Monday, November 23, 2009
Tempeh and Potato Curry
I have to admit it - yesterday while I was putting together the photo slideshow for my bike club's yearly banquet, I felt some slight pangs of regret and was wishing I had raced a little more this season. As I browsed photo after photo of crazy cyclists jumping barriers, running up muddy hills with their muddy bikes hoisted over their muddy shoulders, and navigating tight corners on a wet, off-camber hill, it made me a bit sad that I didn't get to do that more. The affect cyclocross can have on you is a mix between using crack and giving birth - it's wildly addictive and you quickly forget the severe pain when it's over and want to do it again very soon. (I should probably point out that I've never done crack or given birth, so perhaps a different analogy is in order.)
There were several reasons I didn't do many races this autumn. I was intending right from the start to not let it consume the whole season. Last year, Todd and I spent nearly every Saturday and Sunday at races and we were pretty wiped out by Thanksgiving, so I didn't want to repeat that. Also, this year Todd stopped racing early on, and I must admit, it was certainly much more difficult to get out of bed really early on a weekend to drive an hour and a half to a race on a rainy day all by myself when he was all warm and snuggled under the comforter, still sleeping. At some point, I also got myself all worked up and nervous about it and was a little low on confidence, which squelched my motivation.
I could go on with reasons (a.k.a. excuses), but I won't. The upside is that I really did do some fun things in lieu of races and spent time with some folks I may not have otherwise. Susan and I had a couple of great mountain bike rides at Great Brook. Just last Sunday, Mike and I spontaneously went to a matinee after I chose at the last minute not to race that day. I can't remember the last time I went to the movies during the day. Then I came out to a cleared up sky and took my new single speed out for a spin. I had a few play dates with Sallie. I killed most of one Saturday reading a book, etc. etc.
I only have the opportunity to do 1 or maybe 2 more races, given my trip to England next week. And I'm not going to dwell in the past or let regret root itself inside of me. I am, instead, going to be appreciate the fact that I have so many options and the freedom to do all these wonderful things.
This past weekend was a great example of just that. Saturday was gorgeous and I raced at Shedd Park in Lowell. On Sunday, I had a fantastic run around Mystic Lake under grey and chilly, yet exhilarating skies. In the evening, I went to the banquet where I felt in awe of the size of our club and the great people that are part of it. Tonight, a little tired, I had a mellow evening and cooked this curry dish, perfect for a rainy, cold almost winter day.
This curry sauce comes together so quickly. I will definitely be making it again.
Tempeh and Potato Curry
1 lb small waxy potatoes, no bigger than a small lime, cut in half
2 tspns sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed, chopped into 1 inch pieces and blanche
8 ounces tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
a small handful of cilantro, loosely chopped
splash of coconut milk or cream (optional)
1. Using a steamer, salt the potatoes with a teaspoon of the salt and steam the potatoes until tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter in the olive oil over low heat, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft
3. Add the cayenne, curry powder, turmeric and cumin seeds. Stir for about 30 seconds then add tomatoes, water, and remaining salt. Let simmer for a few minutes, then remove from heat and puree. You could whirl in a little coconut milk here if you wanted.
4. Put back in the skillet, add the tempeh and let simmer on low. When the potatoes are done, add them along with the green beans. Blend and serve sprinkled with cilantro.