Sunday, September 07, 2008

tonight's dinner

Tonight I made three dishes for dinner. Two recipes I've never made before and a vegetable dish that I love. The first was tofu lasagna. I saw an Asian woman prepare it on a cooking show the other night and since it looked yummy, I decided to make it... even though all of my in-laws are big meat eaters, including my husband (and I am not), I thought, "what the hell". I made my pasta sauce from scratch... something I've been doing just for a couple of weeks now, and tonight's sauce was especially good... I thought. Only a couple of ppl tried it. One SIL gagged when she tried it, but both Naief and I had a nice helping. Has anyone ever tried it? I'd be happy to pass the recipe if anyone's interested.

I also made fettuccini alfredo for the first time. Boy, that takes time, and it's so fattening! 1/2 cup butter, one pint of heavy whipping cream.... 2/3 c. parmesan cheese.... and then olive oil on the pasta. My only gripe about fettuccini noodles is that they always stick together and it drives me crazy. I put a heavy dose of olive oil on the noodles tonight, after cooking, in hopes that it would work, but still... Does anyone have a good trick to keep this from happening??? And it seems like no matter how often I stir the pasta while cooking, it sticks together - even while cooking. I didn't add oil to the water tonight... maybe that's the problem.

I also made a vegetable medley sort of thing w/ corn, red bell pepper, celery, cauliflower, shredded carrots, lime juice, garlic salt and a few cloves of garlic... you stir fry it all in a small amount of butter and oil. Not too much, but just enough to let it brown. It's really good... light and healthy.

My SIL made a salad, and my MIL made several other dishes.... tomorrow night I'll take a pic of the whole thing so you guys can see what it's like. Reminds me of Thanksgiving but w/ more food!

I don't know how many of you guys know it, but during Ramadan we eat on the floor. Actually, whenever the whole family gets together, meals are always eaten while sitting on the floor. They put out a long, rectangular shaped plastic covering on the floor, then all the food it sat in the middle of this w/ plates, glasses and such along the edges. At first I didn't really care for it, but I actually like it now. It's very informal and cozy. Everyone talks while eating and usually wait until my FIL has finished and gotten up before getting up to leave the area. The kids run around, sometimes sitting down to eat a few bites, or wind up eating later. We take Naief's highchair because he tends not to eat otherwise.

Another thing I've really started to enjoy is eating w/ my fingers. I've always been a finger licker... yeah, I know that many find it disgusting... but I enjoy licking my fingers. I don't slurp them or anything and I don't always do it... it's only if there's something really good stuck to one of them. ;) But, even w/ that said, I'm not one to go w/out the use of a napkin, and no one uses one at my in-laws. Everything is washed at the end of the meal, including mouth - both inside and out. Many ppl eat rice w/ their hands. Making balls inside the palm of one hand and picking it up and putting in the mouth w/ the other fingers. I've never been able to master it and I'm not comfortable doing it, so I eat rice w/ a fork or tablespoon. Many use bread - usually Bahraini or Lebanese - to scoop up food. I like to do this w/ foul, yogurt dishes and sometimes meat.

I think I'll make banana bread tomorrow. I've been waiting for some bananas to overly ripen and by tomorrow they'll be good and ready... I just hope it's as good as I remember.


Olivia said...

Weird how I've been your first commenter this week!

I had to laugh at the thought of your SIL gagging. Lots of people can't handle certain textures, like tofu, squid, tripe - I like 'em though. Still, I do think I'd have to get used to the tofu lasagna. I would try it if I saw it. I bet I've seen it at Whole Foods :P

Yes, you didn't put oil in your pasta water, and that's why it stuck together, problem solved!

By the way, I love the smell of frying garlic, and the toasty taste it imparts to food.

Having family who makes great curry and growing up eating it, my father and I have mastered the art of finger eating. Scooping sauce with flat breads, etc. However, we've never had to eat rice with our hands, though I once saw my grandmother do it, despite the fact that she did not bring up her kids to do it, so they don't know how.

Um Naief said...

olivia, i love your new profile pic! :)

this tofu was quite thick and the texture is prob the exact thing that got to her. her husband asked right after if that was tofu. i've eaten it in microwave dinners in the past (some organic ones) and have licked it, but this is the first time for my cooking it at home. it actually tasted sorta like lasagna.. in a way. i fried each side before putting it in the dish and then topped all of it w/ a lot of cheddar cheese. i'll try making it again, but next time i'll use the smaller pieces.

i love the smell of garlic frying. ummmm... so good. it gave the alfredo a wonderful aroma, and a nice taste as well.

i love curry. do you like it spicy? what type is your favorite? there's a fast food place at one of the malls here that makes great curry at such cheap prices. you can order a full meal w/ 3 different dishes for like... $3.00!! do you cook Indian food?

i love to eat my fingers. :) i'm the only one that does it at the in-laws. no one EVER puts their fingers in their mouth... they don't even allow their children to do so. i let naief and encourage hashim to do it... you get some of the best crumbs that way... ;)

Gill - That British Woman said...

thanks for popping by my blog, we have been into the States on vacation a couple of times.

