Monday Meal: Chapatis, Creamy Cauliflower Au Gratin, Butternut Squash Soup

Fear not, I’ll post about the half marathon tomorrow.  But since it’s Monday, I have to post about the Monday Meal!

Chef and KJ, a 17-year-old friend with aspirations of owning her own catering business some day, cook for our community dinner every Monday.

DSCF1358KJ was peeling and seeding the butternut squash.

DSCF1359Chef was rolling the dough for the chapatis into long snakes.  Chapatis are an Indian flatbread made of flour, water, and salt.

DSCF1361The cauliflower had been chopped and was waiting in a bowl.

DSCF1362The sauce for the chapatis was simmering on the stove.  This consists of ground venison (ground beef is fine to use, but we had vension left over from last hunting season) and tomatoey goodness.

DSCF1364The soup was also simmering.  Butternut squash, broth, onions… yum.

DSCF1365The creamy Au Gratin sauce was heating as well.

DSCF1371KJ got into the chapati action, too.  She rolled the dough into a snake.   (You could say “rope” if you don’t like to associate snakes with your meals.)

DSCF1379Then she coiled the snake.

DSCF1370Then she rolled it flat.

DSCF1372The chapati was thrown into an iron skillet.

DSCF1383When it got all brown, Chef flipped it over.

DSCF1384Then he put it right on the flame!  Daring!

DSCF1380Look at that creamy cauliflower!  Now, I’ll be honest with you.  I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower.  It’s kind of bland and has a sort of a weird texture.  And cooked… well, I imagine the same blandness, only mushy.  But the way Chef makes it, it’s really good.  He made a bechamel (a white sauce) with Manchego cheese, and the cauliflower was cooked just right, with a bit of firmness to it.  Yum.

DSCF1375The chapatis were wonderful.  Thin and warm, and just a little bit chewy.

DSCF1388Here, Chef shows how to use the chapatis as a sort of spoon to scoop up the sauce (to which peas were added later.)

DSCF1368Rita enjoys the fellowship.

DSCF1387Here’s Aaron, our neighbor, looking rather like a lumberjack.

DSCF1400And DJ, Aaron, and Rita played Nerts.

DSCF1399Nerts is kind of like Dutch Blitz.  You play solitaire, but everyone shares the piles you have at the top.  You know, when you put the aces up top and try to stack them up until you get to the kings.  It can get cutthroat, and I don’t play it anymore.  It’s big tradition in Chef’s family, but it’s way too competitive for me, and I just get confused and frustrated.  So I don’t play, but that has not stopped the spread of this game.  You can see that my mother-in-law is teaching DJ and Aaron to play. 

Next week, KJ is going to make the meal by herself!  Very exciting.  I’ll update you.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kim
    Oct 19, 2009 @ 21:10:03

    Love, love, love chapatis! That’s the common, every day bread people eat in Uganda. Will you be posting recipes or linking to them or anything? I could look ’em up but when you google recipes a gazillion come up and which do you choose? I’m normally a decisive person but being confronted with forty-eleven recipes causes me to suffer serious DMD (decision-making disorder) and curl up into the fetal position.

    • Chef
      Oct 20, 2009 @ 11:51:09


      I used 6 cups of flour (I used bread flour since that’s what I had), 2 cups of water, and 1.5 tsp of salt. Mix, knead, let rise. then divide, roll into snakes, coil, flatten thinly and cook.

      The key is to roll the chapatis really thin by rolling it, letting it rest, then rolling it again–the gluten will expand more but needs to rest between stretchings. Then when the chapati is really thin, griddle it on both sides then flame it and it will puff up. Enjoy!

  2. rita
    Oct 19, 2009 @ 21:28:11

    Loved all your photos, well maybe not so much the one of myself, a bit too serious. You do a great job describing photographically.
    I have been waiting to hear about your run. Tomorrow!
    Someone corrected my spelling of nerts the other day, so I looked it up and more often it is nertz, but apparently both are acceptable. Here I thought i’d be able to correct you!

  3. Tracy
    Oct 21, 2009 @ 10:03:45

    Butternut squash soup, wow that sounds good! I have been meaning to make a squash soup but haven’t had time yet.

    • Chef
      Oct 21, 2009 @ 10:09:27

      just remember to use leeks as an aromatic instead of onions, carrots, celery—it’s so much more subtle. I also add plenty of ginger (powder or minced). Good luck!

  4. dolores
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 15:18:57

    Don’t know about the food………… it all looks delicious:>) Talk about venison, there was a BIG buck at our fish pond last night. Not positive, but I’m sure he had at least 8 points.

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