is still empty.” So, so, so true in our house as well, haha!! 🙂

  31. March 10, 2010 2:49 pm

    This looks like a hearty, delicious recipe! And I bet it’s especially delicious topped with yogurt and mango chutney like you said! 🙂

  32. March 10, 2010 3:53 pm

    i would have gladdddddly eaten that! looks amazing!

  33. March 10, 2010 7:47 pm

    Mmm I’ll take Maya’s portion if she’s not going to eat it! I love cauliflower and I love those spices so I imagine this would be a perfect dish for me!
    What to make for dinner is a question that plagues all of us. And even with a fridge full of groceries, I still stand and stare for a while.
    Have a great Thursday!

  34. March 10, 2010 8:34 pm

    Thank you! Thank you, Thank you for posting this recipe! I need a really easy Aloo Gobi recipe. I am in love with this stuff!

    My fridge is always empty as well…..I buy a whole whack of veg and then in 2 days they are gone 😉

    XXOO

  35. March 10, 2010 9:08 pm

    In my house, it’s a problem if there is no non-veg. So the fish is bought on the week, split into portions, with masala for frying for 5 working days. If it doesn’t suffice, then we are in trouble. Hard-core non-veggies! 😀

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