Okay, well, maybe sometimes it is. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I cook in a communal and incredibly small dorm kitchen with no storage and no refrigerator. Every time I make something, unless it’s crackers and jam in my room, I have to load all of my materials into a bag and cart them down the hall. I make sure to wash my dishes as soon as I’m done, and to bring them back to my room shortly afterwards, or else they’ll get used by everybody else. Not that I mind, really, but when you’ve only got one bowl, one sautée pan, and two small pots, to say nothing of a miniscule amount of silverware, you have to keep them where you can see them.
Anyway, the cooking adventure that is the subject of today’s blog was inspired by yogurt. I have a troubled history with yogurt. In fact, the first time I willingly ate it was just a couple of years ago, when I realized (as I have done with things like sushi and tomatoes in the past) that it would be a really useful thing to like. I still can’t handle most flavored yogurts, especially the ones with berries–they kind of make me ill (or, as Christina Ricci put it in Casper: “Sunny-side up makes me yak.”). I went through a couple of plain yogurt-fruit-and-cereal-for-breakfast phases, but they never last long, and more recently I was into Taillefine mango yogurt…but then I didn’t want to eat the last one because the thought made me queasy. So I changed my tack. I had a jar of honey from Rosh Hashanah, so I bought a panier of plain yogurt in single-serving cups and started mixing honey or jam into it. Delicious. But when I got back from Brussels, there was one left, and I just didn’t feel like it. What to do with it, you may ask?
I had intended to make this post about what I generally eat in Paris, because as much as I love pastry and bread and macarons, I have to actually nourish myself. Lentils, rice, tomatoes, grocery-store goat cheese beans, pasta, zucchini and eggplant (or courgettes and aubergines, as everybody but Americans would say!) show up pretty much every day, supplemented periodically by chicken or some kind of sausage, or something more exotic that I’ve made myself, or soup-in-a-box. Anyway, I particularly love eggplant right now. They’re huge, which makes for several meals, they can stand alone without meat or anything, and they’re inexpensive. Hence, eggplant in yogurt sauce over rice.
For the sauce:
1 cup of plain yogurt (I obviously used a pre-measured amount, so who knows, really?)
juice of half a lemon,
2 teaspoons of tomato paste (new best friend!)
paprika, to taste
curry powder, to taste
salt and pepper
Throw ’em all in a bowl and whoosh them around with a fork for a bit, et voilà! Yogurt sauce.
For the rest of it:
White rice, however much you feel like eating (brown rice would be fine too, but my grocery store doesn’t sell it)
half an eggplant
1 clove of garlic
You know the drill. Cook the rice according to the package instructions (or just eyeball it, like me with no measuring cups). Chop the garlic and cut the eggplant into small cubes. Melt butter over medium heat with garlic, then add the eggplant and sautée until soft. Add the yogurt sauce and cook a little longer. Put the rice in a bowl, with the eggplant mixture on top.
It was really delicious. People kept coming in and out of the kitchen while I was making the sauce and asking me what it was going to be. “Well, I had this last yogurt that I didn’t feel like eating…