Sadie and I strolled through the woods at the Mat-Su Community College the other day, enjoying this long, slow autumn that is such a rarity in our part of Alaska. The photo above was taken in the arboretum -- notice all the yellow ribbons marking special trees. It's a pretty cool place to take a walk. The trails are well-marked and there are "science projects" scattered here and there throughout the woods. There are also overlooks with little signs that explain the geology of the mountains in the distance.
At home, I had some aloo gobi in the crockpot, so there was that to look forward to after our walk. For the uninitiated, aloo gobi is a curried mixture of cauliflower and potatoes. It's a delicious vegetarian dish, but I suppose if you wanted to make your meal as a whole a little meatier, I think aloo gobi would be awesome alongside grilled flank steak. I'm making a mental note of that for the future.
Here's the before picture with the cauliflower and potatoes all stirred together with a blend of seasonings and spices -- garlic, ginger, curry, chili powder, chili peppers, garam masala, and turmeric:
The house smelled wonderful as soon as the pot began to heat up. There's nothing quite like coming home and opening the front door, ready to smell whatever it is you left to cook in the crockpot. This dish did not disappoint in the heady aroma department.
We were gone for roughly four hours, what with our walkin' and our shoppin', and that was the perfect amount of time for this to cook on low in the crockpot. The cauliflower and potatoes were done to perfection -- not too mushy, not too crunchy. In the end, I decided I wanted it a little saucier and so I stirred in half a can of light coconut milk and let it simmer for half an hour. Not very authentic, but hey, it turned out wonderful, and as with all things spicy and stew-y, the leftovers were even better the next day for lunch.
I used this recipe as a jumping off point. There are lots of variations on ingredients -- curry leaves, coriander, peas, bell peppers, etc. Another good way to totally blow the authenticity of the dish would be to add some chicken to the crockpot. Here's my version:
Slow Cooker Aloo Gobi
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups or so of russet or yellow potatoes, diced
1 medium yellow or red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
Large handful of grape tomatoes, quartered
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced (I put the ginger and garlic into a Mini-Prep and minced them together)
3 cloves garlic, minced
Very large pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon red chile powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Optional: 1 cup of lite coconut milk
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Put all the ingredients except the cilantro in the slow cooker. Mix well. Cook on low for 4 hours. Mix once or twice during cooking, if you happen to be at home. If desired, add coconut milk towards the end of the cooking time and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with cilantro sprinkled on top.