I agree the reason your pasta stuck was having no oil in the water.

I am not keen on eating with my hands. My next door neighbour eats with her hands (she's Indian), but if we eat out together she'll use utensils.

Gill in Canada

Christopher said...

Well, everyone beat me to it! A dollop of olive oil in the water when boiling (add some salt to the water too) and that helps.

Sending love and kisses my dear!

L_Oman said...

Oh dear - your SIL gagged? Poor you - I'm sure I would have tried your tofu lasagna and had a healthy portion of it for sure! :)

I like sitting on the floor too, but honestly I get tired of it real fast. We eat at the table, but with our fingers (unless I'm in a 'mood' and rebel against everyone and use silverware!).

My b-i-l used to work at an Italian restaurant in the states so he's the BOMB at fettucini. I never get it right - so few ingredients, yet I always fudge it up so bad you could plaster your walls with it! HA.

p.s. I'm a finger licker too - no shame in it, I say!

Kirthan ston kosmo xenoi said...

I am sorry, I just have to say it: you never put oil in the water where your pasta is being cooked :) you just need lot sof water and salt. Just that. The most common reason of pasta sticking together is that ppl put to little water in the saucepan, you gotta have a lot, so that pasta can go round and round boiling, otherwise it has no room to do this and it gets tangled and with all the amylum being released from the pasta it works as glue. No oil in the boiling water. Ever :)

also, could i have the recipe you mentioned? :D yallah w shukran :)

Chief Rock Chef said...

Sounds great - I have only done tofu once before and was not that kean on it. I have thought about trying again, though. I always make my own pasta sauce, my kids love it with a ton of garlic in it so that is how I make it.

Eating with fingers is great, although I have not tried rice that way.

Sticky pasta - I always put oil into the water and constantly check it as it cooks under and over cooking can cause bad sticking.

BTW I will be posting my bread recipe soon.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Tofu lasagna sounds fantastic (speaking as a lover of both tofu and lasagna)! Even so, I clearly remember my first experience with tofu (in Taiwan about 20 years ago). I gagged just like your SIL. It's something of an acquired taste, I guess, just like natto, licorice, stout beer, or My Bloody Valentine.

I kind of like the idea of a nightly picnic on the floor with the family during Ramadan. Things like that would bring everyone closer together.

Um Naief said...

moody, what's natto? never heard of 'My Bloody Valentine'... ?? what's that? i love licorice, especially black, which many hate. i could eat a whole back of that in one setting, i think! ;) i like strong beer, but can't get the taste for stout. it's better, to me.

i'll post the recipe for the lasagna. i made it again, but used a different brand of tofu, and it all fell apart when browning it. is there an easy way to do this? the organic seemed to handle much better. i'd bet there's a huge variety there. we have only two at the store i frequent, but i'm gonna check out the place in sa'ar coz they carry a wider selection of food.

i'm gonna check out to see what kind of recipes they have for tofu. i'm not a big meat eater and neither is naief, so what a great way to get protein.

sitting w/ everyone does bring the family together and it's nice.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Natto is a form of fermented soy beans. It's gooey, stringy, smells awful, but it's great stuff (though foreigners are supposed to hate it). It's also very good for you.

My Bloody Valentine is a British "shoegazer" of the pioneers of the genre as well as one of the most influential alternative bands of the late 80s and early 90s. They recently reformed as a result of heavy demand. They headlined a recent rock festival here in Japan and were a huge hit. They're definitely an acquired taste, though...though I love their work!

Um Naief said...

moody, i've not heard of Natto, but i'd bet you can get it here. i'll have to check this band out. i like a lot of british bands, even the ones from long ago.

chief rock chef, i LOVE lots of garlic in my pasta sauce. i made it again just a few days back and tried adding sauce instead of paste w/ the tomatoes and it made a bit of a difference.. didn't upset my stomach as much, but i also added some of this creamy cheese you can get it called 'Puck'. made it creamy and delicious. how do you make your sauce? i've been adding this pkg of spices to mine when i make it, but i'm thinking of trying new things to see what i can come up w/. the only thing w/ that is ... i usually forget how i made it and never seem to get it to turn out the same way the 2nd time around. maybe i should write things down more often! :)

can't wait for your bread recipe. i used to make bread years ago... i love it fresh from the oven w/ butter melted on top.. and sometimes honey! :) i have a bread machine, but haven't touched it... for one, you can't find the ingredients for them here. i should give it to my sister! ;)