My husband, Desi, was the first man I fell deeply in love with. To date, and many, many years later, he still is, to me, the most perfect man.
Sure, we have our shares of ups and downs. But if I was to do it all over again, I don't think I'd change a thing.
I think part of the magic is not just that we are so different that we complement each other, but that we are so similar, we have this wonderful, maybe even boring, harmony that keeps us in sync.
We literally complete each other's thoughts and sentences. We love mostly the same movies (except he's unnaturally obsessed with documentaries. I like them, but in moderation). We like to travel, together. We like animals: in fact, and this could be hard to believe, but he loves them more than I do.
Over the years, our home has played host to every kind of creature, including a chick that he once brought into our one-bedroom apartment in Bombay. She would run all around the house dispensing chalky-white poop everywhere. He named her Chikni, which, translated from Hindi slang, means a good-looking girl.
There was an injured pigeon, who died despite days of fussing by Desi. A large number of stray cats and dogs rescued from the streets. He has even rescued a mouse or two caught by our hyperactive cat Pubm, before she could kill it.
Of course, we are not alike in every way. He is (and I hate to admit this, but it's true) wittier, smarter, and more tolerant than I am. He is also not a vegan, and you can rest assured it's not because of lack of trying on my part.
When I went vegan, I stopped cooking some of the dishes I made that Desi loved. But he was really supportive because he knew it meant a lot to me to be able to do what I believed was ethically right.
So sometimes, I work a little harder to try and recreate, with vegan ingredients, those dishes that he once enjoyed so much. This "lamb" curry, made with soy nuggets or textured vegetable protein, is such a dish. The textured nuggets contrast beautifully with the cauliflower florets cooked to melt-in-the-mouth tenderness.
I serve this spicy curry, which is much healthier than its meaty counterpart could ever hope to be, with creamy mashed potatoes. I can't think of two flavors that go together better.
I am sending this perfect combination to two very special Valentine's Day events: Vegetable Love at the Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen, and Made For Each Other at Asvadha.
I'm also sending this to Mythreyee who's hosting JFI: Cauliflower on her blog, Paajaka. JFI, of Jihva for Ingredients, was originally started by Indira of Mahanandi.
Thank you, folks, for hosting these lovely events.
And thank you, Desi, my love, for being my inspiration.
"Lamb" Curry with Creamy Mashed Potatoes
2 cups of TVP chunks (about 1/2-inch square). Soak the chunks in boiling hot water about 1 hour.
1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1-inch piece ginger, grated
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small cauliflower, separated into florets
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp coriander-seed powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder
Juice of 1 lemon
About 1/2 cup of coriander leaves, minced
Salt to taste
Heat the oil.
Saute the onions until they start to brown. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for a minute.
Add the tomatoes, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander seed powder, cumin powder and turmeric. Stir together to mix, and allow the tomatoes to cook on medium heat until they start expressing the oil, about five minutes.
Add the cauliflower and the TVP nuggets. Mix together.
Add 1 1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and let the curry simmer about 20-30 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, sprinkle with coriander leaves, and serve hot with some crusty bread or rice.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
5 nedium Yukon Gold potatoes (I cook these in the microwave by stabbing the potatoes a few times with a knife, then putting them in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the potatoes with just enough water and nuke about 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are perfectly tender.)
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
2 tbsp soy "butter" like Earth Balance
Salt to taste
Mash the boiled potatoes with a potato masher. I don't peel the potatoes because the skins are good for you, and I love them in this rustic dish.
Add the soy milk, "butter", pepper and salt. Mix together until everything's just combined.
You can add some roasted garlic to this, or replace the soy butter with olive oil for other, interesting flavors.