Sunday, April 22, 2007

books, a pianist, and a vegetarian recipe

An Amazon package arrived on my doorstep over the weekend. All three books are very engaging, each in their own way, of course. The Crafter's Companion offers a unique window into the craft-blog world. The photography is lovely, the writing is heartfelt, and there are some nice projects, especially the market bag. Write Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day immediately admits that you need to spend more time than that, but it is a catchy title. It's a useful book that also manages to be comforting . Time will tell if Sew What! Skirts (I just hate that punctuation) can help me overcome my fear of sewing garments. I love the idea of it, though, since my favorite summer casual wear consists of fairly plain, knee-length skirts in a pretty print.

Helene Grimaud, the French pianist, was absolutely marvelous as she performed Schumann's Piano Concert in A Minor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra last Thursday. She made quite the impression as she walked out onto the stage wearing an ivory halter top and black satin yoga-type pants with her hair in a ponytail. I liked her combination of no-nonsense practicality (who needs long dangly sleeves on your piano keys or hair in your face) and rebellious sexiness. NPR featured an interview with her a while back -- apparently she's very into wolves.

I'm including a delicious, easy, and quick curry recipe that we made on Saturday.

Curried Tofu with Tomatoes, with Coconut Rice
Slightly adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers

Serves 4
Time: 30 -40 minutes

Start your rice first! Either make coconut rice or plain long-grain or basmati rice.

Coconut Rice

1.5 C. long-grain white rice or basmati rice
.5 tsp. turmeric
.5 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vegetable oil or mild olive oil
1.5 C. water
.75 C. light coconut milk

Rinse and drain the rice. In a saucepan on med-high heat, saute the rice, turmeric, and salt in the oil for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Add the water and coconut milk, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Curried Tofu with Tomatoes

2 C. chopped onions
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 or 2 T. vegetable oil or mild olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1.5 T. grated peeled ginger root
2 T. curry powder or garam masala or curry paste (or any combination thereof -- I use a combo of 2 different red curry powders and garam masala)

.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
16 oz. firm tofu, drained, patted dry, and cut into .5-inch cubes
1 x 28 oz can diced tomatoes
black pepper or Tabasco

chopped cashews
plain yogurt -- I use Trader Joe' s nonfat Greek yogurt (nice and thick)

In a large saucepan with a lid, cook the onions, peppers, and salt in the oil on medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, and tofu. Cover and cook on med-low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Occasionally stir gently. Add black pepper or hot sauce to taste. Serve over rice, garnished with cashews and yogurt


miss ewe said...

I *adore* Helene Grimaud. She is a phenomenal musician, and her wolf reserve thing sounds really, really cool. I've seen her play a few times, but the most special was a Brahms Piano Concerto in Toronto... fantastic!

melissa said...

oh, you'll love the crafter's companion! i got it back in november and have made two or three projects from it, and actually, the market bag is next on my list. have fun with the book!

Suse said...

Yummy sounding recipe, thanks. And thanks for your comment on my blog. I love JSTOR too! I've been doing some medieval and early modern studies lately,so moving sideways a bit from my customary classics subjects. Enjoying it though!

Chris said...

That sounds very tasty! I hadn't heard of the Crafter's Companion - thanks for mentioning it.

Laura said...

Must make that recipe tonight! It sounds delish! Also, I've almost bought Sew What Skirts about eight times. Let us know what you think of it, please! :)

Anonymous said...

there's nothing as nice as getting a package filled with books. well, okay, maybe a package filled with yarn. i read crafter's companion, and liked most of the sentiments expressed inside and that skirt book looks intriguing as well. but dissertation? you're on your own with that! i doubt i have the patience to stick with such an in-depth and lengthy project as that!