Palak Sweet Potatoes (or, “Literally Playing an Angle”)

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c cooked white beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 15 oz can Princella® Cut Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 c spinach (frozen from fresh)
  • 3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Greek seasoning

I have learned how to even more enormously enjoy Indian cooking over the last year or so, and now more often than not will choose rice as my default starch, not pasta. This knowledge does cause a gasp for me, but then I shake my head and continue eating whatever delicious food sits before me atop a pilaf.

This being said, I am untrained in most ways that might let me slide off the Cracker Train a stop or two before Racism City. Please keep in mind that I am fully aware of what a White American I am as you continue forth through my bastardization of a beautiful culture. And start your mustard seeds and onion warming in a cold pot to M.

After a minute or so of crackle-popping, mix the spinach and kala jeera in and once the spinach begins to wilt transfer the entire mess to the food processor with 1/2 c vegetable broth. Open the can of sweet potatoes and rinse them well (they’ll be sweet enough without any extra syrup) before tossing them, too, into the cut-em-up machine. Pulse until you’ve got a chunky paste then transfer back to the pot.

Over ML heat, add half the remainder of your seasonings and liquids. Stir. Add your cooked, drained beans, stir, then add in the remainder of the flavors. Let the sauce simmer on L for at least one hour (mine simmered on L for 5 hours before it was time to be ingested). When I asked my girlfriend how many spoons she’d give this, her answer was “4… maybe even 5.” I shook my head and staunchly thought, “3. The flavors were like a Showbiz Pizza ball-pen of shapes.

And then there was the follow up discussion about maybe letting people know that when I cook, it is by shapes. I figured that this blog had enough angles to it already (Food Stamps! Incurable Brain Disease! Lost 100 lbs! Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!) that throwing in the synaesthesia was a moot point. Synaesthesia… hold up, I’ll copy + paste from Wikipedia:

Recently, difficulties have been recognized in finding an adequate definition of synesthesia…

Crap, well. Here’s the meat of it for me: In terms of cooking, I generally go by the shape of things. I fancy each dish as a Kandinsky (also said to have had the -aesthesia) and the pieces and parts of it have to interact in perfect composition. Dr. Cytowic’s book “The Man Who Tasted Shapes” is an excellent study on this phenomenon, which I delight in as most synaesthetes present with the numbers and letters as colors thing.

Cytowic describes his chance encounter during a dinner party on February 10, 1980 with MW, the “Man Who Tasted Shapes.” Cytowic describes how his host reported that “There aren’t enough points on the chicken!”

Don’t feel bad if this makes absolutely no sense to you. I find that it does not to many people, whereas it it my only frame of reference. Has your sky always been blue? Mine has always been puce. Figuratively, I mean. I certainly suppose this is an important element to my cooking that isn’t well-publicized… but you can’t show that weird mole on your ass to every stranger, y’know? I’d rather be out and proud about my weight and discovering all the positive effects of food on health — there ain’t no food pyramid for spikes and circles and squares (“Oh, my!”).

Of course, I could make one… Hmm…

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