Is one of attitude.
My mother was fond of repeating a, somewhat trite, platitude, which she both believed, and tried to follow: The difference between American parents, and European parents is American parents say, “Eat this, it’s good for you,” and European parents say, “Eat this, it’s good”.
I somehow manage to be attracted to people who have allergies. I like to cook for people. As a result I have gotten pretty good at finding ways to cope with restricted food sources. My Beloved Fiancée (MBF) has a relatively short list of allergies, which have an inordinate effect on what I can do.
This means I have learned to do a lot of “Pre-Columbian, Old World Cooking”. As one might imagine, restaurants are a real problem (exacerbated by her keeping kosher). Mostly they treat her as a child, and offer her plain food, with no spicing.
Which is offensive. Not just because she is treated dismissively (as if her allergies are just a plea for attention), but because I know (from personal experience) that it’s a failure imagination on the part of the chef.
Yes, I have more time to ponder the issues. Yes, it means one is cooking a la minute, and the sauces one is used to are all off the table (because garlic, fruits, and nightshades: fruit means no wine). But if one is demanding $60 a plate, one ought to be interested in the challenge.
One of the things which is hardest is the loss of the “hot” elements one gets used to. I try to do things with mustard, and I use a lot of vinegar, but she didn’t have an awareness of all these allergies until recently (and some may have been late onset). So she is familiar with things like curry. She likes them.
Tonight’s supper, salmon over salad with “curried” cous-cous.
Take 2qts water. Bring to a boil with 10-12 curry leaves (I used 10), ¾ Tbls garam masala, 2/3 tsp turmeric. Boil furiously for 30 mins.
In a shallow skillet braise an onion in oil and garam masala.
Make cous-cous in the “curry tea”. Drain, toss with the braised onions, and oil.
For the salad, quarter ¾ cup cornichon, longitudinally. Dice ½ can beets. Grill (in a pan) a quantity of bite-sized asparagus (let the tips of the buds char, just a bit).
Pan fry salmon: cook it almost all the way through from the flesh side. A hard, deep, sear is the idea. Finish on the skin; rest it.
Toss with mixed greens, place a mound of the cous-cous mix, and top with the salmon, after the skin has been peeled.
I dressed it with a horseradish mustard and rice vinegar vinagrette; to which I’d added a bit of powdered lemongrass. (I’d made it the night before).
The best part was the cous-cous. It had some curry bite. If I’d added some mustard oil, it might have even been, “hot”.
There are pictures (though I need to work on color balance when editing them on my phone).