Tonight is all about the chutneys. Actually that's not exactly true, but it IS the first line that came to me when I decided to sit down and write while simultaneously sweating an onion on the stove. Ok, so it started out about chutneys, which I had to Wikipedia for the most basic understanding, before I went off in search of a decent chutney to accompany the potato and pea samosas that I conquered the last time i went on one of these nervous energy late night cooking sprees.
Mostly, it is a way to stop thinking of all the things I spend most of the day thinking about … the overwhelming, the sad and scary, the things I can't do anything about late at night … if I am worrying about measurements and sauté pans and spice mixes (i have used more garam masala in the last month than i did in all the years which proceeded it.) somehow everything else manages to fall away for a little while.
I was looking for a spicy chutney recipe tonight, something that would compliment the mildness of the samosas that I wanted to make for my nephew's wife tomorrow. But with what was stocked in our cupboards, I could only make a tomato/onion one (turned out way too italian-ish for these purposes) and the same basic minty raita i always make. At that point, i decided to up the heat in the potato/pea mash, hopefully making the samosas worthy of a nice cooling minty/cucumber dip.
Two hours of this kitchen putter and the sink is full of dirty utensils, the counter cluttered with spice jars, and the last of the nights creations ready to be snapped up with Tupperware lids and relegated to the refrigerator for the night. My hands are sore and protesting the evening's labor. My feet remind me that they would someday like some fancy slippers with arch support. My whole self feels old and tired and achy. But once again, I have outwitted, sidetracked and subverted worry, sadness, fear and grief until such time that I can fall exhausted into bed and a half-decent sleep.
Some days, that (and a tasty Indian appetizer with a halfway-decent dipping sauce) is the most one can hope for.
Update: As it turns out, the perfect accompaniment for the samosa cups (which is how i served up the taster version of the spiced potato/pea filling on the night in question) was a dollop (yeah, i said dollop, what'cha gonna do about it?) of plain Greek Yogurt. Who knew?